In Honor Of The Super Bowl Every answer today is a word used in football. Given three words, you give a word that can follow each to give a familiar two word phrase. The answer will always be a football term. For example, if the clue is "year, tag and dead," the answer would be "end."
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In Honor Of The Super Bowl

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In Honor Of The Super Bowl

In Honor Of The Super Bowl

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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And joining us is puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Hey, Will.


HANSEN: How are you holding up? Are you getting a snowpocalypse up there in New York the way we are in Washington?

SHORTZ: No. I think the storm has gone south of us.

HANSEN: Oh, lucky.

SHORTZ: So, you're the one who got smacked.

HANSEN: Lucky you, lucky you. Yeah, we've been having pajama parties here for the past couple of days. All right. But now we want to play. This is the fun portion of our program. And first of all, we have to start with the challenge you gave us last week.

SHORTZ: Yes. I said it involved four words: croquet, lunette, Renoir and turnstile. I said they were all two syllable words, but besides that they all have something unusual in common - a property that virtually no other word has. I asked what property is it? And as a hint I said: Think phonetically.

HANSEN: Right, right. And that was the only way to think about this. What was the answer?

SHORTZ: Well, if you take the first syllable of each word, it sounds like a bird - crow, loon, wren and tern.

HANSEN: We had more than 1,000 entries this week. Our randomly selected winner is Michael Coyne from Boston, Massachusetts. Hi, Michael.


HANSEN: How are you doing?

COYNE: I'm doing great.

HANSEN: How long did it take you to solve this?

COYNE: Not too long. As soon as I sort of spelled them out phonetically, just sort of popped up.

HANSEN: Good for you. How long have you been playing our on-air puzzle?

COYNE: On and off for about 10 years.

HANSEN: And you've been submitting entries for that amount of time?

COYNE: Probably about the last four years.

HANSEN: Good for you. And what do you do in Boston?

COYNE: I'm a Web site writer and editor at Children's Hospital up here in Boston.

HANSEN: Wow. A word man. Watch, we'll get a math puzzle.

COYNE: A word nerd.


HANSEN: Just what I need on my team there, Michael. Just what I need. So, are you ready to play?

COYNE: Absolutely.

HANSEN: All right. Well, Michael meet Will; Will, meet Michael. Let's play.

COYNE: Hi, Will.

SHORTZ: Hi, Michael. Well, in honor of the Super Bowl tonight, every answer today is a word used in football. I'm going to give you three words. You tell me a word that can follow each of mine to complete a familiar two-word phrase. And your word will always be a football term. For example, if I said year, tag and dead, you would say end. As in year end, tag end and dead end.

COYNE: Gotcha.

SHORTZ: All right. Number one is stumbling, building and writer's.

COYNE: Block.

SHORTZ: That's correct. Number two: gold, bum's and mad.

COYNE: (unintelligible)

SHORTZ: That's like B-U-M apostrophe S. Yeah?

HANSEN: What did you say, Michael?

COYNE: Rush.

SHORTZ: That's it - gold rush, bum's rush and mad rush. Cattle, hard and four wheel.

COYNE: Drive.

SHORTZ: Drive is it. Corn, left, electromagnetic.

COYNE: Field.

SHORTZ: Good. Foul, that's F-O-U-L, child's and word.

COYNE: Play.

SHORTZ: Play is it. Shopping, dead, day care.

COYNE: Center.

SHORTZ: That's it. Prison, national, rear.



SHORTZ: No, not prison end. No, no such thing. Prison, national and rear.

COYNE: Liane?

HANSEN: All right, for someone who doesn't know much about football, but I know my words, I think, is it guard? No.

SHORTZ: Guard. National guard and rear guard.

HANSEN: Right.

SHORTZ: Good. How about bounce, that's B-O-U-N-C-E, bounce, stand, talk.

COYNE: I'm blanking.

SHORTZ: And this is another football position.

HANSEN: Right. So, it's the back, running back?

COYNE: Back.

SHORTZ: That's it, back. Bounce back, stand back and talk back, good. Mountain, boarding, bus.

COYNE: Mountain, boarding and bus?


HANSEN: I think I know this one. How are you doing, Michael?

COYNE: I'm blanking on this one.


SHORTZ: Pass is it - mountain pass, boarding pass, bus pass, good. How about broken, dumb and thumbs.

COYNE: Thumbs?

SHORTZ: The second one was dumb D-U-M-B and the third one is thumbs T-H-U-M-B- S.


COYNE: Down.

SHORTZ: That's it.

HANSEN: Down. Oh, very good.

SHORTZ: Broken down, dumb down and thumbs down, good. Punch, dust, cereal.

COYNE: Bowl.

SHORTZ: Bowl is it. And your last one is newspaper, coupon, toenail.

COYNE: Clipper or clip.

SHORTZ: Okay. I was going for clipping - newspaper clipping, coupon clipping and toenail clipping. Good job.

HANSEN: Hey, Michael, we made a good team, huh?

COYNE: Yes, thank you.

HANSEN: I know.


HANSEN: 'Cause I know nothing about football. Oh, well, we have someone who knows more about entertaining than football to read your puzzle prizes today. Michael, I don't know if you do any entertaining in your spare time. But if you do, I'm sure this person will be great at helping you out. Here is Martha Stewart to tell you what you'll get for playing the puzzle today.

MARTHA STEWART: For playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, the "Scrabble Deluxe Edition" from Parker Brothers, the book series "Will Shortz Presents KenKen," Volumes 1, 2 and 3 from St. Martin's Press, one of Will Shortz's "Puzzlemaster Decks of Riddles and Challenges" from Chronicle Books and a CD compilation of NPR's Sunday puzzles.

HANSEN: What do you think, Michael?

COYNE: Sounds good.

HANSEN: I know. I mean, it's a good thing, I think is what Martha would say.


COYNE: Right.

HANSEN: Well, before we let you go, tell us what member station you listen to.

COYNE: I listen to 90.9 WBUR, Boston's NPR news station.

HANSEN: Go for it. Michael Coyne from Boston, Massachusetts, thanks so much for playing the puzzle with us today.

COYNE: Thanks for having me.

HANSEN: All right, Will, a challenge, we need it for next week.

SHORTZ: Yeah, I got a challenge. Before that though, I'll tell you, I was on Martha Stewart's show a few years ago. And in the period before the show, she told me that she solved the "New York Times" crossword in the backseat of her chauffeur-driven automobile. And when she'd have trouble she would ask the chauffeur for help.

HANSEN: Really?

SHORTZ: I always remember that story.

HANSEN: That's funny. All right, well, now we're talking about our radio puzzle and I know there are people waiting to hear the clues, so they can send in their entries.

SHORTZ: Right. And this week's challenge comes from listener Dave Talby(ph) of Eugene, Oregon. And it's not too hard. The nickname of a well-known queen is an anagram of the name of a well-known king. What are their names? So again, the nickname of a well-known queen is an anagram of the name of a well-known king. What are their names?

HANSEN: And, Will, next week I'm going to be visiting the station WKSU out in Akron, Ohio - Kent State. And then I'll be off for another week. So next week you have Gwen Thompkins to play the puzzle with, so...


HANSEN: All right, so, thanks a lot for this one.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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