What's In A Name? Plenty This week, Will Shortz's game involves famous people whose last names are used to finish a sentence — only the names have been turned into anagrams. Take, for example, the sentence "Andre is a gas." Rearrange the letters in the last three words to get the answer: "Agassi."
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What's In A Name? Plenty

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What's In A Name? Plenty

What's In A Name? Plenty

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Liane Hansen.

And joining us is puzzle master Will Shortz. Hey, Will.

WILL SHORTZ: Hi, Liane. Welcome back from South by Southwest.

HANSEN: Thanks.

SHORTZ: How was it?

HANSEN: Oh, I had a great time. I was there for the interactive and the film and we have a lot of stories coming up. One that actually includes a puzzle panel, so we'll save that for you. But I had to ask you one thing, do you watch "The Colbert Report"?

SHORTZ: Yes, I do.

HANSEN: Did you happen to see it when he was mashing games and sports together to make a new sport?

SHORTZ: Yes, I did, yeah.

HANSEN: Judoku?

SHORTZ: Yes, the last one. I was looking to see if that was my book in the picture.

HANSEN: Judoku - yeah, well it probably was. I love that, judo and Sudoku all at once. All right. Well, that's our word of the day. And what was that challenge you left us with last week? I was listening but couldn't solve it.

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Brett Yost. I said think of two words that are opposites, beginning with the letters H and M. Change the H to an M and say the result out loud, you'll name something thats nice to eat. What is it?

HANSEN: What is it?

SHORTZ: Well, the opposite are harsh and mellow. Change the H of harsh to an M you get marshmallow.

HANSEN: I tell you, there are a lot of wordsmiths out there. We had over 4,800 entries. And out of those our winner is Mike Rainville from Lincoln, Vermont. Hi, Mike.

Mr. MIKE RAINVILLE: Hello there.

HANSEN: How long did it take you to solve the puzzle?

Mr. RAINVILLE: Well, I didn't get it right away. I set it aside and later it just kind of came to me.

HANSEN: That's the only way to do them sometimes, you know. Are you a puzzle player? How long have you been playing ours?

Mr. RAINVILLE: About 12 years probably.

HANSEN: Good for you. What do you do in Vermont?

Mr. RAINVILLE: I have a wooden toy company here.

HANSEN: Wow. I think you're the first toymaker we've had playing the puzzle. You ready?


HANSEN: All right. Will, meet Mike. Mike, meet Will. Let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Mike. I'm going to name some famous people, except their last names have been turned into anagrams that finish sentences. You name the people. For example, if I said Andre is a gas, you'd say Agassi, rearranging "is a gas" to Agassi.


SHORTZ: All right. Number one is Angela runs ably.



SHORTZ: Angela runs ably. Famous actress.

HANSEN: Are you familiar with Broadway at all? I may be wrong but I think I may be right.

SHORTZ: Yes, she was on Broadway and also "Murder She Wrote."

Mr. RAINVILLE: Oh, Angela Lansbury.

HANSEN: Got it.

SHORTZ: Lansbury is it. Number two is Barbra inserts ad. Barbra inserts ad.

Mr. RAINVILLE: Inserts ad.

SHORTZ: That's B-A-R-B-R-A, Barbra.

Mr. RAINVILLE: Oh, Streisand.

SHORTZ: Barbra Streisand is it.

HANSEN: That's the clue, not the anagram, right?

SHORTZ: That's the big clue, right. Susan ran no ads.

HANSEN: Oh dear.

SHORTZ: Susan ran no ads.

HANSEN: It's not...

SHORTZ: You're looking for...

HANSEN: ...it's not Stamberg.

SHORTZ: ...no - you're looking for an actress again.

HANSEN: Susan...

Mr. RAINVILLE: Well...

SHORTZ: Ran...

Mr. RAINVILLE: ...(unintelligible) actresses.

HANSEN: Yeah, let me see. N-O-A-D-S. Susan Sarandon.

SHORTZ: Sarandon. Good, you got it.

HANSEN: I know why you put that in there 'cause she plays table tennis.

SHORTZ: She co-owns a table tennis club in New York City, that's right. Try this one: William shares a peek, P-E-E-K, William shares a peek. And you're looking for a famous writer.

Mr. RAINVILLE: Oh, Shakespeare.

SHORTZ: Shakespeare is it. Steven beeps girl - that's Steven with a V - Steven beeps girl. He's a film director.

Mr. RAINVILLE: Spielberg.


SHORTZ: Spielberg is it. Bruce sings repent.

Mr. RAINVILLE: Sings repent?

SHORTZ: Um-hum.

HANSEN: Sings a lot of other stuff too, right?


Mr. RAINVILLE: And the first name again?

SHORTZ: Bruce.

Mr. RAINVILLE: Springsteen.


SHORTZ: Bruce Springsteen is it. Try this one: John bites neck.

Mr. RAINVILLE: John...

SHORTZ: Bites neck.

HANSEN: Writer?

SHORTZ: You're looking for a writer.

Mr. RAINVILLE: Steinbeck.

SHORTZ: That's it. Julie wanders, W-A-N-D-E-R-S.

HANSEN: She wanders through the Alps singing?


Mr. RAINVILLE: Yeah, oh yeah, Julie...

HANSEN: What's her name?

Mr. RAINVILLE: ..."Sound of Music."

HANSEN: Yeah, Andrews.

SHORTZ: Julie Andrews is it.

HANSEN: You know it.

SHORTZ: Here's a sports one: Bob coasts C-O-A-S-T-S.

Mr. RAINVILLE: Costas.


SHORTZ: That's it. Sam had reps R-E-P-S, Sam had reps. And you're looking for a playwright.

HANSEN: And an actor.


Mr. RAINVILLE: Shepard?


SHORTZ: Sam Shepard is it. And your last one, Martin sees orcs, O-R-C-S.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Martin sees orcs.

Mr. RAINVILLE: Scorsese?


SHORTZ: Scorsese. Good job.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Couldnt be any other than that. Hey, Mike, nice job.

Mr. RAINVILLE: Thanks.

HANSEN: Nice job. We made a good team. Well, we do have celebrity to tell you what youre taking home for playing our puzzle today. He's actually from the online world. We met him at South by Southwest, the Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas. And here is the CEO of the Digg Web site, Jay Adelson.

Mr. JAY ADELSON (CEO, Digg.com): 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 Mike? That's the rock star of the geek world.

Mr. RAINVILLE: Sounds pretty good.

HANSEN: Yeah. And plus the stuff youre getting is pretty good, too. Before we let you go, tell us what member station you listen to.

Mr. RAINVILLE: I'm a member of Vermont Public Radio.

HANSEN: I love it when they put in the word member. Mike Rainville from Lincoln, Vermont, thanks so much for playing with us today.

Mr. RAINVILLE: Thank you.

HANSEN: All right, Will, we need another challenge to work on.

SHORTZ: Yes. Take the plural name of an animal. Take the singular name of another animal. Say the two words out loud, one after the other and you'll name a country. What country is it? So again, the plural name of an animal followed by the singular name of another animal, say these two words aloud and you'll name a country. What are the animals and what is the country?

HANSEN: When you have the answer, go to our Web site, NPR.org/puzzle and click on the Submit Your Answer link. Only one entry per person, please. Our deadline is Thursday, 3 P.M. Eastern Time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. We'll call you if youre the winner and you'll get to play puzzle on the air, with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster, Will Shortz.

Thanks a lot, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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