The Long And Short Of 'I' This week, Will Shortz gives clues for two words. Each of the words has two syllables. The first vowel sound in the first word is a short "I." Change it to a long "I" sound, and phonetically you'll get a new word that answers the second clue.
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The Long And Short Of 'I'

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The Long And Short Of 'I'

The Long And Short Of 'I'

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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 this week from member station WABE in Atlanta is puzzle master Will Shortz. Hey, Will.


HANSEN: What are you doing in Atlanta?

SHORTZ: Well, it's this interesting event. It's called A Gathering For Gardner, it's a tribute to Martin Gardner, who was the long-time mathematical recreations columnist in Scientific American. And there's puzzlers, mathematicians and magicians here from all over the world for talks and performances of magic. It's just a great time.

HANSEN: Oh, I love it, magicians. You know Carl Kasell is a magician.

SHORTZ: I did not know that.

HANSEN: All right. Well, you gave us a challenge last week and it was hard. I mean, stymied me. So, let's repeat the challenge.

SHORTZ: Yes. I said 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 are the animals and what is the country?

HANSEN: And your answer?

SHORTZ: Well, the animals are gnus G-N-U-S and an eland E-L-A-N-D - both animals from Africa - say them together you say gnus-eland or New Zealand.

HANSEN: Wow. I never would've gotten eland. It's the first time I've ever seen that word. But apparently enough people were stymied because we did have over 1,100 entries but sometimes we get a lot more than that. But out of those we have a winner: Jay Livingston from New York City. Hi, Jay.


HANSEN: So, how long did it take you to solve this puzzle?

LIVINGSTON: Gee, I don't remember. I remember my first guess was Spain but I knew that couldn't be right. So...

HANSEN: But you knew what an eland was.

LIVINGSTON: Well, it's because I do crosswords and that's where you find elands.

HANSEN: Interesting. Right, yeah. Okay. That answers my question. How long have you been playing our puzzle?

LIVINGSTON: Since Eisenhower's first term.


HANSEN: That's long enough. What do you do?

LIVINGSTON: I teach at a university.

HANSEN: Oh, all right. And it sounds like you're ready to play.


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

SHORTZ: All right, Jay. I'm going to give you clues for two words. Each of the words has two syllables. The first vowel sound in the first word is a short I; change it to a long-I sound and phonetically you'll get a new word that answers the second clue. For example, if I said: one who breaks one of the Ten Commandments and John Hancock, for one, you would say sinner and signer.

HANSEN: Oh, okay.

SHORTZ: All right. Here's number one. And if you get the answer after my first clue, just feel free to jump in. Here's your first clue: my cousin in a 1992 film and...

LIVINGSTON: Vinny and viney.

SHORTZ: That's correct. And your second clue is like the walls of Ivy League schools. Number two is an agricultural worker and...

LIVINGSTON: Picker and piker?

SHORTZ: No. And your second clue is president after Harrison.

LIVINGSTON: A tiller and a Tyler.


SHORTZ: That's correct. Not flat, as terrain.

LIVINGSTON: Oh, hilly and highly.

SHORTZ: Right. Extremely was your second clue.


SHORTZ: Half of a symbol of communism.

LIVINGSTON: Sickle and cycle.

SHORTZ: That's right. Wash or spin for a washing machine. Argue, to argue.

LIVINGSTON: Oh, bicker and biker.

SHORTZ: That's it. Hell's Angel, for example, good.

HANSEN: Here I am on quibble, you know, what can I say.

SHORTZ: And there's no quible(ph).

HANSEN: No, there isn't...

SHORTZ: All right. Try this one: more cool, more cool.

LIVINGSTON: Hipper and hyper.

SHORTZ: That's it. Your second clue is over-excited. How about overly prim and precise.

HANSEN: Would the second clue be expensive?

SHORTZ: Yes, it is. Good job.

HANSEN: So, it would be prissy and pricy.

SHORTZ: Prissy and pricy, nice work. Wisconsin College.

LIVINGSTON: Ripon and ripen.

SHORTZ: That's it - too mature - that's correct. Half of humankind.

LIVINGSTON: Women and Wyman.

SHORTZ: That's right - Ronald Reagan's first wife. Resident of England, Scotland or Wales.

LIVINGSTON: A Briton and brighten.

SHORTZ: That's correct. Your second clue is become sunny. A cooking utensil.

LIVINGSTON: Dipper and diaper, no.

HANSEN: I like that.

LIVINGSTON: A cooking utensil.

SHORTZ: A cooking utensil, something you...

LIVINGSTON: Skillet and sky lit, no.

SHORTZ: That's right. Illuminated, like an atrium.

LIVINGSTON: Oh, sky lit, okay.

SHORTZ: Yes. And your last one is get bigger as a cloud.

LIVINGSTON: Get bigger as a cloud.

HANSEN: Thicken? No.

SHORTZ: What do clouds, what do clouds...

LIVINGSTON: Sicken and siken(ph), no.

HANSEN: There's no siken.

LIVINGSTON: That's not a word.

HANSEN: We can make up words, that's fine. What do clouds do? They get bigger.

SHORTZ: Like a cumulus cloud would get bigger; what do you say? Okay. And your second clue is...

LIVINGSTON: Bellow and below, no, bi-low, no, that's.


SHORTZ: Yes, you got it. And the second clue is part of a stock market mantra, which is...

LIVINGSTON: Oh, buy low.

SHORTZ: Buy low, sell high.



SHORTZ: So you got it - billow to buy low.

LIVINGSTON: Oh, you're doing single words.

HANSEN: Yeah. I don't know how our listeners are going to react to this, Jay, 'cause you were just getting them right away, you know.


HANSEN: They're going to go woo, he's fast. You are. But you're a puzzle person, right?


HANSEN: Yeah. You did a great job. And to tell you what you'll get for playing our puzzle today, here's an actor I met at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin. His name is Chris Doubek.

CHRIS DOUBEK: For playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, the "Scrabble Deluxe Edition" from Parker Brothers. I want that. 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. You're getting a lot of stuff.

LIVINGSTON: Thank you.


HANSEN: What do you think?

LIVINGSTON: Sounds good.

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

LIVINGSTON: I'm a member of WBGO Newark, which doesn't air your program and WNYC New York, which does.

HANSEN: Well, we forgive WBGO because they do very good jazz programming.


HANSEN: Yes, exactly. Jay Livingston from New York City, thanks so much for playing with us.

LIVINGSTON: Oh, thank you. It was fun.

HANSEN: Oh, great. Okay. And, Will, you have a challenge for next week?

SHORTZ: Yes, this one is a little tricky. It comes from listener Mike Reese, who's a former writer-producer for "The Simpsons," and who co-created "The Critic." What six letter word beginning with the letter S, as in Sam, would be the same if it started with T-H? So again, what six letter word beginning with S, would be the same if it started with T-H?

HANSEN: Thanks a lot, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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