A Syllable Solution Remove the vowel in the first syllable of one word to come up with a new word that's a syllable shorter but sounds the same. For example, "succumb" becomes "scum."
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A Syllable Solution

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A Syllable Solution

A Syllable Solution

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin.

And joining us on the line is puzzle master Will Shortz. He joins us on the phone from home. Hey, Will.

WILL SHORTZ: Hi, Rachel.

MARTIN: So excited to be doing this with you. It is my inaugural appearance on WEEKEND EDITION SUNDAY, my first time doing the puzzle, and I have to tell you, when my boyfriend found out that I was doing this, he said, what, you're playing the Puzzle with Will Shortz? You realize that's like playing catch with Alex Rodriguez? You got to prep. So, I did some deep breathing exercises, I did a couple of crossword puzzles to get in the mood.

SHORTZ: All right.

MARTIN: I think I'm good to go. So, before we get started though, remind us of the challenge that you gave everybody last week.

SHORTZ: Yes. I said Alice and Celia and two girls' names that are anagrams of each other but only Celia starts with the letter C. I asked, can you name two girls' names that are anagrams of each other in which both names start with C? And I said the answer should be a well-mixed anagram, so don't just switch two letters in one name to get the other.

MARTIN: OK. So, what was the answer?

SHORTZ: Well, I tell you, we had an alternative answer, one that I didn't foresee, and that was Carla to Clara. So, that was a good answer; we accepted it. My intended answer, though, was Caroline to Cornelia.

MARTIN: OK. So, a couple different ways people could win. We received just under a thousand entries this week. And our winner is Mangalam Gopal from Houghton, Michigan. Mangalam joins us on the line. Hi there, Mangalam. Congratulations.

Mr. MANGALAM GOPAL: Oh, thank you.

MARTIN: How long did it take you to solve last week's challenge?

Mr. GOPAL: I would say just under 15 minutes. I did think of Clara and Carla also, you know. Then I thought, OK, here is another one with eight letters so...

MARTIN: Don't show off.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: All right, everyone. Are we ready to play the Puzzle.


MARTIN: All right. OK. Will, meet Mangalam; Mangalam, meet Will. Let's do this.

SHORTZ: All right. Mangalam, I'm going to give you clues for two words.


SHORTZ: The first word has more than one syllable and the first syllable is unaccented. Remove the vowel in that syllable and phonetically you'll get a new word that's one syllable shorter that answers the second clue. For example, the answer words might be succumb and scum. All right?


MARTIN: OK, Mangalam. I hope you have your best puzzler hat on right now.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: All right. Here's number one: a big event before the Rose Bowl, and your second clue is made entreaties to God.

Mr. GOPAL: A parade.

SHORTZ: A parade, yes. And get rid of that first uh sound and what are you left with? Made entreaties to God.

MARTIN: Prayed.

SHORTZ: Prayed, there you go. So, it's parade and prayed.


Mr. GOPAL: OK. All right.

MARTIN: By the skin of my teeth.

SHORTZ: Number two is: author of "Walden." And your second clue is to pitch.

Mr. GOPAL: Thoreau and throw.

SHORTZ: There you go: Thoreau and throw, excellent. All right. How about this: like music of Bach, Handel or Vivaldi. And your second clue is flat out of money.

Mr. GOPAL: Baroque and broke.


SHORTZ: Baroque and broke, good job. Special forces cap; and your second clue is: sound like a donkey.

Mr. GOPAL: Beret and bray.

SHORTZ: That's good. To hit as two cars in an accident; and your second clue is Bonnie's partner in crime.

Mr. GOPAL: Collide and Clyde.


SHORTZ: Collide and Clyde, good. Awkward fellows in slang; and your second clue is muscles of the buttocks, informally.

Mr. GOPAL: Glutes and...

SHORTZ: Yeah. So, just put an uh sound between the G and the L.

MARTIN: Galutes.

SHORTZ: There you go, galutes, those old...

Mr. GOPAL: Galutes, OK.

SHORTZ: And glutes, good. Here's your last one: messes around with other women; and your second clue is French-speaking part of Belgium.

Mr. GOPAL: Philanderers and Flanders.

SHORTZ: And Flanders, good job.

MARTIN: Wow. Great job, Mangalam. You held it together under pressure.

Mr. GOPAL: Thanks, Rachel, yeah.

MARTIN: Very good job. So, to tell you what you'll get for playing today's puzzle, we have a writer and illustrator whose graphic novel, "Scott Pilgrim," has been turned into a Hollywood movie. Here's Brian Lee O'Malley.

Mr. BRIAN LEE O'MALLEY (Writer, Illustrator, "Scott Pilgrim"): 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: Ken-Ken 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.

MARTIN: Now, before we let you go, Mangalam, tell us what member station you listen to.


MARTIN: Great. Mangalam Gopal of Houghton, Michigan, thanks so much for playing the Puzzle.

Mr. GOPAL: Thank you.

MARTIN: OK, Will. What's up next for our listeners this week? What are you going to puzzle them with?

Mr. SHORTZ: Well, the challenge comes from Sandy Weisz. He runs The Puzzler blog for Chicago's RedEye and there's a lot of great stuff there. You can read about it at ChicagoNow.com/puzzler.

And here's the challenge. Name a country. The name contains the symbol for a chemical element. Change this symbol to the symbol for another chemical element in order to name another country. For example, if Aruba were an independent country, which it's not - its part of the Netherlands. But if Aruba were an independent country, you could change the A-R in its name, A-R being the abbreviation for argon, change it to C, which is the chemical symbol for carbon, and you'd get Cuba, which is another country.

So name a country. The name contains the symbol for a chemical element. Change the symbol to a different chemical element to get another country. There are two answers to the puzzle and I'd like you to get both of them.

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

Will, it was a pleasure. And do not fear, Liane will be back in the puzzle seat next week, so all will be well in the world.

Mr. SHORTZ: Thanks a lot, Rachel.

MARTIN: Thanks, Will.

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