Get In the Game Every answer is a familiar three-word phrase starting with "in the." You are given the interior letters of the last word plus a clue to the full phrase. For example, given "A-R-D" and the clue "likely," the answer would be "in the cards."
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Get In the Game

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Get In the Game

Get In the Game

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

And joining us is Puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Hey, Will.

WILL SHORTZ: Hey, Liane.

HANSEN: You know, we just spoke with a former intern of yours, Natan Last.


HANSEN: Junior at Brown University, because he's the one that organized all the undergrads there who were doing your puzzles this week. You were working with them. What a great idea.

SHORTZ: Thanks a lot. We had a whole week of crosswords in the Times by students at Brown University who are members of a crossword club. And it seems to be a growing trend. There is at least five crossword clubs at colleges and universities around the country.

HANSEN: Yeah. It's terrific, and I have to say I took the opportunity to ask him for an answer.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Anyway - I don't usually do that but what the heck, my brain was failing me. I couldn't figure out what the ghost was in "Hamlet."

You gave us a challenge last week. Would you remind our listeners what it was?

SHORTZ: Yes. I said, think of a common compound word in which each half starts with the letter C, as in Charles. Change both Cs to Bs and you'll name two objects that are related to each other. What are they?

HANSEN: What are they?

SHORTZ: Well, the compound word is catcall - and change those Cs to Bs, you get bat and ball.

HANSEN: Fantastic. Well, we received more than 1,500 entries this week, and our randomly chosen winner is Kurt Bruckmeier from Sumrall, Mississippi. Hi, Kurt.

Mr. KURT BRUCKMEIER: Good morning.

HANSEN: Where is Sumrall?

Mr. BRUCKMEIER: About an hour north of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

HANSEN: Oh. And what do you there?

Mr. BRUCKMEIER: I'm an internist and geriatrician.

HANSEN: Oh, a doctor. And how long did it take you to solve last week's puzzle?

Mr. BRUCKMEIER: I usually listen to it while I'm driving to church and that one came to me fairly quickly before I got there.

HANSEN: Doesn't make you late for service, does it?

Mr. BRUCKMEIER: Well, but if I don't get it then I tend to - my mind tends to wander during the service.

HANSEN: Don't tell anybody, okay? All right. Are you...

Mr. BRUCKMEIER: Let the cat out of the bag.

HANSEN: Well, maybe everyone driving the congregation this Sunday will be hearing you on their way to church. And then what will happen, right? Everybody stays in the parking lot, right? So, you ready to play?


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

SHORTZ: All right, Kurt, every answer today is a familiar three-word phrase starting in the. I'll give you the interior letters of the last word plus a clue to the full phrase. You tell me the phrase. For example, if I said A-R-D, as in dog, with the clue likely, you would say in the cards.


SHORTZ: All right. Number one is L-E-A, and your clue is absolved of any responsibility.


SHORTZ: In the clear is right. Number two is U-M-P, as in papa, and the clue is sad.


SHORTZ: In the dumps is right. O-R-K, being planned.


SHORTZ: In the works is right. E-A-S, as in Sam, and the clue is even a little.


SHORTZ: In the least is right. Now, they're getting a little harder because fewer interior letters. The next one is A-I, and your clue is largely.

Mr. BRUCKMEIER: Largely?

HANSEN: One of those...



SHORTZ: In the main, good. I-N, as in Nancy, strong and healthy. And I'll give you a hint: it's a color.


SHORTZ: In the pink is right. A-R, and your clue is unaware of things.


SHORTZ: In the dark is right. E-A, and your clue is ahead of everyone else.


SHORTZ: In the lead is right. O-O, and your clue is inclined to do something right now, especially if you're feeling romantic.


SHORTZ: In the mood is right. U-F, F as in Frederick, and your clue is naked.


SHORTZ: In the buff. And now we're down to just one letter.

Mr. BRUCKMEIER: Oh, man.

SHORTZ: And the interior letter's an A, and again your clue is naked.

HANSEN: Think about oysters.

SHORTZ: There you go, kind of oysters.



SHORTZ: In the raw is it. How about the letter E, and having a negative balance sheet.


SHORTZ: In the red, that's right. C as in Charles, and while the very thing is going on.


SHORTZ: In the act. And your last one: it's the letter N, as in Nancy, and your clue is finally.


SHORTZ: In the end. Nice job.

HANSEN: And in the end, the puzzles you solve are nice. Kurt, well done.

Mr. BRUCKMEIER: Thank you.

HANSEN: Well done.

Mr. BRUCKMEIER: That was great fun.

HANSEN: Isnt it fun? Thats the point. But there's also, you know, something else other than just doing it for the fun of it. You do it for these fabulous things that we give you for playing our puzzle today. And actually, we have two comedy writers from the U.K. Theyve just written a book about interesting dead people, aptly called "The Book of the Dead." And here's John Lloyd and John Michinson.

Mr. JOHN LLOYD And Mr. JOHN MICHINSON (Co-Authors, "The Book of the Dead"): 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 Present KenKen" Volumes 1, 2 and 3 from St. Martin's Press, one of Will Shortz's "Puzzlemaster Decks of Riddle and Challenges" from Chronicle Books, and a CD compilation of NPR's Sunday Puzzles. Yes.

HANSEN: What do you think, Kurt?

Mr. BRUCKMEIER: Sounds great.

HANSEN: If those voices sound familiar to you, you probably might know them from "Spitting Image," "Not the 9:00 News." I mean, these guys are funny and we're going to hear more from the two Johns after we finish our game today. But before we let you go, Kurt, tell us what member station you listen to.

Mr. BRUCKMEIER: I listen to WMAH, one of the member stations of the Mississippi Public Broadcasting Network.

HANSEN: Right. Is that in Biloxi?

Mr. BRUCKMEIER: Yes, it is.

HANSEN: Excellent. Well, Kurt Bruckmeier, thanks for playing the puzzle. And Im sure your pastor and all the congregation are going to be very proud of you this Sunday.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. BRUCKMEIER: That remains to be seen. Thank you very much.

HANSEN: All right. Thanks a lot. Bye-bye.


HANSEN: Will, what are we going to puzzle our listeners with this week? Or I say what are you going to puzzle listeners with this week?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes, the challenge comes from Judge Vic Flemming of Little Rock, Arkansas. Here's the puzzle: Take five nations whose names are five letters long. Using the middle letter of each country's name, spell the five letter name of a sixth country.

Now, Vick's answer involves the obscure country Palau, P-A-L-A-U. It's in the South Pacific and he says his answer was unique. Well, I worked on the puzzle and found a second answer that does not involve Palau. And that's the answer I'd like you to find.

So again: Five countries whose names are five letters long. Using the middle letter of each of these, spell the five letter name of a sixth country. Dont use Palau. What countries are these?

HANSEN: Okay. When you have the answer, go to our website, And click on the Submit Your Answer link. Only one entry per person, please. Our deadline is next Thursday, 3 P.M. Eastern Time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time, because we will call you if you are 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, thanks a lot.

Mr. SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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