Opportunity Comes Knocking You are given a word and must provide a second word to complete a familiar two-word phrase. The first letter of the word must be the last letter of the word given, and the last letter of the word must be the first letter of the word given. For example, given the clue "photo," the answer would be "op."
NPR logo

Opportunity Comes Knocking

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/131130047/131138885" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Opportunity Comes Knocking

Opportunity Comes Knocking

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/131130047/131138885" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


And joining us is Puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Hi, Will. So good to talk with you again.

WILL SHORTZ: Hi, Lynn. Nice to have you back on the show.

NEARY: So, I understand you've got a new - is it a feature for the New York Times that you're working on?

SHORTZ: Well, it's a one-day contest, actually, a one-time contest. It was last Friday. You solve the crossword, as you usually do, but there was a bonus answer. And anyone would could figure out the answer could email it to the Times by tonight, midnight tonight, and be in the running for a prize.

NEARY: Oh, that's great. So, are you going to continue to do this or is it really just going to be a one-time thing or is this kind of a testing the waters sort of thing?

SHORTZ: Testing the waters, we'll see how it goes.

NEARY: All right. Well, tell us about the challenge that you left us with last week.

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Michael Arkelian of Sacramento. I said name a creature in six letters, move the first three letters to the end, read the result backward to name another creature. And I said if you break either six- letter word in half, each half will itself spell a word. What creatures are these?

NEARY: And what are they? What's the answer?

SHORTZ: Well, the answer is parrot and raptor, R-A-P-T-O-R, and par, rot, rap and T-O-R are all three-letter words.

NEARY: Yeah. Now, that was a pretty tough one. And I understand you've had a couple of tough puzzles in a row. The last one was hard and not a lot of listeners solved this one either. We received only about 640 entries. And out of those, our randomly selected winner is Bill Dey from Champaign, Illinois. Hello, Bill.

BILL DEY: Hello.

NEARY: So, good to have you with us.

DEY: Well, it's great to be here.

NEARY: Tell us a little bit about yourself. What do you do in Champaign?

DEY: Professionally, I'm a geo-hydrologist. I work for the Illinois State Geological Survey and I do research on groundwater. And when I'm not working, I'm an ultra-marathon runner.

NEARY: Oh, wow.

DEY: Races 50k, 50-mile races. And I run with a group called the Buffalo Warriors. And we're the buffalo because we're not so much into being fast as being social and going far.

NEARY: Well, I'm impressed, personally. How long did it take you to get the answer?

DEY: Well, usually, I solve them when I'm running but this one I had to get out the pencil and paper and it took about an hour.

NEARY: And that's longer than you usually spend on this?

DEY: Yes.

NEARY: And are you ready to play now?

DEY: I guess.

NEARY: All right. Well, Will, meet Bill. Let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Bill and Lynn. I'm going to give you some words. For each one, you give me a word that can follow mine to complete a familiar two-word phrase. And the first letter of your word has to be the last letter of mine and the last letter of your word is the first letter of mine. For example, if I said photo, P-H-O-T-O, you would say op, as in photo op. We'll start out with three-letter answers. Your first one is goose.

DEY: Egg.

SHORTZ: Goose egg is right. Number two is guard.

DEY: Dog.

SHORTZ: Guard dog is right. Plastic.

DEY: Cup.

SHORTZ: Plastic cup. I also would've accept plastic cap. How about tea T-E-A.


SHORTZ: And it's a phrase from revolutionary times.

DEY: Oh, act.

SHORTZ: Tea act is right. Now, the next answers are four letters. And your first one of these is salad.

DEY: Days.

SHORTZ: Salad days, good. Lap, L-A-P. This is a place where you might swim.

DEY: Pool.

SHORTZ: A lap pool is right. Now, your next ones are five letters. Traffic.

DEY: Traffic. Court.

SHORTZ: Traffic court, good. Socioeconomic - and it's not a plural.


HANSEN: I have an idea.

DEY: What do you think it might be?

NEARY: Class?

SHORTZ: Socioeconomic class, good. Now, these are six letters long. Electric.

DEY: Electric.

SHORTZ: And it's what a battery might have.

DEY: Charge.

SHORTZ: Electric charge is right. I also would have accepted candle. Nether N- E-T-H-E-R.

DEY: Region.

SHORTZ: Nether region, right. Now, the next ones are seven letters. Your first one is Emeril E-M-E-R-I-L.

DEY: Oh, Emeril.

NEARY: That's a proper name.

SHORTZ: Yeah, this is (unintelligible). Think of a chef.

NEARY: My husband loves this show, so I've seen it a million. It's Emeril Lagasse.

SHORTZ: Lagasse is it. How about national. And for this one, think of a magazine.

DEY: Lampoon.

SHORTZ: National lampoon. And your last ones are eight letters. Radio.

NEARY: Oh, I know.

DEY: Operator.

SHORTZ: Radio operator, good. I should have ended with that. But here's your last one. It's in French: Enfant E-N-F-A-N-T.

NEARY: Wait. Does the answer have to be in French?


SHORTZ: Well, it's what you might have been when you were a kid. You know, Lynn?

NEARY: As long as you don't mind my French: terribles.


SHORTZ: Yeah, L'Enfant terribles. Yeah, you're in an awful child.


SHORTZ: Good job, both of you.

NEARY: Bill, you were great with that.

DEY: Oh, thanks for your help.

NEARY: And, Bill, we have a special guest to tell you what prizes you're going to get for playing the puzzle on the air today. Liane Hansen recently spoke to him and you may know some of his films.

JUDD APATOW: Yes, that's right. Your brain is about to explode from puzzleness. Good day.


NEARY: Don't let that brain explode from puzzleness, Bill. But before you go, tell us what member station do you listen to?

DEY: I'm a contributing member of WILL AM and FM.

NEARY: So, Will, what's the puzzle challenge for this coming week?

SHORTZ: So again, take a certain sequence of seven letters out of the alphabet. Change one letter in the sequence to a U; rearrange the result to name something you might find in your refrigerator, in two words. What is this?

NEARY: Liane Hansen returns next week, so you'll be talking with her, Will. But I had a good time today. Thanks a lot.

SHORTZ: Thanks a lot, Lynn.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.