The Ol' Switcheroo Each clue ends in a four-letter word with a single vowel. Change this vowel to a different vowel to make a new four-letter word. The new word will start the answer to the clue.
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The Ol' Switcheroo

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The Ol' Switcheroo

The Ol' Switcheroo

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

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


HANSEN: Is it getting to be crossword puzzle time soon?

SHORTZ: Yes, it is. The 34th American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, which I direct, is coming up March 18 through 20. It's in Brooklyn. There's almost 1,000 crossword enthusiasts come from all over. And our special guests this year are David Kwong, who has an amazing crossword trick, and cartoonist Roz Chast, who will present the prizes.

HANSEN: I love her, I love her. And are people beginning to register now?

SHORTZ: They are - we got hundreds already. And if anyone is interested in more information, they can go to

HANSEN: OK. Well, there you go. There's your head start. And now we want the puzzle that's not a crossword - the radio puzzle. And to begin, we have to remember what we did during the week. What was the challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Alan Meyer of Newberg, Oregon. And I said: Think of a common word with six letters, including a Q, change the Q to an N, as in Nancy, rearrange the result to form a new word that is a synonym of the first word. What words are these?

HANSEN: What are they?

SHORTZ: Well, the words are queasy and uneasy. If your stomach is queasy it's uneasy.

HANSEN: Well, I tell you, we're on a roll here. There was another big week of entries. Maybe a lot of people were snowed in, you know, trying to figure it out. More than 1,900 listeners submitted answers. Our randomly chosen winner is Patti Anderson of Gainesville, Florida. Hi, Patti.


HANSEN: What do you do there in Gainesville?

Ms. ANDERSON: I'm a botanist. I work for the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and I'm in their division of plant industry. We try to protect Florida's native and commercially grown plants and the apiary area industry. We work with beekeepers.

HANSEN: Wow. Oh, do I hope the puzzle today is about plants. You have no idea. I understand that you have had a long wait for this day playing on the puzzle. You've been with us since the postcard days?

Ms. ANDERSON: Since the postcard days and the days when the prize was a single issue of Games magazine.

HANSEN: Not even a subscription, just one, huh?

Ms. ANDERSON: Just one.

HANSEN: Yeah, well, we were pretty poor then, what can I tell you? But before we tell you what you get for playing, we got to play. So, you're ready?

Ms. ANDERSON: Eager to play.

HANSEN: Oh fabulous. Well, let's do it. Will, meet Patti. Let's play.

SHORTZ: Patti, I'm going to give you some clues. Each clue ends in a four-letter word that has a single vowel. Change this vowel to a different vowel to make a new four-letter word, which will start the answer to the clue I gave you. For example: If I said area where a calf or fowl might be born, you would say barnyard, because my clue ended in born, change the O to an A to make barn and that starts barnyard, which answers the clue.


SHORTZ: Number one: When you're away from home, what you use to make a call.

Ms. ANDERSON: Phone.

SHORTZ: What kind of a phone. And change one letter in call...

Ms. ANDERSON: Oh, a cell phone.

SHORTZ: Cell phone, there you go. Number two: commuting option for avoiding a traffic mess.

Ms. ANDERSON: Mass transit.

SHORTZ: Mass transit is it. Item in many a mountaineers pack.

Ms. ANDERSON: Pickax.

SHORTZ: A pickax is it. In book publishing, the opposite of a bust. Well, a bust is a book that doesn't sell at all.

HANSEN: Oh, bestseller.

Ms. ANDERSON: A bestseller.

SHORTZ: A bestseller is it. Pest on a cotton ball.

Ms. ANDERSON: Boll wee...

SHORTZ: That's it.

Ms. ANDERSON: ...boll weevil.

SHORTZ: Boll weevil is it. It had its own cabinet department in the past.

Ms. ANDERSON: Post office.

SHORTZ: Post office, good. Ship's cabin part.

Ms. ANDERSON: Port...


Ms. ANDERSON: Oh, porthole.

SHORTZ: A porthole is it. TV shows whose cancellation in 1969 caused quite a stir.

Ms. ANDERSON: "Star Trek."

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Good. That was fast.

HANSEN: Oh boy. We got a Trekkie with us.

SHORTZ: Said with enthusiasm, yeah. Secret opening in a floor that has a wire someone must trip.

Ms. ANDERSON: Trap door.

SHORTZ: That's it. Breakfast item that a cook has to flip.

Ms. ANDERSON: Flapjack.

SHORTZ: Good. Employee of an agricultural firm.

Ms. ANDERSON: Farm worker.

HANSEN: There you go.

SHORTZ: Yes, or farmhand, either way. Person at a dance who doesn't socialize well.

Ms. ANDERSON: Wallflower.

SHORTZ: Yes. And your last one: Seat from which one might see a dock.

Ms. ANDERSON: Deck chair.

SHORTZ: Gosh, that was great.

HANSEN: Patti, Patti, you're fabulous.

Ms. ANDERSON: Oh, thank you.

HANSEN: To tell you what you're going to get for playing our puzzle today, Patti is a singer who appeared on WEEKEND EDITION Saturday and Alt.Latino, NPR's online show about Latin music. Here's Ceci Bastida.

(Soundbite of song, "This Town")

Ms. CECI BASTIDA (Singer): (Singing) We alone, the southern boys, Tecate girls and pretty boys, make up the face within the race. Life's a game in this town...

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.

HANSEN: There you go, Patti. That's the list, more than just an issue of Games magazine.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Tell us what your public radio station is before we let you go, Patti.

Ms. ANDERSON: Okay. I'm a member of WUST, the radio station of the Gator Nation.

HANSEN: All right. Patti Anderson of the Gator Nation in Gainesville, Florida, thanks so much for playing the puzzle and being a member of your local Public Radio station. We appreciate it. Thank you.

Ms. ANDERSON: Thank you so much.

HANSEN: All right, Will, people are waiting for the challenge for next week. What've you got?

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes, name two things an airplane does. Each of these is a single word. Put them together, one after the other, to make a compound word that names something it's nice to have as big as possible. What is it?

So again, two things an airplane does - each, a single word. Put them together, one after the other. The result is a compound word that names something it's nice to have as big as possible. What is this thing?

HANSEN: When you have the answer go to our Web site, 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 you're 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.

And, Will, next week, Audie Cornish will be playing the puzzle with you. I'm going to take a short break in Los Angeles. So I will see you the week after next. And thanks a lot for this week.

Mr. SHORTZ: Thanks a lot, Liane.

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