A President Is Present Each word you are given conceals the name of a U.S. president in left-to-right order, but the letters are not consecutive. For example, given the clue "hairdressing, in seven letters," the answer would be "Harding."
NPR logo

A President Is Present

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/133903859/133913189" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
A President Is Present

A President Is Present

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/133903859/133913189" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


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

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

WILL SHORTZ: Hey, Liane. Welcome back. And how were your travels?

HANSEN: Oh, they were terrific. It was so nice to spend last Sunday morning actually having coffee, doing the Sunday Times crossword puzzle and listening to the program at the same time. You know, I actually was playing the on-air puzzle where you had all these E-U clues...

SHORTZ: Right.

HANSEN: ...and the name Euripides came up...

SHORTZ: Right.

HANSEN: ...and all I could think of Chico Marx's line: Euripides, You mended these.

SHORTZ: Right. That's a classic.

HANSEN: I love it, I love it. All right. In order to play this week, we have to hear the challenge you gave last week. What was it?

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Jack Jaiven of Highland Beach, Florida. And I said: Name a world capital, add the letter R, rearrange all the letters to name two U.S. presidents. Who are they?

HANSEN: Who are they?

SHORTZ: The correct answer is Bucharest, capital of Romania. You can add an R and rearrange that to make Bush and Carter. A couple of people discovered that you can take Dushanbe - that's D-U-S-H-A-N-B-E - which is the capital of Tajikistan, add an R and you get Bush and Nader. And Nader has run for president several times.

HANSEN: Yeah, but he wasn't a U.S. president. But that is interesting that they did that. Gives you another world capital to, you know, put into your puzzles, right?

SHORTZ: Right.

HANSEN: Well, we had over a thousand entries, and out of those our winner is John White of West Chester, Pennsylvania. Hi, John.

Mr. JOHN WHITE: Hello, how are you?

HANSEN: I'm well. Did it take you long to solve this?

Mr. WHITE: Oh, a couple of hours.

HANSEN: Oh, that's OK. How long have you been playing?

Mr. WHITE: Originally, I had sent clay tablets...

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. WHITE: ...and (unintelligible) Sanskrit. But I'm sure it's difficult to track.

HANSEN: I think we were only taking hieroglyphics at that point in the program. Nice time. What do you do in West Chester, Pennsylvania?

Mr. WHITE: I work for the United Parcel Service.

HANSEN: All right. Are you ready to play?

Mr. WHITE: I'm ready to go.

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

SHORTZ: All right, John. This is a presidential puzzle. I'm going to give you some words. Each word conceals the name of a U.S. president in left to right order, although not consecutively. For example, if I said: hairdressing in seven letters, you would say Harding, 'cause the letters of Harding are in left to right order in hairdressing.



SHORTZ: All right? Number one is bluefish, four letters.

Mr. WHITE: Bush?

SHORTZ: Bush is correct. Number two is daydreams, five letters.

Mr. WHITE: Nothing. Not coming up with that one.

SHORTZ: And it does not start with a D. Try another starting letter.


SHORTZ: And think of an early...

Mr. WHITE: Adams.

SHORTZ: Adams...

HANSEN: Adams.

SHORTZ: ...is it.


SHORTZ: Your next one is monochrome M-O-N-O-C-H-R-O-M-E in six letters.

Mr. WHITE: Monroe.

SHORTZ: Good. Storyteller in five letters.

Mr. WHITE: Tyler.

SHORTZ: Tyler. You're good. Transfixion. That's T-R-A-N-S-F-I-X-I-O-N.

Mr. WHITE: Nixon.


HANSEN: You only need the X.

SHORTZ: ...you didn't even need the length. Good.

HANSEN: He just needs the X.

SHORTZ: Triumphant T-R-I-U-M-P-H-A-N-T in six letters.

HANSEN: Let's see.

Mr. WHITE: Truman.


SHORTZ: Truman is it, good. Registrant R-E-G-I-S-T-R-A-N-T in five letters.

Mr. WHITE: Grant.


SHORTZ: Grant, nice. Maldistribution - that's M-A-L-D-I-S-T-R-I-B-U-T-I-O-N, maldistribution in seven letters. It's one of the early presidents.

HANSEN: First name...

Mr. WHITE: Madison.


SHORTZ: Madison, nice. Howsoever H-O-W-S-O-E-V-E-R in six letters.

Mr. WHITE: Hoover.


SHORTZ: Hoover, nice. Potluck - that's P-O-T-L-U-C-K in four letters.

Mr. WHITE: Polk.


SHORTZ: Polk, nice. Culmination C-U-L-M-I-N-A-T-I-O-N, seven letters.

HANSEN: Clinton.

SHORTZ: Clinton is it. Talkfest T-A-L-K-F-E-S-T, four letters. And it does start with T.

HANSEN: Oh, Taft.

SHORTZ: Taft, good.

Mr. WHITE: That's Taft, Taft.

SHORTZ: All right. And here's your last one: papier mache, that's P-A-P-I-E-R-M-A-C-H-E, six letters.

Mr. WHITE: Hmm.

Mr. SHORTZ: And this - oh, Ill give you a hint. It starts with P.

HANSEN: Okay, can I have a lifeline to Watson, the computer?

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Will he give it?

Mr. SHORTZ: Oh, yeah. Watson would get that instantaneously.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Oh, dear. Oh.

Mr. WHITE: Pierce.

HANSEN: Pierce

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes, pierce is it.

HANSEN: Well done, John, coming through. Nice work.

Mr. WHITE: Thank you.

HANSEN: Nice work. Well done. Boy, this required two different talents: A knowledge of American presidents, as well as being able to...

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: ...see words in other words. John, to tell you what you'll get for playing today's puzzle so very well, is a gentleman I had the honor of interviewing for this week's show. Here is actor Sir Derek Jacobi.

Sir DEREK JACOBI (Actor): For playing our puzzle today, you will get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, the Scrabble Deluxe Edition from Parker Brothers, the book series Will Shortz Presents KenKen Volumes 1, 2 and 3 from St. Martins Press, one of Will Shortzs Puzzlemaster Decks of Riddles and Challenges from Chronicle Books, and a CD compilation of NPRs Sunday Puzzles.

HANSEN: Oh, aren't you just mesmerized by his voice?

Mr. SHORTZ: Very distinguished.

HANSEN: What do you think, John?

Mr. WHITE: Very good.

HANSEN: Yeah, and you get all the stuff, too. Before we let you go, what member station you listen to?

Mr. WHITE: WHYY FM out of Philadelphia.

HANSEN: You betcha. John White from West Chester, Pennsylvania, thanks so much for playing with us today. You were so good.

Mr. WHITE: Thank you very much.

HANSEN: All right, Will. I know you have something for next week.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes, name part of the human body. Change one of the letters to an E, and rearrange the result to name another part of the body. What body parts are these? And here's a hint: Both parts of the body are things you can see.

So again: Part of the human body; change one of the letters to an E. Rearrange the result to name another part of the human body. What parts are these?

HANSEN: When you have the answer, go to our Web site, NPR.org/puzzle. 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 youre the winner. And you'll get to play the puzzle on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster, Will Shortz.

Thank a lot, Will.

Mr. SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

Copyright © 2011 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.