Barking Up The Right Tree Every answer is a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase in which each part is a single syllable. The vowel sound in the first half is a long I, and the vowel sound in the second half is a long O. For example, given the clue "something found on a fir tree," the answer would be "pine cone."
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Barking Up The Right Tree

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Barking Up The Right Tree

Barking Up The Right Tree

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, host: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

And joining us is puzzle master Will Shortz. Hi, Will.


WERTHEIMER: Now, how was the National Puzzlers League competition in Providence? That's where you were last week. Did they manage to stump the puzzle master?

SHORTZ: Well, no one's trying to stump me. But we had about 170 puzzlers from all over the U.S. and Canada. And just had a lot of great games, a lot of good times the whole weekend.

WERTHEIMER: So let's go back to our puzzle challenge. Could you give us the challenge from last week?

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Ben Bass of Chicago. And Ben was at the convention last weekend. I said, name a classic television show in two words, eight letters. Remove one letter from each word. The remaining six letters in order will spell the last name of a well-known writer. Who is it?

WERTHEIMER: And the answer is?

SHORTZ: The show is "Star Trek." And drop the respective letters, you get Sartre.

WERTHEIMER: As in John Paul.

SHORTZ: That's it.

WERTHEIMER: Good heavens. I mean, the chances that I would've figured that out are zero.


WERTHEIMER: But we did receive more than 1,000 entries this week. And we randomly selected a winner, and he is Monte Ferguson of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. Monte, hi.


WERTHEIMER: What do you do in Cuyahoga Falls?

FERGUSON: I'm a computer programmer.

WERTHEIMER: What kinds of - I mean, would I understand it if you told me what you program?

FERGUSON: Well, actually, I mainly program a point of sales system, which is a fancy way of saying a cash register.

WERTHEIMER: OK. How long did it take you figure the puzzle out?

FERGUSON: Well, this time only about 15 minutes.

WERTHEIMER: And how'd you go about it? How'd you start?

FERGUSON: Well, not strangely, I wrote a computer program to help me.


FERGUSON: I'd punch in two words and it would give me every combination of each word without a specific letter. Then I just started typing in TV shows. And I put in "Star Trek" and there was the answer.

WERTHEIMER: And are you ready to play now?


WERTHEIMER: Will, meet Monte. Monte, Will. Let's play.


SHORTZ: Hi, Monte.

Every answer today is a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase in which each part is a single syllable and the vowel sound in the first half is a long I. And the vowel sound in the second half is a long O. For example, if I gave you the clue, something found on a fir tree, you would say: pine cone.


SHORTZ: All right. Number one is sign on the front of a semi carrying a house trailer.


FERGUSON: Wide load.

SHORTZ: Wide load is it.


SHORTZ: Number two is a femur.

FERGUSON: Thigh bone.

SHORTZ: Thigh bone. Good. Support for street illumination.

FERGUSON: A light post.

SHORTZ: A light post or light pole.

FERGUSON: Light pole.

SHORTZ: Yes. Emergency item on a ship.

FERGUSON: Life boat.

SHORTZ: That's it. Eastern, central, mountain or Pacific.

FERGUSON: Time zone.

SHORTZ: Uh huh. Half a round of golf.


WERTHEIMER: Oh, come on.


WERTHEIMER: Do the math.

FERGUSON: Eight holes. No, nine.

SHORTZ: Nine holes is what you want.

FERGUSON: (unintelligible) play golf either.


SHORTZ: How about a rock used in building Rockefeller Center?


FERGUSON: Limestone?

SHORTZ: Limestone. Good. What water is sprayed from in putting out a conflagration.

FERGUSON: Fire hose.

SHORTZ: Uh huh. How about frigid as a drink.

FERGUSON: Ice cold.

SHORTZ: Uh huh. Pajamas or negligees.

FERGUSON: Nightgown.

SHORTZ: Nope. You need a long O sound in that second half.

FERGUSON: Oh, that's right.

WERTHEIMER: Your all yours.

FERGUSON: Night clothes?


SHORTZ: Night clothes is it. A tire for a doctor or lab technician.

FERGUSON: Something (unintelligible).

WERTHEIMER: Picture them. Picture them and you'll get it.

SHORTZ: Oh. What did you say for the second half, Monte?


SHORTZ: Yes. And what kind of coat?

FERGUSON: White coat.

SHORTZ: White coat is it. What a man may sow before he's married.

FERGUSON: Wild oats.

SHORTZ: Wild oats is it. A highway marker every 5,280 feet.


FERGUSON: Mile post.

SHORTZ: That's it. What an aerialist walks.

FERGUSON: Tightrope.

SHORTZ: That's it. And your last one.

WERTHEIMER: Boy, you really are doing sensationally well here.

FERGUSON: Thank you.

SHORTZ: Your last one. Like certain Nathanial Hawthorne tales.

FERGUSON: Oh, boy.

SHORTZ: Oh, he did a book called blank "Tales." And what goes in the blank is a word - it's a compound word, a hyphenated word meaning repeated.

WERTHEIMER: Beginning with Ts.

SHORTZ: That's it.

WERTHEIMER: Two words begin with T.

SHORTZ: Both...

FERGUSON: Oh, "Twice-Told Tales."


SHORTZ: Twice-Told Tales," good job.


WERTHEIMER: Very good job.

FERGUSON: Thank you.

WERTHEIMER: And for playing our puzzle today, you will get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, as well as is books and games that you can read about at

Monty, what member station you listen to?


WERTHEIMER: Thank you very much for listening. And Monty Ferguson of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, thanks you very much for playing the puzzle this week.

FERGUSON: Thank you.

WERTHEIMER: Now, Will, with the challenge for next week?

SHORTZ: Yes, think of an adjective that might describe a child before a summer vacation. Change the second letter to the next letter of the alphabet, and you'll name someone you might see in a hospital. Who is it?

So again: An adjective that might describe a child before summer vacation. Change the letter to the next letter of the alphabet and you'll name someone you might see in a hospital. Who is it?

WERTHEIMER: This makes my brain hurt when you do this.


WERTHEIMER: But for those people who are better than it than I am, when you have the answer, go to our web site, and click on the Submit Your Answer link. One entry per person, please, our deadline is 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 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 puzzle-master, Will Shortz.

Talk to you next week.

SHORTZ: Thanks a lot, Linda.

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