Football Scramble In this week's on-air puzzle, every answer is a word or phrase used in football, delivered in the form of an anagram. For example, if the word given for the clue is "saps" the answer would be "pass."
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Football Scramble

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Football Scramble

Football Scramble

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From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Liane Hansen.

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


HANSEN: How are you?

SHORTZ: Excellent. How are you? What have you been up to?

HANSEN: Well, this week, I had a wonderful visit, actually, with the folks at WUIS in Springfield, Illinois. I'm sure you know where that is.

SHORTZ: Yeah, huh.

HANSEN: Because very nearby, there's the station WILL, which is your favorite one.

SHORTZ: My favorite call letters, right.

HANSEN: Absolutely. But, you know, Springfield is an interesting town. I mean, being the state capital, there's all kinds of Lincolniana there, the museum and his tomb. But I have to admit that two places I went I loved - there was a Frank Lloyd Wright house there, the Dana-Thomas house and I took a tour. And then I went to the Cozy Dog, which is one of these lovely neon food stands right out there on Route 66.

So I had high art, low art and I also had a chance to meet everybody who listens to us in Springfield, and they all say hi. And they all want to know the answer to the challenge you left us with last week. First, you'll have to repeat it.

SHORTZ: Yes, I said it's a classic bit of wordplay. Name a certain shop some people visit everyday, reverse the order of the last four letters, leaving the other letters untouched and you'll get a new word meaning fragility. What words are these?

HANSEN: What are there?

SHORTZ: They are delicatessen and delicateness.

HANSEN: Wow. I struggled over it and I gave up. But I'm not like the 1,700 entries from people who actually solved the puzzle. And our randomly selected winner, certainly, is Rachel Brabeck and she joins us from Spokane, Washington. Hi, Rachel.

Ms. RACHEL BRABECK (Winner): Hello.

HANSEN: What are you doing in Spokane?

Ms. BRABECK: I am a secretary at Evergreen Elementary.

HANSEN: Oh, I'm glad you gave the name of the school, Evergreen Elementary School. How long have you been playing the puzzle?

Ms. BRABECK: Oh, about five years. My family and I played it together one Sunday morning and we've been sending in answer regularly, so I'm thrilled to be able to play.

HANSEN: All right. Well, sounds like you're ready.

Ms. BRABECK: I am.

HANSEN: Yeah. You sound a little nervous.

Ms. BRABECK: I'm very nervous.

HANSEN: Not to be. Not to be. We're there to help one another. Okay. All right. Will, meet Rachel. And let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Rachel, today's puzzle is called Football Scramble. Every answer is a word or phrase used in football. It's an anagram of the word or phrase I give you.

Ms. BRABECK: Okay.

SHORTZ: For example, if I said saps, S-A-P-S, you would say, pass. All right?

Ms. BRABECK: Okay.

HANSEN: I hope you know football more than I do, Rachel.

Ms. BRABECK: Well, my husband is a big fan and here to help me.

HANSEN: Oh. Mine is, too, but I don't know if it goes - if I can get it by osmosis.

SHORTZ: Here's number one. Cask, C-A-S-K.

Ms. BRABECK: C-A-S-K. Sack.

SHORTZ: Sack is right. Number two is recent, R-E-C-E-N-T. And it's a position.

Ms. BRABECK: Center.

SHORTZ: Center is right. Melanin, M-E-L-A-N-I-N.

Ms. BRABECK: Lineman.


SHORTZ: Lineman, that was fast. Dies off, D-I-E-S O-F-F.

Ms. BRABECK: Offside.

SHORTZ: Offside, that's fast. Aplenty, A-P-L-E-N-T-Y.

Ms. BRABECK: Aplenty? I'll need a hint on that one.

SHORTZ: And it's what you would get if you were offside.

Ms. BRABECK: Penalty.

SHORTZ: A Penalty is right. Spiking, S-P-I-K-I-N-G.

HANSEN: Isn't that already a football term?

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: When they do it, it's a touchdown.

SHORTZ: That's right.

HANSEN: Anyway…

Ms. BRABECK: Pigskin.

HANSEN: Oh, good job.

SHORTZ: Pigskin. Good job. How about go postal? G-O P-O-S-T-A-L.

Ms. BRABECK: Goal post.

SHORTZ: Goal post, another fast one. Remove it, R-E-M-O-V-E I-T.

Ms. BRABECK: Remove it? I'll need a hint on that one, too. I (unintelligible) this one on my football.

SHORTZ: Well, this is what the game would have if there were a tie score at the end.

Ms. BRABECK: Overtime.

SHORTZ: Overtime is right. Creep into, C-R-E-E-P I-N-T-O.

Ms. BRABECK: That one is not coming to me either.

SHORTZ: Okay. It's the opposite of a kick off. One team has the kick off, the other team has the…

Ms. BRABECK: Reception.

SHORTZ: Reception. Good. Now, the rest of your answers are two word phrases. And your first one of these is dunner, D-U-N-N-E-R.

Ms. BRABECK: End run.

SHORTZ: End run. Good job. Splinted, S-P-L-I-N-T-E-D. Splinted. And, again, this is a position.

Ms. BRABECK: Split…



Ms. BRABECK: Split end.

SHORTZ: Split end. Good.

HANSEN: Split end.

SHORTZ: Excellent. How about this? Snow drift, S-N-O-W D-R-I-F-T. It's what every football team wants if it's on the offense.

Ms. BRABECK: First down.

SHORTZ: First down. Good. And here's your last one. Dangerous, D-A-N-G-E-R-O-U-S.

HANSEN: Just dangerous?

SHORTZ: Just dangerous. It's a position. The enumeration is 4, 5 - four letters in the first word, five in the second.


(Soundbite of laughter)


SHORTZ: And the four-letter word is part of the face.


Ms. BRABECK: Nose guard.


SHORTZ: Nose guard. Good job.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Oh, Rachel. I can't tell you how much I appreciate the fact that you were the player today. I know zip about football, and thank goodness you were right there with him, right there.

Well, for playing our puzzle today, you'll get the goal. I mean, you get - it's the Super Bowl of puzzles and you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, the "11th Edition of Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus," the "Scrabble Deluxe Edition" from Parker Brothers, "The Puzzle Master Presents" from Random House Volume 2, Will Shortz's "Little Black Book of Sudoku" and "Black and White Book of Crosswords" from Saint Martin's Press and one of Will Shortz's "Puzzle Master Decks of Riddles and Challenges" from Chronicle Books.

Rachel, what member station do you listen to?

Ms. BRABECK: KPBX in Spokane.

HANSEN: All right. Rachel Brabeck from Spokane, Washington. You were fabulous. Thanks a lot for playing…

Ms. BRABECK: Oh, thank you so much.

HANSEN: …the puzzle with us today. Okay.

Ms. BRABECK: Bye-bye.

HANSEN: Will, what's the challenge for next week?

SHORTZ: Yes. It's another football question. Name something a football player wears, in eight letters. Rearrange these into four-letter words associated with a fraud. What words are these?

So again, something a football player wears, in eight letters. Rearrange these into four-letter words associated with a fraud or charlatan. What words are these?

HANSEN: When you have the answer, go to our Web site,, and click on the Submit Your Answer link on the Sunday Puzzle page. Only one entry per person, please. Our deadline this week 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 puzzle on the air with the puzzle editor of the New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Will Shortz.

Will, I'm going to be gone for a few weeks. I'm, actually, going to Venice to celebrate my 25th wedding anniversary.

SHORTZ: Fantastic.

HANSEN: So be nice to James Hattori, who'll be sitting in for me, okay?

SHORTZ: Will do. Will do.

HANSEN: All right, and thanks a lot.

SHORTZ: Have a great time. Thanks, Liane.

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