Calling All Homophones In this week's on-air puzzle, each definition or clue contains a missing word. That word is a homophone of the word that answers the clue. For example: If the clue is "have (blank) doubt" the missing word would be "no," completing the phrase "have no doubt." "No" and "know" are the homophones.
NPR logo

Calling All Homophones

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Calling All Homophones

Calling All Homophones

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Liane Hansen, and joining us is puzzle master Will Shortz.

Hi, Will.


HANSEN: I had a great time in Baltimore with you last week. It was a lot of fun.

SHORTZ: Thank you so much for coming. You know, everyone's been asking me how my team did. And we went five in six. Basically, we beat all the teams. Most of the teams we were rated above. We lost to the teams we were rated below. And that was true for my individual matches too.

HANSEN: But you were having a ball. It was a lot of fun.

SHORTZ: It was great. Thanks.

HANSEN: Before we get to the challenge you left us with last week. Can I just talk a little bit about the young man who sent in the challenge? It was Lukas Berry of Newark, Delaware.

SHORTZ: Right.

HANSEN: You made him famous. There was an article in The News Journal about him that, you know, he's a seventh grader and at Caravel Academy, and he came up with the puzzle and it was wonderful. You've made him famous.

SHORTZ: And now, his 7-year-old brother is going to send in a puzzle.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Remind us of the challenge that Lukas Berry submitted to you, and you made it our challenge.

SHORTZ: Right. Well, I said, think of a familiar man's name in four letters. Change the first letter to the next letter of the alphabet, and you'll get another familiar man's name. What is it?

HANSEN: Now, there's more than one answer, right?

SHORTZ: Right. Lukas' intended answer was Kyle to Lyle. Turns out there are several other answers - Burt to Curt, Cale to Dale, Mick and Nick. And my favorite is Raul to Saul, because they don't rhyme.

HANSEN: Wow. Nice. Well, a lot of people participated this week. We had over 2,000 entries from people who solved the puzzle - and all different answers. And our randomly selected winner who had two of those names, actually, is Fred Ketteman, and he joins us from Seattle, Washington.

Hi, Fred.

Mr. FRED KETTEMAN (Volunteer, Seattle Men's Chorus): Hi, Liane. Hi, Will. How are you?

HANSEN: Very well.


HANSEN: What do you do in Seattle?

Mr. KETTEMAN: Well, I'm a retired merchant mariner right now. But I'm a full-time volunteer with the Seattle Men's Chorus - the world's largest gay men's chorus and arguably the best.

HANSEN: Wow. How long have you been playing the puzzle?

Mr. KETTEMAN: I think I started playing about the time I moved to Seattle in '93. So it's about 14 years, I think.

HANSEN: Fourteen years, you've been waiting for that phone call.


(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Well, you're good. And you know what happens.

Mr. KETTEMAN: I do. And I'm - you know, I've got my fingers crossed.

HANSEN: Well, I've got mine crossed to0, Fred, so we're going to play together on this. So, Will, meet Fred. Let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Fred, I'm going to give you some definitions or clues for words. Each definition or clue contains a blank where a word has been left out. And the word that goes in that blank is a homophone of the word that answers the clue or definition.

For example, if I said have blank doubt, you would say no - as in have no doubt, N-O. And that's a definition for K-N-O-W.

All right, number one. Warning blank a golfer.


SHORTZ: Warning for a golfer is F-O-R-E. Good.

Number two: What a Hawaiian may blank around your neck.


SHORTZ: Lay around your neck is a lei, L-E-I.

Raw material which may contain gold blank silver.


SHORTZ: Or is right. Something blank in a play.


HANSEN: Seen, oh, nice, seen.

SHORTZ: Something seen in a play. Good one.

A place to turn blank for the night while traveling.


SHORTZ: A place to turn in is an inn.

Put a blank number of workers on the payroll.

Mr. KETTEMAN: Higher?

SHORTZ: Put a higher number of workers is to hire.

HANSEN: Oh, yes.


Animal with long ears and soft blank. What's an animal with long ears?

Mr. KETTEMAN: Rabbit?

SHORTZ: What's a relative of a rabbit? Do you know, Liane?

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: A hare.

SHORTZ: A hare has got long ears and soft hair, right?

HANSEN: Hare. Okay.

SHORTZ: Try this: Groups working on blank ships.

Mr. KETTEMAN: Cruise.


SHORTZ: Cruise. Cruise ships. Crews. Nice.

Showed fear as a blank. What sort of person would show fear?

Mr. KETTEMAN: Scaredy cat.

SHORTZ: Yeah. And what's a six-letter synonym for that?

Mr. KETTEMAN: Coward.

SHORTZ: That's right. Showed fear as a coward is cowered.

Mr. KETTEMAN: Oh, cowered.

HANSEN: Cowered, of course. Sorry.

SHORTZ: Try this one. What a phone company may try to blank you.

HANSEN: I'm thinking bill.

Mr. KETTEMAN: Bill you?

HANSEN: Bill you, no. What a phone company might try to rent.

SHORTZ: Blank.

Mr. KETTEMAN: Charge you?


SHORTZ: Yeah. I think I'm just going to have to tell you.


SHORTZ: What a phone company may try to sell you…

HANSEN: Oh, of course.

SHORTZ: …is a cell.



A large animal that may blank its teeth. Think of an animal at Yellowstone National Park.


SHORTZ: Uh-huh.

HANSEN: That's it, right?

SHORTZ: That's an animal that may bare its teeth is a bear. That's right.

And here's your last one. Blank simple addition.

HANSEN: Oh, gosh.

SHORTZ: And what is a bit of simple addition called?

Mr. KETTEMAN: The sum.

SHORTZ: That's right.



HANSEN: Right.

SHORTZ: You got it. Good job.

HANSEN: Oh. Well done. Well done, Fred. And for playing our puzzle today, we have a lot of things for you. We have 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 II, Will Shortz' "Little Black Book of Soduku" and "Black (and White) Book of Crosswords" from St. Martin's Press, and one of Will Shortz's "Puzzlemaster Decks of Riddles and Challenges" from Chronicle Books, and no, I haven't forgotten, of course, you will receive the all-important WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. KETTEMAN: Thank you very much.

HANSEN: Our pleasure, Fred. Tell us what member station you listen to?

Mr. KETTEMAN: KUOW, where I volunteer frequently.

HANSEN: Fred Ketteman from Seattle, Washington, a real pleasure playing the puzzle with you today. Thank you.

Mr. KETTEMAN: Thank you both.


Mr. KETTEMAN: Bye-bye.

HANSEN: Bye-bye.

Will, a challenge for next week, please.

SHORTZ: Yes. Take the word stepparents, S-T-E-P-P-A-R-E-N-T-S. Rearrange these 11 letters to spell two words that are opposites. What are they?

So, again, stepparents. Rearrange these 11 letters into two words that are opposites. What opposites are these?

HANSEN: When you have the answer, go to our Web site,, and click on the Submit Your Answer link. That's a new address. It makes the puzzle page easier to find. Once again, it's Only one entry per person, please. Our deadline this week is Thursday, at 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, thanks a lot.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

Copyright © 2007 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at 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.