The Hidden Presidents This week, an on-air presidential puzzle for Presidents Day. Will reads a series of sentences. Each sentence conceals the name of a U.S. president in consecutive letters. For example: Have moms hairstyle redone. The answer would be Tyler, which is hidden inside, hairsTYLE Redone.
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The Hidden Presidents

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The Hidden Presidents

The Hidden Presidents

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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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 doing? Are you getting busy with the crossword puzzle tournament coming up?

SHORTZ: Yeah, this is like my tax season for a CPA, with the crossword championship just two weeks away. One cool thing, you know, we have a new option this year for watching the playoff finals.

HANSEN: And what's the option?

SHORTZ: The option is to come to the event in Brooklyn on March 2nd, Sunday morning at 11:00 o'clock, and watch the playoff finals. And you get a full set of the puzzles too.

HANSEN: Excellent. In the meantime, we're here to play our challenge. And in order to do that, remind us of the challenge.

SHORTZ: Yes. I said name a city in six letters that's a popular tourist destination. Divide this name in half, move the first three letters to the end and you'll name some places where people like to relax. What are they?

HANSEN: What are they?

SHORTZ: Well, the city is Nassau, as in the capital of the Bahamas. Move the first half to the end and you get saunas, which is a great place to relax.

HANSEN: You bet. We had over 1,700 entries from people who solved the puzzle. Our randomly selected winner is Art Duncan, and he joins us from Niskayuna, New York. Hi, Art.

Mr. ART DUNCAN (Caller): Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: What do you do there?

Mr. DUNCAN: I'm a retired computer scientist.

HANSEN: And have you been playing the puzzle for a long time?

Mr. DUNCAN: For about 10 years.

HANSEN: How long did it take you to solve this one?

Mr. DUNCAN: This one, it only took a few seconds. I just sort of stumbled on the answer.

HANSEN: Oh, all right. Well, we're hoping you're going to do some stumbling on answers during our on-air challenge. Are you ready to play?

Mr. DUNCAN: I guess as ready as I'll ever be.

HANSEN: All right. Well, Will meet Art and let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Art, for President's Day weekend, I brought a presidential puzzle. I'm going to read you some sentences. Each sentence conceals the name of a U.S. president in consecutive letters. For example, if I said have my mom's hairstyle redone, you would say Tyler, which is hidden inside hairstyle redone.

All right. Number one is the Lone Ranger was brainwashing Tonto.

Mr. DUNCAN: Brainwashing - oh, Washington.

SHORTZ: Washington, good. Number two: the two ships share a gangway.

Mr. DUNCAN: Share a gangway.

SHORTZ: Yeah, that's where you want. It's hidden inside share a gangway.

Mr. DUNCAN: Oh, okay. That would be Reagan.

SHORTZ: That's Reagan, good. Dad planted an orchard in Georgia.


SHORTZ: Check those last three words.

Mr. DUNCAN: Orchard in Georgia.

HANSEN: Try taking the first three letters off of orchard.

SHORTZ: Start with the H...

Mr. DUNCAN: Oh, Harding.

SHORTZ: Yeah, Harding is right, good. Can Idaho overtake Nebraska?

Mr. DUNCAN: Hoover.

SHORTZ: Hoover is right. That's good. Get rum and Cokes for everyone. Just look at the start of that sentence: Get rum and Cokes for everyone. Just ignore the rest.

Mr. DUNCAN: Oh, Truman.

SHORTZ: Truman is right. It's taken Ned years to improve.

Mr. DUNCAN: Ned years to improve.

SHORTZ: Just ignore to improve.

Mr. DUNCAN: Okay. Kennedy, sure.

SHORTZ: Kennedy is right. Try this one: flip the flapjacks onto the plate.

Mr. DUNCAN: Oh, that's Jackson.

SHORTZ: Jackson, good. Grandpa wants a crispier cereal. And as you've probably figured out, the key to these is to home in on the most awkward sounding part of the sentence.

Mr. DUNCAN: Okay. Grandpa wants a...

SHORTZ: Crispier cereal.

Mr. DUNCAN: Oh, Pierce.

SHORTZ: Pierce is good. The dog ran the gauntlet.

Mr. DUNCAN: The dog - oh that's Grant.

SHORTZ: Grant, good. Whenever I lean over I start hurting again.

Mr. DUNCAN: Whenever I lean over I...

SHORTZ: Yeah, just ignore all the part. Just look at...

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: ...I start hurting again.

Mr. DUNCAN: Hurting again, okay. Arthur.

SHORTZ: Arthur is good. Florida is big NASCAR territory.

Mr. DUNCAN: NASCAR territory. Carter.

SHORTZ: Carter, yes. And your last one: I ordered basic level and irons.

Mr. DUNCAN: Basic level and irons? Okay.


Mr. DUNCAN: Oh, Cleveland.

SHORTZ: Cleveland is right. Nice job.

HANSEN: Oh, Art. That was great. It's not easy because we look at the words that are there and we don't see the words that...

Mr. DUNCAN: Right, that are hidden.

HANSEN: Exactly. But you did well and you obviously known your presidents. For playing our puzzle today you'll 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 St. Martin's Press, and one of Will Shortz's Puzzle Master Decks of Riddles and Challenges from Chronicle Books.

And tell us what member station you listen to, Art.

Mr. DUNCAN: Okay. I listen to WAMC in Albany, New York.

HANSEN: Art Duncan from Niskayuna, New York. Thanks a lot for playing the puzzle with us today.

Mr. DUNCAN: Thanks for having me.

HANSEN: Oh, it was our pleasure, believe me, our pleasure.

Now, Will, we have the names of our presidents in our head. What's the challenge for next week?

SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from listener Myron Beck of University Park, Maryland. There is a seven-letter word for something that is a measure of wealth and power. The first four letters name an animal that is a symbol of power, and the last four letters name another animal that is a symbol of power. What's the word? So again, a seven-letter word for something that's a measure of wealth of power. The first four letters name an animal that's a symbol of power and the last four letters name another animal that's a symbol of power. What's the word?

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 this week is Thursday, 3:00 p.m. Eastern time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you about that time and 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.

Thanks a lot, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks a lot, Liane.

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