Five By Five, With Will Shortz The puzzlemaster leads an anagram showdown with Studio 360's Kurt Andersen and filmmaker David Wain

Five By Five, With Will Shortz

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OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Now it's the moment we've all been waiting for. We're going to crown this week's grand champion. Let's bring back from "Married, Not Married" Kurt Andersen. From "They're Not Booing," Sam Denehy. From "Song of Summer," Cassidy Brown. From "New York, You're the Star," David Wain. And from "Ants Marching" Brian Gillis.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: I'm going to ask our VIP puzzle guru Will Shortz to lead the final round with a game of his own devising.

WILL SHORTZ: This final round is called "Five by Five." I'm going to give you two five letter words. Your challenge is to rearrange the letters of the first word to get a synonym of the other. For example, if I gave you strut S-T-R-U-T- and faith, you would say trust, which is an anagram of strut and is a synonym of faith. Now we're going to play this spelling bee style. So one wrong answer and you're out.

You'll have only a few seconds to give us an answer. Last person standing is our grand winner. Remember, rearrange the letters of the first word to get a synonym of the second one. Here we go. Kurt, you're up. Binge B-I-N-G-E to mean start.

KURT ANDERSEN: Begin.

SHORTZ: Begin is correct. Sam. Fiber F-I-B-E-R to mean short. F-I-B-E-R to mean short. OK, time's up. Thank you, Sam.

(APPLAUSE)

SHORTZ: Cassidy, do you know fiber to mean short?

CASSIDY BROWN: No.

SHORTZ: OK. Sorry, Cassidy. Oh, David is in the hot spot. Fiber that means short.

DAVID WAIN: Brief.

SHORTZ: Brief is it. Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

SHORTZ: We're down to three contestants. Brian. Trams T-R-A-M-S to mean sting.

BRIAN GILLIS: Smarts?

SHORTZ: Smart is it, yes. Kurt. Lamed L-A-M-E-D to mean award.

ANDERSEN: Medal.

SHORTZ: Medal is it. And David, uboat U-B-O-A-T to mean circa.

WAIN: About. About.

SHORTZ: About is it. Yes. OK.

(APPLAUSE)

SHORTZ: Well, you guys are so good we're going to make things a little more challenging. Now I'm not going to tell you which word is the anagram and which is the synonym. That's for you to figure out.

(SOUNDBITE OF AUDIENCE REACTION)

SHORTZ: Brian, this is your first one of these. Scope S-C-O-P-E and anger A-N-G-E-R. Scope and anger.

GILLIS: Gear? G--oh, sorry.

SHORTZ: Scope and anger. No, I don't hear the answer. OK. Kurt. Scope and anger.

ANDERSEN: Range.

SHORTZ: Range is it. OK. So we're down to two contestants. David, your clues are cruel C-R-U-E-L and money M-O-N-E-Y.

WAIN: OK, ready?

(LAUGHTER)

WAIN: C-R-U...

SHORTZ: I think his time is up.

WAIN: Cruel.

SHORTZ: Yeah. Kurt, do you know cruel and money?

ANDERSEN: Lucre.

SHORTZ: Lucre. Our champion.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Well done. Kurt Andersen, you are our Ask Me Another big winner. You are getting a prize. It is the ultimate nerd beach tote. All of our VIPs have contributed a little bit of something to the swag bag. We will take your contribution out of it.

ANDERSEN: Thank you.

EISENBERG: Since you may already have it.

ANDERSEN: Thank you.

EISENBERG: You will have some crossword puzzle books provided by Will Shortz, a signed DVD of "Wet Hot American Summer" from David Wain, CDs from Nellie McKay and Jonathan Coulton, and B.J. Novak has contributed his co-star Rainn Wilson's personal cell phone number so you can call Rainn Wilson whenever you need to.

ANDERSEN: Excellent. Quite a bag.

EISENBERG: Congratulations.

ANDERSEN: Thank you. Thank you both.

EISENBERG: Well done.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Now, that was the final round. Will Shortz, everybody.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Unfortunately, that's all we have for you but you can be a puzzle player any time, any place. Take us with you by downloading our podcasts. Or you can find us on Facebook or Twitter. Just look around for NPR Ask Me Another.

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