RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. One half of the country is way too cold, the other part of the country seems to be way too hot. I have a solution: the puzzle is always the perfect temperature.
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MARTIN: Joining me now is Will Shortz. He is the puzzle editor of the New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's one and only puzzle-master. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.
MARTIN: So, not only is it time to play the puzzle, but I understand the American Crossword Puzzle tournament is right around the corner.
SHORTZ: That's right. This year's is March 7-9 in Brooklyn. And it's the 37th annual championship. And anyone who's interested can go to CrosswordTournament.com and get more info.
MARTIN: All right. Very cool. So, refresh our memories, Will, what was last week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Steve Baggish of Arlington, Massachusetts. I said name a title character from a classic work of fiction, in eight letters. Change the third letter to an M and the result will be two consecutive words naming parts of the human body. Who's the character and what parts of the body are these? The character is Gulliver from Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels." Change the L to an M, and you get gum and liver.
MARTIN: So, we got about 700 correct answers. And our randomly selected winner is Sherri Reveal of St. Albans, West Virginia. She joins us now on the line. Hi, Sherri. Congratulations.
SHERRI REVEAL: Thank you.
MARTIN: So, was this a quick figure-out for you?
SHORTZ: Not exactly. At first, we both started off with the body parts. And I got discouraged pretty quickly and thought to go the other route and concentrate on the classic titles of books. And I hope it wasn't cheating. I went online and saw a list of classic novels. And the second list I looked at Gulliver stuck out - well, the liver part stuck out.
MARTIN: I don't think that's cheating, right, Will? Using the Internet as inspiration.
SHORTZ: No, and you can solve the puzzle any way you like.
MARTIN: Very well done. And what do you do for a living there in St. Albans, Sherri?
REVEAL: I'm a lawyer, staff attorney for the West Virginia Department of Education.
MARTIN: All right. And how long have you been playing the puzzle, Sherri?
REVEAL: Several months.
MARTIN: Several months. OK. Kind of a newbie.
MARTIN: All right. Well, let's put those skills to the test. Are you ready to play the puzzle?
MARTIN: Let's do it, Will.
SHORTZ: All right, Sherri and Rachel. Today's puzzle is called One, Two, Three, Flip. I'm going to give you clues for two words. Reverse the order of the first three letters of the first word to get the second word. And in the example, saber, it starts S-A-B. Change it to B-A-S and you get baser, which is the second word.
MARTIN: OK. Got it. OK. You ready, Sherri?
MARTIN: OK. Here we go.
SHORTZ: And here we go with some more five-letter answers. Your first one of these is the currency of India and to liquefy, as in a blender.
REVEAL: Rupee and puree.
SHORTZ: Nice. A competitor and like an extremely popular video.
REVEAL: Rival and viral.
MARTIN: Oh, good.
SHORTZ: Nice. Now, some six-letter answers. To walk like a duck and dillydally.
REVEAL: Waddle and then it would be dawdle.
SHORTZ: Dawdle, good.
REVEAL: All right.
SHORTZ: To criticize severely and money back on a purchase. And maybe the second half's easier there. You buy something and then you send away to get a little of...
REVEAL: OK. That would be rebate. And then it would be - oh, OK. Berate and rebate. Thank you.
SHORTZ: To walk or talk aimlessly and material for a statue.
REVEAL: Oh. That would be ramble and marble.
SHORTZ: Nice. All right. Let's try seven-letter answers. Area beside a house that's good for barbecues and to go over again, as steps. And let's try that second one. Go over again as steps. Let's say you walked out on the snow and then you came back the same way.
REVEAL: OK. And then terrace.
SHORTZ: Terrace is it. To provide with support and a sea creature with claws.
MARTIN: Butter, butter - one, two, three, four, five, six, seven...
SHORTZ: And you would put butter on it, yeah.
REVEAL: OK. So, you I got that - that's lobster. And the clue for the first was?
SHORTZ: To provide with support.
REVEAL: Bolster? No.
SHORTZ: That's it, bolster.
REVEAL: Oh, it is. OK.
SHORTZ: To bolster something, sure. And now a couple of nine-letter answers. And your first one of these is loud, unruly behavior and your second clue is verbosity. I'll give you a hint, it starts with an R.
MARTIN: Nine letters.
SHORTZ: Oh, that's a tough one. I'm just going to tell you, it is rowdiness and wordiness.
REVEAL: Oh, OK.
SHORTZ: And here's your last one: sedimentary rock used in building and an important achievement.
REVEAL: Limestone and milestone.
MARTIN: Oh, great.
MARTIN: Sherri, that was very well done.
REVEAL: Oh, I feel bad about the...
MARTIN: You should not feel bad about it. You should not.
SHORTZ: Everyone focuses on the one they missed.
REVEAL: Yeah, of course.
MARTIN: You should release it, Sherri.
REVEAL: I'll let it go. OK.
MARTIN: Because that was spectacular.
MARTIN: And for playing the puzzle today, you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, and you get all kinds of puzzle books and games. You can go to our website, npr.org/puzzle to read more about them. And before we let you go, what is your public radio station?
REVEAL: WVPN Charleston, West Virginia.
MARTIN: Sherri Reveal, of St. Albans, West Virginia. Sherri, it was great to talk with you. Thanks so much for playing the puzzle.
REVEAL: Oh, thank you. I've enjoyed that.
MARTIN: OK. Will, what's up for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes, name a famous entertainer: two words, four letters in each word. You can rearrange these eight letters to spell the acronym of a well-known national organization, plus the word that the first letter of this acronym stands for. Who's the entertainer and what's the organization?
MARTIN: All right, you know what to do. When you've got the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle, and click on that Submit Your Answer link - just one entry per person, please. And our deadline for entries is Thursday, February 20th at 3 p.m. Eastern Time.
Don't forget a phone number where we can reach you at about that time, because if you're the winner we'll give you a call. And then you will get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle-master, Mr. Will Shortz.
Thanks so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel.
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