RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. Americans will go to the polls this week to exercise their right to vote. And sure, maybe it's not enshrined in the constitution, but we at WEEKEND EDITION believe you have a right to puzzle as well. And you know what? You get to do it right now.
Joining me now is Will Shortz. He's the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.
MARTIN: All right, what was last week's puzzle?
SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener Mike Reese, who's a writer for "The Simpsons." I said name a well-known TV actress of the past, put an R between her first and last names. Then read the result backwards. You'll get an order Dr. Frankenstein might give to Igor. Who's the actress, and what's the order?
Well, the actress was Eva Gabor of "Green Acres" fame. And if you put an R between her first and last names and read the result backward, you get rob a grave. How's that for Halloween related?
MARTIN: That's a good one. So about 370 of you all got correct answers this week. Our randomly chosen winner is Jan Wolitzky of Madison, New Jersey. Hey, Jan.
JAN WOLITZKY: Hey, Rachel. Hey, will.
WOLITZKY: Thank you.
MARTIN: So did this come pretty quickly to you? Or did you struggle with this one?
WOLITZKY: Yeah, this one came pretty quickly. I figured it out in a few minutes. I was helped a little by the fact that Eva Gabor was used in a puzzle a couple of months ago. And it was still fresh in my mind.
MARTIN: Well, she is unforgettable, Eva Gabor. And have you been playing the puzzle a long time?
WOLITZKY: Oh, a very long time.
WOLITZKY: I've been playing for more than a quarter century. I remember sending in postcards coming in via pony express.
MARTIN: Wow. (Laughter). Oh, that's cool. And now you've won. That's great.
WOLITZKY: It is.
MARTIN: So do you happen to have a question for, Will?
WOLITZKY: I have noticed over the years that frequently the answer to the Sunday puzzle will appear sometime during the week in The New York Times crossword puzzle. And I was wondering whether that's a coincidence or whether you're planting Easter eggs there.
MARTIN: Little clues.
SHORTZ: Interesting. No, I think that's coincidental. I don't correlate the two things at all.
MARTIN: But you never know what's happening in Will's brain.
SHORTZ: It just all comes out of the same brain. That's right.
MARTIN: OK, Jan, are you ready to play the puzzle?
WOLITZKY: I think so.
MARTIN: All right, let's give it a go, Will.
SHORTZ: All right, Jan and Rachel, I'm going to name a famous person. Change either the first or last letter of the last name to a new letter and rearrange the result to name a country. For example, if I said Pearl S. Buck you would say Cuba because out of Buck you would change the K, in this case, to an A and rearrange the letters to get Cuba. So it's always the first or last letter of the last name that you change. And number one is Pete Seeger - S-E-E-G-E-R.
WOLITZKY: Pete Seeger, and we're going to change - Greece.
SHORTZ: Greece is it. Changing the S to a C. Nice. Number two is Art Carney - C-A-R-N-E-Y.
WOLITZKY: Art Carney. I'm not coming up with anything there.
MARTIN: This is hard.
SHORTZ: Change the Y. Get rid of the Y. Change that to another letter.
MARTIN: I'm not seeing it. What does it start with?
WOLITZKY: Oh, France.
MARTIN: Oh, good.
SHORTZ: France is it. Good. I knew you'd get that. Robert Reich - R-E-I-C-H.
WOLITZKY: My favorite labor secretary.
SHORTZ: There you go.
MARTIN: Doesn't everyone have one really?
WOLITZKY: I know.
SHORTZ: Change the R.
WOLITZKY: Change the R, and you've got...
SHORTZ: All right, think South America.
SHORTZ: Chile is right. Jennifer Aniston - A-N-I-S-T-O-N.
WOLITZKY: All right.
SHORTZ: Change the N.
WOLITZKY: OK, Estonia.
SHORTZ: Estonia, nice. Stephanie Meyer - M-E-Y-E-R.
SHORTZ: Yemen, didn't even need a hint on that. And here's your last one. It has two answers. Michael Chang - C-H-A-N-G.
SHORTZ: Ghana, you got the hard one. And change the other letter to get the other answer.
SHORTZ: China. Good job.
MARTIN: Wow. Jan, that was excellent.
WOLITZKY: Thank you.
MARTIN: Clearly, you've been playing the puzzle for a while.
WOLITZKY: Yeah, we've been playing for a while.
MARTIN: Yeah. Got some skills. So you know that for playing the puzzle today, you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, puzzle books and games. And you can read all about those prizes at npr.org/puzzle. And, Jan, where do you hear us? What's your public radio station?
WOLITZKY: Well, I pay a lot of attention to you on the Blaine's Puzzle Blog, but I also listen to and we're members of WNYC in New York.
MARTIN: Glad to hear it. Jan Wolitzky of Madison, New Jersey. Thanks so much for playing the puzzle, Jan.
WOLITZKY: It was fun. Thank you.
MARTIN: All right, Will, what's the challenge for next week?
SHORTZ: Yeah, it's an unusual one. It comes from listener Sandy Weisz of Chicago. Write down the following four times - 3 o'clock, 6 o'clock, 12:55 and 4:07. These are the only times on a clock that share a certain property without repeating oneself. What property is this? So again, the four times are 3 o'clock, 6 o'clock, 12:55 and 4:07. These are the only times on a clock that share a certain property without repeating oneself. What property is this?
MARTIN: OK, you know what to do. When you've got the answer, go to our website. It is npr.org/puzzle. Find that submit your answer link, click on it. Limit yourself to one entry per person please, though. And our deadline for those entries is Thursday, November 6 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Don't forget to include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time because if you're the winner, we give you a call. And then you get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Will Shortz. Thanks so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel.