RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Feeling a bit deflated this past week? Here's a game with just the right amount of pressure. It's time for the puzzle. Joining me now is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Will Shortz. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.
MARTIN: So what's going on, Will? I understand you've got some table tennis coming up in your life.
SHORTZ: Yeah. In two weeks, my club - the Westchester Table Tennis Center - is hosting the grand final of the 2014 North American tour. It's got the 16 top players in the country, $10,000 in prizes.
MARTIN: OK, so don't be offended by this next question, but is table tennis a good spectator sport?
SHORTZ: That is a good question.
SHORTZ: I think it is. You can be sitting 10 feet away from one of the top layers in the country, and if you're watching NBA or NFL...
MARTIN: That's true. You don't get to do that unless you're Jack Nicholson. OK. All right. Let's get down to puzzle business. Remind me, what was last week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yes. I said name two animals, both mammals, one of them domestic, the other wild. I said put their letters together, and rearrange the result to name another mammal, this one wild and not seen naturally around North America. What mammal is it? Well, the domestic one is the dog. The wild one is the gnu - G-N-U. And you put those letters together, and you get the dugong - D-U-G-O-N-G. Did you know a dugong?
MARTIN: No, no.
SHORTZ: Well, it's a large plant-eating mammal off the coast of Australia sometimes called a sea cow related to the manatee.
MARTIN: Sea cow I know. Yeah. But a dugong.
SHORTZ: There you go. It's status is listed as threatened so it's a good thing to know about.
MARTIN: But save the dugong doesn't really, like, roll off the tongue for a bumper sticker, I suppose.
SHORTZ: (Laughter) Well, maybe we can start something.
MARTIN: Yeah. We could start something. (Laughter). OK, so this was a hard one. Even so, we got 104 correct answers. Our winner this week is Michael Kurh from Geneva, Illinois. He joins us on the line now. Hey, Michael, congratulations.
MICHAEL KURH: Thank you.
MARTIN: So you clearly knew what a dugong was.
KURH: Yes, I've been trying to get my babies to say that as their first word.
MARTIN: (Laughter) How old are your kids?
KURH: They're four and a half months old.
MARTIN: Twins, huh? Congratulations. What do you do in Geneva, Michael?
KURH: Right now, I'm getting ready to go back to school 'cause hopefully I will be a teacher someday.
MARTIN: Oh, great. What do you want to teach?
KURH: Biology mostly, but, you know, any science.
MARTIN: Sometimes there are science-y kinds of puzzles. I have no idea what Will has cooked up this week, but are you ready to try to play the puzzle, Michael?
KURH: Ready as I'm going to get.
MARTIN: All right.
SHORTZ: All right, Michael, no science today, I'm afraid. Every answer is a word starting with the letters A-R, which I'd like you to identify from its anagram. For example, if I said A-R plus Rob - R-O-B - you would say arbor. And every answer starts A-R. Number one is A-R plus nog - N-O-G.
SHORTZ: Argon. And I was wrong, we did have a science-related question.
SHORTZ: Number two is A-R plus rod - R-O-D.
SHORTZ: That's it. A-R plus acne - A-C-N-E.
KURH: Oh, arcane.
SHORTZ: Arcane, nice. A-R plus tend - T-E-N-D - as you tend a garden.
SHORTZ: That's it. A-R plus tyre - T-Y-R-E.
KURH: Oh, T-Y. Artery.
SHORTZ: That's it.
SHORTZ: A-R plus tribe - T-R-I-B-E.
SHORTZ: That's it. A-R plus lanes - L-A-N-E-S.
KURH: That one I'm having some trouble with.
SHORTZ: I'll tell you the next letter is S.
KURH: OK. Arsenal. There we go.
SHORTZ: Arsenal is it.
SHORTZ: A-R plus since - S-I-N-C-E. This one is also science related in the same way that argon was.
SHORTZ: Arsenic is it. A-R plus toss in - T-O-S-S I-N. And your next letter is S.
MARTIN: Oh, really?
SHORTZ: Arsonist, yes. And your last one - A-R plus old mail - O-L-D M-A-I-L. And since you like animals...
KURH: Oh, armadillo.
MARTIN: Wow. I totally did not see that. Michael, well done..
KURH: Thank you.
MARTIN: For playing the puzzle today, you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, maybe we'll send two 'cause you have twins and maybe each of them wants one. That's what I'm thinking. Puzzle books and games as well. You can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle. And before we let you go, Michael, where do you hear us? What's your public radio station?
KURH: WBEZ in Chicago.
MARTIN: Michael Kurh of Geneva, Illinois. Thanks so much for playing the puzzle.
KURH: Thank you.
MARTIN: OK, Will, what's the challenge for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes, it comes from listener Ben Bass, also Chicago by coincidence. Name someone who welcomes you in. Insert the letter U somewhere inside this, and you'll names something that warns you to stay away. Who is this person? And what is this thing? So again, someone who welcomes you in, insert the letter U somewhere inside, and you'll name something that warns you to stay away. Who is this person? And what is this thing?
MARTIN: All right. When you've got it figured out, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle and click on that submit your answer link. Just one entry per person please. Send in your answers by Thursday, January 29, at 3 p.m. Eastern time. Don't forget to include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time because if you are the winner, then we'll give you a call, and you will get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times. And he is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Mr. Will Shortz. Thanks so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel.
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.