INDIRA LAKSHMANAN, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Indira Lakshmanan. Ladies and gentlemen, the puzzle segment you're about to hear is true. Only the names have been retained to reveal the winner because there's no glory in it if we can't say our contestant's name. Joining me for puzzle now is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle detective - I mean, puzzle master, Will Shortz. Hi, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Hey, Indira. Welcome to the show.
LAKSHMANAN: Thank you so much. And it is really exciting to be playing the puzzle with you for the first time. So can you please remind us, what was last week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Peter Collins from Ann Arbor, Mich. I said name someone who's the subject of many jokes, two words, removed the space between the words, insert the letters O and N in that order, not necessarily consecutively, inside the string of letters, and the result reading from left to right will be two words of opposite meaning that this someone might say. Who is it, and what are the words? Well, the person is Saint Peter. Lots of jokes with him at the Pearly Gates. And insert those letters, you get stop and enter, which are two things he might say to people waiting at the gate.
LAKSHMANAN: So I never in a million years would've gotten that, but somehow 80 of you listeners out there did send in the correct answer. And our randomly selected winner is Kate Jakuta of Baltimore, Md. Congratulations, Kate.
KATE JAKUTA: Thank you.
LAKSHMANAN: All right, so, Kate, you've got to tell me. How did you solve this?
JAKUTA: Well, the first thing I thought of when I thought of people who are in jokes a lot are those jokes with, you know, a priest and a rabbi walked into a bar.
LAKSHMANAN: Of course.
JAKUTA: And it got me thinking about other religious jokes, which lead me to Saint Peter.
LAKSHMANAN: OK, so how long have you been playing the puzzle?
JAKUTA: Just three weeks.
LAKSHMANAN: Wow. So you're not only good at puzzles, you are also incredibly lucky at the lottery.
JAKUTA: Yes, I know.
LAKSHMANAN: (Laughter) All right. So, Kate, do you have a question for Will Shortz?
JAKUTA: I was just wondering of all your years of doing the Sunday puzzle, if one particular puzzle stands out in your mind as being particularly difficult or one that almost nobody could solve?
SHORTZ: Well, embarrassingly, there was one years ago where I think I misspelled Tobey Maguire's name - the actor. Yeah, it's T-O-B-E-Y, and the whole puzzle hinged on his name being spelled T-O-B-Y. If I remember right, somebody solved the puzzle anyway. He figured out what my mistake must have been and solved the puzzle anyway. So I was impressed.
LAKSHMANAN: All right, Kate, are you ready to play the puzzle?
JAKUTA: Yes, I'm ready.
LAKSHMANAN: OK, Will, let's go.
SHORTZ: All right, Kate and Indira, today's puzzle is called La La La I Can't Hear You. Every answer is a word or name of three or more syllables in which an interior syllable is an accented la. For example, if I said family name of the former Shah of Iran, you would say Pahlavi.
LAKSHMANAN: Got it.
SHORTZ: OK, number one, complete the name of this drink - Pina blank.
SHORTZ: That's right. Number two, a Northern Italian city that's also the name of a cookie.
SHORTZ: That's it. Italian for ice cream.
SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Sausage that's popular in deli sandwiches.
SHORTZ: That's it. Deep-fried mid-east food often sold from street carts.
SHORTZ: Good. Popular Greek dish of meat and sometimes vegetables served on a skewer.
JAKUTA: All I can think is shish kabob, but I know that's not it.
SHORTZ: It starts with an S. What if I told you that?
JAKUTA: It starts was an S.
SHORTZ: Yeah, a Greek dish with meat served on a skewer. Well, if it's any consolation, I wouldn't have gotten this either, but it's a well-known food I think - souvlaki.
LAKSHMANAN: Oh, of course.
JAKUTA: Oh, yeah.
SHORTZ: How about corn tortilla rolled around a filling and covered with a chili peppers sauce.
SHORTZ: That's it. Physical exercise system popular with women.
SHORTZ: That's it. African country neighboring Zambia, Tanzania and Mozambique.
JAKUTA: Oh, no.
SHORTZ: It's a thin country wedged between those other three. What if I tell you it starts with M.
JAKUTA: I can picture it, but I can't number how to say it. It's like Malawi.
SHORTZ: Yeah. There you go. Malawi. How about islands in the Pacific belonging to Ecuador known for their giant tortoises and other exotic wildlife.
SHORTZ: That's it.
LAKSHMANAN: I actually went there for vacation this last summer.
JAKUTA: Oh, fun.
SHORTZ: Oh, man, oh, man.
LAKSHMANAN: It was great.
SHORTZ: And here's your last one. Item holding waxed sticks used for illumination.
SHORTZ: Candelabrum or -labra. Nice job.
JAKUTA: Thank you.
LAKSHMANAN: Fantastic, Kate. That was really good. And you guys, I have to say, we were really stumped on the souvlaki. So I am curious whether anyone out there thought of that. I'm sure our entire Greek audience did.
JAKUTA: I'm so embarrassed actually 'cause there's a restaurant in my neighborhood called souvlaki.
LAKSHMANAN: Oh, well, yeah, it was a good one. So, Kate, for playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin as well as puzzle books and games. And you can read all about it npr.org/puzzle. So please tell us, what is your public radio station?
JAKUTA: WYPR in Baltimore.
LAKSHMANAN: Fantastic. Kate Jakuta of Baltimore, Md., thank you so much for playing the puzzle.
JAKUTA: Thank you.
LAKSHMANAN: OK, Will, what is our challenge for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes. Name a major U.S. city in two syllables, reverse the syllables phonetically, and you'll get the cost of attending a certain NBA game what is it? So again, a major U.S. city, two syllables, reverse the syllables phonetically, and you'll get the cost of attending a certain NBA game. What is it?
LAKSHMANAN: OK. When you guys have the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle, and click on submit your answer link. So just one entry per person please. Send in your answers by Thursday, February 19, at 3 p.m. Eastern time. And please include a phone number where we can reach you around that time. And if you are the winner, we will give you a call, and you'll get to play on the air with the crossword editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Will Shortz. Thank you so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thank you, Indira.
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.