RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Of all the Sunday morning songs...
(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SUNDAY MORNING")
MAROON 5: (Singing) Sunday morning, rain is falling...
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VELVET UNDERGROUND: (Singing) Sunday morning...
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LIONEL RICHIE: (Singing) I'm easy like Sunday morning.
MARTIN: ...There's only one that says it is time for the puzzle.
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MARTIN: Joining me now is Will Shortz. He is the puzzle editor of The New York Times, WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master as well. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.
MARTIN: Remind us, what was last week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yes. I said take the word die - D-I-E - said think of two synonyms for this word that are themselves exact opposites of each other. What two words are these? And as a hint, I said they have the same number of letters. Well, my intended answer was pass and fail, which are both synonyms of to die. They mean the opposite of each other. We also accepted pass and stop. It was a little harder for me to see how those were exact antonyms, but they felt close enough so we accepted that as well.
MARTIN: OK. Very good. Over 570 of you answered this correctly. And our winner this week is Ella Bender of West Palm Beach, Fla. She joins us on the line now. Hey, Ella. Congratulations.
ELLA BENDER: Thank you so much, Rachel. Hi, Will.
SHORTZ: Hey there.
MARTIN: So, Ella, how did you figure this out?
BENDER: Well, there are many meanings to die. So first, I took the physical die and decided that many people say people pass on. So I took pass and then tried to think of an opposite of pass. And since I'm a teacher, I came up with pass fail.
MARTIN: So that was pretty natural for you. Good. What do you teach, Ella?
BENDER: I teach French, Spanish and Latin.
MARTIN: Great. Well, sometimes foreign languages do come in handy, right, Will, on the puzzles?
SHORTZ: Absolutely. Yeah. I am so impressed. I have trouble with English. Never mind three other languages.
BENDER: Well, I have trouble with table tennis.
MARTIN: Yeah. There you go. OK. So with that, Ella, are you ready to give this a go?
BENDER: Everybody is brilliant when listening to others. I don't know, but I will try.
MARTIN: I think you'll be five. OK, Will, let's play.
SHORTZ: All right, Ella and Rachel - and this is a good two-person puzzle because today I've brought a game of categories based on the word watch. I'll give you some categories. For each one, name something in the category starting with each of the letters W-A-T-C and H. For example, if the category was parts of the human body you might say waste, arm, thigh, chest and head. So any answer that works is fine, and you can give answers in any order. Here's your first category - presidential first names.
BENDER: OK, Abraham, Theodore.
SHORTZ: William, good. All you need is a C.
BENDER: I need the C - Calvin.
SHORTZ: Calvin. Boom, boom, boom. I'm impressed again. Your second category is insects.
BENDER: Insects - wasp, ant.
BENDER: And, and...
MARTIN: It has lots of legs.
SHORTZ: There's one that has lots of legs.
SHORTZ: Caterpillar, also centipede. Could have said cricket, cockroach, cicada, click beetle and a cut worm. Lots of C's. All right. Your next category is TV channels.
BENDER: TV channels.
BENDER: OK, HBO.
BENDER: I don't - AMC.
BENDER: And I don't know what's called where you are, but we have a WOR.
SHORTZ: WOR. Interesting, OK. I'll take that. I was going for The Weather Channel. And your last category is words that can precede ball - B-A-L-L.
BENDER: B-A-L-L. OK. Hardball.
BENDER: Tennis ball.
BENDER: Let's see. Wiffle ball.
SHORTZ: Wiffle ball. Nice. A and C.
BENDER: I need help, Rachel.
MARTIN: OK, A and C.
BENDER: Is there such a thing as an air ball?
SHORTZ: Air ball, yes as in sports. All you need is a C.
MARTIN: C - oh, I got one.
BENDER: Can you help me?
MARTIN: Yeah. Croquet ball?
BENDER: Croquet ball.
SHORTZ: Croquet ball. Cheese ball, curve ball, crystal ball, cornball, cannon ball and cue ball.
MARTIN: OK. What's our next one?
SHORTZ: That's it.
MARTIN: Oh, that's it?
SHORTZ: I'll tell you, Ella, you went through so fast.
MARTIN: That went so fast. Oh, man. I was just hitting my stride. Ella, you were great. Very well done. And for playing the puzzle today, you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin and puzzle books and games. You can read about your prizes at our website. It is npr.org/puzzle. Ella Bender of West Palm Beach, Fla. Thanks so much for playing the puzzle, Ella.
BENDER: Thank you so much. It's been a pleasure and an honor to meet you both.
SHORTZ: Thank you.
MARTIN: Thanks so much, Ella. OK, Will, what's up for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes, the challenge comes from listener Henry Hook, and it's a little tricky. You have a standard calculator with room for 10 digits. What is the largest whole number you can register on it? So again, a standard calculator with room for 10 digits, what is the largest whole number you can register on it?
MARTIN: OK. You know what to do. When you've got the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle. Click on the submit your answer link. Just one entry per person please. And our deadline for entries is Thursday April 2, at 3 p.m. Eastern time. Don't forget to include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. And 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, Will Shortz. Thanks so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel.
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