CARRIE KAHN, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Carrie Kahn. We're in that relaxing week between Christmas and New Year's where things seem to slow down a little, and there's time to reflect and get together with friends and family. So gather around the radio, folks. It's time to play the puzzle.
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KAHN: Joining me now is Will Shortz. He's the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master. I've been looking so forward to this, Will. Good morning.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Carrie. Welcome to the show.
KAHN: Thank you so much. And happy almost New Year to you.
SHORTZ: Almost New Year, yes.
KAHN: Making any resolutions for 2016?
SHORTZ: You know, I make resolutions all year long. I don't save them until January. How about you?
KAHN: I think I'll keep mine to myself. (Laughter). OK, so remind us of last week's challenge.
SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener David Aukland of Tarrytown, N.Y. I said think of four common six-letter words that all end in the same five letters, in the same order. And the first letters of these four words are consecutive consonants in the alphabet. And I said there are no other common six-letter words that end with these five letters. What are the words? Well, the correct answer - or my answer - was lotion, motion, notion and potion. There was another answer that we also - that we counted correct, browns, crowns, drowns and frowns. Since those are plurals, I didn't like that answer so much. But it worked. So we counted that correct.
KAHN: Well, we got 390 correct answers. And this week's winner is Jim Waters of Bellingham, Wash. Jim, congratulations.
JIM WATERS: Thank you.
KAHN: How long did it take you to figure this one out?
WATERS: Well, I first thought of five-letter words that had the same ending - brown, crown, drown, frown and grown. And I noticed that you can slap an S on the end of those first four. And you still have a valid word. But try slapping and S on the end of grown and, well, that's not a valid word. So I figured Will's probably got another solution in mind. So I kept working at it. And I eventually found the lotion, motion, notion, potion.
KAHN: Oh, good. Jim, are you ready to play the puzzle?
KAHN: OK, Will, let's do it.
SHORTZ: All right, Jim and Carrie, every December around this time, I do a year-end quiz on new names in the news. And here's how it works. I'm going to give you some names that you almost certainly had never heard of before 2015. You tell me who they are. We'll start easy. Number one is Kim Davis.
WATERS: Kim Davis was the county clerk that gained attention for defying a federal court order.
SHORTZ: That's it. You got that. How about Justin Trudeau?
WATERS: Justin Trudeau. Is he the new prime minister of Canada?
SHORTZ: That's exactly it, son of Pierre...
KAHN: And quite dreamy.
SHORTZ: Yes, very - (laughter).
KAHN: Quite dreamy.
SHORTZ: All right, your next one is three names - Anthony Sadler, Spencer Stone and Alek Skarlatos.
WATERS: Oh, boy. Anthony...
SHORTZ: I'll give you a hint. They are Americans who were traveling together.
WATERS: It sounds like it's going to be something like - oh, wait a minute. Were they the guys that - oh, they subdued somebody on the subway.
SHORTZ: On a train, yes.
SHORTZ: From Amsterdam to Paris. They overpowered a Moroccan terrorist on a high-speed train. Nice job. Try this. It's three names - Kylo Ren, Rey, which is spelled R-E-Y, and Finn.
WATERS: Kylo Ren, Rey and Finn.
SHORTZ: Yeah, yeah, yeah. All right...
KAHN: If I could hum, I would hum the tune, but (laughter).
SHORTZ: (Laughter) It's movie related, Jim.
KAHN: The movie of the year.
WATERS: Oh, would they be the new stars of the new "Star Wars" movie?
SHORTZ: They are the lead characters in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," nice.
SHORTZ: And here's your last one. It's a recent one, Ariadna Gutierrez.
WATERS: Ariadna Gutierrez.
SHORTZ: Here's your hint, Colombia. (Laughter).
WATERS: Oh, yes. She's the - OK, yeah, she thought for about a minute that she was the new Miss Universe.
SHORTZ: That's it, briefly but mistakenly awarded the title Miss Universe - not bad.
KAHN: Great job, Jim. And for playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin as well as puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle. And Jim, tell us your public radio station.
WATERS: APLU in Seattle.
KAHN: Jim Waters of Bellingham, Wash., thanks for playing the puzzle.
WATERS: You're welcome.
KAHN: OK, Will, what's the challenge for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes, it comes from listener Glenn Kean (ph) of Des Moines, Iowa. Name a famous actress, four letters in her first name and four letters in her last. Add one letter and arrangement the result. You will name an animal and the sound that this animal makes. Who's the actress, and what animal is it? So again, a famous actress, four-four. Add one letter, and rearrange the result. You'll name an animal and the sound that this animal makes. Who's the actress? And what is the animal?
KAHN: When you have the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle, and click on the submit your answer link. Just one entry per person, please. And we have another early deadline this week. So submit your entries by Wednesday, December 30 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Please 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 you'll get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Will Shortz. That was great fun. Thanks so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thanks a lot, Carrie.
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