Matching Near-Homonyms NPR's Puzzlemaster Will Shortz quizzes one of our listeners, and has a challenge for everyone at home. This week's winner is Stephen Grady from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. He listens to Weekend Edition on member station WSCL in Salisbury, Md.
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Matching Near-Homonyms

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Matching Near-Homonyms

Matching Near-Homonyms

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Liane Hansen.

And joining us is Puzzlemaster Will Shortz.

Hi, Will.

WILL SHORTZ (Puzzlemaster): Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: How are you this week?

SHORTZ: I'm doing fine. You going to any college graduations soon?

HANSEN: Oh, oh, now that you mention it, yes. Our son Connor is graduating from Emerson College on Monday and that's the second one out of college, whoo-whoo!

SHORTZ: All right.

HANSEN: So in theory we're going to have more money, but you know, 30 is the new 20, so--this is what I hear. No, we're really looking forward to it. Denis Leary is going to be getting an honorary degree so there is bound to be some kind of comic relief during the commencement speech. So it'll be a lot of fun to be in Boston.


HANSEN: All right. Now we had a challenge from way across the country from Boston, it was from Colorado Springs, Colorado, someone who actually listens to the program. Why don't you repeat it?

SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener Kevin Connors of Colorado Springs. I said think of a seven-letter word that names a person who is much admired, the first letter is P, as in Peter. I said, replace the P with an R, rearrange the result and you'll name a person who is despised. Who is it?

HANSEN: Who is it?

SHORTZ: Well, the much admired person is a patriot. Drop the P, add an R, rearrange and you get traitor, which is its opposite.

HANSEN: We had over 700 entries from people who solved this particular puzzle and our winner, who's randomly selected from those correct answers, is Stephen Grady from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

Hi, Stephen.

Mr. STEPHEN GRADY (Contestant): Hello.

HANSEN: Now I know Rehoboth Beach because my husband and I spend a lot of time in Bethany Beach. So what do you do that gets you to stay at the beach all year round?

Mr. GRADY: I run an in-guest house.

HANSEN: Oh, excellent. For a long time?

Mr. GRADY: We've been running it for seven years now.

HANSEN: And your season's just about to heat up, isn't it?

Mr. GRADY: Yup. We're getting ready for another season at the beach.

HANSEN: Excellent. Excellent. How long have you been playing the puzzle?

Mr. GRADY: Just for a couple years.

HANSEN: Oh. And are you a puzzle person?

Mr. GRADY: Yeah. I love crosswords and Scrabble and Boggle.

HANSEN: Oh, neat. Well, you sound like a perfect contestant. Are you ready to play?

Mr. GRADY: Sure.

HANSEN: All right. Will, meet Stephen Grady. Let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Stephen, every answer today is a made-up three-word phrase. The first word has a long O vowel sound, the second word is for--F-O-R--and the third word is the same as the first, except it has a long U vowel sound. For example, if I gave you the clue: Wishes regarding a basketball game. You would say: Hopes for hoops. All right?


SHORTZ: Number one is footwear exhibitions.

Mr. GRADY: Shoes for shows?

SHORTZ: Turn that around, the O comes first--the O word comes first.

Mr. GRADY: Shows for shoes.

SHORTZ: Shows for shoes is right. Number two is purposes played by classroom laws. And what are things that you have to follow in school?

Mr. GRADY: Rules?

SHORTZ: Yes, there's your U sound. Change that to...

Mr. GRADY: For roles.

SHORTZ: Yeah. Roles for rules are those purposes. Good. Long sticks used in swimming installation.

Mr. GRADY: Poles for pools.

SHORTZ: Poles for pools, good. Big books placed in burial places.

Mr. GRADY: Tomes for tombs.

SHORTZ: Tomes for tombs, good. A rib or femur that frontiersman Daniel gets.

Mr. GRADY: Hmm, that's a toughy.


SHORTZ: What's a rib or a femur.

Mr. GRADY: A bone.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh.

HANSEN: Know any guys with a...

Mr. GRADY: For Boone.

SHORTZ: Bone for Boone, good. Actress Crawford committed for the sixth month.

Mr. GRADY: Joan for June.

SHORTZ: Joan for June, that's when she got her schedule. That's right. Question asked about which person gets a house. And what's a general term for a house where you live.

Mr. GRADY: Home.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh.

HANSEN: Home for whom?

SHORTZ: Home for whom. You asked with a question mark, good. Certain soft drinks given to weirdos.


SHORTZ: What are some--yeah, certain soft drinks?

Mr. GRADY: Sodas?

SHORTZ: In one syllable.

HANSEN: That's what I thought first, actually, and I was suda? What? No.

SHORTZ: Made in Atlanta.

HANSEN: So it'd be a brand name.


Mr. GRADY: Coke.

SHORTZ: Yeah. There you go.

Mr. GRADY: Cokes for kooks

SHORTZ: Cokes for kooks, good. Moneys lent to nut cases. Moneys lent...

Mr. GRADY: Loans for loons.

SHORTZ: Loans for loons, good. Newborn horses given to dimwits.

Mr. GRADY: Fowl for fool.

SHORTZ: Fools is right.

HANSEN: I think they're foals, right?

SHORTZ: Foals for fools.

Mr. GRADY: Oh, foals for fools.

SHORTZ: Foals for fools is right. And your last one, this is actually a familiar phrase, what a good reporter has. And what does a reporter report.

Mr. GRADY: News.

SHORTZ: Yes, and what does that reporter have.

Mr. GRADY: Nose for news.

SHORTZ: Nose for news...

Mr. GRADY: Nose for news.

SHORTZ: correct.

HANSEN: Will, this has got to be one of the weirdest puzzles I think, and I love the way you have to create ways, you know, to define some common things, you know, like `swimming installation.' You know?


HANSEN: Well, hey, Stephen, you're real good.

Mr. GRADY: Well, thank you. Thanks.

HANSEN: For playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, the 11th edition of Merriam-Websters Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus, the Scrabble Deluxe edition from Parker Brothers, "The Puzzlemaster Presents" from Random House, volume two, and "The New York Times Will Shortz's Favorite Sunday Crossword Puzzles" from St. Martin's Press.

Stephen, I know the answer to this question but I'm going to ask you anyway. What's that member station you listen to?

Mr. GRADY: WSCO, 89.5 FM.

HANSEN: Very good. I'll just mention they also have another frequency, WSDL, which is an all-news coming out of Ocean City, Maryland, too. I'll give them a little bit of a plug. Stephen Grady from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, thanks for playing the puzzle with us.

Mr. GRADY: Oh, thanks, Liane. Thanks, Will.


SHORTZ: Thanks a lot.

HANSEN: All right, Will, the challenge you have for everyone to work on this week.

SHORTZ: Well, take the animal puma, the last two letters of its name, M-A, start mandrill, which is a large baboon. With the last two letters of mandrill, L-L, start llama and the last two letters of llama start marmot. So the result is a chain of four animals with two letter links--puma, mandrill, llama, marmot. Can you form a similar chain of animal names linking hippo to ermine and the number of the links in the chain is for you to determine. Every animal has to be either an mammal or a reptile. Only the general terms for animals are allowed, not the names for males, females, young, breeds, nicknames and that sort of thing. So again, form a chain of animal names linking hippo to ermine. Can you do it?

HANSEN: Well, if you can, put that answer down and e-mail it to us at Only one entry per person, please, and we have an early deadline this week, it'll be Wednesday at noon Eastern time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. We'll call you if you're the winner and you'll get to play puzzle on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's Puzzlemaster, Will Shortz. There's also information on our Web site at

And, Will, Sheilah will be here next week because I will be attending my son's commencement as well as a memorial service for my mom. So I'll see you in two weeks. Thanks a lot, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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