First And Last Two Letters Are Key To Solve This Puzzle That's Not So Easy Every answer this week takes the last two letters from a category chosen to create a new word.
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First And Last Two Letters Are Key To Solve This Puzzle That's Not So Easy

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First And Last Two Letters Are Key To Solve This Puzzle That's Not So Easy

First And Last Two Letters Are Key To Solve This Puzzle That's Not So Easy

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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I'm Rachel Martin in Washington, D.C., where - did you hear? - our metro system shut down for an entire 24-hour period. So while DC transit may not be that reliable, you know what is? The Sunday puzzle.


MARTIN: Joining me now is Will Shortz, puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master.

Good morning, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.

MARTIN: What was last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Mike Reiss who is a writer for "The Simpsons." I said take the name of a well-known actress. Her first starts with the three letter abbreviation for a month. I said replace this with the three-letter abbreviation for a different month, and you'll get the name of a famous poet. Who are these two people?

Well, the answer is Julianne Moore and Marianne Moore.

MARTIN: Over 800 of you got the right answer. And our lucky winner is Sara Hindsley of Greenbelt, Md. She joins us on the line now. Hey, Sara, congratulations.

SARA HINDSLEY: Thank you. Hello, Rachel and hello, Will.

SHORTZ: Hi, there.

MARTIN: Hello - we're happy to have you with us. Did this com pretty quickly to you? Did you have to work for it?

HINDSLEY: I had to work for it. We thought about it from Sunday until Wednesday night. I went to bed. And I - all a sudden it came up in my head again, and I grabbed an almanac.

MARTIN: Oh, you grabbed an almanac. You went that far.


MARTIN: Good for you.

HINDSLEY: I said - what is it?

MARTIN: (Laughter).

HINDSLEY: I found it. I showed it to my husband. He said OK. There you go.

MARTIN: Will Shortz is on the line. Do you have a question for him?

HINDSLEY: Yes, I do. Have you written any puzzles in a foreign language?

SHORTZ: Wow. That would be beyond my ability.

MARTIN: Do you speak any foreign lectures, Will?

SHORTZ: I can sort of get by a little in French. I tell you I have this great, old book - crossword book - in which the across answers are in French and the downs are in English. And the clues for the French words are in English. And the clues for the English words are in French. It's a great way to brush up your foreign language.

MARTIN: Zut alors.

HINDSLEY: I guess so (laughter).

MARTIN: Sara, are you ready to do this?

HINDSLEY: I think so.

MARTIN: Will, let's play the puzzle.

SHORTZ: All right. I'm going to name a category. You name something in it whose first two letters are the last two letters of the category's name. For example, if I said author, you might say Orwell as in George Orwell. Author ends in O err. Author ends in O-R, and Orwell starts O-R.


SHORTZ: All right. Number one is Beatle, B-E-A-T-L-E.

HINDSLEY: I should know this. Leaf-hopper.


MARTIN: Oh, she went with the other beetle.

SHORTZ: Oh, interesting, went with the insect.

HINDSLEY: Oh, I'm sorry - Lennon. I'm sorry. Lennon.

SHORTZ: I'm going to give you two stars for that.

MARTIN: Yes. You get credit for two.

SHORTZ: Number two - Disney musical.

HINDSLEY: "Aladdin."

SHORTZ: That's it. Country in Africa.

HINDSLEY: Oh, I'm thinking of this. C-A, right?


HINDSLEY: It's not coming to me.

SHORTZ: Do you know this one, Rachel?

MARTIN: No. Is it my turn to show off? I think...

SHORTZ: It says (laughter)...

MARTIN: (Laughter) I think there's two. Cameroon or...

HINDSLEY: Oh, Cameroon.

MARTIN: ...The Central African Republic.

HINDSLEY: Oh, I'm so embarrassed.

SHORTZ: Interesting. But Central African Republic would be CE, though. But...


SHORTZ: But you got Cameroon.

MARTIN: Now I'm really drilling down on this. But it is known as CAR, Will, I'm just saying.

SHORTZ: OK. All right, you're ahead of me.

MARTIN: Cameroon, Cameroon.

SHORTZ: Cameroon is what I was going for. Make of auto.


SHORTZ: That's it. Race horse.

HINDSLEY: Seabiscuit.

SHORTZ: Good - also Secretariat and Seattle Slew. Amazingly, there's three answers to that.

Municipal official.

HINDSLEY: Alderman?

SHORTZ: Alderman is it. Norse explorer.

HINDSLEY: Erik the Red.

SHORTZ: That's it. Bridge.

HINDSLEY: George Washington Bridge?

SHORTZ: George Washington Bridge in New York City. Ocean.

HINDSLEY: Atlantic - oh, sorry. Ocean - O-C-E-A-N. There are only five - seven. Antarctica?

MARTIN: Yeah, yeah.

SHORTZ: There you go. There you go.

MARTIN: That's an ocean.

SHORTZ: It's the Antarctic Ocean.


SHORTZ: Best picture.

HINDSLEY: Oh, boy. Oh, I'm thinking. I should know this. Best picture.

SHORTZ: Now, if "The Revenant" had won, that would have been a second answer.

MARTIN: Oh, that's what I was thinking.

SHORTZ: But remember, it was "Spotlight" that won this year.

MARTIN: Oh, you're right.


SHORTZ: I'll tell you it's 1940. And it's Hitchcock.

HINDSLEY: Oh. "Rear Window"?

MARTIN: Oh, good job.


MARTIN: It wasn't?

HINDSLEY: Too early.

SHORTZ: It's not "Rear Window," but it's a seven-letter girls name.

HINDSLEY: Oh. It's not "Rebecca"?

SHORTZ: "Rebecca" it is. Good. And your last one - Summer Olympics host.

HINDSLEY: Host. Stockholm?

SHORTZ: Stockholm, 1912. Bravo.

MARTIN: Sara, you did a great job. Well done. And for playing the puzzle today, Sara, you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin and all kinds of puzzle books and games. You can check them out at And where do you hear us, Sara, before we let you go?

HINDSLEY: WAMU in Washington, D.C.

MARTIN: Sara Hindsley of Greenbelt, Md., thanks so much for playing the puzzle, Sara.

HINDSLEY: Thank you.

MARTIN: OK, Will, what's up for next week?

SHORTZ: Yes, the challenge comes from listener Andrew Chaikin of San Francisco. Think of a common nine-letter word that contains five consecutive consonants. Take three consecutive consonants out of these five and replace them with vowels to form another common nine-letter word. What is it?

So again, common nine-letter word, something everyone knows. It has five consecutive consonants. Take three of the consecutive. Take three of these - consecutive and replace them with vowels to form another common nine-letter word. What word is it?

MARTIN: OK. When you've got the answer, go to and click on the submit your answer link. Just one per person, please. Our deadline for those entries is Thursday, March 24, 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 then we call you and then you get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times. And he is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Will Shortz. Thanks, Will.

SHORTZ: Thank you, Rachel.

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