LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
Now, we don't have any baskets. We don't have plastic grass. But get ready to start hunting for answers because it's time for the puzzle.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
WERTHEIMER: Joining me now is Will Shortz. He's puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Linda. Welcome back.
WERTHEIMER: Thank you. And we should add to your credits that you are also the founder of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, which is just about to happen.
SHORTZ: Yeah, it's just a week away. And sometime, Linda, you have to come up. That would be wonderful.
WERTHEIMER: That would be terrifying for me.
SHORTZ: But we have a special guest this year, Peter Sagal from Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me. He'll be doing playoff commentary in the finals.
WERTHEIMER: In the meantime, remind us what last week's challenge was.
SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener Andrew Chaikin of San Francisco. I said think of a common nine-letter word that contains five consecutive consonants. I said take three consecutive consonants out of these five and replace them with vowels to form another common nine-letter word. The answer was strengths to strenuous.
WERTHEIMER: We got about 500 right answers this week. Our lucky winner is Robert Schwartz of Atlanta, Ga. Congratulations.
ROBERT SCHWARTZ: Thank you very much.
WERTHEIMER: So how did you find the answer this week?
SCHWARTZ: Well, my last name is Schwartz. It's an eight-letter word with only one vowel in it. And so...
WERTHEIMER: Does that make you a specialist (laughter)?
SCHWARTZ: Well, it does because the word strength is an eight-letter word with only one vowel in it, so I thought of strengths almost right away, dropped a few consonants out and there was strenuous. Honest to God, it was almost the first word I thought of.
WERTHEIMER: Congratulations. I understand you have something you want to ask Will.
SCHWARTZ: I do. Will and I attended the same school in Charlottesville, Va. And we have both been members of championship softball teams. Now everybody knows that Will is a puzzler and a big player of table tennis. I wanted to ask him - does he still play softball?
SHORTZ: Yeah, I'll tell you the - my third year of law school at University of Virginia, they started a softball league. And I was lucky enough to be on the winning team. But alas, I don't play softball anymore.
WERTHEIMER: You know, I didn't know you were a lawyer. My view of you is changing. I'm not sure for the better.
SHORTZ: Which way? Yeah.
WERTHEIMER: (Laughter) Well, Robert, are you ready to play?
SCHWARTZ: I am.
WERTHEIMER: And Will, are you ready?
SHORTZ: I am.
Robert and Linda, every answer today consists of a five-letter word said twice in two different meanings. For example, if I said a device for moving Raggedy Ann and similar toys, you would say dolly dolly.
SCHWARTZ: A dolly dolly.
SHORTZ: Number one, a lamp that doesn't weigh much.
SCHWARTZ: That would be a light light.
SHORTZ: Uh-huh. The correct one of the first 10 amendments to the Constitution.
SCHWARTZ: I think that would be a right right.
SHORTZ: Uh-huh. One who studies the center of the eye.
SCHWARTZ: A pupil pupil.
WERTHEIMER: (Laughter) You're really good at this.
SHORTZ: An icky group of 144 things.
SCHWARTZ: A gross gross.
SHORTZ: That's it. A person imposing better financial penalties.
SCHWARTZ: A finer finer.
SHORTZ: Oh, that's good.
SCHWARTZ: Nothing could be finer than to be a finer finer.
SHORTZ: There you go. A horse carriage that lots of things about it don't really work.
WERTHEIMER: A horse carriage...
SCHWARTZ: Not a sulky sulky.
SHORTZ: No, that is five letters. But that's not it. A horse carriage, like a rural one, an informal one...
SCHWARTZ: That one's hard. Not a wagon wagon or a broke broke.
SHORTZ: The first letter is B.
SCHWARTZ: A buggy buggy?
SHORTZ: A buggy buggy is it. A group of directors at a sawmill.
SCHWARTZ: Wow. A group of directors at a sawmill.
SHORTZ: Your dog is trying to help.
SCHWARTZ: (Laughter) Oh, my goodness.
SHORTZ: Like, the executives.
SCHWARTZ: I see. They would be the board board.
SHORTZ: That's it. And here's your last one. Sound made when prisoners toast each other with their glasses.
SCHWARTZ: That would be (laughter) a clink clink.
SHORTZ: Oh, bravo.
WERTHEIMER: I'm just dazzled by your performance. It was really quite remarkable.
SCHWARTZ: Nobody bats a thousand, but I came close. Will, did you bat a thousand?
SHORTZ: I never batted a thousand, no.
WERTHEIMER: (Laughter) So, Robert, for playing out puzzle today, you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin as well as puzzle books and games. And you can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle. What is your public radio station, Robert?
SCHWARTZ: WABE 90.1 here in Atlanta, has been for many, many years.
WERTHEIMER: Robert Schwartz of Atlanta, Ga., thank you very much for playing the puzzle.
SCHWARTZ: Thank you.
WERTHEIMER: So, Will, what is the challenge for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes. Well, the University Press of New England has just published a book by Paul Lewis. He's a professor of English at Boston College. And the book is called "The Citizen Poets Of Boston: A Collection Of Forgotten Poems, 1789 to 1820." And there's a chapter devoted to puzzles in poetic form. Now, most of the puzzles in this book are explained. But there's one puzzle that never had a printed answer. And I'd like to see if the collective brainpower of NPR listeners can be brought to bear to clear up this mystery.
It's a two-line verse from the November 12, 1803, issue of Boston Weekly Magazine. And here it is. I am both man and woman, too, and go to school as good boys do. I'll select what I think is the best answer that's submitted. And if no one sends in what I think is the intended answer, then I'll pick what I consider the most ingenious one, whether it's correct or not. So here's the riddle again. I am both man and woman, too, and go to school as good boys do.
WERTHEIMER: So when you have that answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle, and click on the submit your answer link. Just one entry per person, please. And our deadline for entries is Thursday, March 31 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. And if you are 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. Thanks, Will.
SHORTZ: Thank you, Linda.
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