Anagrams and Artists NPR's Puzzlemaster Will Shortz quizzes one of our listeners, and has a challenge for everyone at home. (This week's winner is Kate Davis from Bellingham, Wash. She listens on NPR station KPLU in Seattle.)
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Anagrams and Artists

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Anagrams and Artists

Anagrams and Artists

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From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Liane Hansen, and joining us is puzzle master Will Shortz.

Hi, Will.

WILL SHORTZ (Puzzlemaster): Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: (Singing) Happy belated birthday to you.

SHORTZ: Oh, you knew.

HANSEN: You celebrated a birthday.

SHORTZ: Thank you very much.

HANSEN: Yeah. We're not going to tell people how old you are. We...

SHORTZ: I'm 53.

HANSEN: Oh, man. He's right out there, out front. We could have made it a guessing game, you know. Did you--anything special or do you just mark your birthday quietly?

SHORTZ: Well, you know, played table tennis. I...

HANSEN: All right, what else is new?

SHORTZ: I know, what's new?

HANSEN: All right. All right. Well, you gave us a challenge last week. It was sort of difficult. In fact, that was part of the clue, wasn't it? Would you repeat it please?

SHORTZ: Yes, I said take a two-word phrase meaning a difficult puzzle, drop the first letter, read the remaining letters backward and you'll get a word for a part of Alaska. What is it?

HANSEN: What is it?

SHORTZ: Well, a difficult puzzle is a hard nut, drop the h, read the rest backward and you get tundra.

HANSEN: Hard nut, that's great. We had over 800 entries from people who solved the puzzle and our winner, randomly selected from those correct answers, is Kate Davis. She joins us from Bellingham, Washington.

Hi, Kate.

Ms. KATE DAVIS (Puzzle Winner): Good morning, Liane.

HANSEN: What do you do there in Washington?

Ms. DAVIS: I work on the accounting team at our community food co-op.

HANSEN: Oh, fun. You must be busy this time of year. It's harvest time, right?

Ms. DAVIS: Yes, lots of wonderful fruit and veggies.

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

Ms. DAVIS: I've been listening for at least eight years and sending in entries for a couple of years.

HANSEN: Ah, so you are prepared to play.

Ms. DAVIS: I am.

HANSEN: All right. Oh, you sound ready,too.

Will, please meet Kate. Let's play.

SHORTZ: Hi, Kate. Today's puzzle is called artists' arrangements. I'm going to give you some words and letters to anagram. Each answer is the last name of a famous artist. For example, if I said, root, R-O-O-T, plus the letter C as in Charles and gave you the first name John, you'd say John Corot, C-O-R-O-T.

All right, number one is cobs, C-O-B-S, as in corn cobs, plus H and the first name is Hieronymus.

Ms. DAVIS: Bosch.

SHORTZ: Hm, not too many Hieronymuses, so...

HANSEN: Good hint.

SHORTZ: Number two is they, T-H-E-Y, plus W and...

Mr. DAVIS: Wyeth.

SHORTZ: Yes, Andrew or James Wyeth is right. Number three is taint, T-A-I-N-T, plus I and this is the artist's full name.

HANSEN: He's not famous for painting redheads, is he?

Ms. DAVIS: Titian.


Ms. DAVIS: Thank you.

SHORTZ: Titian is right.

HANSEN: Titian.

SHORTZ: Good. Nurse, N-U-R-S-E, plus B as in boy and your first name is Peter Paul.

Ms. DAVIS: Rubens.

SHORTZ: Rubens is right. Tarts, T-A-R-T-S, plus U, first name Gilbert.

Ms. DAVIS: Seurat? No.

SHORTZ: Not quite.

Ms. DAVIS: Not quite. Liane.

HANSEN: Painted famous portrait of George Washington.

SHORTZ: That's correct.

Ms. DAVIS: Oh, Stuart.

SHORTZ: Gilbert Stuart is right. Thoro, T-H-O-R-O, plus K, first name is Mark.

Ms. DAVIS: Rothko?

HANSEN: Yes, Kate.

SHORTZ: That's it, Mark Rothko. All right, try this one, mudcap, M-U-D-C-A-P, plus H, and the first name is Marcel.

HANSEN: "Nude Descending a Staircase."

Ms. DAVIS: Oh, Marcel Duchamp.

SHORTZ: Good, good, good. Boy, Liane, you give good hints.

Ms. DAVIS: Yes.

SHORTZ: Try this one. Siesta, S-I-E-S-T-A, plus M as in Mary, and the first name is Henri.

Ms. DAVIS: No.

HANSEN: He did cutouts.

Ms. DAVIS: No.

HANSEN: Matisse.

SHORTZ: Henri Matisse is correct.

Ms. DAVIS: Oh!

SHORTZ: Try this one, aspics, A-S-P-I-C-S, plus O.

Ms. DAVIS: Picasso.

SHORTZ: Pablo Picasso is right. Try this one, abound, A-B-O-U-N-D, plus U. He's a famous painter of birds.

Ms. DAVIS: Audubon.

SHORTZ: John James Audubon is right. Andiron, A-N-D-I-R-O-N, plus M as in Mary.

Ms. DAVIS: Mondrian.


SHORTZ: Good, Mondrian. Excellent. Arouses, A-R-O-U-S-E-S, plus U, first name Henri.

Ms. DAVIS: There's a lot of those Henris.


SHORTZ: There's a lot of--if you want to be an artist...

HANSEN: It's a prerequisite.

SHORTZ: The first letter of the last name is R.

Ms. DAVIS: Oh, Rousseau.

SHORTZ: Rousseau is right. Slither, S-L-I-T-H-E-R, plus W and the first name is James.

HANSEN: What was his mother's name?

Ms. DAVIS: You know, I can see the picture and I can't think of...

HANSEN: Lady in the rocking chair.

Ms. DAVIS: Yeah, yeah.

HANSEN: Side view. `Put your lips together and blow.'

Ms. DAVIS: Whistler.


SHORTZ: James Whistler. Good, good. Those are great clues, Liane. How about nitrogen, N-I-T-R-O-G-E-N...

Ms. DAVIS: Mm-hmm.

SHORTZ: M as in Mary, first name Frederick and the first letter of the last name is R.

Ms. DAVIS: Remington?


SHORTZ: Remington, yes. And your last one is Toledoan, T-O-L-E-D-O-A-N, as in a person from Toledo, plus L, and this is the artist's full name. First letter is D as in dog.

Ms. DAVIS: Donatello.

SHORTZ: Donatello, good job.

HANSEN: Oh, really. Between us, I think, Kate, we've covered the waterfront as far as art history is concerned.

Ms. DAVIS: I think so. I'm used to working on a team.

HANSEN: Yes. Me, too, actually, and I always wait breathlessly for those magic words of Will's, `And your last one is.'

Ms. DAVIS: Yeah.

HANSEN: You did very well. For playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, the 11th Edition of Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus, the Scrabble Deluxe Edition from Parker Brothers, "The Puzzle Master Presents from Random House, Volume 2" and two "Sudoku Wordless Crossword Puzzle" books presented by Will Shortz, and that also is from St. Martin's Press.

Kate, what's your member station? What do you listen to?

Ms. DAVIS: We are members of KPLU from Seattle-Tacoma.

HANSEN: Excellent. Kate Davis from Bellingham, Washington, thanks a lot for playing with us today.

Ms. DAVIS: Oh, thank you very much.

HANSEN: That was a lot of fun.

Ms. DAVIS: Yeah.

HANSEN: All right. The fun continues, Will. What's the challenge you have for everyone to work on during this coming week?

SHORTZ: Well, this comes from listener Frank Morgan, who is a mathematician at Williams College. He also has a puzzle page at Think of a word whose meaning you can make plural by adding an a at the start. Now it sounds impossible, but it actually works. Start with a very common singular noun, add the letter a the start and you'll make the meaning plural. What word is it?

HANSEN: When you have the answer, e-mail us at Only one entry per person please. Our deadline is Thursday, 3 PM Eastern time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time and we'll call you if you are 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 puzzle master Will Shortz. There's also information on our Web site at

Will, thanks a lot and happy birthday.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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