ELISE HU, HOST:
If you're a "Harry Potter" fan, you already know a new book was released at midnight. If you weren't standing in line with the other muggles to get your copy, you can do something just as magical, play The Puzzle.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
HU: I am joined by the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Will Shortz.
Hey there, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Elise.
HU: Did you ever get into the "Harry Potter" craze?
SHORTZ: I'm afraid not. But, you know, everything in the "Harry Potter" books is in the New York Times crossword. You know, it's one of the standard things - Shakespeare - anything Shakespeare's fine. Anything The Beatles is fine, and anything "Harry Potter"-related is fine.
HU: So it's part of basic cultural literacy now.
SHORTZ: That's right.
HU: OK. So, Will, remind us of last week's challenge.
SHORTZ: Yes, I said a spoonerism is an interchange of initial consonant sounds in a phrase to get another phrase, as in light rain and right lane. And I said name something seen in the kitchen in two words. Its spoonerism is an article that's worn mostly by men. What is it? Well, the article in the kitchen is a pie tin. You spoonerize that, and you get a tie pin.
HU: Nearly 800 people sent in the right answer. And one of them is our randomly selected winner this week, Ron Malzer of La Crosse, Wis.
RON MALZER: Thank you.
MALZER: So how did you get to the answer?
MALZER: Well, I started on Wednesday morning, was kind of stuck for 10 minutes. Went to bed Wednesday night and then it came to me thinking about men's clothing that a woman would not be likely to wear.
HU: Ron, how long have you been playing The Puzzle?
MALZER: I started in 1993.
HU: Wow. And do you have a question for Will?
MALZER: I do. About a year ago, I really started getting into crossword puzzles. And I'd be interested in hearing what goes into constructing a crossword puzzle.
HU: What do you think, Will?
SHORTZ: People ask, you know, what comes first, the answers or the clues? And of course, it's the answers. You construct a crossword exactly the opposite of the way you solve one. You start with the answer grid. In fact, you start with your theme, if you have that, construct the grid and then you write the clues at the end.
MALZER: Very good.
HU: Ron, are you ready to play The Puzzle?
MALZER: I am.
SHORTZ: All right, Ron and Elise, I'm going to give you two four-letter words. Rearrange the letters in each of them to make two synonyms. For example, if I said newt - N-E-W-T - and felt, you would say went and left. Your number one is lore - L-O-R-E - and trap.
MALZER: Role and part.
SHORTZ: That is correct. Number two is foal - F-O-A-L - and zeal - Z-E-A-L.
MALZER: Loaf and laze.
SHORTZ: Ever and runt.
MALZER: Veer and turn.
SHORTZ: That's it. Dune - D-U-N-E - and bear - B-E-A-R.
MALZER: Nude and bare - B-A-R-E.
SHORTZ: That's it. Care - C-A-R-E - and shad.
MALZER: C-H or S-H?
SHORTZ: Sorry, shad - S-H-A-D.
MALZER: Race and dash.
SHORTZ: That's it. Bake - B-A-K-E - and ones - O-N-E-S.
MALZER: Beak and nose.
SHORTZ: That's it. Drag - D-R-A-G - and maul - M-A-U-L.
MALZER: Grad and alum.
SHORTZ: That's it. Rate - R-A-T-E - and nerd - N-E-R-D.
MALZER: Yes, and rend.
SHORTZ: That's it. Good one.
MALZER: Thank you, Elise.
SHORTZ: Leap - L-E-A-P - and grin - G-R-I-N.
MALZER: Let's see, rang.
SHORTZ: G-R-I-N, so it would be ring.
MALZER: Ring, OK, and peal.
SHORTZ: That's it. Leap again - L-E-A-P - and shay - S-H-A-Y.
MALZER: Would that be pale and ashy?
SHORTZ: That's it. Tope - T-O-P-E - and drab - D-R-A-B.
MALZER: Poet and bard.
SHORTZ: Good. Cool - C-O-O-L - and stun.
MALZER: Loco and nuts.
SHORTZ: Rare - R-A-R-E - and shut.
MALZER: Would that be rear and...
SHORTZ: Your tush is right.
MALZER: Oh, very good.
SHORTZ: Good one, Elise. And here's your last one. Lath - L-A-T-H - and post - P-O-S-T.
MALZER: Halt and stop.
SHORTZ: That is correct. And, Ron, I have a feeling you are a Scrabble player.
MALZER: (Laughter) Yes, I am.
SHORTZ: You know your anagrams.
HU: Ron, you were so fast at that. I was trying to be more competitive.
HU: (Laughter) Great job. And for playing our puzzle today, you're going to get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, as well as puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle. Ron, tell us your public radio station.
MALZER: WLSU here in La Crosse.
HU: Ron Malzer of La Crosse, Wis., thanks for playing.
MALZER: Thank you.
HU: OK, Will, what's the challenge for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes, it comes from listener Ed Pegg Jr. who conducts the website mathpuzzle.com. Take the four four-letter words limb, L-I-M-B, area, cork and knee. Write them one under the other, and the four columns will spell four new words, lack, iron, mere and bake. And this is called a double-word square. I'd like you to find a double word square with six-letter words. And specifically, your square must include the words ponies, accept, seared, caviar. Ponies is spelled the way you'd think, accept is A-C-C-E-P-T, seared is S-E-A-R-E-D, and caviar. These four words must be among the 12 common uncapitalized six-letter words in the square. Can you do it?
HU: Well, when you have the answer, you can 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, August 4 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at at about that time. 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.
Thanks again, Will.
SHORTZ: Thanks, Elise.
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