Want To Get An A? Better Know Your Words Backward And Forward For each question in this week's puzzle, you'll be given a word ending in the letter A. Anagram each of them to get a familiar word starting with A.
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Want To Get An A? Better Know Your Words Backward And Forward

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Want To Get An A? Better Know Your Words Backward And Forward

Want To Get An A? Better Know Your Words Backward And Forward

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/495308799/495358026" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

You may have heard the news by now. Brad and Angelina - Brangelina, if you will - are over. And it might feel like there's nothing left we can count on in this world except one thing. It's time for The Puzzle.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTIN: I'm joined now by the puzzle editor of The New York Times, and he is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster, Will Shortz. Hi there, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.

MARTIN: I will resist temptation. I will resist the urge to ask you your feelings about Brad and Angelina's split.

SHORTZ: I was just about to ask you.

MARTIN: (Laughter) I'm getting over it. I'm getting - like all of us, collectively mourning.

SHORTZ: We'll survive, right?

MARTIN: Yeah, we will survive. Somehow we will. So remind us of last week's challenge.

SHORTZ: Yes, the challenge came from listener Justine Tilley of Vancouver, British Columbia. I said, think of a familiar three-word phrase in the form blank and blank, said drop the and, then move the last word to the front to form a single word that means the opposite of the original phrase. And I said as a hint, the ending word has seven letters. What's the word? Well, the phrase is here and now. Move now to the front and drop the and, you get nowhere, which is the opposite.

MARTIN: So just over 400 people sent in the right answer this week. And our randomly selected winner is Karen Peterson of Los Osos, Calif. She's on the line now. Hey, Karen. Congratulations.

KAREN PETERSON: Oh, thank you.

MARTIN: So this was kind of a hard one. How'd you figure it out?

PETERSON: Well, I thought of - you know, you said seven letters in the final word. So I thought, well, a three-letter word and a four-letter word, and I thought of now and then. And then I figured that didn't work. And then here and now popped into my brain and it did work.

MARTIN: Well done. So tell me about Los Osos, which, I'm embarrassed to say, I lived in California for a few years but I don't know where that is.

PETERSON: Well, it's halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles on the coast. It's a beautiful spot and...

MARTIN: ...What do you do there?

PETERSON: Well, I show my photography in a gallery in Morro Bay, which is just north of Los Osos...

MARTIN: Wow.

PETERSON: ...And I'm the manager of the gallery there and just enjoy taking photos around the local area - beautiful.

MARTIN: It sounds lovely. OK, Karen, are you ready to play The Puzzle?

PETERSON: I think so.

MARTIN: All right, let's give it a whirl, Will. We're ready.

SHORTZ: All right, Karen and Rachel, I'm going to give you some words ending in the letter A. Anagram each of them to get a familiar word starting with A. For example, if I said idea, I-D-E-A, you would say aide, A-I-D-E. So here's number one - tuna, T-U-N-A.

PETERSON: Oh.

SHORTZ: So just write down T-U-N-A and rearrange those four letters to get a new word that starts with A.

PETERSON: OK. Aunt, A-U-N-T.

SHORTZ: Aunt.

MARTIN: Good.

SHORTZ: That is it. Number two is tuba, T-U-B-A.

PETERSON: Let's see. A - could use some help (laughter).

MARTIN: Abut - does abut have one T or two T's?

SHORTZ: It has one. You got it, abut.

MARTIN: Oh, OK, abut.

PETERSON: Abut, OK. Yeah, yeah.

SHORTZ: Like one state abuts the next.

MARTIN: Yeah.

SHORTZ: Here's your next - beta, B-E-T-A.

PETERSON: Let me think a minute.

SHORTZ: Try A-B.

MARTIN: A-B.

PETERSON: B - abet?

SHORTZ: Abet is it - is correct. Here's your next one - manila, M-A-N-I-L-A. And if you were playing a game of 20 questions, this would be one of the three categories.

PETERSON: Animal.

SHORTZ: Animal is it.

MARTIN: Good.

PETERSON: (Laughter).

SHORTZ: Persia, P-E-R-S-I-A.

PETERSON: OK.

SHORTZ: And your hint is it's a word that means to hope.

PETERSON: Aspire.

MARTIN: Yeah.

SHORTZ: Aspire, good. Lumina, L-U-M-I-N-A. And let me ask you, Karen, are you a college graduate?

PETERSON: Yes, alumni (laughter).

SHORTZ: OK. Alumni, yeah. Medusa, M-E-D-U-S-A. And it's a - the - a synonym is entertained.

PETERSON: Amused.

SHORTZ: Amused, yeah. How about marina, M-A-R-I-N-A?

PETERSON: Let me think.

SHORTZ: Someone who flies jets.

PETERSON: (Laughter) I'm out of luck.

MARTIN: Oh. Oh, it's kind of like an - do you want me to say it?

SHORTZ: Yeah, go ahead, Rachel.

MARTIN: An airman.

SHORTZ: An airman is right.

PETERSON: Airman. Oh, OK. (Laughter) Sorry.

SHORTZ: All right, here's your last one - regalia, R-E-G-A-L-I-A. And I'll tell you right up front, it's the name of a country.

PETERSON: Algeria.

SHORTZ: Algeria's it.

MARTIN: Nice.

SHORTZ: Good job.

PETERSON: Yay.

MARTIN: Strong finish. Karen, well done. For playing The Puzzle today, you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin and all kinds of puzzle books and games. You can check your prizes out at npr.org/puzzle. And where do you hear us, Karen? What's your public radio station?

PETERSON: It's KCBX in San Luis Obispo.

MARTIN: Great. Karen Peterson of Los Osos, Calif. Thanks so much for playing The Puzzle, Karen.

PETERSON: Thank you for calling (laughter).

MARTIN: You bet. OK, Will, what's the challenge for next week?

SHORTZ: Yes, take the words does, toes and shoes. They all end in the same three letters but none of them rhyme. What words starting with F, S and G have the same property? The F and S words are four letters long, and the G word is five letters. And that's F as in Frank, S as in Sam and G as in girl. So again, what words ending in F, S and G - four, four and five letters respectively - all end in the same three letters but do not rhyme?

MARTIN: You know what to do. When you've got the answer, go to npr.org/puzzle and click on the submit your answer link. Just one entry per person, please, and our deadline for those entries is Thursday, September 29 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 win, 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 puzzlemaster, Will Shortz.

Thanks so much, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel.

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