RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
And I know you know what time it is. It's time to play The Puzzle.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
MARTIN: Joining me now is Will Shortz. He is puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster.
Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.
MARTIN: So normally, I would ask you to refresh our memories about last week's challenge. But we are not following the usual script this week, right?
SHORTZ: That's right. I'll repeat the two-week challenge in a little bit.
MARTIN: OK, it's a two-week challenge. So that means we get an excuse to bring in a celebrity puzzler. And Savannah Guthrie is here to take on our challenge. She is, of course, NBC News' chief legal correspondent and co-anchor of NBC's "Today Show." She's on the line now.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Hi, Rachel. Hi, Will.
SHORTZ: Hey there.
GUTHRIE: Ready for my humiliation on NPR.
MARTIN: No way, man. People are going to be amazed. You're such a good sport for giving this a go. So I met Savannah when we were both covering the White House, and a lot has changed in your life since then, obviously. You got a new job, the old "Today Show" gig. You got married. You had a baby.
MARTIN: And I know you don't have a ton of time to play crossword puzzles in your life right now because you're also expecting another baby, right?
GUTHRIE: That's right. And I - as I already told you in my 10-page disclaimer email...
GUTHRIE: ...I suffer from pregnancy brain. So I'm...
MARTIN: Which is real.
GUTHRIE: Yes, I...
MARTIN: It's - for those out there who think that that's not real, it's real.
GUTHRIE: It is a little terrifying. The other day - actually, this happened - I went to pick up my toddler; she goes to preschool - and I, you know, waved at all the other moms who were all cuted up and looking good and downtown New Yorkers, and I literally realized that my sweatshirt was on inside out and also backwards.
MARTIN: Like, not in, like, a cool, hip way? Like...
GUTHRIE: Oh, no...
MARTIN: No (laughter).
GUTHRIE: ...In that, like, and now you're going to tell me I have drool on my face kind of way.
GUTHRIE: So, yes, I'm not.
MARTIN: I've been there.
GUTHRIE: Yes. I'm very excited to play, but I'm also very cognizant that this might be just completely embarrassing.
MARTIN: No, it is going to be awesome. And now to the task at hand. Are you ready to play The Puzzle?
GUTHRIE: We can't stall anymore?
MARTIN: Nope. I mean, I could ask you more parenting questions, but, you know, what the heck.
GUTHRIE: Have mercy on me, Will.
MARTIN: All right.
SHORTZ: (Laughter) OK.
MARTIN: Give us an easy one, Will.
SHORTZ: OK, guys. Well, this is a great two-person puzzle. And I brought a game of categories based on the word guard, G-U-A-R-D. And as you know, I'm going to give you a series of categories. For each one, name something in it starting with each of the letters, G, U, A, R, D. For example, if the category were three-syllable girls' names, you might say Gabrielle, Ursula, Andrea, Rosalind, and Diana. Any answer that works is fine, and you can give the answers in any order.
MARTIN: OK. I think we can do it. OK.
SHORTZ: All right, number one, European countries.
GUTHRIE: Ukraine, right?
SHORTZ: And also United Kingdom.
SHORTZ: Albania, yeah. Good.
SHORTZ: Austria. There's two R's.
SHORTZ: Russia is it, also Romania.
MARTIN: Oh, good. Yeah, we didn't get - oh, Romania. Yeah, yeah. D...
SHORTZ: One D. There's one D.
MARTIN: Oh, yeah.
SHORTZ: Denmark is it. Good. Your next category - rooms and areas of a house.
GUTHRIE: OK. Garage.
GUTHRIE: Upstairs (laughter).
SHORTZ: There you go.
GUTHRIE: Rec room.
MARTIN: Yes, that's what I was going to say.
SHORTZ: Rec room, yes.
MARTIN: I had a rec room growing up.
MARTIN: Yeah, right?
SHORTZ: Driveway. OK. Well, I was going for dining room...
MARTIN: Dining room.
SHORTZ: ...Or den.
GUTHRIE: Oh, OK.
SHORTZ: But we'll go with those. All right, here's your next one - three-letter exclamations.
GUTHRIE: Three-letter exclamations. You mean, like, exhortations kind of thing?
SHORTZ: Well, things you just like - I don't know.
GUTHRIE: Oh. Oh, well, here's one that I say that you - is probably not on your list. But I say it all the time.
GUTHRIE: Gah - G-A-H.
SHORTZ: Gah, that's - believe - that's on my list.
GUTHRIE: Oh, that's my top exclamation.
MARTIN: That's your top (laughter). Gah?
SHORTZ: Also gee and grr (ph).
GUTHRIE: How about ugh (ph)?
SHORTZ: Ugh, uh-huh.
GUTHRIE: Ack, A-C-K?
SHORTZ: Yes, also aha. R - something you might yell if you were at an old football game.
SHORTZ: There you go, rah.
GUTHRIE: Rah, yes, rah. Rah.
SHORTZ: Very good, rah. Rah is what I was going...
MARTIN: Rah (laughter).
SHORTZ: There's two good...
GUTHRIE: And duh.
SHORTZ: Duh and d'oh (ph).
SHORTZ: OK, your last category.
GUTHRIE: This is fun.
MARTIN: You're knocking it out of the park, lady.
SHORTZ: Your last category - people and things seen at a wedding.
GUTHRIE: People and things seen at a wedding. Groom.
SHORTZ: Usher, yeah, good.
GUTHRIE: Usher, there you go. People and things seen at a wedding.
SHORTZ: What does the usher...
GUTHRIE: How about doily? Doily.
SHORTZ: OK, I was going for diamond and also a dress.
GUTHRIE: Oh, yeah, OK. Well, I was going off the beaten path there. R or A.
SHORTZ: And what does the usher walk you down?
MARTIN: Oh, yeah, that thing.
GUTHRIE: Oh, aisle, hello.
SHORTZ: Aisle is it. All you needs is an R.
GUTHRIE: R - rice.
MARTIN: Rice, yeah.
SHORTZ: Rice and ring. Good job.
MARTIN: Well done, Savannah Guthrie, co-anchor of NBC...
GUTHRIE: Wait, it's over and I survived?
MARTIN: Wait, you want to do another one (laughter)?
GUTHRIE: No, I want to quit while I'm ahead.
MARTIN: (Laughter) That was amazing. NBC's Savannah Guthrie, we're going to send you a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin 'cause that's what we do to winners, and you are a winner. And so I'm going to send you one, maybe two. Thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.
GUTHRIE: Thank you. And thanks for going easy on me, Will.
SHORTZ: OK, no problem.
MARTIN: You did amazing.
OK, Will, as we mentioned earlier, we have a two-week challenge going on right now, so remind us what it is.
SHORTZ: Yes. Take the digits five, four, three, two, and one, in that order, and using these digits and the four arithmetic signs - plus, minus, times and divided by - you can get one with the sequence, five minus four plus three minus two minus one. You can get two with the sequence, five minus four plus three minus two, put all that in parentheses, times one. That gets you to two.
And the question is, how many numbers from one to 40 can you get using the digits five, four, three, two and one, in that order, along with the four arithmetic signs? You can group digits with parentheses, as in my example, but there are no tricks to this. It's a straightforward puzzle. How many numbers from 1 to 40 can you get? And specifically, what number or numbers can you not get? I'll reveal my solution next week.
MARTIN: I've totally already figured it out, by the way. Just kidding. Just kidding.
MARTIN: When you have the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle. Click on the submit your answer link. Just one entry per person, please. And our deadline for the entries is this Thursday, October 27, 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'll give you a call and you'll 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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