'R' You Ready? Puzzle master Will Shortz quizzes one of our listeners, and has a challenge for everyone at home. (This week's winner is Portia Cornell from Highland, Ca. She listens to Weekend Edition on member station KVCR in San Bernadino.)
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'R' You Ready?

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'R' You Ready?

'R' You Ready?

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From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Liane Hansen. And joining us is puzzle master and star of the Sundance Film Festival, Will Shortz. Hi, Will.

Mr. WILL SHORTZ (NPR Puzzle Master; Crossword Editor, THE NEW YORK TIMES): Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: You're back from Park City, triumphant, I hear.

SHORTZ: Well, it was quite a few days last weekend. You know, the movie Word Play, the documentary about me and crosswords and the crossword tournament, premiered. The reception was really good, the crowd laughed, I mean, it's a funny movie, it gets very tense at the end. And the news was this past Wednesday, the movie was sold to a distributor and that we'll start appearing in theaters later this year, probably this summer.

HANSEN: Oh, great! So we'll all get to see it, huh?

SHORTZ: That's right.

HANSEN: And you are now all over the blogosphere, you know.


HANSEN: HA. With pictures, so I don't know, I think you're going to have to get some Groucho glasses or something to keep yourself...

SHORTZ: I'm thinking of shaving, getting a buzz cut or something.

HANSEN: ...(laughing) that'll work, sure, that'll work. All right, Will, for those of us who didn't get to go to Sundance and listened to the radio last Sunday and play the puzzle regularly, you left us with a challenge. Repeat it for us.

SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener Andrew Chaikin of San Francisco. I said, take the nine letters from G to O, change one of them to the following letter of the alphabet, and rearrange the result to name a famous person. And as two hints, I said, the answer is this person's full name and it is someone who's been in the news lately. Who is it?

HANSEN: Who is it?

SHORTZ: Well, you change H to I and rearrange, you get Kim Jong-Il, the ruler of North Korea.

HANSEN: We had over a thousand entries from people who tried to solve this puzzle and our winner, randomly selected from the correct answers, is Portia Cornell from Highland, California. Hi, Portia.

Ms. PORTIA CORNELL (Winner, Puzzle Game, Highland, California): Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: How long did it take you to solve this puzzle?

CORNELL: This one actually was fairly quick. My husband and I, we wake up to the puzzle every Sunday morning on our alarm and we try to finish it real quickly. He calls it our homework. And we got that one fast.

HANSEN: Wow. How long have you been playing?

CORNELL: I don't know, at least eight years. I've been sending them in ever since you took email.

HANSEN: And you like crossword puzzles too?

CORNELL: Oh, I love crossword puzzles, and I also love Will Shortz's puzzle in Reader's Digest.


SHORTZ: Thank you.

HANSEN: Okay! Hadn't heard that mentioned before, but she sounds like a real puzzle fan and as one, are you ready to play, Portia?

CORNELL: I sure hope so.

HANSEN: All right. Will, meet Portia. Let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Portia, I'm going to give you clues for two words. The first word has six letters. Drop the last letter, read the remaining letters backward, and you'll get a five-letter word that answers the second clue. For example, if I said, failing mentally and sights at taxi stands, you would say senile and lines. Number one is stage an uprising, and your second clue is Casanova.

CORNELL: Incite rebel?


SHORTZ: It does start with 're.'

CORNELL: Revolt?

SHORTZ: Revolt, yes!

CORNELL: And now...

SHORTZ: Drop the last letter, read the rest backward, you get...


SHORTZ: ...lover is right!

CORNELL: (Laughing) Oh, I was...


HANSEN: (Laughing) First one's always the hardest.

CORNELL: Oh, gosh.

SHORTZ: Number two: to change form and actress O'Neal.



CORNELL: Mutate.

SHORTZ: That's correct. Means of leaving and material for a suit.



CORNELL: Uh, egress.

SHORTZ: Egress, excellent! Ready to nod off and Three Musketeers weapon.


SHORTZ: Yes...

CORNELL: Drowsy.

SHORTZ: Drowsy to sword.

CORNELL: Drowsy, okay.

SHORTZ: Lacking ethics and a nice odor.

CORNELL: Amoral.


CORNELL: What was the other clue?

SHORTZ: A nice odor.


SHORTZ: Aroma, you got it.

CORNELL: So sorry (laughing).

SHORTZ: You're doing great. Wicker work material and perfume made from petals.

CORNELL: Um, at, ooh.

SHORTZ: And it's, in particular, often perfume made from rose petals.

CORNELL: All I think of is like atar or something.



SHORTZ: Uh-huh.

CORNELL: Oh! And, and the other clue, I'm sorry, I'm terrible today. Rattan!

SHORTZ: Rattan to atar. Excellent! A tiny, tiny slice and bad things.

CORNELL: Tiny slice...a nibble?

SHORTZ: No, as of pie. A tiny, tiny slice of pie.

CORNELL: I always have big slices.

SHORTZ: Uhh (laughing).

HANSEN: (Laughing)

CORNELL: Tiny slice of pie...wedge?

SHORTZ: Uhh, no...

HANSEN: A really tiny, tiny wedge.

SHORTZ: Yeah, just give me a...

CORNELL: Uh, smidgen? (Laughing)

SHORTZ: It does start with S.

CORNELL: Boy, I cannot think of this word.

HANSEN: How about, is it sliver?


CORNELL: Oh, sliver!


HANSEN: And so the bad, bad, bad, bad things are evils.


SHORTZ: Are evils. Good. All right, try this one. Actor Howard of the Third Man and obvious.

CORNELL: I'm not real good on movies.

HANSEN: I can hum the theme, but that's about it.

CORNELL: Howard...umm...

SHORTZ: And Howard is his last name.

CORNELL: Trevor Howard?

SHORTZ: Excellent. Your second clue is 'obvious.'

CORNELL: Obvious...overt?

SHORTZ: Overt. How about bathroom fixture and poet who wrote The Wasteland?



CORNELL: Toilet?

SHORTZ: Yes, yes...

CORNELL: Toilet...Eliot!

SHORTZ: Eliot, excellent. To dress or attire as a judge and your second clue is carried.

CORNELL: Toted, tote...

SHORTZ: No...what does a judge wear?

CORNELL: Oh, a robe.

SHORTZ: Yes. To dress or attire as a judge...

CORNELL: Enrobe.

SHORTZ: Yes...and carried?

HANSEN: Borne.


SHORTZ: Borne, yes. Borne, b-o-r-n-e.

CORNELL: Oh, borne.

SHORTZ: And here's your last one: to leave in a hurry and sprayed, as a crowd of demonstrators.

CORNELL: Maced (laughing)...

SHORTZ: Yes...

CORNELL: Oh? And the other clue?

SHORTZ: To leave in a hurry. So it starts d-e-c-a-m.

CORNELL: Oh, decamp!

SHORTZ: Decamp is it!

HANSEN: (Laughing)

SHORTZ: Nice work!

CORNELL: Oh, goodness. I was...

HANSEN: Oh, no, Por-...

CORNELL: It's a lot easier when you're lying in bed on Sunday morning.

HANSEN: That's what they tell me. You did really well. These were not easy.

CORNELL: Thank you for saying that.

HANSEN: And for playing our puzzle today, you'll get a Weekend Edition lapel pin, the Eleventh Edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary & Thesaurus, the Scrabble Deluxe Edition from Parker Brothers, the Puzzle Master Presents from Random House, Volume 2, and a set of Su Doku puzzle books presented by Will Shortz from St. Martin's Press. Portia, what's your member station?

CORNELL: KVCR, Valley College Radio in San Bernardino.

HANSEN: Okay, Portia Cornell, from...

CORNELL: I'm a member.

HANSEN: Good for you! Member Portia Cornell from Highland, California. Thanks a lot for playing the puzzle with us today.

CORNELL: Thank you so much.

HANSEN: Okay. Now, Will, a challenge for everyone listening to play the next, this coming week.

SHORTZ: Well, this next challenge involves a spoonerism. And a spoonerism is where you interchanged the initial consonant sounds of words in one phrase to get a new phrase. For example, wild cherry spoonerized is child wary. Now, name a popular tourist spot in Europe, four letters in the first word, six letters in the last, spoonerize it, and you'll get a new phrase meaning got drunk. What phrases are these? So again, a popular tourist spot in Europe, four, six, spoonerize the name, and you'll get a new phrase meaning got drunk. What phrases are these?

HANSEN: When you know the answer, remember, we have a new way to send in your entry. We no longer accept email entries, but, what you do is you go to our Web site, NPR.org, and you click on the 'Submit Your Answer' link on the Sunday puzzle page. Only one entry per person, please, and our deadline this week is Thursday 3 p.m. Eastern time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time and we'll call you if you're 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, who joins us from New York.

Will, thanks a lot.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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