'Pumpkin Bumpkin' and Other Fun with 'P' and 'B' Puzzle master Will Shortz quizzes one of our listeners, and has a challenge for everyone at home. (This week's winner is Margo Porras from San Diego, Calif. She listens on member station KPBS.)
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'Pumpkin Bumpkin' and Other Fun with 'P' and 'B'

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'Pumpkin Bumpkin' and Other Fun with 'P' and 'B'

'Pumpkin Bumpkin' and Other Fun with 'P' and 'B'

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From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION, I'm Liane Hansen. And joining us is Puzzle Master Will Shortz. Bon Giorno, Will.

WILL SHORTZ: Bon Giorno, Liane.

HANSEN: You're in Lucca, Italy for the World Soduko Championships?

SHORTZ: That's right, it's the world's first Soduko championship. And Lucca is just a few miles from Pisa.

HANSEN: Any results?

SHORTZ: Yes. It was an exciting finale. And the winner is a woman from the Czech Republic. Her name is Jana Telova(ph). She's 31-years-old, an accountant in a factory. And at the news conference afterwards, she said her goal was to prove that men and women are equal in puzzle solving and in logic in particular. The second and third place contestants were both Americans. Second place was Thomas Snyder(ph), who is a PhD student in chemistry at Harvard, and third place was Way Wa Huang(ph) who is a software engineer for Google.

HANSEN: Fabulous. What fun. A lot of fun I bet too.

SHORTZ: Yeah, and we're going to do a book of all the puzzles from the championship.

HANSEN: Excellent idea. Well, you know we're all awaiting the answer to the challenge you posed last week. Could you repeat it, please?

SHORTZ: Yes it came from Henry Hook of Brooklyn, NY, and I said what eight letter noun containing the letter B as in boy is pluralized by inserting an S immediately before the B.

HANSEN: Your answer?

SHORTZ: The answer is passerby and you pluralize it by saying passersby.

HANSEN: We had over 1,200 entries from people who tried to solve the puzzle, and our winner randomly selected from those correct answers is Margo Porras, and she joins us from San Diego, California. Hi Margo.


HANSEN: Hey, how are you?

PORRAS: Great, thanks.

HANSEN: Tell us what you do in San Diego?

PORRAS: I'm an interior designer.

HANSEN: And how long have you been playing the puzzle?

PORRAS: Oh, twelve years.

HANSEN: You're a long time listener, first time player, right?


HANSEN: You know what happens when you get the correct answer and you're chosen. Are you ready to play?


HANSEN: Alright, well meet Will, let's play.

PORRAS: Hi Will.

SHORTZ: Margo, every answer today is a two-word rhyming phrase in which one word starts with B as in boy, and the other starts with P as in Peter. And otherwise the two are just spelled the same. For example, if I gave you the clue large hog, you would say big pig.


SHORTZ: And either the B word or the P word can come first in the phrase. The order is for you to figure out. Alright, number one, not as good a cushion. What's the opposite of good?

PORRAS: A bad pad?

SHORTZ: Bad pad is it. Number two, invoice for medicines?

PORRAS: A pill bill.

SHORTZ: Excellent. A person who's unexcelled at annoying people?

PORRAS: Unexcelled?

SHORTZ: Uh huh. Like your little teenage brother maybe.

PORRAS: Like a . . .

HANSEN: Poor bore? But that's not quite right.

SHORTZ: Poor bore, you know, that was on my list.

PORRAS: It is . . .

SHORTZ: I'll give that to you. I was going for best pest.

HANSEN: Oh, okay.

SHORTZ: Try this one. A stackable bed for a young hoodlum.

PORRAS: A punk bunk.

SHORTZ: A punk bunk, good. A board on a ship with nothing written on it.

PORRAS: A blank plank.

SHORTZ: Excellent. An Easter rabbit that likes word play?

PORRAS: A punny bunny.

SHORTZ: A place to park a ship in Southwest Australia?


HANSEN: I know you're there. I know it's there, Margo. Let me venture, Perth berth.

SHORTZ: Perth berth is it, good. Try this one. One who severely criticizes an advertising sign hung on a wall. If you have a speaker at a dinner and what's that thing that's across on, hangs on the wall?

PORRAS: Oh, a banner panner.

SHORTZ: Banner panner, excellent. Words said to someone who's up in baseball?

And what do you call the person at the plate?

PORRAS: Yeah or patter batter, batter patter.

SHORTZ: Batter, patter good. A get-together to discuss a cereal grain?

PORRAS: Oh golly. Oh, a barley parley.

SHORTZ: A barley parley, good. A small horse that looks emaciated?

PORRAS: A boney pony.

SHORTZ: A boney pony. A rural person who grows a large Halloween gourd?

PORRAS: A pumpkin bumpkin.

SHORTZ: That's right. And your last one, a supporter of a Green Bay football player?

PORRAS: Oh a Packer backer.

SHORTZ: Excellent.

HANSEN: Alright, Margo, well done. Rhythm and rhyme. Boney Maroni. Nice job. For playing our puzzle today, we're going to send you 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, Vol. 2, a set of Sodoku puzzle books presented by Will Shortz from St. Martin's Press. Margo, what member station is yours?


HANSEN: Alright, Margo Porras from San Diego, California. You were fabulous. Thanks so much for playing the puzzle.

PORRAS: Oh, thank you so much. Thanks.

HANSEN: Okay. Well, Will, something for all of us to chew on for the rest of the week.

SHORTZ: Yeah, it's a continuation of the on-air puzzle. Name an object in four letters starting with the letter P as in Peter. Change the P to a B and you'll get a verb that names something you do to that object. So once again, an object in four letters starting with the letter P as in Peter. Change the P to a B and you'll get a verb that names something you do with the object. What is it?

HANSEN: When you have the answer, remember, we have a new way for you to send it to us. We no longer accept email entries. But you do you go to our website NPR.org, click on 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 we could 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 this week joins us from Lucca, Italy. Will gracie.

SHORTZ: Prego, Liane.

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