One Letter at a Time Puzzle master Will Shortz quizzes one of our listeners, and has a challenge for everyone at home. This week's winner is Tina Nelson from Billings, Mont. She listens to Weekend Edition on member station KEMC.
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One Letter at a Time

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One Letter at a Time

One Letter at a Time

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From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Liane Hansen. And joining us is Puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Hi, Will.

Mr. WILL SHORTZ (Puzzlemaster): Hi, Liane.

HANSEN: Great to see you last week.

MR. SHORTZ: I had a blast. It was great to see you too.

HANSEN: How was the Book Expo?

Mr. SHORTZ: The Book Expo was the biggest collection of book people I've ever seen. It was two city blocks full of publishers and booksellers and book people. It was just amazing.

HANSEN: I understand you had a long line waiting to see you.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yeah, I turned the corner, I was signing these new copies of the Word Play book that tie in with the movie and I round the corner to the St. Marten's Press booth and there's a whole line of people coming snaking down and around the corner, and I thought who are these people here for?

And they were there to see me and the book.

HANSEN: How nice. Congratulations, well done. Glad you're getting that attention. Well, you gave us a challenge last week, an interesting one while you were here. Would you repeat it?

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener JoMarie Privitera of Marietta, Georgia. I said think of a five-letter name of a company that's often seen while driving on the highway. I said you could drop the first letter, and re-arrange the four remaining letters to get a dance. Or going back to the company's name, you could drop the second letter and re-arrange the four remaining letters to name an event where the dance may be performed. What is it?

HANSEN: What is it?

Mr. SHORTZ: Well, the company is U-Haul and you do those operations, you can get Hula and Luau where Hula is performed.

HANSEN: We had over 1,400 entries from people who tried to solve the puzzle and our winner randomly selected from the correct answers is Tina Nelson. She joins us from Billings, Montana. Hi, Tina.

Ms. TINA NELSON (Caller): Hi.

HANSEN: What do you do there in Billings?

Ms. NELSON: Well, I am a home-based travel agent and I play in the Billings Symphony.

HANSEN: What's your instrument?

Ms. NELSON: French horn.

HANSEN: Oh, difficult instrument to play.

Ms. NELSON: It is and sometimes I make it sound that way.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: How long have you been playing the puzzle?

Ms. NELSON: You know, I'm not sure how long, but I know it's over at least 10 or 15 years.

HANSEN: Really, that's a long time.

Ms. NELSON: Yeah.

HANSEN: So you know what happens next, right?

Ms. NELSON: Yes.

HANSEN: Tina, meet Will, and let's play.

Mr. SHORTZ: All right, Tina and Liane, this is a good puzzle for two people. I'm going to give you two six-letter words, change a letter in one of them to make a new word that's a synonym of the other word. For example, if I said riddle and center C-E-N-T-E-R, you would say middle. That changes a letter in riddle and it means center. The letter you change can be anywhere in the word and the two words can be in either order.

All right, your first one is flight, F-L-I-G-H-T, and terror.

Ms. NELSON: Fright.

Mr. SHORTZ: Fright, excellent. Number two is expect, master.


Mr. SHORTZ: Change a letter in expect.

Ms. NELSON: Oh, okay change it to an R and expert?

Mr. SHORTZ: Expert, excellent as you are. Your next one is reduce, shrine, S-H-R-I-N-E.

Ms. NELSON: (Liane, I'm not.

HANSEN: No, I'm not. Go-ahead Will a hint is helpful.

Mr. SHORTZ: Your hint is change a letter is shrine.

Ms. NELSON: Shrink.


Mr. SHORTZ: Shrink, oh, they got it simultaneously too. Chance, C-H-A-N-C-E, and switch.

Ms. NELSON: Change.

Mr. SHORTZ: Change, good. Summit, S-U-M-M-I-T, and tiptoe.

Ms. NELSON: Oh, tiptop.

Mr. SHORTZ: Tiptop, excellent. Damage and insure, I-N-S-U-R-E.

Ms. NELSON: Oh, how about injure?

Mr. SHORTZ: Injure, excellent. Regard, payoff. Change a letter in regard.

Ms. NELSON: Okay, reward.

Mr. SHORTZ: Reward, nice. Strong, patent, P-A-T-E-N-T. And here's your hint, change a letter in...

Ms. NELSON: I got it.

Mr. SHORTZ: You got it?

Ms. NELSON: Potent.

Mr. SHORTZ: Potent, you didn't need a hint, good. Maiden and enrage, E-N-R-A-G-E.

Ms. NELSON: How about Madden?

Mr. SHORTZ: Madden, good. Outlay, O-U-T-L-A-Y, and forbid, F-O-R-B-I-D.

Ms. NELSON: Liane, got any clues?

HANSEN: I'm thinking. Is it outlaw?

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes, it's outlaw. Good one, Liane. Try this one, scribe, S-C-R-I-B-E, waiter, W-A-I-T-E-R.

Ms. NELSON: Writer?

Mr. SHORTZ: Writer, yes. Supply, S-U-P-P-L-Y, limber, L-I-M-B-E-R.

Ms. NELSON: Supple?

Mr. SHORTZ: Supple, excellent. Stodgy, S-T-O-D-G-Y, squire, S-Q-U-I-R-E.

Ms. NELSON: Liane?

HANSEN: Do you change a letter in squire?

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes.

HANSEN: Is it square?

Mr. SHORTZ: Square is right, good. Here's your last one, poison, P-O-I-S-O-N, lockup, L-O-C-K-U-P.

Ms. NELSON: Prison

Mr. SHORTZ: Prison is correct. Nice job, Tina.

HANSEN: Tina, way to go.

Ms. NELSON: Well, I'm glad to have your help, but sometimes I'm just stumped.

HANSEN: Oh, tell me. Only a few times. I was stumped more than you will ever know when you were coming up with the answers. You were terrific and for playing our puzzle today you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, the 11th Edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus, the Scrabble Deluxe Edition from Parker Brothers, the Puzzlemaster Presents from Random House, Volume Two, a set of Sodoku puzzle books presented by Will Shortz from St. Marten's Press, and one of Will Shortz's Puzzlemaster Decks of Riddles and Challenges from Chronicle Books. Quite a load of gifts there for you.

Ms. NELSON: It is. I may have to quit my job.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: And spend all the time playing with your prizes, right? Tell us your member station, Tina.

Ms. NELSON: It's KEMC Yellowstone Public Radio.

HANSEN: Tina Nelson from Billings, Montana. Thanks a lot, you were a fabulous guest. I loved meeting you today.

Ms. NELSON: Thanks, it was fun.

HANSEN: Okay. Yes, fun is always the watchword, Will, and during, now that we have a holiday weekend, what fun do you have for us?

Mr. SHORTZ: Well, this week's challenge comes from listener Doug Heller of Flowertown, Pennsylvania. Name two people who have been in the news together recently. One of them has a three-letter last name. The other has an eight-letter last name. Move the first letter of the eight-letter name to the start of the three-letter name. The result will be two words that are synonyms. What are they? So again, two people who've been in the news together recently. One of them has a three-letter last name. The other an eight-letter last name. Move the first letter of the eight-letter name to the start of the three-letter name. The result will be two synonyms. Who are the people and what are the synonyms?

HANSEN: When you have the answer, go to our Web site,, and click on the Submit your Answer link on the Sunday Puzzle Page. Only one entry per person, please. Our deadline this week is Thursday, 3:00 p.m. Eastern time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. 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 Puzzlemaster, Will Shortz, who joined us this week from New York. Will, thanks a lot.

Mr. SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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