Sunday Puzzle: Read Into It NPR's Melissa Block and Sam Sanders play this week's puzzle with Will Shortz, The New York Times crossword editor and Weekend Edition's Puzzlemaster.
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Sunday Puzzle: Read Into It

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Sunday Puzzle: Read Into It

Sunday Puzzle: Read Into It

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


And I know you know what time it is. It's time to play The Puzzle.


BLOCK: Joining me is Will Shortz, puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master. Good morning, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Melissa.

BLOCK: And we're in the middle of a two-week challenge right now, which means no regular puzzle winner this week. Darn. But we are joined for the on-air challenge by NPR's very own Sam Sanders, host of the new podcast and radio show IT's BEEN A MINUTE. Sam, sitting across me in the studio, good morning.

SAM SANDERS, BYLINE: Hey, there. How are you?

BLOCK: I'm great. I'm so glad you're doing this with me.

SANDERS: I'm glad to be here - kind of nervous but glad to be here.

BLOCK: Why are you nervous?

SANDERS: I listen to the puzzle every weekend...

BLOCK: Yeah.

SANDERS: ...And probably nine out of 10 weekends, I get them all wrong.

BLOCK: You get them all (laughter)...

SANDERS: I'm not that good at this stuff.


BLOCK: Well, that's a confession.

SANDERS: Yes, yes (laughter).

BLOCK: We appreciate your honesty. And now you can only surprise us...

SANDERS: Yeah, yeah.

BLOCK: the good, right?

SANDERS: So I hope (laughter).

BLOCK: Your expectations are set low. Well, with that in mind, Will, let's get going. Take it away.

SHORTZ: All right. Sam and Melissa, I think this is a good two-person puzzle. Let's see how it goes. The word senses, S-E-N-S-E-S, starts with the letter S. And there are two senses that happen to start with the letter S, sight and smell. I'm going to name some more categories. For each one, name two things in it that start with the first letter of the category.

BLOCK: Got that, Sam?


BLOCK: All right, here we go.

SHORTZ: No. 1 is months. Name two months starting with M.

BLOCK: Sam's on this.



BLOCK: Ding, ding, ding.

SANDERS: What's the other one?

BLOCK: March.

SHORTZ: March.


SANDERS: Wow, I'm off to a bad start (laughter).

BLOCK: We're off to a great start here.


BLOCK: It's early.

SANDERS: It's because I'm nervous.

BLOCK: It's early. It's early. We're working up. We're working up.

SANDERS: It's because I'm nervous.

BLOCK: Poor March.


BLOCK: Sam, didn't know about March. All right, here we go.

SHORTZ: A hundred percent - you guys are doing perfect. Your next one is presidents.



BLOCK: Oh, I was going to say Polk.

SHORTZ: Polk is good. Yeah.

BLOCK: (Laughter).

SANDERS: That's all I got.

BLOCK: Oh, man. All right. Now we're starting at the beginning. Polk and - don't tell me.

SHORTZ: It's one of those presidents during that era, you know when...

BLOCK: That era...

SANDERS: Yeah, that narrows it down.

SHORTZ: That Polk era, you know?

BLOCK: Is is that Chester A. Arthur era?

SHORTZ: Yeah, a little before Arthur - more of or in the Polk era.

BLOCK: Pierce.


SHORTZ: Pierce, yeah.

BLOCK: Franklin Pierce, OK.

SHORTZ: Good job.

BLOCK: Poor Franklin Pierce - he gets no respect.

SHORTZ: Your next one - signs of the zodiac.

BLOCK: Sam...

SANDERS: Scorpio.


BLOCK: And Sagittarius.

SHORTZ: There you go.


BLOCK: Back to back, right?

SHORTZ: You're next one, burroughs in New York City.

SANDERS: Brooklyn.

BLOCK: Yeah, Bronx.

SHORTZ: That's it - parts of speech.

SANDERS: Participle.

BLOCK: Preposition.

SHORTZ: Oh, no. Participle, not a - preposition is one.

SANDERS: Pronoun.

SHORTZ: Pronoun, you got it - Snow White's dwarves.

BLOCK: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Sleepy.

BLOCK: Sneezy.

SHORTZ: There you go.

SANDERS: All right.

BLOCK: I love Sneezy. Sneezy's a great guy.

SHORTZ: Astronauts on the first moon landing.

BLOCK: Oh, wow. Can I get Aldrin?


SANDERS: Armstrong?

SHORTZ: There you go, Armstrong and Aldrin.

BLOCK: Ding, ding, ding.

SHORTZ: Monopoly properties.


SANDERS: I didn't grow up in a Monopoly home. Sorry.

BLOCK: Baltic and - what's the one right next to Baltic?

SHORTZ: Yeah, right. That's it. What's next to Baltic?

BLOCK: Baltic and...

SANDERS: I can't help you here.

BLOCK: It's purple. It's deep purple.

SHORTZ: It's the - also the name of a sea starting with a M.

BLOCK: Oh, Mediterranean? Not Mediterranean - really?

SHORTZ: That's it, Mediterranean Avenue, right?

BLOCK: Seriously?

SHORTZ: And then there's one other M.

BLOCK: I'm going around the board - light blue, Oriental, Connecticut, now...

SANDERS: ...Wow - photographic memory.

BLOCK: ...Orange - oh, Marvin Gardens.

SHORTZ: Marvin Gardens, good job.


SHORTZ: All right.

SANDERS: MVP, right here, MVP.

BLOCK: (Laughter) I played a lot of Monopoly. I lived in a very small town. Board games were everything.


SHORTZ: Your next one is NATO members.

BLOCK: And the N was what we're looking for?


BLOCK: NATO, uh-huh. OK.



SANDERS: Give me second.

BLOCK: Norway?

SHORTZ: Norway's one. Good.

BLOCK: OK. Sam, you're up.

SANDERS: I know. The - I want to - it's not Nigeria.

SHORTZ: Definitely not Nigeria - it's not Nepal. I'll tell you.

BLOCK: (Laughter).

SANDERS: Oh, Lord.

BLOCK: Netherlands.

SHORTZ: Netherlands, yes. Your last one is colleges in the Ivy League.

SANDERS: Columbia.


BLOCK: Cornell.

SHORTZ: There you go. You guys are so good.

BLOCK: Sam, your fears were not...

SANDERS: Well, listen. It's you. It's you.

BLOCK: No, no, no. This is a team. This is a team.

SANDERS: You put me at ease.

BLOCK: (Laughter).

SANDERS: You helped me recover after my March snafu. I really appreciate that.

BLOCK: Poor March.

SANDERS: Poor March.

BLOCK: (Laughter). Sam Sanders, you're a trooper. Thanks so much doing this.

SANDERS: Thanks for having me.

BLOCK: Sam, host of IT'S BEEN A MINUTE, the new podcast and radio show - radio show...

SANDERS: Radio show - it's exciting.

BLOCK: ...Imagine that from NPR. You should all listen. Thanks so much.

SANDERS: Thank you.

BLOCK: And Will, why don't you remind us of the two-week challenge that folks should be working on.

SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from Zack Guido who's the author of the book, "Of Course: The Greatest Collection Of Riddles And Brainteasers For Expanding Your Mind." Write down the equation, 65 - 43 = 21. You'll notice that this isn't quite correct. Sixty-five - 43 = 22, not 21. The object is to move exactly two of the digits to create a correct equation. There's no trick in the wording. And in the answer, the minus and equal signs don't move. So again, the equation is 65 - 43 = 21. Move exactly two of the the digits to create a correct equation. Can you do it?

BLOCK: Well, when you have the answer, go to our website, and click on the Submit Your Answer link. Just one entry per person, please. You've got one week left to submit. Entries are due this Thursday, October 26 at 3 p.m., ET. Include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. If you're the winner, 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 WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master Will Shortz. Will, thanks so much.

SHORTZ: Thanks a lot, Melissa.


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