Sunday Puzzle: Turn That Fame Into Capital NPR's Linda Wertheimer and New York Times crosswords editor Will Shortz play this week's challenge with Richard McCurdy of Burbank, Calif.
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Sunday Puzzle: Turn That Fame Into Capital

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Sunday Puzzle: Turn That Fame Into Capital

Sunday Puzzle: Turn That Fame Into Capital

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LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Black Friday, Cyber Monday - the post-Thanksgiving sales are preparing us for the holidays. But you know what's better than a great deal on your favorite brand? It is The Puzzle.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: Joining me as always is Will Shortz. He's puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster. Will, good morning.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Linda.

WERTHEIMER: Could you remind us, Will, of last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yeah. I said take these six words - adieu, A-D-I-E-U, amazed, bureaus, elates, head-on and siennas. And I said besides the fact that each word contains the letter E, what highly unusual property do they share? And the answer is if you remove the E, the remaining letters can be rearranged to name a make of car - Audi, Mazda, Subaru, Tesla, Honda and Nissan.

WERTHEIMER: (Laughter) We received 489 correct responses. Our randomly selected winner is Richard McCurdy of Burbank, Calif. Congratulations.

RICHARD MCCURDY: Well, thank you very much. I'm delighted.

WERTHEIMER: So, Richard, I'm amazed to see that this is not your first time playing The Puzzle on air. You also won three years ago.

MCCURDY: Well, I did. It took 20 years for that to happen and now three years after that first win. Yeah, it really is amazing.

WERTHEIMER: How often do you enter?

MCCURDY: Well, I - pretty much every time. I've been stumped a couple of times. But, yeah, I just do the best I can. Hope for the best.

WERTHEIMER: (Laughter) We admire your dedication. OK, Richard, are you ready to play The Puzzle?

MCCURDY: Yes, as ready as I'll ever be.

WERTHEIMER: OK. Will, it's over to you.

SHORTZ: All right. Richard and Linda, every answer today is the name of a famous person whose last name is the name of a well-known U.S. city. For example, if I said actress who played Samantha on "Bewitched" and the city is in Alabama, you would say Elizabeth Montgomery.

MCCURDY: OK.

SHORTZ: So number one - singer with the number one hits, "I Will Always Love You" and "I Wanna Dance With Somebody." And it's a city in Texas.

MCCURDY: Oh, my goodness. Austin?

SHORTZ: It's not Austin.

MCCURDY: Dallas?

WERTHEIMER: You're just - you're not getting there (laughter).

SHORTZ: Think of another city, but it's a big one.

MCCURDY: Whitney Houston. Houston.

SHORTZ: Whitney Houston is right. Good job. Who sang "Rocky Mountain High" and "Thank God I'm A Country Boy," Colorado.

MCCURDY: John Denver.

SHORTZ: That's it. Good job.

WERTHEIMER: Very good.

SHORTZ: OK. Here's your next one - Attorney General under Bill Clinton for all eight years, Nevada.

MCCURDY: That's - oh, yes, that's a Reno, Janet Reno.

SHORTZ: That's it. Star of "Malcolm X," "Fences" and "The Equalizer," District of Columbia.

MCCURDY: Oh, goodness gracious. The star of "Malcolm X." I keep wanting to say Will Smith. Denzel Washington?

SHORTZ: There you go. Denzel Washington, good. See if you remember this one - 1960s, '70s singer with Dawn. And it's a city in Florida.

MCCURDY: Oh, that's a tough one. That's not my venue.

WERTHEIMER: (Laughter).

MCCURDY: Oh, gracious. Why not jump in?

WERTHEIMER: It was blankety-blank and Dawn.

MCCURDY: Please jump in and save me.

WERTHEIMER: Tony Orlando.

SHORTZ: Tony Orlando, good job.

MCCURDY: Oh, Lord, yes, of course. Oh, my goodness, yes, yes.

SHORTZ: (Laughter) OK. Try this one - singer with the 33-times platinum album "Thriller," Mississippi

MCCURDY: Michael Jackson.

SHORTZ: That's it. How about this - actor who starred in "Her" and "Walk The Line." It's a city in Arizona.

MCCURDY: Oh, it's the - it's one of the Phoenix guys.

WERTHEIMER: Yeah. You're right there.

MCCURDY: Joaquin Phoenix. Joaquin Phoenix.

SHORTZ: Joaquin Phoenix, that's good. And here's your last one - silent film star who was married to Mary Pickford, Alaska.

MCCURDY: Oh yes, Douglas Fairbanks.

SHORTZ: Good job.

WERTHEIMER: That was a quick one.

MCCURDY: Wow. I'm not really a pop fan. It's amazing that I didn't really collapse during that one. That was great fun.

WERTHEIMER: And you did great.

MCCURDY: Thank you.

WERTHEIMER: Thank you for playing The Puzzle. You'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin as well as puzzle books and games. Beginning this week, for a limited time, there is a new prize - "The World Almanac 2018 and Book of Facts" (ph) from info-based publishing. You can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle.

Richard, you didn't tell us what member station you listen to.

MCCURDY: KCRW.

WERTHEIMER: Richard McCurdy, he lives in Burbank, Calif. Thank you very much for your second round with The Puzzle.

MCCURDY: Thank you very much for having me.

WERTHEIMER: So, Will, what is next week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes. Think of a familiar French expression in three words containing three letters, two letters and five letters respectively. Then take it's standard translation in English, which is a two-word phrase. And if you have the right phrases, the first words of the two phrases said out loud will sound like a world capital. What is it?

So, again, a familiar French expression in three words - three, two, five. Take its standard translation in English, which is a two-word phrase. And if you have the right phrases, the first words of those two phrases phonetically will sound like a world capital. What capital is it?

WERTHEIMER: When you have the answer, you go to our website npr.org/puzzle and click on the Submit Your Answer link. Just one entry per person, please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, November 30 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Include a telephone number where we can reach you at about that time. And 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 puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Thank you very much, Will.

SHORTZ: Thank you, Linda.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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