Get Ready to Go 'Pro' Puzzle master Will Shortz quizzes one of our listeners, and has a challenge for everyone at home. This week's participant is Mary Modica of Watertown, S.D.
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Get Ready to Go 'Pro'

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Get Ready to Go 'Pro'

Get Ready to Go 'Pro'

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

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

HANSEN: How are you today?

Mr. SHORTZ: I'm doing great. How about you?

HANSEN: Fair to normal, thanks very much. A lot of people have been working on the challenge you left us with last week. Would you repeat it and remind us what it was?

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Phil Jacknis of Dix Hills, New York. And rather than me repeat the challenge I thought we would let a mystery guest say it.

HANSEN: Hello, mystery guest?

Mr. TOM HANKS (Actor): Yes indeed.

HANSEN: Would you read the challenge from last week, please?

Mr. HANKS: Here it is. Name a well known person in show business who might be seen at an awards ceremony. Take the first letter of this person's first name plus this person's last name, in order from left to right. The letters will spell something this celebrity might say at an awards ceremony. What is it?

HANSEN: And Will, who is this celebrity? What might this person say?

Mr. SHORTZ: The celebrity is Tom Hanks. And he would say thanks.

HANSEN: Mr. Hanks?

Mr. HANKS: Yes.

HANSEN: Thanks.

Mr. HANKS: You're quite welcome.

HANSEN: Would you like to say hi to our winner? Can you hang on for a sec?

Mr. HANKS: Sure.

HANSEN: All right. Well, we had over 3,000 entries from people who tried to solve the puzzle. And our winner randomly selected from the correct answers is Mary Modica. She joins us from Watertown, South Dakota. Hi Mary.

Ms. MARY MODICA (Caller): Well, hello. What a privilege.

HANSEN: Meet the answer.

Ms. MODICA: Hi, Mr. Big.

Mr. HANKS: That's me.

HANSEN: Tom, thanks so much for taking the time to read the challenge. I'll give you the option to stick around for the puzzle if you like.

Mr. HANKS: You know what, I would definitely like to do that.

HANSEN: Oh, okay. Mary, is that okay with you?

Ms. MODICA: Well, if he can help.

Mr. HANKS: Mary, let's try to crack this thing.

HANSEN: All right. Well, Will, we really have a tag team going today. Let me just find out a little bit about Mary first. Mary, tell us what you do in South Dakota.

Ms. MODICA: I just get all the juice because somebody told me I'm talking to Tom Hanks as well as the Will Shortz and Liane Hansen. This is wonderful.

HANSEN: Well, thanks. But you've been a puzzle player for a while, right?

Ms. MODICA: Yeah. My husband and I both listen for a lot of years. We've been - we love this.

HANSEN: So you're ready to play?

Ms. MODICA: Yes.

HANSEN: We're all ready to play. All right, Will what do you have for us?

Mr. SHORTZ: All right. Mary and Tom, today's puzzle is for pros. Every answer is a familiar two word phrase where the first word starts with P and the second word starts with the letters R-O. For example, if I said a moving piece in an auto engine you would say piston rod.

Ms. MODICA: Okay.

Mr. SHORTZ: All right. We start easy. Number one is where the pilgrims landed.

Ms. MODICA: Puritan Rock.

HANSEN: No. Rock is good.

Ms. MODICA: Plymouth Rock.

Mr. SHORTZ: Plymouth Rock. Excellent. Number two, a small women's lavatory for applying makeup.

Mr. HANKS: Mary? That would be powder room.

Mr. SHORTZ: Powder room. Good.

Ms. MODICA: Oh, powder room.

Mr. SHORTZ: A business that a child with a bike might have.

Ms. MODICA: Paper route.

Mr. SHORTZ: Excellent.

HANSEN: All right.

Mr. HANKS: Excellent. Way to go, Mary.

Mr. SHORTZ: A big piece of beef cooked in one piece and served in its juice.

Ms. MODICA: Pot roast.

Mr. SHORTZ: Excellent. But Tom was like...

Mr. HANKS: I was going to say prime rib, but...


Mr. HANKS: But it's not in its own juice.

Mr. SHORTZ: That second word has to start R-O though rather than R-I.

Mr. HANKS: Yeah. Oh, I see. And you need some good South Dakota roots to get that pot roast.

Ms. MODICA: Yeah. Some of us - some of us don't have prime rib.

Mr. SHORTZ: Try this one. Top of a house that's had a steep angle.

Ms. MODICA: Peaked roof.

Mr. SHORTZ: I'll give you that, or a pitched roof, either way.

Mr. HANKS: Okay.

Mr. SHORTZ: A colorful flower name in a Woody Allen title.

Ms. MODICA: Woody Allen title.

Mr. SHORTZ: Oh, a film question. Who might know this?

Mr. HANKS: Oh, that would be purple rose as in Purple Rose of Cairo.

Mr. SHORTZ: Excellent.

Ms. MODICA: Right.

Mr. SHORTZ: Excellent. Excellent.

Ms. MODICA: Okay.

Mr. SHORTZ: An implement for applying a swath of color to a wall.

Ms. MODICA: Paint roller, and I'm very familiar with that this week.

HANSEN: Are you? You painting this week, Mary?

Ms. MODICA: Again and again.

Mr. SHORTZ: Good.

Mr. HANKS: I was going to say prime rib but - (unintelligible) so where I come from anyway.

Mr. SHORTZ: Try this. A paper with holes and a self-playing keyboard instrument.

Ms. MODICA: A piano roll. A player...

Mr. SHORTZ: Piano roll. A piano roll, that's right. Good job. Here's a tough one. The former capital of Jamaica.

Ms. MODICA: Port au Prince. No.

Mr. SHORTZ: Port is right. Port is right.

Mr. HANKS: Port Royal?

Mr. SHORTZ: Port Royal. Good job. Whoo, I'm impressed.

HANSEN: Well done, Tom.

Mr. SHORTZ: A fan of the Ramones, say.

Mr. HANKS: Punk rocker.

Mr. SHORTZ: Punk rocker, good job. Way for cars that's not open to the public.

Ms. MODICA: Private road.

Mr. SHORTZ: That's it. Excellent. Order of players on the mound in baseball.

Mr. HANKS: Pitching rotation.

HANSEN: Uh-huh. You know that.

Mr. SHORTZ: Leader of the United States during the 1930s and '40s.

Mr. HANKS: President...

Ms. MODICA: Roosevelt.

Mr. SHORTZ: There you go. Tag team.

HANSEN: What a team.

Mr. SHORTZ: A leading televangelist.

Mr. HANKS: Leading televangelist.

Mr. SHORTZ: Involved in politics.

Ms. MODICA: Roberts.

Mr. HANKS: Oh, Pat Robertson.

Ms. MODICA: Pat Robertson.

Mr. SHORTZ: Pat Robertson is right. Actor who starred in Broadway's Showboat and The Emperor Jones.

Mr. HANKS: Oh, that would be Paul Robeson.

Mr. SHORTZ: Good job. And your last one. A one-time Cincinnati Reds star.


Mr. HANKS: That would be the Pete Rose of Cairo.

Mr. SHORTZ: Pete Rose. Good job. Man, what a team.

HANSEN: Hey, Mary...

Mr. HANKS: Mary, oh man, we're going to take home everything. The tote bags, the CDs, the coffee cups. All the NPR treasure trove. Way to go, Mary.

Ms. MODICA: Do I get Tom Hanks?

Mr. HANKS: Give me your address. I'll hop on a plane pronto.

HANSEN: Let me read our list of prizes for our puzzle contestants today, Mary Modica and Tom Hanks. For playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin; the 11th Edition of Miriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus; the Scrabble Deluxe Edition from Parker Brothers; The Puzzlemaster Presents from Random House, Volume 2; Wordplay, the official companion book to the movie featuring Will Shortz, from St. Martin's Press; and one of Will Shortz's Puzzlemaster Decks of Riddles and Challenges from Chronicle Books.

Whew. I do feel like I'm on a game show now. First of all, Tom Hanks, what member station do you listen to?

Mr. HANKS: I listen to KPCC in Pasadena, California.

HANSEN: Okay. And Mary, what member station do you listen to?

Ms. MODICA: I listen to KEFD in Brookings, South Dakota.

HANSEN: Okay. Well, Tom Hanks from Hollywood, California, and Mary Modica from Watertown, South Dakota, thank you both for playing the puzzle with us today.

Mr. HANKS: Thank you. Had a great time. Congratulations, Mary.

Ms. MODICA: Thanks, Tom.

HANSEN: Okay. Whoa, Will. I didn't have to do anything.

Mr. SHORTZ: That was a first.

HANSEN: That was wonderful. What a great team. All right, we have to do this again. We have a challenge next week. Can't guarantee any celebrity mystery guests. But what is the challenge you have for us?

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes, name a well-known company in U.S. history still in existence today. There are three words in its name and each word contains the letter pair T-E as in Thomas Edison. What company is it? So again, a well-known company, three words in its names, the letters T-E appear consecutively in order in each of the words. Name the company.

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 about that time. We'll call if you're the winner. 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.

Gosh, this was so much fun. Thanks a lot, Will.

Mr. SHORTZ: That was great. Thanks, Liane.

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