Food for Thought, But No Second 'S' Puzzle master Will Shortz quizzes one of our listeners, and has a challenge for everyone at home. This week's winner is Capt. Matthew Peck of Fayetteville, N.C.
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Food for Thought, But No Second 'S'

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Food for Thought, But No Second 'S'

Food for Thought, But No Second 'S'

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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: No celebrity guests in the wings this time, right?

Mr. SHORTZ: No, just back to you and me and our guests.

HANSEN: Wasn't it fun last week though with Mary and Tom Hanks?

Mr. SHORTZ: That was one of the best puzzles ever. That was so much fun.

HANSEN: That was...

Mr. SHORTZ: Tom Hanks was so generous to do that and so smart, so funny.

HANSEN: Yeah, and he seemed to have a good time, too.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yeah.

HANSEN: Yeah. Well, you left us with a challenge and I know for a fact that Mr. Hanks was trying to solve it before the - we got off the air. Would you repeat what it was, please?

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes, I said 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. Name the company.

HANSEN: What is the company?

Mr. SHORTZ: Well, first I'll tell you it's not International Telephone and Telegraph, which a lot of people said. Because that's four words and there's no company still in existence today with that name. The answer is United States Steel.

HANSEN: United States Steel, the right answer. We had over 1,800 entries from people who tried to solve the puzzle and our winner, randomly selected from the correct answers, is Captain Matthew Peck from Fayetteville, North Carolina. Hi, Captain, and I understand I can call you Matthew.

Captain MATTHEW PECK (Caller): Yes, you may.

HANSEN: Tell us what you do in Fayetteville.

Captain PECK: Well, I'm a company commander of a signal company that supports the 18th Airborne Corps.

HANSEN: Okay. How long have you been playing the puzzle?

Captain PECK: For several years now.

HANSEN: Really? Do you ever get to play it abroad? Do you ever hear it abroad when you're stationed outside the country?

Captain PECK: In Afghanistan, for a short time I was able to listen to the puzzler, but between the time difference and my busy workload, I was not able to listen on a regular basis.

HANSEN: All right. Are you ready to play? It sounds like it.

Captain PECK: I am.

HANSEN: All right. Will, meet Matthew. Let's play.

Mr. SHORTZ: All right, Matthew. Every answer today is a two word phrase in which the first word starts with the letter S. Drop the S and you'll get the second word of the phrase. For example, if I said, a hunky dory place to get water, you would say swell well. Number one is a little place to shop.

Captain PECK: Small mall.

Mr. SHORTZ: Small mall is right. Number two, a chic place to shop.

Captain PECK: Hmm. Chic place to shop.

Mr. SHORTZ: Or an intelligent place to shop.

Captain PECK: Intelligent. A smart mart?

Mr. SHORTZ: That's it. A thin person who lets you borrow money.

Captain PECK: I'm thinking svelte, but I don't think veldt would work.


HANSEN: No, I was thinking and slim and limb doesn't work either. All right.

Mr. SHORTZ: Well, you just need one more word starting with S that means thin. It's two syllables.

Captain PECK: Slender lender.

Mr. SHORTZ: There you go. How about a cafeteria item that's not in its intended place?

Captain PECK: Hmm.

Mr. SHORTZ: What would you carry your food on in a cafeteria?

Captain PECK: A tray - oh, a stray tray.

Mr. SHORTZ: There you go. Not as happy a snake.

Captain PECK: Hmm.

HANSEN: Not so happy...

Captain PECK: A sadder adder.

Mr. SHORTZ: There you go, sadder adder. A glow from a 15 watt bulb, say.

Captain PECK: A slight light.

Mr. SHORTZ: A slight light. Good. A harbor city that hosts Olympic events.

Captain PECK: A sport port?

Mr. SHORTZ: Sport port. Good job. A piece of furniture that won't tip.

Captain PECK: Hmm. A stable table.

Mr. SHORTZ: Excellent. Commercial vehicle that's been hit.

Captain PECK: A struck truck?

Mr. SHORTZ: Uh-huh. A good looking musical instrument for angels.

Captain PECK: Oh. A sharp harp.

Mr. SHORTZ: Right. Where the football team lives on campus.

Captain PECK: Ah. Football team. Hmm.

HANSEN: Football team.

Captain PECK: All I can think of is dorm.

HANSEN: Yeah, that's what I was thinking, but...

Mr. SHORTZ: And what if there were four dorms together?

Captain PECK: Oh, a squad quad.

Mr. SHORTZ: Squad quad is right. Story you've heard a thousand times before.

Captain PECK: A stale tale.

Mr. SHORTZ: Uh-huh. A demanding shore bird.

Captain PECK: A stern tern.

Mr. SHORTZ: Uh-huh. A john that doesn't always work. Uh-oh. Do you have this, Liane?


Mr. SHORTZ: Okay.

HANSEN: No, no. I'm struggling. Matthew's doing great.

Mr. SHORTZ: Matthew's great. It's a john for children that doesn't always work.

Captain PECK: Oh. A spotty potty.

Mr. SHORTZ: A spotty potty is right. A cleverer person with a lollipop.

Captain PECK: Hmm.

HANSEN: One more time. What was the whole thing?

Mr. SHORTZ: Cleverer person with a lollipop. So what's a person with a lollipop in two syllables? Hmm. That's a tough one.

Captain PECK: I'm lost.

HANSEN: Yeah, I'm lost too. Try to...

Mr. SHORTZ: I got you both. It's a slicker licker.

Captain PECK: Oh.

Mr. SHORTZ: And here's your last one. Most agile Catholic clergymen.

Captain PECK: Let's see. Priest.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes. Put an S in front.

Captain PECK: Spriest priest.

HANSEN: Oh, spriest priest.

Captain PECK: Spriest priest.

Mr. SHORTZ: Spriest priest. A little change-up there at the end.

Captain PECK: Tricky.

Mr. SHORTZ: Nice job. Nice job.

HANSEN: Little curveball there at the end. Hey, Matthew, really nice job.

Captain PECK: Well, thank you.

HANSEN: Yeah, you obviously have some experience here playing puzzles. I was being left in the dust a bit. So I was glad you were my teammate today. 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 Puzzle Master Presents from Random House, Volume 2; Wordplay, the official companion book to the movie featuring Will Shortz from St. Martins Press; and one of Will Shortz's Puzzlemaster Decks of Riddles and Challenges from Chronicle Books. Lots of stuff to take with you when you go out of the United States, when you go abroad. But when you're here, Matthew, what member station do you listen to?

Captain PECK: I listen to WUNC in Chapel Hill.

HANSEN: Okay, Captain Matthew Peck from Fayetteville, North Carolina. You were a wonderful player. Thanks a lot for taking the time to play with us today.

Captain PECK: Thank you for having me.

HANSEN: Our pleasure. All right, Will, a challenge to work on for the next week?

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes, this week's challenge comes from our old pal, Merl Reagle. Take the phrase a correspondent, change one letter in it to a new letter and rearrange to get the name of a famous correspondent, and it's one who's currently working today, by the way. So again, take the fourteen letter phrase a correspondent, change one letter in it and rearrange to name a famous correspondent. Who is it?

HANSEN: When you have the answer, go to our website,, 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 the play Puzzle on the Air with the puzzle editor of the New York Times and Weekend Edition's Puzzle Master, Will Shortz. Will, thanks a lot.

Mr. SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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