LAUREN FRAYER, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lauren Frayer. Santa's on his way, but there's one gift we can open a little bit early this year. It's the puzzle.
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FRAYER: Joining me is Will Shortz. He's puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master. Will, good morning. I'm excited to be doing this with you.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning. Welcome to the show.
FRAYER: Thank you. Will, remind us of last week's challenge.
SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Neville Fogarty of Newport News, Va. I said, think of a convenience introduced in the 19th century that's still around today. Its name has two words. I said, take the first three letters of the first word and the first letter of its second word, in order, to get a convenience introduced in the 21st century that serves a similar purpose. What things are these? Well, the old convenience is the Yellow Pages, and you take those letters from it you get Yelp, which is a modern convenience that does much the same thing.
FRAYER: We received roughly a hundred and fifty correct responses. Our randomly selected winner is Kevin Devine of Marlborough, Mass. Congratulations.
KEVIN DEVINE: Thank you, Lauren. Thank you. I'm delighted to be selected.
FRAYER: We're glad to have you here. I hear today is a big day in the old sibling rivalry in your family. What's going on?
DEVINE: Yes. One of my brothers is a puzzle enthusiast, probably stronger than I am. So I'm calling from his dining room table now, and he has last Sunday's "Puzzle Mania" edition from The New York Times spread out and mostly completed.
FRAYER: Wow. Great. And you have a question for Will, do you?
DEVINE: I do have a question for Will, and it probably relates to an analogy between Yellow Pages and Yelp, and that is what I would call social puzzling - things like geocaching, escape rooms. A friend of mine recently won a contest in Worcester, Mass., for a find-a-secret-agent where folks were hidden throughout the city. How does the pencil-and-paper world consider these social media-type puzzle opportunities?
SHORTZ: I think, you know, any puzzle solving is good. And I love to connect puzzles to real life, and that does it so directly. So I'm a big fan.
FRAYER: Traditionalist versus modern. OK. Kevin, are you ready to play the puzzle?
DEVINE: I'm as ready as I'll ever be, and I'm going to need your help, Lauren. So be ready.
FRAYER: (Laughter). I'll try. I will try my best. OK. Will, take it away.
SHORTZ: All right, Kevin and Lauren. NPR stands for National Public Radio, of course. But the letters NPR also are the initials of nail polish remover. I'm going to give you clues for some other three-word names and phrases whose initials stand for better-known things. Here's number one. ICC stands for Interstate Commerce Commission. It's also the basic purchase at Dairy Queen.
DEVINE: Ice cream cone.
SHORTZ: Number two. SLR, single lens reflex, as in a camera. It's also a waterway past Montreal and Quebec.
DEVINE: Saint Lawrence River.
FRAYER: Smokin' it.
SHORTZ: NFL stands for National Football League, but it's also the principle that an object at rest stays at rest unless acted upon.
DEVINE: I'm having a little trouble with this one. Lauren? Sounds scientific.
FRAYER: Is it someone who watched an apple drop from a tree?
SHORTZ: That's your N.
DEVINE: First law.
SHORTZ: Newton's first law. Nice job.
FRAYER: All right.
SHORTZ: BBC stands for British Broadcasting Corporation, but it's also a noted Wild West showman.
DEVINE: Buffalo Bill Cody.
SHORTZ: That's it. JFK, John Fitzgerald Kennedy. But it's also a phrase not with any serious purpose in mind.
DEVINE: Just for kicks.
SHORTZ: That's it. DDS usually stands for doctor of dental surgery, but it's also a means of classification of library books.
DEVINE: The Dewey Decimal System.
SHORTZ: FTC usually stands for the Federal Trade Commission, but it's also something you're said to search with if you do a very careful search.
DEVINE: Fine tooth comb.
SHORTZ: BFF, those are best friends forever, but it's also an event for cinephiles in Germany.
DEVINE: The Berlin Film Festival.
FRAYER: Technically Berlin International Film Festival.
SHORTZ: That's right. But, informally.
FRAYER: Go ahead.
SHORTZ: LCD stands for lowest common denominator, but it's also a Rimsky-Korsakov opera whose French title translates as "The Golden Cockerel."
DEVINE: Lauren, I'm going to ask you to pitch in again.
FRAYER: I don't...
DEVINE: Opera's going to stump me.
SHORTZ: Take a stab at it.
FRAYER: "Le Coq d'Or?"
SHORTZ: There you go. "Le Coq d'Or." Nice. "The Golden Cockerel."
DEVINE: Thank you, Lauren.
FRAYER: (Laughter) You're welcome.
SHORTZ: Here's your last one. NBC usually stands for National Broadcasting Company, but it's also the evening of December 24.
DEVINE: Night before Christmas.
SHORTZ: That is correct.
FRAYER: Wow. Amazing. Kevin, you're incredible. Will's got to watch his back. (Laughter).
DEVINE: It was a lot of fun. And this is the star on my Christmas tree, by the way.
FRAYER: Wonderful. I'm glad we're part of your Christmas. For playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin as well as puzzle books and games, and you can read all about it on npr.org/puzzle. Kevin, what member station do you listen to?
DEVINE: WBUR in Boston.
FRAYER: Wonderful. Kevin Devine of Marlborough, Mass., thank you for playing the puzzle.
DEVINE: You're welcome. Thank you both, Will and Lauren.
SHORTZ: Thank you.
FRAYER: OK. Will, what's next week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yeah. It's much simpler than last week's.
SHORTZ: The name of what well-known U.S. city, in 10 letters, contains only three different letters of the alphabet? That's the whole puzzle. The name of what well-known U.S. city, in 10 letters, contains only three different letters of the alphabet?
FRAYER: When you have the answer, 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, December 28, at 3 p.m. Eastern. Include a phone number where we can reach you around 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 puzzle master, Will Shortz. Thank you so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thank you, Lauren.
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