LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
And it's time to play The Puzzle.
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GARCIA-NAVARRO: Joining me as always is Will Shortz. He's puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master. Will, good morning.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: The Grammys are on tonight. Are you going to watch?
SHORTZ: I'm more of an Oscars guy. I always watch the Oscars.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. Yeah.
SHORTZ: I don't usually watch the Grammys. What about you?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: No. I also like the Oscars. But, you know, I always go for the fashion and then stay for the awards.
SHORTZ: (Laughter) There you go.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Remind us of last week's challenge.
SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Tom Arnold of Eugene, Ore. I said take the name of a conveyance in seven letters. Drop the middle letter. And the remaining letters can be rearranged to name the place where such a conveyance is often used. What is it? Well, the answer is gondola and lagoon.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: This one was a big hit. We got over 500 correct responses. And our randomly selected winner is from outside of this country, Michael LeBlanc from Ontario, Canada. Congratulations.
MICHAEL LEBLANC: Thank you. Merci.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Michael, I heard another game show helped you figure out this week's puzzle answer. Walk me through it.
LEBLANC: Well, I did have a fair list of means of conveyance but nothing that's coming through. I was watching "Wheel Of Fortune." And a background scene of Venice showed a gondola. And it just - the lightbulb went off.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. That's great. Do you have a question for Will?
LEBLANC: I just was curious if there were any other means of conveyance that worked that weren't the actual answer that the - that you were looking for.
SHORTZ: Yeah. I didn't hear of any. And NPR is pretty good about giving me alternative answers. So this one seemed to be unique.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Are you ready to play The Puzzle, Michael?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Take it away, Will.
SHORTZ: All right, Michael. I'm going to read you some sentences. Each sentence has two blanks. Put a word starting with up in the first blank. Move the up to the end, and it becomes a familiar phrase that goes in the second blank to complete the sentence. For example, if I said Jane was visibly blank to have been blank on such a terrible blind date, you'd say she was visibly upset to have been set up on such a blind date. So number one, the coach was surprisingly blank after his team had been blank so badly. First word starts with up, and then you get a phrase that goes in the second blank.
SHORTZ: There you go - after they had been beat up so badly - good job.
LEBLANC: OK - upbeat to beat - yeah - got it.
SHORTZ: There you go. Number two - get ready. The musician's new tune played on the blank piano is coming blank.
LEBLANC: Upright and right up.
SHORTZ: It's coming right up. That's correct. An outlaw gang rode into the Wild West town with the blank being they completely blanked the place. Here it is again. An outlaw gang rode into the Wild West town with the blank being they completely blanked the place.
LEBLANC: I need some assistance with this one. It's not coming.
SHORTZ: Yeah. Yeah. I'll tell you that - with the upshot being they completely shot up the place.
LEBLANC: Oh, OK.
SHORTZ: All right. Here's your next one. The child's unusual blank by the parents is a matter the child's therapist keeps blank. And think of a synonym for rearing. The child's unusual blank by the parents is a matter the child's therapist keeps blank.
LEBLANC: Upbringing and bringing up.
SHORTZ: That's correct. The cost of my house's blank was so high, I was always frantically working to blank with bills.
LEBLANC: Upkeep and keep up.
SHORTZ: Good job - the teller tried to blank her principle of treating everyone kindly even during the bank blank. Here it is again. The teller tried to blank her principle of treating everyone kindly even during the bank blank.
LEBLANC: Uphold and hold up.
SHORTZ: There you go. The unexpected snowstorm blank the family's vacation plans. And they blank staying at home. Yeah. That's a tough one. I'll tell you. It's that snowstorm upended their vacation plans. And they ended up staying at home.
LEBLANC: Oh, OK. All right.
SHORTZ: Here's your next one. Even a slight blank in an ailing economy is nothing to blank your nose at.
LEBLANC: Upturn and turn up.
SHORTZ: That's right. And here is your last one. A fine blank young person is always blank for his or her ideals.
LEBLANC: Upstanding and standing up.
SHORTZ: Nice job. That was the hardest one, and you nailed it.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Good job. For playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin as well as puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle. Michael, what member station do you listen to in Canada?
LEBLANC: 98.3 WCM - not zed but Z.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And that's out of...
LEBLANC: Sault Ste. Marie.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Michael LeBlanc of Ontario, Canada, thank you for playing The Puzzle.
LEBLANC: Thank you.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Will, what's next week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from listener Stuart Portnoy (ph) of Arlington, Va. Name a famous actor, first and last names. The last name is a well-known brand. Drop the last letter of the first name, and you'll get the kind of product it's a brand of. Who is it? So again - famous actor - first and last names - the last name's a well-known brand. Drop the last letter of the first name. And you'll get the kind of product it's a brand of. Who is it?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: 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 this Thursday, Feb. 1 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Include a phone 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 puzzle master, Will Shortz. Thanks so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thank you, Lulu.
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