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 puzzlemaster. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So remind us of last week's challenge.
SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Haig Donabedian (ph) of Toledo, Ohio. I said think of a popular two-word song title in seven letters. And if you have the right one, you can rearrange the letters to name an animal and the sound it makes. What animal is it? Well, the song is "La Bamba." You remember that? It was a...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. (Singing) Para bailar La Bamba....
SHORTZ: ...Hit for Ritchie Valens. All right. And rearrange those letters. You get lamb and baa.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: OK. This one was popular a lot of Los Lobos fans out there, apparently. We got over 1,600 correct responses. And our randomly selected winner is Joe Lewis (ph) of Portland, Maine. Congratulations.
JOE LEWIS: Well, thank you very much, Lulu.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So are you a "La Bamba" fan?
LEWIS: You know, I'm not a "La Bamba" fan, but I am a puzzle and a lamb fan. And so "La Bamba" happened to fit into both of those truths for me this week.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: OK. Do you have a question for Will?
LEWIS: Yeah. Will, I've often wondered to myself, what do you like to do in your spare time?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Ooh. What do you do, Will?
SHORTZ: Well, it's not a secret. I've mentioned on the show a number of times that I play table tennis every day. And I own one of the largest table tennis clubs in the country. But as it happens tomorrow - Monday - is my 2,000th consecutive day of playing table tennis. The last day I missed was October 3, 2012.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's amazing. Congratulations.
SHORTZ: Or commiseration. One or the other.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. That's cool. I used to play a lot of table tennis when I was in Iraq because you couldn't move around very much. so...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah, so it's kind of, you know, contained space. It's competitive. So everyone used to come round, and we'd play a lot of table tennis. I think me and you are going to have to have a match up some day.
SHORTZ: We have to do this next time I'm in D.C.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Joe. Are you ready to play The Puzzle?
LEWIS: Yes, I am.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Take it away.
SHORTZ: All right, Joe. I'm going to give you clues for some eight-letter words. Each one has a doubled letter somewhere in it. Drop the doubled letter. And the remaining letters in order will spell a six-letter word that answers the second clue. For example, if I said most strait-laced and a Catholic official, you would say primmest and priest because primmest has a double M. You drop the M's, and the remaining letters spell priest.
SHORTZ: All right. (Laughter). Number one. George Gallup for one. And your second clue is a large sign that might be pinned on a wall.
SHORTZ: That's it - pollster and poster. Your next one is a fill in the blank. Blank column - it's part of a car. And your second clue is a thin cord.
LEWIS: Steering and string.
SHORTZ: That's it. Here's your next one. Eliding - or passing over. And your second clue is activity at Vail, Colo.
LEWIS: So the second one will be skiing and passing over - skipping and skiing.
SHORTZ: Skipping is it. Good. Having no errors - that's your first clue. And your second clue is a certain salt in chemistry.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So we journalists like to be this. We're not only correct, but we are...
SHORTZ: And the doubled letter is a C, you want two C's in there.
LEWIS: Accurate. Of course.
LEWIS: Yes. OK. So accurate. And I'll give you the salt chemistry thing. I have no idea.
SHORTZ: That's an aurate, as everyone knows.
LEWIS: Yeah, I'm sure.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: No, I don't think anyone knows that.
SHORTZ: Now, in these last ones, each consist of an eight-letter word with two consecutive pairs of doubled letters. Drop both pairs to leave a four-letter word that answers the second clue. And the first one of these is one sharing living quarters, as in a college dorm. And your second clue is give four stars, for example.
LEWIS: Roommate and rate.
SHORTZ: That's it. And here's your last one - is victorious. And your second clue is soapy water. And work backward on this what's soapy water?
LEWIS: Yeah. Suds is my vote for the back end.
SHORTZ: That's correct. And is victorious - stick two pairs of double letters...
SHORTZ: Succeeds. Good job.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And you have.
LEWIS: Wow. Thank you.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You did a great job. And 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. Joe, what member station do you listen to?
LEWIS: WMEA in Portland, Maine.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Joe Lewis of Portland, Maine, thank you for playing The Puzzle.
LEWIS: Cheers, all.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Will. What's next week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yes, well, Easter is coming up next Sunday. And here's an Easter-related challenge from Jim Levering (ph) of San Antonio, Texas. Name a small but well-known U.S. city, followed by its two-letter state postal abbreviation. And this string of letters reading from left to right spells two consecutive words that name distinctive characteristics of bunnies. What city is it? So again, a small but well-known U.S. city, followed by its two letter state postal abbreviation. And this string of letters left to right spells two consecutive words that name distinctive characteristics of bunnies. What city is it?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. All you bunny lovers, 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, March 29 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 puzzlemaster, Will Shortz. Thanks so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thank you, Lulu.
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