LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
And it's time to play The Puzzle.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
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. And you missed some fireworks last Sunday.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I was about to say I am so sad I missed that April Fools' Day fun last week. But, you know, our mailbox was pretty full within a couple of minutes. And I've been reading some of the emails. And I wanted to share some of the thoughts of our listeners.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. John Bender apparently missed the bit when we said it was a joke. And he wrote, you're taking The Puzzler (ph) off after 31 years? I set an alarm to listen to it every Sunday. I can't believe six more minutes of news is that damn important. Please register my dissatisfaction.
Unfortunately, some still didn't like our prank, even after they found out that it was a prank. Barbara wrote in to tell us, I did not find your April Fools' joke about Will Shortz's segment amusing. I faithfully listen every Sunday. I turned off my radio after the announcement that he was canceled...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Later, my friend let me know that it was fake news. So there you go, Will. Lots of fans out there. I think we know now not to mess with The Puzzle.
SHORTZ: Yeah. Don't mess with The Puzzle. I had three emails just in the five minutes between the initial announcement and our saying April Fools'.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) All right, Will. Because we are indeed not canceling The Puzzle, remind us of last week's challenge.
SHORTZ: Yeah. It was an April Fool-ish (ph) puzzle. It came from listener Eric Iverson (ph) of Eagan, Minn. I said, pick an even number between 1 and 10 that's one more than four and two more than 10. And the answer is eight because it's one letter longer than four and two letters longer than 10.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We got over 1,100 correct responses. And our randomly selected winner is Gary Lees of Key Biscayne, Fla. Congratulations.
GARY LEES: Thank you.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Gary, were you taken in by the April Fools' Day joke?
LEES: I think I've been listening to The Puzzle for the 31 years that you've just mentioned. And there's always a trick that Will plays in anticipation of April Fools' coming up, so I knew it was an April Fools' joke from the beginning...
SHORTZ: Good for you.
LEES: ...And I'm glad that it was an April Fools' joke because this has been a lifelong dream of mine. This has been my bucket list. And I get to play, and it wasn't off the air, so...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And you were saying before you came on air that you were a little nervous.
LEES: Oh, yes. I'm very anxious. I had a sleepless night last night just anticipating the - making myself sound like a moron on national radio.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) All right. Well, here at NPR, we're very kind, and so's Will. So Will, take it away.
SHORTZ: All right, Gary. Tonight, I'm going to be on the Fox sitcom "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." And in today's puzzle, I'm going to tell you my experience in filming the show. Any time you hear an error of fact, logic or word usage, say buzz and explain why. And you can stop me at any time. And just so you know, there's no specialized knowledge needed for this.
LEES: OK. Never heard of that show, let alone watched it. But...
LEES: ...I'll buzz when I think that you're giving us fake news.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Oh, no. That phrase again.
SHORTZ: Well, as I mentioned, I'm going to be on the ABC sitcom "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" tonight.
SHORTZ: Very good. It's Fox...
LEES: You said Fox. Yes.
SHORTZ: It's a police situation comedy set in Brooklyn, Mass. (ph).
LEES: No. Brooklyn, N.Y., I would imagine is where...
SHORTZ: It'd be Brooklyn, N.Y., right?
SHORTZ: Andy Samberg plays Detective Jake Peralta, whose girlfriend and fellow detective Amy Santiago loves the crosswords I edit for the New York Post.
LEES: Buzz. You edit crosswords for The New York Times.
SHORTZ: That's correct. Tonight's episode is called The Puzzle Master. Jake and Amy investigate a series of arsons for which I play a suspect. Last December, I flew to San Francisco so I'd be near the Universal Studio in Hollywood where Brooklyn...
LEES: Buzz. The Universal Studios are in Los Angeles and not in San Francisco.
SHORTZ: That's correct. I flew to LA, and that's where Brooklyn 911 (ph) is filmed. The set recreates several square blocks of make-believe Brooklyn. I had to join ASCAP, the actors' union, in order to do the show. I have several lines in the episode. And at one point, I'm seen stepping out of one of the bluestone houses that Brooklyn is famous for.
LEES: The - I'm originally from Philadelphia. And we have brownstone houses in Philadelphia and in New York.
SHORTZ: That's right. It's brownstone houses, not bluestone ones. Now, everyone on the set, the actors, writer, producer and makeup artists were super nice. That especially goes for Andy Samberg, who happens to share a last name with NPR's Susan Samberg (ph).
LEES: No, no. Susan's last name - and she was the first puzzle person I listened to. Susan's last name is Stamberg.
SHORTZ: Stamberg with a T. That's right. And the show airs at 8:30 a.m. tonight. I look forward to seeing how it turns out...
LEES: Buzz. You're probably wanting to have that air at 8:30 p.m.
SHORTZ: Yeah. 8:30 p.m. OK. Now, let me go back and tell you a couple of things you missed. And you did great. First of all...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You did.
SHORTZ: ...At one point, I said Brooklyn 911. But, of course, it's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine." And you missed two of the grammar things. I said everyone on the set were super nice, should be was super nice. And the most subtle one, I said the set recreates several square blocks of make-believe Brooklyn. Well, either it recreates real Brooklyn, or it has make-believe Brooklyn. You missed one other thing. I said I had to join ASCAP. That's actually the music union. I had to join SAG-AFTRA to do the show.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Which we are also members of here at NPR. You did really well, Gary. Congratulations.
LEES: Thank you.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Was it worth the sleepless night (laughter)...
LEES: Thank you. I thought I would sell my soul for a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin. So I'm glad that I did as well as I did.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, lucky you. You are going to get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin as well as puzzle books and games. And you could read all about it at npr.org/puzzle. Gary, what member station do you listen to?
LEES: I'm a proud sustaining member of WLRN in Miami.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Wonderful. Gary Lees of Key Biscayne, Fla, thank you for playing the puzzle.
LEES: Thank you.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Will. What's next week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yes. It's short and sweet. Name part of the human body. Insert a speech hesitation, and you'll name a country. What is it? So, again, part of the human body. Insert a speech hesitation, and you'll name a country. What country 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, April 12 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 - still - Will Shortz. Thanks so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thanks, Lulu.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.