Sunday Puzzle: Easy As Pie NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro and puzzlemaster Will Shortz play this week's puzzle with listener Alphonse Baluta of Londonderry, N.H.
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Sunday Puzzle: Easy As Pie

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Sunday Puzzle: Easy As Pie

Sunday Puzzle: Easy As Pie

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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It's April 15, which, as everyone knows, is Tax Day, except this year. You've got until the 17 - two more days to file your returns. So give your calculators a rest for a couple minutes, and let's play the puzzle.


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. Have you filed your taxes yet?


SHORTZ: Nice going.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I know. It wasn't a very pleasant experience, but it has to be done.

SHORTZ: No. That's right.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Remind us of last week's challenge.

SHORTZ: It was straightforward. I said name part of the human body, insert a speech hesitation, and you'll name a country. What is it? And the answer is brain. Insert ah, and you get Bahrain. A number of people sent in chin to China. But that wasn't really inserting the A. It was putting it at the end. So we didn't count that one.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We got over 500 correct responses, and our randomly selected winner is Alphonse Baluta of Londonderry, N.H. Congratulations.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: So Alphonse, I heard that you went to school with an NPR legend.

BALUTA: Yes. Robert Siegel and I were classmates lo these - many years ago - a half-century now - 50 years. Our 50th college reunion is coming up in May.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Wow. What university was that?

BALUTA: Well, it's Columbia in New York.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Wonderful - have you been playing puzzles for a long time, Alphonse?

BALUTA: Yes, yes. And I'd like to say I'm getting better at it. But...


BALUTA: ...More like Sisyphus. I keep...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Rolling that boulder up a hill.

BALUTA: ...Rolling back - it's a starting point.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. All right. Well, now you get to test your mettle. Will, take it away.

SHORTZ: All right, Alphonse. Every answer today is a familiar simile, like sly as a fox or sharp as a tack. I'm going to give you rhymes for the first and last words. You tell me this similes. For example, if I said dry as a flight, you would say high as a kite. OK. Here's your first one - near as a smell.

BALUTA: Clear as a bell.

SHORTZ: Excellent - scrappy as a lamb.

BALUTA: Happy as a clam.

SHORTZ: That's it - tight as a tether.

BALUTA: Right as the weather or bright as - light as a feather.

SHORTZ: Light as a feather - good - bad as a batter.

BALUTA: Mad as a hatter.

SHORTZ: That's it - mute as a glutton.

BALUTA: Cute as a button...

SHORTZ: Uh-huh.

BALUTA: ...My grandchildren.

SHORTZ: There you go - sweet as a grin.

BALUTA: Neat as a pin.

SHORTZ: Nice - lazy as a goon.

BALUTA: Hazy as the moon - crazy as a loon.

SHORTZ: There you go - crazy as a loon - flat as a wig.

BALUTA: Fat as a pig.

SHORTZ: That's it - scarred as a block.

BALUTA: Scarred as a - oh, boy. I got a little help here - any thoughts?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah - a stone. It's...

BALUTA: Yeah - hard as a rock.

SHORTZ: Hard as a rock is it.

BALUTA: I was thinking of food because - and animals here. OK - go ahead.

SHORTZ: Tight as a post.

BALUTA: Tight as a post...


BALUTA: ...White as a ghost.

SHORTZ: That's it - thick as a log.

BALUTA: Sick as a dog.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh - kind as a gnat.

BALUTA: Blind as a bat.

SHORTZ: Right. And your last one is tart as a quip.

BALUTA: Smart as a whip.

SHORTZ: There you go - just like you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Very good - yeah. You did a great job. You also have the same voice as Robert Siegel actually, as it happens.

BALUTA: Well...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'm wondering if you really are Robert Siegel in disguise now (laughter).

BALUTA: His voice got me hooked on NPR.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: There you go. Alphonse Baluta of Londonderry, N.H., what member station do you listen to?

BALUTA: WEVS - sustaining member.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's wonderful. And for playing our puzzle today, you'll get WEEKEND EDITION lapel pins as well as puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at So thank you so much, Alphonse.

BALUTA: You're welcome.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Will, what's next week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from listener Alan Hochbaum (ph) of Atlanta. The letters of Switzerland can be rearranged to spell lizard and newts - lizard being the singular name of an animal and newts as a plural. Name another country with the same property. That is name another country whose letters can be rearranged to name two animals, one singular and one plural. It's a major country. What country is it?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: When you have the answer, go to our website, And click on the Submit Your Answer link - just one entry per person, please. Our deadline for entries is this Thursday, April 19 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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