LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
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.
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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. Have you filed your taxes yet?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I have.
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.
ALPHONSE BALUTA: Thank you.
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...
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.
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 npr.org/puzzle. 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, 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 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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