Sunday Puzzle: Let's Play Ball NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro and puzzlemaster Will Shortz play the puzzle with Beth Adams from Monticello, Fla.
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Sunday Puzzle: Let's Play Ball

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Sunday Puzzle: Let's Play Ball

Sunday Puzzle: Let's Play Ball

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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And Happy Earth Day. While we wait for our polar ice caps to stop melting, 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. That's kind of a scary intro there.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: One has to remind people that that is happening. And would you remind us of last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener Alan Hochbaum (ph) of Atlanta. And I said the letters of Switzerland can be rearranged to spell lizard and newts, lizard being the singular name of an animal and newts a plural. And I said name another country with this same property. What country is it? And the answer is Mexico, which you can rearrange to make ox and mice. Interestingly, no S in Mexico.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We got over 300 correct responses. And our randomly selected winner is Beth Adams of Monticello, Fla. Congratulations.

BETH ADAMS: Thank you. Thank you. I'm very excited.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So I hear you are not the first person in your family to win The Puzzle. Tell us about it.

ADAMS: That's correct, my husband won back in June of 2014, so we've been desperately trying to get a matching lapel pin for me.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Beth, are you ready to play?

ADAMS: I hope so, yes.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Deep breath, deep breath. All right. Take it away.

SHORTZ: All right, Beth. Every answer today is the name of a Major League Baseball team. You tell me what they are from their anagrams. For example, if I said scary, S-C-A-R-Y, minus C, you would say Rays as in Tampa Bay Rays.

ADAMS: OK. I'll give it a try.

SHORTZ: Good. Number one, scuba. S-C-U-B-A minus A.

ADAMS: The Cubs?

SHORTZ: Cubs is right. Number two is steam, S-T-E-A-M minus A.

ADAMS: The Mets?

SHORTZ: That's it. Now they're starting to get longer. Despair, D-E-S-P-A-I-R minus I.

ADAMS: Oh gosh, I'm not sure about that one.

SHORTZ: I'll give you a big hint here - San Diego.

ADAMS: Padres.

SHORTZ: Padres is right. Here's one down your way, minerals. M-I-N-E-R-A-L-S minus E.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It's from my hometown...


GARCIA-NAVARRO: ...Which is Miami.

SHORTZ: Miami.

ADAMS: Right. I should know that. You're right. It's right down my way and I cannot think of it off the top of my head. I'm sorry.

SHORTZ: Go ahead, Lulu. You can say this one.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It's the Marlins.

SHORTZ: The Marlins.

ADAMS: Oh, yes. Yes. Thank you, Lulu.

SHORTZ: How about - oh, here's a tough one. Theistical, T-H-E-I-S-T-I-C-A-L minus I.

ADAMS: Oh, my gosh, that's a long one.

SHORTZ: That's a long one. OK, your hint is Oakland.

ADAMS: Yeah, no. All I can think of is football. I don't know, sorry.

SHORTZ: I'll tell you that one? It's the Athletics. Also the...

ADAMS: Oh, yeah. Oh, I never would've...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I also have to tell you theistical does not sound like a real word.

ADAMS: Yeah, it doesn't. I agree. I've never heard of that word.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Thank you, Beth. I am going to note my complaint here. My reservation on that one.

SHORTZ: Your reservation on that one. I went to the Unabridged for that word.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah, exactly.

SHORTZ: OK. Here's your last one. And if you didn't like theistical, you're not going to like this word.

ADAMS: Oh, great.

SHORTZ: It's nonspatial, N-O-N-S-P-A-T-I-A-L. Remove the P. Nonspatial, minus the P, and think of the team in Washington.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: My real hometown now.

SHORTZ: And it starts with an N.

ADAMS: (Unintelligible), no. I don't even know.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Kind of rhymes with that.

SHORTZ: Yeah, that's a tough one. All right. We ended on a tough one. Lulu, you're going to have to give the answer.


SHORTZ: It's the Washington Nationals.

ADAMS: Nationals. Oh, yeah.

SHORTZ: Not bad, Beth. Not bad.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I have to say, Beth, this was a really tough one, unless you kind of were steeped in baseball. This would've been a good one for Scott Simon. But other than that, you did a great job. And guess what? You will be getting a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin that you can wear with your husband...

ADAMS: Oh, right.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: ...As well as puzzle books and games.

ADAMS: There you go.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You can read all about it at Beth, what member station do you listen to?

ADAMS: I listen to WFSU in Tallahassee, Fla.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Beth Adams of Monticello, Fla., thanks for playing the puzzle.

ADAMS: Thank you. Appreciate it.

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

SHORTZ: Yes, it comes from listener Dan Ezekiel (ph) of Ann Arbor, Mich. Take the name of a famous film director. Drop the first letter of this person's first name. And you'll name a fish. Read the last name backward, and you'll name another fish. What film director is it? So again - famous film director. Drop the first letter of the person's first name. You'll name a fish. Read the last name backward, and you'll name another fish. What film director 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 26 at 3 p.m. Eastern exactly. 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, our very own Will Shortz. Thanks so much, Will.

SHORTZ: Thank you, Lulu.


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