Tom Swifties, He Said Cryptically Puzzle master Will Shortz quizzes one of our listeners, and has a challenge for everyone at home. This week's winner is Karen Donofrio-Staros of Carlsbad, Calif.
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Tom Swifties, He Said Cryptically

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Tom Swifties, He Said Cryptically

Tom Swifties, He Said Cryptically

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From NPR News this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Liane Hansen. And joining us puzzle master Will Shortz. Hi, Will.

WILL SHORTZ: Hi, Liane. Welcome back.

HANSEN: Thanks very much. I actually heard the puzzle segment last week. You were playing with Noah Adams. He did very well.

SHORTZ: He did a nice job, yeah.

HANSEN: He sure did. And you gave a challenge that I've been struggling with all week. And guess what, I didn't get it, so why don't you repeat it, please.

SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener Henry Hook of Brooklyn, and he's one of the country's top puzzle makers. I said think of a seven letter word that names a certain implement with a sharp point, reverse the order of the second through fifth letters in this word, leaving the other three letters in place. The result will name a popular TV series. And this series has some other types of sharp implements in use. What series is it?

HANSEN: What is it?

SHORTZ: Well, the implement is a nutpick, and reverse those letters, you get Nip/Tuck.

HANSEN: Oh, thus the sharp implements. Show about plastic surgery, mmm-hmm, mmm-hmm.

Well, we had over 900 entries from people who tried to solve the puzzle, and our winner, randomly selected from the correct answers, is Karen D'Onofrio-Staros from Carlsbad, California. Hi Karen.


HANSEN: I hope I didn't mangle your last name.

Ms. D'ONOFRIO-STAROS: No, perfect.

HANSEN: What do you do in Carlsbad?

Ms. D'ONOFRIO-STAROS: I work at a talent agency. And I'm a part-time police officer.

HANSEN: Wow. Those are two disparate kinds of careers aren't they?

Ms. D'ONOFRIO-STAROS: Yes, yin and yang.

HANSEN: Yin and yang, absolutely. How long have you been playing the puzzle?

Ms. D'ONOFRIO-STAROS: Since day one.

HANSEN: Oh, good for you.

Ms. SHORTZ: All right.

HANSEN: How long did it take you to solve this one?

Ms. D'ONOFRIO-STAROS: Oh, it was pretty fast.

HANSEN: Oh, well good, because you're giving me an indication of how you're going to play today.

Ms. D'ONOFRIO-STAROS: Let's hope so.

HANSEN: I'm sure, I'm sure. If you've been playing since day one, I am sure this is going to be a breeze. Right, Will?

SHORTZ: We'll see.

HANSEN: All right, Will, meet Karen. Let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Karen and Liane. Today's puzzle involves a classic form of word play called Tom Swifties. I'm going to read you some sentences, each ending with Tom said, followed by an adverb. You supply the missing adverb, which will complete the sentence in a punny way. For example, absolutely I'm switching from XM Radio to their rival, Tom said, blank. You would say seriously. All right?

Number one, ah, for the good old days of card games before bridge, Tom said, starting with W.

Ms. D'ONOFRIO-STAROS: Wistfully.

SHORTZ: Said wistfully, good job. Number two, I love Sampras, I love Sampras, Tom said, starting with R.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Do you know this, Liane?

HANSEN: I want to throw this one in. Repeatedly.

SHORTZ: Said Tom repeatedly is correct.


SHORTZ: Try this one: the twenty-fifth letters are the initials of yin and yang, Tom said, starting with W.


SHORTZ: Wisely. Well, my friend, look who popped out of the magic lamp, Tom said. Starting with G.


SHORTZ: Yes. Mr. DiMaggio should be crowned, Tom said, starting with J. Mr. DiMaggio should be crowned.


SHORTZ: Said jokingly.


SHORTZ: I was always in favor of Mr. Michaels at Saturday Night Live, said Tom, starting with F.

Ms. D'ONOFRIO-STAROS: Forlornly.

SHORTZ: Forlornly. The metal attachment on a cowboy's boot was invented 5,000 years ago, Tom said, starting with S.

Ms. D'ONOFRIO-STAROS: Spuriously.

SHORTZ: Spuriously, yes. Give each person a bowl of matzo ball soup and a serving of gefilte fish, said Tom, starting with J.

Ms. D'ONOFRIO-STAROS: Judiciously?

SHORTZ: Judiciously, good job.

HANSEN: Very good.

SHORTZ: I said, get that skunk odor out, Tom said, starting with D. Here it is again. I said...

Ms. D'ONOFRIO-STAROS: Distinctly.

SHORTZ: Distinctly, good job. Get rid of all the Conservative Party members in England, Tom said, starting with N. Get rid of all the Conservative Party members in England, Tom said, starting with N as in Nancy.


HANSEN: Well, I'm thinking House of Lords, nobly, but I don't think that works in the sentence.

SHORTZ: And what do they call a member of the Conservative Party in England?

HANSEN: Tories.

SHORTZ: Yes, there's your hint.

Ms. D'ONOFRIO-STAROS: Oh, notoriously.

HANSEN: Notoriously. Very good.

SHORTZ: Notoriously. Good job. And here's your last one. Oh, I can't find the right flower to do she loves me, she loves me not, Tom said, starting with L.

Ms. D'ONOFRIO-STAROS: Lackadaisically.

SHORTZ: Lackadaisically. Good job.

HANSEN: Karen. You're on a roll. You know the - you know your Tom Swifties.


HANSEN: Well is right. Yeah. Absolutely, she said. Heroically, or something like that. I'm not very good at making those up, so I think I'll just tell you what you're going to take away today.

Ms. D'ONOFRIO-STAROS: Okay. Goodie.

HANSEN: For playing so well on our puzzle you'll get a Weekend Edition lapel pin; the 11th Edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus; the Scrabble Deluxe Edition from Parker Brothers; The Puzzle Master Presents from Random House Volume 2; a set of Sudoku puzzle books presented by Will Shortz from St. Martin's Press; and one of Will Shortz's Puzzle Master Decks of Riddles and Challenges from Chronicle Books. Nice load there. Yeah.

Karen, tell us, what member station do you listen to?


HANSEN: Okay, Karen...

Ms. D'ONOFRIO-STAROS: And I am a member.

HANSEN: Even better. That great M word, I said thankfully.

SHORTZ: Good job.

HANSEN: Karen Donofrio-Staros from Carlsbad, California, thanks a lot. You were fabulous.

Ms. D'ONOFRIO-STAROS: Thank you.

HANSEN: Okay. Oh, Will. Something for next week.

SHORTZ: Yes. Name a famous person whose first and last names together total 11 letters. And this person's first and last names each contain the consecutive letters I-L-L in that order. Who is it? And this is a person everybody knows. So again, a famous person whose first and last names total 11 letters. The first and last names each contain the consecutive letters I-L-L. Who is this famous person?

HANSEN: When you have the answer, go to our Web site,, and click on the Submit Your Answer link on the Sunday Puzzle page. Only one entry per person, please. And our deadline this week is Thursday, 3 p.m. Eastern time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time and we'll call you if you're the winner, and you'll get to play Puzzle on the Air with the puzzle editor of the New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Will Shortz, who joined us from New York.

Thanks a lot, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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