Thanksgiving to a T With Thanksgiving coming up shortly, Will Shortz has brought a T puzzle. Every answer is a familiar two word phrase in which each word has two T's. for example, if I said, A bit of sewing around a hole in a shirt, you would say, button hole stitch.
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Thanksgiving to a T

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Thanksgiving to a T

Thanksgiving to a T

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

Mr. WILL SHORTZ (Puzzle Master): Hi, Andrea.

SEABROOK: Now, let's get straight to what we mentioned at the top of the hour. Scrabble fans' ears perked up when they heard that the long-standing record for highest single play, highest individual game and highest total score in official Scrabble play were broken in the past couple of weeks at a club in Lexington, Mass.

Mr. SHORTZ: That's right.

SEABROOK: What was the word that the guy had to put down, and how many points did he get?

Mr. SHORTZ: The word was quixotry, Q-U-I-X-O-T-R-Y. It's an example of quixoticness. Michael Vestra(ph), who is a carpenter around Boston, played this through an R on the board, going through two triple-word scores for a total of 830 points.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SHORTZ: Surpassing the previous record of 770. His opponent was Wayne Yora(ph). Their total points was 1,320, also shattering the previous record.

SEABROOK: I'm going to start using the word quixotry.

Mr. SHORTZ: Quixotry - work that into your conversation. See if you can use that in the next hour of the show.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SEABROOK: But that was not the challenge. Remind us the challenge you left us with last week for our dear listeners.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Doug Heller of Flourtown, Pennsylvania. I said name a famous person in American politics, five letters in the first name, six letters in the last. You can rearrange this to spell the names of two countries, one of them in five letters, the other in six. The five-letter one is the current name of a country, the six letter one is the old name for a country. Both are well known. What countries are they?

SEABROOK: And the answer?

Mr. SHORTZ: Well, the politician is Nancy Pelosi. You can rearrange the letters of her name to spell Spain and Ceylon.

SEABROOK: Ah, Ceylon. Yeah, I don't think of Ceylon as a country, I think of it as tea.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes, well, it's the old name for Sri Lanka.

SEABROOK: Will, we had over 900 entries from people who tried to solve the puzzle. Our randomly selected winner is Joe Mix from Hagerstown, Maryland. Hi, Joe.

Mr. JOE MIX (Puzzle Winner): Hi, Andrea. Hi, Will.

SEABROOK: And what do you do in Hagerstown?

Mr. MIX: I'm a book store manager.

SEABROOK: How long have you been playing the puzzle?

Mr. MIX: For quite a while, off and on, probably maybe eight years or so.

SEABROOK: And are you ready to play on the air?

Mr. MIX: I'm ready.

SEABROOK: Will, meet Joe.

Mr. SHORTZ: Hi, Joe. Andrea, with T-Day, or Thanksgiving, coming up shortly, I've brought a T puzzle. Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase in which each word has two T's. For example, if I said a bit of sewing around a hole in a shirt, you would say buttonhole stitch. Number one, a competition between Coke and Pepsi, say.

Mr. MIX: A battle...

Mr. SHORTZ: Not a battle.

Mr. MIX: No?

Mr. SHORTZ: So...

Mr. MIX: Taste test.

Mr. SHORTZ: Taste test is right. Number two is what a party loyalist votes.

Mr. MIX: Straight ticket.


Mr. SHORTZ: Straight ticket is right. An informal name for Alabama.

Mr. MIX: Something state.

Mr. SHORTZ: Right. And what do they grow down there?

Mr. MIX: Cotton State.

Mr. SHORTZ: Cotton state is right. A stationary person or thing wide open to attack. Just very easy to attack. It's like a ship that's in the middle of the ocean, and the planes are going over.

Mr. MIX: Oh, a target...

Mr. SHORTZ: What kind?

Mr. MIX: Sitting duck. No?

Mr. SHORTZ: You've got the two words there, just put them together.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. MIX: A sitting-duck target.

Mr. SHORTZ: Sitting target is it.

Mr. MIX: Sitting target, okay.

Mr. SHORTZ: There you go. An item left in an ashtray.

Mr. MIX: Cigarette butt.

Mr. SHORTZ: Right. Prosecuting officer for local government.

Mr. MIX: State's attorney.

Mr. SHORTZ: Okay, I'll give you that. I was going for district attorney. I think either one works.

Mr. MIX: Okay.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SHORTZ: It builds up in clothes in the dryer.

Mr. MIX: Static electricity?

Mr. SHORTZ: That's right. An aide for a high school teacher.

Mr. MIX: Aid for a high school teacher.

Mr. SHORTZ: A young aide, someone who's practicing to be a teacher.

Mr. MIX: Student...

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes. Student is right, and student blank. And it's another word for an aide, a helper.

Mr. MIX: Student assistant.

Mr. SHORTZ: That's right.

Mr. MIX: Okay.

Mr. SHORTZ: A modern crime involving credit cards.

Mr. MIX: Identity theft.

Mr. SHORTZ: Excellent. Cat box filler.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. MIX: Kitty litter.

Mr. SHORTZ: Kitty litter is right. Part of Canada above Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Mr. MIX: Oh boy. The Northern Territory?

Mr. SHORTZ: North - you've got Territories right.

Mr. MIX: Northwest Territories.

SEABROOK: There you go.

Mr. SHORTZ: Northwest Territories is right. Plays or other entertainments performed outdoors in the city.

Mr. MIX: Something theater.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes. What kind? It's on an avenue or a...

SEABROOK: Boulevard?

Mr. MIX: Street theater.


Mr. SHORTZ: Street theater is right. Image that used to be on TV during the wee hours of the morning.

Mr. MIX: Oh, the test pattern.

Mr. SHORTZ: Test pattern is right. And your last one, what Condoleezza Rice is secretary of.

Mr. MIX: Secretary of State.

Mr. SHORTZ: And she's the head of?

Mr. MIX: The State Department.

Mr. SHORTZ: State Department, nice job.

SEABROOK: Nice job, Joe. For playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin; the 11th Edition of a 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. Joe, say a sentence with the word quixotry.

Mr. MIX: Uh, quixotry is a very unusual word.

SEABROOK: Oh, that's not fair.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SEABROOK: What member station do you listen to, Joe?

Mr. MIX: WEJA in Washington.

SEABROOK: Fantastic. Joe Mix from Hagerstown, Maryland. Thanks for playing the puzzle with us.

Mr. MIX: Thank you.

SEABROOK: Now Will, what's the challenge for next week, and does it include the word quixotry?

Mr. SHORTZ: We've already used quixotry how many times now?

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. SHORTZ: Okay, try this. Name a well-known American city with 12 letters in its name containing the letters of thanks, T-H-A-N-K-S, in left-to-right order, not necessarily consecutively. And I'll give you a hint. This is a city of more than 100,000 people.

So again, a well-known American city, 12 letters, contains the letters of thanks in left-to-right order. What city is it?

SEABROOK: Fabulous. When you have an 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. Our deadline this week is Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. We'll call 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. Thank you, Will.

Mr. SHORTZ: Thanks, Andrea.

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