Three Words, Four Letters Every answer in this puzzle is a familiar three-word phrase -- or name -- in which each word has exactly four letters. For example, the clue "Late Vatican Leader" would prompt this answer: Pope John Paul.
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Three Words, Four Letters

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Three Words, Four Letters

Three Words, Four Letters

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

Mr. WILL SHORTZ (Puzzle Master): Hi, John. Welcome back to the show.

YDSTIE: Thank you very much, nice to be here. And Happy New Year to you. This is the first puzzle of 2007, I guess, huh?

Mr. SHORTZ: That's right. Happy New Year to you, too.

YDSTIE: Well, remind us of the puzzle you left with us last week.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yes, I said think of a familiar two-word phrase in the form blank oil and another familiar two-word phrase in the form oil blank, in which the two words in the blanks are anagrams of each other. And as a hint I said each of the anagrams is regular four-letter word. What phrases are these?

YDSTIE: And the answer is?

Mr. SHORTZ: The answer is palm oil and oil lamp.

YDSTIE: And we had over 1,900 entries from people who tried to solve that puzzle. Our randomly selected winner is Michael DeMarco from Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. Welcome, Michael.

Mr. MICHAEL DeMARCO (Puzzle Winner): Hello, John.

YDSTIE: And what do you do up in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, Mike?

Mr. DeMARCO: I work for a small waste water system. It's actually a cooperative.

YDSTIE: And how long have you been playing the puzzle?

Mr. DeMARCO: I would say probably about three to four years.

YDSTIE: Are you ready to play?

Mr. DeMARCO: I hope so.

YDSTIE: Well, Will, Mike, let's give it a try.

Mr. SHORTZ: All right, Mike and John, every answer today is a familiar three-work phrase or name in which each word has exactly four letters. For example, if I gave you the clue late Vatican leader, you would say Pope John Paul. All right, number one is the capital of Utah.

Mr. DeMARCO: Salt Lake City.

Mr. SHORTZ: That's right. Number two, chain of casual restaurants decorated with music artifacts.

Mr. DeMARCO: Hard Rock Cafe.

Mr. SHORTZ: Excellent. Number three, executive power that many state governors have but not the U.S. president.

Mr. DeMARCO: Line item veto.

Mr. SHORTZ: Excellent. Old TV game show involving identifying songs from just a few notes.

Mr. DeMARCO: "Name That Tune."

Mr. SHORTZ: That's right. Song at a New Year's Eve party.

Mr. DeMARCO: "Auld Lang Syne."

Mr. SHORTZ: Uh-huh. 1967 title role for Paul Newman.

Mr. DeMARCO: "Cool Hand Luke."

Mr. SHORTZ: Nice. In poker, a holding of two aces and two eights.

Mr. DeMARCO: Dead man's hand.

Mr. SHORTZ: Nice job. Old Soviet economic program.

Mr. DeMARCO: Five year plan.

Mr. SHORTZ: That's right. A warm way to welcome someone.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Mr. DeMARCO: With open arms.

Mr. SHORTZ: With open arms is right.

YDSTIE: Excellent.

Mr. SHORTZ: Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.

Mr. DeMARCO: I'm going to need a little help on that one.

YDSTIE: High holy days.

Mr. SHORTZ: High holy days is it. Good one. Good advice to someone before crossing the street.

Mr. DeMARCO: Look both ways.

Mr. SHORTZ: That's right. Annual football match between two military schools.

Mr. DeMARCO: Army/Navy game.

Mr. SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Try this one. Buffalo Bill's traveling exhibition.

Mr. DeMARCO: Wild West show.

Mr. SHORTZ: Right. Now in your next two, there are four words, each with four letters, and your first of these is famous challenge by Ronald Reagan, words following Mr. Gorbachev.

Mr. DeMARCO: Tear down that wall.

Mr. SHORTZ: Tear down this wall is right. Good job. 1970s two-person comedy drama on Broadway, made into a movie starring Alan Alda and Ellen Burstyn.

Mr. DeMARCO: Uh oh.

Mr. SHORTZ: They had a meeting in the 1950s, I think, and then every twelve months they got together again. That might be a hint to the answer.

Mr. DeMARCO: "Same Time Next Year"?

Mr. SHORTZ: "Same Time Next Year," right.

YDSTIE: Excellent.

Mr. SHORTZ: And you're last one, it's five words, each with four letters. And your clue is Shakespearean comedy.

Mr. DeMARCO: Five words.

Mr. SHORTZ: Yeah, and it's an appropriate name to finish this puzzle with. I'll give you a hint. The first word starts with an A.

Mr. DeMARCO: Oh, I'm going to definitely need a little bit more help.

YDSTIE: The first word is all.

Mr. SHORTZ: All's.

YDSTIE: You're right.

Mr. DeMARCO: I'm having a little trouble.

YDSTIE: "All's Well That Ends Well."

Mr. SHORTZ: "All's Well That Ends Well." That's it. Nice job.

YDSTIE: Michael, nice job. You showed a very broad range there, I thought.

Mr. DeMARCO: Well, thank you. I have to work on my shows, though.

YDSTIE: But in any case, for playing our puzzle today you 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. I hope you already have Volume 1. 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. And what member station do you listen to up there?

Mr. DeMARCO: We listen to WVIA out of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

YDSTIE: Ah, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. I've spend some time up there, been to the station, in fact. Lots of nice people up there. Well, Michael DeMarco from Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, thanks very much for playing the puzzle with us.

Mr. DeMARCO: Well, thank you.

YDSTIE: So Will, what's the challenge for next week?

Mr. SHORTZ: Well, it's a two-week challenge because it's extra tough. The object is to arrange 16 different letters of the alphabet into a four-by-four square, so four common uncapitalized words read across and four common uncapitalized words read down. I'll give you a start. The second word across is ruly, R-U-L-Y. This is the only slightly unusual word in the square. Every other word in it is one that any school child would know.

So again, arrange 16 different letters of the alphabet into a four-by-four square, so four common uncapitalized word read across and four common uncapitalized words read down. Can you do it?

YDSTIE: And 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. Our deadline is Thursday, January 18th 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 Shorts. Thanks a lot, Will.

Mr. SHORTZ: Thanks, John.

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