LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
And it's time to play The Puzzle.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Joining us 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.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Remind us of last week's challenge.
SHORTZ: Yeah, it came from listener James Matthews (ph) of Little Rock, Ark. I said think of a common, seven-letter word. Drop its second letter, and you'll get a six-letter word that does not rhyme with the first. Alternatively, you can drop the third letter from the seven-letter word to get a six-letter word that doesn't rhyme with either of the first two. And then you could drop both the second and third letters from the seven-letter word to get a five-letter word that doesn't rhyme with any of the others. What words are these? And the answer is through, making though, trough and tough, which just proves that English is a very weird language.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Indeed. So last week, we posted the challenge online like we always do, but, Will, there was a problem.
SHORTZ: Yes, I hear the answer was posted on NPR's website along with the puzzle.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: It was only up for an hour or so. And then it was taken down when we were alerted by many of our avid listeners. So thank you for that.
SHORTZ: And fortunately, I think NPR listeners are honest people and people wouldn't send in an answer that they hadn't gotten legitimately.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's right. We received over a thousand responses. And our winner this week is Geoffrey Mayne of San Diego, Calif. Congratulations.
GEOFFREY MAYNE: Thank you very much.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I have to ask, did you see the answer online when it was posted?
MAYNE: Oh, I did not. I wouldn't have been awake at that hour.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Fair enough.
SHORTZ: I like that.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Are you ready to play The Puzzle?
MAYNE: I am ready.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Take it away, Will.
SHORTZ: All right, Geoffrey. Every answer today is a familiar, three-word phrase or title in which the first and last words are the same. I'll give you the middle word and a clue, if necessary. You tell me the phrase. For example, if I gave you after with the clue repeatedly, you would say time after time.
MAYNE: I understand.
SHORTZ: Number one is things, and your clue is a phrase suggesting priority.
MAYNE: That would be probably something around first things first.
SHORTZ: First things first is right. Number two is eat, and your clue is cutthroat.
MAYNE: Dog eat dog.
SHORTZ: Right. Sweet, and if you get any of these answers before the clues, feel free to jump right in. Sweet, and what you say after returning from a long trip.
MAYNE: Home, sweet home.
SHORTZ: Against, not give up despite impossible odds.
MAYNE: Let's see, I - it's coming to me. I'm having a hard time with this one. It's - gosh, it's not coming to me.
SHORTZ: OK, it's a four-letter word, starts with H.
MAYNE: Hope against hope?
SHORTZ: Hope against hope is it. Means, M-E-A-N-S, and emphatic refusal.
MAYNE: No means no.
SHORTZ: That's it. Versus, V-E-R-S-U-S, and your clue is a classic feature in Mad Magazine.
MAYNE: Oh, "Spy Vs. Spy."
SHORTZ: Right. And there's also "Kramer vs. Kramer." Baby, and your clue is catchphrase said by Sarah Palin at the 2008 Republican National Convention.
MAYNE: Drill, baby, drill.
SHORTZ: That's it. Thousand. The number of Arabian Nights.
MAYNE: Oh, one thousand one.
SHORTZ: That's it. Here's a tougher one - glorious, and your clue is a song from Oliver with the lyric...
MAYNE: Food, glorious food.
SHORTZ: Oh, listen to that. You didn't even need the lyric. Bloody, 1971 film...
MAYNE: "Sunday Bloody Sunday."
SHORTZ: Nice. And your last one is not, N-O-T. It's a faux apology.
MAYNE: Sorry, not sorry.
SHORTZ: Sorry, not sorry. Good job.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You did a great job. That was a fun one. Did you like it?
MAYNE: Thank you. Yes, I did very much. Thanks, Lulu.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Oh, you did great. You really did. And for playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, as well as puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle. And, Geoffrey, which member station do you listen to?
MAYNE: I listen to KPBS in San Diego, Calif.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Awesome. Thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.
MAYNE: Thank you.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Will, tell us next week's challenge.
SHORTZ: Yes, it comes from listener Dominick Talvacchio (ph) of Chicago. Think of a word that can go before table to make a familiar phrase. Move the last letter to the front, and you'll have a word that can go after table to make another familiar phrase. What phrases are these? So again, a word that can go before table to make a familiar phrase. Move the last letter to the front, and you get a new word that can go after table to make a familiar phrase. What phrases are these?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: When you have the answer, go to our website npr.org/puzzle and click on the Submit Your Answer link. Remember, just one entry per person, please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, December 13 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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