Sunday Puzzle: Name That President NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro and Weekend Edition puzzlemaster Will Shortz play a word game with WBUR listener Angela Voss of Medford, Mass.
NPR logo

Sunday Puzzle: Name That President

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Sunday Puzzle: Name That President

Sunday Puzzle: Name That President

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


And it's time to play The Puzzle.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: Joining us 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.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So what was last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Mathew Huffman. I said name a well-known rock band in three words. Change the first and third letters to the first and third letters of the alphabet. That is A and C, and you can rearrange the result to name another famous rock band in three words. What is it? Well, the first one is Nine Inch Nails. Change those letters and rearrange. You get Alice in Chains.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received about 400 responses, and our winner this week is Angela Voss of Medford, Mass. Congratulations.

ANGELA VOSS: Thank you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So how did you solve it?

VOSS: So, well, I think I - the advantage here is that I grew up as a teenager in the '90s, so these were familiar to me. And the A and C and the three words - there's not a lot of things that, you know, fit that. So I actually got Alice In Chains first and - which I do a lot of times. I often get the answer...

SHORTZ: (Laughter).

VOSS: ...First and reverse back to the first.

SHORTZ: Good, good.

VOSS: So whichever one's like - whichever one's easier for me to decide.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So how long have you been playing The Puzzle?

VOSS: I think about eight years.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: OK. And do - you play it with your husband, right?

VOSS: Yes, every week. We listen to it together no matter what.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I love these stories. I find them very romantic. I also hear that you play with your cat.

VOSS: Yes. He's also played.


VOSS: He hasn't gotten any answers yet, but we're, you know, not ruling him out.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. And your cat's name is...

VOSS: Bacio (ph).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Bacio, like kiss in Italian.

VOSS: Yes, like Italian chocolate.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) That's cute. All right. Here we go. Take it away, Will.

SHORTZ: All right, Angela. In celebration of Presidents Day tomorrow, every answer here is the name of a U.S. president. I'm going to give you some words and familiar phrases. For each one, name a president in which the consonants are the same and in the same order as the consonants in the word or phrase. For example, if I said creature, you would say Carter because the consonants in creature are C, R, T and R. And those are the same consonants in the same order as in Carter.


SHORTZ: All right. Number one is afraid, A-F-R-A-I-D.

VOSS: So F, R and D.

SHORTZ: F, R and D, yeah. What president is that?


SHORTZ: No, that's FDR. That's a different order. Remember, it has to be in the same order.

VOSS: Oh, same order. So like Ford.

SHORTZ: Ford, yes. Good. Number two is Oregon, O-R-E-G-O-N.

VOSS: Oh, Reagan.

SHORTZ: Reagan is it. Beam, B-E-A-M. Your only consonants there are B and M.

VOSS: Right. I'm trying to think of a president, Will. Obama.

SHORTZ: Obama, yes. Meaner, M-E-A-N-E-R.

VOSS: M, N, R.

SHORTZ: All right?

VOSS: Monroe.

SHORTZ: Monroe, good. Heavier, H-E-A-V-I-E-R.

VOSS: Hoover.

SHORTZ: Good. Hurries in, H-U-R-R-I-E-S I-N.

VOSS: Harrison?

SHORTZ: Harrison is it. Price, P-R-I-C-E.

VOSS: P, R, C. P...

SHORTZ: This is one of those presidents before the Civil War.

VOSS: Like Franklin Pierce?

SHORTZ: Franklin Pierce, good. Guarantee, G-U-A-R-A-N-T-E-E.

VOSS: G, R, N, T. Grant.

SHORTZ: Grant is it. Rather, R-A-T-H-E-R.

VOSS: R, T, H, R. R, T, H, R.

SHORTZ: Right. This was after the Civil War but still the 19th century.

VOSS: Yeah, though, not the least well-known ones.

SHORTZ: (Laughter).

VOSS: You had to do one that I didn't know. Wait a minute.

SHORTZ: You'll know. How about first name Chester?

VOSS: Oh, Arthur.

SHORTZ: Chester Arthur is it. Ice ledge, I-C-E L-E-D-G-E.

VOSS: Coolidge.

SHORTZ: That's it. And your last one is outer moon, O-U-T-E-R M-O-O-N.

VOSS: T, R, M, N. Truman.

SHORTZ: Truman is it. Good job, 100 percent.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's amazing. How do you feel?

VOSS: I feel good. I didn't write anything down. I have, like, a perfect recall for everything I hear and see. So I just see it in my head.


VOSS: Yeah.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You have perfect recall?

VOSS: Yeah.


VOSS: Almost, yeah. Like...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Now I'm jealous.

VOSS: Yeah.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) All right. Angela Voss of Medford, Mass., 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 And what member station do you listen to?


GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Thank you for playing The Puzzle.

VOSS: Thank you so much.

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

SHORTZ: Yes. The numbers 1, 12, 80 and million have something in common that only one other number has. What is it, and what's the other number? So, again, the numbers are 1, 12, 80 and million. They have something in common that only one other number has. What is it, and what's the other number?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: When you have the answer, go to our website and click on the Submit Your Answer link. Remember, just one entry per person, please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, February 21 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.


Copyright © 2019 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.