Sunday Puzzle: Lucky Number 7 NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro and Puzzlemaster Will Shortz play the puzzle this week with KQED listener Steven Bailey of San Francisco.
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Sunday Puzzle: Lucky Number 7

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Sunday Puzzle: Lucky Number 7

Sunday Puzzle: Lucky Number 7

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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I'm Lulu Garcia-Navarro. And it's time to play The Puzzle.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: Joining us is Will Shortz. He's a puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster.

Hey, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. What was last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from Joseph Young of St. Cloud, Minn. And I said it's a little tricky. When you remove the last letter from Germany, Sweden or Somalia, what remains is a native of that country. And I asked, what country, if you remove its last letter, also leaves a native but only after you rearrange its remaining letters? And the answer is Vietnam. If you remove the letter M, you get an anagram of native - the word native.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So you were specifically looking for the word native and not a term for a person from Vietnam, right?

SHORTZ: That's right.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And we received 218 answers to that, so it was a tough one. I understand that there's something else you want to talk about.

SHORTZ: Well, the previous week's challenge had an alternative answer that I'd like to acknowledge. And if you remember, I asked, what standard English word has a two-letter abbreviation, and the first letter of the abbreviation is the second letter of the word and the second letter of the abbreviation doesn't appear in the word at all? And my answer was prescription for Rx. And a number of listeners sent in effects and the abbreviation for that is FX, which also fit the puzzle. So I wanted to acknowledge that.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Well, thanks for that. And now we're going to return to this week's challenge. And our winner is Steven Bailey of San Francisco.

Congratulations, and welcome to the program.

STEVEN BAILEY: Thank you very much.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So, Steven, how'd you figure it out?

BAILEY: Went through a whole list of countries and didn't come up with anything - the second time going through it, I noticed Vietnam had a particularly interesting combination of letters when I took away the M and figured it out. Serendipitously, my wife is from Vietnam. And when I got the call, we were just waiting for lunch at a Vietnamese restaurant.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Oh, that's wonderful.

SHORTZ: (Laughter).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Are you ready to play The Puzzle?

BAILEY: As ready as I'll be.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) All right. Take it away, Will.

SHORTZ: All right, Steven. I'm going to give you some words and phrases. Each conceals the name of something in left-to-right order, although not consecutively. And as a hint, I'll tell you every answer has exactly seven letters. For example, if I said sanctimonious and a Shakespeare character, you would say Antonio because the letters of Antonio appear in left-to-right order inside sanctimonious. Here's number one. Reverse split - and you're looking for a mountain.

BAILEY: Everest.

SHORTZ: Everest is right. Number two - affranchise - that's A-F-F-R-A-N-C-H-I-S-E - a franchise. And you're looking for a pope.

BAILEY: Francis.

SHORTZ: That's it - cross-training, an Italian composer.

BAILEY: Rossini.

SHORTZ: Nice - service station, a Norse explorer.

BAILEY: Service station - Eric (ph)?

SHORTZ: Seven letters - so add on.

BAILEY: Seven letter - Eric...

SHORTZ: You got the first four letters right.

BAILEY: Yes, yes, yes.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: He's related to Eric (laughter).

BAILEY: Erikson.

SHORTZ: Erikson - Leif Erikson is right - cardiac arrest, a South American capital.

BAILEY: South American - Caracas.

SHORTZ: Nice - motor control, a Canadian city.

BAILEY: Toronto.

SHORTZ: It's Toronto, good - time interval, a Roman goddess.

BAILEY: Minerva.

SHORTZ: Nice - petroleum jelly, an ancient astronomer.

BAILEY: Ptolemy.

SHORTZ: Nice - theoretically, a conservative commentator.

BAILEY: Not...

SHORTZ: Formerly of Fox News.

BAILEY: Formerly of Fox News - oh, dear - not a Fox watcher.

SHORTZ: Starts with (laughter) - starts with O.

BAILEY: O'Reilly.

SHORTZ: O'Reilly is it - no-win situation, a brand of cigarettes.

BAILEY: Winston.

SHORTZ: That's it. And your last one is search party and aviator.

BAILEY: Earhart.

SHORTZ: Nice job.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You did amazingly well. How do you feel?

BAILEY: I feel great - very...


BAILEY: ...Very excited.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You did a really amazing job. 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 And, Steven, which member station do you listen to?

BAILEY: My wife and I are proud to be members of KQED FM in San Francisco.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Steven Bailey of San Francisco.

Thank you for playing The Puzzle.

BAILEY: Thank you so much.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Will. Next week's challenge - lay it on us.

SHORTZ: OK. Well, it comes from listener Eric Berlin. He's a member of the National Puzzlers League. And you've caught me this weekend at the National Puzzlers League convention in Colorado. And here's the puzzle. Take an 11-letter word with two Ds in it - D as in dog. If you drop both Ds, you'll get a world capital followed by a sign of the zodiac. What's the 11-letter word? So again - 11-letter word with two Ds. Drop both Ds, and you'll get a world capital followed by a sign of the zodiac. What's the 11-letter word?

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, July 18 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: Thanks, Lulu.


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