Sunday Puzzle: It's Game Day Listener Holly Ashworth of Oak Park, Ill., plays this week's puzzle with New York Times puzzlemaster Will Shortz.
NPR logo

Sunday Puzzle: It's Game Day

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Sunday Puzzle: It's Game Day

Sunday Puzzle: It's Game Day

  • 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 is Will Shortz. He's puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster. Hi, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Hey there, Lulu.

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

SHORTZ: Yeah. It came from listener Joseph Young, who does the blog Puzzleria. I said, name a popular TV personality. Write the name in all capital letters. Rotate the last letter 90 degrees and move it forward one spot - in other words, in front of the preceding letter. And the result will name a famous movie. What is it?

Well, my intended answer was Dr. Oz. And if you turn that Z in the side - turns into an N. Move it forward. You get "Dr. No," famous James Bond movie. We got an amazing alternative answer - Jase - J-A-S-E - from "Duck Dynasty." And, you know, the E turned on its side sort of looks like a W. Move that forward, and you get "Jaws." So we counted that as correct, too.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Wow. We received 433 responses. And the winner this week is Holly Ashworth of Oak Park, Ill. Congratulations.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: So I hear you've been playing The Puzzle for 10 years. Do you have a puzzle routine?

ASHWORTH: I usually don't get a chance to listen live. So I like to come in on Monday morning at work, and there's a blog that always posts the question. And I like to kind of puzzle over it all week and keep a tab open on my computer if I need some time with it and then eventually, hopefully, get it right.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Listeners at home, do not do what Holly does.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: You always must listen to The Puzzle live.

ASHWORTH: I'm terrible. I'm sorry.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yes. Are you ready to play?


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

SHORTZ: All right. Holly, every answer today is a holiday that goes by the name blank day. I'll give you anagrams of the words that go in the blanks. You name the holidays. For example, if I said, roar - R-O-A-R - plus B, you would say arbor, as in Arbor Day.


SHORTZ: Here's number one - gal - G-A-L, plus F.

ASHWORTH: Plus F - Flag Day.

SHORTZ: Flag Day is it. Number two is hare - H-A-R-E - plus T, as in Thomas.


SHORTZ: Earth Day is right. Boar - B-O-A-R - plus L.


SHORTZ: That's it. Reshot - R-E-S-H-O-T - plus M.

ASHWORTH: Mother's.

SHORTZ: That's it. Strafe - S-T-R-A-F-E - plus H.

ASHWORTH: S-T-R-A - what? - F-E - oh, Father's.

SHORTZ: Father's is right. Servant - S-E-R-V-A-N-T - plus E.

ASHWORTH: I might need a hint.

SHORTZ: Well, takes place in November.

ASHWORTH: Takes place in November.

SHORTZ: It's a federal holiday.

ASHWORTH: Oh, Veterans.

SHORTZ: Veterans Day is it. Immoral - I-M-M-O-R-A-L - plus E.

ASHWORTH: Memorial.

SHORTZ: Memorial Day is it. Dispenser - D-I-S-P-E-N-S-E-R - plus T, as in Thomas.

ASHWORTH: That's a long one.

SHORTZ: Yeah. Here's your hint. It's in February.

ASHWORTH: It's in February - definitely doesn't work with Valentine's.

SHORTZ: (Laughter) It's a federal holiday.

ASHWORTH: Presidents' Day.

SHORTZ: Presidents' Day is it. Good. Venetians - V-E-N-E-T-I-A-N-S - plus L.

ASHWORTH: Oh, that's Valentine's.

SHORTZ: That's Valentine's Day. And here's your last one - indentations. That's I-N-D-E-N-T-A-T-I-O-N-S, plus U - two words.

ASHWORTH: Student - no.

SHORTZ: And I can tell you. It's a regular two - it's not something you celebrate. It - first of all, it's an international holiday. Most people don't celebrate it, but you know, you could.

ASHWORTH: (Laughter) I don't think I'm one of them. Let's see.

SHORTZ: It takes place every day on October 24.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And it's based on an international organization.

SHORTZ: That's correct.

ASHWORTH: Oh, my goodness. I'm drawing a blank.

SHORTZ: Big hint there - what's an international...

ASHWORTH: Oh, United Nations.

SHORTZ: United Nations Day, October 24. Nice job.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You did a great job. How do you feel?

ASHWORTH: Glad it's over. It was really fun.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: 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 Holly, which member station do you listen to?

ASHWORTH: WBEZ 91.5 in Chicago.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'm glad. I hope you listen to us live on every Sunday from now on. That's Holly Ashworth of Oak Park, Ill. Thank you for playing The Puzzle.

ASHWORTH: Thank you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Will - next week's challenge.

SHORTZ: Yeah, it comes from listener Joe Becker (ph) of Palo Alto, Calif. Name a world capital in 12 letters. If you have the right one, you can rearrange the letters to name two animals, one in three letters and the other in nine. What capital is it? So again, world capital, 12 letters - you can rearrange its letters to name two animals in three letters and nine letters. What's the capital, and what are the animals?

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, September 19, 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.


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.