Sunday Puzzle: Flipping R's To S's Listener Richard McCurdy of Sherman Oaks, Calif., plays this week's puzzle with New York Times puzzlemaster Will Shortz.
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Sunday Puzzle: Flipping R's To S's

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Sunday Puzzle: Flipping R's To S's

Sunday Puzzle: Flipping R's To S's

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MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

It's time to play The Puzzle.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BLOCK: Joining us is Will Shortz. He's puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION'S puzzlemaster.

Hey there, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Hey, Melissa. Welcome back.

BLOCK: Thank you. It's good to be back. And why don't you remind us of what last week's challenge was?

SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener Joe Becker (ph) of Palo Alto, Calif. I said, name a world capital in twelve letters. If you have the right one, you can rearrange its letters to name two animals - one in three letters and the other in nine. What capital is it? And what are the animals?

BLOCK: OK, I got nowhere with this one.

SHORTZ: That's a tough one. The answer is Port-au-Prince, capital of Haiti. And you can rearrange those letters to get rat and porcupine.

BLOCK: There you go. Well, we received 1,193 correct responses. And among those responses, the winner this week, Richard McCurdy (ph) of Sherman Oaks, Calif.

Richard, congratulations. Welcome.

RICHARD MCCURDY: Thank you very much.

BLOCK: And I've been told that it's insomnia that leads you to solve these puzzles. Is that what happened this week?

MCCURDY: Well, some of my best work I do when I'm just lying in bed at night. It's kind of funny. But yeah, for some reason, it's more relaxing. And answers seem to come to me then.

BLOCK: And what do you do when you're not lying in bed trying to solve a puzzle?

MCCURDY: Well, I'm a sound editor for films and TV, and I also do volunteer work for a nonprofit organization that reads texts for students with dyslexia, learning disabilities and the blind. I've been doing it for years, and it's very rewarding.

BLOCK: Oh, I bet. Well, are you ready to play The Puzzle?

MCCURDY: Ready as I'll ever be.

BLOCK: OK. Take it away, Will.

SHORTZ: All right, Richard. Well, I'm going to give you clues for two words. The first word has an R somewhere in it. Change the R to two S's, and you'll get a new word that answers the second clue. For example, if I said female horses and Roman Catholic services, you would say mares and masses. Here we go. Number one, singer who starred in "Moonstruck" and a game on a 64-square board.

MCCURDY: Cher and chess.

SHORTZ: That's it. Number two, a tiny opening in the skin and a group helping a sheriff.

MCCURDY: That's a - let's see - a posse.

SHORTZ: Yes.

MCCURDY: And...

SHORTZ: And change those two S's to an R.

MCCURDY: Oh, a pore.

SHORTZ: A pore is it. Good. Kitchen surface that stools might be next to, noblewoman.

MCCURDY: Oh.

BLOCK: Start with the kitchen surface, I think.

SHORTZ: That's the easy part. You're sitting in the kitchen on a stool. What are you facing?

MCCURDY: A counter, a sink.

SHORTZ: Yes, there you go. Change that R to two S's.

MCCURDY: Oh, a counter and a countess.

SHORTZ: Countess is it. Cry on a golf course, choreographer Bob.

MCCURDY: Oh, that's fore and Fosse.

SHORTZ: Nice. To state as fact, having fallen in social status. And the second word is from the French. To state as fact - seven letters.

MCCURDY: To state as fact - all I can think of is (speaking French).

BLOCK: I was thinking the same thing.

SHORTZ: Yeah.

BLOCK: That's not seven letters.

MCCURDY: Seven letters - and I know French, too. That's what's aggravating.

SHORTZ: Well, there you go - having fallen in social status. And I'll tell you - here's a little hint. It has two accent marks over E's.

MCCURDY: I'm afraid I'm taking gas on that one.

BLOCK: Oh, oh.

SHORTZ: Oh, yeah. Melissa, go for it.

BLOCK: Getting there.

MCCURDY: Wait. Whoa, whoa, whoa - declasse.

SHORTZ: Yes. Change those two S's to an R.

MCCURDY: Declaim - no, no - declare.

SHORTZ: Declare is it. Good. German painter Albrecht and coercion.

MCCURDY: Coercion - oh. Albrecht is - what was his name?

BLOCK: I'm going to be no help with this one.

SHORTZ: If you do something under coercion, you do it under...

MCCURDY: Oh, yeah. You did it under duress - Durer and duress.

SHORTZ: Nice. All right, try this one. The U.S. flag is called old blank and a photo with a shiny surface.

MCCURDY: Well, Old Glory...

SHORTZ: Yes.

MCCURDY: ...And glossy.

SHORTZ: Glossy is it. A cattle thief and having no corrosion, as metal.

MCCURDY: A cattle thief.

SHORTZ: In eight letters, what is that?

MCCURDY: That would be a rustler.

SHORTZ: Change that last R.

MCCURDY: And - oh, rustless (ph).

SHORTZ: Rustless - that has no corrosion. That's right. And here's your last one. North or south and a biology lab assignment.

MCCURDY: Oh, my goodness. North or south - direction and dissection.

SHORTZ: Bravo.

BLOCK: Nicely done, Richard.

MCCURDY: Boy, oh, boy, that was fun.

BLOCK: And you didn't even have to be lying in bed with insomnia to do it, right?

MCCURDY: Yes. Oh, my God. That was fun, but I'm glad it's over.

BLOCK: (Laughter) Well, 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 Richard, tell us which member station you listen to.

MCCURDY: KCRW.

BLOCK: In Santa Monica, Calif.

Richard McCurdy of Sherman Oaks, Calif., thanks so much for playing The Puzzle.

MCCURDY: Thank you for having me.

BLOCK: And Will, what do you have for next week?

SHORTZ: Yeah, it's a tough one. It comes from listener Tyler Lipscomb (ph) of Augusta, Ga. Think of an adjective in five letters and two syllables. The first syllable phonetically sounds like a synonym of the full five-letter word. And strangely, these two words have no letters in common. What words are these? So again, a common adjective in five letters, two syllables. The first syllable phonetically sounds like a synonym of the full five-letter word. And the two words have no letters in common. What words are they?

BLOCK: OK. When you have the answer go to our website npr.org/puzzle and click on the submit your answer link. Remember, just one entry, please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, September 26, at 3 p.m. Eastern. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. And if you're the winner, we will 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.

Will, thanks so much. Have a great week.

SHORTZ: Thank you Melissa.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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