Sunday Puzzle: Easter Ladder Keith Nathan of Bozeman, Mont., plays the puzzle with puzzlemaster Will Shortz and NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro.

Sunday Puzzle: Easter Ladder

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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: Good morning, Lulu.

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

SHORTZ: Yeah. It came from listener Bruce Campbell of Kansas City, Mo. I said, think of a well-known U.S. city, population over a quarter of a million. And I said, phonetically, the first syllable of the city's name, plus the first syllable of the name of its state will sound like a well-known brand name. What is it? The city is Plano, Texas. And that works out to Playtex.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received over 700 correct responses. And the winner this week is Keith Nathan of Bozeman, Mont.


KEITH NATHAN: Thank you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: How'd you solve The Puzzle?

NATHAN: Well, I used the Internet as a helper and downloaded a list of cities over 250,000 and then started running through those cities. And Plano, Texas, just popped up. And it turns out that I used to live there before moving to Bozeman.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Oh. Well, beautiful Montana - I'm sure it's lovely this time of year. Are you ready to play?

NATHAN: As ready as I'll ever be.

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

SHORTZ: All right, Keith. Today, I've brought a word ladder with sort of an Easter egg theme. The object is to convert chick to hatch, changing one letter at a time, making a new word each step of the way. I'll give you clues to the steps. You tell me the words. So starting with chick, change one letter in it to make the sound of a camera.

NATHAN: Click.

SHORTZ: That's right. Now change one letter in that to make a timepiece.

NATHAN: Clock.

SHORTZ: That's it. Change one letter in that to make unit of a city street.

NATHAN: Block.

SHORTZ: That's it. The opposite of white.

NATHAN: Black.

SHORTZ: Devoid of writing or marks.

NATHAN: Blank.

SHORTZ: That's it. A long, flat piece of lumber.

NATHAN: Plank.

SHORTZ: That's it. A carpenter's tool.

NATHAN: Oh, I should know this. I'm a carpenter.

SHORTZ: Let me help you out. Change the last letter of plank.

NATHAN: Oh, plane.

SHORTZ: That's it. Locale.

NATHAN: Place.

SHORTZ: That's it. An informal word of parting.

NATHAN: Peace.

SHORTZ: That's it. A juicy fruit.

NATHAN: Peach.

SHORTZ: Locale for a summer getaway.

NATHAN: Beach.

SHORTZ: A seat for a pianist.

NATHAN: Bench.

SHORTZ: A group, as flowers.

NATHAN: Bunch.

SHORTZ: A drink served in a big bowl.

NATHAN: Punch.

SHORTZ: A tiny amount, as of salt.

NATHAN: Pinch.

SHORTZ: To throw.

NATHAN: Pitch.

SHORTZ: Yes. What a pirate might have over one eye.

NATHAN: Patch.

SHORTZ: That's it. And what - your last one is what chicks do.

NATHAN: Hatch.

SHORTZ: There you go - chick to hatch.

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

NATHAN: That was a miracle.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: An Easter Sunday miracle - there you go (laughter). 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 Keith, which member station do you listen to?

NATHAN: I listen to KBMC, which is part of Yellowstone Public Radio.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Oh, that's wonderful. That's Keith Nathan of Bozeman, Mont.

Happy Easter. And thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.

NATHAN: Thanks, Lulu. Thanks, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks.

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

SHORTZ: Yeah. The challenge is to create the shortest possible word ladder connecting large to small, changing one letter at a time and making a common uncapitalized word each step of the way. And there's one tricky part. Plurals and verbs formed by adding S are not allowed. So again, form the shortest possible word ladder from large to small using only common uncapitalized words. Plurals and verbs formed by adding S are not allowed. Can you do it?

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, April 16, 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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