Er, Give Me Another Clue In this week's on-air puzzle, clues are given for two words that each ends in an unaccented vowel sound. Change that sound to an "er," and you'll get a new word that answers the second clue. For example, if the clue were "sandwich fish" and "piano repairman," the answer would be "tuna" and "tuner."
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Er, Give Me Another Clue

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Er, Give Me Another Clue

Er, Give Me Another Clue

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Liane Hansen.

And joining us from the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament being held this year in Brooklyn, New York is puzzle master Will Shortz. Hi, Will.


HANSEN: Having fun yet?

SHORTZ: I'm having a blast.

HANSEN: I bet. You know, I saw an interesting word on the front page of the New York Times this past week. It was in an article written to remember the late William F. Buckley. And they called him a sesquipedalian spark of right. Now, I don't remember the last time I saw sesquipedalian in a headline but it means what - characterized or given to the use of long words.

SHORTZ: Right.

HANSEN: Apparently he was someone who, according to Doug Martin's article, marshaled polysyllabic exuberance.

SHORTZ: He was a master at that. But it was always the perfect word. He wasn't just throwing it out there. He knew exactly how it was to be used.

HANSEN: Amazing. Well, you gave us a challenge last week for our radio listeners to work on. And would you repeat it, please?

SHORTZ: Yes. I said take the name Seattle. The letters in the odd positions spell sate, S-A-T-E. And asked you think of another U.S. city name in seven letters in which the letters in the odd positions spell a common four-letter exclamation. What is it?

HANSEN: What was your answer?

SHORTZ: Well, I'll tell you a funny answer first a couple of people sent was Abilene, and the letters in the odd positions spell A-I-E-E, which I can imagine someone yelling.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: And it's been pointed out to me that England - not a U.S. city name -but England, the letters in the odd positions spelled egad, which I thought was amusing. But the intended answer was Chicago, and the letters in the odd positions spell ciao.



HANSEN: Well, we had over 2,000 entries from people who solved the puzzle. Our randomly selected winner is Chris McKibbin(ph) from Charlottesville, Virginia. Hi, Chris.

Mr. CHRIS MCKIBBIN (Caller): Hi.

HANSEN: What do you do in Charlottesville?

Mr. MCKIBBIN: I'm a lab technician.

HANSEN: Uh-huh.

Mr. MCKIBBIN: At the University of Virginia.

HANSEN: All right. How long have you been playing the puzzle?

Mr. MCKIBBIN: Actually, just about a month.

HANSEN: You're kidding.

Mr. MCKIBBIN: I just found the podcast online so I kept downloading that.

HANSEN: And you were brave enough to send in an entry.

Mr. MCKIBBIN: Yeah. I gave it a shot.

HANSEN: All right. Well, you've only been playing for a month, so you know what happens next, right?

Mr. MCKIBBIN: Yeah. Yeah, I do.

HANSEN: It's fun time is what it is.

(Soundbite of laughter)


HANSEN: All right. Well, Will, please meet Chris. Let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Chris. Today's puzzle is called Boston talk. I'm going to give you clues for two words. Each ends in an unaccented vowel sound, as in tuna. Change that sound to an er and you'll get a new word that answers the second clue, like tuner. So if the clue were piano repairman and sandwich fish, you would say tuna and tuner.

Mr. MCKIBBIN: Got you.

SHORTZ: All right. Number one…

HANSEN: This isn't going to help me with my Massachusetts accent. You know that.

SHORTZ: This is a really - yeah. Here's number one: the capital of Peru and a monkey-like animal.

Mr. MCKIBBIN: Let's see. That would be Lima and a lemur.

SHORTZ: And a lemur is right. Number two is food from heaven and a fancy home.

Mr. MCKIBBIN: Can you help, Liane?

HANSEN: Yeah, do you remember in the bible that food that came down from heaven?


HANSEN: It was manna.

Mr. MCKIBBIN: Oh, yes. All right.

SHORTZ: Manna and a fancy home would be a manor.

HANSEN: Manor.

Mr. MCKIBBIN: Got you.

SHORTZ: Try this one: Latin for earth and extreme fright.

Mr. MCKIBBIN: Terra and terror.

SHORTZ: Good. A deep toned instrument and a potato, for example.

Mr. MCKIBBIN: Deep toned instrument - tuba…

SHORTZ: That's right.

HANSEN: Yeah, tuba, tuber, yeah.


Mr. MCKIBBIN: Never heard of a tuber, but okay.

SHORTZ: Good one: a line dance and a kind of eel.

HANSEN: A line dance.

SHORTZ: A line dance - the dancer - where everyone be arranged in a long line kicking.

HANSEN: Kicking?

SHORTZ: And don't you put your hands on the hips of the person in front of you.

Mr. MCKIBBIN: Okay. That's the rumba, right?

HANSEN: Oh, no. It's the conger…

Mr. MCKIBBIN: Conga.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: It's the conga.

SHORTZ: That's good. It's the conga and a conger eel.

HANSEN: Conger eel.

SHORTZ: Good one. Member of an old Andean empire and part of a printing press.



Mr. MCKIBBIN: Inker, okay.

SHORTZ: Inker, part of a printing press, good. Old Italian currency and one who looks salaciously.

Mr. MCKIBBIN: Lira, lurer(ph).

SHORTZ: Good. Try this: disaster relief organization and the thigh bone.

Mr. MCKIBBIN: FEMA, femur.

SHORTZ: That's fast. Title girl in a 1959 Ritchie Valens hit and one of Santa's reindeer.


SHORTZ: I'm guessing you're too young to know Ritchie…

Mr. MCKIBBIN: Yeah, I'm working backwards.

SHORTZ: What's that?

HANSEN: Well, he's working backwards.

SHORTZ: Did you get through Santa's reindeer?

Mr. MCKIBBIN: Well, I said Prancer but I'm trying to think of other ones.


SHORTZ: Not Prancer.

Mr. MCKIBBIN: Oh, Donner. Donna and Donner.

SHORTZ: That's right, Donna, good. An animal that likes bamboo and cater to others' weaknesses.

Mr. MCKIBBIN: Panda, pander.

SHORTZ: Right. And here's your last one. Fill in the blanks, Santa blank, California, and your second clue is nickname.

Mr. MCKIBBIN: Monica, moniker.

SHORTZ: Santa Moniker is right.

HANSEN: You're all right, Chris?

Mr. MCKIBBIN: Yeah. I'm glad I'm done.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: And you also get some things from us. For playing the puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, the eleventh edition of Merriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus, the Scrabble Deluxe edition from Parker Brothers, the Puzzle Master Presents from Random House, Volume 2, Will Shortz's Little Black Book of Sudoku and Black and White Book of Crosswords from St. Martin's Press and one of Will Shortz's Puzzle Master Decks of Riddles and Challenges from Chronicle Books.

You have lots of puzzles to play with. Now, you mentioned podcast, Chris. Is that how you listen to us?

Mr. MCKIBBIN: That's correct.

HANSEN: Do you ever listen to your radio station down there?

Mr. MCKIBBIN: Yeah, sometimes.

HANSEN: What is that? WVTW?

Mr. MCKIBBIN: That's correct. WVTW.

HANSEN: All right. Give a shout out to each delivery system of WEEKEND EDITION's Sunday's puzzle. Chris McKibbin from Charlottesville, Virginia. You're fine, you were great. Thanks for playing with us.

Mr. MCKIBBIN: Well, thank you. Thanks for your help.

HANSEN: All right. Good luck.

Now, Will, a challenge for next week - and I always get scared when you're at one of your events because they tend to be hard.

SHORTZ: It's a very pretty puzzle from Jed Martinez from Margate City, Florida. Take the letters in the word marionettes, which is M-A-R-I-O-N-E-T-T-E-S, rearrange them to spell the names of two animals that are related. What are they? So, again, the word is marionettes. Rearrange these 11 letters to spell the names of two animals that are related. What animals are they?

HANSEN: When you have the answer, go to our Web site,, and click on the submit your answer link. Only one entry per person, please. Our deadline this week is Thursday, 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Please include a phone number where we can call you at about that time because we will, if you're the winner. And you'll get to play puzzle on the air with the puzzle editor of the New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master Will Shortz.

Will, have fun. Thanks a lot.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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