Amen to Gag Men In this week's puzzle, clues are given for two words. The first word has two or more G's in it. Remove all the G's and the remaining letters, in order, will spell the answer to the second clue. For example, given "joke writers" and "prayer ending," the answer would be "gag men" and "amen."
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Amen to Gag Men

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Amen to Gag Men

Amen to Gag Men

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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 Lynn Neary sitting in for Liane Hansen.

And joining us now, puzzle master Will Shortz. Hi, Will, so good to be back again with you.

WILL SHORTZ: Hi, Lynn. Good to talk with you.

NEARY: Now, I understand you're going someplace pretty interesting this week, aren't you?

SHORTZ: Yes. This week the Third World Sudoku championship is taking place in Goa, India.

NEARY: Wow. How many…


NEARY: …people come for that?

SHORTZ: Well, there will be 25 to 30 countries and each team have three to four people on it. I'm not competing; I'm on the board of the organization that runs it. But it'll be my first time to India and I'm really looking forward to it.

NEARY: Well, I've been told I shouldn't feel this way but any time I see those Sudoku puzzles, my eyes start blurring because numbers - I have that - I'm one of those people that has that number fear.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Um-hum. Well, I've got a little secret for you: change each of those numbers to a letter. You know, every one, make it an A, every two, make it a B. Maybe it'll seem more inviting.

NEARY: All right. I'm going to give that a try. Okay. Now, remind us of the challenge that you left us with last week.

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Jeffery Harris of Nashville, Tennessee. I said think of a six-letter hyphenated word meaning eager. Change the fourth and sixth letters to get another hyphenated word meaning less-than-eager. What words are these?

NEARY: And the answer?

SHORTZ: Answer is gung-ho and gun-shy.

NEARY: We had about 1,000 entries from people who tried to solve the puzzle. And our randomly-selected winner is Jody McPeak from Seattle, Washington. She joins us now. Hi there, Jody.

Ms. JODY MCPEAK (Caller): Hello.

NEARY: Jody, tell us what do you do there in Seattle?

Ms. MCPEAK: I work for the VA Hospital in the spinal cord injury outpatient clinic, and it is the most uplifting job I have ever had in my life.

NEARY: Uplifting. See, I think people would be surprised to hear you use the word uplifting because that's - you're dealing with people with very serious injuries.

Ms. MCPEAK: Very serious, and not a one of them is miserable. They've all accepted it and they're saying, hey, this isn't going to defeat me. I'm a winner. They're a winner, and they just, they make me feel really good about being here.

NEARY: Well, that's fantastic and it's fantastic work. How long have you been playing the puzzle?

Ms. MCPEAK: Well, I used to send in postcards when Susan Stamberg was running the show.

NEARY: Oh, that's a while ago.

Ms. MCPEAK: Yeah, I'm really old.

(Soundbite of laughter)

NEARY: Well, as you can hear, Will's on the other line. Will, I'd like you to meet Jody McPeak. Why don't you guys say hello and we can get ready to play.

Ms. MCPEAK: Hey, Will.

SHORTZ: Hi, Jody. And, Lynn, I'm going to give you clues for two words. The first word has two or more Gs in it. Remove all the Gs and the remaining letters, in order, will spell the answer to the second clue. For example, if I said joke writers and prayer ending, you would say gagmen and amen. All right?

NEARY: Okay.

Ms. MCPEAK: I'm ready.

SHORTZ: One is uses Listerine or Scope and your second clue is French city in Van Gogh paintings.

Ms. MCPEAK: Gargles and Arles.

SHORTZ: Excellent. Number two: keeps several balls in the air…

Ms. MCPEAK: Juggles…

SHORTZ: …and writer Burn.

Ms. MCPEAK: Jules.

SHORTZ: That's right. Long and matted as a dog's hair and rural carriage.

Ms. MCPEAK: Oh. A rural carriage is a buggy but…


Ms. MCPEAK: …long and matted, like a (unintelligible) dog. Shaggy. That's right.

NEARY: Shaggy and…

Ms. MCPEAK: Shaggy and a shay.

SHORTZ: And a shay is right. A non-wizard in the Harry Potter books and an offspring of a horse and donkey.

Ms. MCPEAK: A muggle and a mule.

SHORTZ: Right. Now, in the following answers, they all have more than two Gs. And your first one of these is an exercise activity on a track or street; and your second clue is become a member of.

Ms. MCPEAK: Jogging…


Ms. MCPEAK: Jogging and join.

SHORTZ: That's right. Protective eyewear and cries at a bullfight.

Ms. MCPEAK: Goggles and olés.

SHORTZ: Very good. I like that. Boasting and intellect.

Ms. MCPEAK: Bragging and brain.

SHORTZ: That's right. And here's your last one: a sound of a drowning person -in two words - and a lollapalooza.

Ms. MCPEAK: Oh wow. A drowning person in two words. Gurgle gurgles.



SHORTZ: And do you remember who sang "To Sir With Love" in the 1960s? That's your…

Ms. MCPEAK: I do. Lulu.

SHORTZ: Yes. Now add…

Ms. MCPEAK: Glug glug?

NEARY: Glug glug.

SHORTZ: Glug glug.

Ms. MCPEAK: I was thinking it was…

(Soundbite of laughter)

NEARY: Glug glug.

Ms. MCPEAK: And that's the first word, glug glug?


Ms. MCPEAK: Second…

SHORTZ: You got it.

Ms. MCPEAK: …oh, and Lulu…



SHORTZ: You got it.

Ms. MCPEAK: I'm not so humiliated as I thought I would be.

NEARY: Oh my goodness, Jody. Are you kidding? I was just sitting here. I had nothing to do at all. You - thank you. You were great.

Ms. MCPEAK: Thank you. Thank you. I've been waiting for years for this opportunity.

NEARY: And, of course, you know you're going to get some prizes. And to tell you exactly what you've won, here's NPR senior news analyst Daniel Schorr.

DANIEL SCHORR: For playing our puzzle today, you will get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, the 11th 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.

NEARY: Thank you, Daniel Schorr. And, Jody McPeak, tell us what member station do you listen to?


NEARY: From Seattle, Washington, that was Jody McPeak. Thanks so much for playing puzzle with us, Jody.

Ms. MCPEAK: Thank you.

NEARY: And now, Will, what is the challenge for next week?

SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from listener Ruth Warren of Albany, New York. Name some places that people eat. Add one letter at the end of the word and you'll get an adjective that may describe this place as food. What words are these? So, again, some places where people eat, add one letter at the end and you'll get an adjective that may describe this place's food. What words are these?

NEARY: And when you have that answer, go to the Web site, and you click on the Submit Your Answer link. Now, only one entry per person, please. Our deadline this week is Thursday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time, and please include a phone number where we could reach you at about that time and we'll call if you are the winner and you will get to play puzzle on the air with the puzzle editor of the New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master Will Shortz.

Thanks a lot, Will. Have fun on your trip.

SHORTZ: Thanks a lot, Lynn.

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