A Challenge for Star Gazers In this week's on-air puzzle, you are given anagrams of the names of constellations. You name the constellations. For example, given "ray" plus L, the answer would be "Lyra."

A Challenge for Star Gazers

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/89972433/89979911" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Liane Hansen.

And joining us is puzzle master Will Shortz. Hi, Will.


HANSEN: Any news?

SHORTZ: Well, a couple of things. First of all, I'm going to be on Martha Stewart's show this Friday. They have a…

HANSEN: Are you going to cook?

SHORTZ: …they have a…

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Fortunately, she did not ask me anything to do with food. But it's a segment about crosswords and it was taped last week, and I think it'll look good.

HANSEN: Oh, that's a good thing. What else?

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Very good. And also I want to mention the Sunday Times crossword today has one of the youngest contributors ever. His name is Oliver Hill. He's 17 years old, a high school senior and he lives a block and a half from me.

HANSEN: No kidding. Oh, man, I'm going to be embarrassed if I can't solve this one, boy.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Well, you left us with an interesting challenge last week. And it's kind of interesting that TV shows figured in. Remind us what it was.

SHORTZ: Yes. I said take the title Candid Camera. If you write down the first appearance of each letter, ignoring any repeats, in the order these letters appear, you get C-A-N-D-I-M-E-R. And I said by doing the same thing to the title of what other well-known TV program do you get the letters S-E-A-M-T-R?

HANSEN: What's your answer?

SHORTZ: Answer is "Sesame Street."

HANSEN: Oh, nice. We had over 3,000 entries from people who solved the puzzle. Our randomly selected winner is Barbara Harris from Carbondale, Illinois. Hi, Barbara.

Ms. BARBARA HARRIS (Caller): Hi, Liane. How are you?

HANSEN: I'm well, thank you. What do you do in Carbondale?

Ms. HARRIS: I'm a study at the university. I study plant and soil science.

HANSEN: Oh, really. What do you want to do with that once you graduate?

Ms. HARRIS: I want to get my Master's degree because I don't really know what I want to do with that one eventually.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: But you seem to someone obviously who loves plants then.

Ms. HARRIS: Indeed. Thank you. I do.

HANSEN: Lovely. Well, how long have you been playing the puzzle?

Ms. HARRIS: Well, technically playing since about December of last year.

HANSEN: Wow. And you know what happens, so you're ready to play, right?

Ms. HARRIS: Yes, I am, thank you.

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

SHORTZ: All right, Barbara. Today's puzzle is called Seeing Stars. I'm going to give you anagrams of the names of some constellations. You name the constellations. For example, if I said ray, R-A-Y, plus L, you would say lyra, L-Y-R-A.

HANSEN: I don't know my constellations.

Ms. HARRIS: And, you know, I don't really either, so we're going to have to really like stretch our brains for this.

HANSEN: Then I guess Will will be the star of this show, right?

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Okay, Will.

SHORTZ: Here's a hint: many of the answers are also the names of signs of the zodiac. Number one is sire, S-I-R-E, plus A.

Ms. HARRIS: Aries.

SHORTZ: Aries is right. Number two is bail, B-A-I-L, plus R.

Ms. HARRIS: Libra.

SHORTZ: Libra, good. Iron, I-R-O-N, plus O.

Ms. HARRIS: Orion.

SHORTZ: Orion, good. C-A-R-D plus O.

Ms. HARRIS: Virgo.

SHORTZ: No, but hold that answer. C-A-R-D.

Ms. HARRIS: C-A-R-D, pardon me.


HANSEN: C-A-R-D plus O.

SHORTZ: It's a constellation dragon.

HANSEN: Really?

Ms. HARRIS: Draco?

SHORTZ: Yeah. Draco is it. Very good.

HANSEN: Draco, oh, okay.

SHORTZ: Next one is voir, as in French for to see, V-O-I-R, plus G.

HANSEN: Remember your last answer, Barbara?

Ms. HARRIS: Virgo.


SHORTZ: Virgo, yes, very good.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Sutra, S-U-T-R-A, plus U. Also the name of the sign of the zodiac.

Ms. HARRIS: Taurus.

SHORTZ: Taurus is it, good.

Ms. HARRIS: That's my zodiac too.

HANSEN: There you go.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: You must have a birthday around now, right?

Ms. HARRIS: Yes, I do. In a few weeks.


SHORTZ: Try this one: pauses, P-A-U-S-E-S, plus G. And this is a horse in Greek mythology.

Ms. HARRIS: Pegasus.

SHORTZ: Pegasus is right. Rosarium, R-O-S-A-R-I-U-M, plus N as in Nancy. And just to let you know, a rosarium is a rose garden.

Ms. HARRIS: Yes, thank you.

SHORTZ: Yes, I guess you would know that.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: And this is a two-word answer. Rosarium plus N.

Ms. HARRIS: Is it Ursa Minor?

SHORTZ: Ursa Minor, good. And here's your last one: macaronis, M-A-C-A-R-O-N-I-S, plus J. This is also a two-word answer. And I'll give you a hint: it's the constellation with the star Sirius, the dog star, in it.

Ms. HARRIS: This is a tough one here.

SHORTZ: And I'll give you another hint: it's Latin for greater dog.

HANSEN: Greater dog.

SHORTZ: Your last one ended in minor, this one…

Ms. HARRIS: Oh, major.

SHORTZ: Major, right. Then you got five letters left.

Ms. HARRIS: Canis?

SHORTZ: Canis Major, good job.

HANSEN: Canis Major.

Ms. HARRIS: Wow. Thank you.

HANSEN: Hey, Barbara, you could minor in stars, you know?

Ms. HARRIS: Oh, thank you.

HANSEN: Nice work, nice work. Now, to tell you about the gifts you'll get for playing our puzzle today, we have some special guests. This past week NPR held its annual Take Your Kids to Work day. So, here are three of the children who visited, beginning with Aman Ardalan(ph).

Mr. AMAN ARDALAN: For playing our puzzle today, you will get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, the 11th edition of Merriam-Webster's "Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus."

Mr. DANNY RUSLOWE(ph): The Scrabble Deluxe edition from Parker Brothers, the Puzzle Master Presents from Random House, Volume 2.

Mr. BRENDAL MITCHELL(ph): 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.

HANSEN: And you also heard from Danny Ruslowe and Brendal Mitchell.

Barbara, tell us - how do you listen to us?

Ms. HARRIS: Oh, I usually listen by podcast, but our member station is WSIU.

HANSEN: All right. Give a shout-out to WSIU. Barbara Harris from Carbondale, Illinois, thanks a lot for playing the puzzle with us today.

Ms. HARRIS: Thank you, Liane. Thanks, Will.

HANSEN: You're…

SHORTZ: Thank you.

HANSEN: She was great, man. She…


HANSEN: …her constellations. All right, what's the challenge for next week, sir?

SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from listener Andrew Chaikin of San Francisco. If you insert a long E sound after the first letter of bond, phonetically you get beyond. And if you insert a long E after the first letter of renter, you get reenter. Now, name something found in outer space, insert a long E sound after the first letter. You'll name a resident of a major American city. What words are these?

So, again, something found in outer space, insert a long E after the first letter, you'll name a resident of a major American city. What words are these?

HANSEN: When you have the answer, go to our Web site, npr.org/puzzle, 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 reach you at about that time. We'll call you 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, thanks a lot.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. 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.