Categorically Fun You are given two things from the same category. Name a third thing that's in the same category and falls between the two things alphabetically. For example, given Psycho and Rebecca, the answer would be Rear Window, because all three are Hitchcock films.
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Categorically Fun

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Categorically Fun

Categorically Fun

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From NPR News this is Weekend Edition. I'm Liane Hansen. And joining us is puzzle master Will Shortz. Hey, Will. Happy Fourth of July weekend.

WILL SHORTZ: Same to you, Liane.

HANSEN: Hey, I heard a new word on the radio. Maybe it's not so new, maybe only to me. But when describing what people were doing this weekend with high gas prices and the cost of travel and all, that they were taking a "staycation."

SHORTZ: I like that. Never heard that before. A portmanteau word.

HANSEN: Isn't it great? Because that's exactly what people are taking, "Staycations" as opposed to vacations. Anyway, it's not words that you left us with last week. It's numbers. It was a math puzzle. Kind of like an SAT test. What was that challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from a 19th century advertising trade card that I bought on eBay. I said a man buys 20 pencils for 20 cents and gets three kinds of pencils in return. Some of the pencils cost four cents each, some are two for a penny and the rest are four for a penny. How many pencils of each type does the man get?

HANSEN: Your answer, sir.

SHORTZ: The answer is three pencils at four cents each, 15 pencils at two for a penny, and two pencils at four for a penny. And that works out to exactly 20 pencils at 20 cents.

HANSEN: Well, about 1,300 people knew the answer and wrote in with the correct answer. And we randomly picked Sandy Resnick from Minneapolis, Minnesota. Hey, Sandy.

Ms. SANDY RESNICK (Caller): Yes.

HANSEN: How are you?

Ms. RESNICK: I'm fine.

HANSEN: You sound a little nervous. Don't be nervous.


HANSEN: It's a holiday weekend. You know, we get to relax, let down just a little bit. What do you do in Minneapolis?

Ms. RESNICK: I used to be a computer programmer and then a manager of computer programmers and then a marketing person.

HANSEN: Used to be.

Ms. RESNICK: Yes. Now I don't get paid for doing stuff. Now I just do volunteer things.

HANSEN: What do you do for fun?

Ms. RESNICK: I do a lot of cooking and reading. And I do a lot of embroidery.

HANSEN: Beautiful. I love embroidery, and I admire anyone who can do it. And so are you a puzzle person?

Ms. RESNICK: I'm a puzzle person. I was also a math major.

HANSEN: Well, all right. Say no more. I think we have to play. Will, please meet Sandy, and let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Sandy and Liane. This is a good two-person puzzle today. I'm going to name two things from the same category. You name a third thing that's in the same category that comes between my two things alphabetically. For example, if I said "Psycho" and "Rebecca", you would say "Rear Window" because all three are Hitchcock films.

Ms. RESNICK: Oh boy.

SHORTZ: All right. Number one is Harrison and McCartney.

HANSEN: So it's got to be a Beatle.

Ms. RESNICK: No. I'm...


Ms. RESNICK: Help me out here. It's not Ringo Star, it's the fourth one.

HANSEN: Lennon.

SHORTZ: That's right.

HANSEN: John Lennon.

SHORTZ: That's right. John Lennon. Good.

HANSEN: Yeah. Well done.

SHORTZ: Here's your next one. Orange, Violet.


SHORTZ: Red is right, from colors on the rainbow. Earth, Mars.

Ms. RESNICK: Merc - no, not Mercury. Jupiter.

SHORTZ: Jupiter? It comes between those. Excellent. Here's your next one. Pawn, rook.

Ms. RESNICK: Queen.


SHORTZ: Queen. That was fast. Malachi, Matthew.

HANSEN: Books of the Bible.

Ms. RESNICK: Oh, I don't know the second - the old, the new testament.

HANSEN: You're right. But it's somewhere between the old and the new. So we got Mark.

SHORTZ: Mark is it. Good job, Liane. Try this one. Atlanta, Austin.

HANSEN: Well, it's not Texas cities. What is this? Baseball teams? State capitals?

Ms. RESNICK: State capitals.

SHORTZ: State capital is right.

HANSEN: All right.

SHORTZ: There was a very narrow window here, Atlanta to Austin. Has to start with either AT or AU.

HANSEN: AT or AU. Athens, Ohio, is not a capital.

Ms. RESNICK: It's not a capital either.

SHORTZ: Think New England.

HANSEN: Think New England. OK.

SHORTZ: New England.

HANSEN: All right. Providence. New Hampshire.

SHORTZ: All right. Think of Maine.

Ms. RENSICK: Capital of Maine.

HANSEN: All right.

SHORTZ: Starts with AU.

HANSEN: I do know this, and I'm blanking. And I feel like I'm on the, you know, "Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader?" No.

Ms. RESNICK: Augusta?


SHORTZ: There you go. Augusta.

HANSEN: Well done, Sandy. Thank you.

SHORTZ: All right. Try this one. Minnesota, Ohio State.

Ms. RENSICK: Big Ten.

HANSEN: Big Ten, good, at least.

SHORTZ: Big Ten schools, yeah. Think in the Chicago area.

Ms. RESNICK: Not North Western?

SHORTZ: Yes, it is North Western.


HANSEN: All right.

SHORTZ: And here is your last one. Pitcher, second base.

HANSEN: Pitcher, second base. It's not an outfield.

Ms. RENSICK: Right field.

SHORTZ: Right field. Good job.

HANSEN: Put you in coach. Man!

Ms. RENSICK: Baseball I know.

HANSEN: Yeah. Wow. Listen, you told me you did some embroidery. Do you ever go on Craigslist?

Ms. RENSICK: Occasionally.

HANSEN: All right. You know who's going to tell you what you're getting for playing our puzzle today? This is actually the founder of Craigslist, Craig Newmark.


Mr. CRAIG NEWMARK (Founder, Craigslist): For playing our puzzle today, you'll get a Weekend Edition lapel pin. Oh, pinch me! You'll get the Eleventh Edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus. You'll get the Scrabble Deluxe Edition from Parker Brothers, "The Puzzlemaster Presents" from Random House, Volume Two, so much better than volume one. You'll get Will Shortz's "Little Black Book of Sudoku" and the "Black and White Book of Crosswords" from St. Martin's Press. And you'll get one of Will Shortz's Puzzlemaster Decks of Riddles and Challenges from Chronicle Books. And if you think I'm a celebrity, you need to get out more often. And now, back to customer service.

HANSEN: Oh my! Who knew Mr. Craigslist could be so funny?

Ms. RESNICK: That's funny.

HANSEN: What do you think? I think he's a celebrity in our book. What do you think?

SHORTZ: Absolutely.

HANSEN: Yeah. All right. Well, Sandy, that was so funny. Pinch me. Tell us what member station you listen to, Sandy.

Ms. RESNICK: We have three stations here, but I listen to KNOW.

HANSEN: All right, KNOW in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Sandy Resnick is also from Minneapolis, Minnesota. What a joy playing puzzle with you today. Thanks so much.

Ms. RESNICK: Oh, you're welcome.

HANSEN: All right. Will, if you can read it straight, what's the challenge for - I'm still laughing about Craig Newmark - what's the challenge for next week?

SHORTZ: Yeah, it's a straightforward one. Take the word contaminated, rearrange these 12 letters to get a familiar sign, and the answer has two words. So again, rearrange the letters of contaminated to get a familiar sign. The answer is a two-word phrase. What is it?

HANSEN: When you have the answer, get on the computer, go to our Web site, Click on the "Submit your Answer" link. Only one entry per person, please. Our deadline is Thursday, 3 p.m. Eastern Time. Don't forget to give us your phone number, home, cell, whatever else you got. If you're the winner, you'll hear from us, 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. And Will, I guess you're not taking a "staycation." You're going to Colorado for the Annual National Puzzle Convention next week?

SHORTZ: That's right. We'll talk from Denver.

HANSEN: Can't wait. Thanks a lot.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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