Sunday Puzzle: PR Problems Neal Kern plays the puzzle with puzzlemaster Will Shortz and NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro.
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Sunday Puzzle: PR Problems

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Sunday Puzzle: PR Problems

Sunday Puzzle: PR Problems

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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And 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: So what was last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yeah, it came from listener Micah Margolies of Lenexa, Kan. I said think of an eight-letter word with three syllables that contains the letter I in each syllable but strangely doesn't contain a single I sound, either long or short. And I said the answer is not a plural. What word is it? And the answer is daiquiri, D-A-I-Q-U-I-R-I, which just proves how strange the English language is.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It is, indeed. Although, that is a good drink. And daiquiri - I think it's Cuban, though. It's Spanish. You sure it's the English language?

SHORTZ: Well, it's an English word now. We borrow words from everyone.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That is true. I just wanted to claim that for my own culture. All right. We received more than 500 correct responses. And the winner is Neal Kern of Salem, Ore. Congratulations. And welcome to the program.

NEAL KERN: Oh, thank you so much. I'm both excited and nervous to be here.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yes. Well, that's a good combination. Do you drink a lot of daiquiris (laughter)?

KERN: I have not had a lot of daiquiris. No, not even last time I was in New Orleans. I have different booze of choice.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I see. How did you figure it out?

KERN: You know, I looked at a list of eight-letter words and just kind of did a brute-force method of it. My wife and I always work on The Puzzle. Word puzzles are more her thing. And she got this faster than I did. And then I had to touch base with her. I'm like, did you get daiquiri as well, too?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Do you guys get competitive?

KERN: Yes, kind of - probably me a little more so than her.


KERN: But it was one of the first things we did when we started dating - that we did The Puzzle together.


KERN: And keep it now that we're married.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. I really love these stories of how The Puzzle brings people together. So are you ready to play?

KERN: As ready as I'm going to be. So let's go.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Let's go. All right. Take it away, Will.

SHORTZ: All right, Neal. Every answer today is a word or phrase in which the only consonants are P and R repeated as often as necessary. The other letters are all vowels. For example, if I said more mature as fruit, you would say riper.

KERN: Got it.

SHORTZ: Got it. Number one - what beats rock but loses the scissors in a children's game?

KERN: Paper.

SHORTZ: Paper is it. Number two - a musician with a flute. And all you have to do is change the second letter of paper.

KERN: Oh, piper.

SHORTZ: Piper is it. Now we're going to six-letter answers. And your first one is partner of salt.

KERN: Pepper.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Fix, as an appliance.

KERN: Repair.

SHORTZ: That's it - and now seven-letter answers. And your first one is a brand of bottled water.


SHORTZ: It starts with a P. And its name is French.

KERN: I'm going to butcher the French pronunciation of it. Prairie or Perrier?

SHORTZ: Well, first of all, hold that thought. And...

KERN: Perrier.

SHORTZ: Perrier - good. How about open grassland, as in Kansas and Nebraska?

KERN: (Laughter) Now, that would be prairie.

SHORTZ: There's your prairie.

KERN: (Laughter).

SHORTZ: Like reasoning by theoretical deduction - it's a two-word phrase.

KERN: Theoretical deduction...

SHORTZ: The first word is one letter. And then it's six letters after that.

KERN: A priori?

SHORTZ: A priori - good.


SHORTZ: And your last one is an eight-letter answer - to come into view again.

KERN: Reappear.

SHORTZ: Reappear - you got it.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Great job. How do you feel now?

KERN: Relieved. I will admit I had some help from my wife on this one, who's better at the word puzzles, but I feel great. This was a lot of fun.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Oh, congratulations to you both. You did really, really well. And for playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, as well as puzzle books and games. And you can read all about it at And, Neal, which member station do you listen to?

KERN: I am a member of Oregon Public Broadcasting.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Neal Kern, thanks so much for playing The Puzzle.

KERN: Thank you. This was awesome.

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

SHORTZ: Yeah, it comes from listener Tyler Lipscomb of Augusta, Ga. Name certain fruits - in the plural. Change the second letter to an L, and read the result backward. You'll name two things to drink. What are they? So, again, certain fruits - in the plural. Change the second letter to an L. Read the result backward, and you'll name two things to drink. What are they?

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, October 15 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, our very own Will Shortz. Thank you so much, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Lulu.


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