'Perplexing Puzzlers' for April Fool's Day The on-air puzzle this week honors April Fool's Day with classic puzzles from Martin Gardener's 1969 book Perplexing Puzzlers and Tantalizing Teasers.
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'Perplexing Puzzlers' for April Fool's Day

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'Perplexing Puzzlers' for April Fool's Day

'Perplexing Puzzlers' for April Fool's Day

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From NPR News, this is WEEKEND EDITION. I'm Liane Hansen. And joining us is puzzle master Will Shortz. Hi, Will.

WILL SHORTZ: Hi, Liane. Happy April Fools' Day.

HANSEN: Oh, thank you. Happy April Fools' Day. You don't have any pranks planned for us, do you?

SHORTZ: Hmm. We'll see about that.

HANSEN: Oh, all right. Well, in the meantime, the Crossword Puzzle Tournament -had a good time, I imagine?

SHORTZ: It was great. We had a 40 percent jump in attendance in one year to our biggest attendance ever. It was great. Six hundred ninety-eight people took part. And I guess we're going to talk to the champion in a few minutes.

HANSEN: That's right, Tyler Hinman. This is his third year running that he's won this tournament.

SHORTZ: That's right, and he's still only 22 years old.

HANSEN: Oh, we don't like him very much at all, do we?

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: No, he'll join us in just a few minutes after we play the puzzle on the air, but in order to that you have to remind us of the challenge that you left us with last week.

SHORTZ: Yes, it came from our old friend, Merl Reagle, and he walked into the Stanford Marriot Hotel where the championship was held last weekend. And there was a sign inside the front door that said: rejuvenate. He added two S's, rearranged the resulting 12 letters to name a famous person - first and last names. Who is it?

HANSEN: Who is it?

SHORTZ: It is Jesse Ventura, the former professional wrestler and governor of Minnesota.

HANSEN: We had over 1,300 entries from people who solved the puzzle, and our randomly selected winner is Liza Levy from Paris, Kentucky. Hi, Liza. Is it Levy? Levy? Liza Levy?

Ms. LIZA LEVY (Puzzle Winner): Got it right the second time.

HANSEN: Got it right the second time.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Good. Always get a second chance. This is actually a second chance for you, right? I understand that you were picked as a puzzle contestant a while back and you weren't able to play.

Ms. LEVY: That's right.

HANSEN: All right. Well, now you get to play. How do you feel about that?

Ms. LEVY: I'm looking forward to it.

HANSEN: How long have you been playing the puzzle?

Ms. LEVY: At least 10 years, probably longer.

HANSEN: Wow. What do you do in Kentucky?

Ms. LEVY: I'm a family physician and counselor.

HANSEN: Oh. All right. You sound like you're ready.

Ms. LEVY: As ready I'm going to be.

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

SHORTZ: All right, Liza, and, Liane, too. This is a good puzzle for two people. Because it's April Fools' Day, I brought some classic April Fools' puzzles from Martin Gardner from his 1969 book, "Perplexing Puzzles and Tantalizing Teasers." And here's number one: Farmer Higgs owns three pink pigs, four brown pigs and one black pig. How many of Higgs' pigs can say that it is the same color as another pig on Higgs' farm?

Ms. LEVY: None of them, unless they're talking pigs.

SHORTZ: That's right, none of them will say anything. Good job.

HANSEN: Liza, all right.

SHORTZ: Oh, you're fast.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Here's your next one. Tom says his grandfather is only six years older than his father. Is that possible?

HANSEN: His grandfather is six years older than his father.

SHORTZ: Is that possible?

Ms. LEVY: Yes, because it could be his mother's father.

SHORTZ: That's right. They're grandfather and father on different sides. Excellent. Try this one: If it takes 20 minutes to hard-boil one goose egg, how long will it take to hard-boil four goose eggs?

Ms. LEVY: Twenty minutes if they're in the same pot.

SHORTZ: That's right. Ooh, nothing is getting past you.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: A hobo was walking down a railroad track when he saw a fast express train speeding toward him. Of course, he jumped off the track, but before he jumped, he ran 10 feet toward the train. Why?

Ms. LEVY: He's probably on a bridge and had to get past it.

SHORTZ: That's right. On a bridge or in a tunnel, and that's the best way.

Ms. LEVY: Yes.

(Soundbite of dog barking)

HANSEN: Oh. Your dog wants to play too?

Ms. LEVY: Yes.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. LEVY: Cheerleader.

HANSEN: All right.

SHORTZ: Here's your next one. Archibald Flapdoodle walked outside through a pouring rain for 20 minutes without getting a single hair on his head wet. He didn't wear a hat, carry an umbrella or hold anything over his head. His clothes, though, got soaked. How could this be possible?

Ms. LEVY: He was bald.

SHORTZ: He's a lot(ph) bald, not a single hair on his head got wet, because he had no hair. Nice one. Try this: Mrs. Fumblefinger was working in the kitchen when a loose ring with a big diamond on it slipped off her finger and fell smack into some coffee. Strange to say, the diamond did not get wet. Why?

Ms. LEVY: It was either powdered or ground coffee that wasn't wet.

SHORTZ: That's right. You are good. What do you sit on, sleep on and brush your teeth with? Here it is again: What do you sit on, sleep on and brush your teeth with?

Ms. LEVY: Could it be a bed, a chair and a toothbrush?


(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Good job. What has 18 legs, it's covered with red spots, and catches flies?

Ms. LEVY: A baseball team with measles?


(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: She's good.

SHORTZ: Man, oh, man. One day, centuries ago, an alchemist brought a small bottle to the king. This bottle, said the alchemist, holds a liquid so powerful that it will instantly dissolve anything it touches. How did the king know the man was lying?

Ms. LEVY: Because it didn't dissolve the bottle.

SHORTZ: That's right. Yeah. Okay.

HANSEN: Oh, he's looking for a harder one now, Liza.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: And he's onto you now.

(Soundbite of laughter)

SHORTZ: Here you go. Baskim(ph) turned off the light in his bedroom and was able to get to bed before the room was dark. His bed is 15 feet from the wall switch. How did Baskim do it?

Ms. LEVY: He did it during daylight?

SHORTZ: Yeah. I usually fool everyone with that. And here's your last one. I guarantee, said the salesman in a pet shop, that this purple parrot will repeat every word it hears. A customer bought the bird, but found that the parrot wouldn't speak a single word. Nevertheless, what the salesman said was true. How could this be?

Ms. LEVY: The parrot was deaf.

SHORTZ: The parrot was deaf. Well, I am impressed.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Liza, I am so glad that you're our contestant today. You are terrific because I am no good at these, whatsoever. Wow, great April Fools' puzzle. Will and Liza, you were amazing. For playing our puzzle today, you'll 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 II, a set of Sudoku puzzle books presented by Will Shortz from St. Martin's Press, and one of Will Shortz's "Puzzle Master: Decks of Riddles and Challenges" from Chronicle Books.

And you'll probably - given how good you are, you'll get through them all in probably five minutes, right?

Ms. LEVY: No.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Take - all right, 10. Liza, what member station do you listen to?

Ms. LEVY: WEKU in Richmond, Kentucky.

HANSEN: All right, Liza Levy from Paris, Kentucky. You were just fabulous. Thanks a lot for playing with us today.

Ms. LEVY: Thank you.

HANSEN: Okay. All right, Will, a challenge for next week.

SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from listener David Edelheit via the Internet.

Take the names of two U.S. states, mix them all together, then rearrange their letters to form the names of two other U.S. states. What states are these? So again, two U.S. states, mix all the letters together, rearrange them to spell the names of two other U.S. states. What states are these?

HANSEN: When you have the answer, go to our Web site, npr.org, and click on the Submit Your Answer link on the Sunday Puzzle page. Only one entry per person, please. Our deadline this week is Thursday, 3 p.m. Eastern Time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at 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.

I'll talk to you next week. Thanks a lot.

SHORTZ: Thanks a lot, Liane.

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