Sunday Puzzle: The R&F Scramble Susan Higgins plays the puzzle with puzzlemaster Will Shortz and NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro
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Sunday Puzzle: The R&F Scramble

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Sunday Puzzle: The R&F Scramble

Sunday Puzzle: The R&F Scramble

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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: Remind us of last week's challenge.

SHORTZ: Yeah, it came from listener Bruce Campbell of Kansas City, Mo. I said name a title character from books and TV, five letters in the first name, five letters in the last. And you can rearrange the letters to get two words describing what you can hear and do in church. What character is it? And the character is Perry Mason. You can rearrange those letters to get sermon and pray.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received more than 1,300 responses. And the winner is Susan Higgins from Peyton, Colo.



GARCIA-NAVARRO: How'd you figure it out?

HIGGINS: It was one of those freak things that just popped into my head the second Will finished giving the clue.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: There you go. And what was it like when you got the call?

HIGGINS: Like everyone else, I almost did not answer my phone. And then I saw it was a 202 area code. And I thought, oh, my God, it's Thursday. I have to answer the phone.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'm glad that you did. I hear that you love the outdoors. You are a runner.

HIGGINS: That is a true statement. I live in Colorado, so it's a great place to be in the outdoors.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That is absolutely true. So now the main question - are you ready to play The Puzzle?

HIGGINS: I sure hope so.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) All right. Take it away, Will.

SHORTZ: All right, Susan. Every answer today is a word or phrase in which the only consonants are F and R, repeated as often as necessary. All the other letters are vowels. For example, if I said outbreak of public anger, you would say furor.


SHORTZ: Number one is monk.


SHORTZ: Friar is right. Number two, a worker who puts shingles on a house.

HIGGINS: Roofer.

SHORTZ: More just.

HIGGINS: Fairer.

SHORTZ: Less likely to happen - starts with a vowel. And specifically, it starts with an I.

HIGGINS: Lulu (laughter).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I don't actually know how to give this clue.

SHORTZ: That's a tough one to give a clue for. I'm just sitting here...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I was about to - I was like - OK, so can I give something it rhymes with?

SHORTZ: Well, why not?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right - so jiffy.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: There we go.

SHORTZ: Yeah, you got the right word. Just put it in the comparative form.

HIGGINS: Iffier.

SHORTZ: Iffier - there you go.

HIGGINS: Oh, my goodness.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It was a hard one. It was a hard one.

SHORTZ: Here's your next one - brother, in France.


SHORTZ: That's it. Cost of flying on a plane.


SHORTZ: And add three letters in front of that.

HIGGINS: Airfare.

SHORTZ: Airfare is right. A basketball official.

HIGGINS: Referee.

SHORTZ: A long way away - it's a two-word phrase.


SHORTZ: Yes, and you just need a preposition there.

HIGGINS: Far-off.

SHORTZ: Far-off - that's it. One who sells mink coats, for example.

HIGGINS: Furrier.

SHORTZ: One who shoes horses.

HIGGINS: Farrier.

SHORTZ: Nice. An illicit relationship with a married person. And you might or someone might have a blank.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: An illicit...

HIGGINS: Affair.

SHORTZ: There you go - an affair. Yeah. Without cost - and it's a two-word phrase.


SHORTZ: Yeah, and then you need a three-letter word in front of that.

HIGGINS: For free.

SHORTZ: For free is it. Frills or ornamentation on clothes - it's an eight-letter word. The first four letters are the same as the last four letters. All right. I'm just going to tell you that one. It's froufrou.



HIGGINS: I was thinking foofoo (ph) (laughter).

SHORTZ: All right. Try this one - disreputable or undesirable people, informally - starts with R. And that's a tough one, too. I'm going to tell you. It's riffraff.


SHORTZ: Yeah, yeah. How about this - to send quickly and angrily, as a letter. It's a two-word phrase.

HIGGINS: Fire off.

SHORTZ: Fire off is it. And here's your last one - repeated sound of a small dog, two-word phrase.

HIGGINS: Ruff ruff.

SHORTZ: All right. I was going arf arf (ph), but I like your answer, too.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yay. How do you feel?

HIGGINS: I feel like a big burst of sunshine has brightened my day.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Oh, that is exactly what you should feel like. 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 Susan, which member station do you listen to?

HIGGINS: KRCC in Colorado Springs, Colo.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That is Susan Higgins from Peyton, Colo.

Thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.

HIGGINS: Thanks.

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

SHORTZ: Yeah, it comes from listener Alan Hochbaum of Duluth, Ga. Name a marine animal in two words. Remove two consecutive letters in the name and read the resulting string of letters in order from left to right. You'll name a major American city. What is it? So again, marine animal, two words. Remove two consecutive letters in the name. Read the resulting string of letters from left to right. You'll name a major American city. What is it?

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 this Wednesday, November 25, at 3 p.m. Eastern since this week is Thanksgiving. 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 if you pick up the phone, you'll get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times - my messaging is working; people are picking up the phone - and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster Will Shortz.

Thanks so much, Will.

SHORTZ: Thank you, Lulu.


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