Sunday Puzzle: Categories First Listener Nick Lewis plays the puzzle with puzzlemaster Will Shortz and NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro.
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Sunday Puzzle: Categories First

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Sunday Puzzle: Categories First

Sunday Puzzle: Categories First

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


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: Good morning. Remind us of last week's challenge.

SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener Robert Flood of Allen, Texas. I said think of a seven-letter hyphenated word for a kind of cooking. Change the middle letter to get a new word describing a kind of music. What words are these? And the answer is bar-b-que. That's B-A-R-B-Q-U-E. Change that B to an O, and you get baroque.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received over 1,500 correct responses, and the winner this week is Nick Lewis of Montclair, N.J.

Congratulations and welcome to the program.

NICK LEWIS: Thank you. It's great to be here.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: How did you figure it out?

LEWIS: The clue for me was the fact that I was from Texas. And I went to Tex-Mex, and that didn't work 'cause there was only six letters. And then I went to bar-b-que, and there it was - baroque.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: OK. That seems like good logic. Let me ask you this. How long have you been playing The Puzzle?

LEWIS: Forever - certainly way back to the days when you'd submit postcards.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's awesome. And so what was it like to get the call?

LEWIS: It was a big surprise. My wife was screaming.


LEWIS: It was very exciting.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So I understand you love baseball and particularly Australian baseball. Explain that.

LEWIS: My wife was transferred to Australia in the late '80s. And, you know, I was stumbling around, and I became the general counsel for the Australian Baseball League, which was just starting at that time. And I did all kinds of stuff. I wrote press releases and created the rules that they played under.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's amazing. All right. Are you ready to play?

LEWIS: Sure.

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

SHORTZ: All right, Nick. Well, I'm afraid I don't have any Australian baseball for you, but I brought a game of Categories based on the word first. For each category I give, name something in it starting with each of the letters F-I-R-S-T. For example, if the category were girl's names, you might say Flo, Iris, Rosa, Sarah and Teresa. Any answer that works is OK, and you can give the answers in any order.


SHORTZ: Number one is state capitals.

LEWIS: Fargo.

SHORTZ: Fargo. No, that's not the capital of North Dakota.

LEWIS: OK. Tallahassee.

SHORTZ: Tallahassee is a good T.

LEWIS: Sacramento.



SHORTZ: There's two Rs. They're on the East Coast.

LEWIS: Frankfort.

SHORTZ: Frankfort is the only F. Good. You need an I and an R.

LEWIS: An I - Indianapolis.

SHORTZ: Excellent. And there's two Rs. They're in the mid-Atlantic and South.

LEWIS: Oh, Richmond.

SHORTZ: Richmond - and Raleigh is the other one. Good job. Your second category is parts of the human body that are common to both genders.

LEWIS: Face.



SHORTZ: Toe is good.

LEWIS: Stomach.

SHORTZ: Stomach, yeah.

LEWIS: Index finger.

SHORTZ: Index finger is good. All you need's an R.


SHORTZ: There's a bunch of them, but think of something inside your chest.

LEWIS: Oh, ribs.

SHORTZ: Rib, yeah. Good. How about terms in mathematics?

LEWIS: In mathematics - factor.


LEWIS: Integer.

SHORTZ: Integer is good.

LEWIS: Theorem.

SHORTZ: Theorem. OK. Triangle, tetrahedron, trapezoid - those work. All you need's an R and an S.

LEWIS: Rhombus.


LEWIS: An S - set.

SHORTZ: Set - oh, nice. Square and subtract also work. You're doing great. And here's your last one - appliances you plug in.

LEWIS: Iron.

SHORTZ: Iron - nice.

LEWIS: Television.


LEWIS: Frying pan.

SHORTZ: Frying pan - do you plug that in? I suppose. I think you can do better than that.

LEWIS: A fan.

SHORTZ: Fan is good. An R and an S - there are several answers, but there are things in the kitchen you could use.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You cook on it.

LEWIS: Stove.

SHORTZ: There's your S, and all you need's an R. Think of something big in the kitchen.

LEWIS: A refrigerator.

SHORTZ: Refrigerator. Good job.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Good job. How do you feel?

LEWIS: Relieved.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. Well, you did great. See? No public humiliation.

LEWIS: There you go.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) And that's what we strive for. For playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, as well as puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at And Nick, which member station do you listen to?


GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Nick Lewis of Montclair, N.J.

Thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.

LEWIS: Thanks. It was fun.

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

SHORTZ: Yes, it comes from listener Michael Shteyman of Freeland, Md. Name a person in 2011 world news in eight letters. Remove the third, fourth and fifth letters, and the remaining letters, in order, will name a person in 2021 world news. What names are these? So again, person in 2011 world news - eight letters. Remove the third, fourth and fifth letters, and the remaining letters, in order, will name a person in world news this year. What names are these?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: When you have the answer, go to our website,, and click on the submit your answer link. Remember, just one entry, please, per person. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, January 14, 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 very own puzzlemaster, Will Shortz.

Thanks so much, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Lulu.


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