LIANE HANSEN, host:
From NPR News this is Weekend Edition. I'm Liane Hansen. And joining us is puzzle master Will Shortz. Hey, Will.
WILL SHORTZ: Hey, Liane.
HANSEN: I have some news for you.
HANSEN: Yeah. We had a study done, and we wanted to figure out how many people actually download the Sunday puzzle as a podcast. Now understanding there are millions of us who listen to us courtesy of their public radio stations, but do you realize that an average of about 100,000 podcast a month?
SHORTZ: Wow, fantastic.
HANSEN: I think that's great. Now, remind us of the challenge, a hard one, that you left us with last week.
SHORTZ: Yes, it came from Ed Pegg, Jr. who runs the Web site mathpuzzle.com. I said rearrange the 11 letters of interaction to make two closely related words. What are they?
HANSEN: What are they?
SHORTZ: They are tar and nicotine.
HANSEN: You want to know how hard this was? We only had about 600 correct entries. And from those entries, we randomly selected Barbara Theilen of Columbia, South Carolina, to play with us. Hi, Barbara.
Ms. BARBARA THEILEN (Caller): Hi.
HANSEN: Why does your name Theilen sound familiar to me? I think I've met someone named Theilen when I went to...
Ms. THEILEN: Yes, my mother is a volunteer at WLTR Public radio in Columbia. She's a CD librarian.
HANSEN: Oh, all right. But we want to reassure everyone listening that really the selection is random. We had no idea. But Barbara, I understand this is your first entry?
Ms. THEILEN: It is.
HANSEN: Congratulations. I'm glad you had the nerve to send one in, because we picked you, you know.
Ms. THEILEN: Well, I never expected to win, I must confess.
HANSEN: All right. But you're willing and able and ready to play?
Ms. THEILEN: Yes.
HANSEN: Oh right. Well then meet Will. Will, meet Barbara. Let's play.
SHORTZ: All right, Barbara. Today I brought a game of hankity-pankity. Every answer is a two-word rhyming phrase where each word has three syllables. For example, if I said unexplained circumstance of the past, you would say history mystery. So two words that rhyme, and each word has three syllables.
Ms. THEILEN: OK.
SHORTZ: Here's number one. Monthly pay for working at an art store?
Ms. THEILEN: Gallery salary.
SHORTZ: Ooh, that was fast. Number two, better looking guy paying for a kidnappee?
Ms. THEILEN: Handsomer ransomer.
SHORTZ: That's it. An average amount of boringness.
(Soundbite of silence)
SHORTZ: An average amount of boringness.
Ms. THEILEN: Oh, my gosh, I'm drawing a blank.
HANSEN: Me too. But I drew a blank on the first two, so...
SHORTZ: All right, I'll tell you this one. It's medium tedium.
Ms. THEILEN: OK.
SHORTZ: All right, try this one. Chance drawing for some clay wear.
Ms. THEILEN: Pottery lottery.
SHORTZ: Nice one. Not as neat, a Xerox machine.
Ms. THEILEN: Sloppier copier.
SHORTZ: Sloppier copier is right. A more sadistic worker with gems.
Ms. THEILEN: Crueler jeweler.
SHORTZ: Aha. Faithfulness to the crown.
Ms. THEILEN: Faith...
SHORTZ: Or faithfulness to kings and queens?
Ms. THEILEN: Something to do with monarchy.
SHORTZ: Well, what's faithfulness in three syllables?
Ms. THEILEN: Loyal - oh, loyalty royalty.
SHORTZ: Royalty loyalty is it.
Ms. THEILEN: Royalty loyalty...
SHORTZ: Good. Whoever is the current leader living in the White House?
Ms. THEILEN: President resident.
SHORTZ: Resident president is right.
Ms. THEILEN: Resident president, yeah.
SHORTZ: That's it. Merriment for average churchgoers?
Ms. THEILEN: Merriment for average churchgoers.
SHORTZ: And what are - what do you call the congregation?
SHORTZ: No. That starts with an L.
HANSEN: Gaiety laity.
SHORTZ: That's it, laity gaiety is right.
HANSEN: Laity gaiety, right. I'm getting them confused.
SHORTZ: And here's your last one. A group of friends at an international service club?
Ms. THEILEN: An international service club? USO type thing or...?
SHORTZ: It's like - most towns...
SHORTZ: That's it. Yeah, yeah.
Ms. THEILEN: OK.
SHORTZ: Yeah, rotary what? A group of friends?
Ms. THEILEN: I'm sorry, I'm just - this is so much harder than listening. I am so sorry.
HANSEN: Right. I think I have this one.
SHORTZ: You're doing great, Barbara.
HANSEN: You are Barbara. I mean, I think we're tied here in the ones we've been able to get. This one I think I know. Is it the rotary coterie?
SHORTZ: Rotary coterie is it.
Ms. THEILEN: OK.
HANSEN: Barbara, you're absolutely right. This was hard. But you did so well. You're the one that got me going. And it's not winning, it's not losing, it's about playing the game. And we actually have a very special celebrity guest puzzle prize reader. He's going to introduce himself. But first we have a clip of his character. It's from "How I Met your Mother." This is really appropriate because of having met your mother. And the character is praying to the TiVo gods on this sitcom.
(Soundbite of TV show "How I met your mother")
Mr. JOSH RADNOR: (As Ted Mosby) Almighty TiVo. We thank you for all the gifts you have given us. It seems greedy to ask anything more from you, oh magic box, but if you malfunction and miss the Super Bowl, we will destroy you in the alley with baseball bats.
Mr. JOSH RADNOR (Actor): Hey, It's Josh Radnor. I play Ted Mosby on the CBS comedy "How I met your mother." For playing our puzzle, you're going to get a Weekend Edition lapel pin, fancy. And you're going to get the Eleventh Edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus, the Scrabble Deluxe Edition from Parker Brothers, "The Puzzlemaster Presents" from Random House, Volume Two, Will Shortz's "Little Black Book of Sudoku" and "Black and White Book of Crosswords" from St. Martin's Press, and one of Will Shortz's Puzzlemaster Decks of Riddles and Challenges from Chronicle Books.
HANSEN: Hey Barbara, what do you think?
Ms. THEILEN: Oh, I'm so excited. These are wonderful gifts. I'm just so thrilled.
HANSEN: Well, we mentioned that I had met your mother at the station down in Columbia, South Carolina. Why don't you tell us what the call letters of that member station are?
Ms. THEILEN: WLTR.
HANSEN: All right, Barbara Theilen of Columbia, South Carolina. Please say hi to your mom for me, and thanks for playing the puzzle with us.
Ms. THEILEN: I will do so. It was really a lot of fun. It was very enjoyable.
HANSEN: Oh, the best part. All right, Will, the fun continues. What's the challenge for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes, this week's challenge comes from listener Scott Weiss of Walkertown, Maryland. Name the sixth thing in a well-known series, change its third letter to the next letter of the alphabet, then rearrange all the letters, and you'll get the name of the seventh thing in the series. What is it? So again the sixth thing in a well-known series, change the third letter to the next letter of the alphabet, rearrange all the letters, and you'll name the seventh thing in this series. What names are these?
HANSEN: When you have the answer, go to our Web site npr.org/puzzle, and click on the "Submit Your Answer" link. 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 about 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. Great game, Will. Thanks a lot.
SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.
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