Now That's A Capital Idea You are given a word. Drop two letters so that the remaining letters, in order, spell the name of a world capital. For example, given "backup," the answer would be "Baku," the capital of Azerbaijan.
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Now That's A Capital Idea

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Now That's A Capital Idea

Now That's A Capital Idea

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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.


HANSEN: I'm going to get to see you this coming week, and you're going to...

SHORTZ: Likewise.

HANSEN: And you're going to tell everybody why. It's very exciting.

SHORTZ: Yeah, Thursday night in New York City, at the Japan Society, we're having a panel discussion on puzzles: crosswords, Sudoku. And Maki Kaji, who's the head and president of Nikoli puzzle magazines, will be there to talk about Sudoku.

HANSEN: That's exciting. And that's just in advance of the big Sudoku championship in Philadelphia, right?

SHORTZ: That's right.

HANSEN: Well, we don't play Sudoku on this radio program. We play our Weekend Edition Sunday puzzle. You give us a challenge every week. So remind us of that challenge you gave us last week.

SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener Scott Weiss of Walkersville, Maryland. I said name the sixth thing in a well-known series. Change its third letter to the next letter of the alphabet. Then rearrange all its letters, and you'll get the name of the seventh thing in the series. What are these names?

HANSEN: What was your answer?

SHORTZ: Saturn becomes Uranus.

HANSEN: Well, it seemed to be a lot less puzzling than the one that - the challenge you gave the week before, because 1,200 people sent in correct answers this time. And from those correct entries, we randomly selected Nate Hetrick of Madison, Wisconsin to play. Hey, Nate.

Mr. NATE HETRICK (Competition Winner): How are you doing?

HANSEN: I'm doing well. How long did it take you to solve this puzzle?

Mr. HETRICK: A little while, I got stuck with - assuming there were seven things in the series, seven sins, seven dwarves.

HANSEN: Right. But the series doesn't stop at seven.

Mr. HETRICK: No, it does not.

HANSEN: Cool. How long have you been playing our puzzle?

Mr. HETRICK: About two or three years now.

HANSEN: You know then what happens when your correct entry is picked, and we call you, and here you are, right?

Mr. HETRICK: That is correct.

HANSEN: All right. Are you ready?

Mr. HETRICK: I'm ready.

HANSEN: Nate, meet Will, and let's play.

SHORTZ: All right. Nate, I'm going to give you some words. For each one, drop two letters so that the remaining letters in order will name a world capital. For example if I said backup, B-A-C-K-U-P, you would say Baku, B-A-K-U, which is the capital of Azerbaijan.

HANSEN: Oh, yeah, I would say that right away.

SHORTZ: That's why it's an example. All right, number one is parties, P-A-R-T-I-E-S?

Mr. HETRICK: Paris.

SHORTZ: Paris is right. Number two is Clairol, C-L-A-I-R-O-L.

Mr. HETRICK: Cairo.

SHORTZ: That is right. Delphic, D-E-L-P-H-I-C.

Mr. HETRICK: I don't suppose Delphi.

HANSEN: I was thinking that too, but that means we only drop one letter.

SHORTZ: All right. Think Asia for this.

HANSEN: How are you doing, Nate?

Mr. HETRICK: It's much easier in the recliner.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: That's what they all say. I'm thinking India?

SHORTZ: India is it. Yeah.

HANSEN: That would be Delhi?

Mr. HETRICK: Delhi.

SHORTZ: Delhi is it. Good. Try this one. Heathens, H-E-A-T-H-E-N-S.

Mr. HETRICK: Athens.

SHORTZ: Athens is it. Accrual, A-C-C-R-U-A-L.


SHORTZ: A-C-C. I'll give you another hint. It's Africa?

Mr. HETRICK: Accra.

SHORTZ: Accra is right.


SHORTZ: In Ghana. Good. Tammany, T-A-M-M-A-N-Y.

HANSEN: This is Middle East.

SHORTZ: That's it.

Mr. HETRICK: Amman.


SHORTZ: Amman, Jordan. Good. And here is your last one, mantilla, M-A-N-T-I-L-L-A.

Mr. HETRICK: Manila?

HANSEN: Manila.

SHORTZ: Manila, Philippines. Nice job.

HANSEN: Nate, well done.

Mr. HETRICK: Thank you.


Mr. HETRICK: It was a little harder that I thought it would be.

HANSEN: It always is. Again, you got to do it in your recliner. Well, Nate, as I mentioned with Will, we're going to be in New York on Thursday. I won't be hosting the show next Sunday. And because I'm going to New York, we thought it would be appropriate to ask a New Yorker to not only be our guest host but to tell you what you've won today. So let me introduce her. She is NPR's Alison Stewart, most recently the host of NPR's Bryant Park Project. Hi, Alison.


HANSEN: Hey, you're listening in?

STEWART: I am. I attempted to recline, and I attempted to answer. The reclining didn't help me there, I got to tell you.

HANSEN: Yeah. You know, other people who have sub-hosted for me always say this is the hardest part of doing the show.

STEWART: Well, I'm going to have Will. I'm going to lean on Will's broad crossword shoulders.

SHORTZ: You can lean on me, yes.

HANSEN: There you go.

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: Alison, tell Nate what he takes home for being our guest today.

STEWART: For playing our puzzle today, you'll get a Weekend Edition lapel pin, the Eleventh Edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary and Thesaurus, and the Scrabble Deluxe Edition from Parker Brothers, and "The Puzzlemaster Presents" from Random House, volume two, Will Shortz's latest book series, "Will Shortz Presents KenKen" volumes one, two, and three from St. Martin's Press, and one of Will Shortz's "Puzzlemaster Decks" of riddles and challenges from Chronicle Books.

HANSEN: Hey, Nate. What do you think?

Mr. HETRICK: Sounds good.

HANSEN: Sounds good. And Alison, good luck next week. And most important, have fun.

ALISON: All right. Would you just leave me your cell phone in case...

(Soundbite of laughter)

HANSEN: You want to call in for a few hints? All right, take care, sweetie. All right, Nate, before we let you go, tell us what member station you listen to.


HANSEN: WHA in Madison, Wisconsin. And that's Nate Hetrick. Thanks a lot for playing the puzzle. It was so nice to have you on my team. And I think between us, we did a pretty good job.

Mr. HETRICK: Better than I would've thought.

HANSEN: All right. Take care. All right, Will. What's the challenge that you're going to leave for everyone for next week?

SHORTZ: Yes, name a famous actress, four letters in her first name, five letters in her last. Drop the last letter of her first name. Drop the last two letters of her last name. The remaining letters in order will name a well-known world capital. What is it? So again, a famous actress, 4-5, drop the last letter of her first name, and drop the last two letters of her last name. The remaining letters in order will name a well-known world capital. Who's the actress and what is the capital?

HANSEN: All right. When you have the answer, go to our Web site, 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 because we are going to 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. Will, I'll see you Thursday. Thanks a lot.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane. Looking forward to seeing you.

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