Sunday Puzzle: Vowel Replacement Mark Stefaniak plays the puzzle with puzzlemaster Will Shortz and NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro.

Sunday Puzzle: Vowel Replacement

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And it's 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 very own puzzlemaster. Hello, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So last week we wondered, if you recall, how many times you have led us through a puzzle on NPR's WEEKEND EDITION. And so we asked our research department, and while they didn't have an exact answer, they did come up with at least 1,600 times, so amazing. Not quite as much...

SHORTZ: That's a lot of puzzles.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. Not quite as much as The New York Times, but, you know...

SHORTZ: (Laughter).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You do it once a week, and we are grateful for it. Remind us of last week's challenge.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Lulu. So it came from listener Steve Baggish of Arlington, Mass. I said, think of part of the body in seven letters, add an N, and rearrange all the letters to name two more parts of the body, neither related to the original word. And the answer was kneecap. Add an N, you can rearrange those letters to make neck and nape.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received more than 800 correct responses, and the winner this week is Mark Stefaniak of Ludington, Mich. Congratulations, and welcome to the program.


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

STEFANIAK: I just was thinking about body parts, and I - seven-letter one. Kneecap came up and just did the rearranging, and it worked.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And it worked. What was it like when you got the call?

STEFANIAK: It was shocking (laughter). I've been playing for 21 years, so this is - and I've been submitting puzzles probably 80 to 90% of the time.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: See? Everyone's day finally comes. Are you ready to play?


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

SHORTZ: All right, Mark. I'm going to read you some clues. The answer to each one is one of the words in the clue with its vowel sound changed. For example, if I said what fish bite, you would say bait because fish bite bait, and bite has the same word as bait with a different vowel.


SHORTZ: Here's No. 1 - what a babe might wear in a highchair.


SHORTZ: That's it. A family dude.


SHORTZ: Uh-huh. River scene in Paris.


SHORTZ: That's it. Waters that run through Cologne.

STEFANIAK: Waters that run through Cologne.

SHORTZ: Specifically, what river goes through Cologne?

STEFANIAK: Might need a clue on that one. The Rhine.

SHORTZ: It's the Rhine, yeah. You didn't need a clue. Something that goes boom.

STEFANIAK: Something that goes boom. Something that goes boom. Bam? No.

SHORTZ: It's something that goes boom.

STEFANIAK: Something.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. But you got the right word. Change the vowel.

STEFANIAK: (Laughter) Still not getting it.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So you place...

SHORTZ: What would...

STEFANIAK: Oh, bomb?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. There you go.

SHORTZ: There you go. You got it - a bomb.

STEFANIAK: I was working with thing, and that wasn't working.

SHORTZ: What you bowl with.


SHORTZ: That's it. What the government takes from your income.


SHORTZ: Yes. What a hat adds to your body.


SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Where to order a beer.

STEFANIAK: At a bar.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Something that will go round and round.

STEFANIAK: That will go round and round.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Singing) The something of the bus goes round and round, round and round...

STEFANIAK: Oh, a wheel.

SHORTZ: A wheel - there you go.

STEFANIAK: Will and wheel, OK.

SHORTZ: There you go. What a cryptographer could read.


SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Word that means strange.


SHORTZ: That's it. And your last one - when night is done.

STEFANIAK: When night is done - dawn.

SHORTZ: There you go. Good job.

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

STEFANIAK: That was fun.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It was fun. You were really, really good. And 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, Mark, which member station do you listen to?

STEFANIAK: So we actually have three. One is Interlochen Public Radio in northern Michigan. The other we stream The Puzzle on is WUOM, which is the University of Michigan. And we're members of WEMU because we love their jazz and blues programming.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I love all of that - all the public radio. Mark Stefaniak of Ludington, Mich., thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.

STEFANIAK: Thank you for having me.

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

SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from listener Theodore Regan of Scituate, Mass. Name a famous actor - four letters in the first name, seven letters in the last. You can change the first letter of the actor's first name to name a bird, and you can change the first letter of the actor's last name to name a mammal. Who is it? So again, famous actor - four, seven. Change the first letter of the actor's first name to name a bird and the first letter of the actor's last name to name a mammal. What actor 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 Thursday, April 22 at 3:00 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 if you pick up the phone, 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: Thank you, Lulu.


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