The Answer Has A Hole In It Every answer is a word starting with the letter O. The clues are two words — one that can precede the answer, and one that can follow it to complete familiar two-word phrases. For example, given "elected" and "statement," the answer would be "official," as in "elected official" and "official statement."
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The Answer Has A Hole In It

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The Answer Has A Hole In It

The Answer Has A Hole In It

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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From NPR News, this is Weekend Edition. I'm Liane Hansen. And joining us is puzzle master Will Shortz. Hey, Will.

WILL SHORTZ: Welcome back, Liane. How are you feeling?

HANSEN: I'm feeling much better. Thanks a lot. And it's good to be back. Did I miss anything?


SHORTZ: Let's see, I have a special puzzle in today's New York Times in the inauguration special. It's called presidential 20 questions.

HANSEN: All right. Well, we had our regular radio challenge. You had a good time playing with David Greene last week. And you left an interesting challenge. What was it?

SHORTZ: I said, take a very common three-letter word. Say the letters phonetically, and together they'll sound like a six-letter word meaning knockout. What is it?

HANSEN: What is it?

SHORTZ: Well, the three-letter word is but, and spell it out, B-U-T is a knockout.

HANSEN: Love it. Love it. Well, I think our listeners knocked that one out of the park, to use another definition of the word. Almost 2,500 people had the correct answer. And from those entries, we randomly selected Mr. Lacy Hayes of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to play our puzzle on the air with us today. Hi, Lacy.

LACY HAYES: Good morning. How are you doing today?

HANSEN: I'm doing well, sir. You know, you're the first man I've ever met that has the name Lacy.

HAYES: Yes. And I am, too, except my father has the same name. I'm like Lacy Jr.

HANSEN: Oh, so it's a family name.


HANSEN: All right. How long did it take you to solve this puzzle?

HAYES: It came to me very quickly. I think when Will said knockout, I didn't think of boxing. I thought of a knockout like a good-looking girl. And from there beauty and but just came out right away.

HANSEN: Well done. Have you been playing our puzzle for a long time?

HAYES: Yeah. I'd say for about 20 years or maybe even a little more.

HANSEN: Wow. Yeah, that's since the beginning of the program.

HAYES: Yeah. That's - I can remember when they had postcards.

HANSEN: Right, when we had the old snail mail. So, I understand you're an attorney in Harrisburg, but you may be switching careers if things go well?

HAYES: Well, if things go well, yeah. I just announced that I am running for judge here in Dauphin County.

HANSEN: Well, good luck to you on the campaign. And now I'm going to wish you good luck as we play the puzzle. Are you ready to play?

HAYES: Yes, I am.

HANSEN: All right, Will meet Lacy, already an interesting character. Let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Lacy and Liane, this is a good two-person puzzle. Every answer today is a word starting with O, as in Obama. I'm going to give you two words that can precede and follow it to complete familiar two-word phrases. You give me the inside words. For example, if I said elected and statement, you would say official, as in elected official and official statement. Number one is agent bowl, B-O-W-L.

HAYES: Orange.

SHORTZ: Orange is good. Toaster mitt, M-I-T-T.

HAYES: The first - oh, toaster oven.

SHORTZ: Toaster oven, oven mitt. Good. Vegetable filter.


SHORTZ: Vegetable oil and oil filter, good. Indian liner, L-I-N-E-R. And for Indian blank, think geography.

HANSEN: Or perhaps a body of water.


HAYES: Ocean.

HANSEN: Ocean, yeah.

SHORTZ: Indian Ocean and ocean liner is it. Black and branch.

HAYES: Olive.

SHORTZ: Black olive, olive branch. Good. Stock, S-T-O-C-K, and play, P-L-A-Y.


SHORTZ: Is that an aha of recognition, Liane?

HANSEN: I'm not sure because it - with play?

SHORTZ: With play, with P as in Peter. And for blank play, think of football.

HANSEN: It's got to go with stock.


HAYES: Option.

HANSEN: Option.

SHORTZ: Stock option and option play. Good.

HANSEN: I thought option, but I thought option play, what's that? You can tell I don't know enough about football.

SHORTZ: You're more a baseball person, I know.


HANSEN: I am, really.

SHORTZ: Let's try this. Electrical mall, M-A-L-L.

HAYES: Outlet.

SHORTZ: Outlet, that was fast. Grand, G-R-A-N-D, and bell, B-E-L-L.

HAYES: Opening.

SHORTZ: Grand opening. Good.


SHORTZ: Pipe, P-I-P-E, and transplant.

HAYES: Organ.

SHORTZ: Pipe organ, organ transplant. Equal knocks, K-N-O-C-K-S. Equal blank, blank knocks.

HAYES: Opportunity.

SHORTZ: Oh, good. And here's your last one. Chamber and pit, P-I-T.

HAYES: Orchestra.

SHORTZ: Good job.

HANSEN: Oh man, quick on the ball with that one. Lacy, nice work.

HAYES: Thank you.

HANSEN: This wasn't easy. I swear this wasn't easy. I'm glad I had you on my team for this one. I think we made a good team together.

HAYES: I'm glad you were there to help me. Thank you very much.

HANSEN: No problem. We have a little treat for you, Lacy. Coming up we are going to give everybody a sneak peak into the inaugural parade. We actually went to a practice session of Howard University's Showtime Marching Band, and they're going to be playing in the inaugural parade. And they were playing a song that seems fitting. Since you were so outstanding, here's the band with their rendition of the Gap Band song "Outstanding," and band director John Newson has your puzzle prizes.


JOHN NEWSON: For playing our puzzle today, you will get a Weekend Edition lapel pin, 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 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: What do you think, John Newson, 22 years director of the marching band at Howard? You know, the lyrics to that part we chose are "girl you knock me out" which is sort of coincidence, you know. I don't want David Greene to have all the coincidences.


HANSEN: What do you think, Lacy?

HAYES: Oh, it's very appropriate.

HANSEN: Yeah. It kind of gets you in the mood for Tuesday's parade. Well, before we say goodbye to you, sir, what member station do you listen to?

HAYES: WITF, and I've been a member there for probably 20 years, maybe more.

HANSEN: Oh my. We should make that lapel pin gold for you. I tell you, that's great. Well, thank you, Lacy Hayes of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. You were wonderful. It was great to meet you. And good luck in your campaign.

HAYES: Thank you very much.

HANSEN: OK. Will, we need a challenge to work on all this week. What do you have?

SHORTZ: Yes, it comes from listener Dave Shukan from San Marino, California. Name an implement that might be in a kitchen drawer. It's a compound word. Add the letter S, as in Sam, after each part of the compound, and you'll get two synonyms. What implement is it? So again, an implement that might be in a kitchen drawer. It's a compound word. Add the letter S after each half of the compound, and you get two words that are synonyms. What implement is it?

HANSEN: 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, and 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. Will, thanks a lot.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane.

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