On-air challenge: Because tomorrow is June 1st, today's game is one of categories, based on the word "first." For each category, name something in it starting with each of the letters F-I-R-S-T. For example, if the category were "Two-Syllable Boys' Names," you might say Francis, Isaac, Richard, Simon and Tony.
1. State Capitals
2. Foreign Makes of Cars
3. Parts of a Book
4. Common Newspaper Names (like Post, Herald or Daily News)
5. Things to Take to the Beach
Last week's challenge: The challenge came from listener Ed Pegg, Jr., who runs the website mathpuzzle.com. Take the phrase "merchant raider." A merchant raider was a vessel in World War I and World War II that targeted enemy merchant ships. Rearrange the letters of "merchant raider" to get two well-known professions. What are they?
Answer: Rancher, maître d'.
Winner: Kevin Day of Parkville, Mo.
Next week's challenge: A simple challenge: Think of a 5-letter word that can precede "chicken" to complete a common two-word phrase. Change the middle letter to get a new word that can follow "chicken" to complete a common two-word phrase. What phrases are these?
If you know the answer to next week's challenge, submit it here. Listeners who submit correct answers win a chance to play the on-air puzzle. Important: Include a phone number where we can reach you Thursday at 3 p.m. Eastern.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
Do you know how to spell scherenschnitte? That was the winning word at the Scripps National Spelling Bee this past week. But not to worry, we're not going to ask you to do anything that difficult. It is time for the puzzle. Joining me now is Will Shortz, puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Linda. Welcome back to the show. And no, I would not have been able to spell scherenschnitte. How about you?
WERTHEIMER: Do you know what it means?
SHORTZ: No, I don't. I've never heard the word before.
WERTHEIMER: It's the art of cutting paper into decorative designs. Now, you know. So what was last week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener Ed Pegg Jr. I said take the phrase merchant raider and rearrange those letters to get two well-known professions. What are they? I'll tell you, the answer I had in mind was rancher and maitre d. We also accepted machiner, trader. And some people submitted radar tech and minor. So we accepted all those.
WERTHEIMER: Well, 240 of you got what Will thought was the correct answer originally and another 70 got alternate answers. And our winner this week is Kevin Day of Parkville, Mo. Kevin, congratulations.
KEVIN DAY: Thank you.
WERTHEIMER: So, Kevin, how did you figure it out?
DAY: Well, being a teacher, I started with teacher, and that didn't get me anywhere with the remaining letters. And somehow, maitre d' jumped out at me.
WERTHEIMER: I understand that you play the puzzle pretty regularly. Do you have a routine, a sort of a protocol for puzzles?
DAY: Yes. My wife, and I make sure we have our cup of chai tea ready to go. And when we hear the next week's puzzle, we verify with each other to make sure we heard it correctly and got all of Will's little tricks and twists.
WERTHEIMER: Then do you consult? Do you solve it together?
DAY: No, not usually. We usually go our separate ways. In fact, I often end up with the solution during yoga, which we do shortly after the puzzle. You're supposed to clear your mind, but it's a hard thing to do for me. So the puzzle is often working in there.
WERTHEIMER: So are you ready to play the puzzle now?
DAY: Well, I suppose I am.
WERTHEIMER: Will, you ready?
SHORTZ: I am ready.
WERTHEIMER: Then let's play.
SHORTZ: All right, Kevin and Linda, this is a good two-person puzzle. Because tomorrow is the 1, I brought a game of categories based on the word first. For each category, name something in it starting with each of the letters F, I, R, S, T. For example, if the category were two-syllable boys names, you might say Francis, Isaac, Richard, Simon and Tony. Any answer you think of will be counted as correct. And your first category is state capitals.
DAY: Yikes. Well, Topeka, I'll go with that.
SHORTZ: Yes. You need an F and an R.
DAY: An F and an R. Raleigh.
SHORTZ: Yes, also Richmond. And all you need is an F.
DAY: Is Fargo the capital? I don't think it is.
SHORTZ: No, but there is an F in a state just east of you as in Kentucky.
DAY: Oh, Frankfort.
SHORTZ: Frankfort is it. Good. All right, your second category is foreign makes of cars.
SHORTZ: Good, Saab.
WERTHEIMER: Very good.
DAY: And I need an R.
WERTHEIMER: Think about a really snazzy English version.
DAY: Oh, a Rolls-Royce of course.
SHORTZ: Rolls-Royce. Yeah, Range Rover and Renaud would also have worked. All right, your next category is parts of a book.
DAY: The Index.
DAY: Table of contents.
DAY: R, how about recto?
SHORTZ: Recto yeah.
WERTHEIMER: Wow, now what is that?
SHORTZ: Recto is a right-hand page, which also would've counted as an R.
DAY: The frontispiece.
SHORTZ: Frontispiece, yeah. All you need is an S.
DAY: An S.
SHORTZ: It's something on the outside of a book.
DAY: Slip cover.
SHORTZ: Slip cover, didn't think of that. I was going for spine, but I like yours, too. And your last category is things to take to the beach.
DAY: An inner tube.
SHORTZ: Inner tube, OK. Also ice chest.
SHORTZ: Sunscreen, good.
DAY: A towel.
SHORTZ: Towel, yes. What would you put on your feet?
WERTHEIMER: There you go.
SHORTZ: And all you need's an R, and it's the easiest R in the world. What are you on right now?
DAY: The radio of course.
SHORTZ: The radio. Can't go to the beach without at.
WERTHEIMER: Kevin, that was a great job.
DAY: Thank you.
WERTHEIMER: And for playing our puzzled today, you will get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin as well as puzzle books and games. You can read all about it npr.org/puzzle. So, Kevin, where do you listen to us?
DAY: We are long-time members of KCUR in in Kansas City, Mo.
WERTHEIMER: Kevin Day of Parkville, Mo. Thank you so much for playing the puzzle.
DAY: Thank you. I enjoyed it.
WERTHEIMER: So, Will, what do you have to puzzle us with us for next week?
SHORTZ: Yet. It's a simple challenge. Think of a five-letter word that can precede chicken to complete a common two-word phrase. Change the middle letter to get a new word that can follow chicken to complete another common two-word phrase. What phrases are these? So again, a five-letter word precedes chicken, completes a common two-word phrase. Change the middle letter to make a new word that can follow chicken, in each case to make a common two-word phrase. What phrases are these?
WERTHEIMER: OK, when you think you have the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle, and clinic on the submit your answer link. One entry per person please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, June 4 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Please include a telephone number where we can reach you. And if you are 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 puzzle master, Will Shortz. Will, thank you.
SHORTZ: Thanks a lot, Linda. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.