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A Mental Block May Help Solve This Puzzle

Jun 21, 2015
Originally published on June 21, 2015 2:48 pm

On-air challenge: Today's puzzle is called "Monkey Business." Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase starting with "M" and "B" — as in "monkey business."

Last week's challenge: Think of an adjective that describes many shampoos. Add the brand name of a shampoo in its basic form. The result, reading the letters in order from left to right, will name a famous musician. Who is it?

Answer: Herb Alpert.

Winner: Mark Dressner of Long Beach, Calif.

Next week's challenge: This challenge comes from listener Ben Bass of Chicago. Take the phrase "I am a monarch." Re-arrange the 11 letters to name a world leader who was not a monarch but who ruled with similar authority. Who is it?

Submit Your Answer

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.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And now, we puzzle. Joining me now is Will Shortz. He is the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master. Good morning, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.

MARTIN: So this crazy thing happened over at The Times of London recently. Your puzzle comrades got a couple engaged, right? Can you tell us the story? What happened?

SHORTZ: Yeah, did you see that? The girl's name was Delyth, D-E-L-Y-T-H, and they hid her name in the clue for one across. It was pretty Welsh girl, widely thought not to be all there. And she's a pretty Welsh girl, and her name is hidden inside widely thought. And there was also proposal and they had a few other clues relating to the couple. And...

MARTIN: That's so cool, although...

SHORTZ: At first she said - as a joke, she said no when the proposal came out, and she was looking at her boyfriend.

MARTIN: That's not very funny.

SHORTZ: And first she said - as a joke, she said no (laughter), but then she said yes.

MARTIN: (Laughter) Amazing. I mean, I imagine for crossword buffs that would be, like, a thing that they would want to do is put a proposal in a crossword puzzle. Have you ever done that?

SHORTZ: I did back in 1998 in The New York Times. We had a modest proposal. They invited me and the puzzle constructor to their wedding that fall. It was wonderful.

MARTIN: Oh, very cool.

SHORTZ: And they're still together, you know, 17 years later with a couple of kids. All is well.

MARTIN: Very neat.

SHORTZ: Yeah.

MARTIN: OK. So, remind us what last week's puzzle was.

SHORTZ: Yes, I said think of an adjective that describes many shampoos. I said, add the brand name of a shampoo, in its basic form, and the result, reading the letters in order from left to right will name a famous musician. Who is it? Well, the adjective is herbal. And the shampoo is Pert, as in Pert Plus. Put those together, you get Herb Alpert.

MARTIN: So, more than 600 of you did remember Herb Alpert and you figured it out. Our randomly selected winner is Mark Dressner from Long Beach, Calif. He joins us on the line now. Hey, Mark. Congratulations.

MARK DRESSNER: Good morning. Thank you.

MARTIN: So you a big fan of Herb Alpert?

DRESSNER: Well, actually when I was 10-years-old, we bought our first stereo, and that was the very first album that my mother bought was Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass (laughter).

MARTIN: Oh, no way.

SHORTZ: Wow.

MARTIN: That is very cool. And what do you do in Long Beach?

DRESSNER: I am a family physician in Long Beach, and I'm the past-president of the California Academy of Family Physicians.

MARTIN: So are you ready to play the puzzle?

DRESSNER: I'm as ready as I will ever be.

MARTIN: All right. Let's do it, Will.

SHORTZ: All right, Mark and Rachel, today's puzzle is called Monkey Business. Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase with the initials M.B. as an monkey business. So, let's get right to it. Number one is spring break locale in Florida.

DRESSNER: Beach - Miami Beach?

SHORTZ: Yes. Miami Beach is it. Number two, dumpling in Jewish soup.

DRESSNER: Matzo ball.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Puccini opera set in Japan.

DRESSNER: "Madame Butterfly."

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Something to sleep on that's stored in a wall.

DRESSNER: Bed. What's the kind of bed?

SHORTZ: Yeah, what kind of bed?

DRESSNER: Oh, what's it called?

SHORTZ: It's a six-letter name.

DRESSNER: I cannot think of the word.

MARTIN: She was also an iconic feminist character in a 1980s TV show.

SHORTZ: There you go. Last name Brown.

DRESSNER: I cannot think of it.

MARTIN: (Laughter).

DRESSNER: Molly bed - Molly...

MARTIN: Murphy.

SHORTZ: There you go, Murphy Brown.

MARTIN: Murphy bed.

DRESSNER: Murphy. Oh, Murphy, oh, yeah, Murphy bed.

MARTIN: (Laughter).

DRESSNER: Murphy bed, right.

SHORTZ: All right, try this. Something a Boy Scout earns.

DRESSNER: A merit badge.

MARTIN: Yeah.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Who's got a lovely daughter in the 1960s Herman's Hermits hit?

DRESSNER: Mrs. Brown.

SHORTZ: I thought you'd get that. If you remember Herb Alpert, you know Mrs. Brown.

DRESSNER: (Laughter) I'm not really that old.

MARTIN: (Laughter).

SHORTZ: (Laughter) The Sea of Tranquility for Apollo 11.

DRESSNER: Moon base?

SHORTZ: That's it. Tallest of the Alps.

DRESSNER: Tallest of the Alps, Mount...

SHORTZ: Mont, yeah.

DRESSNER: Something with a B (laughter).

(Laughter)

SHORTZ: Yeah.

DRESSNER: Mount Basil? I do not know this one.

SHORTZ: And what's French for white?

DRESSNER: Blanc?

MARTIN: Yeah.

SHORTZ: There you go, Mont Blanc.

DRESSNER: All right.

SHORTZ: And your last one. When you can't think of something that you know you know, this is what's stopping you.

DRESSNER: Mind block, and I only had two.

MARTIN: (Laughter) Mental block, it's close enough.

SHORTZ: (Laughter) Mental block, but we'll give you that.

DRESSNER: Mental block (laughter).

MARTIN: Mark Dressner of Long Beach, Calif. You did awesome. For playing the puzzle, you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, puzzle books and games. Go to npr.org/puzzle to read all about those amazing prizes. Before we let you go, Mark, where do you hear us? What's your public radio station?

DRESSNER: OK we - in Long Beach, we have two public radio stations. One is KCRW in Santa Monica and one is KPCC in Pasadena.

MARTIN: Great. Mark Dressner of Long Beach, Calif. Thanks so much for playing the puzzle, Mark.

DRESSNER: Thank you, Rachel and Will. That was great.

MARTIN: Good.

SHORTZ: Thanks a lot.

MARTIN: It was fun to have you. OK, Will, what's up for next week?

SHORTZ: Yes, the challenge comes from listener Ben Bass of Chicago. Take the phrase, I am a monarch. Rearrange these 11 letters to name a world leader who is not a monarch, but who ruled with similar authority. Who is it? So, again ,the phrase is I am a monarch. Rearrange these letters to name a world leader who is not a monarch but who ruled with similar authority. Who is it?

MARTIN: You know what to do. When you've got the answer, go to npr.org/puzzle. Click on the submit your answer link. Just one entry per person, please. And our deadline for those entries is Thursday, June 25 at 3 p.m. Eastern time. Don't forget to include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time because if you're the winner, then we'll give you a call and then you get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times. And he is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Will Shortz. Thanks so much, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.