On-air challenge: This week's on-air puzzle is similar to last week's, only a little harder. Every answer is the name of a country. For each word given, ignore the vowels. The consonants, in order from left to right, are the same consonants in the same order as in the country. For example, given the word "omelet," the answer is "Malta."
Last week's challenge: This challenge came from listener Rudy Simons of Southfield, Mich. The letters of the one-syllable word "groan" can be rearranged to spell "organ," which has two syllables. The challenge: Think of a common one-syllable, five-letter word whose letters can be rearranged to spell a common two-syllable word — and then rearranged again to spell a common three-syllable word.
Answer: Aides, aside, ideas OR aimed, amide, media.
Winner: Joe Martin of San Francisco
Next week's challenge: This is a spinoff of the on-air puzzle. Name a country with at least three consonants. These are the same consonants, in the same order, as in the name of a language spoken by millions of people worldwide. The country and the place where the language is principally spoken are in different parts of the globe. What country and what language 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.
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
On this day way back in 1875, a horse named Aristides won the very first Kentucky Derby. On May 17 1939, two baseball teams faced off in the very first televised sports game. And in 2015, another epic competition for the history books. And guess what - history is happening right now, people. It's time for the puzzle. Joining me now is Will Shortz. He's the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.
R. MARTIN: What was last week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener Rudy Simons of Southfield, Mich. I said think of a common five-letter word in one syllable whose letters can be rearranged to spell a common two-syllable word and then rearranged again to spell a common three-syllable word. I said I had two different answers in mind. You only had to think of one. Well, the best answer, I think, is aides, A-I-D-E-S, and you can rearrange those letters to make aside and ideas. I was also thinking of aimed, A-I-M-E-D, which can make amide and media. We had some alternatives. The best one I thought was route, R-O-U-T-E, which you can rearrange to spell outer and utero, as in in-utero. Anyway, we accepted anything that worked.
R. MARTIN: Very cool. Over 300 of you got the correct answer. And our randomly-chosen winner this week is Joe Martin of San Francisco, Calif. Hey, Joe. Congratulations.
JOE MARTIN: Hi. Thank you, Rachel.
R. MARTIN: So did this come pretty easily to you. How did you figure it out?
J. MARTIN: You know, it did. I thought that it would have three vowels for sure so I kind of worked from there, got to the I's, and I got ideas.
R. MARTIN: And what's lifelike in San Francisco? What do you do there, Joe?
J. MARTIN: I'm in IT. I work with computers all day.
R. MARTIN: And I understand that you and your fiance are pretty hardcore puzzlers.
J. MARTIN: We are actually. This call is kind of - it feels somewhat destined to be this week's winner 'cause she was actually called a few weeks ago...
R. MARTIN: Oh, really?
J. MARTIN: ...Regarding the bootie and bowtie puzzle. She didn't answer the call for whatever reason.
R. MARTIN: Oh, no.
SHORTZ: Oh, man.
R. MARTIN: So we missed her? That's why you have to answer the phone when we tell you to, right. Wow, so are you ready to do this, Joe? You want to try your hand at the puzzle?
J. MARTIN: Let's do it.
R. MARTIN: OK, Will, you heard the man. Let's do it.
SHORTZ: Let's do it. Joe and Rachel, this week's on-air puzzle is similar to last week's only a little harder. Every answer is the name of country. I'm going to give you some words. For each one, ignore the vowels. The consonants, in order from left to right, are the same consonants in the same order as in the country. For example, if I said omelet, O-M-E-L-E-T, you would say Malta 'cause the consonants in omelet are M, L, T, and those of the consonants of Malta.
R. MARTIN: OK.
SHORTZ: Number one is supine, S-U-P-I-N-E.
J. MARTIN: That would be Spain.
SHORTZ: That's it. Number two is climb, C-L-I-M-B.
J. MARTIN: Columbia.
R. MARTIN: Yeah, fast.
SHORTZ: Columbia is right. Hinders, H-I-N-D-E-R-S.
J. MARTIN: Honduras.
SHORTZ: Yes. Rouses, R-O-U-S-E-S.
J. MARTIN: Russia.
R. MARTIN: Great.
SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Encourage, E-N-C-O-U-R-A-G-E.
J. MARTIN: Nicaragua.
SHORTZ: Whoa, that's fast. Nicaragua, yes. Cloned, C-L-O-N-E-D.
J. MARTIN: These are harder than last week's.
J. MARTIN: Iceland.
R. MARTIN: Oh, see, you got it. Great.
SHORTZ: Iceland, nice job. Yeah, yeah, Joe you're good. Smile, S-M-I-L-E.
J. MARTIN: Somalia.
SHORTZ: That's it. User link, U-S-E-R-L-I-N-K.
J. MARTIN: Sri Lanka.
SHORTZ: Oh, that's good. Origination, O-R-I-G-I-N-A-T-I-O-N.
J. MARTIN: Argentina.
SHORTZ: Oh, man, Joe. And you were nervous about this. And here's your last one. Sterile, S-T-E-R-I-L-E.
J. MARTIN: Switzerland. No.
SHORTZ: No, that uses a W. It's a little tricky because there are vowels that go before the S.
R. MARTIN: Vowels before...
J. MARTIN: Australia.
R. MARTIN: Yes.
J. MARTIN: Sorry, sorry, Rachel.
R. MARTIN: Joe, that was amazing. You had no reason to be nervous. You totally rocked that. Well done. For playing the puzzle today, you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, puzzle books and games. You can go to our website, npr.org/puzzle, to read all about your prizes. And before we let you go, Joe, where do you hear us? What's your public radio station?
J. MARTIN: It's KQED in San Francisco.
R. MARTIN: Joe Martin of San Francisco, Calif. Thanks so much for playing the puzzle, Joe.
J. MARTIN: Thank you.
R. MARTIN: OK, Will, what's up for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes, this is a spinoff of the on-air puzzle. Name a country with at least three consonants. These are the same consonants in the same order as in the name of a language spoken by millions of people worldwide. And the country and the place where the language is principally spoken are in different parts of the globe. What country and language are these? So again, name a country with at least three consonants. These are the same consonants in the same order as in the name of a language spoken by millions of people's worldwide. What country and language are these?
R. MARTIN: When you've got the answer, go to npr.org/puzzle and click on the submit-your-answer link. Just one entry per person, please. The deadline for those entries is Thursday, May 21, at 3 p.m. Eastern time. Don't forget to 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. You got to pick up the phone, though. And then you get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Will Shortz. Thanks so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.