What's Last Comes First
On-air challenge: You'll be given some words. For each one, name another word that can follow the first to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase. The last and first letters, respectively, of the first word must be the first and second letters, respectively, of the second. For example, given "tennis," you would say "stadium" or "stroke."
Last week's challenge: The challenge came from Ed Pegg Jr., who runs the website mathpuzzle.com. "Parables of Jesus" is an old collection of stories. Remove three of the 15 letters in this phrase and rearrange the 12 letters that remain to get another old collection of stories. What is it?
Answer: "Aesop's Fables"
Winner: Sally Hamburger of New York City
Next week's challenge: Take the word "die." Think of two synonyms for this word that are themselves exact opposites of each other. What two words are these? A hint: they have the same number of letters.
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:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. For most people, March Madness means basketball. If it has you thinking anagram of herdsman scam, then you are in the right place. It's time for the 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 do you have a bracket, Will? Do you fill these out for the tournament?
SHORTZ: I do not have a bracket. But I love this new system where you are rewarded for making a few daring picks that work out well. How about you?
MARTIN: You're calling me out on this? Shoot. I have never filled out an NCAA bracket ever. But that does not mean that I am not a fan. I love the games, and I watch the games. I just haven't taken it to that level where I actually fill out a bracket. That just seems - that's just one step too far. OK. So let's get back to our competition. Let's remind listeners, what was our challenge from last week?
SHORTZ: Yes. It came from Ed Pegg Jr., and I said "Parables Of Jesus" is an old collection of stories. Remove three of the 15 letters in this phrase and rearrange the 12 that remain to get another old collection of stories. What is it? Well, if you take out the J, U and R and rearrange, you get "Aesop's Fables."
MARTIN: OK so 3,200 of you submitted the correct answer, which is a lot. And our very lucky, randomly-selected winner is Sally Hamburger of New York City. She's on the line now. Hey, Sally. Congratulations.
SALLY HAMBURGER: Three thousand, my gosh.
MARTIN: I know. You did really well. I mean, the stars aligned for you at least.
MARTIN: So was this easy for you to figure out?
HAMBURGER: Well, it did come quite quickly. I thought of what kind of story books I knew. And "Aesop's Fables" was right there about second.
MARTIN: Yeah. You been playing the puzzle for a long time?
HAMBURGER: Oh, since clay tablets.
MARTIN: And have you lived in New York a long-time?
HAMBURGER: No, we moved here eight years ago from Wilmington, Del., so we could enjoy all the theater and opera and culture.
MARTIN: Oh, cool. OK, so Sally, do you feel up to this? Are you ready to play the puzzle?
HAMBURGER: Oh, I hope so.
MARTIN: I think you are. Will, let's give it a go.
SHORTZ: All right, Sally and Rachel. I'm going to give you some words. For each one, you give me a word that can follow mine to complete a compound word or familiar two-word phrase. And the last and first letters respectively of my word must be the first and second letters respectively of yours. For example, if I said tennis, you might say stadium or stroke as in tennis stadium or tennis stroke 'cause the last and first letters of tennis are S-T, and those start the answer.
MARTIN: All right. Let's give it a try.
SHORTZ: Number one is goose. And so you want something that follows goose that starts with E-G.
HAMBURGER: Goose is - all I can think of is egress. Egg - goose egg.
SHORTZ: There you go. Goose egg. Now the next ones are four-letter answers. And your first one of these is rat - R-A-T.
HAMBURGER: Rat trap.
SHORTZ: That's it. Air - A-I-R.
HAMBURGER: Air raid.
SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Your next one - five letter answers. And your first one of these is heart.
HAMBURGER: Heart throb.
SHORTZ: That's it. Reading.
HAMBURGER: Reading. Reading group.
SHORTZ: That's it. Looking.
HAMBURGER: Looking glass.
MARTIN: That was fast.
SHORTZ: Now six letter answers. Chocolate.
HAMBURGER: Chocolates. Chocolate.
SHORTZ: That's a good clue, Rachel. Mmm.
HAMBURGER: I'm stumped, Rachel.
SHORTZ: Eclair is it.
HAMBURGER: Chocolate eclair. Oh, yes.
SHORTZ: How about nerve?
HAMBURGER: Nerve ending.
SHORTZ: And the last ones have more than six letters. And your first one of these is lady's - L-A-D-Y apostrophe S.
HAMBURGER: Lady's slippers?
SHORTZ: That's it, slipper. Right - R-I-G-H-T.
HAMBURGER: Right track.
SHORTZ: More than six letters.
HAMBURGER: More than six letters.
SHORTZ: Think mathematics.
HAMBURGER: Oh, I'm made at - right.
MARTIN: It's a shape.
SHORTZ: That's it. Enfant - E-N-F-A-N-T.
HAMBURGER: Enfant terrible.
SHORTZ: That's it.
MARTIN: Oui, oui.
SHORTZ: Richard. Richard.
HAMBURGER: Richard Dreyfuss?
SHORTZ: That's right. And your last one is photo.
HAMBURGER: Photo. I think of ops.
SHORTZ: Yeah. And what's that short for.
SHORTZ: There you go. Photo opportunity.
MARTIN: Very well done. Sally, you did a great job. For playing the puzzle today, you got a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin and puzzle books and games. And you can recall about it at npr.org/puzzle. And, Sally, where do you hear us?
HAMBURGER: I hear you on WNYC. I'm a patron there.
MARTIN: Great. WNYC in New York. Sally Hamburger of New York City. Thanks so much for playing the puzzle.
HAMBURGER: Thank you so much.
MARTIN: OK, Will, what's up for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes, take the word die - D-I-E - think of to synonyms for this word that are themselves exact opposites of each other. What two words are these? And I'll give you a hint, they have the same number of letters. So again, two synonyms of die - D-I-E - that are themselves exact opposites of each other. What words are these?
MARTIN: All right, you know what to do. When you've got the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle, click on that submit your answer link. Just one entry per person please. Those entries should be in by Thursday, March 26 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. And then you will 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: Thank you, Rachel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.