On-air Challenge: Every answer today is a pair of phrases in the form of "___ of ___," where the phrases can end in two ways. I'll give you the two ways those phrases can end. You give me the starting word. Every starting word is five letters long.
Ex. Bread / Life --> SLICE (slice of bread, slice of life)
1. Way / First refusal
2. Mind / The Union
3. Purchase / The pudding
4. Wheat / The crop
5. Cards / Representatives
6. Paper / Cake
7. View / No return
8. May / All
9. Golf / Applause
10. Sheba / Hearts
11. Mind / Music
Last week's challenge: Last week's challenge was a spinoff of my on-air puzzle, and it was a little tricky. Think of a hyphenated word you might use to describe a young child that sounds like three letters spoken one after the other.
Challenge answer: Q-T-Pi
Winner: Gary St. Germain of Highland, Calif.
This week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from listener Derrick Niederman, of Charleston, S.C. Starting in Montana, you can drive into South Dakota and then into Iowa. Those three states have the postal abbreviations MT, SD, and IA — whose letters can be rearranged to spell AMIDST. The challenge is to do this with four connected states to make an eight-letter word. That is, start in a certain state, drive to another, then another, and then another. Take the postal abbreviations of the four states you visit, mix the letters up, and use them to spell a common eight-letter word. Derrick and I know of only one answer. Can you do this?
If you know the answer to next week's challenge, submit it here by Thursday, Feb. 4, at 3 p.m. ET. Listeners who submit correct answers win a chance to play the on-air puzzle. Important: Include a phone number where we can reach you.
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
Time to play The Puzzle.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Joining us is Will Shortz. He's puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So remind us of last week's challenge.
SHORTZ: Yes, it was a little tricky. I said think of a hyphenated word you might use to describe a young child that sounds like three letters spoken one after the other. And the answer is cutie pie, which sounds like Q, T and the Greek letter pi.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received only 350 correct responses - tricky, indeed. And the winner this week is Gary St. Germain of Highland, Calif.
Congratulations. And welcome to the program.
GARY ST GERMAIN: Thank you.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: How'd you figure it out?
ST GERMAIN: Well, usually, on Sunday mornings, I show this - The Puzzle to my girlfriend. So the last couple years, we've been doing it together. I've been doing it since probably it started. I've been following Will since he was working at Games magazine back in the day. And we came up quickly with cutie pie pretty early. But we thought, that can't be right.
ST GERMAIN: And then I got stuck on the word empty, with M-T. And then we went around. And then she asked her son, you know, his - for his input. And he said, oh, pi is the - obviously, it's the Greek letter. That's P. Oh, OK. They're cheating. OK.
ST GERMAIN: And we went with that.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You going to take that lying down there, Will?
SHORTZ: Come on. Cheating? We don't cheat.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: What was it like when you got the call?
ST GERMAIN: I was stunned because for Christmas, my girlfriend bought me an NPR lapel pin...
ST GERMAIN: ...You know, from eBay or somewhere. (Laughter) And I said, I will never get a real one. So this is like a thrill to me (laughter).
GARCIA-NAVARRO: This is really funny. Well, you know, she could have saved her money because you will, indeed, get a lapel pin. Are you ready to play The Puzzle?
ST GERMAIN: I think so (laughter).
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Take it away, Will.
SHORTZ: All right, Gary. Every answer today is a pair of phrases in the form of blank of blank, where the phrases can end in two ways. I'll give you the two ways those phrases can end. You give me the starting word. And every starting word is five letters long. For example, if I said bread and life, you would say slice, as in slice of bread and slice of life.
ST GERMAIN: Holy moly. OK.
SHORTZ: Number one is way - W-A-Y - and first refusal.
ST GERMAIN: Way, first refusal - way of no, way of...
SHORTZ: So you want blank of first refusal.
ST GERMAIN: Oh, right of first refusal.
SHORTZ: You got it - right of way and right of first refusal. You got it.
ST GERMAIN: Oh, OK. All right.
SHORTZ: OK. Here's number two - mind - M-I-N-D - the union.
ST GERMAIN: Mind, union.
SHORTZ: And it's the union.
ST GERMAIN: State of mind, state of the union.
SHORTZ: There you go. Purchase, the pudding.
ST GERMAIN: Proof of purchase, proof of pudding.
SHORTZ: Excellent. Wheat, the crop.
ST GERMAIN: Cream.
SHORTZ: Cream of the crop, cream of wheat - good. Cards, representatives.
ST GERMAIN: House.
SHORTZ: Paper, cake.
ST GERMAIN: Paper - rice paper, rice cake.
SHORTZ: No, it has to be of. Don't forget the of. Blank of paper...
ST GERMAIN: Oh, oh, oh.
SHORTZ: ...Blank of cake.
ST GERMAIN: Oh, piece.
SHORTZ: There you go - a piece of paper, piece of cake. View, no return.
ST GERMAIN: Point.
SHORTZ: That's it. May - M-A-Y - all.
ST GERMAIN: May - first of May, first of all.
SHORTZ: Excellent. How about golf, applause?
ST GERMAIN: Round.
SHORTZ: Round of golf, round of applause - good. Sheba, hearts.
ST GERMAIN: Queen.
SHORTZ: That's it. And your last one is mind - M-I-N-D - and music.
ST GERMAIN: Piece.
SHORTZ: No. That's interesting. Peace of mind is P-E-A-C-E. And piece of music is P-I-E-C-E.
ST GERMAIN: Oh, oh.
SHORTZ: So we're not doing homophones here. But think of a famous...
ST GERMAIN: State - no.
SHORTZ: Think of a...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Singing) The hills are alive...
ST GERMAIN: Sound.
SHORTZ: Sound of music and sound of mind and...
ST GERMAIN: Oh, don't stop singing, Lulu.
SHORTZ: Always love to hear you sing, Lulu.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I am always trying to sing, even though I do not have a great voice. How do you feel? You did great.
ST GERMAIN: Relieved. I was afraid I was going to have a mind blank and sound like a moron in front of the whole country.
ST GERMAIN: I'm OK now.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You were really, really great. And for playing our puzzle today, you will get your very own real WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, as well as puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle. And Gary, which member station do you listen to?
ST GERMAIN: KVCR in San Bernardino.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Gary St. Germain of Highland, Calif., thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.
ST GERMAIN: Thank you. It was a real honor.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Will. What is next week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yeah, it comes from listener Derrick Niederman of Charleston, S.C. Starting in Montana, you can drive into South Dakota and then into Iowa. And those three states have the postal abbreviations M.T., S.D. and I.A., whose letters you can rearrange to spell amidst. Now, the challenge is to do this with four connected states to make an eight-letter word. That is, start in a certain state, drive to another, then another and then another. Take the postal abbreviations of the four states you visit, mix the letters up and use them to spell a common eight-letter word. Derrick and I know of only one answer, although we haven't checked thoroughly. But we know of only one answer. Can you find one?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: When you have the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle, and click on the submit your answer link. Remember, just one entry per person, please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, February 4, at 3 p.m. Eastern. 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 you'll get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster, Will Shortz.
Thanks so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thanks, Lulu.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.