Sunday Puzzle: Play The GaMe

Mar 21, 2021

On-air Challenge: Every answer today is a four-letter word that is composed of two consecutive state postal abbreviations.

Ex. Similar --> AKIN [Alaska + Indiana]
1. What a volcano spews
2. Mineral that comes in thin layers
3. Breeze
4. Like moist grass in the morning
5. Stash away
6. Arrived
7. Opera solo
8. Grand party, as a black-tie affair
9. Hotel employee who makes beds
10. Unconscious state
11. Sound of a siren
12. Interoffice note
13. Donations to the poor, once
14. Numerous

Last week's challenge: Last week's challenge comes from Robert Render, of Skokie, Ill. It's more challenging that it sounds. Name a well-known tourist locale that attracts millions of visitors a year. It has a two-word name. The first word is a number. And that number is the same as the total number of letters in the name. What's the tourist site?

Challenge answer: Ocho Rios.

Winner: Alex Hart of Havertown, Pa.

This week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from Ed Pegg Jr. of Champaign, Ill. Take the phrase ZANY BOX KEPT HIM. Write it in capital letters. Something is special about the 14 letters in this sentence that sets them apart from all the other 12 letters of the alphabet. What is it?

Submit Your Answer

If you know the answer to next week's challenge, submit it here by Thursday, March 25, 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.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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. Hello, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What was last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yeah, it came from listener Robert Render of Skokie, Ill. And I said it's more challenging than it sounds. Name a well-known tourist locale that attracts millions of visitors a year. It has a two-word name. The first word is a number. And that number is the same as the total number of letters in the name. What site is it? And the answer is Ocho Rios in Jamaica. Ocho, of course, is Spanish for eight and there are eight letters in Ocho Rios.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received over 600 correct responses. And the winner is Alex Hart of Havertown, Pa. Congratulations, and welcome to the program.

ALEX HART: Thank you, Lulu. I really am excited to be participating. This is my second time on the air with Will, and my wife won once before. But we've been playing for so many years and entering for so many years, I guess your number comes up eventually.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I guess so. But, you know, whenever anyone says that, a lot of people get very angry because they're like we've been waiting for so long for our big chance.

HART: Oh, I get angrier when someone says this was my first puzzle, you know?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) Fair enough. So how'd you figure it out?

HART: I think part of the clue was that it was going to be complicated, so I thought perhaps numbers in a foreign language. So I started with French and then I went to German and eventually I worked my way to Spanish. And when I got to the word ocho - I don't know. I'm not really familiar with Ocho Rios, but something clicked in my head. So I Googled a little bit. And sure enough, Ocho Rios came up and, bingo, that was it.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Bingo, that was it. Are you ready to play the Puzzle?

HART: I better be.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) All right, Will, take it away.

SHORTZ: All right, Alex, every answer today is a four-letter word that's composed of two consecutive state postal abbreviations.

HART: Ah.

SHORTZ: For example, if I said similar, you would say akin - A-K-I-N, which is Alaska and Indiana.

HART: Wow. OK.

SHORTZ: All right. No. 1 is what a volcano spews.

HART: Lava.

SHORTZ: That's right - Louisiana, Virginia. Mineral that comes in thin layers.

HART: Mineral that comes in thin layers.

SHORTZ: Kind of flakes off, it's translucent.

HART: Oh, well, I think of quartz, but that's not it. Mica - Michigan and California, yes.

SHORTZ: Mica is it - Michigan and California. There you go. Breeze, a breeze.

HART: A breeze - well, wind - Wisconsin and North Dakota.

SHORTZ: That's it. Like moist grass in the morning.

HART: Dewy - Delaware and Wyoming.

SHORTZ: Good. To stash away.

HART: To stash away is to hide - Hawaii and Delaware.

SHORTZ: That's it. Arrived.

HART: Arrived - came - California and Maine.

SHORTZ: That's it. An opera solo.

HART: Aria - Arkansas and Iowa.

SHORTZ: That's it. A grand party, as a black-tie affair.

HART: A gala - Georgia and Louisiana.

SHORTZ: Excellent. A hotel employee who makes beds.

HART: That would be a maid - Massachusetts and Idaho.

SHORTZ: That's it. An unconscious state.

HART: Unconscious state would be coma - Colorado and Massachusetts.

SHORTZ: That's it. Sound of a siren.

HART: Sound of a siren would be a - sound of a siren - wail - a wail. That would be Washington and Illinois.

SHORTZ: Right. An interoffice note.

HART: That would be a memo. That would be Maine and Missouri.

SHORTZ: That's it. Donations to the poor once.

HART: Donations to the poor would be alms, which is A-L - Alabama and Mississippi.

SHORTZ: Right, right next to each other. And your last one is numerous.

HART: Many - Massachusetts and New York.

SHORTZ: Nice job.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You did amazingly well. How do you feel?

HART: A little nerve-wracked, but I think I'll survive.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You did absolutely an amazing job. And for playing our Puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, as well as puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle. And, Alex, which member station do you listen to?

HART: WHYY in Philadelphia.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Alex Hart of Havertown, Pa., thank you so much for playing the Puzzle.

HART: Oh, thank you, both of you, really appreciated it.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Will, what is next week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yeah, it comes from Ed Pegg Jr. of Champaign, Ill. Take the phrase ZANY BOX KEPT HIM, write it in capital letters, something is special about the 14 letters in this sentence that sets them apart from all the other 12 letters of the alphabet. What is it? So again, the phrase is ZANY BOX KEPT HIM, do it in capital letters. What is special about the 14 letters in this sentence that sets them apart from all the other 12 letters of the alphabet?

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 this Thursday, March 25 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. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.