On-air Challenge: Every answer today is the name of a TV series past or present. Two consecutive letters in each title have been changed into one letter to spell a new word or phrase. You change one letter back into two to name the series.
Ex. CHESS --> CHEERS
2. FULL HOUR
3. NIGHT COAT
5. THE WAGONS
7. SOUTH PAW
8. DOCTOR NO
9. LEAKING BAD
Last week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from listener Al Gori, of Oak Ridge, N.J. Name a famous city in 10 letters that contains an "S." Drop the "S." Then assign the remaining nine letters their standard value in the alphabet — A = 1, B= 2, C = 3, etc. The total value of the nine letters is only 25. What city is it?
Challenge answer: Addis Ababa
Winner: Patty Docker-Ford
This week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from listener Matthew Leal of San Francisco. Write down the name of a country plus its capital, one after the other. Hidden in consecutive letters inside this is the name of a film that won an Academy Award for Best Picture. Name the country, capital, and film.
If you know the answer to next week's challenge, submit it here by Thursday, June 10, 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:
And it's 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. Hi, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Remind us of last week's challenge.
SHORTZ: Yeah, it came from listener Al Gori of Cozy Lake, N.J. I said, name a famous city in 10 letters that contains an S. Drop the S, then assign the remaining nine letters their standard value in the alphabet - A equals one, B equals two, etc. And I said the total value of the nine letters is only 25. What city is it? And the answer is Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received over 2,600 correct responses, and the winner this week is Patty Docker-Ford of Morgantown, Pa. Congratulations, and welcome to the program.
PATTY DOCKER-FORD: Thank you, Lulu.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So how'd you figure it out?
DOCKER-FORD: Well, I started out with U.S. capitals, and none of those worked. And then I knew it had to be something with just A, B or C, and it just came to me.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Fair enough. How long have you been playing?
DOCKER-FORD: Since day one.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's good to know. And what was it like when you finally got the call?
DOCKER-FORD: Incredibly nerve-wracking.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I hear, though, that you're a professional clown. So you're used to performing under high pressure. And you have a joke for us.
DOCKER-FORD: Yeah, yeah. I'm a balloon artist, and I go to balloon school every chance I get. And you know the worst thing about balloon school, don't you?
DOCKER-FORD: The pop quizzes.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) That's awesome. What's your favorite kind of balloon figurine?
DOCKER-FORD: I like them all, and I try to keep up with - and it's - you know, you have to keep up with whatever the kids are into at the time, you know, superheroes or different animals. Always keeps you on your toes.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Always keeps you on your toes. Well, we are here to keep you on your toes. Are you ready to play The Puzzle?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Take it away, Will.
SHORTZ: All right, Patty. Every answer today is the name of a TV series, past or present. I've changed two consecutive letters in each title into one letter to spell a new word or phrase. You change one letter back into two to name the series. For example, if I said chess, C-H-E-S-S, you would say "Cheers," because that turns the first S of chess into E-R to make the TV show.
SHORTZ: So we'll start with some older shows, and your first one is fronds, F-R-O-N-D-S.
SHORTZ: "Friends" is it - is good. Number two is full hour, F-U-L-L H-O-U-R.
DOCKER-FORD: "Full House?"
SHORTZ: That's it. "Full House." Night coat, N-I-G-H-T C-O-A-T.
DOCKER-FORD: Night coat.
SHORTZ: Yeah. Yeah, keep the night. Change something in coat.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: "Night Court."
DOCKER-FORD: "Night Court."
SHORTZ: "Night Court." You got it. Framer, F-R-A-M-E-R.
SHORTZ: That's it. The wagons, T-H-E W-A-G-O-N-S.
DOCKER-FORD: The wagons.
SHORTZ: Change the G.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: It's the name of the family.
DOCKER-FORD: Oh, "The Waltons."
SHORTZ: "The Waltons" is it. Baton, B-A-T-O-N. They're tougher to see when they're short words like this. Change the O.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Singing) Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na.
SHORTZ: (Laughter) There's your musical hint.
DOCKER-FORD: (Laughter) "Batman."
SHORTZ: "Batman" is it. And now we have some more modern series. Try this. South paw, P-A-W. South paw.
DOCKER-FORD: "South Park."
SHORTZ: That's it. How about doctor no. That's D-O-C-T-O-R N-O. It's a British show.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I can also do the music for that. (Singing) Na na na na na na na na na na wah wah na na na na na na na wah wah (laughter).
SHORTZ: Oh, you got great musical hints, Lulu.
DOCKER-FORD: (Laughter) Yeah.
UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: "Doctor Who."
DOCKER-FORD: "Doctor Who?"
SHORTZ: "Doctor Who" is it. Good. Here's your last one - leaking bad.
DOCKER-FORD: "Breaking Bad."
SHORTZ: "Breaking Bad" is it. Good job.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Good job. How do you feel?
DOCKER-FORD: I'm joyful and relieved (laughter).
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You did really well. Those were hard. And for playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, as well as puzzle books and games. And you can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle. And, Patty, which member station do you listen to?
DOCKER-FORD: I'm a sustaining member of WHYY in Philadelphia.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Patty Docker-Ford of Morgantown, Pa., thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.
DOCKER-FORD: Oh, thank you. It was an honor.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Will, what is next week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yeah, this challenge comes from listener Matthew Leal of San Francisco. Write down the name of a country plus its capital, one after the other. Hidden in consecutive letters inside this is the name of a film that won an Academy Award for Best Picture. Name the country, capital and film.
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, June 10 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 if you pick up the phone, you'll get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION'S puzzlemaster, Will Shortz, with musical cues by me. Thank you so much, Will.
SHORTZ: (Laughter) Thanks, Lulu.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.