Sunday Puzzle: Two Consonants

Jul 11, 2021

On-air challenge: Every answer today is a word, name, or phrase in which the only consonants are R and C, repeated as often as necessary. All the other letters are vowels.

Ex. To happen --> OCCUR
[5 letters:]
1. Capital of Ghana
2. About, as before a date that's uncertain
3. One spreading news in colonial times
[6 letters:]
4. Occupation
5. Elaborately ornamental style
5. Journalist Katie
7. Ancient Roman statesman and orator
[7 letters:]
8. One who transports documents
9. Partner of Ives in old lithography
10. Verizon or AT&T
11. Native of Rio de Janeiro
12. Vehicle in the Indianapolis 500 (2 words)

Last week's challenge: Last week's challenge comes from Todd McClary, who's a member of the National Puzzlers' League. Think of a place where a plant might grow, in two words. Spoonerize it — that is, switch the initial consonant or consonants of the two words. The result will name another place where a plant might grow, and a plant that might grow in either place.

Challenge answer: FLOWER BOX --> BOWER --> PHLOX

Winner: Harry Phillips of Solon, Iowa.

This week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from listener Peter Collins, of Ann Arbor, Mich. Think of a country. Embedded in consecutive letters is a well-known brand name. The first, second, eighth and ninth letters of the country, in order, spell a former competitor of that brand. Name the country and the brands.

Submit Your Answer

If you know the answer to next week's challenge, submit it here by Thursday, July 15, 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:

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: Hey there, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Remind us of last week's challenge.

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from Todd McClary of the National Puzzlers' League. I said think of a place where a plant might grow in two words. Spoonerize it. That is, switch the initial consonant sounds. And the result will name another place where a plant might grow and a plant that might grow there. And the plant might grow in a flower box. Spoonerize that. You get a bower, which is a leafy place where flowers might grow. And the flower - flox.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received just under 400 correct responses. And the winner this week is Harry Phillips of Solon, Iowa. Congratulations. And welcome to the program.

HARRY PHILLIPS: Thank you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: How did you figure it out?

PHILLIPS: It was actually - it just - the first thought that came to my mind was a flower pot. And I did that, and it didn't work. And I thought a flower box. And I got it instantly.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: There you go. I hear you've been playing The Puzzle for a while.

PHILLIPS: I have. I have. I'm a retired teacher. And I used to use the puzzle as a - as an incentive for my students - a language arts teacher. I would post The Puzzle on Sunday night. And the first person who got the answer would get a great prize. And I would show up sometimes on Monday morning, and there'd be a group of kids, like, waiting for me.

(LAUGHTER)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I love that. That's amazing.

PHILLIPS: And, sometimes, they had the answer before me. And, sometimes, they answered, as well.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Aw. What was it like when you finally got the call?

PHILLIPS: Oh, it was very exciting - been waiting a long time for this. Yeah.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So here we go. Will, take it away.

SHORTZ: All right, Harry. Every answer today is a word, name or phrase in which the only consonants are R and C repeated as often as necessary. All the other letters are vowels. For example, if I said to happen, you would say occur.

All right. We'll start with five-letter answers. And the first one is capital of Ghana.

PHILLIPS: Accra.

SHORTZ: Accra is right. Number two, about - as before a date that's uncertain. You'd say blank, you know, 1,200. It's a Latin word.

PHILLIPS: Ooh.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: it means around a certain date.

PHILLIPS: Circa, circa, circa.

SHORTZ: Circa - there you go. Bravo. One spreading news in colonial times.

PHILLIPS: Town crier.

SHORTZ: A crier is right. Now we're going to six-letter answers, occupation. So teaching was your...

PHILLIPS: Career, career - I'm sorry. Career - I'm sorry.

SHORTZ: (Laughter) There you go. Career is it. Here's your next one. Elaborately ornamental style.

PHILLIPS: Rococo.

SHORTZ: That's it - journalist Katie.

PHILLIPS: Currie (ph).

SHORTZ: Almost.

PHILLIPS: Couric, Couric.

SHORTZ: Couric is right. Ancient Roman statesman and orator.

PHILLIPS: This is a...

SHORTZ: Ancient Roman statesman and orator.

PHILLIPS: Cicero.

SHORTZ: That's it, Cicero. And now we're going for a seven-letter answers - one who transports documents.

PHILLIPS: A courier.

SHORTZ: Courier is it. Partner of Ives in old lithography.

PHILLIPS: Oh, Currier.

SHORTZ: It's a different Currier - spelling of Currier, right? Verizon or AT&T.

PHILLIPS: Carrier.

SHORTZ: Carrier is it. Here's another vocabulary tester - native of Rio de Janeiro.

PHILLIPS: Not Brazilian.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. That's in general - someone from Rio, in particular.

PHILLIPS: A Rio-er (ph).

SHORTZ: OK (laughter). I think I'm going to tell you this one. It's a Carioca, C-A-R-I-O-C-A - Carioca.

PHILLIPS: Of course. All right (laughter).

SHORTZ: All right. Here's your last one. It's a two-word answer. And your clue is a vehicle in the Indianapolis 500.

PHILLIPS: A race car.

SHORTZ: A race car - good job.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Great job - how do you feel?

PHILLIPS: Oh, great. I'm glad it's over. Yeah.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) You did really well. 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, Harry, which member station do you listen to?

PHILLIPS: WSUI in Iowa City.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Harry Phillips of Solon, Iowa, thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.

PHILLIPS: Thank you very much.

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

SHORTZ: Yes, it comes from listener Peter Collins of Ann Arbor, Mich. Think of a country. Embedded in consecutive letters is a well-known brand name. The first, second, eighth and ninth letters of the country in order spell a former competitor of that brand. Name the country and the brands. So, again, a country - embedded in consecutive letters is a well-known brand name. And the first, second, eighth and ninth letters of the country in order spell a former competitor of that brand. Name the country and the brands.

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, July 15 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 very own puzzlemaster, Will Shortz. Thanks so much, Will.

SHORTZ: Thank you, Lulu.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.