On-air Challenge: I'm going to read you some seven-letter words. Each word has the consecutive letters A-T somewhere inside it. Change the A-T to two new letters to make a new word.
Ex. FLATTER --> FLUSTER
Last week's challenge: This challenge came from listener Peter Gordon of Great Neck, N.Y. Think of a person in the news (5,4). The first name and last name each have at least two consonants and two vowels. All the consonants in each name come at the start, and all the vowels come at the end. The letter "y" is not used. Who is this famous person?
Challenge answer: Chloe Zhao
Winner: Patrick McIntyre of Seattle
This week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from listener Evan Kalish, of Bayside, N.Y. Name a famous blues singer — first and last name as this person is generally known. Change the first letter to a "B," and phonetically you'll get a nationality. Who's the singer, and what's the nationality?
If you know the answer to next week's challenge, submit it here by Thursday, May 6, 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 very own puzzlemaster. Hello, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Remind us of last week's challenge.
SHORTZ: Yeah. It came from listener Peter Gordon of Great Neck, N.Y. Think of a person in the news - first name has five letters, last name has four letters. The first name and last name each have at least two consonants and two vowels. All the consonants in each name come at the start, and all the vowels come at the end. The letter Y is not used. Who is this famous person? And the answer is Chloe Zhao, the director of "Nomadland."
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received more than 1,500 correct responses. And the winner is Patrick McIntyre of Seattle, Wash. Congratulations.
PATRICK MCINTYRE: Thank you very much.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So how'd you figure it out?
MCINTYRE: My wife and I are a longtime tag team on this - my wife, Jane (ph). We have what we call PJ's Sunday puzzle bible.
MCINTYRE: It's just this large notebook. And so what that contains is the compilation and indexing over more than 20 years of playing of things that have come up over and over and over, you know? We started, of course, looking through the names and trying to find. But it didn't take me long before I ever found it. It just became evident that there are virtually very few, if any, more than Chloe that I could find anyway. So once I had to the Chloe down, then the thought was, well, that - well, he likes to kind of look at current events. And sometimes, there's Oscar-related since it was Oscar day.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So there you are. Patrick, are you ready to play?
MCINTYRE: I'm ready.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Take it away, Will.
SHORTZ: All right. Here we go, Patrick. I'm going to read you some seven-letter words. Each word has the consecutive letters A-T somewhere inside it. Change A-T to two new letters to make a new word. For example, if I said flatter, you would say fluster because flatter has A-T in the middle...
SHORTZ: And you change both of those to U-S.
MCINTYRE: Sure. OK.
SHORTZ: All right. No. 1 is lateral - L-A-T-E-R-A-L.
MCINTYRE: OK. And it has to be two new letters, not just one of them.
SHORTZ: That's correct.
MCINTYRE: OK. Well, let me test out and see how good you guys are at hinting.
SHORTZ: Well, OK. Here's a really easy hint. What's the opposite of conservative?
MCINTYRE: Oh, liberal.
SHORTZ: There you go, liberal. You're off and running.
MCINTYRE: OK, OK.
SHORTZ: Your next one is cantata - C-A-N-T-A-T-A. So you want C-A-N-T-blank-blank-A.
MCINTYRE: How about cantina?
SHORTZ: Cantina - you got it. Hatband - H-A-T-B-A-N-D.
MCINTYRE: Oh, husband.
SHORTZ: There you go. Doormat - D-O-O-R-M-A-T.
MCINTYRE: A-T - not doorman...
SHORTZ: Oh, yeah, but make that plural.
SHORTZ: Doormen is it. How about hateful? - H-A-T-E-F-U-L.
MCINTYRE: Like me?
SHORTZ: There you go.
SHORTZ: Gestate - G-E-S-T-A-T-E.
MCINTYRE: G-E - gesture.
SHORTZ: You got it. Flatbed - F-L-A-T-B-E-D.
MCINTYRE: Flubbed - no - yeah, flubbed.
SHORTZ: Flubbed - good job. Rattler - R-A-T-T-L-E-R.
MCINTYRE: ...T-T-L-E-R, OK. Rustler.
SHORTZ: You got it. And here's your last one - peacoat - P-E-A-C-O-A-T.
MCINTYRE: Could get this from my Navy days. Let me will think if I will. Peacock.
SHORTZ: Peacock - you got it. Good job.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Good job. How do you feel?
SHORTZ: (Laughter) All right.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. You did great.
MCINTYRE: Thank you both.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: 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, Patrick, which member station do you listen to?
MCINTYRE: I listen to KUOW here in Seattle.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Patrick McIntyre of Seattle, Wash., thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.
MCINTYRE: Thank you both, Will and Lulu - appreciate it.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Will. What is next week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from listener Evan Kalish (ph) of Bayside, N.Y. Name a famous blues singer - first and last name as this person is generally known. Change the first letter to a B, and phonetically, you'll get a nationality. Who's the singer? So, again, a famous blues singer - first and last name. Change the first letter to a B. And phonetically, you'll get a nationality. Who's the singer, and what's the nationality?
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, May 6 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. Thanks so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thank you, Lulu.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.