Sunday Puzzle: Words Within Words

Jun 27, 2021

On-air challenge: Every answer today is a made-up two-word phrase in which the first word has five letters. Add one letter to the front and another at the end to make a seven-letter word that completes the phrase.

Ex. Decorative piece of needlework that's big enough --> AMPLE SAMPLER

1. Difficult extended period without rain
2. Tray that carries espressos mixed with steamed milk
3. Not these or those female parents
4. Sweepstakes with a prize of a playful mammal
5. Criss-cross framework in the top story of the house
6. Angry baseball players in Pittsburgh
7. Costs to buy poison derived from the castor bean
8. Destitution that's not hidden
9. Sikh head coverings worn in cities

Last week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from listener Iva Allen in Canada. Name a make of car. Write it in all capital letters. Rotate one of the letters 90 degrees and another letter 180 degrees to make a woman's name. What is it?

Challenge answer: MAZDA --> WANDA

Winner: Mandy Whitaker from Camano Island, WA

This week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from listener Julia Lewis, of Fort Collins, Colo. Take the name of a major American city. Hidden inside it in consecutive letters is the name of a Japanese food. Remove that. The remaining letters can be rearranged to to spell some Mexican foods. Name the city and the foods.

Submit Your Answer

If you know the answer to next week's challenge, submit it here by Thursday, July 1st, 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:

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 Iva Allen. I said name a make of car. Write it in all capital letters. Rotate one of the letters 90 degrees and another letter 180 degrees to make a woman's name. What is it? Well, the car is Mazda. Change those letters - you get Wanda.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received over 2,500 correct responses. And the winner is Mandy Whitaker of Camano Island, Wash. Congratulations, and welcome to the program.

MANDY WHITAKER: Thank you so much, Lulu. I'm so excited to be here with you and Will.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We are excited to have you. How did you figure it out?

WHITAKER: Well, we usually play The Puzzle as a family on the way to church. And, of course, for the last year, instead of on the way to church, we've been playing it around the breakfast table on Sunday morning.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter).

WHITAKER: This past Sunday was the first time we went to church in 16 months, and we actually listened...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Oh.

WHITAKER: ...To it in the car. Once we got done with church, my older son was writing letters, figuring out which ones we could flip. We figured out which letters would flip the right way. We looked at a list of cars. Mazda stood out right away. And, coincidentally, my husband's grandma's name is Wanda.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That is very funny. Well, many blessings, clearly. Let me ask you this. How long have you been playing The Puzzle?

WHITAKER: My husband and I have listened to it and kind of played it off and on since we knew - started knowing each other about 20 years ago. We've been playing more regularly and submitting more often for the last three or four years. And our sons like to play along and help out, too.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I love that. And what was it like when you got the call?

WHITAKER: Well, (laughter) we were doing Zoom bake-off with my sister and mom, which we do weekly, and the phone call came up, and I declined it the first time. It came back up, and I realized what it was and put my mom and sister on hold and was so excited to call and glad I didn't burn the brownies.

(LAUGHTER)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Are you ready to play The Puzzle?

WHITAKER: I think so. I'm excited and nervous.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: OK. I'm sure you'll do great. Take it away, Will.

SHORTZ: All right, Mandy, every answer today is a made-up, two-word phrase in which the first word has five letters. Add one letter to the front and another at the end to make a seven-letter word that completes the phrase. For example, if I said decorative piece of needlework that's big enough, you would say ample sampler.

WHITAKER: OK.

SHORTZ: Here you go. Number one - a difficult extended period without rain.

WHITAKER: Drought - so drought.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. And what's the five-letter word inside that?

WHITAKER: Rough drought.

SHORTZ: A rough drought is it. Number two - a tray that carries espressos mixed with steamed milk.

WHITAKER: Latte - a latte platter.

SHORTZ: You got it. Not these or those female parents.

WHITAKER: Other mothers?

SHORTZ: That's it. Sweepstakes with a prize of a playful mammal.

WHITAKER: Lotto...

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Yeah. For the sweepstakes, think of a seven-letter word and a five-letter playful mammal.

WHITAKER: Otter.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh.

WHITAKER: Let's see. Otter lottery. There it is.

SHORTZ: An otter lottery. A crisscross framework in the top story of the house.

WHITAKER: Oh, an attic lattice.

SHORTZ: You got it. Angry baseball players in Pittsburgh.

WHITAKER: Irate Pirate.

SHORTZ: That's it. Pirates, uh-huh. Costs to buy poison derived from the castor bean.

WHITAKER: Oh, castor bean.

SHORTZ: So what's that five-letter poison derived from the castor bean?

WHITAKER: Ricin.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Yeah, yeah.

WHITAKER: Ricin pricing.

SHORTZ: Yeah, you got it. Destitution that's not hidden.

WHITAKER: OK, overt poverty.

SHORTZ: Overt poverty. Nice. And your last one is Sikh head coverings - that's S-I-K-H - Sikh head coverings worn in cities.

WHITAKER: Urban turbans.

SHORTZ: You got it. Bravo.

WHITAKER: Great (laughter).

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

WHITAKER: Oh, relieved, but I'm sad there were no clues you could sing for us, Lulu. We loved "Doctor Who" a couple weeks ago.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) I, too, am sad that I couldn't sing the clues. I feel like we need to get on Will for that.

WHITAKER: I think so.

SHORTZ: I'll work on that, yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: 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, Mandy, which member station do you listen to?

WHITAKER: We listen to both KNKX and KUOW.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Mandy Whitaker of Camano Island, Wash., thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.

WHITAKER: Thank you so much for having me. It was fantastic.

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

SHORTZ: Yeah, it comes from listener Julia Lewis of Fort Collins, Colo. Take the name of a major American city. Hidden inside it, in consecutive letters, is the name of a Japanese food. Remove that, and the remaining letters can be rearranged to spell some Mexican foods - plural. Name the city and the foods. So again, a major American city. Inside it, in consecutive letters, is the name of a Japanese food. Drop that. The remaining letters can be rearranged to spell some Mexican foods. Name the city and the foods.

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 1 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.