On-air challenge: Every answer today is a word or name that sounds like it starts with two spoken letters of the alphabet.
Ex. Element #55 --> CESIUM (C-Z-um) or Wanting what other people have --> ENVIOUS (N-V-ous)
1. Degree or SpeedStick product
2. Green insect related to grasshoppers and crickets
4. San ___, Calif.
6. No person in particular
7. Obsolete, like old-fashioned language
8. Forty-three doubled
Last week's challenge: Last 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.
Challenge answer: SACRAMENTO --> RAMEN — > TACOS
Winner: Lee Ann Koehler of New Albany, Ind.
This week's challenge: This 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.
If you know the answer to next week's challenge, submit it here by Thursday, July 8, 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:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Lulu Garcia-Navarro. And it's time to play The Puzzle.
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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: I understand you're in town for a puzzle convention.
SHORTZ: I am. I'm in Washington. And that's the 181st National Puzzlers' League convention. So we just barely have a convention this year. You know, we're at the end of the pandemic, but we got more than a hundred people from all over the country to come.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: How fun. Well, remind us of last week's challenge.
SHORTZ: Yeah, it came from listener Julia Lewis of Fort Collins, Colo. I said, 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. Name the city and the foods. And the city is Sacramento, inside that is ramen. And remove that and the leftover letters spell tacos.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received over 2,000 correct responses. And the winner this week is Lee Ann Koehler of New Albany, Ind. Congratulations, and welcome to the program.
LEE ANN KOEHLER: Thanks, Lulu.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You know, you were the eighth person we called. No one else picked up. We called Mississippi and Texas and New York and so many places. So, folks, pick up your phone. But that meant it was your lucky day. How'd you figure it out? (Laughter).
KOEHLER: I started with Japanese foods. And once I saw ramen, then I could just see Sacramento around that. And then I saw tacos.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And how long have you been playing The Puzzle?
KOEHLER: Oh, probably for about 10 years.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Are you ready to play?
KOEHLER: I'm ready to go.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Will, take it away.
SHORTZ: All right, Lee Ann. Every answer today is a word or name that sounds like it starts with two spoken letters of the alphabet. For example, if I say element No. 55, you would say Cesium. Or if the clue were wanting what other people have, you would say envious.
So here we go. No. 1 is Degree or SpeedStick product. It's a product that you would use under your arm.
SHORTZ: Deodorant is right. Number No. 2 - a green insect related to grasshoppers and crickets.
KOEHLER: Grasshoppers or crickets.
SHORTZ: Let's see - it's seven letters. It starts with K.
SHORTZ: Yeah, that's a tough one. I'm just going to tell you - it's a katydid.
KOEHLER: Oh, katydid.
SHORTZ: You know katydids?
KOEHLER: Yes, yes.
SHORTZ: Yeah. Here's your next one - pilot. A pilot, someone who flies a plane, seven letters.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Also, the type of glasses that President Biden wears.
SHORTZ: There you go. Good clue.
SHORTZ: Aviator is right. OK, here's your next one. Fill in the blank - San - blank - California. It's a big city in Southern California.
SHORTZ: There you go - San Diego. You got it. Here's your next one - a brainstorm. It's something that pops into your head. You have a...
SHORTZ: There you go - idea. No person in particular.
SHORTZ: Anyone is good. Also, anybody would work. How about obsolete, like old-fashioned language? You say a word is - if it hasn't been used for centuries, you say that word is, what?
SHORTZ: Yeah, that's close. Yeah. In particular, used for words, though.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: It starts with an R.
KOEHLER: I don't know.
SHORTZ: It's archaic.
KOEHLER: Archaic, OK.
SHORTZ: The word is archaic. All right, and here's your last one - 43 doubled.
SHORTZ: Eighty-six is it. You got it.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Ending strong. How do you feel?
KOEHLER: I feel relieved. It was fun.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) Good. I'm glad.
SHORTZ: You're not the first person to say that.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah, it was a hard one, I have to say. It was a very hard one. 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 Lee Ann, which member station do you listen to?
KOEHLER: I listen to WFPL in Louisville, Ky.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Lee Ann Koehler of New Albany, Ind., thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.
KOEHLER: Thank you.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Will, what is next week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yeah, it comes from Todd McClary, who's a member of the National Puzzlers' League. He's here in Washington with me for this weekend. Think of a place where a plant might grow, in two words. Spoonerize it - that is, switch the initial consonant sounds of the two words, and the result will name another place where a plant might grow and a plant that might grow in either place. So, again, a place where a plant might grow, in two words, spoonerize that phrase, and the result will name another place where a plant might grow, and a plant that might grow in either place. What words are these?
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 8 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 if you pick up the phone. Pick up the phone, people. And WEEKEND EDITION'S puzzlemaster - his name is Will Shortz. Thanks so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thanks, Lulu.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.