Will Shortz

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you two words. Insert the same letter in each of them to complete two things in the same category.

Example: Shots Skit --> Shorts, Skirt

1. FIE SEEN
2. MONEY SUNK
3. ETHER PALMS
4. BARE ALLEY
5. PARS SOFA
6. CURING WRESTING
7. MONTAGE CAPLET

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you clues for two words. The first word contains the consecutive letters A-I somewhere within it. Change the order to I-A and you'll get a new word that answers the second clue.

Ex. Train travel / Iranian money --> RAIL, RIAL

On-air challenge: Every answer today is the name of a world capital. I'm going to give you two words. Change the last letter of each word to a new letter so the result, reading left to right, names the capital.

Ex. CARD CAP --> Caracas

1. BET JINX

2. BUDS PESO

3. NAB ROBE

4. PRO TORIC

5. KINK HASP

6. TRIM OLD

7. DAMP SCUM

8. KHAN TOUR

On-air challenge: I've brought a game of Categories based on the word BEACH. For each category I give, name something in it starting with each of the letters B-E-A-C-H. For example, if the category were "Girls' Names," you might say Betty, Emma, Abigail, Chloe, and Hannah. Any answer that works is OK, and you can give the answers in any order.

1. Parts of the Human Body

2. Things Commonly Consumed at Breakfast

3. Varieties of Cheese

4. Countries in Central and South America

On-air challenge: Change one letter in each word to get a familiar boy's name.

Ex. ALIAS --> ELIAS
1. STEWARD
2. LEOPARD
3. LUSHER
4. CORDON
5. TREMOR
6. THRONE
7. HERALD
8. QUINCE
9. ENROLL
10. TIBIAS
11. CHEATER
12. FOR RENT
For the last one, think of two different answers, which change different letters in the word
13 & 14. BARON

On-air challenge: Every answer today is the name of a major-league baseball team. You tell me what they are from their anagrams.

Example: SCARY – C --> (Tampa Bay) Rays

1. SCUBA – A

2. STEAM – A

3. DRESS – S

4. DESPAIR – I

5. AGAINST – A

6. ADVERBS – D

7. COSTARS – C

8. RESTING – N

9. SEALING – I

10. STOCKIER – T

11. MINERALS – E

12. WIRETAPS – W

13. EARRINGS – I

14. THEISTICAL – I

15. NONSPATIAL – P

On-air challenge: Every answer is a compound word with two hyphens in which the part in the middle has two letters.

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you clues to some 8-letter words. Each word contains a doubled letter. Drop that doubled letter, and the remaining letters in order will spell a 6-letter word that answers the second clue.

On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar three-word phrase that has "and" in the middle. Each sentence contains two words that have homophones that will complete the phrase.

Ex. A cane makes an infirm person able to walk. CAIN AND ABEL

  1. I found a beautiful reed on the river's right bank.
  2. Some friends of mine say "hi's" in Lowe's housewares department.
  3. The musician composed a new hymn for the "Ben Hur" soundtrack.
  4. The woodworker won a chisel and awl in a lottery.

On-air challenge: Today's theme is HMO's. Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which the first word starts with H- and the second word starts MO-.

Ex. "Wow!" or "Gadzooks!" --> HOLY MOLY or HOLY MOSES

1. Payment to keep someone from talking

2. "Friday the 13th" or "Nightmare on Elm Street"

3. Lunar phase midway between the first and last quarter

4. Device prescribed by a cardiologist

5. Everest is part of this range

6. State capital northeast of Boise, Idaho

7. Nisan, Shevat, or Adar

On-air challenge: The answer to each clue is a 6-letter word that rhymes with the last word:

Ex. Cause of muscle pain ---> STRAIN

  1. Time of year when birds start to sing
  2. Having glaring light
  3. What follows Sunday
  4. What's raised in a mound
  5. More than twice
  6. Place where you might find a vassal
  7. Tool on a mechanic's bench
  8. What you can use to fill in a stencil
  9. Bank feller
  10. Traveling theater group

On-Air Challenge: This puzzle is called "Artful." You will get clues for two words. Insert the letters A-R-T consecutively somewhere inside the first word to get the second one.

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you three 5-letter words. You tell me a 5-letter word that can precede each of mine to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase.

Ex. DRAFT HOUSE RIDER --> Rough (rough draft, rough-house, Rough Rider)

1. GLASS SLIDE MELON
2. TIGER TRAIL TOWEL
3. COUNT DONOR SPORT
4. SENSE POWER LAUGH
5. GIANT PEACE THUMB
6. SHIFT SHIRT STAND
7. SALAD PUNCH FLIES
8. TEASE POKER STEAK
9. STORY ORDER RANGE
10. SAUCE CIDER STORE
11. BLANK GUARD TAKEN

On-air challenge: Every answer today is a made up two-word phrase, in which the first word has six letters. Its last three letters spell the second word that will complete the phrase.

For Example: Scurrying insect whose appearance has been affected by radiation --> MUTANT ANT

On-air challenge: Today I've brought a game of categories based on the word COMBS. You probably know how this works. I'm going to give you a series of categories. For each one, name something in it starting with each of the letters C-O-M-B-S.

For example, if the category were "Three-Syllable Boys' Names," you might say Christopher, Oliver, Mathias, Benjamin and Sebastian. Any answer that works is fine, and you can give the answers in any order.

1. Musical instruments

2. Cities in Florida

3. Wild mammals in America

On-air challenge: Every year around this time, I do a year-end news quiz — usually on names that sprang into the news during the previous 12 months. Since 2016 broke the mold in so many ways, I decided to break the mold with my year-end quiz. Here are some notable quotes from the previous 12 months. Who said them?

  1. "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters."
  2. "When they go low, we go high."

On-air challenge: The theme of today's puzzle is giving. I'm going to give you two words. You give each of them a letter — the same letter for each word — in order to complete a familiar two-word phrase.

On-air challenge: Every answer is an anagram of a geographical feature.

For example: PACE --> CAPE.

1. KALE
2. SAME
3. LIES
4. SPAS
5. ROOM
6. ALLOT
7. DEALT
8. CANOE
9. HARMS
10. DIRGE
11. LAPIN
12. RESTED
13. MASTER
14. ARTIST
15. SOFTER
16. NO GOAL
17. SECTIONAL
18. REAL FORCE (2 words)

On-air challenge: We're in the merry month of December. Every answer this week is a two-word phrase or name in which the first word starts DE- and the second word starts C.

For example: Underwater explosive device --> depth charge.

Last week's challenge: This challenge may sound impossible, but there's a good answer. Think of a common two-word phrase, in seven letters, that has two R's in the middle. And "in the middle," means exactly in the middle. What phrase is it?

On-air challenge: Insert the letters A and R into the middle of the first clue to get the answer to the second clue. For example, when given the clues "small argument" and "a tax on imports," the answer would be "tiff" and "tariff."

Last week's challenge, from Ken Stern of Brooklyn, N.Y.: Think of a sign that's frequently seen around this time of year — two words of four letters each. Among these eight letters all five vowels — A, E, I, O and U — appear once each, along with three consonants. What sign is it?

On-air challenge: I'm going to name some categories. For each one, I'll name something in the category that closely follows the name of the category alphabetically.

For example, "states" and "Texas." You tell me the only other thing in the category that fits between these two things alphabetically. In the case of my example, you would say "Tennessee."

On-air challenge: This week's puzzle is called "SuperPACs." Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which the first word starts with PA- and the second word starts with C.

For example: Official who oversees a city's green spaces --> PARKS COMMISSIONER.

These Letters Don't LI

Oct 9, 2016

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you clues for two words. Insert the consecutive letters LI somewhere inside the first word to get the second one.

For example: Bit of mischief/Instrument for measuring --> CAPER, CALIPER

Last week's challenge: Name an 11-letter occupation starting with H. If you have the right one, you can rearrange the letters to name two things a worker with this occupation uses — one in six letters and one in five. What occupation is it?

On-air challenge: Every answer this week is a pun on a well-known food brand at a grocery or supermarket.

For example: given the prompt "tiny golf pegs," the right answer is "Wheaties." (Get it? "Wee tees.")

Last week's challenge: Take the words DOES, TOES and SHOES. They all end in the same three letters, but none of them rhyme. What words starting with F, S and G have the same property? The F and S words are four letters long, and the G word is five letters. They all end in the same three letters.

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you some words ending in the letter A. Anagram each of them to get a familiar word starting with A.

For example: IDEA --> AIDE.

Last week's challenge, from listener Justine Tilley of Vancouver: Think of a familiar three-word phrase in the form "___ and ___." Drop the "and." Then move the last word to the front to form a single word ... that means the opposite of the original phrase. Here's a hint: The ending word has seven letters. What is it?

On-air challenge: For the following words starting with the letters S, E and P — as in September — find a word that can precede each to complete a familiar two-word phrase.

For example: system, eclipse, power --> SOLAR (solar system, solar eclipse, solar power).

On-air challenge: If you alphabetized the eight planets in reverse — that is, by their ending letters — the next-to-last name on the list would be Venus, which ends in "s." The last planet on the list would be Mercury, which ends in "y." I'm going to give you some categories. For each one, I'll give you the next-to-last member of the category, if all the names in it were alphabetized backward. You tell me the last name.

For example: Numbers from one to 10: Eight.

On-air challenge: Every answer this week is a nine-letter phrase that's a palindrome — in other words, it reads the same both forward and backward.

For example: Certain floor models (4,5) --> some demos.

Last week's challenge, from listener Sandy Stevens of Bandon, Ore.: What one-syllable word in seven letters becomes a four-syllable word by inserting the consecutive letters I-T somewhere inside?

Answer: reigned, reignited.

Winner: Dan Bradshaw of Farmington, Conn.

On-air challenge: Every answer today is a familiar 8-letter word. We're going to give you two 3-letter words that are somewhere in it. You tell me the full word.

Ex. WOO + WIN --> WOODWIND

1. VET + AIL
2. LEG + RAM
3. PEN + AGO
4. URN + OAT
5. PIP + ANY
6. NOT + ONE

On-air challenge: Every answer today is a word or name containing the consecutive letters R-I-O. The first set of answers will end in -rio.

For example: Novelty item --> CURIO.

Last week's challenge from Ed Pegg Jr. of mathpuzzle.com: Take the four 4-letter words LIMB, AREA, CORK and KNEE. Write them one under the other, and the four columns will spell four new words: LACK, IRON, MERE and BAKE:

LIMB
AREA
CORK
KNEE

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