On-air challenge: Rearrange the letters in a four-letter word and a five-letter word to get a pair of synonyms. For example, given "time" and "night," you would say "item" and "thing."
Last week's challenge: The challenge came from listener Smatt Read of Somerville, Mass. Actor Tom Arnold goes by two first names — Tom and Arnold, both male, of course. And actress Grace Kelly went by two first names — Grace and Kelly, both female. Name a famous living actress who goes by three first names, all of them considered male. The lengths of the names are 5, 3 and 6 letters long, respectively.
Answer: Jamie Lee Curtis
Winner: Alan Winson of Oakland, Calif.
Next week's challenge: Name a city whose name ends in a long-A sound in which that sound is not spelled with an "A." Change the sound to a long-O and phonetically you'll name a famous person whose name does not contain the letter "O." What city and famous person are these?
If you know the answer to next week's challenge, submit it here. Listeners who submit correct answers win a chance to play the on-air puzzle. Important: Include a phone number where we can reach you Thursday at 3 p.m. Eastern.
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. After a week of rogue llamas and ambiguously colored dresses, I think it is high time for something with a little more gravity. Bring on the puzzle. Joining me now is Will Shortz. He is the puzzle editor of The New York Times. He is also WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.
MARTIN: So you have been busy at your other job.
SHORTZ: My other job, yeah.
MARTIN: (Laughter). Several new puzzles debuted in The New York Times Magazine I understand.
SHORTZ: Yeah. Last Sunday, The New York Times Magazine was completely redesigned. And the puzzle department has expanded. And there's three new things - two word puzzles and one with logic. They're all in the easy to medium range.
MARTIN: I love it. The Will Shortz universe expanding. OK, so let's get back to the puzzle at hand. This is the challenge. Remind us what it was from last week.
SHORTZ: Yeah. It came from listener Smatt Read of Somerville, Mass. And I said the actress Grace Kelly went by two first names, Grace and Kelly, both female. And the challenge was to think of a famous living actress who goes by three first, names all of them traditionally considered male. Who is it? And the answer was Jamie Lee Curtis.
MARTIN: Ha. But I understand there was another answer that sort of worked, right?
SHORTZ: Well, Jaime Ray Newman - do you know her? She starred in...
MARTIN: I have no idea who that is.
SHORTZ: ...In "General Hospital," and she's been in several other series. So - and a couple listeners submitted that. We accepted that as well.
MARTIN: All right. So we got a whole lot of correct answers this week, a lot of Jamie Lee Curtis fans. Nearly 2,800 correct answers. But the lucky winner is Alan Winson of Oakland, Calif. He joins us now on the line. Hey, Alan, congratulations.
ALAN WINSON: Thanks, Rachel.
MARTIN: So how did this one come to you?
WINSON: Well, I focused on the middle name, which you said was three letters. And I thought about Van, and I thought about Vaughn, and then Lee popped into my head. And as soon as that popped in, Jamie Lee Curtis popped in.
WINSON: Do you have a favorite Jamie Lee Curtis movie or yogurt commercial?
WINSON: No, not really. Although, "True Lies" comes to mind.
MARTIN: Yes, "True Lies." OK, we digress. Alan, are you ready to play the puzzle?
WINSON: You bet ya.
MARTIN: All right, let's do it.
SHORTZ: All right, Alan and Rachel. I'm going to give you a four-letter word and a five-letter word. Rearrange the letters in each one to get a pair of synonyms. For example, if I said time - T-I-M-E - and night - N-I-G-H-T - you would say item and thing 'cause item is an anagram of time. Thing is an anagram of night, and they're synonyms.
MARTIN: All right.
SHORTZ: OK, number one, mope - M-O-P-E - and sever - S-E-V-E-R.
WINSON: Poem and verse.
SHORTZ: That's it. Number two, tuba and couth - C-O-U-T-H.
SHORTZ: Yes. That's it.
WINSON: And, let's see, touch.
SHORTZ: Abut and touch. Good. Diva - D-I-V-A - and agree
WINSON: I'm thinking avid.
WINSON: And eager.
SHORTZ: That's it. Ring, slime.
WINSON: Grin and smile.
MARTIN: Oh, my gosh. Good job, Alan.
SHORTZ: That's it. Scat - S-K-A-T and ocher - O-C-H-E-R.
WINSON: Task and chore.
MARTIN: I mean...
SHORTZ: Excellent. Fare - F-A-R-E - and adder - A-D-D-E-R.
WINSON: Fear and dread.
SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Ruby, inert.
WINSON: Ruby. What can you make from Ruby? Bury and inter.
SHORTZ: That's it.
SHORTZ: Rave - R-A-V-E - and taste.
WINSON: Well, rave - aver?
WINSON: I'm having a little trouble with this one. Can you give me a hint?
SHORTZ: Yeah, it's a synonym of aver.
WINSON: Thanks a lot.
MARTIN: Smart alec, Will.
WINSON: Rachel, you got anything?
MARTIN: No, I don't. I have nothing.
WINSON: Oh, man.
SHORTZ: It starts with an S.
SHORTZ: State is it. You got it. Gear - G-E-A-R - and range.
WINSON: Rage and anger.
SHORTZ: That's it. Cork - C-O-R-K - and onset.
WINSON: Rock and stone.
SHORTZ: That's it. And your last one is name N-A-M-E - and tansy - T-A-N-S-Y.
WINSON: Let's see, name you can make mane or mean.
SHORTZ: Yes, and this pair describes this puzzle.
WINSON: Oh, nasty.
SHORTZ: Mean and nasty is right.
MARTIN: Mean and nasty. That was excellent.
WINSON: Thanks, Rachel.
MARTIN: There were often times when you had come up with the answer and I was literally still writing down the clue. So very well done. For playing the puzzle today, you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin and puzzle books and games. You can read all about your prizes at our website. It is npr.org/puzzle. And what is your public radio station, Alan?
WINSON: KQED in San Francisco where you started.
MARTIN: I did indeed. KQED - a little shout out to that member station. Alan Winson of Oakland, Calif. Thanks so much for playing the puzzle, Alan.
WINSON: Thanks a lot. Thanks, Rachel. Thanks, Will.
MARTIN: OK, Will, what's up for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes. Name a city whose name ends in a long-A sound in which that sound is not spelled with an A. Change the sound to a long O and phonetically, you'll name a famous person whose name does not contain the letter O. What city and famous person are these? So again, name city whose name ends in a long-A sound in which that sound is not spelled with an A. Change the sound to a long O, and phonetically, you will name a famous person whose name does not contain the letter O. What city and what famous person are these?
MARTIN: OK, when you've got answer, go to npr.org/puzzle and click on the submit your answer link. Try to limit yourself. In fact, just do limit yourself to one entry per person please. And our deadline for entries is Thursday, March 5 at 3 p.m. Eastern time. Don't forget to include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. And if you're the winner, then we give you a call, and you get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times. And he is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Will Shortz. Thanks so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.