All-American Words

May 29, 2013
Originally published on January 2, 2014 4:34 pm

In honor of V.I.P. Dan Kennedy and his new novel American Spirit, puzzle guru John Chaneski cooks up a patriotic final round in which all the answers are phrases or titles that contain the word "America" or "American." America's got talent" — and yes, we mean you, brainy listeners.

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Now, we're going to crown this week's grand champion. Let's bring back, from Board to Death, Dan Margolis.


EISENBERG: From Presidential Middle Names: Scott Sanders. From Delightful Spoonerisms: Mark Smith. From YMCA: Jonah Platt. And from Lesser-Known Knights: Jeff Levinson.


EISENBERG: I'm going to ask our puzzle guru John Chaneski to take us out.

JOHN CHANESKI: Ophira, in honor of our VIP Dan Kennedy, and his novel "American Spirit," this game is called All American Words. All the answers in this game will be phrases or titles with the word America or American in it. For example, if I said, it's an NBC reality competition show hosted by Nick Cannon, you'd say "America's Got Talent."

Now, we're playing this spelling bee style, so one wrong answer and you're out. You only have a few seconds to give us your answer. Last person standing is our grand winner. Remember, the word America or American will appear in every answer. Here we go. Dan, this credit card's longtime ad campaign recommended that you don't leave home without it.

DAN MARGOLIS: American Express.

CHANESKI: That's correct. Scott, it's the title of a 1971 song by Don McLean and a 1999 movie starring Jason Biggs.

SCOTT SANDERS: "American Pie."

CHANESKI: That's right. Mark, it's a title first held by Margaret Gorman and later by Vanessa Williams.

MARK SMITH: Miss America.

CHANESKI: Miss America is right.


CHANESKI: That's okay, yeah. Jonah, in 2013, this company announced it was merging with US Airways.

JONAH PLATT: American Airlines.

CHANESKI: That's right, Jonah.


CHANESKI: Jeff, Kit Kittredge and Josephina Montoya are popular historical characters put out by this children's doll company.

JEFF LEVINSON: American Girls.

CHANESKI: That's right.


CHANESKI: American Girl. Back to Dan. It's a 1970's song about a lady from the U.S. by the Canadian band The Guess Who. Three seconds.

MARGOLIS: An American Girl.

JONATHAN COULTON: Not American girl. Scott, do you know the answer to this? It's a 1970's song about a lady from the U.S. by the band The Guess Who.

SANDERS: American Lady.

CHANESKI: Not American lady. Mark, do you know the answer?


SMITH: "American Woman."



CHANESKI: All right. We say goodbye to Dan and Scott, in a most dramatic fashion. All right, continuing on with Jonah. It's a popular food product the FDA describes as the homogenous plastic mass.

PLATT: Homogenous plastic what?

CHANESKI: Homogenous plastic mass.

PLATT: American cheese.

CHANESKI: American cheese is right, Jonah.


CHANESKI: Jeff, she's the star of the former ABC drama "Ugly Betty."

LEVINSON: America Ferrera.

CHANESKI: Yes, that's right.




CHANESKI: It's a 1988 Eddie Murphy film about Prince Akeem of Zamunda.

SMITH: "Coming to America."

CHANESKI: "Coming to America" is right.


CHANESKI: Jonah, it's a 1986 charity event organized by Ken Kragen that probably spread a lot of germs. Three seconds.

PLATT: American sneeze fest.

CHANESKI: Not American sneeze fest.


CHANESKI: No. Step aside for just a second, Jonah. Let's see if Jeff knows it. Jeff?

LEVINSON: Hands across America.

CHANESKI: Hands across America is right.


CHANESKI: We've got to say goodbye to Jonah. It's down to Mark and Jeff. Mark, it's a line from the chorus of the Lee Greenwood song "God Bless the USA."

SMITH: Is he like a country singer?

CHANESKI: He is a country singer, yeah.

SMITH: I have no frigging idea whatsoever.


CHANESKI: Okay. Jeff, it's a line from the chorus of the Lee Greenwood song "God Bless the USA."

LEVINSON: 'Cause I'm proud to be an American.

CHANESKI: Yes, very good. Mark, thank you for playing.


CHANESKI: Jeff, you are the winner.

EISENBERG: Jeff, you are our ASK ME ANOTHER big winner. Congratulations. And your prize is our VIP Dan Kennedy has agreed to give you your very own fly-fishing lesson via Skype.


EISENBERG: From his apartment in New York City. Congratulations. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.