On-air challenge: Every answer is the name of a popular TV series past or present. For each word or phrase given, remove some of its letters so that those that remain, reading from left to right, will name the show. Every answer will use at least half the letters of the given word or phrase. For example, "Brownies" is Bones.
Last week's challenge: Name something that might be worn on the foot. Change one letter in it without changing the order of the other letters. The result will name something one might wear on the upper part of the body. What is it? Here's a hint: The thing on the upper part of the body is a two-word phrase.
Answer: Bootie, bow tie.
Winner: Rita Rover of Northport, N.Y.
Next week's challenge: This challenge comes from listener Peter Stein of San Francisco. Think of a job, in 8 letters, that names someone who might work with actors. Change one letter in this to the following letter of the alphabet to name another person who works with actors. What jobs 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. How do make an announcement? So many options right now, especially if you're a presidential contender. Do you do a YouTube video, make a big speech in your home town, send out a lone tweet perhaps? We here at WEEKEND EDITION prefer a more traditional style for this upcoming announcement of note.
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MARTIN: Ladies and gentlemen, it is time for the puzzle.
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MARTIN: Joining me now is Will Shortz. He is the puzzle editor of The New York Times and our own puzzle master. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel. Are you making an announcement today?
MARTIN: (Laughter) Just that it's puzzle time. I am not running for president. But if I were, I would announce it right here in the puzzle.
SHORTZ: I'll be your running mate.
MARTIN: (Laughter) That's a good ticket. OK, what was last week's challenge, Will?
SHORTZ: I said name something that might be worn on the foot, change one letter in it without changing the order of the other letters, and the result will name something you might wear on the upper part of your body. What is it? Well, the answer was bootie and bowtie. Change the second of bootie, B-O-O-T-I-E, to a W, and you get bowtie.
MARTIN: All right. Over 470 of you answered correctly. And our randomly-selected winner this week is Rita Rover of Northport, N.Y. She is on the line now. Hey, Rita, congratulations.
RITA ROVER: Hello. How are you doing?
MARTIN: We are doing super. So how did this come to you?
ROVER: Well, you know, I work on it generally before I go to sleep at night. But I don't get too far 'cause then I fall asleep.
ROVER: However, recently on a TV show called "Call The Midwife" about babies, and they had little booties on it. And I think that's what put the idea in my mind.
MARTIN: There it was. Well, Rita, Will Shortz is on the line. Do you happen to have a question for him?
ROVER: I do. Yes, Will, my husband and I are avid New York Times crossword puzzlers. And we were very curious to know what the process is that you might use for pretesting the puzzle.
SHORTZ: Well, every crossword is tested by six people before it appears in print. After I edit and type-set the puzzles, I send out PDFs to the testers. They call me with their comments and corrections.
MARTIN: How do you pick your testers?
SHORTZ: A couple of them are former National Crossword champions. And one tester is - she calls herself the stupid solver, but that's just self-deprecating.
SHORTZ: I want to have an average person solve the crossword and give me that kind of feedback.
MARTIN: Very good. OK, so, Rita, are you ready to play the puzzle?
ROVER: I'll try.
MARTIN: I think you're going to be great. All right, Will, let's give it a go.
SHORTZ: All right, Rita and Rachel, every answer today is the name of a popular TV series, past or present. I'm going to give you a word or phrase, remove some of its letters so that those that remain, reading from left to right, will name the show. And I'll tell you, every answer will use at least half the letters in the given word or phrase. For example, if I said brownies, B-R-O-W-N-I-E-S, five letters. You would say "Bones," which is a comedy-drama series on Fox. OK, here we go. No. 1 is checkers, C-H-E-C-K-E-R-S. And you're looking for a six-letter TV show title. Just cross out two letters of checkers, and read the remaining letters.
SHORTZ: "Cheers" is it. Glassine, G-L-A-S-S-I-N-E, six letters.
SHORTZ: "Lassie," yes. Chorus line, C-H-O-R-U-S L-I-N-E. And you're looking for a five-letter TV show. This is a show from this century. And it starts with H.
SHORTZ: "House," nice. Gain or loss, G-A-I-N O-R L-O-S-S, five letters. It's a show that's on now. It starts with G.
SHORTZ: "Girls" is it. And here's the last one - made amends. That's M-A-D-E A-M-E-N-D-S, six letters, two words.
MARTIN: Is this a current show?
SHORTZ: Yes, it is.
SHORTZ: Oh, Rachel, Rachel, Rachel.
MARTIN: Oh, for crying out loud.
ROVER: Starts with?
SHORTZ: Starts with M.
SHORTZ: And maybe it's winding up its final season right now.
ROVER: "Mad Men."
SHORTZ: "Mad Men" is it.
ROVER: That was a good clue.
MARTIN: Good one. Wait, is that it?
SHORTZ: That's it.
MARTIN: We went so fast. I loved that one.
SHORTZ: (Laughter) Thank you.
MARTIN: Rita, that was great. I hope you had fun.
ROVER: I did have fun. Claim to fame that I know TV shows. I don't know.
MARTIN: Hey, I think so. Rita, for playing our puzzle today, you're going to get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin and puzzle books and games. You can read all about your prizes at npr.org/puzzle. And before we let you go, Rita, where do you hear us? What's your public radio station?
MARTIN: Great. Rita Rover of Northport, N.Y. Thanks so much for playing the puzzle, Rita.
ROVER: Oh, thank you. It was a pleasure.
MARTIN: It was fun to have you. OK, Will, what's up for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes, this week's challenge comes from listener Peter Stein of San Francisco. Think of a job in eight letters that names someone who might work with actors. Change one letter in this to the following letter in the alphabet, and you'll name another person who works with actors. What jobs are these? So again, a job in eight letters names someone who might work with actors. Change one letter to the next letter of the alphabet, and you'll name another person who works with actors. What jobs are these?
MARTIN: OK, when you've got the answer, go to our website. It is npr.org/puzzle. Click on that submit your answer link. Just one entry per person, please. And get those entries in by Thursday, April 16 at 3 p.m. eastern time. Please 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 will 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.