On-air challenge: Since this is the last puzzle of the year, it's time for the annual new-names-in-the-news quiz. Here's how it works: You're given names that you probably never heard of before 2014, but were in the news during the past 12 months. Answer with who the people are.
Last week's challenge: Take the first and last names of a well-known actress. Her first name has two vowels. Change them both to new vowels, and the result names part of a common Christmas decoration. What is it?
Answer: Halle Berry, Holly Berry
Winner: Aryn Froum, Evanston, IL
Next week's challenge: Take the following 5-word sentence: "THOSE BARBARIANS AMBUSH HEAVIER FIANCEES." These 5 words have something very unusual in common. What is it?
Here's a hint: Analyze the letters in the words. You don't need to scramble.
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.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. Now forget those four calling birds. On the fourth day of Christmas, we are giving you the puzzle. Joining me now is Will Shortz. He is, of course, the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master. Will, good morning.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Linda.
WERTHEIMER: So help refresh our memories, Will. What was last week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yeah. It came from listener Peter Collins of Ann Arbor, Michigan. I said take the first and last names of a well-known actress. Her first name has two vowels. I said change them both to new vowels. And the result names part of a common Christmas decoration. What is it? Well, the actress is Hale Berry. And you change those vowels in her first name to Holly. And you get Holly Berry.
WERTHEIMER: (Laughter) More than 800 people figured it out. And our randomly selected winner this week is Aryn Froum of Evanston, Illinois. And she joins us on the line now. Congratulations, Aryn.
ARYN FROUM: Thank you very much.
WERTHEIMER: So, Aryn, did you do this all by yourself or did you have help?
FROUM: I did not do it alone. I solved it together with my 11-year-old daughter, Gabrielle (ph).
WERTHEIMER: Could we say hello to Gabrielle?
FROUM: Oh, she would love that. You would make her day. I'm going to put you on with her. Just a minute.
GABRIELLE FROUM: Hi.
WERTHEIMER: Hello, Gabrielle. So when did you start working on the puzzle?
GABRIELLE: My mom has been doing it for like the past 3, 4 years. I listen to it whenever I can and go online if I can't listen to it on Sunday and then try to solve it.
WERTHEIMER: And how are you doing? Are you getting better?
GABRIELLE: Yeah. Yeah. I went from not being able to know really, like, what the words meant at all to being able to solve it with my mom.
WERTHEIMER: Well, I like the fact that you are starting early. Could you hand the phone back to your mom?
GABRIELLE: Sure. He she is.
WERTHEIMER: So, Aryn, are you ready to play the puzzle?
FROUM: I am as ready as I can be.
WERTHEIMER: OK, Will, let's play.
SHORTZ: All right, Aryn and Linda, this is a good two-person puzzle. And with this being my last on-air puzzle of the year, I've brought my annual new-names-in-the-news quiz. Here's how it works. I'm going to give you some names that you probably never heard of before 2014 but that were in the news during the last 12 months. You tell me who they are. And these names were compiled with the help of Tim Goodman and Kathie Baker, who were previous contestants on my year-end quizzes. Here's number one. Michael Sam. Who is Michael Sam?
FROUM: You know, Linda, I think I've got this one actually. That Michael Sam, if I'm remembering correctly, is the first openly gay athlete to be drafted by the NFL.
SHORTZ: You nailed it.
FROUM: Whew. OK. Got the first one out of the way. I can breathe a little easier now.
SHORTZ: That's right. Number two, Cliven Bundy.
WERTHEIMER: No idea.
FROUM: Cliven Bundy, that one does not ring a bell. Do we get a hint?
SHORTZ: Sure. What if I said Nevada?
FROUM: Yeah. Me neither, I'm afraid. I wish I had something.
SHORTZ: All right. Well, he's the antigovernment Nevada rancher who wouldn't pay grazing fees on his land. And he started the armed confrontation with law enforcement.
FROUM: Oh, OK.
SHORTZ: Here's your next one. Narendra Modi. Narendra Modi. And your hint is India.
FROUM: OK. So did it have to do with the government's position there?
SHORTZ: Yes. He is the new what?
FROUM: The new, I would guess, Prime Minister?
SHORTZ: You got it right. He's a Hindu nationalist who was elected Prime Minister of India in May. Here's your next one. Monet Davis. And the first name is...
FROUM: Oh, yes, Mo'ne Davis.
SHORTZ: You don't even...
FROUM: Having an 11-year-old daughter helps with that one. So she is the girl who pitched a shutout in the Little League World Series game.
SHORTZ: You nailed that. Fantastic.
FROUM: OK. Thanks to Gabrielle. (Laughter).
SHORTZ: Nice. Amal Alamuddin.
FROUM: OK. That one I know.
FROUM: She is the new wife of George Clooney.
SHORTZ: Nice. And your last one - it's not a person - 67 P - the letter P, also known as Churyumov-Gerasimenko. And your hint is it's not a person. And your second hint is it's not on the Earth.
FROUM: Was it possibly the satellite that landed on the comet?
SHORTZ: You basically have it. It's the comet. That the...
WERTHEIMER: (Laughter). On which the satellite landed.
SHORTZ: The European - exactly.
FROUM: OK. So it was close.
SHORTZ: Nice job.
WERTHEIMER: Congratulations to Aryn for being so well-informed.
WERTHEIMER: For playing our puzzle, you will get the WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin as well as puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle. So could you tell us, Aryn, your public radio station?
FROUM: Sure. I listen to WBEZ in Chicago.
WERTHEIMER: Aryn Froum of Evanston, Illinois. Thank you very much for planning the puzzle this week.
FROUM: Oh, thanks to the both of you. What a great way to end the year. And have a happy and healthy 2015.
WERTHEIMER: Thank you very much.
SHORTZ: Thank you.
WERTHEIMER: And you as well.
WERTHEIMER: So, Will, what do you have to puzzle us with next week?
SHORTZ: Yeah. It's a tough one. Take the following five-word sentence - Those barbarians ambush heavier fiancees. And fiancees has eight letters with two E's. These five words have something very unusual in common. What is it? And here's a hint. Look at the letters in the words. And you don't need to scramble. So again, the sentence is - Those barbarians ambush heavier fiancees. What very unusual property do these five words have in common?
WERTHEIMER: Just one entry per person please. And our deadline for entries is Thursday January 1, at 3 p.m. Eastern. Please include a telephone number we can reach you at about that time. And if you are 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, WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Will Shortz. Will, thank you very much.
SHORTZ: Thank you, Linda. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.