A Puzzle In E-Z Mode
On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which the first word ends in E and the second word starts with Z. For example, given, "popular blush wine," the answer would be: White zinfandel.
Last week's challenge: This challenge came from listener Dan Pitt of Palo Alto, Calif. Take the name of a well-known American businessman — first and last names. Put the last name first. Insert an M between the two names. The result names a food item. What is it?
Answer: Muskmelon (Elon Musk)
Winner: David Kibby of Damascus, Ore.
Next week's challenge: Name part of a TV that contains the letter C. Replace the C with the name of a book of the Old Testament, keeping all the letters in order. The result will name a sailing vessel of old. What is it?
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. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, and it might be the puzzle. Joining me now is Will Shortz. He is the puzzle editor of the New York Times. He's also WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.
MARTIN: All right. Refresh our memories. What was last week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Dan Pitt of Palo Alto, California. I said take the name of a well-known American businessman - first and last names. Put the last name first, insert an M between the two names. And the result will name a food item. What is it? Well, the businessman is Elon Musk of Tesla Motors and SpaceX fame. And if you switch the names, put an M in the middle, you get muskmelon, the fruit.
MARTIN: Good old muskmelon (laughter) which I've never heard of. But nearly 500 of you had. Or at least you got the correct answer. Our randomly selected winner is David Kibby of Damascus, Oregon. He joins us now on the line. Hey, David. Congratulations.
DAVID KIBBY: Well, thank you. Good morning.
MARTIN: So you knew what a muskmelon was?
KIBBY: Well, yes I did. And I had just read a Smithsonian Air and Space Museum article on SpaceX.
MARTIN: So there you go. It all - the stars aligned, so to speak.
MARTIN: So how long have you been playing a puzzle, David?
KIBBY: I seem to remember sending in some postcards low the many years ago.
MARTIN: Ah, the postcard days. I here tell of them. I wasn't around, but I hear they were great. So, David, are you ready to play the puzzle?
KIBBY: I am indeed.
MARTIN: All right. Let's do it, Will.
SHORTZ: All right, David and Rachel. Today, I've bought an E-Z puzzle. Literally, every answer is familiar two-word phrase or name in which the first word ends in E and the second word starts with Z. For example, if I said a popular blush wine, you would say White Zinfandel.
MARTIN: OK, you got it, David?
KIBBY: I think so.
MARTIN: All right. Let's give it a go.
SHORTZ: Number one, an area in front of a batter where a picture aims.
KIBBY: Strike zone.
SHORTZ: That's it. Number two, the lowest possible temperature, approximately -273 degrees Celsius.
KIBBY: Absolute zero.
SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Twelve-year cycle that includes the year of the rat, the year of the ox, the year of the tiger, etc.
SHORTZ: What kind?
KIBBY: Oh, dear.
MARTIN: What's that first word that ends with an E?
KIBBY: That I'm drawing a bank on.
MARTIN: That's OK. I think it might be the Chinese.
SHORTZ: The Chinese Zodiac is it. Good. How about a body of water in North Central Switzerland.
SHORTZ: Yeah. And what's the body of water? Zurich is the city.
SHORTZ: There you go. Lake Zurich is right. Nineteenth century French writer involved in the Dreyfus Affair.
KIBBY: Finale Zola.
SHORTZ: There you go. Fast. How about capital city and its country where Robert Mugabe is president.
SHORTZ: Right. And what's the capital?
SHORTZ: Harare. Good.
SHORTZ: You're the first person I've tested this puzzle on who has come up with Harare. How about scientific study of organisms in the ocean.
SHORTZ: Yes, and what kind - of the ocean.
SHORTZ: Marine zoology. Food decoration made by scraping the skin of a citrus fruit.
KIBBY: My wife would know this one.
MARTIN: Food decoration?
SHORTZ: Yeah. And it can add flavor too.
MARTIN: Oh, OK. Yeah.
KIBBY: Go ahead.
MARTIN: I would say the last one is zest. Rights?
SHORTZ: Yes. And what's the citrus fruit?
MARTIN: That ends with an E.
SHORTZ: The most common citrus fruit.
MARTIN: Oh, orange.
SHORTZ: Orange zest is it. And here's your last one. A slangy, rhyming phrase shouted when you're excited. A slangy rhyming phrase.
SHORTZ: Oh, yeah. That's the Z. And what's - what word - and it's rhyming phrase. What goes before zowie that rhymes?
SHORTZ: Big hint here - it starts with a W.
KIBBY: Wowie zowie is it.
MARTIN: OK. Seriously, when is the last time something exciting happened, Will, and you said wowie zowie?
SHORTZ: Oh, you'd be surprised.
MARTIN: I think we should bring it back. I'm going to try to incorporate that into my excitement vocabulary. So, David, that was a very good job. And for playing the puzzle today, you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin. You also get a whole slew of puzzle books and games. You can read about it at our website, which is npr.org/puzzle. And before we let you go, tell us your public radio station, David.
KIBBY: Yeah. It's KOAP, Oregon Public Broadcasting.
MARTIN: Great. David Kibby of Damascus, Oregon. Thanks so much for playing the puzzle, David.
KIBBY: It's been lots of fun.
MARTIN: OK, Will, what's the challenge for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes. Name part of a TV that contains the letter C. Replace the C with the name of a book of the Old Testament, keeping all the letters in order. The results will name a sailing vessel of old, what is it? So again, part of a TV contains the letter C. Replace the C with a book of the Old Testament keeping all the letters in order. And the result will name a sailing vessel of old. What vessel is it?
MARTIN: When you have the answer, go to our website. It is npr.org/puzzle. And click on that submit your answer link. Limit yourself to one entry per person, please. Our deadline for those entries is Thursday June 12 at 3 p.m. Eastern time. Don't forget to include a phone number where we can reach you at around that time because if you're the winner, then 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 WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Mr. Will Shortz. Wowie zowie.
SHORTZ: I like that. Thanks. Wowie zowie, Rachel.
MARTIN: (Laughter) Thanks, Will. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.