A Puzzle Hokey Pokey, That's What It's All About
On-air challenge: Every answer is a made-up, two-word phrase, in which the first word has 5 letters. Drop its last letter and read the remaining 4 letters backward, and you'll get the second word of the phrase.
Example: A Scrabble piece used by a select group of people = ELITE TILE
Last week's challenge from American puzzlemaker Sam Lloyd: You have a target with six rings, bearing the numbers 16, 17, 23, 24, 39 and 40. How can you score exactly 100 points, by shooting at the target?
Answer: You get 16 rings twice, and 17 rings four times.
Winner: Ben Parks of Jamaica Plain, Mass.
Next week's challenge: This challenge comes from Jason Zuffranieri, who competed for the U.S. at the World Puzzle Championship in London a week ago. Name a world leader of the 1960s — two words. Change the last letter of the second word. Then switch the order of the words — that is, putting the second word in front. The result will name a hit song of the 1990s. Who is the leader, and what is the song?
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. It's Sunday, and you know that at this time, we take a little break. Our minds get a little work out because it is time for the puzzle. And our task master is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master and the puzzle editor of The New York Times, Will Shortz. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Linda.
WERTHEIMER: So you were in London last week for the ninth World Sudoku Championship. How did that go?
SHORTZ: Well, it was actually a double event. It was the ninth World Sudoku Championship, also the 23rd World Puzzle Championship. And the U.S. did all right in the Sudoku. I think we were eighth, ninth, somewhere in there. Better in the puzzles. Individual solvers, two Americans, finished second and 10th. And as a team, we finished third behind Germany and Japan. So not bad.
WERTHEIMER: Very good I think. Sounds like you had a good event. So remind us about last week's puzzle please.
SHORTZ: Yeah, it was a numerical puzzle. It came from the great American puzzle maker Sam Lloyd who lived a century ago. I said you have a target with six rings bearing the numbers 16, 17, 23, 24, 39 and 40. And I asked how can you score exactly 100 points by shooting at the target.
WERTHEIMER: And what is the answer?
SHORTZ: The answer is you shoot the 16 rings twice and 17 rings four times. That's the only way you can do it.
WERTHEIMER: OK. Our winner is from Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. One of 1,000 entries. The name Ben Parks emerged. He is the lucky winner. Ben, say hi to Will.
BEN PARKS: Hi, Will.
SHORTZ: Hey, Ben, congratulations.
PARKS: Thank you.
WERTHEIMER: So tell us how you solved the puzzle.
PARKS: I was realizing it was easy to get to 80, but not to 200. So I started thinking about using rings multiple times. Since 100 divided by six is 16 and two thirds or between 16 and 17, I figured a combination of 16s and 17s would do the trick.
SHORTZ: Nice going.
WERTHEIMER: What do you do in Massachusetts?
PARKS: I'm a composer, and I'm starting a graduate program in music compositions in a couple weeks at the New England Conservatory.
WERTHEIMER: Well, Ben, now you will need to compose some careful answers to the puzzle you're about to play. You ready?
WERTHEIMER: OK. Will, your turn.
SHORTZ: All right, Ben and Linda, every answer today is a made-up two-word phrase in which the first word has five letters, drop the last letter and read the remaining four letters backward and you'll get the second word of the phrase. For example, if I said a scrabble piece used by a select group of people, you would say elite tile.
PARKS: All right.
WERTHEIMER: (Laughter). Elite tile.
SHORTZ: There you go. Number one, male sheep who are intelligent.
PARKS: Smart rams.
SHORTZ: Smart rams is right. Number two, light items of headwear worn by astronauts. What are some light things on headwear like at a baseball game?
PARKS: Cap or scarf.
SHORTZ: Yeah. Plural, caps is right.
PARKS: Space caps.
SHORTZ: Space caps is it. A futile worker who gave people sass.
PARKS: A fresh serf.
SHORTZ: A fresh serf, nice. How about a futile master with a dry, amusing sense of humor.
PARKS: Like a droll lord.
SHORTZ: A droll lord, that's exactly it.
WERTHEIMER: (Laughter). Very good.
SHORTZ: How about one recognized as a policy expert. It's a big term around Washington I think.
PARKS: a wonk. So a wonk knows?
SHORTZ: Turn it around. Wonk is the second word and so reverse it and add a letter at the end.
PARKS: A known wonk.
SHORTZ: A known wonk is it.
WERTHEIMER: I like that one.
SHORTZ: Good. How about a whole week of nighttimes?
PARKS: Seven eves.
SHORTZ: Seven eves, yeah. And here is your last one. Where Peruvian pack animals shop. What is an animal in the Andes with wool?
PARKS: A llama.
PARKS: So a llama mall.
SHORTZ: A llama mall. Good job.
WERTHEIMER: So, Ben, did you like that? Did you have fun?
PARKS: Yes, I had a lot of fun.
WERTHEIMER: As you know, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin as well as puzzle books and games. And you can read all about that at npr.org/puzzle. Ben, what's your public radio station?
PARKS: WBUR in Boston.
WERTHEIMER: Which is a great station. Ben Parks from Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, thank you for planning the puzzle and good luck with your graduate school in composition.
PARKS: Thank you, Linda, and thank you, will.
WERTHEIMER: So, Will, what is the challenge for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from Jason Zuffranieri, who competed for the U.S. at the World Puzzle Championship last week. Name a world leader of the 1960s, two words. Change the last letter of the second word. Then switch the order of the words, that is putting the second word in front. And the result one name a hit song of the 1990s. Who's the leader? And what's the song? So, again, a world leader of the '60s, two words. Change the last letter of the second word, switch the order of the words, and the result will name a hit song of the 1990s. Who's the leader? And what song is it?
WERTHEIMER: And when you have the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle. And click on the submit your answer link. Just one entry per person, please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday August 28 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Please include a telephone number where we can reach you at about that time. And if you are 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 WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Will Shortz. Will, thanks.
SHORTZ: Thanks a lot, Linda. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.