On-air challenge: For each familiar two-word phrase, use the first three letters of the first word and the first three letters of the second word to start two other words that have opposite meanings of each other. Example: Health food = HEAD, FOOT
Last week's challenge: Think of a well-known place name in the U.S. in four letters. Switch the second and third letters to get a well-known place name in Europe. What is it?
Answer: Erie, Eire
Winner: Paul Weinstock of Gahanna, Ohio.
Next week's challenge: The challenge comes from listener Peter Collins of Ann Arbor, Mich. Name someone who's the subject of many jokes; two words. Remove the space between the words. Insert the letters O and N in that order — not necessarily consecutively — inside this string of letters. The result, reading from left to right, will be two words of opposite meaning that this someone might say. Who is it, and what are the words?
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. Now for the part of Sunday morning where we delve into life's biggest mysteries. The truth is out there. It is time for the puzzle. Joining me now is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master Will Shortz. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.
MARTIN: So remind us, what was last week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yes. I said think of a place name in the U.S. in four letters, switch the second and third letters to get a well-known place in Europe. What is it? Well, the answer is Erie - E-R-I-E, either the lake, city or county, And Eira - E-I-R-E, which is the Irish name for island.
MARTIN: Tricky. Over 900 of you all got the right answer this we. And our winner is Paul Weinstock from Gahanna, Ohio. He's on the line now. Congratulations, Paul.
PAUL WEINSTOCK: Thank you.
MARTIN: So this come pretty easily to you?
WEINSTOCK: Actually, yes. I do crosswords all the time, and the two clues E-R-I-E and E-I-R-E appear all the time. And always have to figure out which one to use. So my wife and I were done with this before you guys got off the air.
MARTIN: (Laughter) Well done. Before we play, do you have a question for Will?
WEINSTOCK: Yes, Will, did you ever meet the great American game inventor Sid Sackson, and if so, what did you learn from him?
SHORTZ: Yes, I did. He was, as you say, the greatest boardgame inventor in the United States. And I met him many times. And I visited him at his house in the Bronx. And he arranged his books in groups of five so that if any visitor removed a book, he would know that that happened and which book it was. That's the thing I remember the most, just being real careful I guess.
MARTIN: Real careful. Real careful. OK, Will, let's do it.
SHORTZ: All right, Paul and Rachel, I'm going to give you some familiar two-word phrases. For each one, the first three letters of the first word and the first three letters of the second word are the starts of two other words that are opposites. For example, if I said health food, you would say head and foot because the first three letters of health are H-E-A, which is the start of head, and the first three letters of food are F-O-O, which is the start of foot and those are opposites. Number one is talent show. Talent show so you want to think of two opposites that start with T-A-L and S-H-O.
WEINSTOCK: Tall and short.
SHORTZ: That is it. Number two is small stuff.
WEINSTOCK: Smart and stupid.
SHORTZ: Smart and stupid. Number three is financial statement.
WEINSTOCK: Well, there's fine and standard. That's probably not what you're looking for.
SHORTZ: No. The F-I-N word has six letters and S-T-A has five.
SHORTZ: Think of a short I in the F-I-N.
WEINSTOCK: Oh, finish and start.
MARTIN: Oh, good.
SHORTZ: Finish and start, good. Plain words P-L-A-I-N W-O-R-D-S.
WEINSTOCK: Play and work.
SHORTZ: That's it. Strategic weapon.
WEINSTOCK: Strength and weakness or strong and weak.
SHORTZ: Yeah, yeah, strong and weak, yeah. Chemical exposure.
WEINSTOCK: Chemical exposure. Cheap and expensive.
SHORTZ: You're good. Tennis tournament.
SHORTZ: I'll give you the hint. The...
SHORTZ: Yeah. Yes -and.
SHORTZ: Tender and tough. Nice. Louis Quinz. That's L-O-U-I-S Q-U-I-N-Z-E.
WEINSTOCK: Oh, loud and quiet.
SHORTZ: That's it. Improvised explosive.
WEINSTOCK: Improvised explosive.
SHORTZ: I'll tell you it's the same three letters that go at the end of each start.
WEINSTOCK: Oh, import export.
SHORTZ: That it. And your last one is congressional library.
WEINSTOCK: Con lib.
SHORTZ: Think politics.
WEINSTOCK: Oh, conservative and liberal.
SHORTZ: There you go. Nice job. I'm impressed.
MARTIN: Paul, that was very, very well done.
WEINSTOCK: Thank heavens you didn't ask me about pop culture. I would have been dead in the water.
MARTIN: Well, you did amazing.
WEINSTOCK: Thank you.
MARTIN: For playing the puzzle today, you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin. I hope you wear it with pride. You will also get a lot of puzzle books and games. You can read about your prizes at our website. It is npr.org/puzzle. And where do you hear us, Paul? What's your public radio station?
WEINSTOCK: WOSU Columbus, Ohio.
MARTIN: Paul Weinstock of Gahanna, Ohio. Thanks so much for playing the puzzle, Paul.
WEINSTOCK: Thank you.
MARTIN: OK, Will, what's the challenge for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes, it comes from listener Peter Collins of Ann Arbor, Mich. Name someone who's the subject of many jokes, two words. Remove the space between the words. Insert the letters O and N, in that order, not necessarily consecutively, inside the string of letters. And the result, reading from left to right, will be two words of opposite meaning that this is someone might say. Who is it and what are the words? So again, someone who's the subject of many jokes, two words, remove the space, insert the letters O and N inside the string of letters, and the result, reading left to right, will be two words of opposite meaning that this someone might say. Who is it? And what are the words?
MARTIN: When you've got the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle, and click on that submit your answer link. Just one entry per person please. And send in your answers by Thursday, February 12 at 3 p.m. Eastern time. Don't forget to include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. And if you're the winner, you know what happens. We give you a call. And then you get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Will Shortz. Thanks so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.