NPR

Perfectly Puzzling

On-air challenge: You will be given two words starting with the letter P. Name a third word starting with P that can follow the first one and precede the second one, in each case to complete a familiar two-word phrase. For example, given "peer" and "point," you would say "pressure," as in "peer pressure" and "pressure point."

Last week's challenge from listener Brian Greer of Portland, Ore.: Name two parts of the human body, 10 letters in all. Place their names one after the other. Take a block of three consecutive letters out of the second word and insert them somewhere inside the first word without otherwise changing the order of any of the letters. The result will name a kind of doctor. What kind of doctor is it?

Answer: Veterinary

Winner: Ron Hamburger of Key West, Fla.

Next week's challenge: Eight people are seated at a circular table. Each person gets up and sits down again — either in the same chair or in the chair immediately to the left or right of the one they were in. How many different ways can the eight people be reseated?

Submit Your Answer

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.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. And on a cold winter morning like this one, there is nothing that gets your blood pumping like a good anagram. Yep, it's time for the puzzle.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTIN: Joining me now is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle-master Will Shortz. Good morning, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.

MARTIN: So, Will, listeners might not know that in addition to all of your other puzzle-related jobs, you are actually the director of the U.S. Puzzle Team, right?

SHORTZ: That's right. And the new issue of Time magazine has an article about the championship which took place in Croatia last October. And it's a little about me and about the team.

MARTIN: Great. Well, remind us, Will, what was last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Brian Greer of Portland, Oregon, and he happens to be the former crossword editor of the Times of London. And the challenge was to name two parts of the human body - 10 letters in all - place their names one after the other. Take a block of three consecutive letters out of the second word and insert them somewhere inside the first word without changing the order of any of the letters. And I said the result will name a kind of doctor. What kind of doctor is it? Well, the words are vein and artery. Take the T-E-R out of artery and stick it inside vein and you get veterinary.

MARTIN: Veterinary doctor. Well, it was a tough puzzle this past week. We got just about 150 correct answers. And our randomly selected winner is Ron Hamburger, originally of Worcester, Massachusetts, now a resident of Key West, Florida. He joins us on the phone. Congratulations, Ron.

RON HAMBURGER: Oh, thank you, Rachel. Hi, Will.

SHORTZ: Hey there.

MARTIN: So, I understand this has been a long time coming. You've been playing the puzzle for a while.

HAMBURGER: Oh yeah. But it goes by fast. Some 10, 12 years.

MARTIN: And how long did it take you to figure this week's puzzle out?

HAMBURGER: This was a hard one. I had to pick it up and put it down, as I always do. But it took about two or three days.

MARTIN: Well, Ron, we're really pleased to have you. I'm glad your moment has come. Are you ready to play the puzzle?

HAMBURGER: Oh, you bet.

MARTIN: OK, Will. What is the puzzle for this week?

SHORTZ: Ron, I like the sound of that. I'm going to give you two words, starting with the letter P. You give me a third word, also starting with P, that can follow my first one and precede my second one, in each case to complete a familiar two-word phrase. For example, if I said peer and point, you would say pressure, as in peer pressure and pressure point.

HAMBURGER: I see.

MARTIN: OK. I think we've got it, Will. Let's try.

SHORTZ: Number one: poison and pal P-A-L.

HAMBURGER: Pen pal and...

SHORTZ: You got it - poison pen.

MARTIN: Poison pen, yeah.

HAMBURGER: Poison pen, right.

SHORTZ: Pepperoni, parlor.

HAMBURGER: Pizza. Pepperoni...

SHORTZ: That's it.

HAMBURGER: ...pizza and a pizza parlor.

SHORTZ: That's it. Political, pooper.

HAMBURGER: Was the second word again?

SHORTZ: Pooper P-O-O-P-E-R.

MARTIN: Make him say it one more time.

SHORTZ: A word you don't hear often on public radio.

HAMBURGER: Now, what exactly does that mean? Political...

SHORTZ: Like Republicans or Democrat...

HAMBURGER: Political party and party pooper.

SHORTZ: A party pooper is it. Parallel and place. Parallel blank is something you learn to do when you drive.

HAMBURGER: Oh, parallel park and park...

SHORTZ: And Park Place is in Monopoly.

MARTIN: Ah, Park Place.

SHORTZ: There you go. Pretty and pincher P-I-N-C-H-E-R.

HAMBURGER: Pretty and pincher.

SHORTZ: Yeah.

HAMBURGER: Penny pincher and a pretty penny.

SHORTZ: That's it. Penthouse and peeve.

HAMBURGER: Oh, this wouldn't be a Penthouse pet and a pet peeve?

SHORTZ: Yes, it would be.

HAMBURGER: Gee, this was really - I wasn't ready for this.

SHORTZ: All sorts of things on public radio you don't usually hear. How about...

HAMBURGER: I tell ya - things are loosening up.

MARTIN: Ron from Key West.

HAMBURGER: Right, but I'm an old guy, you know?

SHORTZ: And the last one: pikes P-I-K-E-S and performance.

HAMBURGER: Peak performance and Pikes Peak.

SHORTZ: That's it.

MARTIN: Great job, Ron. That was very well done.

HAMBURGER: Well, thank you for all your help.

(LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: I think you did most of it on your own, actually. It was well done.

(LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: And for playing our puzzle today, you will of course get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin. And you get puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle.

And before we let you go, Ron, what is your public radio station?

HAMBURGER: Well, my wife and I are members of WLRN, 91.3 in south Florida in the Keys and WBUR at 90.9 in Boston, Massachusetts. Thank you, NPR, National Public Radio.

(LAUGHTER)

MARTIN: Great, a dual member, we love it. Ron Hamburger of Key West, Florida, Ron, thank you so much for playing the puzzle.

HAMBURGER: Oh, believe me, I thank you.

MARTIN: OK, Will. What's our challenge for next week?

SHORTZ: Yeah, well, last Tuesday, I hosted a fundraising event in New York City for the new Museum of Mathematics, which I'll tell you is an amazing place. You should check it out when you're in New York. And here's a variation of a math problem that was presented at this event.

Eight people are seated around a circular table. Everyone gets up together and sits down again together either in the same chair, or in the chair immediately to the left or right of the one they were in. How many different ways can the eight people be reseated? And there's no trick here and I hope you'll try the puzzle without any computer assistance.

So again: Eight people seated around a circular table. Everyone gets up, sits down again together either in their same chair, or in the one immediately to the left or right. How many different ways can the eight people be reseated?

MARTIN: OK, 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. And our deadline for entries is Thursday, March 7th at 3 P.M. Eastern. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. And if you're the winner we will 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.

Thanks so much, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel.

(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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