On-air challenge: For each given category, name things in the category starting with the letters R, H, Y, M, E. For example, if the category were "chemical elements with names ending in -ium," you might say: radium, helium, yttrium, magnesium and einsteinium. You can give the answers in any order, and any answer that works is fine.
Last week's challenge: Name something in seven letters that most people keep in their homes. Take the first, third, fourth and seventh letters and rearrange them. The result will be a four-letter word naming something that the seven-letter thing is commonly used for. What is it?
Answer: Aspirin (pain)
Winner: Barbara Levie of Evanston, Ill.
Next week's challenge from listener Ed Pegg Jr. of mathpuzzle.com: What familiar saying with seven words has seven consonants in a row? The answer is a common saying, in ordinary English. Sometimes it's expressed in nine words rather than seven, but it's the same saying. And either way, in one spot it has seven consecutive consonants. What saying 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. In the left corner, a randomly selected winner, and in the right, the defending champion. It is the puzzle.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
MARTIN: Joining me now is Will Shortz. He is the puzzle editor for the New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle-master. Hey there, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.
MARTIN: So, remind us, what was last week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yeah, the challenge was to name something in seven letters that most people keep in their homes. I said take the first, third, fourth and seventh letters and rearrange them. The result will be a four-letter word naming something that the seven-letter thing is commonly used for. What is it? Well, I tell you, my intended answer was aspirin and pain. But we got another pretty good answer: cleaner and care. So, we accepted either one.
MARTIN: Great. So, we got about 350 correct answers. Our randomly selected winner is Barbara Levie of Evanston, Illinois. She joins us now on the line. Congratulations, Barbara.
BARBARA LEVIE: Thank you very much.
SHORTZ: Barbara, that was a tough one. How did you do it?
LEVIE: Well, it came in a flash. As soon as you finished posing the question because I happened to be looking at Sunday supplement full-page ad for Tylenol. I kid you not.
SHORTZ: I thought you were about to say you had a headache.
LEVIE: Well, no.
MARTIN: Flash of brilliance.
LEVIE: Well, yeah, a flash.
MARTIN: Puzzle genius. What do you do for a living, Barbara, in Evanston?
LEVIE: I am a librarian with the Evanston Public Library.
MARTIN: Great. Well, do you have a question for Will?
LEVIE: I understand you were at Indiana University and you created your own major in puzzleology. Just name me a couple of classes that you took to create that major.
MARTIN: That's a good question.
SHORTZ: I created my own major in enigmatology, the study of puzzles. And one of my courses was, for example, was crossword construction. And every few weeks, I would create a new puzzle and take it into my professor's office, sit next to him as he solved it and critiqued it.
LEVIE: Wow. Well, good for you.
MARTIN: OK. Barbara, you ready to play the puzzle?
LEVIE: I am indeed.
MARTIN: All right. We have no degrees in puzzling but we will persevere.
MARTIN: Let's do it, Will.
SHORTZ: All right. Barbara and Rachel, this is a good two-word puzzle. I brought a game of categories using the word rhyme. And you know the rules. I'll name some categories. For each one, you'll name something in the category starting with each of the letters R, H, Y, M, E. For example, if the category were chemical elements with names ending in I-U-M, you might say radium, helium, yttrium, magnesium and einsteinium. You can give the answers in any order and any answer that works is fine.
MARTIN: OK. Barbara, are you ready?
MARTIN: Let's do it.
SHORTZ: First category is rivers.
LEVIE: OK. Rhine, the Yser Y-S-E-R.
SHORTZ: Oh yeah. You are definitely a crossword person when the first Y river that comes to mind is the Y-S-E-R. Also, the Yangtze here or the Yellow, for example.
LEVIE: Yeah. Euphrates. And the Muse - I'm not sure I'm pronouncing it right.
MARTIN: The what?
LEVIE: And the Hudson.
SHORTZ: The Hudson, good. What was your M?
LEVIE: Muse M-U-S-E. The French river that's called the Muse.
SHORTZ: Another crossword answer. Most people might say...
LEVIE: Mississippi if you want to...
SHORTZ: The Mississippi, the Missouri, the Mekong, yes. OK. Category number two: animals seen in a zoo.
LEVIE: Rhino, hyena, moose...
SHORTZ: Moose, OK. Monkey also. Yeah.
LEVIE: Elephant and...
SHORTZ: Just need a Y.
LEVIE: Oh dear. Little help, Rachel, here.
LEVIE: A yak. Perfect.
SHORTZ: Yak is it, good. All right. Your next category is traffic signs.
LEVIE: OK. Merge, exit, yield, route and hill.
SHORTZ: Also, right turn only, road close. And hill, yes. Hidden driveway is another. Next category is songs by the Beatles.
LEVIE: "Eleanor Rigby," "Yellow Submarine," "Help."
SHORTZ: Yes. For R, there's one in 10 letters that's a single word.
LEVIE: "Revolution." Is it that one?
SHORTZ: And M. A French woman's name.
LEVIE: Can't do it, sorry.
LEVIE: (Singing) Michelle...
MARTIN: (Singing) ...my belle.
SHORTZ: There you go. And your last category: things to eat for breakfast.
LEVIE: Oh, Rice Krispies...
MARTIN: I love what you learn about people through this one.
LEVIE: ...milk, eggs - let's see I need a Y.
SHORTZ: H and Y.
LEVIE: Honey. You can put honey on your - yogurt
SHORTZ: Honey. OK. I was going for ham.
LEVIE: Yogurt. Honey and yogurt.
SHORTZ: Man, Barbara, you are great.
MARTIN: That was excellent.
LEVIE: Thank you.
MARTIN: And for playing the puzzle today you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin and puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle. Before we let you go, Barbara, what is your public radio station?
LEVIE: I am high-fidelity member of WBEZ Chicago, and that's the dollar a day type.
MARTIN: Awesome. Happy to here it. Barbara Levy of Evanston, Illinois. Thank you so much for playing the puzzle, Barbara.
LEVIE: Thank you.
MARTIN: OK. Will, what's up for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes, it comes from listener Ed Pegg Jr., who runs the website mathpuzzle.com. What familiar saying in seven words has seven consonants in a row? And the answer is a common saying in ordinary English. Sometimes it's expressed in nine words rather than seven, but however it's expressed, in one spot it has seven consecutive consonants. What saying is it?
MARTIN: When you've got 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, October 10th 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'll get to play on the air withy the puzzle editor of the News York Times and he is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle-master, Mr. Will Shortz. Thanks so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.