Unwrap 'Christmas' For Your Gift
On-air challenge: Every answer is a word that can be formed from the letters of "Christmas." You'll be given two words as clues. The first one can precede the answer word, and the second one can follow it — in each case to complete a compound word or familiar two-word phrase. For example, given "forward" and "madness," the answer would be "march" (as in "forward march" and "March Madness").
Last week's challenge from listener Henri Picciotto of Berkeley, Calif.: Name a two-word geographical location. Remove the first letter. Move one of the other letters to the front of what's left. This will result in a single word that names what you are most likely looking through when you see that geographical location. What is it?
Answer: North Pole, porthole
Winner: Dan Ezekiel of Ann Arbor, Mich.
Next week's challenge: Take the last name of a famous actor. Drop the first letter, and you'll get the last name of a famous artist. Drop the first letter again, and you'll get the name of a god in classical mythology. What names are these?
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. Put down that eggnog and step away from the mistletoe because it is time for the puzzle.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
MARTIN: And joining me now is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle-master Will Shortz. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.
MARTIN: OK. So, catch us up. What was our challenge last week, Will?
SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Henry Picciotto of Berkeley, California. And it said name a two-word geographical location. Remove the first letter and move one of the other letters to the front. What's left is a single word that names what you are most likely looking through when you see this geographical location. What is it? Well, the geographic location is the North Pole. If you drop the N and move the P to the front, you get a porthole.
MARTIN: OK. I'm fairly sure Santa Claus probably figured that out pretty quick. Besides, Santa Claus, about 570 of our listeners sent in the correct answer. And our randomly selected winner this week is Dan Ezekiel of Ann Arbor, Michigan. And he joins us on the phone. Congratulations, Dan.
DAN EZEKIEL: Thank you. I am just happy and excited to be on the show.
MARTIN: We're excited to have you. So, what do you do in Ann Arbor?
EZEKIEL: I'm a science teacher at a middle school.
MARTIN: Great. Do you ever use puzzles in your classroom?
EZEKIEL: I coach an academic team also called Knowledge Master, and sometimes I read them the Sunday puzzle and let them work on it.
MARTIN: You're a puzzler. You've been doing the Sunday puzzle on our show for a long time?
EZEKIEL: I think as long as you've been doing it.
MARTIN: Wow. That's postcard days. That's a long time.
EZEKIEL: I used to send in my answers on postcards.
MARTIN: Wow. Well, we're happy to have you with us this week. I like your persistence. And now we'll see if you can perform under pressure, Dan.
EZEKIEL: I hope so. I'm happy and excited to try.
MARTIN: All right. Well, without further ado, Will, let's play the puzzle.
SHORTZ: All right, Dan. Every answer today is a word that can be formed from the letters of Christmas. I'll give you two words as clues. The first one can precede the answer word and the second one can follow it, in each case to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase. For example, if I said forward and madness, you would say march, as in forward march and March Madness. And the word march can be formed from the letters of Christmas.
MARTIN: Dan, do you have it?
MARTIN: All right. Let's do it, Will.
SHORTZ: All right. Number one: polo, sleeve.
EZEKIEL: Polo and...
SHORTZ: Polo blank and blank sleeve.
SHORTZ: Polo shirt and shirt sleeve, and shirt can be formed from the letters of Christmas, good. Number two is rocking, lift.
EZEKIEL: What was the second one?
SHORTZ: Lift L-I-F-T.
EZEKIEL: Rocking and lift. Chair.
SHORTZ: Rocking chair and chair lift, good. Critical, market.
SHORTZ: That's fast. Lucky, bracelet.
SHORTZ: Lucky charm, charm bracelet. Grudge, stick.
SHORTZ: That's good. Computer, course.
EZEKIEL: Computer and course. Do you see this one, Rachel?
MARTIN: Oh sure. Now you ask me for the hard one, man.
EZEKIEL: Computer and what's the second word?
SHORTZ: Course C-O-U-R-S-E.
SHORTZ: Computer crash and crash course, good.
SHORTZ: Johnny, register.
SHORTZ: Johnny Cash, cash register, good. Golf G-O-L-F and wheel W-H-E-E-L.
EZEKIEL: Golf and wheel?
EZEKIEL: OK. Golf cart.
SHORTZ: Golf cart, cartwheel, good. Type - that's T-Y-P-E - type and iron.
SHORTZ: Oh, that's fast.
MARTIN: That was quick.
SHORTZ: Filthy and little.
SHORTZ: Filthy rich and Rich Little. And your last one is street and aleck.
EZEKIEL: Street and aleck - smart.
SHORTZ: Street smart and smart aleck.
MARTIN: Smart, which is what you are, Dan. That was really great. You did that very quickly. Good job.
EZEKIEL: Thank you, Rachel.
MARTIN: And, of course, for playing the puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin and puzzle books and games. And you can read all about it at npr.org/Puzzle. And before we let you go, Dan, what's your public radio station?
EZEKIEL: Oh, Tina and I are members of WEMU in Ypsilanti and WUOM, Michigan Radio, in Ann Arbor.
MARTIN: Great. Dan Ezekiel of Ann Arbor, Michigan. Thanks so much for playing the puzzle, Dan.
EZEKIEL: Oh, it was a lot of fun. Thanks for having me.
OK, Will. What's the puzzle present for this coming week?
SHORTZ: Yes, take the last name of a famous actor. Drop the first letter and you'll get the last name of a famous artist. Drop the first letter again and you'll get the name of a god in classical mythology. What names are these?
So again, last name of a famous actor. Drop the first letter. You get the last name of a famous artist. Drop that first letter again and you get the name of a god. What names are these?
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, December 27th at 3 P.M. Eastern Time.
Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. And if you're the winner we'll give you a call, and you'll get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle-master, Will Shortz.
And next week's puzzle will be our annual Names in the News Quiz, so be sure to brush up on your news.
And thanks so much, Will. And Happy Holidays to you.
SHORTZ: Thank you, Rachel, Merry Christmas.
MARTIN: Merry Christmas.
(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.