Will Shortz

NPR's Puzzlemaster Will Shortz has appeared on Weekend Edition Sunday since the program's start in 1987. He's also the crossword editor of The New York Times, the former editor of Games magazine, and the founder and director of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (since 1978).

Will sold his first puzzle professionally when he was 14 — to Venture, a denominational youth magazine. At 16 he became a regular contributor to Dell puzzle publications. He is the only person in the world to hold a college degree in Enigmatology, the study of puzzles, which he earned from Indiana University in 1974.

Born in 1952 and raised on an Arabian horse farm in Indiana, Will now lives near New York City in a Tudor-style house filled with books and Arts and Crafts furniture. When he's not at work, he enjoys bicycling, movies, reading, travel, and collecting antique puzzle books and magazines.

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8:02am

Sun May 10, 2015
Sunday Puzzle

For This Puzzle, J-st Ign-r- Th- V-w-ls

Originally published on Sun May 10, 2015 5:37 pm

NPR

On-air challenge: Every answer is the name of a well-known U.S. city. For every word given, ignore the vowels. The word's consonants are the same consonants appearing in the same order as those in the city's name. For example, given the word "amiable," the answer is "Mobile" (Alabama).

Last week's challenge Think of a common two-word phrase for something you might see in a kitchen. Reverse the words — that is, put the second word in front of the first — and you'll name a food, in one word, that you might prepare in a kitchen. What is it?

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8:03am

Sun May 3, 2015
Sunday Puzzle

A Puzzle With Everything, Including The Kitchen Sink

Originally published on Mon May 4, 2015 2:09 pm

NPR

On-air challenge: Each word provided is an anagram of something you might see in a kitchen. For example, "skin" is an anagram of "sink."

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8:08am

Sun April 26, 2015
Sunday Puzzle

A Puzzle As Easy As Falling Off A Log

Originally published on Sun April 26, 2015 10:47 am

NPR

On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which the first word starts with L-O and the second word starts with G.

For example, a professional organization that seeks to influence legislation is a LOBBYING GROUP.

Last week's challenge: The challenge came from listener Steve Daubenspeck of Fleetwood, Pa. Take the first names of two politicians in the news. Switch the first letters of their names and read the result backward to name something that each of these politicians is not.

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8:03am

Sun April 19, 2015
Sunday Puzzle

W Seeking W For Compound Word Dates

Originally published on Sun April 19, 2015 11:00 am

NPR

On-air challenge: For each word starting with "W," think of another word, also starting with W, that can follow the first to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase. Example: Walk --> Way = walkway

Last week's challenge: This challenge comes from listener Peter Stein of San Francisco. Think of a job, in eight letters, that names someone who might work with actors. Change one letter in this to the following letter of the alphabet to name another person who works with actors. What jobs are these?

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8:33am

Sun April 5, 2015
Sunday Puzzle

What's In A Word? Another Word

Originally published on Sun April 5, 2015 11:19 am

NPR

On-air challenge: Every answer is a made-up, two-word phrase in which the first word has seven letters. Drop its first and last letters to get a five-letter word that is the second part of the phrase. For example: Bottled water from France that is not normal is "deviant Evian."

Last week's challenge: The challenge came from listener Henry Hook. And it was a little tricky. Given a standard calculator with room for 10 digits, what is the largest whole number you can register on it?

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8:09am

Sun March 29, 2015
Sunday Puzzle

For This Puzzle, Watch Your Words

Originally published on Sun March 29, 2015 10:33 am

NPR

On-air challenge: The challenge is a game of Categories based on the word "watch." For each category provided, name something in the category starting with each of the letters W-A-T-C-H. For example, parts of the human body would be "waist," "arm," "thigh," "chest" and "head."

Last week's challenge: Take the word "die." Think of two synonyms for this word that are themselves exact opposites of each other. What two words are these? A hint: they have the same number of letters.

Answer: Pass, fail

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8:03am

Sun March 22, 2015
Sunday Puzzle

What's Last Comes First

Originally published on Sun March 22, 2015 9:19 am

NPR

On-air challenge: You'll be given some words. For each one, name another word that can follow the first to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase. The last and first letters, respectively, of the first word must be the first and second letters, respectively, of the second. For example, given "tennis," you would say "stadium" or "stroke."

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8:03am

Sun March 15, 2015
Sunday Puzzle

Say Yes To The Puzzle

Originally published on Sat March 21, 2015 12:55 pm

NPR

On-air challenge: "Yes" is supposed to be the most pleasing word in the English language. And if that's true, today's puzzle will be very pleasing indeed. Every answer is an anagram of "yes" plus two or three other letters.

Last week's challenge: Take a familiar phrase in the form "[blank] and [blank]." Put the second word in front of the first, and you'll name a common part of a large company. What is it?

Answer: "Room and board," boardroom

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8:03am

Sun March 8, 2015
Sunday Puzzle

City And Stating The Obvious

Originally published on Sun March 8, 2015 1:08 pm

NPR

On-air challenge: Every answer is the name of a well-known U.S. city and its state. One or more letters from the start of the city's name plus one or more letters from the start of the state's name are run together to spell a word. I'll give you the word. You tell me the city and state. For example, given "latex," the answer would be "Laredo, Texas."

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8:18am

Sun March 1, 2015
Sunday Puzzle

4 Out Of 5 Puzzlers Say These Things Are The Same

Originally published on Tue March 3, 2015 3:07 pm

NPR

On-air challenge: Rearrange the letters in a four-letter word and a five-letter word to get a pair of synonyms. For example, given "time" and "night," you would say "item" and "thing."

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