On-air challenge: Every answer is a three-letter word that ends a familiar two-word phrase. You will be given the first word of the phrase. You provide the three-letter word that ends it. And the three letters in your answer will always be found, in some order, inside the first word. For example, given "Arctic," you would say "Air."
Last week's challenge from listeners Mike Morton of Lyme, N.H., and Barry Hayes of Palo Alto, Calif.: Name a famous author, first and last names. Change an X in this name to a B, and rearrange all the letters. The result is how this author might address a memo to the author's most famous character. Who is it?
Answers: Beatrix Potter; To: Peter Rabbit; or Rex Stout; To: Buster
Winner: Elizabeth Venstra of Solsberry, Ind.
Next week's challenge: Take the last name of a former president of a foreign country, someone well-known. Change the last letter of this name to an O and rearrange the result. You'll get the last name of someone who wanted to be president of the United States. Who are these two people?
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. Breathe in, breathe out, and focus your mind because it is time for the puzzle.
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MARTIN: Joining me now is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle-master Will Shortz. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.
MARTIN: OK. Refresh our memories. What was last week's challenge, Will?
SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listeners Mike Morton of Lyme, New Hampshire and Barry Hayes of Palo Alto, California. And it was to name a famous author - first and last names. I said change an X in this name to a B as in boy and rearrange all the letters. The result is how this author might address a memo to the author's most famous character. Who is it? Well, the author was Beatrix Potter. And the memo would be addressed: To: Peter Rabbit.
MARTIN: I got it. OK. But we also got another response that works as well, right?
SHORTZ: Well, it's amazing. Considering how specific that challenge was, there was an alternative answer. Some listeners wrote in with the author Rex Stout. And he could write a memo addressed: To: Buster. And Rex Stout is famous for his detective fiction featuring Nero Wolf, with his assistant Archie Goodwin, who narrates all the novels. And in one of those stories, one of the clients calls Archie Buster throughout the novel. So, that was a second answer.
MARTIN: So, either answer would have worked. OK. About 850 listeners sent in correct answers. And our randomly selected winner this week is Elizabeth Venstra of Solsberry, Indiana. She joins us on the phone. Congratulations, Elizabeth.
ELIZABETH VENSTRA: Thank you.
MARTIN: So, how'd you figure this one out?
VENSTRA: Well, I had a little help from my husband. I was trying to brainstorm authors with Xs in their names. And my husband threw out Beatrix Potter. And when I changed the X to a B, I saw quickly that it would work as To: Peter Rabbit.
MARTIN: Nice. A little marital teamwork. How long have you been doing the puzzle?
VENSTRA: I'd say about four or five years.
MARTIN: Great. And where's Solsberry, Indiana? What part of the state is that in?
VENSTRA: It's in the southwest part of the state. It's a little town about half an hour from Bloomington.
MARTIN: Which is - am I right - is that the home of Indiana University?
VENSTRA: It is, and I work for Indiana University.
MARTIN: And I think there might be a connection with our own Will Shortz, isn't there?
SHORTZ: Indeed there. I graduated 1974. Lots of good memories.
MARTIN: OK. Elizabeth, are you ready to play?
MARTIN: All right. Will, let's do it.
SHORTZ: All right. Elizabeth, every answer today is a three-letter word that ends a familiar two-word phrase. I'll give you the first word of the phrase. You tell me the three-letter word that ends it. And the three letters in your answer will always be found in some order inside the first word. For example, if I said arctic, you would say air, as in arctic air, which we're getting a lot of this weekend in the northeast. And, of course, the letters of A-I-R are found inside arctic.
MARTIN: Got it, Elizabeth?
VENSTRA: I think so.
MARTIN: All right. Let's try.
SHORTZ: Number one is carpenter.
VENSTRA: Carpenter - carpenter.
SHORTZ: It's an insect.
VENSTRA: Carpenter ant.
SHORTZ: Carpenter ant is it. Number two is abstract.
SHORTZ: Um-hum. Electric.
SHORTZ: It's a creature in the ocean.
SHORTZ: Electric eel is it. Tennis.
VENSTRA: Tennis net.
SHORTZ: Um-hum. Double.
SHORTZ: I knew this would be a tough one, but it's a common phrase. Something maybe you have in your house.
MARTIN: Double bed. How good.
SHORTZ: There you go. Double bed, yes. Drilling.
VENSTRA: Drilling rig.
SHORTZ: That's it. Young.
VENSTRA: Young gun.
SHORTZ: Young gun, good. Switch.
VENSTRA: Switch hit.
SHORTZ: Switch hit, good. Race R-A-C-E.
VENSTRA: Race car.
SHORTZ: Race car is it. Grab.
VENSTRA: Grab bag.
SHORTZ: Grab bag. Stage.
VENSTRA: Stage set.
SHORTZ: Stage set is it. Legal.
VENSTRA: Legal age.
SHORTZ: That's it - legal age.
VENSTRA: Am I right? Oh, legal age, yeah./
SHORTZ: As in 21, yeah, or 18, whatever. Copper C-O-P-P-E-R.
SHORTZ: And I'll give you a hint. It starts with one of the vowels.
SHORTZ: There you go, copper ore. And your last one is butcher's, B-U-T-C-H-E-R'S, butcher's.
VENSTRA: Butcher's cut.
SHORTZ: Butcher's cut is it.
MARTIN: Elizabeth, that was amazing. Very well done.
VENSTRA: Oh, thanks.
MARTIN: I could have gone out to get a cup of coffee and come back, and feel like you didn't need me at all.
MARTIN: That was great. And for playing the puzzle today, you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, of course, and puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle.
And before we go, Elizabeth, what is your public radio station?
VENSTRA: Proud member of WFIU, Bloomington, Indiana.
MARTIN: Fabulous. Elizabeth Venstra of Solsberry, Indiana, thanks so much for playing the puzzle.
VENSTRA: Thank you.
MARTIN: OK, Will. What's up for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes, take the last name of a former president of a foreign country. And it's someone well-known. Change the last letter of the name to an O and rearrange the result. You'll get the last name of someone who wanted to be president of the United States. Who are these two people?
So again, take the last name of a former president of a foreign country. Change the last letter of this name to an O and rearrange the result. You'll get the last name of someone who wanted to be president of the United States. Who are these two people?
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, February 14th - Valentine's Day - 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.
Thanks so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel.
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