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The Republican National Convention is in 4 days in Cleveland.

The Democratic National Convention is in 11 days in Philadelphia.

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The Senate is set to approve a bill intended to change the way police and health care workers treat people struggling with opioid addictions.

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A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

After an international tribunal invalidated Beijing's claims to the South China Sea, Chinese authorities have declared in no uncertain terms that they will be ignoring the ruling.

The Philippines brought the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, objecting to China's claims to maritime rights in the disputed waters. The tribunal agreed that China had no legal authority to claim the waters and was infringing on the sovereign rights of the Philippines.

Donald Trump is firing back at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after she disparaged him in several media interviews. He tweeted late Tuesday that she "has embarrassed all" with her "very dumb political statements" about the candidate. Trump ended his tweet with "Her mind is shot - resign!":

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Drawing A Blank (Or Two)

Sep 9, 2012
Originally published on September 15, 2012 1:50 pm

On-air challenge: You are given sentences with two blanks. Put a word starting with R in the first blank. Then move that R to the end to make a new word that goes in the second blank to complete the sentence. For example, given the sentence, "The door of the Indian ___ was left slightly ___," the answers would be "raja" and "ajar."

Last week's challenge: It's an anagram word ladder. For example, take the word "spring." If the last letter is changed to an O and the letters are rearranged, you get "prison." Alternatively, if the last letter is changed to an E and the letters rearranged, you get "sniper." Or change the last letter to an A and get "sprain," and so on. For this challenge, start with the word "autumn." Changing one letter at a time, and anagramming it each step of the way, turn "autumn" into "leaves." Each step has to be a common word. In how few steps can you do it?

Answer: Five is the fewest number of steps using the combination: autumn, mutual, amulet, salute, vestal, leaves; or autumn, mutual, amulet, salute, values, leaves. Many other combinations are possible.

Winner: Sherin Varghese of Los Angeles

Next week's challenge from listener Erica Avery of Wisconsin: Name a world capital whose letters can be rearranged to spell a popular and much-advertised drug. What's the capital, and what's the drug?

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 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer. And it is time now for the puzzle.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

WERTHEIMER: Joining me now is puzzle-master Will Shortz. Good morning, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Linda.

WERTHEIMER: Will, what was last week's puzzle challenge again?

SHORTZ: Yes. It was an anagram word ladder. I said you start with the word autumn, then you change one letter at a time and anagram it each step of the way to turn autumn into leaves. And I said each step has to be a common word. And the goal was to do it in the fewest steps. Well, the answer was five steps - that is the minimum. And the answer I came up with is: autumn to mutual, amulet, salute, vestal - as in vestal virgins - and leaves. There are many other combinations that worked, and anything that worked was counted correct.

WERTHEIMER: OK. So, there were more than 500 listeners with a correct ladder of anagrams. And our winner this week is Sherin Varghese of Los Angeles, California. Congratulations, Sherin.

SHERIN VARGHESE: Thank you.

WERTHEIMER: So, Sherin, did you have the same words as Will did?

VARGHESE: The top three I remember were definitely the same. And I had values...

WERTHEIMER: So, Sherin, you got values instead of vestal?

VARGHESE: Yes.

WERTHEIMER: That was a very clever way to get there, I must say. I guess you don't get much in the way of autumn and leaves and whatnot out there in L.A.

VARGHESE: Not so much, but I am originally from New York. So, they are something I remember and miss every fall.

WERTHEIMER: And you're a big puzzle player?

VARGHESE: I am. I do the New York Times crossword every day, and I do love a good anagram when I can find one.

WERTHEIMER: OK. So here is your chance to meet the man who sets the puzzle. Sherin, meet Will, Will, meet Sherin.

VARGHESE: Hi, Will.

SHORTZ: Hey, Sherin. Well, I like your policy of solving the Times crossword every day. And, of course, I've brought a word puzzle for you today. I'm going to read you some sentences. Each sentence has two blanks. Put a word starting with R in the first blank, then move that R to the end to make a new word that goes in the second blank to complete the sentence. For example, if I said: The door of the Indian blank was left slightly blank, you would say raja R-A-J-A and ajar.

VARGHESE: OK.

SHORTZ: All right. Here's number one: when the chef burned himself on the blank, he exploded in blank.

VARGHESE: On the...

SHORTZ: Something starting with an R.

VARGHESE: On a range and anger?

SHORTZ: That's it. On the range; he exploded in anger. Here's your next one: the traveler's blank across Asia passed through blank Mongolia.

VARGHESE: Mongolia. I'm trying to think of places in Mongolia.

SHORTZ: No, you don't need a place in Mongolia. You just need to complete the phrase blank Mongolia. Or try it on the other side: the traveler's blank through Asia. Think of a synonym of path, starting with R.

VARGHESE: Path. Route.

WERTHEIMER: There you go.

SHORTZ: Yes.

VARGHESE: Route and Outer Mongolia.

SHORTZ: Outer Mongolia is it, good. Years ago, members of the Pawnee and Kiowa tribes would blank all blank the plains. Here it is again: years ago, members of the Pawnee and Kiowa tribes would blank all blank the plains.

VARGHESE: All blank the plain. Rove and over?

SHORTZ: That's it. Would rove all over the plains, good. A blank in Southwest Arizona is just the sort of property the local news blank wants to buy.

VARGHESE: Southwest Arizona.

SHORTZ: Yeah. Think of a kind of home or a property, Spanish-style. A blank in southwest Arizona is just the sort of property the local news blank wants to buy.

VARGHESE: Local...

SHORTZ: What would that second word be - the local news blank.

VARGHESE: Rancho and anchor?

SHORTZ: That's it. The actor who seemed distant and blank during the audition turned out to be quite the blank when he got on stage. OK. Here it is again: the actor who seemed distant and blank during his audition turned out to be quite the blank when he got on stage.

VARGHESE: Remote and emoter?

SHORTZ: That's it.

WERTHEIMER: Hey, that is very good.

SHORTZ: And here's your last one: between Madonna and her ex-husband, Guy blank, it was always the latter who was blank to get going.

VARGHESE: Ritchie...

SHORTZ: Yes. And what's the other word?

VARGHESE: Itchier.

SHORTZ: Itchier, yes. Good job.

WERTHEIMER: Sherin, that was fabulous. And for playing our puzzle today, you will get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin as well as puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at npr.org/Puzzle. But before we let you go, can you tell me what your public radio station is?

VARGHESE: It's KPCC in Pasadena.

WERTHEIMER: Which is a wonderful station. Sherin Varghese of Los Angeles, thank you very much for playing the puzzle this week.

VARGHESE: Thank you, Linda and thank you, Will.

WERTHEIMER: OK, Will, give us your best shot for next week.

SHORTZ: Yes, this week's challenge comes from listener Erica Avery of Wisconsin, via the Internet. Name a world capital whose letters can be rearranged to spell a popular and much-advertised drug. What's the capital and what's the drug?

So again, a world capital, you can rearrange to name a popular and drug you see advertised a lot on TV. What's the capital and what's the drug?

WERTHEIMER: 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. The deadline for entries is Thursday, September 13th at 3 P.M. Eastern Time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. And if you are 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.

Will, thank you.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Linda.

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