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Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit

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If You Want In The Mix, You've Got To Split The Six

Jul 8, 2012
Originally published on July 14, 2012 5:51 pm

On-Air Challenge: For each six-letter word given, rearrange the letters to make two three-letter words that rhyme. Example: For the word "tweets," the pair of rhyming three-letter words would be "wet" and "set."

Last Week's Challenge From Listener Fred Orelove Of Richmond, Va.: Think of a well-known retail store chain in two words. Remove one letter from its name. The remaining letters, in order, will spell three consecutive words that are synonyms of each other. What are they? Hint: The three words are all slang.

Answer: Office Max: off, ice, ax (to kill or to get rid of)

Winner: Mark Winholtz, Andover, Minn.

Next Week's Challenge From Listener Steve Baggish Of Littleton, Mass.: Think of a well-known actor, three letters in the first name, seven letters in the last. One of the letters is an "S." Change the "S" to a "K" and rearrange the result, and you'll name a well-known fictional character. Who is it?

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 2013 NPR. To see more, visit



This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene. And, puzzle fans, you know what time it is.


GREENE: Joining me is puzzle-master Will Shortz. Hi, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, David.

GREENE: So, I understand there's a summery scene at your house. They're actually mowing the lawn as we're talking to you.

SHORTZ: The perfect timing for the puzzle, yes. There's a - if you hear a whir in the background, that's the lawnmower going back and forth.

GREENE: Well, remind us of last week's puzzle challenge.

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Fred Orelove of Richmond, Virginia. I said think if a well-known retail store chain in two words. Remove one letter from its name. The remaining letters in order will spell three consecutive words that are synonyms of each other. What are they? And as a hint, the three words are all slang. Well, the answer is Office Max. Remove the M from Max and you're left from off, ice and ax, which are all slang terms for murder.

GREENE: Wow. Well, we had 470 listeners who killed this puzzle. And our winner this week, Mark Winholtz of Andover, Minnesota. And, Mark, you're on the line. Congratulations.

MARK WINHOLTZ: Yeah, thank you.

GREENE: Mark, what do you do in Andover, Minnesota?

WINHOLTZ: I'm an emergency room physician.

GREENE: Aha. How long did it take you to solve the puzzle?

WINHOLTZ: Well, actually, my daughter Shannon and I do it together. After the first day, she said it's got to be something like Office Max. And I thought about that over the night and took out the M. She didn't know they were synonyms, but I guess I've watched two more episodes of "Sopranos" than she has and I figured it out. So, it was a joint effort.

GREENE: How long have you been playing?

WINHOLTZ: I've been doing it for years but I never sent it in. But since my daughter's come to live with us, she says, well, why not send it in? So, we did.

GREENE: You ready to play today?


GREENE: OK. Will, have at it.

SHORTZ: All right, Mark and David. I'm going to give you some six-letter words. For each one, rearrange the letters to make two three-letter words that rhyme. For example, if I said tweets T-W-E-E-T-S, you would say wet and set.

GREENE: Got it.

SHORTZ: Number one is attach A-T-T-A-C-H.

WINHOLTZ: Cat and hat.


SHORTZ: That is correct. Number two is papacy P-A-P-A-C-Y.

WINHOLTZ: Well, it's got to be cap, yap.

SHORTZ: Cap and yap, good. Inning I-N-N-I-N-G.

WINHOLTZ: Nin, gin. No, that's too many Ns.

SHORTZ: Gin is right and then it's just the first three letters. So, it's inn I-N-N and gin.

GREENE: I think you got that one, Mark. You got that one.

SHORTZ: Try this one: poorer P-O-O-R-E-R. I can give you a hint. Both words rhyme with O.

WINHOLTZ: Pro and...

SHORTZ: Pro is one, P-R-O, and then what are you left with?


SHORTZ: R-O-E, that's right. Then those are fish eggs, like caviar. All right. How about sheiks S-H-E-I-K-S? I'll give you a hint: rearrange the last three letters of sheiks. What do you get?

WINHOLTZ: Oh, she and ski, yeah.

SHORTZ: She and ski, good. How about neuron N-E-U-R-O-N?



WINHOLTZ: ...and none.

SHORTZ: Well, you're right with run R-U-N. And then what do the other letters spell?

WINHOLTZ: Oh, one.

SHORTZ: Run and one, good. How about yields Y-I-E-L-D-S?

WINHOLTZ: Sly and die.

SHORTZ: Sly and die, nice job. Errata E-R-R-A-T-A. What do you think the rhyme is?


SHORTZ: That's correct. So, think of...

WINHOLTZ: Tar and are.

SHORTZ: Tar and are is right, good. And here's your last one: A sharp, as in the musical tone - A S-H-A-R-P.

WINHOLTZ: Rap and sap. No. Let's see, rap...

SHORTZ: Nope. There's only one P. All right. I'll give you a hint: you're going on a vacation to a play with thermal waters. What is that place?

WINHOLTZ: Spa and rah.

SHORTZ: Spa and rah, nice job.

GREENE: Nice job. God, Mark, if you're as good at saving lives in the ER as you are at solving puzzles, we all should feel safe.


GREENE: Well, for playing today, you are going to get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin as well as puzzle books and games. And you can read all about the stuff at And, Mark, before we say goodbye, tell us the public radio station you listen to.


GREENE: Well, Dr. Mark Winholtz of Andover, Minnesota, you play the puzzle with your daughter every week, keep enjoying it. Thanks so much for playing with us on air this week.

WINHOLTZ: Thanks for having us.

GREENE: Will, what do you have for us for a puzzle for next week?

SHORTZ: Yes, this week's challenge comes from listener Steve Baggish of Littleton, Massachusetts. Think of a well-known actor, three letters in the first name, seven letters in the last. One of the letters is an S, as in star. Change the S to a K and rearrange the result, and you'll name a well-known fictional character. Who is it?

So, again: a well-known actor, three-seven, one of the letters is an S. Change the S to a K, rearrange the result and you'll name a well-known fictional character. Who is it?

GREENE: OK, there it is. When you get the answer - when you have the answer go to our website, and click on the Submit Your Answer link. Just one entry per person, please. The deadline for entries is Thursday, 3 P.M. Eastern Time. And if you can, include a phone number where we can find you at about that time. If you're the winner we'll give you a ring and you will get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle-master, Will Shortz.

And, Will, how's your lawn looking?

SHORTZ: You know, it's looking pretty nice. And I didn't have to do it, so I'm real pleased.



Thanks, Will. I'll talk to you next week.

SHORTZ: Thanks, David.


GREENE: I love that music. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.