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Copyright 2016 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

The middle of summer is when the surprises in publishing turn up. I'm talking about those quietly commanding books that publishers tend to put out now, because fall and winter are focused on big books by established authors. Which brings us to The Dream Life of Astronauts, by Patrick Ryan, a very funny and touching collection of nine short stories that take place in the 1960s and '70s around Cape Canaveral, Fla.

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One Or More

Feb 20, 2013
Originally published on October 17, 2013 10:03 am



Let's welcome our next two contestants, Jake Stoler and Ileen Roos.


EISENBERG: Welcome to you both. Hi, Ileen. Hi, Jake. Now, you both grew up playing a lot of games at home. Jake, what was your favorite game to play at home with your family?

JAKE STOLER: We would rent the Jeopardy Nintendo game every week and that's kind of how I wound up here.

EISENBERG: Really? Okay. And Ileen?

ILEEN ROOS: Much more old school than that, Parcheesi and Trivial Pursuit and...

EISENBERG: Oh yeah. My family even more old school, we played head games.


EISENBERG: This game is called One or More. There are certain English homonyms which when spoken out loud could either sound singular or plural. For example, the word prince could be P-R-I-N-C-E, right, as in the son of a king, or the man formerly known and now known again as Prince. Or prints, P-R-I-N-T-S, right, as paper copies of photographs.

So we're going to give you a clue of a pair of sound-alike words, one of which is singular and the other is plural. Okay, puzzle guru Art Chung will give you hints if you need them. Buzz in when you know the words. Are you ready?

STOLER: Absolutely.

ROOS: Yes.

EISENBERG: This is either a single trip on a resort ship or multiple groups responsible for running the ship.



STOLER: Cruise.

EISENBERG: And the other word is?

STOLER: Crews.



EISENBERG: This can be a handful of things you'd buy in a hardware store or the government surcharge you'd pay for them.



ROOS: Tacks.

EISENBERG: Tacks is correct.


EISENBERG: This is either a single crystalline rock like amethyst or onyx, or it's a lot of containers of milk.



STOLER: Quartz and quarts.

EISENBERG: Quartz and quarts is correct.


EISENBERG: Try this one. This is either one soft weather phenomenon or a table full of soft French cheeses.



ROOS: Breeze.

EISENBERG: Breeze is correct.


EISENBERG: Isn't it romantic to say that? If I just say to you, "would you like a table-full full of soft French cheeses?"


EISENBERG: It sounds like I'm inviting you to Valentines. This is either a single strong curse or a bunch of not very strong curse words.

ART CHUNG: Gosh darn it.

EISENBERG: Gosh darn it.

PAUL: They're having one hell of a time with this one.

STORM: That's too strong, Paul.

PAUL: Oh, I'm sorry.

EISENBERG: I know. I wish I could cast a spell or something and make it better.



ROOS: Hex.



EISENBERG: This is either a single flirtatious person or a collection of casual shirts that might have flirty slogans.



ROOS: Tease.

EISENBERG: Tease is correct.


EISENBERG: This is either a bunch of rough and tumble battles or a single well turned expression you might use to describe them. They are both looking up.



STOLER: Cliché.

EISENBERG: Cliché is a good idea but not in this case correct, but a good guess. Let's see if anyone out there knows.





EISENBERG: Ileen, when it sinks in. But that was a tough one, we can all agree. This is a bunch of drinks you might order in a bar or a black eye, like you might get in a bar fight.



STOLER: Shiner.

EISENBERG: That's such a good idea, but what is the drink the shiner?

STOLER: It's a beer. I've had it in Texas.



EISENBERG: Let me just check with our legal department on that.

CHUNG: The problem is they're both singular, so that doesn't - that breaks the rules.

EISENBERG: Oh, yeah. Okay. Do you have a guess, Ileen?

ROOS: I got nothing. I'm sorry.

EISENBERG: All right.

CHUNG: If you're black and blue, you might have a?

ROOS: Bruise.

CHUNG: Bruise is right.


CHUNG: It was close but Ileen is our winner.

EISENBERG: All right, Ileen, congratulations.


EISENBERG: That was a tough one. Two smart people. And Ileen will move on to our Ask Me One More final round at the end of the show. Thank you both so much, contestants. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.