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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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Two Blanks For The Price Of One

Jan 27, 2013
Originally published on January 27, 2013 10:00 am

On-air challenge: You will be given some sentences with two blanks. Add the letters E and Y to the word that goes in the first blank to get a new word that goes in the second blank to compete the sentence.

Last week's challenge: Take the last name of a famous world leader of the past. Rearrange the letters to name a type of world leader, like czar or prime minister. What world leader is it?

Answer: (Golda) Meir; emir

Winner: Daniel Fisher of Westport, Conn.

Next week's challenge from listener Jed Martinez of Margate, Fla.: Name a personal mode of transportation. Remove its first and sixth letters. What remains — in sequence, without rearranging any letters — will spell the names of two parts of the human body. What are they?

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 Rachel Martin. Get your game face on, people, because it is time for the puzzle.


MARTIN: Joining me now is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle-master, Will Shortz. Good morning, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.

MARTIN: OK. Tell us again what was last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes. Last week's challenge was to take the last name of a famous world leader of the past, rearrange his letters to name a type of world leader, like a czar or prime minister - someone who's the head of the country. What world leader is it? Well, the leader was Golda Meir M-E-I-R. She was the prime minister of Israel from 1969 to '74. And if you switch the first two letters, you get emir E-M-I-R.

MARTIN: Very clever. OK. So, more than 450 of our listeners sent in correct answers. And our randomly selected winner this week is Daniel Fisher of Westport, Connecticut. He joins us on the phone. Congratulations, Dan.

DANIEL FISHER: Thank you very much.

MARTIN: So, did this come quickly or did this take a while to simmer?

FISHER: This one came pretty quickly. A lot of times it takes plenty of thinking and I still don't get it, but this one just came right away.

MARTIN: Have you been a puzzler for a long time?

FISHER: I've been working on the puzzle for about the last five years.

MARTIN: And do you do other puzzles in your life? Are you a big crossworder?

FISHER: I love crosswords. I think emir came in because it's commonly in the crossword. But I've been doing that for years.

MARTIN: Did you play puzzles as a family when you were growing up?

FISHER: Yeah. You know, I got started with crossword puzzles back in high school. My parents would do them, and they still do in their 80s.


FISHER: Yeah. My job was to pick up the newspaper at the high school. For some reason, that's where our subscription would get picked up. So, I had the first crack at the New York Times puzzle.

MARTIN: So, you got to try it before anybody else did.

FISHER: I actually did it in class, and sometimes got in a little trouble for it. So, I got first crack at it but started a long time ago.

MARTIN: Rogue puzzler. I like it. Well, let's see if you can put those skills to the test. Are you ready to play today?


MARTIN: Let's do it, Will.

SHORTZ: All right, Daniel. By the way, I'm going to be in Westport, Connecticut next Saturday for a crossword contest at their public library. Maybe I'll see you there.

FISHER: I know. I've been. It's right around the corner. It's a great competition.

SHORTZ: There you go.

MARTIN: You should stop by, Dan. Say hi to Will.

FISHER: OK. Will do.

SHORTZ: Yeah. Meanwhile, I'm going to read you some sentences. Each sentence has two blanks. With the word that goes in the first blank, add the letters E-Y to the end to get a new word that goes in the second blank to complete the sentence. For example, if I said to raise the piano to the second floor of the house, workers will have to blank hard on the blank. You'd say they'd have to pull hard on the pulley.

MARTIN: OK. I think I've got it. Dan?


MARTIN: All right. Let's do it, Will.

SHORTZ: Number one: newly arrived from Istanbul, the blank didn't know that Americans eat blank for Thanksgiving.

FISHER: Turk and turkey.

SHORTZ: That's it. Number two: a closet romantic might come out of his blank by reading some Percy Bysshe blank.

FISHER: I don't know. Rachel?

MARTIN: Yeah. I think maybe come of his shell.

FISHER: Oh, Shelley. OK.

MARTIN: Shelley.

SHORTZ: Read some Shelley. Here's your next one: an all-around blank with bulging muscles would be unlikely to make a good thoroughbred blank.

FISHER: Jock and jockey.

SHORTZ: That's it - jock and jockey. Hugh Grant once got so angry that he would blank insults at his girlfriend Elizabeth blank.

FISHER: Hurl and Hurley.

SHORTZ: That's it. The aging skater had fallen on such hard times that he had to blank his prized blank stick.

FISHER: Hock and hockey.

SHORTZ: That's it. Since underage drinking is illegal, authorities decided to blank the kids away from the blank distillery.

FISHER: Whisk and whiskey.


SHORTZ: That's it. Students from blank State sometimes like to shop at the nearby JC blank.

FISHER: Penn and Penney.

SHORTZ: That's it. Sarge refused to provide blank money for the jailed Beetle blank.

FISHER: Bail and Bailey.

SHORTZ: That's it.


SHORTZ: Throughout my mother's life, a favorite writer of blank was John blank.

FISHER: We got another author here. Rachel.

MARTIN: Oh, man.

FISHER: Hers and Hersey.


SHORTZ: Yeah. A favorite writer of hers was John Hersey. You're so good. Here's your last one: In a religious order, a blank cannot blank around too much.

FISHER: A monk and monkey.

SHORTZ: That's it. Nice job.

MARTIN: I love that one. That was great, Daniel. Good job.

FISHER: Thank you.

MARTIN: And for playing the puzzle today, you will get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, of course, and puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at

And before we let you and, Daniel, what's your Public Radio station?


MARTIN: WFUV out of Fordham University in New York. Daniel Fisher, of Westport, Connecticut, thanks so much for playing the puzzle, Dan.

FISHER: Thank you. It was great fun.

MARTIN: OK, Will, what's the challenged for next week?

SHORTZ: Yes, it comes from listener and one-time puzzle player on the air, Jed Martinez of Margate, Florida. Name a personal mode of transportation. Remove its first and sixth letters. What remains - in sequence, without rearranging any letters - will spell the names of two parts of the human body. What are they?

So again, a personal mode of transportation, remove the first and sixth letters. What remains - in order - spells the names of two parts of the human body. What are they?

MARTIN: OK, when you have the answer, you know what to do. Go to our website, and click on the Submit Your Answer link - just one entry per person, please. And our deadline for entries is Thursday, January 31st at 3 P.M. Eastern.

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 will 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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