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Eugene Teen Aces Sunday Puzzle With Will Shortz

Courtesy of Gloria Rear

A Eugene high-school student got to be on NPR’s Sunday Puzzlethis past weekend with puzzle master Will Shortz. We caught up with the 17-year-old Marist senior on what her experience with the segment was like.

Weekend Edition Host Lulu Garcia-Navarro: "How long have you been playing the puzzle?"

Gloria Rear: "For as long as I can remember. My dad always plays it at Sunday brunch.”

Gloria Rear says when she got the call from NPR last Thursday, she thought at first it was one of her siblings pranking her.

“So, I was in the middle of my theology class,” Rear said, “And so I was like, oh my gosh, this is a random number, and it’s a Thursday so, maybe… And so I answered, and he was like, this is Andrew from NPR. And I go, no way. And he said, I bet you know why you’re being called right now and I said, yes, is it the puzzle?”

When they recorded the puzzle Friday morning, Rear says it was very strange to hear Will Shortz trying to get on Zoom.

“I have those conversations with my friends when I’m trying to get on the zoom for school every day,” Rear said “I’m like, wow, Will Shortz goes through this too?”

She says she did way better than she thought she would

Will Shortz: “Yes and your last one is HOVE, H-O-V-E…It’s like the position s of the X and Y axis in a graph.”

Rear: “Horizontal.”

Shortz: “Yes, what’s the opposite of horizontal?”

Rear: “Vertical”

Shortz: “And vertical!”

Garcia-Navarro: “You did amazing!”

Rear said a lot of her friends weren’t familiar with NPR’s Sunday puzzle. But they were impressed anyway. Rear tells KLCC this has been a tough senior year, with doing school from home, virtually, and missing out on prom etc. But she is hopeful about going to college next year. She said doing the puzzle together will remain a Sunday tradition with her family.

Credit Courtesy of Gloria Rear
Gloria and family at the kitchen table where they play the puzzle every Sunday.

“I mean it’s scary to separate from your family,” Rear said. “A little bit. But I know that every Sunday, I’m still going to get that text and we’re all going to do this together, which is really fun.”

Lulu Garcia-Navarro: "For playing our puzzle today, you’ll get a Weekend Edition lapel pin as well as puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle. And Gloria, which member station do you listen to?"

Gloria Rear: "KLCC."

Copyright 2020 KLCC.

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.
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