Will Shortz

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you some common five-letter words in Spanish. For each one, rearrange the letters to spell a common, uncapitalized word in English.
Example: CESTA (basket) --> CASTE
1. TODOS (all or every)
2. TRUCO (trick)
3. BANCO (bank)
4. ARROZ (rice)
5. CINCO (five)
6. JABON (soap)
7. TORRE (tower)
8. PECHO (chest)
9. HUESO (bone)
10. ODIAR (to hate)

On-air challenge: The theme of this puzzle is P, B & J. I'm going to give you three words starting with the letters P, B and J. You give me a fourth word that can follow each of mine to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase.

Example: Parking, Back, Job --> LOT (parking lot, back lot, job lot)

Starting with three-letter answers:

1. Penalty, Boom, Juke

2. Power, Buzz, Jig

3. Present, Birth, Judgment

4. Pill, Bed, Jitter

Now four-letter answers:

5. Perp, Board, Jay

On-air challenge: Every answer today is a word or phrase in which the only consonants are P and R — repeated as often as necessary. The other letters are all vowels.

Example: More mature, as fruit --> RIPER
1. What beats rock but loses to scissors in a children's game
2. Musician with a flute
3. Partner of salt
4. Fix, as an appliance
5. Brand of bottled water
6. Open grassland, as in Kansas and Nebraska
7. Like reasoning by theoretical deduction (2 words)
8. Come into view again

On-air challenge: I'm going to read you pairs of incomplete phrases. Put the same word in each blank to complete them. Every answer is a four-letter word.
Ex. ___ of wolves / ___ of cigarettes --> PACK
1. ___ of sale / ___ of rights
2. ___ of arms / ___ of paint
3. ___ of thought / ___ of scrimmage
4. ___ of fire / ___ of wax
5. ___ of thumb / ___ of law
6. ___ of mouth / ___ of God
7. ___ of hands / ___ of force
8. ___ of Africa / ___ of plenty
9. ___ of paper / ___ of the tongue

On-air challenge: I'm going to read you some sentences. Each sentence conceals the name of a state capital in consecutive letters. You name the capitals.

Example: Check the chart for details. --> HARTFORD
1. You can't rent only one trailer.
2. How does golf rank for television?
3. That's not too pleasant a feeling.
4. Dad prepared flapjacks once.
5. The numeral eight comes before nine.
6. We fly to Zurich Monday.
7. Are you and Eric on cordial terms?
8. I wanna polish off dinner.

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you some six-letter words. For each one, change one of the consonants to a vowel to make another familiar six-letter word.

Example: DEFECT --> DEFEAT
1. AVENGE
2. DIPPER
3. MIGHTY
4. PREPPY
5. GROUSE
6. MADDEN
7. BIKING
8. CARTER
9. GRANGE
10. DECENT
11. STANCH
12. STANCE

On-air challenge: Every answer to this puzzle is a word or name that has the accented syllable "lee" (in any spelling) somewhere inside it.

Example: Expungement --> DELETION

1. City in Ohio sometimes called "holy"

2. Supreme Court justice Samuel

3. Pledge of ___

4. Opposite of an atheist

5. Island off the coast of California

6. Resident of California's largest city

7. One-named "Queen of Tejano Music"

8. Italian film director Federico

9. Leonardo da Vinci painting (two words)

On-air challenge: Every answer today is a made up two-word phrase in which you switch the first and third letters of the first word to get the second word.

Example: Trick that is certain to work --> Sure Ruse

1. Final bit of table seasoning

2. Dangerous dog along Rome's river

3. Dish of mashed-up food that costs one unit of Indian currency

4. Combination of fruits — one that's yellow and sour, the other that's large and has seeds

5. Metalworker with a torch who is more lascivious

On-air challenge: Today's puzzle is titled "Low and Inside." Every answer is a word or name that has the syllable "low" somewhere inside it (not at the start or the end). The "low" syllable is always accented.

Example: Like the U.S. before 1776 >> COLONIAL

1. Greeting in Hawaii

2. House speaker Nancy

3. Tennis star Martina

4. Spanish city that hosted the 1992 Olympics

5. Powerful land in ancient Mesopotamia

6. Everyday sandwich meat

7. Sounding pleasant to the ear, as music

8. Informal, as speech

On-air challenge: Every answer today is the name of a famous person whose first initial and last name, in order, spell a word. For example, take Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence. The B of Benjamin + his last name spells BRUSH. I'll give you clues to the parts. You give me the names.

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you two words. The letters in the first word appear in left-to-right order, although not consecutively, in a state capital. The letters in the second word appear in left-to-right order in that capital's state.

Example: Scant, Corn --> Sacramento, California
1. Annals, Aryan
2. Singed, Lois
3. Alas, Ford
4. Saul, Mines
5. Boon, Assets
6. Motor, Lama
7. Mason, Coin
8. Prince, Resand

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you some words. For each one, change one letter to two new letters to name a country.

Example. Belle --> Belize

1. Fence
2. Grace
3. Brawl
4. No Say
5. Polar
6. Debark
7. Brunt
8. Mondo
9. Malaria
10. Panda (three different answers)

Puzzle: Fast And Famous

Jul 19, 2020

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you some words. The first letter is the initial of a famous person's first name. The remaining letters can be rearranged to get the person's last name. I'll give you categories if you need them.

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you some words that contain the consecutive letters I-T. For each word, change the I-T to two new letters to make a new word.

Example: TITULAR --> TUBULAR
1. IGNITE
2. COMMIT
3. CITRUS
4. EXCITE
5. CITRIC
6. INVITE
7. FINITE
8. MARITAL
9. EXPLOIT
10. SMITTEN
11. BACKBITE

On-air challenge: Every answer today is a word or phrase in which the only consonants are H and T — repeated as often as necessary. All the other letters are vowels.

Example: Eighth letter of the Greek alphabet --> THETA

1. Canine or molar

2. Give a share of one's income to the church

3. Lake straddling the California/Nevada border

4. Country sharing a border with the Dominican Republic

5. Island paradise in the South Pacific

6. Giggle sound

7. Tract of land with low-growing shrubs

8. Kind of yoga

On-air challenge: I'm going to read you some sentences. Three consecutive words somewhere in each sentence are the first three words of a familiar proverb or saying. Tell me what it is.

Example: My parents went to the restaurant at 5 p.m. to get the early bird special. --> The early bird catches the worm.

1. The queen attends every royal function, so her absence makes the crowd concerned.

2. The cows with two heads are the big attraction at the carnival.

3. A nice Scottish lad is what a miss is looking for.

On-air challenge: I'm going to read you some words. For each one, change the initial consonant or consonants to a new consonant or new consonants to get a new word that looks like it should rhyme with the original but doesn't. Every answer is unique.

Example: Cord --> Word
1. Howl
2. Golf
3. Brave
4. Fork
5. Paste
6. Toad
7. Gasp
8. Green
9. Pooch
10. Goose

On-air challenge: This is a followup puzzle to last week's "Lost ID's." It's called "Replacement ID's." I'm going to give you some words. Each word contains the consecutive letters I-D somewhere in it. Change the I-D to two new letters to get a new familiar word.

Example: Stride --> Stroke or Strafe
1. Fidget
2. Ideate
3. Bridal
4. Rancid
5. Fiddle
6. Afraid (hyph.)
7. Collide
8. Provide
9. Humidity
10. Consider

On-air challenge: The theme of today's puzzle is "Lost ID's." I'm going to give you clues for two words. The first word has the consecutive letters I-D somewhere in it. Drop the I-D and what's left will spell a new word that answers the second clue.

Example: Opposite of narrowest / Direction for sunsets --> Widest, west
1. End of the workweek / Disorderly fight
2. Box for cigars / Jokes and such
3. Partition / One jumping in a pool
4. Mints that are said to be "curiously strong" / Voices below sopranos

On-air challenge: I'm going to name two things that are in the same category. And that category is itself part of another category, which I'll also name. You tell me the category in the middle.

Example: Volkswagen, Chrysler/Rock groups -->(The) Cars
1. Robin, Finch/Hitchcock movies
2. Seven, 100/Books of the Bible
3. Hip hip hooray!, Go team!/Sitcoms
4. Merlin, Harry Potter/N.B.A. teams
5. Mary, Elizabeth/Boroughs of New York City
6. Amazon, Nile/Female comedians
7. Roasted, Salted/Comic strips

On-air challenge: Every answer is a word, name, or phrase in which the only consonants are L and T — repeated as often as necessary. All the other letters are vowels.

Example: Add up --> TOTAL
1. Opposite of big
2. Coffee made with hot steamed milk
3. Name, as of a book or movie
4. Dole out
5. Sweepstakes game
6. "For rent" sign (2 wds.)
7. Lavatory
8. Place to insert an electric plug
9. No-holds-barred (hyph.)
10. Prevaricate (3 wds.)
11. Excite the imagination
12. Snitch

On-air challenge: In honor of Mother's Day, every answer today is a word that ends in the letters "MA." I'll give you an anagram of the letters that precede MA. You tell me the words.

Ex. GOD --> Dogma
1. ARK
2. OAR
3. LAPS
4. GIST
5. NICE
6. HATS
7. LIMED
8. RADIO
9. CHAIRS
10. EARLDOM

On-air challenge: I've brought a game of categories based on the word "maybe." For each category I give, name something in it starting with each of the letters M-A-Y-B-E.

For example, if the category were "chemical elements," you might say mercury, argon, yttrium, barium and erbium. Any answer that works is OK, and you can give the answers in any order.

1. Animals in zoos
2. Four-letter boy's names
3. Place names in Canada
4. Colors
5. Things to consume at breakfast

On-air challenge: I'm going to read you some sentences. Each sentence ends in "_____ to _____." Put two homophones in the blanks to complete it.

Example: The bicycle salesman had an innovative new _____ to _____. --> PEDAL, PEDDLE

1. The thieves prowling around the Pittsburgh mill were looking for some _____ to _____.

2. To prepare the dough for the oven, the baker will first _____ to _____.

3. Since my foot surgery, my toes have gotten better, but I still have to wait for my _____ to _____.

On-air challenge: Today's puzzle is a little unusual. It's all about "U" ... that is, the letter U. See how many of these U-related questions can you answer.

1. The names of two state capitals end in the letter U. What are they?

2. The word "you" sounds like the letter U, and it contains the letter U. What two words sound like the letter U but don't contain the letter?

3. Think of a common seven-letter word in which the first, third and fifth letters are all U's. (Hint: I said it in the first sentence of this puzzle's instructions.)

On-air challenge: Today I've brought a word ladder with sort of an Easter egg theme. The object is to convert CHICK to HATCH, changing one letter at a time, making a new word each step of the way. I'll give you clues for the steps. You tell me the words.

Starting with CHICK, change one letter in it to make ...
1. The sound of a camera. Then change one letter in that to make ...
2. A timepiece [etc.]
3. Unit of a city street
4. Opposite of white
5. Devoid of writing or marks
6. Long, flat piece of lumber

Drop The A And The B

Apr 5, 2020

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you clues for two words. The first word starts with AB. Drop the AB and you'll get a new word that answers the second clue.

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you a word and an extra letter. Anagram everything into a new word ... in which the added letter is silent.

Example: MOW + B --> WOMB
1. GRIN + W
2. TOGS + H
3. FINE + K
4. TENS + C
5. HANS + G
6. BRIDE + S
7. NOMAD + L
8. DOTER + B
9. PEDLAR + O
10. SIMONE + T
11. RETINT + W
12. AIMING + E
13. NO SHAME + D
14. CHEAP MAN + G

On-air challenge: Every answer is a rhyming two-word phrase, in which each word has three syllables.

Ex. Beverage that stands out --> Notable Potable

1. How-to book that comes out once a year

2. Recollection of a university in Atlanta

3. Careful examination of a rebellion on a ship

4. Personal journal written with hot language

5. Yorkshire dog that's more jolly

6. Sweepstakes involving clayware

7. Devotion to kings and queens

8. Event sent by God involving a ball

On-air challenge: Every answer today is a word, name or phrase in which the only consonants are C and T — repeated as often as necessary. All the other letters are vowels.

Example: Understood without being stated --> Tacit

1. Room at the top of a house

2. Like an angle that's less than 90 degrees

3. Group of eight musicians

4. Desert plants with needles

5. Adorable person

6. City on the Erie Canal

7. Strategy

8. Something invisible a grade schooler doesn't want to get

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