Will Shortz

On-air challenge: I've brought a game of Categories based on the word THINK. For each category I give, name something in it starting with each of the letters T-H-I-N-K. For example, if the category were "Boys' Names," you might say Tom, Hank, Ike, Nick and Kent. Any answer that works is OK, and you can give the answers in any order.

1. U.S. States

2. Football Terms

3. Parts of the Human Body

4. Things Seen on a Dinner Table

5. Five-Letter Words Ending in 'O'

On-air challenge: Today's puzzle is based on the names of famous writers of mysteries, crime fiction and spy novels. Their last names have been anagrammed. You name the writers.

Example: OUST + T --> (Rex) STOUT

1. ITCHIER + S (Agatha)

2. RANCHED + L (Raymond)

3. ESSAY + R (Dorothy)

4. WEAKEST + L (Donald)

5. LENDER + L (Ruth)

6. ORDEAL + N (Elmore)

7. CAREER + L (John; 2 wds.)

8. SALONS + R (Stieg)

9. SPANIEL + L (Mickey)

10. MINGLE + F (Ian)

On-air challenge: Every answer is a word that has the accented syllable "tor" somewhere inside it.

Example: 1946 Hitchcock film --> NOTORIOUS

1. Winning

2. Someone who studies the past

3. What "!" stands for in mathematics

4. Class for one person or a very small group

5. Newspaper piece that expresses an opinion

6. Fill in the blank: ___ Guinea (country in Africa)

7. Act of twisting something out of its natural shape

8. Musical work for an orchestra

9. One of the capitals of South Africa

On-air challenge: Every answer is the name of an Academy Awards best actress winner from over the years — except I've anagrammed their last names. You name the actresses.

Example: Emma NOTES --> Emma Stone (La La Land, 2016)

1. Julianne ROMEO

2. Meryl PESTER

3. Natalie TRAMP ON

4. Kate LET'S WIN

5. Holly THE URN

6. Jodie FOREST

7. Sally FIDEL

8. Diane A TOKEN

9. Barbra TARDINESS

10. Julie WANDERS

11. Simone TOE RINGS

12. Helen AH YES

On-air challenge: In celebration of Presidents Day, every answer is the name of a U.S. president. I'm going to give you some words and familiar phrases. For each one, name a president in which the consonants are the same — and in the same order — as the consonants in the word or phrase.

Example: CREATURE --> CARTER

1. AFRAID

2. OREGON

3. BEAM

4. MEANER

5. HEAVIER

6. HURRIES IN

7. PRICE

8. GUARANTEE

9. RATHER

10. ICE LEDGE

11. OUTER MOON

Sunday Puzzle: 3rd & O

Feb 10, 2019

On-air challenge: I'm going to read you two words. Think of a third word that can follow my first one and precede my second one, in each case to complete a common two-word phrase. As a help, each answer starts with the letter O.

Example: Grand Night --> OPENING (grand opening, opening night)

1. Pecking Form

2. Snake Well

3. Oval Hours

4. Agent Juice

5. Second Poll

6. Soap House

7. House Grinder

8. U.S. Sesame

9. Green Rings

On-air challenge: Every answer is a word or name that has the accented syllable "no" somewhere inside it.

Example: Kind of equation in mathematics --> BINOMIAL or POLYNOMIAL

1. Children's character whose nose grows when he lies

2. Wine-making region of California

3. Trance-like state in which a person may be easily manipulated

4. Site of a 1986 nuclear disaster in Ukraine

5. Brilliantly exploding star

6. One of the longest rivers in South America

7. French city that hosted the 1968 Winter Olympics

On-air challenge: This is my annual "New Names in the News Quiz." I'll name some people and things you probably never heard of until 2018, but who sprang to prominence during the past 12 months. You tell me who and what they are. My list was compiled with the help of Kathie Baker, who played one of my year-end quizzes in the past.

1. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

2. Stacey Abrams

3. Jair Bolsonaro

4. Mark Judge, Donny and Squee

5. David Hogg

6. Sergei Skripal

7. Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you two words. Change one letter in the first word to name a category of things. And change one letter in the second word to name something in that category.

Ex. PETAL COPIER --> METAL, COPPER
1. STAGE MAIZE
2. CORN QUARTET
3. DUMBER FORTE
4. RING CHARGES
12. RATIONALITY SWIMS

On-air challenge: Today's puzzle is geographical. I'm going to give you some words and phrases. In each one, change two consecutive letters to name a country.

Example: SUDDEN --> SWEDEN

1. FRAPPE

2. GREEDY

3. ALGEBRA

4. CANARY

5. SIROCCO

6. BARGAIN

7. SERENA

8. JOBMAN

9. MALADY

10. SENSUAL

11. CAME UPON

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you two words. Insert the same letter in each of them to complete two things in the same category.

Example: Shots Skit --> Shorts, Skirt

1. FIE SEEN
2. MONEY SUNK
3. ETHER PALMS
4. BARE ALLEY
5. PARS SOFA
6. CURING WRESTING
7. MONTAGE CAPLET

On-air challenge: Every answer today is the name of a world capital. I'm going to give you two words. Change the last letter of each word to a new letter so the result, reading left to right, names the capital.

Ex. CARD CAP --> Caracas

1. BET JINX

2. BUDS PESO

3. NAB ROBE

4. PRO TORIC

5. KINK HASP

6. TRIM OLD

7. DAMP SCUM

8. KHAN TOUR

On-air challenge: Every answer today is the name of a major-league baseball team. You tell me what they are from their anagrams.

Example: SCARY – C --> (Tampa Bay) Rays

1. SCUBA – A

2. STEAM – A

3. DRESS – S

4. DESPAIR – I

5. AGAINST – A

6. ADVERBS – D

7. COSTARS – C

8. RESTING – N

9. SEALING – I

10. STOCKIER – T

11. MINERALS – E

12. WIRETAPS – W

13. EARRINGS – I

14. THEISTICAL – I

15. NONSPATIAL – P

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you three 5-letter words. You tell me a 5-letter word that can precede each of mine to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase.

Ex. DRAFT HOUSE RIDER --> Rough (rough draft, rough-house, Rough Rider)

1. GLASS SLIDE MELON
2. TIGER TRAIL TOWEL
3. COUNT DONOR SPORT
4. SENSE POWER LAUGH
5. GIANT PEACE THUMB
6. SHIFT SHIRT STAND
7. SALAD PUNCH FLIES
8. TEASE POKER STEAK
9. STORY ORDER RANGE
10. SAUCE CIDER STORE
11. BLANK GUARD TAKEN

On-air challenge: Every answer today is a made up two-word phrase, in which the first word has six letters. Its last three letters spell the second word that will complete the phrase.

For Example: Scurrying insect whose appearance has been affected by radiation --> MUTANT ANT

On-air challenge: Today I've brought a game of categories based on the word COMBS. You probably know how this works. I'm going to give you a series of categories. For each one, name something in it starting with each of the letters C-O-M-B-S.

For example, if the category were "Three-Syllable Boys' Names," you might say Christopher, Oliver, Mathias, Benjamin and Sebastian. Any answer that works is fine, and you can give the answers in any order.

1. Musical instruments

2. Cities in Florida

3. Wild mammals in America

On-air challenge: The theme of today's puzzle is giving. I'm going to give you two words. You give each of them a letter — the same letter for each word — in order to complete a familiar two-word phrase.

On-air challenge: Every answer is an anagram of a geographical feature.

For example: PACE --> CAPE.

1. KALE
2. SAME
3. LIES
4. SPAS
5. ROOM
6. ALLOT
7. DEALT
8. CANOE
9. HARMS
10. DIRGE
11. LAPIN
12. RESTED
13. MASTER
14. ARTIST
15. SOFTER
16. NO GOAL
17. SECTIONAL
18. REAL FORCE (2 words)

On-air challenge: We're in the merry month of December. Every answer this week is a two-word phrase or name in which the first word starts DE- and the second word starts C.

For example: Underwater explosive device --> depth charge.

Last week's challenge: This challenge may sound impossible, but there's a good answer. Think of a common two-word phrase, in seven letters, that has two R's in the middle. And "in the middle," means exactly in the middle. What phrase is it?

On-air challenge: Insert the letters A and R into the middle of the first clue to get the answer to the second clue. For example, when given the clues "small argument" and "a tax on imports," the answer would be "tiff" and "tariff."

Last week's challenge, from Ken Stern of Brooklyn, N.Y.: Think of a sign that's frequently seen around this time of year — two words of four letters each. Among these eight letters all five vowels — A, E, I, O and U — appear once each, along with three consonants. What sign is it?

On-air challenge: I'm going to name some categories. For each one, I'll name something in the category that closely follows the name of the category alphabetically.

For example, "states" and "Texas." You tell me the only other thing in the category that fits between these two things alphabetically. In the case of my example, you would say "Tennessee."

On-air challenge: This week's puzzle is called "SuperPACs." Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which the first word starts with PA- and the second word starts with C.

For example: Official who oversees a city's green spaces --> PARKS COMMISSIONER.

These Letters Don't LI

Oct 9, 2016

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you clues for two words. Insert the consecutive letters LI somewhere inside the first word to get the second one.

For example: Bit of mischief/Instrument for measuring --> CAPER, CALIPER

Last week's challenge: Name an 11-letter occupation starting with H. If you have the right one, you can rearrange the letters to name two things a worker with this occupation uses — one in six letters and one in five. What occupation is it?

On-air challenge: Every answer this week is a pun on a well-known food brand at a grocery or supermarket.

For example: given the prompt "tiny golf pegs," the right answer is "Wheaties." (Get it? "Wee tees.")

Last week's challenge: Take the words DOES, TOES and SHOES. They all end in the same three letters, but none of them rhyme. What words starting with F, S and G have the same property? The F and S words are four letters long, and the G word is five letters. They all end in the same three letters.

On-air challenge: For the following words starting with the letters S, E and P — as in September — find a word that can precede each to complete a familiar two-word phrase.

For example: system, eclipse, power --> SOLAR (solar system, solar eclipse, solar power).

On-air challenge: Every answer this week is a nine-letter phrase that's a palindrome — in other words, it reads the same both forward and backward.

For example: Certain floor models (4,5) --> some demos.

Last week's challenge, from listener Sandy Stevens of Bandon, Ore.: What one-syllable word in seven letters becomes a four-syllable word by inserting the consecutive letters I-T somewhere inside?

Answer: reigned, reignited.

Winner: Dan Bradshaw of Farmington, Conn.

On-air challenge: Every answer today is a familiar 8-letter word. We're going to give you two 3-letter words that are somewhere in it. You tell me the full word.

Ex. WOO + WIN --> WOODWIND

1. VET + AIL
2. LEG + RAM
3. PEN + AGO
4. URN + OAT
5. PIP + ANY
6. NOT + ONE

On-air challenge: Each answer today consists of the first and last names of a famous person, each with two syllables. Here are some made-up two-word phrases. The first word in the phrase rhymes with the person's first name, and the last word rhymes with the last name.

For example: Picky Moonie --> MICKEY ROONEY.

On-air challenge: Every answer this week is the name of a newspaper comic strip or cartoon, past or present. Identify the funnies from their anagrams.

For example: GOO + P --> POGO.

Last week's challenge from Mike Hinterberg of Loveland, Colo.: Name a creature in nine letters. The name contains a T. Drop the T, and the remaining letters can be rearranged to spell two related modes of transportation. What are they?

Answer: Butterfly --> Lyft, Uber.

On-air challenge: Every answer this week is a phrase in the form "___ and ___." I'll give you rhymes for the two missing words. You complete the phrases.

For example: Lick and lose --> pick and choose.

Last week's challenge: Name a famous singer — first and last names. The last four letters of the first name spelled backward plus the first four letters of the last name spelled forward, read together, in order, name a section of products in a drugstore. What is it?

Answer: Mariah Carey --> hair care.

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