Sunday Puzzle: Not Like The Others

Dec 22, 2019

On-air challenge: This week's puzzle is a variation on last week's. It's more like a quiz. I'm going to give four words. Three of them have something in common. I'll tell you what that something in common is. You tell me which word is the odd one out.

1. Words that are both flowers and girls' names: Violet, Lily, Iris, Cowslip

2. Words that start the names of state capitals: Big, Rich, Mad, Tall

3. Adjectives that are the titles of well-known movies: Frozen, Notorious, Sweet, Unforgiven

4. Words in the first verse of "The Star-Spangled Banner": Bright, Light, Night, Right

5. English words that have completely different meanings in French: Main, Pain, Rue, Wet

6. Three most commonly misspelled words in internet newsgroups (according to a survey by Cornell Kimball): Embarrassment, Millennium, Minuscule, Separate

Last week's challenge: Last week's challenge came from listener Andrew Chaikin of San Francisco. Write down eight different letters of the alphabet. Add an apostrophe. Then write the same eight letters in a different order. With proper spacing, you now have a four-word phrase meaning "took a risk." What is it?

Challenge answer: Stuck One's Neck Out

Winner: Dan Franzen of Arlington, Va.

This week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from Eric Chaikin, of Thousand Oaks, Calif. His brother is Andrew Chaikin, who created last week's challenge. Name a noted TV journalist — five letters in the first name, six letters in the last. Change an I in this name to a W and rearrange the result. You'll get a two-word phrase for where you might see this journalist. Who is it?

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 by Thursday, Dec. 26 at 3 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

And it's time to play The Puzzle.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Joining us is Will Shortz. He's puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION'S very own puzzlemaster. Hi, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What was last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener Andrew Chaikin of San Francisco. I said write down eight different letters of the alphabet, add an apostrophe. Then write the same eight letters in a different order with proper spacing. You now have a forward phrase meaning took a risk. What is it. And the answer is stuck one's neck out.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received only 156 correct responses. And the winner this week is Dan Franzen (ph) of Arlington, Va. Congratulations.

DAN FRANZEN: Thank you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So I'm told it was your wife who introduced you to The Puzzle.

FRANZEN: That's correct. She was going to graduate school at Washington State University. And I think, at this point, I'm obliged to say Go Cougs.

(LAUGHTER)

FRANZEN: And she told me about - you know, that they were - that, you know - she said, here's this funny, little puzzle that they do on Sunday mornings. You might enjoy it. And she's right because, you know, 20-odd years later, I'm still playing it.

SHORTZ: Wow.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And I understand this isn't your first time playing a game on NPR.

FRANZEN: (Laughter) That's right. I was on Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me in the late '90s.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Oh, wow. How'd you do?

FRANZEN: I did not win.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Well, this is a game you cannot lose.

(LAUGHTER)

FRANZEN: Good.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Will. Take it away.

SHORTZ: All right. Dan, this week's puzzle is a variation on last week's. It's more of a quiz. I'm going to give you four words. Three of them have something in common. I'll tell you what that something in common is. You tell me which word is the odd one out.

FRANZEN: All right.

SHORTZ: Here's number one - words that are both flowers and girls' names. All right. And the words are Violet, Lily, Iris, Cowslip.

FRANZEN: Cowslip.

SHORTZ: Cowslip - I don't know any women named Cowslip. Number two...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I don't. That was an easy one, I must say.

SHORTZ: (Laughter). All right. Try this - words that start the names of state capitals - big, rich, mad, tall.

FRANZEN: Well, it's not rich or mad.

SHORTZ: Right. So you're down between big and tall.

FRANZEN: I'll say tall.

SHORTZ: No.

FRANZEN: No.

SHORTZ: Tall starts Tallahassee.

FRANZEN: Tallahassee - right. Right - so big then.

SHORTZ: So it has to be big - good - adjectives that are the titles of well known movies, "Frozen," "Notorious," "Sweet," "Unforgiven."

FRANZEN: Sweet.

SHORTZ: Sweet is it - good. Words in the first verse of "The Star-Spangled Banner" - bright, light, night, right.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I feel like you need to sing it now.

SHORTZ: (Laughter).

FRANZEN: No. No one wants that.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Humming).

FRANZEN: I know. I'm singing it to myself but, like I said, not out loud.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Come on. Come on. Come on. Give me just the first bars.

FRANZEN: Oh, say can you see...

SHORTZ: There you go.

FRANZEN: (Unintelligible).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: By the dawn's early light.

FRANZEN: Oh, boy. Is it right?

SHORTZ: It is right. You are right - good.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Good job.

SHORTZ: Try this - English words that have completely different meanings in French - main - that's M-A-I-N - pain - P-A-I-N - rue - R-U-E and wet - W-E-T.

FRANZEN: It's either rue or wet.

SHORTZ: OK. That is correct.

FRANZEN: I'll say wet.

SHORTZ: Wet is correct. In fact, W is not a native letter in French, so that couldn't be it. And here's your last one - the three most commonly misspelled words in Internet newsgroups, according to a survey by Cornell Kimball (ph).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I love this.

SHORTZ: And your words are embarrassment, millennium, miniscule, separate.

FRANZEN: Separate.

SHORTZ: Separate is correct. That's misspelled only 23% of the time - embarrassment, 55%. And miniscule is the champion, misspelled 68%.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Who is writing minuscule in a...

SHORTZ: (Laughter).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I mean, I don't know. I'm obviously going to the wrong groups. This is a different...

SHORTZ: Oh, you're in smart groups, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'm not in smart groups. This is my point. Clearly, these are big words that are hard to spell.

FRANZEN: (Laughter).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Congratulations. You did great. How do you feel?

FRANZEN: Oh, I'm excited. That was a lot of fun.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It was. And you were really good. 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, Dan, which member station do you listen to?

FRANZEN: We are sustaining members of WAMU.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So am I. That's Dan Franzen of Arlington, Va. Thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.

FRANZEN: Thank you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Will, what's next week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from Eric Chaiken of Thousand Oaks, Calif. His brother is Andrew Chaikin, who created last week's challenge. Name a noted TV journalist - five letters in the first name, six letters in the last. Change an I in this name to a W and rearrange the result. You'll get a two-word phrase for where you might see this journalist. Who is it? So again, a noted TV journalist - five, six. Change an I to a W. Rearrange the result, and you'll get a two-word phrase for where you might see this journalist. Who is it?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: When you have the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle. And click on the Submit Your Answer link. Remember, just one entry per person, please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, December 26 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Include a phone number where we can reach you about that time. And if you're the winner, we'll give you a call. And you'll get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster, Will Shortz. Thanks so much, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Lulu.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.