Thank Heavens For The Thesaurus. You'll Need One For This Puzzle

Nov 15, 2015
Originally published on November 15, 2015 9:24 am

On-air challenge: For each word, think of a synonym whose first and second letters, in order, are the second and third letters, respectively, of the given word.

For example: Shock --> horrify.

Last week's challenge: Name a famous actor — first and last names. Drop the first two letters of the first name and the last two letters of the last name. Then put a "Y" between what's left of the two names. The result, reading from left to right, will identify who might solve this challenge and play puzzle on the air with me next week.

Answer: Ryan O'Neal --> Anyone.

Next week's challenge: Think of a word that contains three consecutive letters of the alphabet together — like CANOPY, which contains NOP. Change these three letters to one new letter to make a synonym of the first word. What words are these?

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, November 19th at 3 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. It is Sunday morning, and that means, of course, it's time for the puzzle.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MARTIN: Joining me is Will Shortz. He is the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master. Good morning, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.

MARTIN: You are at yet another puzzle event this weekend? Is that what's going on in your life?

SHORTZ: Well, sort of. It's actually an event called the Wonderful World of Words. And it's held every year at Mohonk Mountain House in upstate New York. And we have a treasure hunt around the Mountain House.

MARTIN: You have a treasure hunt?

SHORTZ: A puzzle treasure hunt around it.

MARTIN: (Laughter) So we'll have to hear all about that when you get back. Remind us of last week's puzzle.

SHORTZ: Yes, I said name a famous actor - first and last names. Drop the first two letters of the first name and the last two letters of the last name. And put a Y between what's left. And the result, reading from left to right, will identify who might solve this challenge and play puzzle on the air with me. Well, the actor is Ryan O'Neal. And if you drop those letters and stick a Y in the middle, you get anyone. And, yes, anyone can play puzzle on the air if they solve the puzzle and are lucky enough to be chosen.

MARTIN: That's cool. OK, so great effort to everyone who came up with an answer. We received over 600 submissions this week. Our winner, who is selected at random, is Dan Markland of Yakima, Wash. He's on the line now. Hey, Dan, congratulations.

DAN MARKLAND: Well, thanks, Rachel.

MARTIN: I love Yakima. But for those of us out in the audience who have never been, sell us. Tell us what's awesome about Yakima, Wash.

MARKLAND: Oh, let's see. We're about 35 miles from the geographic center of the state. So we're in the middle of everything. And we're the fruit bowl of the nation.

MARTIN: There you go. Did the answer to this puzzle come quickly to you?

MARKLAND: You know, I thought about going down a list of actors. And I thought, no, I'm going to work this backwards. And so I went that angle. I thought, well, first you have to be a player. So that has a Y in it. That didn't work out. Someone suggested smarty-pants would play with Will.

SHORTZ: (Laughter).

MARKLAND: But then I thought anybody or anyone. And once I went with that, the name came pretty quickly.

MARTIN: Well, we are happy to have you playing the puzzle this week. And with that, are you ready to give it a go?

MARKLAND: I'm ready to give it a go. How we do, that will be another story.

MARTIN: (Laughter) OK. All right, Will. Let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Dan and Rachel. I'm going to give you some words. For each one, think of a synonym whose first and second letters, in order, are the second and third letters, respectively, of my word. For example, if I said shock, you would say horrify because the second and third letters of shock are H-O. And those are the first two letters of horrify. And shock and horrify mean the same thing.

MARTIN: Tricky.

MARKLAND: All right.

MARTIN: OK.

SHORTZ: Number one - espy. Four letters, E-S-P-Y. And you're looking for a four-letter synonym starting with S-P.

MARKLAND: Spot.

SHORTZ: Spot is it. Omit, O-M-I-T, also four letters.

MARKLAND: Miss?

SHORTZ: That's it, yeah, miss. Five letters now. Asinine. Looking for a five-letter synonym starting with S-I for asinine.

MARKLAND: Wow, nothing's coming. Rachel, help me.

MARTIN: Silly?

SHORTZ: Silly is it.

MARKLAND: There you go.

SHORTZ: How about stay, S-T-A-Y? So you're looking for a synonym for stay, starting T-A.

MARKLAND: Stay. Wow, nothing's coming to mind.

MARTIN: Me either. Let's see.

SHORTZ: I stumped you both on that?

MARTIN: Stay. I don't know.

SHORTZ: All right, I'm just going to tell you. That one is tarry, T-A-R-R-Y. To tarry is to stay. Now we're going for six letters - idiot.

MARTIN: Six letters did you say?

SHORTZ: Yes.

MARKLAND: Dimwit.

MARTIN: Oh, good.

SHORTZ: Dimwit, good. Coup, C-O-U-P. So you want synonym starting O-U, and six letters.

MARKLAND: Ouster?

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. How about dream?

MARKLAND: Reflect isn't the same.

SHORTZ: Not quite. And this is as a noun.

MARKLAND: OK.

SHORTZ: So if you have an afternoon dream, you would have an afternoon what? Your mind just drifts off.

MARTIN: I'm not getting it either.

SHORTZ: Oh, I stumped you both. It's a reverie.

MARKLAND: Oh, yes.

MARTIN: Oh, reverie.

SHORTZ: And your last one is chance, C-H-A-N-C-E. So starting with H-A and it's 12 letters.

MARKLAND: Wow.

MARTIN: Twelve letters. That's a lot of letters.

SHORTZ: So if something happens by chance, it would happen by.

MARKLAND: Happenstance.

MARTIN: Yes.

SHORTZ: Happenstance is it. Nice job.

MARTIN: Great, Dan.

MARKLAND: Wonderful.

MARTIN: Well done.

MARKLAND: (Laughter) Thank you.

MARTIN: (Laughter) For playing the puzzle today, you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin and a bunch of different prizes, books and games - all sorts of stuff. You can read about it at npr.org/puzzle. And before we let you go, where do you hear us, Dan? What's your public radio station?

MARKLAND: 90.3, KNWY.

MARTIN: There you go. KNWY in Yakima, Wash. Dan Markland of Yakima. Thanks so much for playing the puzzle, Dan.

MARKLAND: Oh, thanks, Rachel. And thanks, Will.

MARTIN: Will, what's up for next week?

SHORTZ: Yes, think of a word that contains three consecutive letters of the alphabet together, like canopy, which contains N-O-P. Now change these three letters to one new letter to make a synonym of the first word. What words are these? So again, a word that contains three consecutive letters of the alphabet together, like canopy. Change those three letters to one new letter and you'll get a synonym of the first word. What words are these?

MARTIN: When you've got the answer, go to npr.org/puzzle. Click on the submit your answer link - just one entry per person, please. And our deadline for those entries is Thursday, November 19 at 3 p.m., Eastern Time. Don't forget to include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. And it goes like this. If you are the winner, then we give you a call, and you get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times. And he is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Will Shortz. Thanks so much, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.