On-air challenge: Three words will be given, starting with the letters F, B, and I respectively. Find a word that can follow each one to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase.
Last week's challenge: Name a state capital. Drop one of its letters. The remaining letters can be rearranged to name another major city in the United States. What is it? There are two different answers, and you should find both of them.
Answer: St. Paul (Minn.), Tulsa (Okla.); Salem (Ore.), Mesa (Ariz.)
Winner: Theodore Hemmaplardh of West Hills, Calif.
Next week's challenge from listener Steve Baggish of Arlington, Mass.: Name a well-known character of TV, movies and comics. Two words. Replace the 8th, 9th, and 10th letters with an S. Then rearrange the result to name a well-known actor who played this character on film. First and last names. Who is it?
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, Dec. 3 at 3 p.m. ET.
LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:
Yesterday would have been Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday. But if you didn't get around to celebrating Old Blue Eyes with a stack of records, not to worry. We've got another classic for your ears. It is time for the puzzle.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
WERTHEIMER: Joining me now is old brown eyes, Will Shortz, puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITIONS's puzzle master. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Linda. OK, what color are your eyes?
WERTHEIMER: (Laughter) Blue most of the time. So remind us; what was last week's puzzle?
SHORTZ: Yes, I said name a state capital. I said drop one of its letters. The remaining letters can be rearranged to name another major city in the United States. What is it? And there are two answers. The easy one is Salem, Ore., to Mesa, Ariz. The hard one to find is St. Paul, Minn., S-T-P-A-U-L, and drop the P and rearrange; you get Tulsa.
WERTHEIMER: That was very clever. One-hundred-thirty-three of you got it right. Our randomly selected winner this week is Theo Hemmaplardh of West Hills, Calif. Congratulations, Theo.
THEO HEMMAPLARDH: Oh, thank you.
WERTHEIMER: So this was a tough one. How did you figure it out?
HEMMAPLARDH: My wife and I were throwing out state capitals around the kitchen table, and we got stuck. So I thought I'd try making a spreadsheet, since I work with a lot of spreadsheets and data as part of my job, and made a grid with state capitals at the top and major American cities on the side and compared differences in word lengths and number of matching letters and narrowed it down to the two answers.
WERTHEIMER: How funny. So how long have you been playing the puzzle?
HEMMAPLARDH: I'm relatively new at it. My wife and I started doing it on a regular basis about six months ago. And it's something we look forward to doing each week together.
WERTHEIMER: Well, that is very sweet. So, Theo, are you ready to play the puzzle?
HEMMAPLARDH: I am. I'll give it my best shot.
WERTHEIMER: OK, Will, let's play.
SHORTZ: All right, Theo and Linda, I'm going to give you three words that start with the letters F, B and I. You give me a word that can follow each of mine to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase. For example, if I said fast, back and inside, you would say track, as in fast track, backtrack and inside track.
WERTHEIMER: Oh, my goodness.
HEMMAPLARDH: Oh, wow.
WERTHEIMER: I don't know if I can do this one.
SHORTZ: You can do this. Number one - floor, bulletin, ironing.
HEMMAPLARDH: Floor, bulletin and ironing. Board. Floor board.
SHORTZ: Board is right.
WERTHEIMER: Very good, yeah.
SHORTZ: Flash, birthday, index.
HEMMAPLARDH: Flash, birthday and index. Cake, flash.
SHORTZ: OK, you said birthday cake.
HEMMAPLARDH: Index cards.
SHORTZ: Card is correct. Fun, brokerage, ice.
HEMMAPLARDH: Brokerage, fun and ice. Brokerage, fun, fun, ice. Brokerage...
WERTHEIMER: Ice is kind of an antique reference. I don't know.
SHORTZ: That's true. That's true. You don't see many ice blanks anymore. But if you go to an amusement park, you might see a fun blank.
HEMMAPLARDH: A fun ride? Ice ride.
SHORTZ: Where do they have those funny mirrors at an amusement park?
HEMMAPLARDH: Fun house.
SHORTZ: Fun house, brokerage house and ice house. Good. Family, best, invisible.
HEMMAPLARDH: Family, best, and invisible. Best man. Invisible man.
SHORTZ: Best man, family man an invisible man. How about Florida, backspace, ignition.
HEMMAPLARDH: Florida, backspace and ignition. That would be key.
SHORTZ: That's right. And your last one is first, birth, interest.
HEMMAPLARDH: First, birth and interest. Rate.
SHORTZ: There you go. First rate, birth rate and interest rate. Nice job.
WERTHEIMER: (Laughter) That is pretty good.
HEMMAPLARDH: Oh, wow.
WERTHEIMER: Theo, that was a great job. And for playing the puzzle today, you will get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin as well as puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle Theo, tell us your local public radio station. Where do you listen to us?
HEMMAPLARDH: It's KCRW in Santa Monica.
WERTHEIMER: Theo Hemmaplardh of West Hills, Calif., thank you very much for playing.
HEMMAPLARDH: Oh, thank you very much for having me.
WERTHEIMER: So, Will, what's next week?
SHORTZ: Yes, the challenge comes from listener Steve Baggish of Arlington, Mass. Name a well-known character of TV, movies and comics, two words. Replace the eighth, ninth and 10th letters with an S, then rearrange the result and you'll name a well-known actor who played this character on film. First and last names, who is it? So again, a well-known character of TV, movies and comics, two words. Replace the eighth, ninth and 10th letters with an S, as in Sam. Then rearrange the result, and you'll name a well-known actor who played this character on film. First and last names, who is it?
WERTHEIMER: So when you have the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle and click on the submit your answer link. Just one entry per person, please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, December 17, at 3 p.m. Eastern. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. And if you are the winner, we'll give you call, and you'll get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Will Shortz. Will, thank you.
SHORTZ: Thank you, Linda. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.