Sunday Puzzle: Sound It Out

Jan 24, 2021
Originally published on January 24, 2021 7:59 am

On-air Challenge: Every answer today is a word or name that sounds like it starts with two spoken letters of the alphabet.

Example: Wanting what other people have --> ENVIOUS (N-V-ous)

1. Place for camels to drink
2. Capital of Austria
3. Try to equal or excel
4. Boredom
5. 9 x 9
6. Activity of secret agents
7. One involved in trickery
[Each of the last answers starts with three spoken letters of the alphabet]
8. Following orders
9. Online travel agency that competes with Travelocity
10. [Fill in the blank:] "___, my dear Watson"

Last week's challenge: This challenge comes from listener Gerry Reynolds of Chicago. Name a national landmark (6,3). Add the name of a chemical element. Rearrange all the letters to name two states. What are they?

Challenge answer: Hoover Dam + tin --> Vermont + Idaho

Winner: Hannah Kummer of Arlington, Va.

This week's challenge: This week's challenge is a spinoff of my on-air puzzle, and it's a little tricky. Think of a hyphenated word you might use to describe a young child that sounds like three letters spoken one after the other.

Submit Your Answer

If you know the answer to next week's challenge, submit it here by Thursday, Jan. 28, at 3 p.m. ET. Listeners who submit correct answers win a chance to play the on-air puzzle. Important: Include a phone number where we can reach you.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

It is 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 puzzlemaster. Hi, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.

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

SHORTZ: Yeah, it came from listener Gerry Reynolds of Chicago. I said name a national landmark - two words, six letters in the first word, three letters in the last. Add the name of a chemical element and rearrange all the letters to name two states. What are they? The national landmark is Hoover Dam. Add 10 and you can rearrange all those letters to get Vermont and Idaho.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received over 2,400 correct responses. And the winner is Hannah Kummer of Arlington, Va. Congratulations.

HANNAH KUMMER: Thanks, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So how'd you figure it out?

KUMMER: Well, I started with the number of letters. I knew it had to be either 10 or 11. So I started listing out states that had four and seven letters and five and six letters, and that was how I approached it.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Cool. And how long have you been playing the Puzzle?

KUMMER: For over 10 years now. I remember I used to listen to it with my dad in the car after "Car Talk." So it's been a while. But more recently, I've started submitting every week, so I'm very excited to have won.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And what was it like when you got the call?

KUMMER: I was super surprised. Your winner last week was quite old, and I thought I would have to submit for a lot more years before I got on the air.

(LAUGHTER)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You don't have to be in your 90s to get on the Puzzle, actually (laughter). All right, Will, take it away.

SHORTZ: All right, Hannah, every answer today is a word or name that sounds like it starts with two spoken letters of the alphabet. For example, element number 55 is cesium, which starts with C-Z-um (ph) or wanting what other people have is envious, which starts N-V-us (ph). Here's No. 1 - a place for camels to drink.

KUMMER: Oasis.

SHORTZ: That's it, an O-A. No. 2 is capital of Austria.

KUMMER: Oh, capital of Austria.

SHORTZ: And it's known for waltzes, if that helps.

KUMMER: Vienna.

SHORTZ: V-N-uh (ph) is it. Tried to be like as a role model.

KUMMER: Emulate.

SHORTZ: M-U-late (ph). Excellent. Boredom.

KUMMER: Boredom. Oh. Idleness?

SHORTZ: It's the feeling you have. You're experiencing boredom. You're experiencing...

KUMMER: I think I need some help, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I guess I'll just have to give you a letter. I don't know quite...

SHORTZ: That's a tough one. Yeah.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It's a tough one. So I would say it starts with T.

SHORTZ: Yeah.

KUMMER: Tedium.

SHORTZ: Yeah, that's it, tedium.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Good.

SHORTZ: Nine times nine.

KUMMER: Eighty-one.

SHORTZ: That's it. Activity of secret agents.

KUMMER: Spying?

SHORTZ: Yeah, but...

KUMMER: Espionage.

SHORTZ: S-P-ionage (ph) is it. One involved in trickery.

KUMMER: One involved in trickery - like, a con artist, a fox...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It's also part of the initials in the city in which I find myself right now, the capital of our nation.

KUMMER: Deceiver.

SHORTZ: D-C-ver (ph) - oh, that was a great clue, Lulu.

KUMMER: That was.

SHORTZ: Now, each of the last answers starts with three spoken letters of the alphabet. And your first one is following orders.

KUMMER: Obeying.

SHORTZ: You've got the right two letters, but they need to start O-B.

KUMMER: O-B - obedience.

SHORTZ: Obedient is it. Online travel agency that competes with Travelocity.

KUMMER: Online - Airbnb - no, that's not right. Expedia?

SHORTZ: X-P-D-uh (ph) is right. And your last one, fill in the blank - blank my dear, Watson.

KUMMER: Oh, it's Sherlock Holmes, but I'm drawing such a blank.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So what is another word for grade school?

SHORTZ: Yeah.

KUMMER: Elementary my dear, Watson.

SHORTZ: L-M-N-tary (ph). Nice job.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Good job. How do you feel?

KUMMER: Oh, that was fun.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It was fun. You did great. For playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, as well as puzzle books and games. And you can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle. And, Hannah, did you tell your dad you were going to be on playing today?

KUMMER: I did, and he was very excited. I can't wait for him to hear the segment.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Which member station do you listen to?

KUMMER: WAMU.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Hannah Kummer of Arlington, Va., thank you so much for playing the Puzzle.

KUMMER: Thanks, Lulu. Thanks, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks.

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

SHORTZ: Yes. It's a spinoff of my on-air puzzle, and it's a little tricky. Think of a hyphenated word you might use to describe a young child that sounds like three letters spoken one after the other. So that's it - a hyphenated word that you might use to describe a young child. And it sounds like three letters spoken, one after the other. What word 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, January 28 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Include a phone number where we can reach you at 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 very own puzzlemaster, Will Shortz. Thanks so much, Will.

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