Sunday Puzzle: Word Scramble! : NPR



And it’s time to play the puzzle.


RASCOE: Will Shortz is joining us. He is Puzzle Editor of The New York Times and Puzzle Master of WEEKEND EDITION.

It’s good to talk to you, Will.


RASCOE: So remind us of last week’s challenge.

SHORTZ: Yeah. It came from auditor Michael Penn of Durham, NC I said, name two countries with a total of 12 letters which when spelled one after the other form six consecutive state postal abbreviations . And the answer is Denmark and Spain. Put them together, you get Delaware, New Mexico, Arkansas, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and Indiana in order.

RASCOE: Wow. OKAY. I never would have thought of that. But we received over 400 correct submissions. And the winner is Jamey Leahey from Danville, Ky. Congratulations, Jamey, and welcome to the show.

JAMEY LEAHEY: Thank you. Great to be here.

RASCOE: So how did you understand that? – Because I wouldn’t have had that.

LEAHEY: Sometimes it takes longer to do it. My wife and I enjoy working them together. And we started thinking, OK, well, they’re probably not six letters each. They’re probably five and seven or something. And then we thought – because we were in Kentucky driving to Indiana – and we thought, well, what if this was Kentucky in there? Well, then how would the K and the Y be separated? And then it came to my wife’s mind, you know, it’s probably KS. And then it hit her – Denmark. And a few minutes later we reached Spain.

RASCOE: Wow. So it was group work. So why do you…

LEAHEY: (Laughs).

RASCOE: …The puzzle and not your wife?

LEAHEY: I was the one who said, well, let’s send the response. Let’s do it.

RASCOE: Okay (laughs).

LEAHEY: She’s actually a juror right now.

RASCOE: Oh, well, that’s important too.

LEAHEY: That’s right.

RASCOE: You know, the puzzle, the jury duty – you know, those are both civic duties.

LEAHEY: That’s right.

RASCOE: So what do you do when you’re not playing the puzzle?

LEAHEY: Well, my wife and I like to participate in some of our arts and culture activities in our small town. We do a bit of travelling, a bit of gardening. We stay busy.

RASCOE: That sounds like a lot of fun. So, Jamey, I have to ask you, are you ready to play the puzzle?

LEAHEY: Oh, I am.

RASCOE: Alright. Well, take it away, Will.

SHORTZ: All right, Jamey and Ayesha, I’ll give you two four-letter words. Rearrange the letters of one of them to get a synonym for the other. And which word is the synonym and which is the anagram, it’s up to you to find out. For example, if I say soup – SOUP – and work – WORK – you would say opus because opus is an anagram of soup, and it is a synonym for work.


SHORTZ: Alright. Number one is cozy – COZY – and sung – SUNG.

LEAHEY: Shit. I’m not sure I’ll get there. Let’s see.

SHORTZ: Ah, you’ll understand. Rearrange the letters of sung to get a synonym of cozy.

LEAHEY: Oh, good fit.

SHORTZ: It’s comfortable. Number two is halt – HALT – and post – POST.

LEAHEY: Let’s see. Stop.

SHORTZ: That’s right. Life – LIFE – and grater.

LEAHEY: Life and the grater. File and grater.

SHORTZ: This is the file. Party – PART – and tradition – LORE.

LEAHEY: Role and role.

SHORTZ: That’s right. Dull – DULL – and torn.

LEAHEY: Turn and tear. Ripped and praised.

SHORTZ: That’s right. Left – LEFT – and newt – NEWT.

LEAHEY: Left and newt. Left and went.

SHORTZ: That’s right. Tope – TOPE – and bard – BARD.

LEAHEY: Let’s see. Poet and bard.

SHORTZ: Poet is that. Link – LINK – and oven.

LEAHEY: Oven and oven.

SHORTZ: That’s right. Lean – LEAN – and silt.

LEAHEY: Lean and slime.


LEAHEY: Ayesha, can you help me here?

RASCOE: I was…


RASCOE: I thought I had one, but then I thought…

LEAHEY: Bend over and list.

SHORTZ: The list, that’s it. You got it.

RASCOE: List. OKAY. It’s a good one.

SHORTZ: And here’s your last one. Thin – THIN – and index – CLUE.

LEAHEY: I’m thinking of Luce. It’s not that.

SHORTZ: Anagram the other.

RASCOE: Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh.

LEAHEY: Got it?

RASCOE: That’s what you need from me, but I couldn’t give it to you (laughs).

LEAHEY: Oh, a hint.

SHORTZ: A hint, a hint.

LEAHEY: That’s right.

RASCOE: It was a clue that was a clue.

LEAHEY: That was great.

RASCOE: Alright. Good work. So how are you feeling?

LEAHEY: Oh, that feels good, that feels good. I would like to shout them when I listen to the radio, but that, of course, is more difficult.

RASCOE: It’s always different when you’re in the moment. But you did a great job.

LEAHEY: Thank you.

RASCOE: For playing our puzzle today you will receive a WEEKEND EDITION pin as well as books and puzzle games. You can read all about it at And, Jamey, what member station do you listen to?

LEAHEY: We listen to WEKU in Richmond.

RASCOE: This is Jamey Leahey from Danville, Ky.

Thanks, Jamey, for playing the puzzle.

LEAHEY: It was great fun. Thanks.

RASCOE: Okay, Will, what’s next week’s challenge?

SHORTZ: Yeah. It comes from listener Roy Holliday, from Nyack, NY Name something in eight letters you might hear in an opera. Drop three of the letters without changing the order of the remaining five and you’ll name something you might see in an opera. What are these things? Again, eight letters, something you might hear in an opera. Drop three of the letters, but keep the remaining five in the same order – you’ll be naming something you might see at an opera. What are these things?

RASCOE: When you have the answer, go to our website,, and click the submit your answer link. Remember, only one entry, please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, September 15 at 3 p.m. EST. Don’t forget to include a phone number where we can reach you. If you are the winner, we will call you. And if you pick up the phone, you can play live with New York Times puzzle editor and WEEKEND EDITION puzzle master Will SHORTZ.

Thanks Will.

SHORTZ: Thank you, Ayesha.


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