Sunday Puzzle: Categories Of Categories

May 24, 2020

On-air challenge: I'm going to name two things that are in the same category. And that category is itself part of another category, which I'll also name. You tell me the category in the middle.

Example: Volkswagen, Chrysler/Rock groups -->(The) Cars
1. Robin, Finch/Hitchcock movies
2. Seven, 100/Books of the Bible
3. Hip hip hooray!, Go team!/Sitcoms
4. Merlin, Harry Potter/N.B.A. teams
5. Mary, Elizabeth/Boroughs of New York City
6. Amazon, Nile/Female comedians
7. Roasted, Salted/Comic strips
8. Potatoes, Rice/Chain stores
9. Proofreader, Auditor/Board games

Last week's challenge: Name a Cabinet department — as in "Department of ___." Rearrange the letters of what goes in the blank to get the brand name of a product you might find at a drug store or supermarket. What is it?

Challenge answers: Labor --> Oral-B or Defense --> Senefed or State --> Tate's

Winner: Bill Tighe of Redondo Beach, Calif.

This week's challenge: Think of a well-known European city in seven letters. If you remove the third letter, you'll get a two-word phrase describing what you must do to win a race. If instead you remove the fourth letter, you'll get a two-word phrase describing what you can't do to win a race. What's the city?

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, May 28th, at 3 p.m. ET.

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

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

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 puzzlemaster.

Hi, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Hello, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So remind us of last week's challenge.

SHORTZ: Yes. I said, name a Cabinet department - as in department of blank - and rearrange the letters of what goes in the blank to get the brand name of a product you might find at a drugstore or a supermarket. Well, it turned out there were three answers. My intended answer was labor, which you can rearrange to make Oral-B, as in toothbrushes. But you can also rearrange the letters of state to get Tate's, as in Tate's Cookies. They seem to be available all across the country. And the Department of Defense - you can rearrange that to make Senefed - S-E-N-E-F-E-D - which is a medicine for runny noses and nasal decongestion.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received almost 800 correct responses, and the winner this week is Bill Tighe of Redondo Beach, Calif.

Congratulations.

BILL TIGHE: Thank you.

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

TIGHE: Well, it took me a long time, actually. I did what Will suggested, which is to write all the names of the departments down in sort of a pyramid shape. And I looked at them and looked at them. And I spent a long, long time making up words and didn't come up with much. And then a couple of days later, I saw it in labor.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And there you go. And I hear that you've been playing The Puzzle for a while.

TIGHE: I've been playing The Puzzle for probably 25 years.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Oh, so your day has finally come (laughter).

TIGHE: Right. I've been waiting for this a long time.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Are you ready to play?

TIGHE: I'm not really ready, but I'll do my best.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I think you're going to do great. Here we go, Will. Take it away.

SHORTZ: All right, Bill. I'm going to name two things that are in the same category, and that category is itself part of another category, which I'll also name. You tell me the category in the middle. For example, if I said Volkswagen, Chrysler and rock groups, you would say Cars because Volkswagen and Chrysler are both cars, and The Cars were a popular rock group of the 1970s and '80s.

TIGHE: Oh, dear. OK.

SHORTZ: All right. Number one is robin, finch and Hitchcock movies.

TIGHE: Birds.

SHORTZ: That's it. Seven, 100, books of the Bible.

TIGHE: Seven, 100, books of the Bible. Seven...

SHORTZ: Well, what are seven and 100?

TIGHE: Numbers - oh, of course - numbers.

SHORTZ: There you go - numbers. All right. Try this one. Hip hip hooray; go, team - and the category is sitcoms. Hip hip hooray and go, team.

TIGHE: Cheers.

SHORTZ: There you go. Merlin, Harry Potter, NBA teams.

TIGHE: Wizards.

SHORTZ: Wizards - Washington Wizards is it. Mary, Elizabeth, boroughs of New York City.

TIGHE: Queens.

SHORTZ: That's it. Amazon, Nile, female comedians.

TIGHE: Rivers.

SHORTZ: Rivers, as in Joan Rivers. Roasted, salted, comic strips.

TIGHE: Peanuts.

SHORTZ: That's it. Here's a tough one - potatoes, rice, chain stores.

TIGHE: Carbohydrates - no, that can't be right.

SHORTZ: I'll give you a more helpful hint - office supply stores.

TIGHE: Oh, Staples.

SHORTZ: Staples - yeah, they're both staples. And here's your last one - proofreader, auditor, board games.

TIGHE: Oh, I should know this.

SHORTZ: It's one of the most basic board games.

TIGHE: Scrabble.

SHORTZ: And it's a generic game that goes back hundreds of years.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And what do you do if you're proofreading? What are you doing?

TIGHE: Checkers.

SHORTZ: There you go - checkers. Proofreader and auditor are both checkers. Good job.

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

TIGHE: Oh, relaxed now. I'm feeling better. And I want to thank Will. I'm a big fan, going back to Games magazine days. And he's been an inspiration to justify my addiction to playing games and solving puzzles.

SHORTZ: Thanks a lot, Bill. I appreciate that.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Aww (ph). And for playing our 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. And Bill, which member station do you listen to?

TIGHE: KPCC. I'm a member.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Great. Bill Tighe of Redondo Beach, Calif., thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.

TIGHE: Thank you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And Will, what's next week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yeah, it comes from listener Patrick Barry (ph) of Jasper, Ala. Think of a well-known European city in seven letters. If you remove the third letter, you'll get a two-word phrase describing what you must do to win a race. If, instead, you remove the fourth letter, you'll get a two-word phrase describing what you can't do to win a race. What's the city? So again, well-known European city, seven letters. Remove the third letter. You get a phrase describing what you must do to win a race. If, instead, you drop the fourth letter, you get the phrase describing what you can't do to win a race. What city is it, and what are these phrases?

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, May 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.

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