Sunday Puzzle: Famous Names

Aug 9, 2020

On-air challenge: Every answer today is the name of a famous person whose first initial and last name, in order, spell a word. For example, take Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence. The B of Benjamin + his last name spells BRUSH. I'll give you clues to the parts. You give me the names.

1. Oscar-winning actor (3,5) — expression of appreciation
2. Singer with the Supremes (5,4) — worthless stuff
3. Former baseball star (4,4) — writing that's not poetry
4. Comedian and former host of the Oscars (5,4) — earthenware pot
5. Singer with the group Hole (8,4) — garlic bulb
6. Oldtime comedian with a radio show (4,5) — opposite of risen
7. Co-star of "Desperate Housewives" (4,7) — former British prime minister

Last week's challenge: This challenge came from listener Alan Hochbaum, of Duluth, Ga. Think of a famous living American whose first and last names have a total of eight letters — all different. Five of these letters are consecutive in the alphabet. The remaining three can be rearranged to spell a woman's nickname. What famous American is this?

Challenge answer: Elon Musk --> KLMNO + SUE

Winner: Don Bottomley of Beaverton, Ore.

This week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from listener Barbara Weinstein, of Lincoln, Mass. Think of a famous living person in the entertainment field whose first name is a bird. The person's last name is a quality of this bird — something its feathers have. Who's the famous person, and what's the bird?

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, August 13, at 3 p.m. ET.

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

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

And 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: Hey there, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So what was last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yeah. It came from listener Alan Hochbaum of Duluth, Ga. I said, think of a famous living American whose first and last names have a total of eight letters - all different. Five of these letters are consecutive in the alphabet. The remaining three can be rearranged to spell a woman's nickname. What famous American is this? Well, the answer is Elon Musk - has K, L, M, N and O, plus Sue. There was an interesting alternative answer that a lot of people send in - Jim Kelly, former NFL quarterback. His name has I, J, K, L and M, plus the man's name Eli.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received nearly 800 correct responses. And the winner is Don Bottomley of Beaverton, Ore.

Congratulations.

DON BOTTOMLEY: Thank you.

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

BOTTOMLEY: It's one of those ones that just popped into my head almost immediately after the question was asked.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And where were you when you got the call? And what did you think?

BOTTOMLEY: I was down at my local Elks Lodge doing a little maintenance. And I was just very surprised. I had forgotten about it.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) Fair enough. Are you ready to play The Puzzle?

BOTTOMLEY: I am.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: OK. Take it away, Will.

SHORTZ: All right, Don. Every answer today is the name of a famous person whose first initial and last name, in order, spell a word. For example, take Benjamin Rush, signer of the Declaration of Independence. The B of Benjamin, plus his last name, spells brush. I'll give you clues to the part. You give me the names.

BOTTOMLEY: OK.

SHORTZ: Here's number one. An Oscar-winning actor - 3, 5 - and makes an expression of appreciation.

BOTTOMLEY: Claps.

SHORTZ: You're - what's an expression of appreciation? What do you say in six letters?

BOTTOMLEY: Thanks.

SHORTZ: There you go. And who does that make?

BOTTOMLEY: Tom Hanks.

SHORTZ: Tom Hanks is it. Good. Number two - a singer with The Supremes - 5, 4 - and the word is worthless stuff.

BOTTOMLEY: Diana Ross.

SHORTZ: That's it. Former baseball star - 4,4 - writing that's not poetry.

BOTTOMLEY: Pete Rose.

SHORTZ: That's it - prose. Comedian and former host of the Oscars - 5, 4 - an earthenware pot.

BOTTOMLEY: Not getting it.

SHORTZ: Sort of an irreverent comedian, although maybe that's redundant.

BOTTOMLEY: Going to need some help here, I think.

SHORTZ: What if I told you the first initial is C for an earthenware pot?

BOTTOMLEY: Chris Rock - crock.

SHORTZ: Chris Rock is it. Good. Singer with the group Hole - 8, 4 - and a garlic bulb.

BOTTOMLEY: Courtney Love - clove.

SHORTZ: Nice. Old-time comedian with a radio show - 4, 5 - opposite of risen. What's the opposite of risen?

BOTTOMLEY: A bed doesn't fit.

SHORTZ: (Laughter) That's good.

BOTTOMLEY: Unleavened - no.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It happens to angels when they end up in hell.

SHORTZ: There you go. Good clue. And there's that old expression. I've blank, and I can't get up.

BOTTOMLEY: Fallen - Fred Allen.

SHORTZ: Fred Allen - good one. It came to you. And here's your last one - co-star of "Desperate Housewives" - 4,7 - former British prime minister.

BOTTOMLEY: I never watched that show.

SHORTZ: It's an actress whose name you know. And the former British prime minister is the first female prime minister in Britain. And her first name was Margaret.

BOTTOMLEY: Margaret Thatcher.

SHORTZ: Yes. And so who's the co-star of "Desperate Housewives"? You got all the letters - T and Hatcher. What's her first name?

BOTTOMLEY: Teri Hatcher.

SHORTZ: Teri Hatcher - you got it.

BOTTOMLEY: Boy.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Good job. How do you feel? That was a hard one.

BOTTOMLEY: Yeah. It's different. I liked it.

(LAUGHTER)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: For playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, as well as puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle. And Don, which member station do you listen to?

BOTTOMLEY: KOPB.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Don Bottomley of Beaverton, Ore.

Thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.

BOTTOMLEY: All right. Thank you. I had a good time.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'm so glad. All right, Will. What is next week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes, it comes from listener Barbara Weinstein of Lincoln, Mass. Think of a famous living person in the entertainment field whose first name is a bird. The person's last name is a quality of this bird, something its feathers have. Who's the famous person, and what's the bird? So again, famous living person in entertainment field - first name is a bird. Last name is a quality of this bird, something its feathers have. Who's the famous person, and what's the bird?

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, August 13, 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.