On-air challenge: I'm going to give you a word and an extra letter. Anagram everything into a new word ... in which the added letter is silent.
Example: MOW + B --> WOMB
1. GRIN + W
2. TOGS + H
3. FINE + K
4. TENS + C
5. HANS + G
6. BRIDE + S
7. NOMAD + L
8. DOTER + B
9. PEDLAR + O
10. SIMONE + T
11. RETINT + W
12. AIMING + E
13. NO SHAME + D
14. CHEAP MAN + G
Last week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from my colleague Stan Newman, who's the crossword editor for Newsday. Many famous people's names contain three pairs of double letters, like Johnny Appleseed and the actress Jennifer Connelly. But there are two famous fiction writers — one male, one female — whose names have four pairs of double letters. The male writer is Tennessee Williams. Who is the popular female writer?
Challenge Answer: Colleen McCullough
Winner: Alex Szabo of Parma, Ohio.
This week's challenge: Here's an April Foolish puzzle from Raymond Nardo of Mineola, N.Y. Think of a world capital. Drop the third and fourth letters, and keeping the remaining letters in order you'll name a state. What state 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 by Thursday, April 2, at 3 p.m. ET.
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
And it's time to play The Puzzle.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Joining us is Will Shortz. He is puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. What was last week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yeah. It came from my colleague Stan Newman at Newsday newspaper. I said many famous people's names contain three pairs of double letters, like Johnny Appleseed and Jennifer Connelly. But I said there are two famous fiction writers - one male, one female - whose names have four pairs of double letters. The male writer is Tennessee Williams. Who is the popular female writer? And the answer is Colleen McCullough, author of "The Thorn Birds" and other books.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received over 1,700 correct responses. And the winner this week is Alex Szabo of Parma, Ohio.
ALEX SZABO: All right. Thank you, Lulu. Thank you, Will.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: How'd you solve the puzzle?
SZABO: Well, I do remember watching the miniseries of "The Thorn Birds" years ago - the one with...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Me, too. It's good.
SZABO: ...Richard Chamberlain. And...
SZABO: ...It just seemed to bring a bright light onto.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: How long have you been playing?
SZABO: Off and on for years. I've really been listening to it more religiously the last few months and decided, OK, I'll send in a - an answer to the puzzle.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) And what do you do?
SZABO: I'm an auditor.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: OK. So this is a busy time of the year.
SZABO: Yes, absolutely it is.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Well, are you ready to play The Puzzle?
SZABO: Yes, I am.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Take it away, Will.
SHORTZ: All right. Alex, I'm going to give you a word and an extra letter. Anagram everything into a new word in which the added letter is silent. For example, if I said mow - M-O-W - plus B, you would say womb because the B in womb is silent. OK. Number one is grin - G-R-I-N - plus W.
SHORTZ: That's it. Togs - T-O-G-S - plus H.
SHORTZ: That's it. Fine - F-I-N-E - plus K.
SHORTZ: That's it. Tens - T-E-N-S - plus C.
SHORTZ: Nice. Hans, as in the name - H-A-N-S - plus G.
SZABO: That's a little bit trickier here for some reason.
SHORTZ: Put the G at the front. And it's what you might do with your...
SZABO: Gnash - oh, yes, gnash.
SHORTZ: ...Might do with your teeth - is right. Bride - B-R-I-D-E - plus S. That's a tougher one.
SZABO: I could use another clue, please.
SHORTZ: Yeah. The S appears at the end, and it's a word that comes from French. And what if I told you it starts with D?
SZABO: Debris. Oh, there we go.
SHORTZ: That's it. Good one. Nomad - N-O-M-A-D - plus L. And your hint is it's something nice to eat.
SHORTZ: That's it. Retint - R-E-T-I-N-T - plus W. And this is another one of those words that starts with a silent W.
SHORTZ: That's it. And here's your last one. No shame - N-O S-H-A-M-E - plus D as in dog. This is an adjective that you would like to describe yourself as.
SHORTZ: There you go. Nice job.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So how do you feel?
SZABO: Grateful that it wasn't harder than it was but grateful that it was as hard as it was.
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. Alex, which member station do you listen to?
SZABO: WCPN, 90.3 in Cleveland, Ohio.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Alex Szabo of Parma, Ohio. Thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.
SZABO: Why, thank you both.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. What's next week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yeah. It's an April Foolish puzzle because April Fool's Day is this week, and it's from Raymond Nardo of Mineola, Long Island. Think of a world capital. Drop the third and fourth letters. And keeping the remaining letters in order, you'll name a state. What state is it? So again, a world capital - drop the third and fourth letters. Keeping the rest of the letters in order, you'll name a state. What state 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, April 2, 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 puzzlemaster Will Shortz.
Thanks so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thank you, Lulu.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.