Sunday Puzzle: Try T-H-is

Jul 5, 2020

On-air challenge: Every answer today is a word or phrase in which the only consonants are H and T — repeated as often as necessary. All the other letters are vowels.

Example: Eighth letter of the Greek alphabet --> THETA

1. Canine or molar

2. Give a share of one's income to the church

3. Lake straddling the California/Nevada border

4. Country sharing a border with the Dominican Republic

5. Island paradise in the South Pacific

6. Giggle sound

7. Tract of land with low-growing shrubs

8. Kind of yoga

9. Really good-looking person, in slang

10. Part of a drum kit with two cymbals and a pedal

11. If you can't stand this, you should get out of the kitchen, in a saying

12. Inhabitant of ancient Syria

13. Four-word palindrome for what an owl might say to describe a scorching summer day

Last week's challenge: This challenge came from listener Ed Pegg Jr., who runs the website MathPuzzle.com. Think of a five-letter animal. Remove the middle letter, and two opposites remain. What animal is it?

Challenge answer: Swine --> SW, NE; Nyala --> NY, LA; Skunk --> SK, NK

Winner: Anthony Gray of Closter, New Jersey

This week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from listener Harry Hillson of Avon-by-the-Sea, N.J. Think of an eight-letter word for something we all crave now. It consists of three consecutive men's nicknames. What are they?

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, July 9th, at 3 p.m. ET.

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

SCOTT DETROW, HOST:

And it is time - oh, yeah - to play The Puzzle.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

DETROW: Joining us is Will Shortz. He is, of course, the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION puzzlemaster.

Hey, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Scott. Welcome to the show.

DETROW: I'm excited to be here. And first of all, I am excited for you to walk us through last week's challenge because I worked on it for a while, knowing I was guest-hosting the show. And it seemed a little tricky to me.

SHORTZ: Yeah, it was a little tricky. It came from listener Ed Pegg Jr., who runs the website MathPuzzle.com. I said, think of a five-letter animal. Remove the middle letter, and two opposites remain. What animal is it? Well, my intended answer was swine. And you get rid of the I. You're left with southwest and northeast. Interestingly, there were two alternative answers proposed. One is nyala - N-Y-A-L-A. It's a spiral-horned antelope in Africa. Get rid of the middle letter, and you're left with New York and Los Angeles. Yeah, those are opposites. And some of the people suggested skunk. Get rid of the U, and you're left with S.K. and N.K., which are the abbreviations for South Korea and North Korea.

DETROW: So we received more than 900 correct responses, and the winner is Anthony Gray of Closter, N.J.

Anthony, congrats and welcome to the program.

ANTHONY GRAY: Thank you very much. I'm excited to do this.

DETROW: Now, which of these three animals did you go with?

GRAY: I went with swine.

DETROW: OK. And did you get it pretty quickly - or how did you work through it?

GRAY: No, I wouldn't say pretty quickly. I thought about it a couple of times during the week - earlier in the week. I came up with a list of 32 five-letter animals, but I couldn't find any matches. So I have to admit I went to Google. I Googled five-letter animals. So I took a look at the ones that I thought were possibilities. And I looked at swine, and I did make the connection southwest and northeast.

DETROW: All right. Are you ready to play The Puzzle?

GRAY: I am.

DETROW: All right. Will, over to you.

SHORTZ: All right. Anthony, every answer today is a word or phrase in which the only consonants are H and T, repeated as often as necessary. All the other letters are vowels. For example, if I said eighth letter of the Greek alphabet, you would say theta - has two Ts and an H. Here's number one - a canine or molar.

GRAY: Tooth.

SHORTZ: That's a tooth. Right. Number two is give a share of one's income to the church.

GRAY: Tithe.

SHORTZ: That's it. Lake straddling the California-Nevada border.

GRAY: Tahoe.

SHORTZ: Good. Country sharing a border with the Dominican Republic.

GRAY: Haiti.

SHORTZ: Haiti is it. Good. Island paradise in the South Pacific.

GRAY: Tahiti.

SHORTZ: Good. A giggle sound.

GRAY: A giggle sound - ha-ha only has the H.

SHORTZ: Right.

GRAY: Let's try teehee (ph).

SHORTZ: Teehee is it. Good. Tract of land with low-growing shrubs.

GRAY: Not coming up with that.

SHORTZ: How about if I tell you it starts with an H and they have these things in England?

GRAY: Heath.

SHORTZ: Heath is it. Good. Kind of yoga.

GRAY: I'm not a yoga expert, so I will need a hand.

SHORTZ: What if I told you it starts with H? It's a two-syllable word, and they are the first two of the three-syllable name of Shakespeare's wife Anne...

GRAY: Hathaway.

SHORTZ: There you go. Anne hatha - it's...

(LAUGHTER)

SHORTZ: Hatha yoga - hatha - yeah. How do you say it? Is it hatha yoga or hatha yoga?

GRAY: Yeah, I wasn't familiar with that at all.

SHORTZ: OK. How about a really good-looking person in slang?

GRAY: Hahi (ph).

SHORTZ: That's it. Part of a drum kit with two cymbals and a pedal.

GRAY: Hi-hat.

SHORTZ: That's it. If you can't stand this, you should get out of the kitchen, in a saying.

GRAY: Heat.

SHORTZ: The heat is it. How about an inhabitant of ancient Syria? And this is something from the Bible - or I know it from the Bible.

GRAY: Well, I can think of Hit, but that's about all.

SHORTZ: I'll tell you. It's a Hittite. You know that - H-I-T-T-I-T-E.

GRAY: Oh, OK.

SHORTZ: Hittite.

GRAY: OK.

SHORTZ: And here's your last one. It's not a familiar phrase, but it's a four-word palindrome for what an owl might say to describe a scorching summer day. And the enumeration is 3-3-2-4. So it's going to read backward and forward the same. It's a palindrome, and it's what an owl might say to describe a scorching summer day.

GRAY: Too hot, too hot is all I can think of.

SHORTZ: You got it - too hot. Yeah. Now just read that backward.

GRAY: Oh. Too hot, too hot.

SHORTZ: No, too hot, and then it's a two-letter word and a four-letter word.

GRAY: Oh. Oh. Hoot.

SHORTZ: There you go. Put it all together.

GRAY: Too hot, hoot, hoot.

SHORTZ: Too hot to hoot. That's what the owl would say on a...

GRAY: OK.

SHORTZ: ...Summer day. Good job.

DETROW: Nice job, Anthony. You were on fire. I feel like you were just snap-answering those one after another.

GRAY: Well, I don't quite feel that way, but at least I got a few of them off the bat.

DETROW: Well, you did pretty well. And of course, for playing our puzzle today, you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, as well as puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle. And Anthony, most important question - what member station do you listen to?

GRAY: WNYC FM in New York City.

DETROW: Anthony Gray of Closter, N.J., thank you for playing The Puzzle.

GRAY: Thank you. It was my pleasure.

DETROW: All right. So Will, what is next week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yeah. It comes from listener Harry Hillson of Avon-by-the-Sea, N.J. Think of an eight-letter word for something we all crave now. It consists of three consecutive men's nicknames. What are they? So again, an eight-letter word for something we all crave now, consists of three consecutive men's nicknames. What's the thing, and what nicknames are these?

DETROW: All right. So when you have the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle. Click on the submit your answer link. Remember, just one entry, please. And our deadline for entries is Thursday, July 9, at 3 o'clock Eastern. Make sure to include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. And if you are the winner, we'll give you a call, and you get to play on-air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster Will Shortz.

Thank you so much, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks a lot, Scott.

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