Sunday Puzzle: Short A's

Jan 12, 2020

On-air challenge: Every answer is a compound word in which the vowel sound in each half is a short "a" — as in "grassland" or "madcap."

1. Father's father

2. Item in a levee

3. Slang term for someone who talks, talks, talks

4. Symbol in a tweet

5. Sudden remembrance of something past

6. Carrying case with straps that's worn over the shoulders

7. Pancake

8. Game of 21

9. Low-growing weed that can quickly take over a lawn

10. Old-fashioned timer that you periodically turn over

11. Place where taxis line up

12. What a pirate might be made to walk

13. Done hurriedly and carelessly

14. Make individually without machine help

15. Item you step onto when you step out of the shower

Last week's challenge: This challenge came from listener Evan Kalish of Bayside, N.Y. Think of an informal term for part of the human body that consists of two alcoholic beverages, one after the other. What is it?

Challenge Answer: Noggin (nog + gin)

Winner: Molly Moss of Shutesbury, Mass.

This week's challenge: This challenge comes from listener Neville Fogarty of Newport News, Va. Think of a familiar three-word phrase that has the following property: The first word is a number. Let X be that number. Then the last X letters of the second word form, in order, a common abbreviation for the third word.

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, Jan. 16 at 3 p.m. ET.

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

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

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. Welcome back.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Thank you. Good to be back. What was last week's challenge? I missed it.

SHORTZ: Well, it was short and sweet - came from listener Evan Kalish of Bayside, N.Y. I said, think of an informal term for a part of the human body that consists of two alcoholic beverages, one after the other. What is it? And the answer is noggin, which consists of nog and gin.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received over 1,100 correct responses. And the winner this week is Molly Moss of Shutesbury, Mass.

Congratulations.

MOLLY MOSS: Thanks.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: How'd you do it?

MOSS: So I was driving with my daughter, and she was a little confused about what you meant by an informal term for the human body.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter).

MOSS: And so, as an example, I thought about it for a second. I was like, like, you might call your head a noggin.

SHORTZ: That's so funny.

MOSS: I was like, wait a second.

(LAUGHTER)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Wait a second. That sounds right. And what do you do?

MOSS: I'm the assistant director at Forbes Library in Northampton, Mass.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's fantastic - hence why you knew so many words.

(LAUGHTER)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: How old's your daughter?

MOSS: She is 13.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: She is 13. Does she like to play The Puzzle?

MOSS: She does, as does my other 16-year-old daughter and my husband. We all listen together.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Fantastic. And what do they think about you being on?

MOSS: Oh, they're excited.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Good. All right. You ready to play?

MOSS: Sure.

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

SHORTZ: All right. Molly, every answer today is a compound word in which the vowel sound in each half is a short A, as in grassland or madcap.

MOSS: OK.

SHORTZ: So let's get right to it. Number one is father's father.

MOSS: Granddad.

SHORTZ: That's it. Number two is item and a levee.

MOSS: Item and a levee.

SHORTZ: And there's danger of flooding, so people put this as a levee.

MOSS: Oh, a sandbag.

SHORTZ: Sandbag is it. A slang term for someone who talks, talks, talks.

MOSS: A gas...

SHORTZ: Yes.

MOSS: ...Something.

SHORTZ: It's the end of the...

MOSS: Gasbag.

SHORTZ: Gasbag is it. Good. Symbol in a tweet.

MOSS: Hashtag.

SHORTZ: That's it. Sudden remembrance of something past.

MOSS: I'm thinking aha moment, but that doesn't have the right...

SHORTZ: Right.

MOSS: ...Sounds.

SHORTZ: And you're thinking about something, and then suddenly, you have a...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: This - you have this in a camera when there's low light.

SHORTZ: There you go. That's the first half.

MOSS: Oh, a flash.

SHORTZ: Yes. And your sudden remembrance is what? - starting with flash.

MOSS: (Laughter).

SHORTZ: All right - going to tell you that one. It's a flashback.

MOSS: Oh, flashback. That makes sense.

SHORTZ: There you go. Here's your next one - a carrying case with straps that's worn over the shoulders.

MOSS: A backpack.

SHORTZ: That's it - also knapsack - either answer. A pancake.

MOSS: Flapjack.

SHORTZ: Good. Game of 21.

MOSS: Blackjack.

SHORTZ: Good. Here's your next one - a low-growing weed that can quickly take over a lawn.

MOSS: Crabgrass.

SHORTZ: That's it. Old-fashioned timer that you periodically turn over...

MOSS: Sand...

SHORTZ: Yes.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And what's it made out of?

SHORTZ: Yeah.

MOSS: Glass.

SHORTZ: Sandglass is it. A place where taxis line up.

MOSS: A cabstand.

SHORTZ: That's it - done hurriedly and carelessly.

MOSS: Half-dashed.

SHORTZ: Dash is right. What goes before that? You do something in a blank manner.

MOSS: Oh, slapdash.

SHORTZ: Slapdash is it. To make individually without machine help.

MOSS: Something by hand...

SHORTZ: Hand is a start.

MOSS: Handmade.

SHORTZ: Do you know the website Etsy?

MOSS: Slightly.

SHORTZ: And what kind of website is that?

MOSS: Oh, handicraft - handcraft.

SHORTZ: Yeah. I'll give it...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah.

SHORTZ: Handcraft is right.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Exactly.

SHORTZ: To handcraft things. And here is your last one - an item you step onto when you step out of the shower.

MOSS: A bathmat.

SHORTZ: Bathmat is it. Good job.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yay. Great job. How do you feel?

MOSS: It was fun. And I'm also relieved.

(LAUGHTER)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We get that a lot. 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 Molly, which member station do you listen to?

MOSS: I listen to NEPR, New England Public Radio.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Molly Moss of Shutesbury, Mass. Thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.

MOSS: Thank you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Will. What's next week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from listener Neville Fogarty of Newport News, Va. Think of a familiar three-word phrase that has the following property. The first word is a number. Let X be that number. Then the last X letters in the second word form, in order, a common abbreviation for the third word. Sounds a little complicated, but it's not so bad - a familiar three-word phrase. The first word is a number. Let X be that number. Then the last X letters of the second word form, in order, a common abbreviation for the third word. What phrase 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, January 16, 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.