On-air challenge: Every answer consists of a made-up two-word phrase in which the first word starts with CH, and the second word is pronounced the same as the first except with an SH sound. (The spelling may or may not change.) For example, given the clue "some Central African fish," the answer would be "Chad shad."
Last week's challenge from listener Jim Cohen of Hartsdale, N.Y.: Think of a familiar five-letter word in two syllables. Change the middle letter to the preceding letter of the alphabet, and you'll get a familiar five-letter word in three syllables. What words are these?
Answer: alpha, aloha
Winner: Eric Kaplan of Bogue Chitto, Miss.
Next week's challenge from listener Henry Hook of Brooklyn, N.Y.: In a few weeks something will happen that hasn't happened since 1987. What 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 Thursday at 3 p.m. Eastern.
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. And I hope all that Thanksgiving gluttony hasn't made you too sleepy, because it's time for the puzzle.
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MARTIN: And joining me now is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle-master Will Shortz. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.
MARTIN: OK. So, how was your Thanksgiving? Good, I hope.
SHORTZ: It was real nice. I'm here in Baltimore for the North American Teams Table Tennis Championships. And came down with some friends. We had turkey dinner at a nice restaurant afterwards. And then I was so tired, I just collapsed, like at 10:30 at night, which I never do normally.
MARTIN: Good for you. You got a good sleep. And you didn't have to cook, which is, you know, added bonus.
SHORTZ: That's a benefit.
MARTIN: OK. So, remind us of last week's challenge, Will.
SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Jim Cohen of Hartsdale, New York. And I said think of a familiar five-letter word in two syllables. Change the middle letter to the preceding letter of the alphabet to get a familiar five-letter word in three syllables. And a number of listeners sent in the answer penny to peony. I think they knew that wasn't right 'cause that changed the middle letter to the next letter of the alphabet, and it had to be the preceding one. Some solvers sent in ample to amole A-M-O-L-E. Do you know that word?
MARTIN: I don't.
SHORTZ: I know it only from crosswords. It's also known as the soap plant. It's a plant in the Southwest U.S. and Mexico whose root is used in making detergent.
SHORTZ: But the intended answer - well, if you haven't figured it out yet, I understand we have a musical hint to one of those two words.
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SHORTZ: OK. Well, there's your extra hint. The first word is alpha A-L-P-H-A, and change the P to an O and you get aloha.
MARTIN: Ah. Hula music. Got it, OK. Well, about 370 of you sent in the correct answer. And our randomly selected winner this week is Eric Kaplan of Bogue Chitto, Mississippi. And he joins us now on the phone. Congratulations, Eric.
ERIC KAPLAN: Thank you very much.
MARTIN: And I understand we're catching you on the road this morning. You're on your way to Iowa?
KAPLAN: I am on my way to Iowa and I'm planning to get very cold on the way. My daughter and son-in-law are moving there and I'm helping them. I'm driving the U-Haul up.
MARTIN: Oh, driving the U-Haul. Well, I'm so glad we got to catch you before you head out on the road trip. Thanks for taking the time for playing the puzzle. OK. So, what do you do in Bogue Chitto, Mississippi?
KAPLAN: I'm a retired Spanish teacher.
MARTIN: OK. Spanish. Well, I'm not sure if we have any Spanish clues this week, but who knows. You never know what Will Shortz is going to cook up. Without further ado, are you ready to play the puzzle, Eric?
KAPLAN: I suppose.
MARTIN: All right. Well, let's do it. Take it away, Will.
SHORTZ: All right, Eric and Rachel. Every answer today consists of a made-up two-word phrase in which the first word starts with C-H and the second word is pronounced the same as the first one except with an S-H sound at the start. And the spelling may or may not change. For example, if I said some Central African fish, you would Chad shad.
KAPLAN: Chad and shad. I see.
MARTIN: OK. Let's give it a shot.
SHORTZ: All right. Number one: inexpensive woolly animals.
KAPLAN: Cheap sheep.
SHORTZ: Cheap sheep is right. Number two: the most important bundle of grain stalks.
KAPLAN: Chief and sheaf.
SHORTZ: Chief sheaf is correct. Picked plays and musicals to see.
MARTIN: Picked plays and musicals.
KAPLAN: Plays and musicals are shows but...
SHORTZ: Yeah, yeah. Now change the S-H to a C-H.
KAPLAN: Chose and shows - oh, I see. I see.
SHORTZ: Yeah, yeah.
KAPLAN: Chose and shows.
MARTIN: There you go.
SHORTZ: Chose shows. It's always a two-word phrase. Try this one: actor Norris's shy self-effacing comment.
KAPLAN: Chuck and shuck.
SHORTZ: Chuck's shucks is right. Young pig at a prestigious Connecticut prep school.
KAPLAN: Choate and shoat.
SHORTZ: Choate shoat is it. How about a UPS employee who's in a good mood?
KAPLAN: I - help me, Rachel.
MARTIN: OK, how about a chipper shipper?
SHORTZ: That's a chipper shipper, good. Try this one. One looking to buy a helicopter.
KAPLAN: A chopper shopper.
SHORTZ: A chopper shopper, good.
MARTIN: Oh, good.
SHORTZ: And your last two are two actual phrases that are in this form. And the first one of these is a place where stolen vehicles are dismantled.
KAPLAN: I see. It's a chop shop.
SHORTZ: That's a chop shop. And here's your last one: A piece of paper with notes used surreptitiously when taking a test.
KAPLAN: A cheat sheet.
SHORTZ: A cheat sheet, nice job.
MARTIN: Oh, that was great.
KAPLAN: Oh, this was fun.
MARTIN: That was great, Eric. And for playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin and puzzle books and games. And you can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle. And before we let you go and head out on that road trip to Iowa, what is your Public Radio station?
KAPLAN: WMAU in downtown, Butte, Mississippi.
MARTIN: Butte, Mississippi, great. OK, Eric Kaplan, of Bogue Chitto, Mississippi, thanks so much for playing the puzzle this week.
KAPLAN: Thank you, guys.
MARTIN: OK, Will. What's up for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes, this week's challenge comes from the great Henry Hook of Brooklyn. He says, I'm not a seer but I can tell you this: In a few weeks, something will happen that hasn't happened since 1987. What is it?
So again, in a few weeks, something will happen that hasn't happened since 1987. What is it?
MARTIN: OK, very mysterious. When you have the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle and click on the Submit Your Answer link - just one entry per person, please. And our deadline for entries is Thursday, November 29th at 3 P.M. Eastern.
Please 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 will get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle-master, Will Shortz.
Thanks so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel.
(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.