Will Shortz

NPR's Puzzlemaster Will Shortz has appeared on Weekend Edition Sunday since the program's start in 1987. He's also the crossword editor of The New York Times, the former editor of Games magazine, and the founder and director of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (since 1978).

Will sold his first puzzle professionally when he was 14 — to Venture, a denominational youth magazine. At 16 he became a regular contributor to Dell puzzle publications. He is the only person in the world to hold a college degree in Enigmatology, the study of puzzles, which he earned from Indiana University in 1974.

Born in 1952 and raised on an Arabian horse farm in Indiana, Will now lives near New York City in a Tudor-style house filled with books and Arts and Crafts furniture. When he's not at work, he enjoys bicycling, movies, reading, travel, and collecting antique puzzle books and magazines.

6:13am

Sun June 10, 2012
Sunday Puzzle

This Changes Everything!

Originally published on Sun June 10, 2012 3:50 pm

NPR Graphic

On-Air Challenge: Given a sentence, change one letter in one word to make a new word which completely reverses the meaning of the sentence. For example, given "The singer is not coming on stage." Changing the "T" in not to a "W" in the word "not" makes the sentence, "The singer is now coming on stage."

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7:38pm

Sat June 18, 2011
Sunday Puzzle

A Word Game In Rare Form

On-Air Challenge: The four rarest letters in the alphabet are J, Q, X and Z. You are given a familiar word and must change one letter in it to a J, Q, X or Z to get another familiar word. For example, given the clue "enact," the answer would be "exact."

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7:34pm

Sat June 4, 2011
Sunday Puzzle

Your Goose Is Cooked

On-Air Challenge: Every answer is a compound word or familiar two-word phrase, in which the first word has a long O for its vowel sound and the second word has a long U. For example, given the clue "a traditional Christmas entrée," the answer would be "goose."

Last Week's Challenge: Think of two five-letter words that are exact opposites, in which the first two letters of each word are the same as the first two letters of the other, only reversed. Hint: The fourth letter of each word is A. What two words are these?

Answer: Urban and rural

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3:13pm

Sat May 7, 2011
Sunday Puzzle

Moms Are DownRight Excellent

On-Air Challenge: In honor of Mother's Day, come up with items in each of the given categories that start with the letters of the word "Madre." For example, for the category "3-letter boys' names," the answer would include Moe, Art, Don, Ray and Eli.

Last Week's Challenge: From listener Dave Taub of Eugene, Ore.: Take the name of a well-known U.S. university. One of the letters in it is a chemical symbol. Change this to a two-letter chemical symbol to name another well-known U.S. university. What universities are these?

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6:11pm

Sat April 30, 2011
Sunday Puzzle

Where It's At

On-Air Challenge: Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase with AT in the middle. The letter A ends the first word of the phrase, and the letter T begins the second word. For the clue, "trying out of something while changes are still being made," the answer would be "beta test."

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7:24pm

Sat April 23, 2011
Sunday Puzzle

The Name Game

On-Air Challenge: You are given the first names of famous people and must figure out their last names. The last two letters of the first name, when reversed, are the first two letters of the last name. For example, given "Brad," the answer would be "Davis," as in Brad Davis, the actor.

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7:41pm

Sat March 26, 2011
Sunday Puzzle

A Step In The Right Direction

On-Air Challenge: Every answer is the name of a famous person. The first and second letters of the person's last name are the third and second letters of the first name. For example, given the first name "Harold," the answer would be "Ramis" (the actor, screenwriter and director).

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