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.
Last Week's Challenge: From listener Steve Baggish of Littleton, Mass.: Think of a nine-letter word naming a venue for certain sports. Three letters in the word are repeated. Remove all the repetitions, and the remaining six letters can be rearranged to name a piece of sports equipment. What are these two words?
Answer: Racetrack, racket
Winner: Jefferson Ranck of Portland, Ore.
Next Week's Challenge: Think of a familiar three-word phrase in the form "___ and ___". If you remove the "and" and put the second word in front of the first word, you get a compound word naming a place of power. Hint: The compound word has nine letters. What is the three-word phrase, and what place of power is this?
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.
LIANE HANSEN, Host:
And joining us is puzzle master Will Shortz. Hey, Will. Happy Easter.
SHORTZ: Happy Easter, Liane.
HANSEN: Are you going to be doing a royal wedding crossword this week?
SHORTZ: I am, in fact. You read my mind.
HANSEN: Oh, all right. Well, we'll give no more hints than that. People will have to wait for that. But you have some things to talk about and you've got some big news.
SHORTZ: Yes. Well, first of all, last week I did a correction on a puzzle and it turned out I didn't need to. The puzzle was right the way I had it originally. An angstrom is indeed a unit of length, not a unit of mass. However, there was a little problem with the original puzzle: a gram technically is a unit of mass, not of weight as I said.
HANSEN: OK. There's the correction. Now, the big news.
SHORTZ: Yeah. The first Beijing International Sudoku Tournament is going to be held May 19 to 22 in China. I'm going to be there as an observer and advisor. There are substantial money prizes. Anyone in the world is welcome to compete, and I'd love for some Americans to sign up. So, anyone who's interested should go to www.bist2011.com.
HANSEN: Oh cool. All right. Well, we'll be keeping in touch with you about that over the next few weeks. And for this week, we need the challenge that you gave last week.
SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Steve Baggish of Littleton, Massachusetts. I said think of a nine-letter word naming a venue for certain sports. Three letters in this word are repeated. Remove all these repetitions and the remaining six letters can be rearranged to spell a piece of sports equipment. What are the two words?
HANSEN: What are they?
SHORTZ: Well, the venue is racetrack, and get rid of those duplicated letters you get racket.
HANSEN: Well, enough of our people listening seemed to know that answer. We received more than 1,100 entries this past week. And our randomly chosen winner is Jefferson Ranck of Portland, Oregon. Hey, Jefferson.
JEFFERSON RANCK: Hello.
HANSEN: Great name.
HANSEN: You're welcome. Named after a president, no doubt.
HANSEN: Yeah. How long did it take you to solve the puzzle?
RANCK: It took me quite a while 'cause I got off on the wrong track at first. I thought it was the same letter repeated three times. But after I figured out it was three different letters repeated, it came pretty quick.
HANSEN: Cool. How long have you been playing our puzzle?
RANCK: I remember when postcard stamps cost 14 cents.
(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)
HANSEN: Not quite back to the hieroglyphic days. Tell us what you do there in Portland.
RANCK: I teach literature and writing at community college.
HANSEN: OK. Well, Jefferson sounds ready to go. Will, you're always ready to go, so let's play.
SHORTZ: OK. Number one is Mamie M-A-M-I-E.
SHORTZ: Mamie Eisenhower is right. Number two is Arthur.
SHORTZ: Oh, that's fast. Christopher.
RANCK: Wren has a W. Reeve.
SHORTZ: Christopher Reeve, good. Richard.
SHORTZ: Richard Dreyfus. Dana.
SHORTZ: Dana Andrews - man, you're good. Georges - and this is G-E-O-R-G-E-S.
SHORTZ: This is the French spelling of Georges and we're looking for an artist.
RANCK: Oh, Seurat.
SHORTZ: It's Seurat, good. Gertrude.
HANSEN: This one...he's used this one before, he's used this one before. Gertrude Ederle. She was...
HANSEN: ...the woman who swam the English Channel.
SHORTZ: First one to do that. A little before your time, Jefferson. Your next one is Jonas.
RANCK: Jonas Salk.
SHORTZ: Excellent. The physician, polio vaccine creator. Laila L-A-I-L-A.
RANCK: Laila Allen.
RANCK: Laila Al-something.
HANSEN: Her dad's a boxer.
RANCK: Oh, Ali.
SHORTZ: Laila Ali is it.
HANSEN: And she's a boxer too.
SHORTZ: She is one too. David.
RANCK: David Dinkins...the governor, David Dinkins.
HANSEN: Former mayor of New York.
SHORTZ: Excellent. That's it, former mayor of New York City David Dinkins. Deborah. That's D-E-B-O-R-A-H.
RANCK: Deborah Hardwick.
SHORTZ: You got the third letter right. Former lead singer of Blondie.
RANCK: Oh, Harry.
HANSEN: Harry, yeah.
SHORTZ: Deborah Harry is it. And here is your last one: Eleanor.
SHORTZ: ...you are great.
HANSEN: You are amazing.
RANCK: Well, thanks.
HANSEN: Jefferson, man, before we let you go tell us what member station you listen to.
RANCK: It's KOPB, Oregon Public Broadcasting.
HANSEN: All right. Our speed puzzler, Jefferson Ranck of Portland, Oregon. Thanks a lot for playing this week. You're great.
RANCK: Thank you.
HANSEN: All right, Will. You got something for us to work on all week?
SHORTZ: So again, a familiar phrase in the form blank and blank. If you remove the and, and put the second word in front of the first word, you get a compound word naming a place of power. What place of power is this?
HANSEN: Thanks a lot, Will.
SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.