A Step In The Right Direction

Mar 26, 2011
Originally published on March 27, 2011 4:59 pm

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).

Last Week's Challenge: From Ed Pegg Jr., who runs the website MathPuzzle.com: Take the phrase "consumer protection laws," and rearrange the letters to name a person in broadcasting and an issue of public debate. Hints: The name of the person in broadcasting has five letters in the first name and five letters in the last name. For the issue of public debate, it's a familiar two-word phrase with seven letters in the first word and five letters in the second. What name and phrase are these?

Answers: Scott Simon and nuclear power

Winner: Dorothy Turek of Fort Collins, Colo.

Next Week's Challenge: From puzzle writer Francis Heaney: Take the word "calm" and flip the letters A and L to get "clam." Take the last name of a film director known for using profanity, and flip two pairs of letters in place to get a word used as a substitute for profanity. Who's the director, and what's the 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 Thursday at 3 p.m. Eastern.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


And joining us is puzzlemaster Will Shortz. Hey, Will.

WILL SHORTZ: Hey, Liane.

HANSEN: How'd the crossword puzzle tournament go last week? Any upsets? What happened?

SHORTZ: Well, the champion is the same as last year - Dan Feyer - and the second place was Tyler Hinman. And if you remember from Word Play, Tyler won the championship at age 20. He won for five straight years, but he finished second this year. This new champion, Dan Feyer, is just so, so good.

HANSEN: Wow, wow. A lot of fun. Well, we had a lot of people working on your challenge that you gave us last week. Repeat it, please.

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Ed Pegg, Jr., who runs the website MathPuzzle.com. I said take the phrase consumer protection laws, rearrange these 22 letters to name a well-known person in broadcasting, plus an issue of public debate. What names and phrases are these?

HANSEN: And what are they?

SHORTZ: The answer is NPR's own Scott Simon plus nuclear power.

HANSEN: I love it. I know Scott and his daughters are listening in the car as we speak and I'm sure that his daughters are going to go, oh, papa, your name's on the radio. So, Scott Simon. We received just over a thousand entries this week. Our randomly selected winner is Dorothy Turek of Fort Collins, Colorado. Dorothy, do I have your last name right?

DOROTHY TUREK: That is correct.

HANSEN: What do you do?

TUREK: I'm a registered nurse.

HANSEN: And how long did it take you to solve this puzzle?

TUREK: Oh, about 10 or 15 minutes.

HANSEN: Wow. How long have you been playing the puzzle?

TUREK: Oh, forever.

HANSEN: Have you been submitting all this time?

TUREK: This is my first-ever entry.

HANSEN: Oh, no. Well, congratulations.

TUREK: Thank you so much.

HANSEN: Well, if you've been listening all this time you know how it works, right?

TUREK: Um-hum

HANSEN: All right. Are you ready to play?

TUREK: Um, we'll see.

HANSEN: Sure you are, sure you are. Will, meet Dorothy; Dorothy, meet Will. Let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, Dorothy and Liane, every answer today is the name of a famous person. The first and second letters of this person's last name are the third and second letters, respectively, of his or her first name. For example, if I said: Harold, you would say Ramos, as in actor Harold Ramos, 'cause Ramos starts R-A and R-A are the third and second letters of Harold.

HANSEN: Dear, dear. OK.

TUREK: Whoa.

SHORTZ: All right. Number one is Ralph. You're looking for a famous Ralph whose last name starts L-A.

TUREK: Ralph, Ralph Lauren.

HANSEN: You got it.

SHORTZ: Ralph Lauren, good. Number two is James.

TUREK: James.

HANSEN: So, his last name begins with M-A.

SHORTZ: That's right.

TUREK: Madison.


SHORTZ: James Madison is it. Alan, Alan A-L-A-N.


TUREK: Alan Alda.

SHORTZ: Alan Alda - that was fast. Benjamin.

TUREK: Benjamin Netanyahu.

HANSEN: Very...

SHORTZ: Netanyahu - nice. Kurt K-U-R-T.

TUREK: K-U-R-T. Kurt ru-ru-ru.


SHORTZ: Ru, um-hum.

HANSEN: Actor?

SHORTZ: Actor, yes.

HANSEN: Russell.

SHORTZ: Kurt Russell is it. Good.

TUREK: Thank you, Liane.

HANSEN: My pleasure, Dorothy.

SHORTZ: How about Norman.

TUREK: Norman Rockwell.

HANSEN: Oh, very good.

SHORTZ: Norman Rockwell - good. Rachel.

TUREK: Rachel, Rachel Carson.


SHORTZ: Rachel Carson, author and environmentalist - good. Johns J-O-H-N-S.


SHORTZ: Entrepreneur and philanthropist.

HANSEN: Say it again, Dorothy.

TUREK: Hopkins.


SHORTZ: Hopkins, Johns Hopkins, yes. Janet.

TUREK: Janet, Janet with an N-A, Janet.

SHORTZ: And you're looking for a Cabinet member.

HANSEN: Napolitano.

SHORTZ: That's it.


SHORTZ: Good. How about Walter? And your clue is cartoonist, animator and he was - yes?

HANSEN: Say it, Dorothy. You got it.

TUREK: I almost said Lang. I'm not sure that that's it.

HANSEN: So close.

SHORTZ: That's not it. The N is correct. He was the creator of Woody Woodpecker.

TUREK: Right.

HANSEN: Walter Lantz.

SHORTZ: Lantz is it - L-A-N-T-Z. Fernando.

TUREK: Fernando F-E-R - Rey.

SHORTZ: Fernando Rey, um-hum. Martha.

TUREK: Martha, Martha Ray.

SHORTZ: Martha Ray, different spelling. Jacques.

TUREK: Jacques.

SHORTZ: You're looking for a French explorer.

TUREK: Cartier.

HANSEN: It can't...

SHORTZ: Cartier is it - good.

HANSEN: Nice work.

SHORTZ: And your last one is fictional name: Sam.

TUREK: Sam ma...

SHORTZ: Specifically a TV character. He ran a bar.

HANSEN: In Boston.

TUREK: Malone.



SHORTZ: Sam Malone is it. Good job.

HANSEN: Cheers, Dorothy, nice work.

TUREK: Thank you so much.


HANSEN: Nice work. Oh, these weren't easy.

TUREK: That was fun, not too simple but...

HANSEN: Dorothy, before we say goodbye, tell us what member station you listen to.

TUREK: I am a proud member-owner of KUNC in Greeley, Colorado.

HANSEN: A member-owner.

TUREK: Uh-huh.

HANSEN: Wow. Dorothy Turek of Fort Collins, Colorado, a fabulous puzzle player and a member-owner of her Public Radio station, thanks so much for playing with us today.

TUREK: Thank you so much and blessings on you both.

HANSEN: Thank you.

SHORTZ: Thank you.

HANSEN: All right, Will. We need a challenge to work on for this week.

SHORTZ: So again, the last name of a famous film director known for using profanity, flip two pairs of letters in that name, in place, to get a word used as a substitute for profanity. Who's the director and what's the word?

HANSEN: Thanks a lot, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Liane. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.