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Sunday Puzzle: It's All About The Categories


And it's time to play The Puzzle.


KHALID: Joining us is Will Shortz. He's puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster. Hi there.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Welcome back.

KHALID: Thank you. Will, before we get to the challenge, I hear that there is a small correction from last week as well.

SHORTZ: Yeah. My on-air puzzle involved words and names that ended in the syllable lu. One of my answers was Maya Angelou. What I didn't know is that her name is pronounced Angelou. Now I know.

KHALID: All right. Well, Will, can you remind us of last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Abe Nash-Resnick of Los Angeles. I said, name a famous actress - eight letters in the first name, six letters in the last. I said change the next-to-last letter in her first name to an S. Then reverse the order of the last three letters, and you'll name a famous ruler. The actress's last name is an anagram of where you would find this ruler. And the answer was Charlize Theron. Change that Z to an S. And reverse of the last three letters, you get Charles I. It's a little tricky. And you can rearrange the - you can anagram the last name to make throne, which is where you would find Charles I.

KHALID: Huh. That was quite tricky, but we did receive almost 800 correct responses. And the winner is Paula Kroeker from Foothills, Alberta, Canada - an international winner. Congratulations, and welcome to the program.

PAULA KROEKER: Thank you very much.

KHALID: So, Paula, how did you figure this out?

KROEKER: Well, I started out looking through a list of leaders in the entire world. And nothing seemed to match properly. So then I switched to looking at famous actresses. And when I got to Charlize, I thought, wow, that's the right length. Maybe I'll try this. So I did the magic on the letters. And then...

SHORTZ: (Laughter).

KROEKER: ...Something made me take another look. And I went, Charles I. Oh, my gosh. And then my husband yelled out, throne.

SHORTZ: (Laughter).

KHALID: Ah, the team effort. Great. What do you do when you're not playing The Puzzle?

KROEKER: Well, we like gardening, hiking. I do some felting and raise a few chickens here on our little acreage.

KHALID: Oh, nice, nice. All right. Well, Paula, are you ready to play The Puzzle?

KROEKER: I am ready. I've got my lucky puzzle socks on.

SHORTZ: (Laughter).

KHALID: Excellent. All right. Take it away, Will.

SHORTZ: All right, Paula. I'm going to give you some categories in two words. You name something in each category, starting with each initial in the category. For example, if I said zoo animals, you might say zebra and aardvark because zebra and aardvark start with Z and A. And that's - those are the initials of zoo animals. Any answer that works is fine.


SHORTZ: Here's number one, family members.

KROEKER: Family members.

SHORTZ: Yeah. Think real simple. What's a family member starting with F...

KROEKER: Good grief - father and mother.

SHORTZ: Father and mother.


SHORTZ: How about European volcanoes?

KROEKER: Etna and Vesuvius.

SHORTZ: How about that? Those are the only two...

KHALID: That's really good.

SHORTZ: ...European volcanoes I could think of. And they happened to start with E and V. All right. Your next one is road signs.

KROEKER: Road signs - railroad crossing and stop?

SHORTZ: Oh, you got it - Seven Dwarfs.

KROEKER: Seven dwarfs - Sleepy and Dopey.

SHORTZ: You got it - circus acts.

KROEKER: Circus acts - clown and acrobat.

SHORTZ: Oh, you're so good - bakery products.

KROEKER: Buns and panini - that's almost the same thing - pie.

SHORTZ: Pie - good. Also bread, of course. And your last one is college majors.

KROEKER: College majors - chemistry and mechanics (laughter) - no mechanical engineering (laughter).

SHORTZ: I'll give that to you. Marketing, math, music - those all work. Well, Paula, you are fantastic. I wish I had brought more of these for you.

KROEKER: Oh, my gosh. I can't believe I got through that (laughter).

KHALID: You did fantastic. I felt like you barely needed any hints.

KROEKER: Oh, thank you. I was pretty nervous (laughter).

KHALID: Well, 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 And, Paula, since you are in Canada, I am extremely curious how you actually listen to The Puzzle.

KROEKER: Well, we access you guys on the internet. Our son told us about you about a year and a half ago and sent us a link. And so we've been doing this pretty much every Sunday morning and really enjoy it.

KHALID: I love that. Well, Paula, thanks again for playing The Puzzle.

KROEKER: Thank you. It was great fun.

KHALID: And, Will, what is next week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes, it comes from Mike Reiss, who's been a showrunner, writer and producer for "The Simpsons." He's also a screenwriter and children's author. Think of a two-word phrase you might see on a laptop computer menu. Remove five letters. And what remains in order is a three-word phrase you might see on a restaurant menu. What phrases are these? So again, a two-word phrase you might see in a laptop computer menu - remove five letters. And what remains, in order, is a three-word phrase you might see on a restaurant menu. What phrases are these?

KHALID: When you have the answer, you can go to our website and click on the Submit Your Answer link. Remember just one entry, please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, October 28 at 3 p.m. Eastern Time. Don't forget to include a phone number where we can reach you. And if you are the winner, we'll give you a call. And if you pick up the phone, you'll get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION'S puzzlemaster, Will Shortz. Thanks again, as always, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks a lot.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.