April Showers Bring Puzzle Flowers

Apr 20, 2014

On-air challenge: With spring in the air, it's a fitting time for a flower puzzle. Find the flower answer using its anagram, minus one letter. Example: R-I-S-H-I, minus H, is "iris."

Last week's challenge from listener Louis Sargent of Portland, Ore: Name a well-known American company. Insert a W somewhere inside the name, and you'll get two consecutive titles of popular TV shows of the past. What are they?

Answer: Westinghouse; West Wing, House

Winner: John Rowden of New York

Next week's: Name certain trees. Also name something that trees have. Rearrange all the letters to get the brand name of a product one might buy at a grocery or drug store. What is it?

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 2018 NPR. To see more, visit


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. It's raetselzeit or if you're feeling a little less German, that means it's time for the puzzle. Joining me now is Will Shortz. He is the puzzle editor of the New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master. Hey. Good morning, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.

MARTIN: Did you know there was a word in German that meant it's time for puzzling?

SHORTZ: You know, not exactly, no.

MARTIN: (Laughter).

SHORTZ: I love how German is always combining things into new words.

MARTIN: I know. It's very cool. OK, refresh our memories. What was last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Lewis Sergeant of Portland, Ore. I said name a well-known American company, insert a W somewhere inside the name, and you'll get two consecutive titles of popular TV shows of the past. What are they? Well, the company is Westinghouse. And if you insert a W after the T, you get "West Wing" and "House."

MARTIN: Great. So more than 680 of you figured it out, and our randomly selected winner this week is John Roden (ph) from New York City. He joins us on the line now. Hey, John. Congratulations.

JOHN RODEN: Thanks, Rachel.

MARTIN: So did this come pretty quickly for you? How did you figure it out?

RODEN: I sort of attacked it from the TV show side of things. So I started thinking of shows with W, and I thought of - I tried to get "Hee Haw" to work for a while. And that...

MARTIN: Oh, "Hee Haw," a classic.

RODEN: And then I thought of "Wings" and then pretty quickly got to "West Wing," and then Westing popped into my head, and it was all done.

MARTIN: Perfect. So what do you do in New York?

RODEN: I work for the National Audubon Society working on birds.

MARTIN: And how long have you been playing the puzzle?

RODEN: I have been playing it, I think, for the better part of 20 years, actually, back to the postcard days.

MARTIN: That is a longtime, John.

RODEN: Yes, I know.

MARTIN: So you're excited?

RODEN: I'm very excited. I'm thrilled that it's finally happened for me.

MARTIN: (Laughter) It's your big moment. Speaking of big moments, do you have a question for Will Shortz?

RODEN: Actually, I was wondering if Will had an all-time favorite crossword puzzle clue and answer.

SHORTZ: Well, often, my favorite is something that I wrote within the last week. I don't know, a clue I wrote a week ago that I like - the clue was high beams, and the answer was rafters.

RODEN: Oh, I remember that one.


SHORTZ: Yeah. My - I think my all-time favorite goes back to the '90s. The clue was it turns into a different story, and the answer was spiral staircase.

MARTIN: Oh, that's a good one. All right, John, you ready to do this?

RODEN: I am ready.

MARTIN: OK, Will, let's play.

SHORTZ: All right, John and Rachel, with spring in the air, I brought a flower puzzle. Every answer is the name of a flower, which I'd like you to identify from their anagrams. For example, if I said Rishi - R-I-S-H-I - minus H, you would say Iris.

MARTIN: OK, you got it, John?

RODEN: I think so.

MARTIN: All right, let's give it a go.

SHORTZ: Number one is store - S-T-O-R-E - minus...

RODEN: How about rose?

MARTIN: Oh, fast.

SHORTZ: He didn't even need the minus. Number two is filly - F-I-L-L-Y - minus F.

RODEN: Lily.

SHORTZ: That is it. Openly minus L.

RODEN: Peony.


SHORTZ: That's it. Snappy - S-N-A-P-P-Y - minus one of the Ps.

RODEN: Pansy.

SHORTZ: That's it. Dismay - D-I-S-M-A-Y - minus M.

RODEN: Daisy.

SHORTZ: That's it. Pulpit - P-U-L-P-I-T - minus one of the Ps.

RODEN: Tulip.

SHORTZ: Uh huh. Streak - S-T-R-E-A-K - minus K.

RODEN: Aster.

SHORTZ: That's it. Outlive - O-U-T-L-I-V-E - minus U.

RODEN: Violet.

SHORTZ: Uh huh. Measuring - M-E-A-S-U-R-I-N-G - minus S.

MARTIN: They're getting harder.

RODEN: Is it geranium?

MARTIN: Geranium.

SHORTZ: Geranium. Oh, I'm impressed.

MARTIN: Oh, good job, John.

SHORTZ: Bargained - B-A-R-G-A-I-N-E-D - minus B as in boy.

RODEN: Let's see. I'm thinking - I'm seeing garbanzo. It's clearly not that.

MARTIN: (Laughter).

SHORTZ: (Laughter) Garbanzo flower. Try the - it does start with a G, though.

MARTIN: Oh, it does?

SHORTZ: In fact, it starts G-A.

RODEN: Gar...


MARTIN: We've exhausted my flower...

RODEN: Gardenia.

MARTIN: Oh, gardenia.

SHORTZ: Gardenia. Good, good.


SHORTZ: How about contrarian - C-O-N-T-R-A-R-I-A-N - minus R.

RODEN: Minus R.

SHORTZ: And this is a flower you might wear.

RODEN: Might wear - oh, a carnation.

SHORTZ: Carnation is it. And here's your last one. It's underflows - U-N-D-E-R-F-L-O-W-S - minus D as an dog.

RODEN: Minus D - sunflower.

MARTIN: Sunflower.

SHORTZ: Sunflower is it. Congratulations.


SHORTZ: I'm impressed.

MARTIN: That was excellent. All that practice, those years and years of entering the puzzle have paid off clearly.

RODEN: Thank you. I think so.

MARTIN: So for playing the puzzle today, you will get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin and puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at And before we let you go, John, where do you hear us? What's your public radio station?

RODEN: That would be WNYC.

MARTIN: WNYC in New York City. John Roden of New York. Thanks so much for playing the puzzle this week, John.

RODEN: Thank you.

MARTIN: OK, Will. What's up for next week?

SHORTZ: Yeah, it's not too hard, I think. Name certain trees, also name something that trees have, rearrange all the letters to get the brand name of a product you might buy at a grocery or a drug store. What is it? So, again, certain trees, also something that trees have, rearrange all the letters to get the brand name of a product you might buy at a grocery or a drug store. What is it?

MARTIN: You know what to do. When you've got the answer, go to our website Click on that submit your answer link. Just one entry per person, please. Our deadline for those entries is Thursday, April 24 at 3 p.m. Eastern time. Don't forget to include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time because 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 he is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Will Shortz. Thanks so much, Will.

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