On-air challenge: Today's puzzle is ba-a-a-ad. Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which the first word starts with BA- and the second word starts with D-.
Last week's challenge: This challenge came from listener Matt Jones of Portland, Ore. There are three popular men's names, each six letters long, that differ by only their first letters. In other words, the last five letters of the names are all the same, in the same order. Of the three different first letters, two are consonants and one is a vowel. What names are these?
Answer: Austin, Dustin, and Justin
Winner: George Herz of Boston, Mass.
Next week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from listener Ben Bass of Chicago. Take the name of a modern-day country. Add an "A" and rearrange all the letters to name a group of people who used to live in the area of this country. Who are they?
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.
ARUN RATH, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Arun Rath. Euripides said silence is an answer to a wise man. That might work in Greek tragedy, but it's not going to fly right now because it's time to play The Puzzle. And joining me now is our own wise man, Will Shortz. He's, of course, the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Arun. That's a very intellectual intro. I like that.
RATH: (Laughing) Well, you know, it's a very intellectual segment. So refresh our memories. What was last week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener Matt Jones of Portland, Oregon. I said, there are three popular men's names, each six letters long, that differ by only their first letters. In other words, the last five letters of the names are the same, in the same order. And of the three different first letters, two are consonants and one is a vowel. What names are these? Well the only answer - good answer - that I'm aware of was the intended answer, Justin, Dustin and Austin.
RATH: Nice. That one was way past me once again. But we actually got about 1,500 correct answers last week. And our randomly selected winner is George Herz from Boston, Massachusetts. He's with us on the line now. Congratulations, George.
GEORGE HERZ: Thank you, Arun.
RATH: So George, do you have three boys named Austin, Justin and Dustin, or did you figure this out with your brains?
HERZ: I don't. I figured it out through trial and error. I knew it wasn't George was one of them. And I actually came up with Austin first, and then Dustin and Justin dropped into place quickly thereafter.
RATH: Well done. So how long have you been playing The Puzzle?
HERZ: I've been playing along for about two years.
RATH: Well, that's going to make you the envy of people who have been playing it for decades.
HERZ: I know, I know.
RATH: So what do you do for a living, George?
HERZ: I actually work for a digital marketing company up in Boston.
RATH: Digital marketing. So can you explain to me why Facebook thinks I'd be interested in a vacation in the United Arab Emirates?
HERZ: Oh, unfortunately I can't explain that one. It's not that type of marketing. It's more working with companies to create websites and useful tools for their customers.
RATH: Gotcha. OK, George, are you ready to play?
HERZ: I am.
RATH: OK, let's go with the puzzle.
SHORTZ: All right, George and Arun. Today's puzzle is bad. Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which the first word start with B-A and the second word starts with D. For example, if I said a fruit flavored rum drink, you would say, banana daiquiri.
SHORTZ: All right, number one - an area of play for a pitcher, catcher or shortstop.
HERZ: Baseball diamond.
SHORTZ: Baseball diamond is it. Number two, a rare entrance.
HERZ: A back door?
SHORTZ: Uh-huh. A container for a casserole.
HERZ: A baking dish?
SHORTZ: Basic thing earned after four years of college.
HERZ: A bachelor's degree.
SHORTZ: Uh-huh. A waltz or minuet.
HERZ: Probably a ballroom dance.
SHORTZ: That's it. July 14.
HERZ: Bastille Day.
SHORTZ: Good. Regimen of eating from all the five basic food groups.
HERZ: A basic diet?
SHORTZ: Well, not basic because that was part of the clue. But diet is right.
HERZ: Oh, balanced diet.
SHORTZ: Balanced diet is it. Good. Placing of money into a financial institution.
HERZ: A bank deposit.
SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Nickname of the Haitian dictator Duvalier, who was overthrown in 1986.
HERZ: Oh, this one might be tough for me. I don't think I know this one.
RATH: I do have your back journalistically. It's Baby Doc.
SHORTZ: Baby Doc - good. The son of Poppa Doc. What to do to the hatches before a storm?
HERZ: Batten down.
SHORTZ: An annoying person in a car.
HERZ: Oh, a backseat driver.
SHORTZ: Right. Leader of a musical group who waves a baton.
HERZ: Oh, a band...
HERZ: I'm not sure I know what the second word is.
SHORTZ: It's got to start with a D.
RATH: I'm kind of lost too.
SHORTZ: All right, I'm just going to tell you. It's a band director.
HERZ: Oh, director.
SHORTZ: Try this. A large, deep-sounding percussion instrument.
HERZ: A bass drum?
SHORTZ: Right. Performer in a tutu.
HERZ: A ballet dancer.
SHORTZ: Right. 13.
HERZ: The unlucky number 13?
SHORTZ: Well, as an...
HERZ: Oh, a baker's dozen.
SHORTZ: Baker's dozen. You didn't need a hint. And your last one is a companion of Ken.
HERZ: A companion of Ken. A...Oh, of Ken. Oh, Barbie doll.
SHORTZ: Barbie doll is it.
RATH: Nice job, George. You didn't need much of my help, which is a good thing. 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 npr.org/puzzle. And George, tell us about your local public radio station.
HERZ: I'm a sustaining member of WBUR in Boston.
RATH: Excellent. Thank you for doing that. George Herz of Boston, Massachusetts, thanks for playing the puzzle.
HERZ: Great. Thank you, Will. Thanks, Arun.
RATH: OK, Will. What's the challenge for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from listener Ben Bass of Chicago. Take the name of a modern-day country, add an A and rearrange all the letters to name a group of people who used to live in the area of this country. Who are they? So again, name of a country, add an A, rearrange all the letters. You'll name a group of people who used to live in the area of this country. Who are they?
RATH: When you have the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle and click on the submit your answer link. Just one entry per person, please. And our deadline for entries is Thursday, August 7th at 3 p.m. Eastern. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. And if you're the winner, we'll give you a call, and you'll get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master Will Shortz. Thanks, Will.
SHORTZ: Thanks a lot, Arun. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.