One Word To Rule Them All, And In The Puzzle Bind Them

Apr 13, 2014

On-air challenge: Three words that start with the same letter will be presented in a group. Find a word that shares the same first letter as the three, and that can follow each word within the group to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase. Example: "big," "broad," "boy"; the answer would be "band" to get "big band," "broadband" and "boy band."

Last week's challenge: The challenge comes from listener Dan Pitt of Palo Alto, Calif. Split pea soup is something that might be found on a menu at a diner. The phrase contains each of the five vowels — A, E, I, O and U — exactly once. Name something else that might be served in a diner — also three words, consisting of three, six and eight letters, respectively — that contains each of the six vowels (A, E, I, O, U and Y) exactly once.

Answer: Hot turkey sandwich

Winner: Gerard Jugant of Pasadena, Calif.

Next week's challenge: This week's challenge comes 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?

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. You can always get what you want, unless it's the puzzle. Joining me now is Will Shortz. He is the puzzle editor of the New York Times, and he is also WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master. Good morning, Will.

WILL SHORTZ: Good morning, Rachel.

MARTIN: Help refresh our memories. What was last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener Dan Pitt of Palo Alto, Ca. I said, split pea soup is something you might order in a diner. And that phrase contains each of the five vowels, A, E, I, O, and U, exactly once. And I asked you to name something else you might order in a diner, also three words, consisting of three, six, and eight letters, respectively, that contains each of the six vowels, A, E, I, O, U, and Y, exactly once. What is it? Well, the answer was hot turkey sandwich. There - a few listeners sent in an alternative, hot fluffy pancakes. I thought that sounded made-up, but it's making me hungry.

MARTIN: And delicious. So we got over 1,400 correct answers this week. A lot of diner patrons in our audience, supposedly. Our randomly selected winner is Gerard Jugant of Pasadena, Ca. He joins us on the line now. Hey, Gerard. Congratulations.

GERARD JUGANT: Thank you very much.

SHORTZ: And Gerard, how did you figure this one out?

JUGANT: Well, actually, I had a lot of help. My daughter was visiting us on Sunday with my grandson. So she put me on with my grandson, and we started working out the puzzle.

MARTIN: That's so fun.


MARTIN: Before we play the puzzle, do you have a question for Will, Gerard?

JUGANT: Well, actually, I've thought about this. It was supposed to be by my 4-year-old grandson.


JUGANT: And it's a French puzzle since I'm from France.


JUGANT: It goes like this. There were two cats - one-two-three cat and un-deux-trois cat. And they decide to swim a race from England to France.


JUGANT: And the question to Will is, who won?

SHORTZ: Who won?

MARTIN: Un-deux-trois or one-two-three?


SHORTZ: He says un, deux, trois, quatre, which is a pun on four.

MARTIN: Oh, it's like four. Un, deux, trois, quatre. I don't know.

SHORTZ: I don't know.

JUGANT: Well, it's one-two-three cat because un-deux-trois cat sank.


MARTIN: So then they sank. But that's like the number five. Wow, that's clever.

SHORTZ: That's not bad.

JUGANT: (Laughter).

MARTIN: He stumped you, Will.

JUGANT: (Laughter) Well, he's pretty bright, I guess.

SHORTZ: Point for Gerard, yes.

MARTIN: (Laughter) That was fun. OK, let's turn the tables now, Gerard. You and I have to answer the questions.

JUGANT: Uh oh.

MARTIN: You ready to do this?

JUGANT: Yeah, help me out for sure.

MARTIN: OK, I will. I am here for you. All right, Will. Let's do it.

SHORTZ: All right, Gerard, I'm going to give you three words that all start with the same letter. You give me a word that can follow each of mine to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase. And your word will always start with the same letter as my words. For example, if I said big, broad and boy, you would say band, as in big band, broadband and boy band.

MARTIN: Ah, OK. Do you have it, Gerard?

JUGANT: I think so.

MARTIN: OK, let's give it a shot.

SHORTZ: Number one is calling, credit, Christmas.



SHORTZ: Calling card, credit card, and Christmas card. Good. Number two is cable, cattle, company.


SHORTZ: Cable, cattle and company. I'll give you a hint. It's three letters.

JUGANT: Cable car.


SHORTZ: Cable car, good. Electric, eagle, evil.


SHORTZ: Uh huh. You give someone the evil blank.



SHORTZ: Evil eye is it. Fist - F-I-S-T - fist, fire, and food.

JUGANT: And food?


SHORTZ: And food, F-O-O-D.


MARTIN: Who is that?

JUGANT: Fight.

MARTIN: There's a secret voice in the background.

SHORTZ: I hear some hints in the background.

JUGANT: That's my wife who's...

MARTIN: Uh huh, the wife.

JUGANT: She's, you know...

MARTIN: It's always the spouse.

JUGANT: ...The joke around here is I don't need a GPS. My wife tells me where to go.


SHORTZ: Yeah, fight is right. Fist fight, fire fight and food fight.


SHORTZ: How about guessing, golf and ground?



SHORTZ: That's it. Good. How about pie - P-I-E - pizza and Peter.

JUGANT: What was the first one?

SHORTZ: Pie - P-I-E - as in the desert.


SHORTZ: That's it.


SHORTZ: Pie pan, pizza pan and Peter Pan. Here's your last one. Table, tank and tree.



SHORTZ: That's it. Tabletop, tan top and tree top.

MARTIN: There you go.

SHORTZ: Good job.

MARTIN: That is how it's done. Gerard, that was excellent.

JUGANT: (Laughter) Thank you for that fun.

MARTIN: Tres bien. Tres bien.

JUGANT: (Laughter) Merci beaucoup.

MARTIN: That's all I'm going to say. OK, so for playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin and puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at And before we let you go, Gerard, where do you hear us? Where is your public radio station?

JUGANT: KPCC in Pasadena, Ca.

MARTIN: Great. Gerard Jugant of Pasadena. Thanks so much for playing the puzzle, Gerard.

JUGANT: Thank you very much. I enjoyed it. It was great. You made my day.

MARTIN: Oh, I'm so pleased. It was fun to have you. OK, Will. What's up for next week?

SHORTZ: Yes, the challenge comes from listener Lewis Sergeant of Portland, Or. Name a well-known 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? So again, a well-known company, insert a W somewhere inside the name, and you'll get two consecutive titles of popular TV shows of the past. What's the company, and what are the TV shows?

MARTIN: All right. When you've got the answer, go to our website. It is And click on that submit your answer link. Just one entry per person, please. And our deadline for those entries is Thursday, April 17 at 3 p.m. eastern time. Don't forget to include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time because it goes like this - if you win, we give you a call. And then you 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.