On-air challenge: Today's puzzle has a bit of wordplay. Change one letter in each word provided to make two new words. The letter you change must be in the same position in each word of the pair. And the letter you change each of them to will be the same letter of the alphabet.
For example, "relief" and "mallet" become "belief" and "ballet."
Last week's challenge: Name an occupation starting with the letter B. Remove the second, third and fourth letters. The remaining letters in order will name something you might experience in the presence of someone who has this occupation. What is it?
Answer: Bartender, bender.
Winner: Daniel Pope of Portland, Ore.
Next week's challenge: The challenge comes from puzzle-maker Rodolfo Kurchan. Write down the following six numbers: 19, 28, 38, 81, 83, 85. What are the next three numbers in the series?
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.
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
You know what's awesome? - being on vacation. You know what's doubly awesome? - coming back to work and remembering that I get to talk to Will Shortz every week and play the puzzle - and so do you.
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MARTIN: Joining me now is Will Shortz. He is the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION puzzle master. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning Rachel. Welcome back.
MARTIN: Hey, thank you.
SHORTZ: How was your - you had a little vacation. How did it go?
MARTIN: I had a little vacation. It was great, you know, the mountains and family and a self-imposed hiatus from the news. So it was - it was a good thing. You've done some traveling too. You just got back from judging a big convention. Tell us what you did.
SHORTZ: Well, I was the program director for the National Puzzlers' League Convention, which was in Vancouver last weekend. Fantastic time - there were over 180 word puzzlers from all over. And I brought one of the puzzles I presented there for the on-air puzzle today.
MARTIN: All right. With that, remind us of last week's challenge.
SHORTZ: Yes, I said, name an occupation starting with the letter B. Remove the second, third and fourth letters. And the remaining letters, in order, will name something you might experience in the presence of someone who has this occupation. What is it? Well, the occupation is bartender. Remove the A-R-T, and you get a bender. You might be on a bender in front of a bartender. We had sort of an alternative answer. Someone submitted bailiff, B-A-I-L-I-F-F. And get rid of A-I-L, you're left with biff. That's a light hit. So maybe if you're in the presence of a bailiff, he might lightly hit you.
MARTIN: (Laughter) I don't know. That one seems stretching it to me. But...
SHORTZ: That seems a stretch, yeah.
MARTIN: Point for creativity. OK, so more than 2,000 of you got the right answer. Our randomly selected winner today is Daniel Pope from Eugene, Ore. He's on the line now. Hey, Daniel, congratulations.
DANIEL POPE: Oh, thank you.
MARTIN: I understand you are a professor at the University of Oregon, right? What do you teach?
POPE: I teach American history.
MARTIN: American history. And have you been playing the puzzle a long time?
POPE: Oh, on and off for probably close to 20 years.
MARTIN: So how did you solve this week's puzzle? Did it come pretty easily to you?
POPE: Well, I collaborate with my wife on this. And she and I were walking along. And we had just stopped at a bar and had an iced tea.
MARTIN: An iced tea, OK.
POPE: Yeah. And we ended up with bartender and bender.
MARTIN: There you go. Daniel, are you ready to play the puzzle?
POPE: I think so.
MARTIN: OK, Will, let's do it.
SHORTZ: All right, Daniel and Rachel. I'm going to give you a pair of words. Change one letter in each of them to make two new words. The letter you change must be in the same position in each word of the pair. And the letter you change each of them to will be the same letter of the alphabet. For example, if I said relief and mallet, you would change the first letter in each case to a B to make belief and ballet.
MARTIN: Oh, OK. Let's give it a go.
SHORTZ: All right, number one is accent, A-C-C-E-N-T, and strike, S-T-R-I-K-E.
POPE: Accept and stripe.
SHORTZ: That is it. Number two is trough. T-R-O-U-G-H, and waiter, W-A-I-T-E-R.
POPE: I think I need a clue.
SHORTZ: Well, change the second letter.
POPE: So it would be though and whiter.
SHORTZ: That's it, though and whiter, nice. Coffer, C-O-F-F-E-R, and raving, R-A-V-I-N-G.
POPE: Oh, coffee and ravine.
MARTIN: Wow, there you go.
SHORTZ: That's it. Gander, G-A-N-D-E-R, and stance, S-T-A-N-C-E.
POPE: Which letter is it in this one? I need help.
MARTIN: Yeah, this is hard.
SHORTZ: It's the second one again.
MARTIN: Second letter.
POPE: Gender and seance.
SHORTZ: Gender and seance, nice.
MARTIN: Good work.
SHORTZ: Simple, S-I-M-P-L-E, and decode, D-E-C-O-D-E.
POPE: Simile and...
SHORTZ: That's it.
SHORTZ: That's it, good. Remove, R-E-M-O-V-E, and breach, B-R-E-A-C-H.
POPE: Oh, so it's remote and breath.
MARTIN: Oh, good.
SHORTZ: Nice. Here's your last one. Avenge, A-V-E-N-G-E, and radios, R-A-D-I-O-S.
POPE: Radius and...
MARTIN: Yeah, yeah.
SHORTZ: Yeah, that's it.
SHORTZ: Avenue is it. Nice job.
POPE: Fancy spelling.
MARTIN: Man, I thought that one was fairly challenging. But...
SHORTZ: Thank you.
MARTIN: Daniel - yeah, kudos to you, Will. Daniel, you did a great job. For playing the puzzle today you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, puzzle books and games. You can read about those prizes at npr.org/puzzle. And Daniel, where do you hear us? What's your public radio station?
POPE: KLCC in Eugene and also Oregon Public Broadcasting.
MARTIN: Great, OPB in Portland, Ore.
POPE: And we're members...
POPE: Of both, yeah.
MARTIN: Happy to hear that. Daniel Pope, thanks so much for playing the puzzle, Daniel.
POPE: OK, thank you very much.
MARTIN: OK, Will, what's up for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes, the challenge comes from Rodolfo Kurchan, who's an old friend and a very clever puzzle maker from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Write down these six numbers, 19, 28, 38, 81, 83, 85. What are the next three numbers in this series? So again, the numbers are 19, 28, 38, 81, 83, 85. What are the next three numbers in this series?
MARTIN: When you've got the answer, go to npr.org/puzzle. Find that submit your answer link and click on it. Just one entry per person, please. Our deadline for those entries is a Thursday, July 23 at 3 p.m. Eastern time. Don't forget to include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. And if you're the winner, then we'll give you a call. And then 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: Thank you, Rachel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.