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Care For A Little Spa Treatment? Try The SPA In This Week's Puzzle


On-air challenge: This week's theme is SPAs. Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which the first word starts with S- and the second word starts with PA-.

For example: Something to jot notes on —> SCRAP PAPER or SCRATCH PAD (either answer works).

Last week's challenge: This is a creative challenge, so you get some extra time. The object is to write a 10-word sentence in which each word ends with the same letter of the alphabet.

For example: Dartmouth frosh clash with Pittsburgh church parish, clinch fifth triumph.

Every word in my sentence ends with H.

Any ending letter could be used. Entries were judged on sensibility, naturalness of syntax, and overall elegance.

Around 1,500 entries came in. The most common ending letter, not surprisingly, was E, followed by N, S, T and Y. Almost every letter of the alphabet was submitted at least once. Usually, though, the sentences using the rarer ending letters either read awkwardly or didn't make a lot of sense.

So many excellent sentences were submitted — too many to read on the air — that I compiled a longer list of my favorites. Some of them are timely and play off current events. We hope you marvel at them as much as we do.


Can neurosurgeon Ben Carson pin down Republican nomination in 'Sixteen? — Kate Simpson of Kensington, Md.


  • Almost perfect that first attempt, but it just wasn't right. — Julie Nichols
  • Elder pair discover newspaper puzzlemaster eager for their clever answer. — Joseph Tobias
  • The compassionate judge gave the contrite juvenile one more chance. — Blaine Deal
  • On vacation in Caribbean, sun can turn ashen skin brown. — Paul Koning
  • Crazy, pesky country fly may destroy my easy, sleepy tranquility. — Jill Hansen
  • Don't forget that fruit tart that got left out overnight. — Ed Pegg
  • Frustrated, tired, and overwhelmed, she'd decided Brad had indeed cheated. — Sarah Lipson
  • Even stern, stubborn women can soften when open men listen. — Janet Levatin
  • Because the crankcase came loose, the engine made excessive noise. — Bob Gookin
  • The more we pollute, the more we cause climate change. — Mike Strong
  • Isn't it just great that Pitt beat Connecticut last night? — Lloyd Alterman
  • Despite the distance, we are close because we have Skype. — Karen Robertson
  • Today society may very likely apply crazy "Marty McFly" technology. — Patrick Berry
  • Beautiful Chanel model will reveal novel all natural wool apparel. — David Miller
  • "Prince George, come here, please!" spoke Kate while Charlotte ate. — John Heydens
  • His Holiness Francis wows throngs; millions delirious as Mass concludes. — Rudolph Palmer
  • Volkswagen collusion in misbegotten pollution calculation can weaken German reputation. — Anne Kaup-Fett
  • [Newspaper headline:] Unbeaten Kenyan Outran American; Won Boston Marathon Again In Rain — Andrew Doucette
  • Sanders dismisses Mrs. Clinton's emails, suggests debaters discuss serious issues. — Dave Moran
  • Furious Los Angeles Dodgers fans miss fabulous Mets-Cubs Series. — Steve Gilmore
  • Mets surpass rivals as hapless Yankees miss this season's Series. — Will Robinson
  • Children groan when stern policemen begin crackdown on Halloween fun. — Patrick Berry
  • "Titus Andronicus was Shakespeare's opus," says ridiculous student's erroneous thesis. — Noah King
  • Miss Manners always answers readers' submissions, whereas Landers fabricates questions. — Jonathan Black
  • Funny way they play "Jeopardy!": They may reply only interrogatively. — Patrick Berry
  • Before we solve the puzzle challenge, we prepare some coffee. — Steph Merryman
  • [Joke entry — greeting the Marx Brothers:] "Hello, Groucho, hello Chico, hello Harpo, hello Gummo, hello Zeppo!" — Steve Baggish
  • Please congratulate the one whose creative sentence made the grade. — Matthew Schultz
  • Next week's challenge: This challenge comes from Ed Pegg Jr., who runs the website Mathpuzzle.com. It's a word puzzle, though, not a math puzzle. The Hawaiian alphabet has 12 letters — seven consonants (H, K, L, M, N, P and W) plus the five vowels (A, E, I, O and U).

    Use all 12 of these, and repeat four of them, to get 16 letters in all that can be arranged to name a well-known holiday item. What is it? As a hint — it's a two-word answer.

    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, October 29 at 3 p.m. ET.

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    NPR's Puzzlemaster Will Shortz has appeared on Weekend Edition Sunday since the program's start in 1987. He's also the crossword editor of The New York Times, the former editor of Games magazine, and the founder and director of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (since 1978).