On-air challenge: I'm going to give you two words. Change one letter in the first word to name a category of things. And change one letter in the second word to name something in that category.
Ex. PETAL COPIER --> METAL, COPPER
1. STAGE MAIZE
2. CORN QUARTET
3. DUMBER FORTE
4. RING CHARGES
12. RATIONALITY SWIMS
Last week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from listener Phil Moffa of Torrance, Calif. It's easy, but elegant. Think of a familiar four-word phrase that means "to be last." Together the first two words are a synonym for the last word. What phrase is it?
Challenge answer: Bring up the rear
Winner: Eric Bogren
This week's challenge: In my trip to Europe two weeks ago I visited a friend in Amsterdam, Peter Ritmeester, who literally has a puzzle on his doormat. Before you walk into his apartment, there's an original puzzle for you to solve. I was able to do it. See if you can. What number comes next in this series: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 23, 28?
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 by Thursday, Nov., 22 at 3 p.m. ET.
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
And it's time to play The Puzzle.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Joining us as always is Will Shortz. He's puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Now, I just want to bring something up. We got a lot of emails last weekend because I actually used a phrase that people got upset by. I said you and me are going to be friends when I was talking to our puzzle listener. And that is, as you know, incorrect grammar. And oops, I said you and me again. And that's all I'm going to say about that (laughter).
SHORTZ: That's OK. We're just friends here. You can speak informally.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter). All right. Remind us of last week's challenge.
SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Phil Moffa (ph) of Torrance, Calif. I said think of a familiar four-word phrase that means to be last. Together, the first two words are a synonym for the last word. What phrases it? And the answer is bring up the rear. Bring up and rear, both meeting to raise as kids.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We had over 1,500 responses. And the winner is Eric Bogren of New Orleans. Congratulations.
ERIC BOGREN: Thank you.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So this is also your first time submitting to The Puzzle.
BOGREN: It is. I heard the contestant last week say the same thing. And I thought, why not?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Ah, you were inspired. That's great. Are you someone who is very into grammar and correct usage?
BOGREN: Yeah. My mother was a teacher. And my father is a writer and editor.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. So then you and I will be friends.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Are you ready to play The Puzzle?
BOGREN: I am.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Take it away, Will.
SHORTZ: All right. Eric, I'm going to give you two words. Change one letter in the first word to name a category of things. And change one letter in the second word to name something in that category. For example, if I said petal, P-E-T-A-L, and copier, C-O-P-I-E-R, you would say metal and copper.
SHORTZ: There you go. Number one is stage, S-T-A-G-E, and maize, M-A-I-Z-E.
BOGREN: All right. Let's see. Stage.
SHORTZ: And try changing the...
SHORTZ: Try changing the Z of maize.
BOGREN: Maize. Maine?
SHORTZ: What's Maine an example of?
BOGREN: Maine and state.
SHORTZ: State and Maine is it.
BOGREN: State and Maine.
SHORTZ: That's it. Good one. Try this. Corn, C-O-R-N, and quartet, Q-U-A-R-T-E-T.
BOGREN: Let's see. Coin and quarter.
SHORTZ: Oh, good. No hint needed. Dumber, D-U-M-B-E-R, and forte, F-O-R-T-E.
BOGREN: Number and...
SHORTZ: Yes. You got it. Change the...
SHORTZ: Change the last letter of forte.
BOGREN: Forte. Number and four.
SHORTZ: Not quite. Close.
BOGREN: Number. No? Oh. (Unintelligible)...
SHORTZ: You have F-O-R-T-E. Change the...
BOGREN: The E.
BOGREN: Number and forty.
SHORTZ: Forty is it. Good. Ring, R-I-N-G, and charges, C-H-A-R-G-E-S.
BOGREN: All right. Ring and charges.
SHORTZ: Here's your hint - change the G of charges.
BOGREN: Let's see. Charges. Oh, wow.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Something that merry old England has - or used to have, rather.
SHORTZ: There you.
BOGREN: Oh, king and...
SHORTZ: King Charles is it.
BOGREN: King Charles.
SHORTZ: And here's your last one - rationality, R-A-T-I-O-N-A-L-I-T-Y, rationality and swims, S-W-I-M-S.
BOGREN: Let's see. Rationality and swims. OK.
SHORTZ: Change the first letter of rationality.
BOGREN: And - let's see. Nationality and...
SHORTZ: Change the M...
SHORTZ: ...Of swims.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: It is a neutral country.
SHORTZ: There you go.
BOGREN: Oh, Swiss. Nationality...
BOGREN: ...And Swiss.
SHORTZ: Nationality and Swiss. You got it.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yay. How do you feel?
BOGREN: That was fun, but wow. That's...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: It was a hard one this week. I agree.
BOGREN: It was.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. 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 Eric, what member station do you listen to?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.
BOGREN: Thank you. It was fun.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Good. All right. What's next week's challenge, Will?
BOGREN: Yes. In my trip to Europe two weeks ago, I visited a friend in Amsterdam, Peter Ritmeester, who literally has a puzzle on his doormat. Before you walk into his apartment, there's an original puzzle for you to solve. I was able to do it. So I'm going to see if you can. What number comes next in this series - one, two, four, eight, 16, 23, 28? So here's the series again - one, two, four, eight, 16, 23, 28. What number comes next in this series?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: When you have the answer, go to our website npr.org/puzzle and click on the Submit Your Answer link. Remember, just one entry per person, please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, November 22 at 3 p.m. Eastern. 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 puzzlemaster, Will Shortz. Thanks so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thank you, Lulu. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.