On-air challenge: This is my annual "New Names in the News Quiz." I'll name some people and things you probably never heard of until 2018, but who sprang to prominence during the past 12 months. You tell me who and what they are. My list was compiled with the help of Kathie Baker, who played one of my year-end quizzes in the past.
1. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
2. Stacey Abrams
3. Jair Bolsonaro
4. Mark Judge, Donny and Squee
5. David Hogg
6. Sergei Skripal
7. Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson
8. The Most Rev. Michael Curry
9. Naomi Osaka
11. Tham Luang cave
Last week's challenge: It's a straightforward puzzle. Think of a place you can find coins, in two words. Put the second word first, and you'll get a compound word describing most holiday cards. What words are these?
Challenge answer: Wishing well --> well-wishing
Winner: Lance Wynn from Stansbury Park, Utah
This week's challenge: What world capital becomes the informal name for a farm animal if you change its third letter?
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, Jan. 3 at 3 p.m. ET.
LEILA FADEL, HOST:
And it's time to play The Puzzle.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
FADEL: Joining us is Will Shortz. He's puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster. Hi, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Leila. Welcome to the show.
FADEL: Thank you so much. So Lulu's told me all about The Puzzle. And I'm excited to meet our Puzzle player. But before that, please remind us of last week's challenge.
SHORTZ: Yes. I said think of a place you can find coins - in two words. Put the second word first. And you'll get a compound word describing most holiday cards. What words are these? Well, the place with coins is a wishing well. Switch the sides and you get well-wishing.
FADEL: So we received over a thousand responses. And our winner this week is Lance Wynn from Stansbury, Utah. Congratulations, and welcome to the program.
LANCE WYNN: Well, thank you. It's great to be here.
FADEL: So, Lance, how did you figure out this week's challenge?
WYNN: So funny story - I was dropping some friends off at the airport. And I had - the night before, I was binge-watching "Futurama." And there was an episode (laughter) - I know, I'm like the smartest NPR listener, probably - episode with a "Da Vinci Code"-style parody. And they had a wishing well type scene.
WYNN: I literally had it on my mind when The Puzzle came up. And yeah, the rest is history. Here I am.
FADEL: So "Futurama" was the key.
FADEL: So how long have you been playing The Puzzle?
WYNN: This is the first time, actually.
WYNN: My wife and I listen to it going in to get coffee in the morning. And we never know the answers. So it's crazy...
WYNN: ...That I got ...
WYNN: ...It. I know right? I need to go buy a lottery ticket.
FADEL: Right. So, Lance, are you ready to play The Puzzle?
WYNN: As ready as I'll ever be.
FADEL: All right. Take it away, Will.
SHORTZ: All right, Lance and Leila. This is my annual New Names in the News Quiz. And it's something I do every year. I'll name some people and things you probably never heard of until 2018 but who sprang to prominence during the past 12 months. You tell me who and what they are. And my list was compiled with the help of Kathie Baker (ph), who played one of my year-end quizzes in the past. We'll start with an easy one. Number one is Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.
WYNN: A female congresswoman in New York.
SHORTZ: Right. When she takes office this week, she'll be the youngest congresswoman in history. Here's your next one - Jair Bolsonaro. First name is J-A-I-R Bolsonaro.
WYNN: J-A-I-R Bolsonaro (laughter).
SHORTZ: It's from another country.
WYNN: Oh. Brazilian president-elect. Is that...
SHORTZ: Nice going - the new far-right...
FADEL: Yeah. That was...
SHORTZ: ...President of Brazil.
FADEL: Good job.
SHORTZ: Nice going. Next one is David Hogg, H-O-G-G. David Hogg.
WYNN: Oh. The - is the Parkland shooting survivor, just got into Harvard.
SHORTZ: That's correct. And he's become a prominent gun control advocate. Sergei Skripal. And the last name...
SHORTZ: ...Is spelled S-K-R-I-P-A-L. Sergei Skripal.
WYNN: Sergei Skripal. Oh, I don't know. He sounds Russian.
SHORTZ: He is Russian but does not...
SHORTZ: He does not live in Russia. Does that help?
WYNN: Does not live in Russia. Was he something to do with the Trump campaign?
SHORTZ: No. He lives in England.
WYNN: Oh. He was poisoned.
SHORTZ: That's right. Former...
WYNN: Was he poisoned?
SHORTZ: ...Russian spy attacked with...
SHORTZ: ...A nerve agent.
WYNN: Russian spy poison.
WYNN: That's right.
SHORTZ: Try this one. Two people - Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson.
WYNN: Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson (laughter).
FADEL: Has something to do with coffee...
SHORTZ: Oh. Good hint.
FADEL: ...And 911.
SHORTZ: Good hint.
WYNN: Coffee and 911.
SHORTZ: That's a great hint. Here's a more helpful one - Starbucks.
WYNN: Oh, were they arrested because they were black in Starbucks?
SHORTZ: ...Right. In Philadelphia, they were waiting for a friend...
WYNN: Oh, that is the one. OK.
SHORTZ: That's right. Starbucks later apologized and conducted racial bias education for all its employees. Your next one is a place - Tham Luang cave.
WYNN: Oh. That's where the boys were trapped from the flooding in Taiwan?
WYNN: No. Thailand.
SHORTZ: Thailand. You got it.
WYNN: OK. Yeah.
SHORTZ: Here's your last one. It's a fictional place - Wakanda.
WYNN: Oh. Wakanda. That's where Black Panther lives (laughter). Oh, that's the one I know right away.
WYNN: I watch a lot of movies.
SHORTZ: Well, you did...
SHORTZ: ...Great. You did great...
WYNN: ...Thank you.
FADEL: Great job. And 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. Lance, which member station do you listen to?
FADEL: Lance Wynn from Stansbury, Utah, thanks for playing The Puzzle.
WYNN: Thank you.
SHORTZ: All right, Will. Tell us next week's challenge.
SHORTZ: Yeah. It's short and sweet. What world capital becomes the informal name for a farm animal if you change its third letter? So again, what world capital becomes the informal name for a farm animal if you change its third letter?
FADEL: When you have the answer, go to our website npr.org/puzzle and click on the Submit Your Answer link. Remember, just one entry, please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, January 3 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. 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. Thank you so much, Will. And Happy New Year.
SHORTZ: Thanks, Leila. Happy New Year.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.