On-air challenge: Every answer today is the name of a popular prime-time TV series from this century, on either broadcast or cable. Identify the shows from their anagrams. For example, OBLIGE + V = BIG LOVE.
Last week's challenge: Take the first four letters of a brand of toothpaste plus the last five letters of an over-the-counter medicine, and together, in order, the result will name a popular beverage. What is it?
Answer: Pepsodent + Ricola = Pepsi Cola
Winner: Brendan Pimper, LaHabra, Calif.
Next week's challenge: Name a certain country. Change one letter in its name to a new letter and rearrange the result to name another country's capital. Then change one letter in that and rearrange the result to name another country. What geographical names are these?
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.
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Ari Shapiro. And it's time now for the puzzle. And joining us, as he does every week, is Will Shortz, puzzle editor of the New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION'S puzzle master. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Ari.
SHAPIRO: You know, I was recently having dinner with my NPR mentor, Nina Totenberg, and started to wonder about your puzzle mentors. Was there somebody who paved the way for you on the path to puzzling?
SHORTZ: My heroes were, first of all, Margaret Farrar who was the first New York Times crossword editor from 1942 to 69. And she had a classical style of editing which I've always admired. And honestly, my hero growing up was Sam Loyd, the great puzzle maker of a century ago.
SHAPIRO: Well, speaking of puzzles, remind us what last week's challenge was.
SHORTZ: Yes, I said take the first four letters of a brand of toothpaste plus the last five letters of an over-the-counter medicine. And together, in order, the result will name a popular beverage.
SHAPIRO: I spent all week mulling this over and was unable to solve it. What was the answer?
SHORTZ: Well, the toothpaste is Pepsodent. The product is Ricola. And you take those letters, you get Pepsi-Cola.
SHAPIRO: Brilliant. Well, we had more than 1,230 correct responses to the puzzle. And our randomly selected winner is Brendan Pimper of LaHabra, California. Congratulations, Brendan.
BRENDAN PIMPER: Thank you.
SHAPIRO: What do you do in LaHabra?
PIMPER: I commute to a job in Redondo Beach where I am a mechanical engineer.
SHAPIRO: Cool. And how did you solve the puzzle?
PIMPER: Well, like most of the Sunday puzzle challenges, I either get it in a minute or never.
SHAPIRO: And this one came in a minute, I take it?
PIMPER: This one came in a minute, yeah. My mother used to use that brand of toothpaste. So from Pepsident I got Pepsi-Cola and then worked backwards to Ricola.
SHAPIRO: All right. Well, are you ready to play the puzzle?
PIMPER: I'm ready.
SHAPIRO: Let's take it away, Will.
SHORTZ: All right, Brendan and Ari. Every answer today is the name of a popular primetime TV series from this century on either broadcast or cable. Identify the shows from their anagrams. For example, if I said oblige, O B L I G E, plus V, you would say "Big Love" which is that show on HBO.
SHAPIRO: All right, you ready Brendan?
PIMPER: I guess so.
SHAPIRO: Let's do this.
SHORTZ: Number one is leg, L E G, plus E.
SHORTZ: "Glee" on Fox. That's true. Number two is shoe, S H O E, plus U.
PIMPER: Oh, I got it. "House."
SHORTZ: "House" is it. Rigs, R I G S, plus L.
PIMPER: R I G S plus - oh, "Girls."
SHORTZ: "Girls" is it on HBO - Lena Dunham. Curbs, C U R B S, plus S.
PIMPER: C U R B S plus - oh, "Scrubs."
SHORTZ: "Scrubs" is it. Treed, T R E E D, plus X.
PIMPER: Oh, yes. My wife loves that one - "Dexter."
SHORTZ: "Dexter" on Showtime is it. Named, N A M E D, plus M as in Mary. And it's two words.
PIMPER: Named plus M.
SHAPIRO: Two words - it's on AMC.
PIMPER: Ah, oh, "Mad Men."
SHORTZ: "Madmen" is it. Writhe, W R I T H E, plus E. It's two words on HBO.
SHAPIRO: Oh, no longer on TV but still iconic and legendary, set in Baltimore.
SHORTZ: That's it.
PIMPER: Oh, "The Wire."
SHORTZ: "The Wire" is it. Good. Try Cheviot, C H E V I O T - it's a breed of sheep.
SHAPIRO: I'm embarrassed to say I've never heard of that word.
SHORTZ: Oh, you don't need to know that. It's a breed of sheep. Cheviot, plus E - two words.
SHAPIRO: Oh, I got it. My college friend is on it this season.
SHAPIRO: She was - here's a clue. She was in my a cappella group in college.
PIMPER: Oh, "The Voice."
SHORTZ: "The Voice," good. All right, here's your last one - solaced, S O L A C E D, plus C as in Charles - two words.
SHAPIRO: Appropriate that it would be the last one.
SHORTZ: It's a CBS crime drama - 2003 to 10. Two words, four letters in each word.
SHAPIRO: If you solved the final puzzle, what would you say?>>PIMPER: Well, if I don't solve it, it would become a "Cold Case," I suppose.
SHORTZ: There you go. Nice job.
SHAPIRO: Oh, I was thinking "Case Closed." So I guess maybe it's less appropriate for the final one. (Laughter) Brendan, you did an amazing job with what seemed to me to be a very difficult puzzle there. Well done.
PIMPER: Thank you, Ari.
SHAPIRO: Well, for playing today you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin as well as puzzle books and games. And you can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle. Brendan, tell us your public radio station.
PIMPER: KPCC in Pasadena.
SHAPIRO: Brendan Pimper, thanks for playing the puzzle with us this week.
PIMPER: Thank you.
SHAPIRO: OK, Will. Give us the challenge for the week ahead.
SHORTZ: Yes, name a certain country. Change one letter in its name to a new letter and rearrange the result to name another country's capital. Then change one letter in that and rearrange the result to name another country. What geographical names are these? So again, a certain country - change one letter to new letter. Rearrange the result. You'll name another country's capital. Then change one letter in that and rearrange the result to name another country. What names are these?
SHAPIRO: If you think you have the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle, and click on the submit your answer link. Just one entry per person, please. And our deadline for entries is Thursday at 3 p.m. eastern time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you around that time. If you're the winner, we'll give you a call, and you will get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of the New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION'S puzzle master, Will Shortz. Will, always a pleasure.
SHORTZ: Thanks a lot, Ari. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.