Making Ends Meet

Nov 9, 2014
Originally published on November 9, 2014 11:26 am

On-air challenge: Given a category, name something whose first two letters are the first and last letters of the category. For example, given "Animal," you would say "Alligator" or "Alpaca."

Last week's challenge, from listener Sandy Weisz of Chicago: Write down the following four times: 3:00, 6:00, 12:55 and 4:07. These are the only times on a clock that share a certain property (without repeating oneself). What property is this?

Answer: On an analog clock, the hands are in the shapes of letters of the alphabet: L, I, V, C (which, by chance, are also all Roman numerals).

Winner: Arvin Tseng of Los Angeles, Calif.

Next week's challenge from Steve Baggish, of Arlington, Mass.: Name a well-known clothing company. Move each of its letters three spaces earlier in the alphabet and rearrange the result. You'll name something you don't want in an article of clothing. What is it?

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 at 3 p.m. Eastern.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays this program from the swift delivery of the puzzle. Joining me now is Will Shortz. He is the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master. Hey there, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.

MARTIN: So do you know where that phrase originated, that whole - the mail will get to you no matter what - snow, rain, heat?

SHORTZ: I might be wrong, but I thought it was on the New York City post office building.

MARTIN: It is.

SHORTZ: All right. What do I win?

MARTIN: You're right. You win a lapel pin. But you have a bunch of those I'm sure. But no, the origination of this is - goes way back we found out. This comes from the Greek historian Herodotus. Take that, Will. Did you know it?

SHORTZ: I did not know that. I'll have to give you back my lapel pin.

MARTIN: OK. No, you can keep it. All right, so with that, let's do some real puzzling. Remind us what last week's challenge was.

SHORTZ: Yeah. I thought it was going to be an easy one. But boy, was I wrong. It came from listener Sandy Weisz of Chicago. I said write down the following four times - 3 o'clock, 6 o'clock, 12:55 and 4:07. And I said these are the only times on a clock that share a certain property. Without repeating oneself, what property is this? Well, the answer is that on an analog clock, the hands are in the shapes of letters of the alphabet. And in particular, Roman numerals - L, I, V, and C. They're the only letters of the alphabet that you can form with the hands of a clock.

MARTIN: Wow. So as you mentioned, this was a really hard one. We only got 50 correct answers. Our randomly selected winner, though, is Arvin Tseng of Los Angeles, California. He joins us on the line now. Hey, Arvin. Congratulations.

ARVIN TSENG: Thanks Rachel.

MARTIN: So this was one was hard. So how did you figure it out?

TSENG: You know, it's funny. I spent about a minute trying to think of if there was any sort of pattern between the times' numerical pattern. That didn't get anywhere. And so I thought, well, what do these times look like on an analog clock? And pretty quickly I noticed that 3 o'clock would like an L, 6 o'clock looked like and I, and then the C and V came soon after.

SHORTZ: Exactly.

MARTIN: Well-done.

TSENG: Thank you.

MARTIN: That's really impressive. So how do you occupy your time in Los Angeles, Arvin?

TSENG: Well, during the weekdays, I am an attorney. So I yell at people or get yelled at depending on the day.

MARTIN: (Laughter) OK.

TSENG: And during the weekends, I fall out of airplanes.

MARTIN: You fall out of airplanes? By choice I'm imagining.

TSENG: By choice, usually, people are mad, sometimes I get pushed.

MARTIN: So you're a skydiver?

TSENG: I'm a weekend skydiver, yes.

MARTIN: Wow. That is amazing. No mishaps, I'm imagining.

TSENG: No big mishaps. There's always, you know, little injuries here and there. But I am still alive and puzzling and so that's good.

MARTIN: Good. We're glad that you're here with us today.

TSENG: Thank you.

MARTIN: So let's, with that, do some puzzling. Will, I think we're ready.

SHORTZ: All right, Arvin and Rachel, I'm going to name some categories. For each one, name something in it whose first two letters are the first and last letters of the category. For example, if I said animal, you might say alligator or alpaca because alligator and alpaca start A-L, and those are the first and last letters of animal.

MARTIN: OK, let's do it.

TSENG: Let's give it a shot.

SHORTZ: Number one is country.

TSENG: Cypress.

SHORTZ: Cypresses is it. Number two is color.

TSENG: Color - C-R. This takes me back to Crayola days. C-R.

MARTIN: Kind of like red.

SHORTZ: Shade of red.

TSENG: Crimson.

SHORTZ: Crimson is it.

TSENG: Thank you, Rachel.

MARTIN: You bet.

SHORTZ: Tree.

TSENG: Tree with T-E. I cannot think of a tree.

MARTIN: They make furniture out of it.

SHORTZ: Yes.

TSENG: Teak.

MARTIN: Yeah.

SHORTZ: There you go. Good clue, Rachel. A measure.

TSENG: A measure with M-E.

SHORTZ: Yeah.

TSENG: How about a megabyte?

SHORTZ: Megabyte. I was going for meter, but I like yours.

MARTIN: I like a megabyte.

SHORTZ: Occupation.

TSENG: Occupation with O-N. Oncologist.

SHORTZ: Excellent. TV show.

TSENG: How about "Twin Peaks"?

MARTIN: Good.

SHORTZ: "Twin Peaks," that was fast. Also, "Two And A Half Men" would work. Your next one is best picture.

TSENG: Best picture with B-E. "Ben Hur," did that one make best picture?

SHORTZ: "Ben Hur." Yeah. Also "A Beautiful Mind." And I would have taken "The Best Years Of Our Lives." And your last one is leaf vegetable.

TSENG: Leaf vegetable. Lettuce.

SHORTZ: Lettuce is it. Nice job.

MARTIN: Arvin, very well done. That was fun.

TSENG: Thank you.

MARTIN: For playing the puzzle today, you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin that I hope, Arvin, that you can attach to your suit as you're jumping out of an airplane.

TSENG: Sure, why not.

MARTIN: I feel like we would want to be with you. Maybe take a selfie unless that's too dangerous. You also get puzzle books and games. You can read all about your prizes at npr.org/puzzle. And before we let you go, where do you hear us, Arvin?

TSENG: I'm a member of both KPCC and KCRW.

MARTIN: Awesome. Arvin Tseng of Los Angeles California. Thanks so much for playing the puzzle this week, Arvin.

TSENG: Thanks, Rachel. Thanks, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks.

MARTIN: OK, Will, what's up for next week.

SHORTZ: Yeah. Well, every November, I direct an event about words at Mohonk Mountain House in New Paltz, New York. And there's puzzle, games and speakers. And this year's 33 annual awards weekend is next weekend. So I've brought a challenge puzzle by one of the regular participants, Steve Baggish of Arlington, Massachusetts. Name a well-known clothing company, move each of its letters three spaces earlier in the alphabet and rearrange the result. You will name something you don't want in an article of clothing. What is it?

So again, a well-known clothing company, move each of its letters three spaces earlier in the alphabet, rearrange the result, and you'll name something you don't want in an article of clothing. What is it?

MARTIN: OK, when you've got the answer, go to our website. It is npr.org/puzzle. Click on that submit your answer link. Just one entry per person please. Our deadline for those entries is Thursday, November 13 at 3 p.m. Eastern time. Don't forget to include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time because if you win, then we give you a call, and you 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: Thanks, Rachel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.