On-Air Challenge: Every answer is the name of a film that won an Academy Award for Best Picture. Identify the films from their anagrams.
Last Week's Challenge: What is the longest common English word you can spell by taking the beginning letters of consecutive states in order as you travel through them? Puzzlemaster Will Shortz's answer has eight letters, but maybe you can top that.
Puzzlemaster's Answer: "Millions," which consists of the beginning letters of Missouri, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota.
Winning Answers: There are two acceptable answers. If you reenter states, the best answer is the 10-letter word "amalgamate," which consists of the beginning letters of states in the following order: Alabama or Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Alabama or Arkansas, Tennessee; or Alabama or Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas. If you do not reenter states, the best answer is the nine-letter word "omissions," which consists of the beginning letters of Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota.
Winner: Roger Buch of Louisville, Ky.
Next Week's Challenge: Name a bird. Change its second letter to an E to get the first name of a famous actor. Then name the female of that bird, and double one of its letters. You'll get the last name of this actor. What are the birds, and who is the actor?
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.
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Sharpen your pencil, folks because it is time for the puzzle.
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MARTIN: And joining me now is the puzzle editor of the New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master Will Shortz. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.
MARTIN: OK. So, Will, you wracked our brains with U.S. geography and a little wordplay last week. Remind us what was the challenge.
SHORTZ: Well, I asked what is the longest common English word you can spell by taking the beginning letters of consecutive states in order as you travel through them. And the answer that I came up with had eight letters, as I said last week. My answer was Millions.
MARTIN: And we actually received a number of other eight-letter answers. But, of course, our clever listeners rose to this challenge and came up with even longer common English words.
SHORTZ: That's right. You know, I asked for the longest, and the best answer was either nine or 10 letters. And it depended on whether you reentered states or not, and I wasn't specific about that in the puzzle last week. If you reenter states, the best possible answer is the 10-letter amalgamate. If you don't reenter states, the best answer is the nine-letter omissions. And if you'd like to see the states that make up those answers, you can get them on our website, NPR.org.
MARTIN: Well, almost 90 out of more than 270 of you figured out at least one of those correct answers. And our randomly selected winner this week is Roger Buck from Louisville, Kentucky. And he joins us on the line now. Congratulations, Roger.
ROGER BUCH: Thank you. Thank you, Rachel.
MARTIN: And I would like you to meet Will Shortz, who's on the line. Will, meet Roger.
SHORTZ: Hey, Roger. Congratulations.
BUCH: Hello, Will. Thanks. Glad to finally talk with you.
MARTIN: So, Roger, you sent in the word omissions as your answer. How did you figure it out?
BUCH: A lot of time staring at a globe with North America facing me.
BUCH: My globe has been sitting by my sofa for a week now. Any commercial when I'm watching TV, looking over that globe, tracing my finger around the country to come up with another word.
MARTIN: And you're from Louisville, Kentucky, as we mentioned. What do you do there?
BUCH: I am a high school math teacher, and I teach at Male High School here in Louisville.
MARTIN: And I assume you've told your students that you were our randomly selected winner this week. They'll be listening to you?
BUCH: Yes. They get to hear me on the spot for once instead of me putting them on the spot. So I think they may enjoy this.
MARTIN: Turning the tables. I like it. All right, Will. Take it away.
SHORTZ: All right, Roger and Rachel. In honor of the Oscars tonight, every answer today is the name of a film that won an Academy Award for Best Picture. Identify the films from their anagrams. For example, if I said arcs A-R-C-S, plus H, you would say "Crash," which was named Best Picture in 2005.
MARTIN: All right.
SHORTZ: Number one is cork C-O-R-K, plus Y.
BUCH: Cork plus Y. "Rocky."
SHORTZ: "Rocky" is right, which was 1976. Number two is Ruben R-U-B-E-N, plus H.
BUCH: Ruben plus H. Oh, "Ben Hur."
MARTIN: There you go.
SHORTZ: "Ben Hur," good. Medusa...
BUCH: A little before my time.
SHORTZ: Medusa M-E-D-U-S-A, plus A.
SHORTZ: "Amadeus," nice. Marina M-A-R-I-N-A, plus N, as in Nancy.
BUCH: Marina plus N.
SHORTZ: And you're looking for a two-word name, four-three.
MARTIN: Two words.
BUCH: "Rain Man."
SHORTZ: "Rain Man" is correct.
SHORTZ: Dog trail D-O-G, T-R-A-I-L, plus A. It's a solid word.
BUCH: Dog trail plus A.
MARTIN: What year, Will?
SHORTZ: Named Best Picture in 2000.
MARTIN: Not that that helps me but OK. 2000.
BUCH: I see gator in there. That doesn't help anything about the movie.
SHORTZ: No, but it does start with G.
SHORTZ: Try the L next.
BUCH: OK. "Gladiator."
SHORTZ: "Gladiator" is it. Good.
MARTIN: Wow, that was a good one.
SHORTZ: How about a vertebra, A, V-E-R-T-E-B-R-A-E, plus H. It's a solid word.
SHORTZ: 1995. I'll give you a big, big hint.
MARTIN: Big hint. We need a hint.
SHORTZ: Mel Gibson.
MARTIN: Oh, that's right.
BUCH: Still blanking.
MARTIN: Oh. I think I know this one.
SHORTZ: Rachel? Yeah.
BUCH: It's " Braveheart."
MARTIN: Yes, you got it.
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SHORTZ: It came out. Good. Good.
BUCH: Oh, I didn't write down my B. No wonder I couldn't get that.
SHORTZ: There you go.
BUCH: That would have helped. I skipped a letter. OK.
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SHORTZ: How about: No gunfire? N-O G-U-N-F-I-R-E plus V as in Victor.
BUCH: That'd be "Unforgiven."
SHORTZ: Oh, that's fast. Yes. And you last one is: Had together, H-A-D T-O-G-E-T-H-E-R plus F as in Frederick.
BUCH: I'm looking at a T-H-E in there.
SHORTZ: Yes, you want the.
BUCH: Is that correct?
SHORTZ: That's correct and the...
BUCH: "The Godfather."
MARTIN: Oh, you got it.
SHORTZ: "The Godfather," nice job.
MARTIN: Oh, yes. Excellent. Good job, Roger. Congratulations.
BUCH: Thank you. Thank you.
MARTIN: Really well done. For playing our puzzle today, you will get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, as well as puzzle books and games. And you can read all about it at NPR.org/slash puzzle.
And which Public Radio station do you listen to, Roger?
BUCH: I'm a member of WFPL in Louisville, Kentucky.
MARTIN: Great. Roger Buch of Louisville, thanks so much for playing the puzzle this week. Take care.
BUCH: Thank you very much. My pleasure.
MARTIN: OK, Will. We're ready. What do you have for us for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes, name a bird. Change its second letter to an E to get the first name of a famous actor. Then name the female of that bird, and double one of its letters. You'll get the last name of this actor. What are the birds and who is the actor?
So again, a bird, change the second letter to an E - that's the actor's first name. Name the female of that bird and double one of its letters. You get the last name of this actor. What are the birds and who is this actor?
MARTIN: OK. When 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, March 1st at 3 P.M. Eastern Time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. And if you are 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 puzzle-master, Will Shortz.
Will, thanks so much.
SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.