Sunday Puzzle: 2-Word Phrases

Mar 8, 2020

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you two sets of three letters. Put the same two letters in front of each trio to complete a compound word or familiar two-word phrase.

Ex. Ite Ale --> White Whale
1. Und Bin
2. Ass Own
3. Bby Rse
4. Ste Ter
5. Dar Nge
6. Ash OOD
7. Wer Int
8. Ell Ock
9. Tor Uth
10. Own Ead
11. Ain Ack
12. Ole Eat
13. And Ill
14. Tch Ker (two answers)

Last week's challenge: This challenge comes from listener Michael Wilk of Goleta, Calif. Think of a hyphenated word that describes certain pants. The first half of the word and a homophone of the second half are synonyms. What kind of pants are these?

Challenge Answer: High-waisted

Winner: Rachel Kuelzer of Las Vegas.

This week's challenge: This week's challenge is something different. It comes from Joseph Young of St. Cloud, Minn. It involves Pi Day, which is this coming Saturday, March 14 — commonly written as 3/14. That's been designated Pi Day because 3-1-4 are the first three digits of pi. Well, the letters of "Pi Day" also have a curious mathematical significance. 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 by Thursday, March 12, at 3 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

And it's time to play the puzzle.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Joining us is Will Shortz. He's puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster. Hi, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Hey there, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So what was last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yeah, it came from Michael Wilk of Goleta, Calif. And it was a tough one. I said, think of a hyphenated word that describes certain pants. The first half of the word and a homophone of the second half are synonyms. What kind of pants are these? And they are high-waisted pants.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And we received only 150 correct responses. And among those correct responses was that of Jennifer Kuelzer of Las Vegas, Nev. Congratulations.

JENNIFER KUELZER: Thank you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: How'd you figure it out?

KUELZER: Well, I was trying to explain the puzzle to my friend, and she was not sure about what a homophone is. And so I brought up on Google a list of homophones, and I saw wasted. And then I thought about it and thought...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: There you were.

KUELZER: ...High-waisted would be perfect.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And I hear you've got an interesting group of pets at home.

KUELZER: Yeah, I've got three Chihuahuas and a bearded dragon.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: A bearded dragon?

SHORTZ: Whoa.

KUELZER: Yeah.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What's that like? What do they eat?

KUELZER: They eat vegetables and fruits and crickets.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And are they affectionate?

KUELZER: No. They look at you with such disdain most of the time.

(LAUGHTER)

KUELZER: And you don't feel like they like you at all.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) OK. Well, I think you're ready to take it away.

SHORTZ: Here we go. Jennifer, I'm going to give you two sets of three letters. Put the same two letters in front of each trio to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase. For example, if I said I, T, E and A, L, E, you would say white whale 'cause you would put WH in front of each of those trios to make the phrase.

KUELZER: OK.

SHORTZ: All right. Number one is U, N, D, B, I, N.

KUELZER: OK. U, N, D and B, I, N...

SHORTZ: Yeah.

KUELZER: I'm going to need a hint for this first one. I'm blanking.

SHORTZ: OK, and I'll give you a really vague hint to start. It's a - first letter is a consonant, and the second one is a vowel.

KUELZER: OK.

SHORTZ: If you were in a contest, in a tournament, you might start out in this kind of event.

KUELZER: Round robin.

SHORTZ: Round robin is it with RO. Good. Number two is A, S, S, O, W, N.

KUELZER: Class clown.

SHORTZ: Nice job. B, B, Y, R, S, E.

KUELZER: OK, hobby horse.

SHORTZ: Hobby horse, yeah, the toy. S, T, E, T, E, R.

KUELZER: Wastewater.

SHORTZ: Wastewater, good. D, A, R, N, G, E.

KUELZER: Radar range.

SHORTZ: That's it. A, S, H, O, O, D.

KUELZER: Ash - flash flood.

SHORTZ: Flash flood, nice. W, E, R, I, N, T.

KUELZER: PowerPoint.

SHORTZ: Good. T, O, R, U, T, H.

KUELZER: T, O, R, U, T, H - truth - oh, motor mouth.

SHORTZ: Motor mouth, nice. O, W, N, E, A, D.

KUELZER: E, A, D - brown bread. Brown bread?

SHORTZ: Brown bread, good. A, I, N, A, C, K.

KUELZER: Black, Blaine - train track.

SHORTZ: Train track, nice. O, L, E, E, A, T.

KUELZER: Whole wheat.

SHORTZ: Whole wheat, nice. And here's your last one, and it has two answers. And the letters are T, C, H, K, E, R.

KUELZER: Matchmaker.

SHORTZ: Matchmaker is one. Now the second answer uses a different vowel from the A.

KUELZER: OK, so mutchmucker (ph).

(LAUGHTER)

SHORTZ: All right, try an I.

KUELZER: An I...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Something that you do when you stick out your thumb.

SHORTZ: There you go.

KUELZER: Hitchhiker.

SHORTZ: A hitchhiker.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: There you go.

SHORTZ: Jennifer, I'm impressed.

KUELZER: Thank you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And he does not say that lightly, let me tell you. You did great. How do you feel?

KUELZER: Relieved.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) But you did really, really well. 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. And, Jennifer, which member station do you listen to?

KUELZER: I listen with my roommate to KNPR.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Jennifer Kuelzer of Las Vegas, Nev. Thank you for playing the puzzle.

KUELZER: Thank you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Will, what's next week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yeah, it's something a little different, and it comes from Joseph Young of St. Cloud, Minn. And it involves Pi Day, which is coming up this Saturday, March 14. That's commonly written as 3/14. And that's been designated Pi Day, you know, because 314 are the first three digits of pi. Well, the letters of Pi Day, P, I, D, A, Y, also have a curious mathematical significance. What is it? So that's the puzzle. The letters of Pi Day have a curious mathematical significance. What is it?

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, March 12, at 3:00 p.m. Eastern. 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 very own puzzlemaster, Will Shortz. Thanks so much, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Lulu.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.