On-air challenge: This week's puzzle is a look back on the people and things you probably never heard of until 2019, but who sprang to prominence during the past 12 months. Tell me who and what they are:
1. Greta Thunberg
2. Chasten Glezman — husband of Pete Buttigieg
3. Christina Koch and Jessica Meir
Last week's challenge: Name a noted TV journalist, five letters in the first name, six in the last. Change an "I" in this name to a "W" and re-arrange the result, and you'll get a two-word phrase for where you might see this journalist.
Challenge answer: Piers Morgan, News Program
Winner: Noah Goldstein of Chicago, Ill.
This week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from listener Mark Scott of Seattle. Everyone knows what a spoonerism is, right? That's where you switch the initial consonant sounds of one phrase to get another — like "light rain" for "right lane." Here's the puzzle: Name a well-known world leader, first and last names. Spoonerize this, and you'll get a phrase that means "to have confidence in one of the martial arts." Who's the leader, and what's the phrase?
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. 2 at 3 p.m. ET.
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
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: What was last week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Eric Chaikin of Thousand Oaks, Calif. I said, name a noted TV journalist - five letters in the first name, six letters in the last. Change an I in the name to a W, and rearrange the result. You get a two-word phrase for where you might see this journalist. Who is it? Well, the journalist is Piers Morgan. And you do that change. You get news program.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And we received 129 correct responses. It was another tough one. And the winner this week is Noah Goldstein of Chicago, Ill.
NOAH GOLDSTEIN: Thank you so much.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: How'd you figure it out?
GOLDSTEIN: Well, I spent a while spinning my wheel, looking at lists of names of TV journalists, looking for patterns. I ended up with a bunch of wrong answers that still made me laugh. I got - Tanya Rivero brought me to avert Norway.
GOLDSTEIN: And then later on that day, I was just reading something else, and then I saw Piers Morgan's name. And I had completely forgotten about The Puzzle at that point, but it came back right then.
GOLDSTEIN: And a little bit of luck there.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: There you go. I love that. And I'm told you've only been playing The Puzzle for a very short while.
GOLDSTEIN: That's right. Yeah. I've just started about six to maybe eight months ago.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. But you're no stranger to The New York Times crossword puzzle.
GOLDSTEIN: That's right. I - according to The New York Times stats, I've finished over a thousand crossword puzzles.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Wow. That is amazing. All right. Well, let's see how you do with Will face to face, mano a mano. All right. Take it away, Will.
SHORTZ: Hi there, Noah.
SHORTZ: Well, every year around this time, I do a year-end new names in the news quiz. And here's how it works. I'll name some people and things you probably never heard of until 2019 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 Kathy Baker, who once played a similar quiz. Here's number one - Greta Thunberg.
GOLDSTEIN: She is a young climate activist.
SHORTZ: Excellent - from Sweden - and she was just named Time magazine's person of the year.
GOLDSTEIN: Oh, yeah.
SHORTZ: Number two is Marie Yovanovitch.
GOLDSTEIN: Oh, I know that name - Yovanovitch. I believe she was an - not an ambassador to Ukraine.
SHORTZ: That's it.
GOLDSTEIN: That was it?
SHORTZ: That's it.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: She was.
GOLDSTEIN: Oh, nice. All right.
SHORTZ: Nice. Number three is a tougher one - Chasten Glezman. That's - the first name is C-H-A-S-T-E-N. Last name is G-L-E-Z-M-A-N. And if you need a hint, I'll say that this is the husband of someone famous.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And he's famous in his own right.
SHORTZ: Yes. That's why he's in the quiz.
GOLDSTEIN: (Laughter) Somebody who rose to prominence in 2019 - Chasten Glezman. Oh, was that Pete Buttigieg's husband?
SHORTZ: Oh, excellent. I'm impressed.
GOLDSTEIN: Oh. Oh, nice.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Good job.
GOLDSTEIN: (Laughter) By the skin of my teeth on that one.
SHORTZ: Right. Your next one is Christina Koch and Jessica Meir. And your hint is they're the first two women ever to do something together.
GOLDSTEIN: Were these the first two women to go on a spacewalk?
SHORTZ: Excellent - woo.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Hey. Are you a news buff? You're doing really well.
GOLDSTEIN: (Laughter) Well, I do love my NPR.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: There you go.
SHORTZ: All right. Try this one - Naruhito. That's N-A-R-U-H-I-T-O. It's just one name - Naruhito. He is the new what?
SHORTZ: Even if you don't know it, you might guess it from the name, Naruhito. First of all, what country do you think that is?
GOLDSTEIN: That sounds like Japan. So...
SHORTZ: That's correct.
GOLDSTEIN: Perhaps the new prime - or emperor of Japan.
SHORTZ: The new emperor of Japan.
GOLDSTEIN: All right.
SHORTZ: How about this - Lizzo - L-I-Z-Z-O.
GOLDSTEIN: Oh, she's - she sings "Juice."
SHORTZ: Very good. She had the song "Truth Hurts," which was a viral sleeper hit this fall, two years after it was released.
And here's your last one - Whakaari. That's W-H-A-K-A-A-R-I - Whakaari. And your hint is, it's not a person or an animal, but it did come alive this year.
GOLDSTEIN: Oh, that's the volcano, isn't it?
SHORTZ: Yeah, New Zealand - that killed some tourists recently.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You did great. How do you feel?
GOLDSTEIN: I feel relieved.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You did really, really well. For playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, as well as puzzle books and games. And Noah, which member station do you listen to?
GOLDSTEIN: I'm a member of WBEZ Chicago.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's wonderful. Noah Goldstein of Chicago, Ill., thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.
GOLDSTEIN: Thank you so much for having me. This was a pleasure.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Will. What's next week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from listener Mark Scott of Seattle, and it involves spoonerisms. That's where you switch the initial consonant sounds of one phrase to get another, like light rain to right lane. So here's the puzzle. Name a well-known world leader, first and last names. Spoonerize (ph) this, and you'll get a phrase that means to have confidence in one of the martial arts. Who's the leader, and what's the phrase? So again, a well-known world leader, first and last names. Spoonerize it, and you'll get a phrase that means to have confidence in one of the martial arts. Who's the leader, and what's the phrase?
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, January 2, at 3 p.m. Eastern, 2020. Include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. And 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 very own puzzlemaster Will Shortz.
Thanks so much, Will. Happy New Year.
SHORTZ: Happy New Year, Lulu.
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