Sunday Puzzle: You Can't Spell Consonant Without C Or T

Mar 15, 2020
Originally published on March 15, 2020 12:39 pm

On-air challenge: Every answer today is a word, name or phrase in which the only consonants are C and T — repeated as often as necessary. All the other letters are vowels.

Example: Understood without being stated --> Tacit

1. Room at the top of a house

2. Like an angle that's less than 90 degrees

3. Group of eight musicians

4. Desert plants with needles

5. Adorable person

6. City on the Erie Canal

7. Strategy

8. Something invisible a grade schooler doesn't want to get

9. Brand of breath mint (two words)

10. Kind of acid

11. Ancient Greek state with Athens

12. Misbehave (two words)

13. French poet, playwright and novelist Jean

14. Turn on, as a machine

15. Virtuoso musical piece played on a piano

16. Large lake between Bolivia and Peru

17. Cry meaning "Stop! That's enough!" (three words)

18. Game with X's and O's (hyphen)

Last week's challenge: This challenge is something different. It comes from Joseph Young of St. Cloud, Minn. It involves Pi Day, which is 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?

Challenge Answer: The numerical positions in the alphabet of "Pi Day" are 16, 9, 4, 1, and 25 — the first five perfect squares.

Winner: Bernie Speevack of Louisville, Ky.

This week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from Adam Cohen of Brooklyn. Think of a well-known entertainer, six letters in the first name, four letters in the last. You can change the first letter of the entertainer's last name to name an animal. And you can change the first letter of the entertainer's first name to get what kind of animal that is.

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 19, at 3 p.m. ET.

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

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

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: Good morning, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Good morning. What was last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from Joseph Young of St. Cloud, Minn. And it involved Pi Day, which was yesterday, March 14 - commonly written as 3/14. And of course, that's Pi Day because 3-1-4 are the first three digits of pi. And I said the letters of Pi Day, P-I D-A-Y, also have a curious mathematical significance. What is it? And the amazing thing is the numerical positions in the alphabet of P-I D-A-Y are 16, 9, 4, 1 and 25, which are the first five perfect squares.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Huh. We received over 1,300 correct responses. And the winner this week is Bernie Speevack of Louisville, Ky. Congratulations.

BERNIE SPEEVACK: Thank you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: How'd you solve it?

SPEEVACK: I wrote down the numbers and the letter of the alphabet in a parallel column and circled the ones that go along with Pi Day, and I saw they were perfect squares.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Cool. So aside from puzzles, I hear you're into photography. What do you like to photograph?

SPEEVACK: Anything, but most of my pictures are unusual, quirky things - signs, billboards, T-shirts...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter).

SPEEVACK: ...Lots of license plates.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Ah, license plates - those are good ones. Are you ready to play?

SPEEVACK: Yes.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: OK. Will, take it away.

SHORTZ: All right. Bernie, every answer today is a word, name or phrase in which the only consonants are C and T repeated as often as necessary. All the other letters of vowels. For example, if I said, understood without being stated, you would say tacit. So here's number one. We're going to start with five-letter answers, your first one is room at the top of a house.

SPEEVACK: Attic.

SHORTZ: Attic is right. Number two is like an angle that's less than 90 degrees.

SPEEVACK: Acute.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh - a group of eight musicians.

SPEEVACK: Octet.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh - desert plants with needles.

SPEEVACK: Cacti.

SHORTZ: That's it - an adorable person.

SPEEVACK: Cutie.

SHORTZ: Good - city on the Erie Canal - obviously, in upstate New York...

SPEEVACK: Right.

SHORTZ: ...Between Buffalo and Albany. And what if I told you it starts with U?

SPEEVACK: Utica.

SHORTZ: Utica is it. Now we're on to six-letter answers. And your first one is strategy.

SPEEVACK: It's not coming to me.

SHORTZ: Uh-huh. And it starts with a T.

SPEEVACK: Still stuck.

SHORTZ: All right, I'll tell you that one. It's a tactic.

SPEEVACK: OK.

SHORTZ: All right. How about this? Something invisible a grade schooler doesn't want to get.

SPEEVACK: Cootie.

SHORTZ: A cootie - a brand of breath mint. It's too words.

SPEEVACK: Tic Tac.

SHORTZ: That's it - a kind of acid.

SPEEVACK: Acetic.

SHORTZ: That's it. Ancient Greek state with Athens.

SPEEVACK: Attica.

SHORTZ: That's it. It's a - next one's a two-word answer. And it means to misbehave. And say you have frustrations. You might do these to them.

SPEEVACK: Act out.

SHORTZ: Act out is it. Now seven-letter answers - a virtuoso musical piece played on a piano - starts with T.

SPEEVACK: Uh-oh - trouble again.

SHORTZ: I'll tell you that one - it's a toccata. All right. And we will move on to eight-letter or more...

SPEEVACK: OK (laughter).

SHORTZ: ...Answers. And your first one is a large lake between Bolivia and Peru.

SPEEVACK: Titicaca.

SHORTZ: That's it - a cry meaning stop. That's enough. It's a three-word phrase. Someone is doing something to you don't like. You might say...

SPEEVACK: Cut it out.

SHORTZ: Cut it out. And your last one is a hyphenated word. It's a game with X's and O's.

SPEEVACK: Tic tac toe.

SHORTZ: That's it.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Finished strong - how do you feel?

SPEEVACK: Relieved.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: 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 Bernie, which member station do you listen to?

SPEEVACK: WFPL.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Bernie Speevack of Louisville, Ky. Thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.

SPEEVACK: Thank you.

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

SHORTZ: Yeah. It comes from Adam Cohen of Brooklyn. Think of a well-known entertainer - six letters in the first name, four letters in the last. You can change the first letter of the entertainer's last name to name an animal. And you can change the first letter of the entertainer's first name to get what kind of animal that is. Who is it? So again, a well-known entertainer - six, four - change the first letter of the last name to name an animal. And change the first letter of the first name to get what kind of animal that is. Who's the entertainer? And what words are these?

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 19 at 3 p.m. Eastern. 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.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Lulu.

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