On-air challenge: This puzzle is supersonic. Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name that has the consecutive letters S-S-T. Specifically, the first word will end in S-S, and the second word will start with T. For example, given, "A situation in which people speak on top of each other," you would say, "cross talk."
Last week's challenge from Gary Alstad of Tustin, Calif.: Think of a three-syllable word in four letters, add two letters and rearrange everything to become a two-syllable word in six letters. Then add two more letters and scramble them to get a one-syllable word in eight letters.
Answers: Idea, detain, strained, idea, diaper, traipsed, oleo, oodles, schooled (and others)
Winner: Bob Frizal of Mayfield Village, Ohio
Next week's challenge: In three words, name a product sold mainly to women that has the initials N-P-R. The answer is a common 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 Thursday at 3 p.m. Eastern.
SUSAN STAMBERG, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Susan Stamberg. And you know what that music means. It is time for our weekly dose of puzzle.
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STAMBERG: Joining us now, WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle-master Will Shortz. Well, hi, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Welcome back, Susan.
STAMBERG: Thank you very much. We need a reminder. What was last week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Gary Alvstad of Tustin, California. And it was to think of a three-syllable word in four letters. I said add two letters and rearrange everything into a two-syllable word in six letters. Then add two more letters and rearrange everything into a one-syllable word in eight letters.
STAMBERG: Oh, good heavens. And apparently there were many different kinds of answers that would work for this one. Just to make it even simpler, right?
SHORTZ: Well, there were several answers. The intended one was idea, detain, strained. There were a couple of other options. There was idea, diaper, traipsed, oleo, oodles and schooled. We accepted anything that was correct. Oh, we're easy. And there were more than 600 correct answers. Isn't that just shows you how smart our listeners are. Randomly selected, the winner is Bob Frizal, Mayfield Village, Ohio. Congratulations to you, Bob.
BOB FRIZAL: Well, thank you, Susan.
SHORTZ: Well, Bob, how did you figure this out.
FRIZAL: Well, I was actually traveling back to the United States from Bangkok. And I looked at the puzzle online in the airport in Seoul, South Korea. And I got the answer before we took off.
STAMBERG: That's amazing. And what were you doing in Bangkok?
FRIZAL: I was there on business. My company has a factory there.
STAMBERG: Ha. Was it a little warm?
FRIZAL: It was quite warm. But actually during part of the time I was there, Cleveland was just as warm.
STAMBERG: You bet, and Washington, D.C., where I am. So, how long have you been playing this puzzle, Bob?
FRIZAL: I've been playing the puzzle for about 15 years but I didn't start answering until December of 2009, when my puzzle partner, my friend, Christine, actually was a contestant and sitting in the same chair that I'm sort of sitting in right now.
STAMBERG: Oh, how amazing. Well, isn't that nice that it's your turn to shine?
FRIZAL: That's right.
STAMBERG: Good. You ready to play?
FRIZAL: I am.
STAMBERG: OK. Will, let's go.
SHORTZ: All right. Bob and Susan, today's puzzle is supersonic. Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name that has the consecutive letters SST. And specifically the first word will end in S-S and the second word will start with T. For example, if I said situation in which people speak on top of each other, you would say cross talk.
STAMBERG: I got as far as simultaneous translation. I don't know. OK, fine, go.
SHORTZ: Number one: subway, buses, et cetera.
FRIZAL: Mass transit.
SHORTZ: That's it. Number two: conveyance that doesn't make local stops.
FRIZAL: Express train.
SHORTZ: That's it. Basic things, as in the phrase getting down to...
FRIZAL: Brass tacks.
SHORTZ: That's it. A measure of how one performs under pressure.
FRIZAL: Stress test.
SHORTZ: That's it. Pioneer's path through a forest. And...
FRIZAL: Something trail.
SHORTZ: Yes. What kind of trail? It's wide open, uninhabited area.
SHORTZ: There you go. Wilderness trail.
FRIZAL: Thank you, Susan.
STAMBERG: Hello. I woke up.
SHORTZ: Popular cream-filled cakes whose manufacturer declared bankruptcy last year.
FRIZAL: Hostess Twinkie.
SHORTZ: That's it. Head of Tammany Hall in 19th century New York City politics.
FRIZAL: Boss Tweed.
SHORTZ: That's it. Piece of furniture for the so-called game of kings.
FRIZAL: Chess table.
SHORTZ: That's it. Conifer often found near a swamp.
FRIZAL: Cypress tree.
SHORTZ: That's it. In Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken," like the road the poet did take.
FRIZAL: Less traveled.
SHORTZ: Good. Something hanging off a Serta or Sealy not to be removed except by the purchaser.
FRIZAL: Mattress tag.
SHORTZ: That's it.
FRIZAL: Or the police will get you.
STAMBERG: Don't you hate those things? You always think, oh, better get the scissors or somebody's going to come arrest me.
SHORTZ: That's it. A lawn edging tool.
STAMBERG: Grass something.
SHORTZ: Yes. A grass what?
FRIZAL: Grass trimmer?
SHORTZ: Grass trimmer is it. Illegal influence on a person who's testifying at a trial. So, first of all, someone who testifies at a trial would be what?
FRIZAL: A witness. Witness tampering.
SHORTZ: Witness tampering is it. And your last one: first lady before Mamie Eisenhower.
FRIZAL: Bess Truman.
SHORTZ: That was 100 percent.
STAMBERG: We're so impressed, we're going to give you something. For playing this puzzle, you will get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, puzzle books, games and you can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle.
And before we let you go, tell us the public radio station you listen to?
FRIZAL: WCPN in Cleveland.
STAMBERG: Yay, Cleveland. Bob Frizal of Mayfield Village, Ohio. Thank you so much for playing.
FRIZAL: Thank you, both.
STAMBERG: Will, you think he'll show up again here next week?
SHORTZ: Well, why not?
STAMBERG: What's the challenge?
SHORTZ: OK. In three words, name a product sold mainly to women that has the initials NPR. And the answer is a common phrase. So again, three words whose initials are NPR and it names a product sold mainly. What product is it?
STAMBERG: When you have the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle and you click on the Submit Your Answer link - just one entry per person, please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday the 1st of August, 3 P.M. Eastern Time.
And give us your phone number, a place we can reach you at around that time. If you are the winner we'll give you a call, and you will get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle-master, Will Shortz.
So great to do this again with you, Will. Thanks so much.
SHORTZ: Thanks, Susan.
(SOUNDBITE OF THEME MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.