Puzzle play

Sunday puzzle: play the game

On-air challenge: Each response today is a four-letter word made up of two consecutive state postal abbreviations.

Ex. Similar -> AKIN [Alaska + Indiana]
1. What a volcano spits out
2. Mineral that comes in thin layers
3. Breeze
4. Like wet grass in the morning
5. Hide
6. Arrived
7. Opera alone
8. Big party, like a black tie affair
9. Hotel employee who makes the beds
10. Unconscious state
11. Sound of a siren
12. Inter-service note
13. Donations to the poor, once
14. Many

Last week’s challenge: Last week’s challenge comes from Robert Render, from Skokie, Ill. It’s harder than it looks. Name a well-known tourist spot that attracts millions of visitors a year. He has a name in two words. The first word is a number. And this number is the same as the total number of letters in the name. What is the tourist site?

Response to the challenge: Ocho Rios.

Winner: Alex Hart from Havertown, Pennsylvania.

The challenge of the week: This week’s challenge comes from Ed Pegg Jr. of Champaign, Ill. Take the expression ZANY BOX KEPT HIM. Write it in all caps. There is something special about the 14 letters of this phrase that sets them apart from the other 12 letters of the alphabet. What is that?

Submit your response

If you know the answer to next week’s challenge, submit it here through Thursday, March 25 at 3 p.m. ET. Listeners who submit correct answers earn a chance to play the puzzle live. Important: Include a phone number where we can reach you.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To learn more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HTE:

It’s time to play Puzzle.

(MUSIC EXTRACT)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Will Shortz is joining us. He is The New York Times Puzzle Editor and WEEKEND EDITION Puzzle Master. Hello, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Hello, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: What was the challenge last week?

SHORTZ: Yeah, it’s from Skokie’s listener Robert Render, Ill. And I said it was harder than it looks. Name a well-known tourist spot that attracts millions of visitors a year. He has a name in two words. The first word is a number. And this number is the same as the total number of letters in the name. What site is it? And the answer is Ocho Rios in Jamaica. Ocho, of course, means eight letters in Spanish and there are eight letters in Ocho Rios.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We have received over 600 correct answers. And the winner is Alex Hart from Havertown, Pennsylvania. Congratulations and welcome to the program.

ALEX HART: Thanks, Lulu. I am really excited to participate. This is my second time on the air with Will, and my wife has already won once. But we’ve been playing for so many years and been in for so many years, I guess your number ends up arriving.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I guess so. But, you know, every time someone says that, a lot of people get very angry because they think we’ve been waiting for our big chance for so long.

HART: Oh, I get even angrier when someone says this was my first puzzle, you know?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughs) Very well. So how did you figure it out?

HART: I think part of the clue was that it was going to be complicated, so I thought maybe numbers in a foreign language. So I started with French, then I switched to German and finally I progressed to Spanish. And when I got to the word ocho – I don’t know. I don’t really know Ocho Rios, but something clicked in my head. So I googled a bit. And sure enough, Ocho Rios came and, bingo, that was it.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Bingo, that was it. Are you ready to play Puzzle?

HART: I better be.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughs) Okay, Will, take it off.

SHORTZ: Alright, Alex, every answer today is a four letter word made up of two consecutive state postage abbreviations.

HART: Ah.

SHORTZ: For example, if I said the same thing, you would say related – AKIN, which is Alaska and Indiana.

HART: Whoa. OKAY.

SHORTZ: Alright. # 1 is what a volcano spits out.

HART: Wash.

SHORTZ: That’s right – Louisiana, Virginia. Mineral that comes in thin layers.

HART: Mineral that occurs in thin layers.

SHORTZ: It’s sort of translucent.

HART: Oh, well, I’m thinking of quartz, but that’s not it. Mica – Michigan and California, yes.

SHORTZ: Mica, that’s it – Michigan and California. Here is. Breeze, a breeze.

HART: A breeze – well, wind – Wisconsin and North Dakota.

SHORTZ: That’s it. Like wet grass in the morning.

HART: Dewy – Delaware and Wyoming.

SHORTZ: Good. To hide.

HART: To hide is to hide – Hawaii and Delaware.

SHORTZ: That’s it. Arrival.

HART: Arrived – came – California and Maine.

SHORTZ: That’s it. An opera solo.

HART: Aria – Arkansas and Iowa.

SHORTZ: That’s it. A big party, like a black tie affair.

HART: A gala – Georgia and Louisiana.

SHORTZ: Excellent. A hotel employee making the beds.

HART: It would be good – Massachusetts and Idaho.

SHORTZ: That’s it. An unconscious state.

HART: The unconscious state would be a coma – Colorado and Massachusetts.

SHORTZ: That’s it. Sound of a siren.

HART: The sound of a siren would be a – sound of a siren – a moan – a moan. It would be Washington and Illinois.

SHORTZ: Right. An inter-service note.

HART: It would be a memo. It would be Maine and Missouri.

SHORTZ: That’s it. Donate to the poor once.

HART: Donations to the poor would be charity, which is AL – Alabama and Mississippi.

SHORTZ: Good, right next to each other. And your last is many.

HART: A lot – Massachusetts and New York.

SHORTZ: Nice work.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You’ve done incredibly well. How do you feel?

HART: A little scared, but I think I’ll survive.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You have done an absolutely incredible job. And to play our Puzzle today, you’ll receive a WEEKEND EDITION pin, along with puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle. And, Alex, which member station are you listening to?

HART: WHY in Philadelphia.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Alex Hart from Havertown, PA, thank you very much for playing Puzzle.

HART: Oh, thank you both, I really enjoyed it.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Okay, Will, what’s next week’s challenge?

SHORTZ: Yeah, that’s from Ed Pegg Jr. of Champaign, IL. Take the phrase ZANY BOX KEPT HIM, write it in all caps, there is something special about the 14 letters of this phrase that sets them apart from the other 12 letters of the alphabet. What is that? Again, the phrase is ZANY BOX KEPT HIM, please do so in all caps. What is the particularity of the 14 letters of this sentence that distinguishes them from the other 12 letters of the alphabet?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: When you have the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle and click on the submit your answer link. Remember, only one entry per person, please. Our registration deadline is Thursday, March 25 at 3 p.m. EST. Include a phone number where we can reach you around this time. And if you’re the winner, we’ll give you a call and you can play live with Will Shortz, The New York Times Puzzle Editor and WEEKEND EDITION Puzzle Master. Thanks a lot, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Lulu. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.