Frog Stuck In Your C-R-O-A-T?

Oct 6, 2012
Originally published on October 9, 2012 12:24 pm

On-air challenge: You'll be given a category, and you name something in the category starting with each of the letters in the word "Croat." For example, if the category were "boy's names," you might say Chris, Roger, Otto, Adam and Terry.

Last week's challenge: Think of a word in which the second letter is R. Change the R to an M, and rearrange the result. You'll get the opposite of the original word. What is it? (Hint: The two words start with the same letter.)

Answer: "Prose" and "poems"

Winner: Paul Keller of Lompoc, Calif.

Next week's challenge: Draw a regular hexagon, and connect every pair of vertices except one. The pair you don't connect are not on opposite sides of the hexagon, but along a shorter diagonal. How many triangles of any size are in this figure?

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 Thursday at 3 p.m. Eastern.

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Engage your brains, folks, because it is time for the puzzle.


MARTIN: And joining me now from the World Puzzle Championship in Croatia is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle-master Will Shortz. Hi, Will.


MARTIN: OK. So, how are things going at the puzzle championship?

SHORTZ: Well, competition's going great. There's about 25 teams from all over the world. And we're in this little town, Kraljevica, which is a resort town on the Adriatic. We're in a resort that's overlooking the sea, and I have to tell you, it was just gorgeous.

MARTIN: Sounds lovely. Without further ado, though, let's get going on our own puzzle competition. Can you help refresh our memories with last week's challenge.

SHORTZ: Yes. The challenge was to think of a world in which the second letter's R. Then change the R to an M and rearrange the result to get the opposite of the original word. And I said both words start with the same letter. First of all, a lot of listeners sent in dreary to dreamy. That does change the R to an M, and dreary and dreamy are sort of opposites, but there's no anagramming involved in that, so we didn't accept that as a correct answer. My answer, my intended answer, and the only one we know of that's good is prose to poems.

MARTIN: OK. Well, this was a tough challenge. Only 55 out of about 140 of you sent in the correct answer - prose and poems. And our randomly selected winner this week is Paul Keller of Lompoc, California. He joins us now on the line. Congratulations, Paul.

PAUL KELLER: Well, thank you.

MARTIN: So, this was a tough one. Are you a poetry buff?

KELLER: Not really. I'm a puzzle buff.


MARTIN: You're a puzzle buff. Did it come to you pretty quickly or did you have to work at this one?

KELLER: No. In fact, I got off to a false start 'cause I missed one of the requirements that the second letter had to be R. So, then when I was about to submit it, I read it online to make sure. Oops, I have to start over again.

MARTIN: Well, good for you for persevering. And what do you do in Lompoc, California?

KELLER: I'm a retired mathematics schoolteacher.

MARTIN: OK. So, you know, I'm guessing you might be pretty good at these puzzles.

KELLER: Well, we'll see.

MARTIN: We'll see. All right. Well, you and I will, will take this on together. Will, what do you go to? We're ready.

SHORTZ: All right. Paul and Rachel, this is a good two-person puzzle. I brought a game of categories using the word Croat C-R-O-A-T. And I'm going to give you some categories. For each one, name something in that category starting with each of the letters of Croat. For example, if the category were boys' names, you might say Chris, Roger, Otto, Adam and Terry. Any answer that fits the category is considered correct.

MARTIN: OK. You think you got that, Paul?

KELLER: Ah, it sounds challenging.

MARTIN: OK. Well, let's try it. Will, take it away.

SHORTZ: Your first category is shapes and lines in geometry.

KELLER: OK. let's start with circle...


KELLER: ...and a rhombus.


KELLER: And oval.


KELLER: Let's see, and a T - T would be a triangle.

SHORTZ: Good. So, all you need is an A.

KELLER: Let's see.

SHORTZ: What would part of a circle be?

KELLER: Oh, OK. That would be an arc, yes.

SHORTZ: And arc was it. Good. Your next category: things you might grow in a vegetable garden.

KELLER: Oh, carrots, radishes, okra...


SHORTZ: Okra's good.

KELLER: ...thyme for T.

SHORTZ: Thyme is good. So, all you need is an A.

KELLER: An A for, let me see...

MARTIN: How about some asparagus?

SHORTZ: Asparagus.

KELLER: Right. Yeah.

SHORTZ: Good one, Rachel. All right. Here's your last category: state capitals.

KELLER: Gee, I'm blanking out. State capitals with a C would be...


SHORTZ: That's good.

KELLER: Oh yeah, Cleveland. That would work.

SHORTZ: Not Cleveland.

MARTIN: The other C.

SHORTZ: Not Cleveland. What's the capital of Ohio - and it's not Cincinnati either.

KELLER: Columbus.

SHORTZ: Columbus is it.

MARTIN: Columbus.

KELLER: Raleigh.

SHORTZ: Raleigh, North Carolina, good.

KELLER: Oh, what would be...

SHORTZ: There are actually multiple answers for every one of these letters. That's probably just going to frustrate you.

MARTIN: Exactly, Will. This does not make us feel better. OK. O...

SHORTZ: There's a state capital starting with O that is in a state bordering Texas.

KELLER: Let's see, Oklahoma.


SHORTZ: Yes. There you go. What's the capital of Oklahoma?

KELLER: Now I am blanking out.

MARTIN: Oklahoma City.

SHORTZ: Oklahoma City - that one's an easy one. OK, all you need is an A and a T.

MARTIN: An A and a T. OK. We can do this.

KELLER: A and a T.

SHORTZ: OK, for A, think...

MARTIN: Atlanta

KELLER: Oh, Atlanta

SHORTZ: Atlanta is good. Albany also works. And how about T?


SHORTZ: And I'll give you a hint for T. Think of the capital of the southeastern most state.

KELLER: Oh, Tallahassee. Sure.

MARTIN: There you go.

SHORTZ: Tallahassee, Florida is it. Good.

MARTIN: Woo. Great job, Paul. That was well done. That was a hard one. 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

And before we let you go, how about giving a shout-out to your public radio station?

KELLER: That'll be KCBX in St. Louis Obispo.

MARTIN: Great. Paul Keller of Lompoc, California, thanks so much for playing the puzzle this week.

KELLER: It's been an honor.

MARTIN: Great. OK, Will, what's our challenge for next week?

SHORTZ: Yeah, I brought an original logical geometrical puzzle, which in the spirit of the World Puzzle Championship. Draw a regular hexagon and connect every pair of vertices except one. And the pair you don't connect are not on opposite sides of the hexagon, but along a shorter diagonal. And the question: How many triangles are in this figure?

So again, draw a regular hexagon. Connect every pair of vertices except one, not the pair that's on opposite sides, but along the shorter diagonal. And the question is: How many triangles are in this figure?

MARTIN: OK. When you have the answer, go to our website, and click on the Submit Your Answer link - just one entry per person, please. The deadline for entries is Thursday, October 11th at 3 P.M. Eastern Time.

Please 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 own puzzle-master, Will Shortz.

And, Will, hope you can squeeze in a little more sightseeing in Croatia. I want to see some pictures.

SHORTZ: I'll see what I can do.

MARTIN: OK, safe travels.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel.

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