On-air Challenge: Every answer today is a familiar phrase in the form "___ of the ___." I'll give you anagrams of the first and last words. You give me the phrases.
Ex. SING of the ITEMS --> SIGN OF THE TIMES
1. TASTE of the RAT
2. LAST of the HEART
3. LILTS of the THING
4. AMEN of the MAGE
5. STOOL of the TREAD
6. SHAPES of the MONO
7. HIPS of the RESTED
8. TABLET of the BUGLE
9. LICENSE of the BALMS
10. DEN of the NILE
Last week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from listener Ed Pegg Jr., who runs mathpuzzle.com. Think of someone who has been in the news this year in a positive way. Say this person's first initial and last name out loud. It will sound like an important person in U.S. history. Who is it?
Challenge answer: Antony Blinken --> "A. Blinken" sounds like "Abe Lincoln."
Winner: Shawn Fritz of Berkeley, Calif.
This week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from listener Samuel Mace of Smyrna, Del. Name a famous actor whose first name is a book of the Bible and whose last name is an anagram of another book of the Bible. Who is it?
If you know the answer to next week's challenge, submit it here by Thursday, Feb. 18, at 3 p.m. ET. Listeners who submit correct answers win a chance to play the on-air puzzle. Important: Include a phone number where we can reach you.
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
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.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu. Happy Valentine's Day.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Happy Valentine's Day. You're my valentine this week.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Remind us of last week's challenge.
SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Ed Pegg Jr., who runs mathpuzzle.com. I said think of an official who has been in the news this year. Say this person's first initial and last name out loud, and it will sound like an important person in U.S. history. Who is it? And the answer is Antony Blinken. He's the new secretary of state. And you do the first initial and last name. It's Abe Lincoln.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received over 1,400 correct responses. And the winner this week is Shawn Fritz of Berkeley, Calif.
SHAWN FRITZ: Thank you.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: How'd you figure it out?
FRITZ: I actually thought of it before I heard the question because when I read that Mr. Blinken was nominated for secretary of state, I thought, oh, he could be Abe Lincoln.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) How long have you been playing The Puzzle?
FRITZ: For quite a while - I think for probably 20 years on and off.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Cool. And what was it like when you got the call?
FRITZ: I was very surprised. I didn't quite understand it at first. I thought that an NPR reporter was calling about a project that I worked on or something to interview me.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) And instead it's this. What do you do?
FRITZ: I'm an architect.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Oh, fantastic. All right. Are you ready to play The Puzzle?
FRITZ: I'm - as the kids say, let's go.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Let's go. Take it away, Will.
SHORTZ: All right, Shawn. I've heard of people getting the answer to my challenge puzzle before I finished giving it. You're the first person who's had the answer before I've even started The Puzzle.
SHORTZ: So here you go. Every answer today is a familiar phrase in the form blank of the blank. I'll give you anagrams of the first and last words. You give me the phrases. For example, if I said sing of the items, you would say sign of the times.
SHORTZ: All right. Number one is taste of the rat, taste of the rat. Just rearrange taste to make a word and rat.
FRITZ: State of the art.
SHORTZ: State of the art is it. Good. Last of the heart.
FRITZ: Last or blast?
SHORTZ: Sorry. Last of the heart - L-A-S-T. People who are really good are this.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: The first word is a condiment.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Condiment - so something that you...
SHORTZ: Something on your dinner table.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: ...Would put on your food to make it...
SHORTZ: Salt of the...
SHORTZ: Salt of the Earth is it. Lilts of the thing - that's L-I-L-T-S. Lilts of the thing.
SHORTZ: No, you need two Ls there.
FRITZ: Oh. Oh.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Singing) In the blank of the (laughter)...
SHORTZ: There we go. We need a musical hint.
FRITZ: ...Of the night.
SHORTZ: Still of the night is it. Good.
FRITZ: Thank you, Lulu.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You're welcome.
SHORTZ: You always come through, Lulu, musically. Here's your next one - amen of the mage. That's A-M-E-N, M-A-G-E.
FRITZ: Name of the game.
SHORTZ: That's it. Stool of the tread.
FRITZ: Tools of the trade.
SHORTZ: Tools of the trade - good. Shapes of the mono. That's S-H-A-P-E-S, M-O-N-O.
FRITZ: Phases of the moon.
SHORTZ: There you go. Hips of the rested - H-I-P-S - rested. And your clue here is a camel.
FRITZ: Camel - oh, ship of the desert.
SHORTZ: Ship of the desert is it. Tablet of the bugle - famous event in history. Tablet of the bugle.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: It was a big fight.
FRITZ: Battle of the...
SHORTZ: Yes, in World War II.
SHORTZ: Battle of the Bulge is it. How about this? - license of the balms. That's L-I-C-E-N-S-E, B-A-L-M-S.
FRITZ: Silence of the lambs.
SHORTZ: There you go. And here's your last one - den of the Nile. That's D-E-N, N-I-L-E - den of the Nile.
FRITZ: End of the line.
SHORTZ: End of the line is it.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Good job. How do you feel?
FRITZ: Thank you. Well, I feel relieved.
FRITZ: But I'm glad I got a few of those.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You did really well. And for playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, as well as puzzle books and games. And I will tell you a secret. I hate anagrams.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: You can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle. And Shawn, which member station do you listen to?
FRITZ: I listen to KQED in San Francisco. And I also stream KCRW out in Santa Monica.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Wonderful. Shawn Fritz of Berkeley, Calif., thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.
FRITZ: Thank you.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Will. What is next week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from listener Samuel Mace of Smyrna, Del. Name a famous actor whose first name is a book of the Bible and whose last name is an anagram of another book of the Bible. Who is it? So again, famous actor - first name is a book of the Bible. And the last name is an anagram of another book of the Bible. Who is it?
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, February 18, 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 puzzlemaster, Will Shortz.
Thanks so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thanks, Lulu.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.