Sunday Puzzle: Word Sandwiches

Dec 13, 2020

On-air challenge: Every answer today is a familiar phrase in the form "___ & ___," in which the first two letters of the first word plus the first two letters of the last word themselves spell a word. I'll give you that word as well as a definition of the phrase. You tell me the phrase.

Example: SODA — combination performance --> Song & dance

1. BOAR — Native American weapon

2. CAMO — cunning game that a feline and rodent might play

3. EVAN — old-fashioned phrase meaning "occasionally"

4. ABBE — more than could possibly be expected

5. LASE — amphibious

6. SHAW — overwhelm through a show of force

7. BACH — heavy restraint to keep a prisoner from escaping

8. HOVE — like the positions of the x and y axes on a graph

Last week's challenge: This challenge came from listener Jared Harvey, of Santa Cruz, Calif. Think of a common word in six letters. Write it in lowercase. If you hold up a mirror at its side, the reflection will show the same word. What is it?

Challenge answer: tidbit

Winner: Gloria Rear from Eugene, Ore.

This week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from listener Steve Baggish, of Arlington, Mass. Using only the letters in the phrase RIDE ON — repeating them as often as necessary — you can spell 1) the one-word proper name of a famous fictional animal, and 2) a word for what kind of animal it is. What's the name of the animal, and what's the word?

Submit Your Answer

If you know the answer to next week's challenge, submit it here by Thursday, Dec. 17th, 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.

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

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Time to play The Puzzle.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Joining us is Will Shortz. He is puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster.

Hi, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Remind us of last week's challenge.

SHORTZ: Yeah. It came from listener Jared Harvey of Santa Cruz, Calif. I said think of a common word in six letters. Write it in lowercase. And if you hold a mirror up at the side, the reflection will show the same word. What is it? And the answer is tidbit, with the D and the B being reflected. We did not accept ballad because an A reflected in a mirror doesn't look like an A anymore.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received over 1,200 correct responses. And the winner this week is Gloria Rear from Eugene, Ore.

Congratulations and welcome to the program.

GLORIA REAR: Hi, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: How'd you figure it out?

REAR: We were sitting at the table. My family plays every Sunday. And we were thinking of words that were almost palindromes but had a B or a D or, like, two Ls. And my sister said tidbit just as a joke. I said, well, that actually works.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) How long have you been playing The Puzzle?

REAR: For as long as I can remember. My dad always plays it at Sunday brunch.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And you are how old?

REAR: I'm 17.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We like it. I hear you are a senior in high school. And you are wanting to study nursing in college.

REAR: Yes, that is true.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Can you tell me what you like about The Puzzle?

REAR: It's a really good way for my family to talk to each other and have fun.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And what was it like when you got the call?

REAR: I thought someone was playing a prank on me, if I'm being honest.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) All right. Are you ready to play?

REAR: As ready as I'm going to be.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Take it away, Will.

SHORTZ: All right, Gloria. Every answer today is a familiar phrase in the form blank and blank, in which the first two letters of the first word plus the first two letters of the last word themselves spell a word. I'll give you that word as well as a definition of the phrase. You tell me the phrase. For example, if I said soda - S-O-D-A - and your clue was combination performance, you would say song and dance, with S-O starting song and D-A starting dance.

REAR: Awesome.

SHORTZ: All right. Number one is boar - B-O-A-R. And it's a Native American weapon.

REAR: Bow and arrow.

SHORTZ: Bow and arrow - good. Camo - C-A-M-O. It's a cunning game that a feline and a rodent might play.

REAR: Cat and mouse.

SHORTZ: That's it. Evan - E-V-A-N. And it's an old-fashioned phrase meaning occasionally.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: This is hard.

REAR: Yeah (laughter).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I don't even know how to give a hint for this.

SHORTZ: Yeah. This doesn't come up much in teen conversation.

(LAUGHTER)

SHORTZ: So I'm going to tell you the answer. It's ever and anon.

REAR: Oh. I would not have known that.

SHORTZ: Got you. Try this one - abbe - A-B-B-E. And it means more than could possibly be expected. Someone who does more than you could possibly expect - you'd say they...

REAR: Above and beyond.

SHORTZ: Above and beyond - good. Lase - L-A-S-E - amphibious.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Kind of like surf and turf.

REAR: I need help (laughter).

SHORTZ: And a vehicle that is amphibious can go on two different terrains, you might say, one of them starting L-A in four letters and one starting S-E in three letters.

REAR: Land and sea.

SHORTZ: Land and sea - good.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Exactly.

SHORTZ: Shaw - S-H-A-W - to overwhelm through a show of force.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It was used as a phrase in the Iraq war.

SHORTZ: That's true. And A-W - that starts a three-letter word. All you need's one more letter there.

REAR: Shock and awe.

SHORTZ: Shock and awe - yeah. How about Bach - B-A-C-H. It's a heavy restraint to keep a prisoner from escaping.

REAR: Ball and chain.

SHORTZ: Yes. And your last one is hove - H-O-V-E. It's like the positions of the X and Y axes on a graph.

REAR: Horizontal...

SHORTZ: Yes. What's the opposite of horizontal?

REAR: And vertical.

SHORTZ: And vertical.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You did amazing. How do you feel?

REAR: Better.

(LAUGHTER)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Good. 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 Gloria, which member station do you listen to?

REAR: KLCC.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Gloria Rear from Eugene, Ore., thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.

REAR: Thank you.

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

SHORTZ: Yeah. It comes from listener Steve Baggish of Arlington, Mass. Using only the letters in the phrase ride on - R-I-D-E O-N - repeating them as often as necessary, you can spell the one-word proper name of a famous fictional animal and a word for what kind of animal it is. What's the name of the animal, and what's the word? So again, the letters are ride on. Repeat them as often as necessary. And you can get the one-word proper name of a famous fictional animal and a word for what kind of animal it is. What's the animal, and what's the word?

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, December 17, 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 if you pick up the phone, 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: Thank you, Lulu.

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