Sunday Puzzle: Cocoa

Nov 3, 2019

On-air challenge: Today's puzzle is called "Cocoa." Every answer is a word or name in which an interior syllable is pronounced "co" — in any spelling.

Example: Phoenix, Arizona's county --> MARICOPA

1. City in Washington state that shares an airport with Seattle.

2. Device that helps you read secret writing.

3. Cause of gradual loss of eyesight.

4. Symbol of plenty, or an abundant supply of good things.

5. Territory that broke into two states in 1889.

6. Giant corporation in the metals industry.

7. French president between Chirac and Hollande.

8. Extremely harsh, as laws.

9. Extremely bright, as a child.

10. Very elaborate, as architecture.

11. Formal expression of praise.

12. Metal that's the last chemical element alphabetically.

Last week's challenge: This challenge came from listener Mike Strong of Mechanicsburg, Penn. Think of a familiar two-word phrase — five letters in each word — that might be something you'd write in a letter. The first and last letters are the same. The third and eighth letters are the same. The fourth and seventh letters are the same. And the middle two letters are consecutive in the alphabet. What phrase is it?

Challenge answer: Yours truly

Winner: Gabrielle Sweets of Chattanooga, Tenn.

This week's challenge: The letters C + D together sound like the word "seedy." And the letters I + V together sound like "ivy." Take the 18 letters in the phrase END BACKSTAGE TV QUIZ. Rearrange them into pairs, using each letter exactly once, to make nine common, uncapitalized words phonetically. Can you do it?

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 by Thursday, Nov. 7 at 3 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

And it's 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. Hi, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Hey there, Lulu.

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

SHORTZ: Yeah. It came from listener Mike Strong of Mechanicsburg, PA. I said think of a familiar two-word phrase, five letters in each word, that might be something you'd write in a letter. The first and last letters are the same. The third and eighth letters are the same. The fourth and seventh letters are the same. And the middle two letters are consecutive in the alphabet. What phrase is it? And the answer is yours truly.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received 1,802 correct responses, and the winner this week is Gabrielle Sweets of Chattanooga, Tenn. Congratulations.

GABRIELLE SWEETS: Thank you so much, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'm told you solved this one pretty quickly.

SWEETS: You know, it doesn't happen very often, but it came to me pretty quickly as we were listening to the radio in the car on Sunday morning.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's good. And what do you do?

SWEETS: Lulu, I am a homemaker. And we have four children. And I'm also a violinist.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Oh, that's wonderful. How old are your kids?

SWEETS: They are 6 1/2, 5, 3, and 1.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Oh, my sympathies.

(LAUGHTER)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's a lot of small kids.

SWEETS: It's a lot of fun.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. It's a lot of work. My respect to you. All right. Are you ready to play The Puzzle?

SWEETS: I'll give it a shot.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Take it away, Will.

SHORTZ: All right, Gabrielle. Today's puzzle is called cocoa. Every answer is a word or name in which an interior syllable is pronounced CO in any spelling. For example, if I said Phoenix, Ariz.'s county, you would say Maricopa.

SWEETS: OK.

SHORTZ: All right. Number one is a city in Washington state that shares an airport with Seattle.

SWEETS: Washington State - Tacoma.

SHORTZ: Tacoma, good. A device that helps you read secret writing.

SWEETS: A decoder.

SHORTZ: Nice. Cause of gradual loss of eyesight.

SWEETS: Glaucoma.

SHORTZ: Nice job.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Good job.

SHORTZ: A symbol of plenty or an abundant supply of good things.

SWEETS: A symbol of plenty - cornucopia?

SHORTZ: Oh, cornucopia. Nice. Territory that broke into two states in 1889.

SWEETS: 1889 - oh, man.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It's where there's a pipeline controversy.

SWEETS: Dakota.

SHORTZ: Dakota, nice. A giant corporation in the metals industry.

SWEETS: Within the metals industry - Alcoa?

SHORTZ: Nice. Here's your next one. French president between Chirac and Hollande. And his first name was Nicolas.

SWEETS: Sarkozy.

SHORTZ: Nicolas Sarkozy, good. How about extremely harsh, as laws?

SWEETS: Extremely harsh - draconian.

SHORTZ: Nice. Extremely bright, as a child.

SWEETS: Precocious.

SHORTZ: Nice. Very elaborate, as architecture.

SWEETS: Rococo.

SHORTZ: Nice. A formal expression of praise. Oh, this is your vocabulary tester for the day. A formal expression of praise.

SWEETS: A formal expression of praise. Praise. I don't know this one, Will.

SHORTZ: I'm just going to tell you that one. That's an encomium. You know that word, encomium?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I do not know that word.

SWEETS: Wow. Thank you for teaching me (laughter).

SHORTZ: And your last one is a metal that's the last chemical element, alphabetically.

SWEETS: Not zinc.

SHORTZ: Yeah, it's after zinc. There's one after zinc.

SWEETS: Zirconium?

SHORTZ: Zirconium is right.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Hey, you did really, really well. You had no need at all to be nervous.

SWEETS: Thank you so much.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: How do you feel?

SWEETS: That was really fun.

(LAUGHTER)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: See. Sometimes, the things that you dread are, like, the things that are actually going to bring you the most pleasure. 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, Gabrielle, which member station do you listen to?

SWEETS: I listen to WUTC - 88.1 here in Chattanooga.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, you've got to make sure that your kids are listening. That's Gabrielle Sweets of Chattanooga, Tenn. Thank you so much for playing the puzzle.

SWEETS: Thank you, Lulu. Thank you, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Will, what's next week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yeah. The letters C and D together sound like the word seedy, and the letters I and V together sound like ivy. Take the 18 letters in the phrase end backstage TV quiz. Rearrange them into pairs using each letter exactly once to make nine common, uncapitalized words phonetically. Can you do it? So again, take the 18 letters in "end backstage TV quiz," rearrange them into pairs using each letter exactly once to make nine common, uncapitalized words phonetically. Can you do it?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I cannot, but I hope other people can. 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. Deadline for entries is Thursday, November 7 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: Thank you, Lulu.

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