On-air challenge: I'm going to give you clues for two words. The first word has an R somewhere within it. Change the R to two S's, and you'll get a new word that answers the second clue.
Example: Female horses / Roman Catholic services --> MARES, MASSES
1. Singer who starred in "Moonstruck" / Game on a 64-square board
2. Tiny opening in the skin / Group helping a sheriff
3. Kitchen surface that stools might be next to / Noblewoman
4. Cry on a golf course / Choreographer Bob
5. State as fact / Having fallen in social status (from the French)
6. German painter Albrecht / Coercion
7. The U.S. flag is called "Old ___" / Photo with a shiny surface
8. Cattle thief / Having no corrosion, as metal
9. North or south / Biology lab assignment
Last week's challenge: This challenge comes from listener Joe Becker of Palo Alto, Calif. Name a world capital in 12 letters. If you have the right one, you can rearrange its letters to name two animals — one in three letters and the other in nine. What capital is it, and what are the animals?
Challenge answer: Port-au-Prince (Haiti) --> rat, porcupine
Winner: Richard McCurdy of Sherman Oaks, Calif.
This week's challenge: A tough challenge this week. It comes from listener Tyler Lipscomb of Augusta, Ga. Think of an adjective in five letters in two syllables. The first syllable phonetically sounds like a synonym of the full, five-letter word. And strangely these two words have no letters in common. What words are these?
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, Sept. 26, at 3 p.m. ET.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
It's time to play The Puzzle.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
BLOCK: Joining us is Will Shortz. He's puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION'S puzzlemaster.
Hey there, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Hey, Melissa. Welcome back.
BLOCK: Thank you. It's good to be back. And why don't you remind us of what last week's challenge was?
SHORTZ: Yes, it came from listener Joe Becker (ph) of Palo Alto, Calif. I said, name a world capital in twelve letters. If you have the right one, you can rearrange its letters to name two animals - one in three letters and the other in nine. What capital is it? And what are the animals?
BLOCK: OK, I got nowhere with this one.
SHORTZ: That's a tough one. The answer is Port-au-Prince, capital of Haiti. And you can rearrange those letters to get rat and porcupine.
BLOCK: There you go. Well, we received 1,193 correct responses. And among those responses, the winner this week, Richard McCurdy (ph) of Sherman Oaks, Calif.
Richard, congratulations. Welcome.
RICHARD MCCURDY: Thank you very much.
BLOCK: And I've been told that it's insomnia that leads you to solve these puzzles. Is that what happened this week?
MCCURDY: Well, some of my best work I do when I'm just lying in bed at night. It's kind of funny. But yeah, for some reason, it's more relaxing. And answers seem to come to me then.
BLOCK: And what do you do when you're not lying in bed trying to solve a puzzle?
MCCURDY: Well, I'm a sound editor for films and TV, and I also do volunteer work for a nonprofit organization that reads texts for students with dyslexia, learning disabilities and the blind. I've been doing it for years, and it's very rewarding.
BLOCK: Oh, I bet. Well, are you ready to play The Puzzle?
MCCURDY: Ready as I'll ever be.
BLOCK: OK. Take it away, Will.
SHORTZ: All right, Richard. Well, I'm going to give you clues for two words. The first word has an R somewhere in it. Change the R to two S's, and you'll get a new word that answers the second clue. For example, if I said female horses and Roman Catholic services, you would say mares and masses. Here we go. Number one, singer who starred in "Moonstruck" and a game on a 64-square board.
MCCURDY: Cher and chess.
SHORTZ: That's it. Number two, a tiny opening in the skin and a group helping a sheriff.
MCCURDY: That's a - let's see - a posse.
SHORTZ: And change those two S's to an R.
MCCURDY: Oh, a pore.
SHORTZ: A pore is it. Good. Kitchen surface that stools might be next to, noblewoman.
BLOCK: Start with the kitchen surface, I think.
SHORTZ: That's the easy part. You're sitting in the kitchen on a stool. What are you facing?
MCCURDY: A counter, a sink.
SHORTZ: Yes, there you go. Change that R to two S's.
MCCURDY: Oh, a counter and a countess.
SHORTZ: Countess is it. Cry on a golf course, choreographer Bob.
MCCURDY: Oh, that's fore and Fosse.
SHORTZ: Nice. To state as fact, having fallen in social status. And the second word is from the French. To state as fact - seven letters.
MCCURDY: To state as fact - all I can think of is (speaking French).
BLOCK: I was thinking the same thing.
BLOCK: That's not seven letters.
MCCURDY: Seven letters - and I know French, too. That's what's aggravating.
SHORTZ: Well, there you go - having fallen in social status. And I'll tell you - here's a little hint. It has two accent marks over E's.
MCCURDY: I'm afraid I'm taking gas on that one.
BLOCK: Oh, oh.
SHORTZ: Oh, yeah. Melissa, go for it.
BLOCK: Getting there.
MCCURDY: Wait. Whoa, whoa, whoa - declasse.
SHORTZ: Yes. Change those two S's to an R.
MCCURDY: Declaim - no, no - declare.
SHORTZ: Declare is it. Good. German painter Albrecht and coercion.
MCCURDY: Coercion - oh. Albrecht is - what was his name?
BLOCK: I'm going to be no help with this one.
SHORTZ: If you do something under coercion, you do it under...
MCCURDY: Oh, yeah. You did it under duress - Durer and duress.
SHORTZ: Nice. All right, try this one. The U.S. flag is called old blank and a photo with a shiny surface.
MCCURDY: Well, Old Glory...
MCCURDY: ...And glossy.
SHORTZ: Glossy is it. A cattle thief and having no corrosion, as metal.
MCCURDY: A cattle thief.
SHORTZ: In eight letters, what is that?
MCCURDY: That would be a rustler.
SHORTZ: Change that last R.
MCCURDY: And - oh, rustless (ph).
SHORTZ: Rustless - that has no corrosion. That's right. And here's your last one. North or south and a biology lab assignment.
MCCURDY: Oh, my goodness. North or south - direction and dissection.
BLOCK: Nicely done, Richard.
MCCURDY: Boy, oh, boy, that was fun.
BLOCK: And you didn't even have to be lying in bed with insomnia to do it, right?
MCCURDY: Yes. Oh, my God. That was fun, but I'm glad it's over.
BLOCK: (Laughter) Well, 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 Richard, tell us which member station you listen to.
BLOCK: In Santa Monica, Calif.
Richard McCurdy of Sherman Oaks, Calif., thanks so much for playing The Puzzle.
MCCURDY: Thank you for having me.
BLOCK: And Will, what do you have for next week?
SHORTZ: Yeah, it's a tough one. It comes from listener Tyler Lipscomb (ph) of Augusta, Ga. Think of an adjective in five letters and two syllables. The first syllable phonetically sounds like a synonym of the full five-letter word. And strangely, these two words have no letters in common. What words are these? So again, a common adjective in five letters, two syllables. The first syllable phonetically sounds like a synonym of the full five-letter word. And the two words have no letters in common. What words are they?
BLOCK: OK. When you have the answer go to our website npr.org/puzzle and click on the submit your answer link. Remember, just one entry, please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, September 26, at 3 p.m. Eastern. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. And if you're the winner, we will 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.
Will, thanks so much. Have a great week.
SHORTZ: Thank you Melissa.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.