Sunday Puzzle: True Or False?

Jun 30, 2019

On-air challenge: This puzzle is something different. Read these statements involving words and names, and figure out if they're true or not.

1. George Herbert Walker Bush is the only U.S. president with four names in his birth name.

2. Maine is the only one-syllable state name in the U.S.

3. "Chicago" is the only Academy Award-winning "Best Film" whose name is a city.

4. Hawaii is the only U.S. state whose name ends in a double letter.

5. Tin is the only 3-letter element on the periodic table.

Last week's challenge: This week's challenge came from listener James Matthews of Little Rock, Ark. To solve it, you might need to crack open an atlas. Take the names of two countries that share a border. Drop the second letter from the second country's name. The resulting string of letters, in order from left to right, will spell a regular, uncapitalized word. What is it?

Challenge answer: Answer: Mali + Niger --> Malinger

Winner: Ben Huddle of Salem, Va.

This week's challenge: There is a standard two-letter abbreviation for an English word that has an unusual property: The first letter of the abbreviation is the second letter of the word. And the second letter of the abbreviation does not appear in the word at all. What's the word, and what's its abbreviation?

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 Wednesday, July 3, 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.

Hey, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.

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

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener James Matthews of Little Rock, Ark. I said take the names of two countries that share a border. Drop the second letter from the second country's name and the resulting string of letters, in order from left to right, will spell a regular, uncapitalized word. What is it? And the answer is Mali and Niger. And you drop the I from Niger. You get malinger.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received over 1,000 responses. And our winner this week is Ben Huddle of Salem, Va. Congratulations.

BEN HUDDLE: Thank you. I'm excited to be with you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: How did you figure it out?

HUDDLE: I got out a large world atlas.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter).

HUDDLE: So I looked at two countries...

SHORTZ: (Laughter).

HUDDLE: ...That were touching each other. And, of course, I didn't know which one comes first, but you try one. So it's a trial and error until - aha; Mali and Niger.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: And how long have you been playing The Puzzle?

HUDDLE: A long time - going back to sending it in on postcards.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Oh...

HUDDLE: (Laughter).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We like having fans that have been doing this for a long time. And I'm told that you are a collector of lapel pins.

HUDDLE: Yes. I have a piece of red velvet cloth that I've mounted in an 8 1/2 by 11 frame. And I have lapel pins and fraternity pins and tie tacks and so forth going back to 1957.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Wow. Well, you will now be getting one more and a very special one, so I think this is the perfect marriage here...

SHORTZ: (Laughter).

HUDDLE: I saved room for it (laughter).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: ...Of your interests and ours. All right. So I think it's time to play The Puzzle. Take it away, Will.

SHORTZ: All right, Ben. And you earned today's lapel pin. Today's puzzle is something different. I'm going to read you some statements involving words and names. You say if they're true or not. And here's number one. George Herbert Walker Bush is the only U.S. president with four names in his birth name.

HUDDLE: I'm thinking of presidents that might have more. And there's some that are junior, but I don't think that's what you mean.

SHORTZ: Right, junior doesn't count.

HUDDLE: So I'm going to say that's true. I can't think of any others that have four names.

SHORTZ: Good job. That is true. Here's your next one. Maine is the only one-syllable state name in the U.S.

HUDDLE: Again, I'm trying to think of states that have more than one syllable. I'm going to say, yes, that's true.

SHORTZ: You are correct. That is true - strange fact. Here's your next one. "Chicago" is the only Academy Award-winning best film whose name is a city.

HUDDLE: If it's going to be an Academy Award city, it's probably an American city, so like New York.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, play it again, Sam.

HUDDLE: Oh.

SHORTZ: (Laughter) A big, juicy hint from Lulu.

HUDDLE: Yeah, I know the movie, but it doesn't come to mind. It's Humphrey Bogart.

SHORTZ: That's right.

HUDDLE: Takes place in Africa.

SHORTZ: That's right. What I'm guessing is that you're saying false.

HUDDLE: Yes, I'm saying false.

SHORTZ: And that is correct because "Casablanca"...

HUDDLE: "Casablanca."

SHORTZ: Try this one. Hawaii is the only U.S. state whose name ends in a double letter.

HUDDLE: OK. Once again, I got to try to think of exceptions. And there could be some like - end in S-S or L-L. But again, none of them come to mind, so I'm going to say that's true.

SHORTZ: Actually, not - Tennessee...

HUDDLE: Oh, two Es, yeah.

SHORTZ: ...Ends in a double E. There's that one exception. All right, here's your last question. Tin is the only three-letter element on the periodic table.

HUDDLE: OK. I'm a chemistry teacher, so I should...

SHORTZ: Oh, boy.

HUDDLE: ...Know this. And I have a periodic table in front of me...

SHORTZ: (Laughter).

HUDDLE: ...Which I was cheating.

SHORTZ: Do we allow solving aids?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I think for this...

HUDDLE: (Laughter).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: ...In this particular instance...

SHORTZ: (Laughter).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: ...Because he's a chemistry teacher so he happens to have this in front of him, which is very rare...

SHORTZ: OK.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I think we'll allow it.

SHORTZ: OK. What do you say, Ben?

HUDDLE: I would say - I mean, neon has four. But you said three letters, so I don't see any other three letters. So I'm going to say that tin is the only, so that's true.

SHORTZ: That is true, and you are correct.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yay.

SHORTZ: Good job.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That was really a hard puzzle. And I think all your students would be very proud of you for getting the last one right. How do you feel?

HUDDLE: I'm feeling great. It was really fun.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, I think you did a great job. And for playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin to add to your collection.

HUDDLE: Yay.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yay (laughter).

HUDDLE: Along with...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle. And which member station do you listen to, Ben?

HUDDLE: WVTF out of Roanoke, Va.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Ben Huddle of Salem, Va. Thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.

HUDDLE: Thank you. Bye bye.

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

SHORTZ: Yes. There is a standard two-letter abbreviation for an English word that has an unusual property. The first letter of the abbreviation is the second letter of the word. And the second letter of the abbreviation does not appear in the word at all. What's the word? And what's the abbreviation? So again, English word - standard two-letter abbreviation. The first letter of the abbreviation is the second letter of the word. And the second letter of the abbreviation doesn't appear in the word at all. What's the word? And what's the abbreviation?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: When you have the answer, go to our web site npr.org/puzzle and click on the Submit Your Answer link. Remember; just one entry per person, please. Our deadline for entries is Wednesday, July 3 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.

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