On-air challenge: The theme of today's puzzle is May. Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which the first word starts with MA and the second word ends with Y. Example: Alcoholic beverage made from fermented mash: Malt Whiskey
Last Week's Challenge: Name a famous actress of the past whose last name has two syllables. Reverse the syllables phonetically. The result will name an ailment. What is it?
Answer: Sarah Bernhardt — heart burn
Winner: David Hodges of Collingswood, N.J.
Next week's challenge: This challenge comes from listener Ed Pegg Jr., who runs the website Mathpuzzle.com. The word "sort" has an unusual property: the first letter, S, is found inside the word "first." The second letter, O, is found inside "second." The third letter, R, is found inside "third," and the fourth letter, T, is found inside "fourth." Think of a familiar three-word phrase in 10 letters that has the same property, in which every letter in the phrase is found inside its corresponding ordinal. Here's a hint: It's something most people have, lose and regain. What is it?
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 Thursday at 3 p.m. Eastern.
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. Let's say you had to choose between two big Memorial Day weekend events - Kim and Kanye's wedding or the Sunday puzzle with Will Shortz. Oh, your wedding invite was lost in the mail? Mine, too. But who needs the Kardashian's when you have the puzzle?
Joining me now is Will Shortz. He is the puzzle editor of the New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master. Will, did your invite get lost in the mail?
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Mine was lost, too.
MARTIN: Oh, shoot. OK, so, Will, refresh our memories. What was last week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yes. I said name a famous actress of the past whose last name has two syllables. I said reverse the syllables phonetically, and the result will name an ailment. What is it?
Well, the actress was Sarah Bernhardt - B-E-R-N-H-A-R-D-T. Reverse those syllables, and you get heartburn. And I have to point out several listeners mentioned that I used this same puzzle five years ago back in 2009. Sorry about that.
MARTIN: Man, holding your feet to the fire. Over 680 of our listeners got it correct. Our randomly selected winner, though, is David Hodges of Collingswood, N.J. He joins us on the line now. Hey, David. Congratulations.
DAVID HODGES: Thank you very much.
MARTIN: So are you a big fan of late 19th century French drama or Sarah Bernhardt just popped into your mind?
HODGES: Not particularly, but my wife and I are contemporaries of Will, so we get his references. And when he says famous actress of the past, we know he doesn't mean Holly Hunter.
MARTIN: (Laughter) He means the past with a capital Pl.
SHORTZ: The literal path.
MARTIN: Yeah. Well, good for you. David, do you have a question for Will Shortz?
HODGES: Will, what do you have in common with Neil Diamond?
MARTIN: (Laughter) I love that question.
SHORTZ: What do I have in common with Neil Diamond?
MARTIN: I've long wondered.
HODGES: You have the same thing in common with Brad Pitt and Tiger Woods...
MARTIN: Oh, my gosh. This is a puzzle.
HODGES: ...And Holly Hunter and lots of other famous people.
SHORTZ: How do I not know this?
HODGES: All of them and you have names made of common English words - will, shorts, kneel, diamond, brad, pit, tiger, woods, holly, hunter.
MARTIN: Oh, good. Hey, good job.
HODGES: There's a puzzle in there somewhere. I've got a long list.
SHORTZ: That's nice. I can make a rebus puzzle out of that.
MARTIN: Well, David, are you ready to do this?
HODGES: You bet.
MARTIN: All right. Will, let's play the puzzle.
SHORTZ: All right, David and Rachel. The theme today is May. Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which the first word starts M-A and the second word ends with Y. For example, if I said an alcoholic beverage made from fermented mash, you would say malt whiskey.
MARTIN: OK. I think we're ready, Will.
SHORTZ: All right. Number one, Republicans or Democrats vis-a-vis libertarians.
HODGES: Majority party.
SHORTZ: Yeah, or major party. An opener that works on all locks.
HODGES: Master key.
SHORTZ: That's right. Title for a female member of a president's cabinet.
HODGES: Title for a female member of the president's cabinet.
SHORTZ: Well, first of all, what do you call almost anyone in the president's cabinet?
HODGES: A secretary - Madame Secretary.
SHORTZ: That's right. Madame Secretary is it. A red item often put on top of an ice cream sundae.
HODGES: A maraschino cherry.
SHORTZ: That's it.
MARTIN: Oh, delicious.
SHORTZ: Postal Service.
HODGES: Mail delivery.
SHORTZ: Good. Lover of Cleopatra.
HODGES: Mark Anthony.
SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Singer who was once married to Jennifer Lopez.
HODGES: And Marc Anthony.
SHORTZ: Marc Anthony is it. Best actor Oscar winner for "Dallas Buyers Club."
HODGES: Matthew McConaughey.
SHORTZ: Excellent. Religious commemoration three days before Easter.
HODGES: Three days before Easter. Maundy Thursday.
SHORTZ: Maundy Thursday is it. Title M.D. of 1970s TV.
HODGES: Marcus Welby.
SHORTZ: There you go.
SHORTZ: Complete the title - "The Bridges of blank."
HODGES: Madison County.
SHORTZ: Uh-huh. Number one Rod Stewart hit with the lyric "It's late September..."
HODGES: Maggie May.
SHORTZ: "...And I really should be" - you didn't need the whole lyric. And your last one - a Puccini opera set in Japan.
HODGES: "Madame Butterfly."
SHORTZ: There you go.
MARTIN: Just knocked them out of the park.
SHORTZ: Whew. Bang, bang, bang.
MARTIN: Well done.
HODGES: Thank you.
MARTIN: For playing the puzzle today, you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at our website npr.org/puzzle. And before we let you go, David, where do you hear us?
HODGES: I'm a longtime sustaining member of WHYY 91FM in Philadelphia.
MARTIN: David Hodges of Collingswood N.J. Thanks so much for playing the puzzle, David.
HODGES: It was a pleasure and an honor. Thank you.
MARTIN: OK, Will, what's up for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes. This week's challenge comes from listener Ed Pegg Jr., who runs the website mathpuzzle.com.
The word "sort" has an unusual property. The first letter, S, is found inside the word "first." The second letter, O, is found inside "second." The third letter, R, is found inside "third," and the fourth letter, T, is found inside "forth." Think of a familiar three-word phrase in 10 letters that has the same property in which every letter in the phrase is found inside its corresponding ordinal.
And here's a hint - it's something most people have, lose and regain. What is it? So again, a familiar three-word phrase in 10 letters in which every letter in the phrase is found inside its corresponding ordinal. And it's something most people have, lose and gain again. What is it?
MARTIN: OK, when you've got the answer, go to our website. It is npr.org/puzzle. And click on that submit your answer link.
Limit yourself to one entry per person, please. Our deadline for those entries is Thursday, May 29 at 3 p.m. EDT. Don't forget a phone number where we can reach you at about that time because if you're the winner, then we give you a call. And then you get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of the New York Times. And he is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master, Will Shortz. Thanks so much, Will.
SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.