Weekend Edition Sunday

Sundays at 8AM

On Sundays, Weekend Edition combines the news with colorful arts and human-interest features, appealing to the curious and eclectic. With a nod to traditional Sunday habits, the program offers a fix for diehard crossword addicts-word games and brainteasers with The Puzzlemaster, a.k.a. Will Shortz, puzzle editor of The New York Times. With Cornish on the sidelines, a caller plays the latest word game on the air while listeners compete silently at home. The NPR mailbag is proof that the competition to go head-to-head with Shortz is rather vigorous.

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Tiny Desk Concerts
1:00 pm
Sat November 26, 2011

Gabriel Kahane: Tiny Desk Concert

Cristina M. Fletes/NPR
  • Audio Only: Gabriel Kahane's Tiny Desk Concert

Gabriel Kahane seems to enjoy blurring the lines between indie rock and indie classical. He arrived at the NPR Music offices with a string quartet and an electric guitarist in tow, and though they hadn't played together for long, you'd never know it.

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Music News
6:25 pm
Fri November 25, 2011

Witnessing The Second Coming Of Jeff Mangum

Neutral Milk Hotel performs at Spaceland in Los Angeles in 1998.
Daniel McClenaghan

It's been nearly 15 years since Neutral Milk Hotel released its iconic final album, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, but the band and leader Jeff Mangum have never fallen off the radar.

With his bold, tinny voice and honest yet surreal lyrics, Mangum and his bandmates re-imagined how independent music could sound. Now that he's performing for the first time in more than a decade, Mangum is also rewriting the rules for how to tour as a musician.

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NPR Story
1:47 pm
Sun November 20, 2011

Clashes Mount In Egypt's Tahrir Square

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.

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Arts & Life
9:00 am
Sun November 20, 2011

Tweety And Sylvester Bring Mel Blanc Back To Life

Looney Tunes are back! A brand-new cartoon short called I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat debuts in theaters this weekend. It features beloved comedy duo Tweety Bird and Sylvester The Cat, but the real star of the show is the man who made them famous.

Mel Blanc was the voice of Warner Bros' most enduring cartoon characters for more than 50 years. He died in 1989, but an original recording of Blanc singing "I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat" has been remastered for the new short, playing in theaters alongside the film Happy Feet Two.

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NPR Story
8:00 am
Sun November 20, 2011

Your Letters: Gen X Homeownership Woes

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Time now for your letters. Homes and home ownership were a huge topic of discussion. Many listeners wrote in response to our reports last week on the real estate market, including a conversation with NPR senior business editor Marilyn Geewax on the impact of the housing slump on Gen-Xers.

MARILYN GEEWAX, BYLINE: Say you were 30 years old in 2006. If you bought the typical house then, it was the peak of the bubble, you paid about $250,000. Now, you're in your mid-30s and your house has dropped in value by a third.

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NPR Story
8:00 am
Sun November 20, 2011

Pearl Harbor Survivors Meet For The Last Time

This weekend, the Southeastern chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors held its final meeting. Seventy years have passed since the attack on Pearl Harbor and surviving membership is dwindling, so the worldwide organization has finally decided to disband. Kate Sweeney of member station WABE reports.

Food
8:00 am
Sun November 20, 2011

2011's Best Cookbooks, Tested And Tasted

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

There are many ways to describe the season between Thanksgiving and New Years, but for cooks it's cooking season. People across the country are dusting off pots, pans, and favorite cookbooks to prepare for multiple holiday dinners and all the meals in between.

NPR Kitchen Window Contributor Susan Chang started her holiday cooking early. She's been busy in her test kitchen coming up with a list of the year's best cookbooks to use and to give in the holiday season.

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Food
8:00 am
Sun November 20, 2011

Foolproof: The Perfect Thanksgiving Turkey

From roasting, smoking or even frying the bird, to particulars of brines and dry rubs, how to cook the Thanksgiving turkey is a debate about as old as the holiday itself. Host Audie Cornish talks with SAVEUR Editor-In-Chief James Oseland about his fail-proof method for producing the tastiest, juiciest Thanksgiving turkey.

Education
8:00 am
Sun November 20, 2011

A Gift Given Back To Audie Cornish's Teacher

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

My next guest taught me how to solve all kinds of puzzles of history. Lynn Harding was my history teacher in high school back in Randolph, Massachusetts; and my current events teacher and my homeroom teacher. Well, we spent a lot of time together and our conversation is part of the StoryCorps National Day of Listening Project this year.

We're hoping you might also sit down with a teacher on the day after Thanksgiving and listen. It's not something I'd really done before with Mrs. Harding because, well, she was really tough on us.

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Politics
7:51 am
Sun November 20, 2011

GOP Hopefuls Open Up In Bid For Christian Vote

Republican presidential candidates Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former CEO of Godfather's Pizza Herman Cain talk after a forum sponsored by The Family Leader Saturday. Both men let their emotions show during the roundtable.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Sun November 20, 2011 1:51 pm

Six Republican presidential hopefuls gathered in Des Moines, Iowa, Saturday, and each made a pitch for the state's very important Christian conservative vote.

The event was not a debate, but a roundtable discussion. The candidates sat side-by-side at what was described as a Thanksgiving table, complete with pumpkins and autumn leaves. Not present at the table was former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who chose not to attend.

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Music Interviews
6:12 am
Sun November 20, 2011

Les Claypool: Need-To-Know Bassist

Les Claypool (far right) has had plenty of extracurricular pursuits since the last Primus album. Green Naugahyde is the band's first long-player in over a decade.
Tod Brilliant Courtesy of the artist

Primus got plenty of of airtime on MTV and college radio in the 1990s, thanks to songs like "Jerry Was a Race Car Driver." But by the start of the next decade, the San Francisco band was ready for a hiatus.

"Which was just sort of a fancy way of saying we were all tired of each other, and tired of the music, and not getting anything done," says founder and bass guitarist Les Claypool to Weekend Edition Sunday host Audie Cornish.

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The Picture Show
6:11 am
Sun November 20, 2011

A Photographer Changes The Focus In Africa

"Maternal health clinics encourage mothers to bring their children for checkups as a way to improve the health of mothers and children."
Betty Press

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:14 am

When photojournalist Betty Press lived in Africa from 1987 to 2009, she wanted to show a continent different than the one usually portrayed in the media — one of poverty, war and famine. Instead, she focused on the beauty, creativity and courage of the people.

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Games & Humor
12:01 am
Sun November 20, 2011

Where In The Blanks Are The Answers?

On-Air Challenge: Every answer is a familiar phrase in the form of "_____ for _____ ." Given the word that follows "for," what's the first word that precedes "for"? For example, if you're given "joy," the answer would be "jump" to complete the phrase "jump for joy."

Last Week's Challenge from listener Henry Hook of Brooklyn, N.Y.: What number comes next in the following series: 2, 4, 6, 9, 11, 15, 20, 40, 51, 55, 60 and 90?

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Media
10:04 am
Sun November 13, 2011

Looking Up Words In A Book Not So Strange Yet

"Smoot" is one of 10,000 new words featured in the fifth edition of The American Heritage Dictionary, out this month. In an era when every definition is just a click away, why publish an enormous book of words? For the answer, host Audie Cornish turns to the dictionary's executive editor, Steve Kleinedler.

Monkey See
8:56 am
Sun November 13, 2011

'All-American Muslim': A Look At Five Very Different Families

Sister and brother Suehaila and Bilal at the marriage of their sister Shadia to her new husband Jeff, on the premiere episode of TLC's unscripted series All-American Muslim.
TLC

Originally published on Sun November 13, 2011 12:46 pm

There was a time before Jersey Shore, before Toddlers & Tiaras, before Dance Moms, when it seemed like unscripted television might be used for good. It goes all the way back to the time when the Louds were profiled on PBS's An American Family, but more recently when Pedro Zamora died of AIDS the day after the airing of his last episode of MTV's The Real World.

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Music
7:20 am
Sun November 13, 2011

Hilary Hahn Revives The Classical Encore

Hilary Hahn is a Grammy-winning classical violinist. Her newest project is called In 27 Pieces: The Hillary Hahn Encores.
Peter Miller Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Sun November 13, 2011 12:28 pm

When Grammy-winning classical violinist Hilary Hahn plays in front of an audience, you can expect classics from Beethoven and Bach, performed with a flair and energy that's uniquely her own. Now, Hillary Hahn has a new project in the works: She wants to bring back the encore.

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Alt.Latino
6:00 am
Sun November 13, 2011

Funky, En Español: Groovy New Latin Beats From Panama To Puerto Rico

R&B artist Goapele
MJ Kim Getty Images

Word travels fast here at NPR, and we'd been hearing rumors that Weekend Edition Sunday was in need of some funky new beats. Which is why my Alt.Latino co-host Felix Contreras and I put on our ski masks, scaled the walls with our mountain climbing gear and busted into the studio in the funkiest way possible.

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Sunday Puzzle
12:01 am
Sun November 13, 2011

A Four-Letter Word For Capital City

On-Air Challenge: Every answer is the name of a world capital. You'll be given a four-letter word. The first two letters are the first two letters of the city's name, and the last two are the last two letters of the country's name. For example, if you were given "loin," the answer would be London, Great Britain.

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Movies
8:00 am
Sun November 6, 2011

Kirsten Dunst On Expressing 'Melancholia'

Kirsten Dunst's latest film is Melancholia, the story of a melancholic young woman and her family on her wedding day, just before the end of the world. Host Audie Cornish speaks to the actress about translating depression into cinema.

Author Interviews
8:00 am
Sun November 6, 2011

'Breaking The Code' Of A Father's Secret War History

On his 81st birthday, without explanation, Karen Fisher-Alaniz's father gave her two notebooks. Inside were letters he'd written during World War II. The more she read, the more she discovered about the man and the secret role he played in the war. Host Audie Cornish talks with Fisher-Alaniz and her father about her book, Breaking the Code.

Music News
8:00 am
Sun November 6, 2011

The Surgery That Saves Silenced Singers

Adele at the MTV Video Music Awards in August.
Jason Merritt Getty Images

The biggest-selling pop artist of the year has gone silent.

The British pop/soul singer Adele was forced to cancel the rest of her 2011 tour. Earlier this year, she suffered two vocal hemorrhages and will need to undergo surgery.

Singers are in a high-risk business. Many famous singers have needed similar treatment.

"Essentially, people who sing are vocal athletes," says Dr. Steven Zeitels, director of the Voice Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. "So you can look at this as a not unusual scenario as an athlete getting an injury in that area."

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Music Interviews
5:26 am
Sun November 6, 2011

Vince Mendoza: A Song Doctor Gets Back To His Own Work

Vince Mendoza has earned many of his laurels arranging and orchestrating other musicians. Nights on Earth is his first album of originals in 13 years.
Marco Borgreve Courtesy of the artist

In 1969, Joni Mitchell released "Both Sides Now," a simple and beautiful song that would become one of her defining works. In 2000, an older, wiser, decidedly more introspective Mitchell revived the song in a radically different incarnation, featuring lush strings and complex harmonies.

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Business
4:08 am
Sun November 6, 2011

Custom Cycle Ferries Sperm To Fertility Clinics

Alan Dowden, lab scientist and occasional courier, works at the Seattle Sperm Bank.
Keith Seinfeld for NPR

Originally published on Sun November 6, 2011 6:58 pm

Sometimes, couples need help getting pregnant. In Seattle, that help may arrive by bicycle.

To be more specific, a bicycle with a giant sperm cell replica on it.

"It's a delivery bike, purpose-built delivery bike, and inside the front of the sperm we can store one of our cryogenic shipping containers," says Alan Dowden, lab scientist and occasional courier.

Dowden works at the Seattle Sperm Bank. The front of the bike is the bulbous head of a sperm, about the size of very large beach ball, with a long tail stretching behind. It's framed in electric blue.

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Sunday Puzzle
12:01 am
Sun November 6, 2011

Two Words Enter, One Meaning Leaves

On-Air Challenge: You will be given a five-letter word and seven-letter word. Rearrange the letters of one of these words to get a synonym of the other. For example, if you are given "alloy" and "devoted," the answer would be "loyal," which is an anagram of "alloy."

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Music News
6:42 pm
Sat November 5, 2011

How Opera Helped Create The Modern Media World

Jay Hunter Morris performs in the new Metropolitan Opera production of Richard Wagner's Siegfried. The show's vivid backdrops were created with advanced 3D projection technology.
Ken Howard Metropolitan Opera

"This past week, the Metropolitan Opera opened a new production of Siegfried, the third of the four operas in Wagner's Ring Cycle — in 3D. You won't need special glasses to see the actors on stage. Instead, the background sets are three-dimensional projections of forests and other illusions.

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NPR Story
8:00 am
Sun October 30, 2011

Can Oil Fuel Libya's Reconstruction?

Transcript

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NPR Story
8:00 am
Sun October 30, 2011

Obama's Economic Trip Across The Pond

Originally published on Sun October 30, 2011 12:45 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Efforts to solve the European debt crisis are sure to be front and center when leaders of the 20 big countries that make up the G-20 meet in France later this week. President Barack Obama arrives in France on Thursday for the summit meeting. And NPR's Scott Horsley joins us for a preview. Hey there, Scott.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Hi, Audie. Good to be with you.

CORNISH: So, is there any relief at the White House that European countries appear to be getting a handle on the Greek debt crisis?

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Author Interviews
8:00 am
Sun October 30, 2011

'Three Famines': A Struggle Shared Across The Globe

Famines, like the one happening in the Horn of Africa, share common threads with each other, even when they happen on different continents or in different centuries. Host Audie Cornish talks with Thomas Keneally, author of Three Famines: Starvation and Politics, about the modern history of famines.

The Picture Show
6:51 am
Sun October 30, 2011

Food For Thought: Chefs Pick Their Last Meal On Earth

Bobby Flay pictured with a cheeseburger

Melanie Dunea

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 11:17 am

In the restaurant world, even the most famous chefs have to be concerned with what's next: the next meal, the next dish, the next customer. But what if they took a step back to think about what's last — for themselves?

That's the question photographer Melanie Dunea posed to a group of chefs in her 2007 book, My Last Supper. What would some of the world's great chefs want for their final meal on earth?

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Food
6:15 am
Sun October 30, 2011

The 'Ick' Factor: Bugs Can Be Hard To Swallow

A Thai worker prepares grubs to cook. Eating bugs is accepted throughout the world, but it is now being proposed as a healthy and environmentally friendly treat that's catching on in North America and Europe.

Pornchai Kittiwongsakul AFP/Getty Images

When it comes to creepy crawly things on your dinner plate, getting past the "ick" factor is the big hurdle. Entomaphagy — eating insects — is common in most of the world, but in North America and Europe it's considered, well, gross.

Now it's being proposed as a cheap food source and a way to save the planet as the world population explodes. Crickets need less feed, less land and emit fewer greenhouse gases than cattle.

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