Will Shortz

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you clues for two words. Reverse the last two letters of the first word to get the second word.

Example: Aristocratic / Prestigious annual prize --> NOBLE, NOBEL

1. Squiggle over a Spanish "n" / Like a bathroom floor

2. Move along slowly / Thin pancake

3. Variety of grape for wine-making / Spotted horse

4. Something that's 90 degrees on a square / Heavenly figure

5. Bread-making need / Irish poet who wrote "The Lake Isle of Innisfree"

6. English county / More timid

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you three 5-letter words. You give me a fourth 5-letter word that can precede each of mine to complete a compound word or a familiar 2-word phrase.

For example: slide tower melon --> water (as in waterslide, water tower, watermelon)

On-air challenge: This is my annual "New Names in the News Quiz." I'll name some people and things you had probably never heard of until 2017 but that sprang to prominence during the past 12 months. You tell me who or what they are.

1. Doug Jones
2. Gal Gadot
3. Anthony Scaramucci
4. Jack Phillips
5. Emmerson Mnangagwa
6. Tom Steyer
7. Salvator Mundi

On-air answers:

On-air challenge: NPR stands for National Public Radio, of course. But the letters N-P-R are also the initials of "nail polish remover." I'm going to give you clues to some other three-word names and phrases whose initials stand for better-known things.

1. I.C.C. (Interstate Commerce Commission) — Basic purchase at Dairy Queen
2. S.L.R. (Single-Lens Reflex) — Waterway past Montreal and Quebec
3. N.F.L. (National Football League) — Principle that an object at rest stays at rest unless acted upon

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you some words and phrases. Each one conceals the name of a world capital in left to right order, although not in consecutive letters. Every answer has exactly 5 letters.

Example: STOCK SYMBOL --> TOKYO
1. SERIOUSLY
2. PARTISAN
3. COCK-AND-BULL
4. HUMANOID
5. MINISKIRT
6. SOUTH AFRICA

Last week's challenge: The name of what vehicle, spelled backward, becomes phonetically a four-word phrase identifying another vehicle?

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you clues for two words. Reverse the last four letters of the answer to the first clue to get the word that answers the second clue.

Ex. Part of a flower / Flat dish --> PETAL, PLATE
1. Apportion / Coral island
2. Distress signal shot into the air / Wild, as an animal
3. Rugged / Many-headed serpent of myth
4. Nosy person / Implement for eating soup
5. Call the wrong telephone number / Lost
6. Fragility / Place to order a sandwich to go

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you some words. For each word, move one letter to a different position to spell another word.

Ex. NEVER —> NERVE

1. HURLED

2. GALLERY

3. INFIELD

4. SOOTHER

5. STARTLE

6. AMENDER

7. WITHER

8. SPARED

9. TOPICAL

10. PARLEYS

11. RETAIN

12. NEAREST

13. SIMMERED

The last one is a little different. It has two answers — which go together to make a familiar compound word:

14. SHORE

On-air challenge: I've brought a game of Categories based on the word STYLE. For each category I give, name something in it starting with each of the letters S-T-Y-L-E. For example, if the category were "Girls' Names," you might say Sarah, Teresa, Yvette, Lisa, and Elizabeth. Any answer that works is OK, and you can give the answers in any order.

1. Vegetables

2. Animals in a Zoo

3. Foreign Rivers

4. Football Terms

5. Songs by the Beatles

On-air challenge: Every answer is a compound word with two hyphens in which the part in the middle has two letters.

On-air challenge: The word "Senses" starts with the letter S, and there are two senses that happen to start with the letter S — sight and smell. I'm going to name some more categories. For each one, name two things in it that start with the first letter of the category.

  1. Months
  2. Presidents
  3. Signs of the zodiac
  4. Boroughs in New York City
  5. Parts of speech
  6. Snow White's dwarfs
  7. Astronauts on the first moon landing

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