On-air challenge: For each five-letter word provided, insert two letters after the first letter to complete a familiar seven-letter word.
Last week's challenge: The challenge came from listener Harry Hillson of Avon-by-the-Sea, N.J. Take the first name of a nominee for Best Actor or Best Actress at last Sunday's Oscars. You can rearrange these letters into a two-word phrase that describes his or her character in the film for which he or she is nominated. Who is this star, and what is the phrase?
Answer: Sandra (Bullock), NASA Dr.
Winner: Dan Mitchell of Manchester, N.H.
Next week's challenge: This puzzle was created by Will Shortz for an event held recently at the Museum of Mathematics in New York City. Take the name of a classical Greek mathematician and re-arrange the letters in his name to spell two numbers. What are they?
To state the puzzle in another way: Take the names of two numbers, put them together, and find an anagram of the result that names a classical Greek mathematician. Who is the mathematician and what are the numbers?
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. And it doesn't matter what it is - a pencil, a pen, a crayon - grab your nearest writing utensil because it is time for the puzzle.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
MARTIN: Joining me now is Will Shortz. He is the puzzle editor of the New York Times. He's also WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel. Welcome back.
MARTIN: Hey, thank you. So, what was last week's challenge?
SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Harry Hillson of Avon, New Jersey. And I said if you take the first name of a nominee for Best Actor or Best Actress at the Oscars last week, you can rearrange the letters into a two-word phrase that describes his or her character in the film for which he or she was nominated. Who is the star and what's the phrase. Well, the answer was Sandra, as in Sandra Bullock, who, of course, was the star of "Gravity." And if you rearranged the letters of Sandra, you get NASA Dr. Thought that was brilliant. And I'll tell you an interesting alternative answer we got from listener Todd Mcleary(ph). He points out that if you take Jonah Hill, who was nominated for his role in "The Wolf of Wall Street." And he said given the number of prostitutes in the film, you can rearrange Jonah to spell a john, so.
MARTIN: Points to Todd. Very creative. We got more than 240 correct answers. Our randomly selected winner this week is Dan Mitchell of Manchester, New Hampshire. He joins us on the line. Hey, Dan. Congratulations.
DAN MITCHELL: Thank you.
MARTIN: So, are you a big Sandra Bullock fan?
MITCHELL: To be honest with you, I have to give credit to my wife. We usually do these kind of - together. And she came up with NASA Dr. pretty quickly. But I got stuck in the actors because with Chiwetel and Leonardo and Christian in there, it was so letter-rich that I got stuck there and I finally had to be convinced that it was actually NASA Dr.
MARTIN: Well, good for your wife.
MARTIN: And what do you do in Manchester?
MITCHELL: I am an assistant principal at an elementary school.
MARTIN: Oh, wow. And do you have a question for Will Shortz?
MITCHELL: Well, I guess I've never had the opportunity to speak to Will and never really thought I ever would. But I wonder has there ever been a question that has stumped Will, that has just hung on with you for months or days and you don't want to know the answer and you just, you know, think about it every once in a while?
SHORTZ: Huh. That's interesting. Of course, there are puzzles sometimes I can't finish and I tend to just put them aside. I don't want to cheat, don't want to look up the answer. I'll just put them aside, you know, come back next week or next year and try it again.
MARTIN: Do you also go back to it, though, Will?
SHORTZ: Well, I can't say I always go back and I'm not haunted by it.
MARTIN: OK. With that, Dan, are you ready to play the puzzle?
MITCHELL: I hope so.
MARTIN: All right. I think you are. I hear it in your voice. I think there's confidence there. Let's give it a go.
MITCHELL: Sounds good.
SHORTZ: All right, Dan and Rachel. I'm going to give you some five-letter words. For each one, insert two letters after the first letter to complete a familiar seven-letter word. For example, if I said bough B-O-U-G-H, you would insert O-R to make borough.
SHORTZ: All right. Number one is March M-A-R-C-H.
MITCHELL: O-N - monarch.
SHORTZ: O-N, monarch. That's it. Number two is bathe B-A-T-H-E.
MITCHELL: R-E, breathe.
SHORTZ: Breathe is it. Feign F-E-I-G-N.
MITCHELL: O-R, foreign.
SHORTZ: That's it, foreign. Onion O-N-I-O-N.
MITCHELL: I am stumped on this one.
MARTIN: When you have a particular slant on something?
MITCHELL: Oh, P-I, opinion.
SHORTZ: Opinion is it. Award A-W-A-R-D.
MITCHELL: W-K, awkward.
SHORTZ: Awkward is it. Clone C-L-O-N-E. It's a word everyone knows but for some reason it gives everyone fits. And that's not a hint. I just mean it's tough to see.
MARTIN: It's a storm.
SHORTZ: There you go.
MITCHELL: Oh, cyclone, it's Y-C.
SHORTZ: Cyclone is it, good. Villa V-I-L-L-A.
MITCHELL: A-N, vanilla.
SHORTZ: Vanilla. Rival R-I-V-A-L.
SHORTZ: That's it. Elude E-L-U-D-E.
SHORTZ: Oh, nice. And your last one is gaff, G-A-F-F-E.
SHORTZ: Giraffe, nice job.
MARTIN: Dan, that was really good.
MARTIN: Well done.
MITCHELL: Thank you.
MARTIN: For playing the puzzle today, you get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin. You also get puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at our website, npr.org/puzzle. And before we let you go, Dan, what is your public radio station?
MITCHELL: WEVO Concord, New Hampshire.
MARTIN: Great, Dan Mitchell of Manchester, New Hampshire. Thanks so much for playing the puzzle, Dan. It was fun.
MITCHELL: Thank you so much.
MARTIN: OK, Will. What's up for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes, it's a puzzle I made for the Museum of Mathematics in New York City for an event they held two weeks ago. Take the name of a classical Greek mathematician and, if you have the right one, the letters in his name can be rearranged to spell two numbers. What are they? Or to state the puzzle in a different way: Take the names of two numbers, put them together, and find an anagram of the result that names a classical Greek mathematician. Who's the mathematician and what are the numbers?
MARTIN: You know what to do. When you've got the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle. Click on that Submit Your Answer link - just one entry per person, please. And our deadline for entries is Thursday, March 13th at 3 p.m. Eastern Time.
Don't forget a phone number where we can reach you at about that time because if you're the winner we'll give you a call and then you will 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.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.