The Names Of The Game

Jan 23, 2013
Originally published on January 20, 2013 11:25 am

On-air challenge: You will be given the first names of two famous people, past or present. The first person's last name, when you drop the initial letter, becomes the second person's last name. For example, given "Harold" and "Kingsley," the answer would be "Harold Ramis" and "Kingsley Amis."

Last week's challenge: Think of two familiar, unhyphenated, eight-letter words that contain the letters A, B, C, D, E and F, plus two others, in any order. What words are these?

Answer: feedback; boldface

Winner: Brian Jacokes of San Francisco

Next week's challenge: Take the last name of a famous world leader of the past. Rearrange its letters to name a type of world leader, like czar or prime minister. What world leader is it?

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 Thursday at 3 p.m. Eastern.

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. And if you feel like you need to enhance your performance, do it naturally. Grab some coffee because it is time for the puzzle.


MARTIN: Joining me now is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle-master Will Shortz. Good morning, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Rachel.

MARTIN: So, before we recap last week's challenge, we have a couple of anniversaries to celebrate. Happy 26th anniversary to you on WEEKEND EDITION SUNDAY.

SHORTZ: Yeah. I did a puzzle for the very first show. It was Susan Stamberg's idea to have a puzzle on this program. And I think 26 isn't usually a year you celebrate, but, you know, it's one year for each letter in the English alphabet. So, I think that's appropriate.


MARTIN: Good enough. We'll celebrate. Thank you for 26 years of amazing puzzling. And, yes, of course, it's also WEEKEND EDITION SUNDAY's 26th anniversary. So, you know, why not celebrate 26 years. Now, without further ado, remind us what was our challenge last week.

SHORTZ: Yes. The challenge was to think of two familiar unhyphenated eight-letter words that contain the letters A, B, C, D, E and F, plus two others in any order. And the answer was feedback and boldface.

MARTIN: Well, about 650 of our listeners sent in correct answers. And our randomly selected winner this week is Brian Jacokes of San Francisco. He joins us on the phone. Hey, congratulations, Brian.

BRIAN JACOKES: Hi. Good morning, Rachel. Good morning, Will.

SHORTZ: Morning.

MARTIN: So, how'd you do this? You pored through a dictionary to figure this one out?

JACOKES: No. I figured that the F was the hardest letter to place, so I tried to think of long syllables that had an F in them and most of the letters from A through F. And face and feed came to me pretty quickly.

MARTIN: Well, what do you in San Francisco? Do you work with words in any way?

JACOKES: No, not quite. I'm a software engineer at a small tech company here.

MARTIN: Ah, OK. So, do you work on any puzzling apps perchance?

JACOKES: No, I don't, but I've been doing crossword puzzles for about 10 years now.

MARTIN: So, you've had a little practice. Now's the moment of truth, Brian, where you get to put those skills to the test. Are you ready to do this?

JACOKES: I hope so.

MARTIN: OK. Will, take it away.

SHORTZ: OK, Brian and Rachel. I'm going to give you the first names of two famous people - past or present. The first person's last name when you drop the initial letter becomes the second person's last name. For example, if I said Harold and Kingsley, you would say Ramos and Amos, as in actor Harold Ramos and writer Kingsley Amos.

MARTIN: I think I have it. Brian, do you have this?

JACOKES: It sounds tough, but yeah.

MARTIN: OK. Let's try. Let's do it.

SHORTZ: Number one: William Jennings and Paul.

JACOKES: OK. So, that would be Bryan and Ryan.

SHORTZ: That's right. William Jennings Bryan and Paul Ryan. Vincent, Anne A-N-N-E.

JACOKES: I can't think of any good Vincents.

SHORTZ: OK. Vincent's an actor in classic horror films.


JACOKES: Vincent Price.

MARTIN: Yes, Price, good.

SHORTZ: Vincent Price and...

JACOKES: And Anne Rice.

SHORTZ: ...the author Anne Rice. Good. William, Veronica.

JACOKES: William and Veronica.

SHORTZ: William is a writer. Veronica's an old actress.

JACOKES: These are the ones that always stump me on the crossword puzzles; they are the people's names.

SHORTZ: The names, the names.

MARTIN: Oh, lucky you, Brian. Lucky you.

JACOKES: William Blake.

SHORTZ: That's it. William Blake...


SHORTZ: ...and Veronica Lake. Where did that come from? Here's your next one: Russell and Ayn - and this one's A-Y-N.

JACOKES: Russell Brand, Ayn Rand.

SHORTZ: That's right. Ayn Rand - OK. Been mispronouncing it. F. Lee and Alvin.

JACOKES: F. Lee...

SHORTZ: F. Lee is a lawyer.

JACOKES: Still not ringing a bell.

SHORTZ: And Alvin is known for dance.

MARTIN: Alvin Ailey, right?

SHORTZ: There you go.

JACOKES: Alvin Ailey. F. Lee Bailey?

SHORTZ: F. Lee Bailey is it. Good. Tammy and Leann, and that's L-E-A-N-N.

JACOKES: Leann Rimes.

SHORTZ: Yes. And Tammy?

JACOKES: And Tammy...would it be Grimes?

SHORTZ: Grimes is it, good. Try this: first one is fictional - Ned, and the second name is Ann A-N-N. A fictional Ned from TV.

JACOKES: From TV, in what era?

SHORTZ: Oh, let's be more specific: "The Simpsons."

JACOKES: Oh, Ned Flanders and Ann Landers.

SHORTZ: There you go, Ned Flanders and Ann Landers.

MARTIN: Oh, Ned Flanders, good.

JACOKES: It's so hard to zero in on it.

SHORTZ: There you go. And here's your last one: Margaret and Teri T-E-R-I.

JACOKES: Thatcher and Hatcher.

SHORTZ: That was fast. Good job.

MARTIN: That was fast. Ooh, that was hard. Good job, Brian.

JACOKES: Yeah, I was hoping for some sort of anagram question.

MARTIN: Yeah, I know. The misplaced hopes sometimes get dashed in the puzzle.


MARTIN: Great job, Brian. For playing the puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, as well as puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at

And before we let you go, what's your public radio station?

JACOKES: It's KQED here in San Francisco.

MARTIN: Brian Jacokes of San Francisco. Thanks so much for playing the puzzle, Brian.

JACOKES: Thanks, Rachel. Thanks, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks.

MARTIN: OK. Will, what's the challenge for next week?

SHORTZ: Yeah, we've had a couple of hard challenges lately. So here's one that's easier. Take the last name of a famous world leader of the past. Rearrange its letters to name a type of world leader, like czar or prime minister, someone who's the head of a country. What world leader is it?

So again, famous world leader of the past, last name, rearrange the letters to name to name a type of world leader. What world leader is it?

MARTIN: When you have the answer, go to our Website, and click on the Submit Your Answer link - just one entry per person, please. And our deadline for entries is Thursday, January 24th at 3 P.M. Eastern Time. Please 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 puzzle-master, Will Shortz.

Thanks so much, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel.

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