Games + Leisure

Games + Leisure

Spoiler Alert: The answers for today's on-air challenge are given below. Read no further if you're playing along with the audio.

On-air challenge: The on-air puzzle this week consists of some of the runner-up entries from our two-week creative challenge. Every answer has six or more letters.

Andrew W.K.: Jesus Christ Super Quiz

May 15, 2014

Musician, motivational speaker, and party pro Andrew W.K. is a man of many talents—but did you know that he is also an expert on Jesus Christ Superstar? We wrote him a quiz on his favorite rock opera.

After the game, hear he and house musician Jonathan Coulton duet on "What's The Buzz."

On-air challenge: Today's puzzle is a game of categories based on the word "phlox." You'll be given some categories. For each one, name something in the category beginning with each of the letters P, H, L, O and X. For example, if the category were "comic books," you might say "Phantom, Hopalong Cassidy, Lone Ranger, Our Gang Comics and X-men." Any answer that works is okay, and you can give the answers in any order.

On-air challenge: Every answer is a five-letter word. You will be given a clue for the word. Besides describing the answer, the clue will also contain the answer in consecutive letters. For example, given "It's near the planet Mars," you would say, "Earth."

Last week's challenge Mike Reiss, a writer for The Simpsons: Name a famous actor or actress whose last name ends in a doubled letter. Drop that doubled letter. Then insert an R somewhere inside the first name. The result will be a common two-word phrase. What is it?

In our Getting Back In The Game series, we're showing you how to get into the wide world of video games — whether you're new to gaming or a former player who hasn't picked up a controller in a while.

Like movies, books and music, there are countless video games to suit all interests and tastes. And like those other mediums, you can drill down into every genre to find more and varied sub-genres.

Mobile phones and computer screens can distract us from engagement in the real world and that's been especially true of video games. But, there's an innovative game being played around the globe that's designed to use the same technologies to get its players more engaged with each other and the physical world.

Gaming While Male: A 'Privilege' Few Men Recognize

Apr 28, 2014

In video games, sexism often comes in the form of male-dominated storylines and character archetypes. In the video game community, it takes a more menacing shape.

It ranges from attempts to silence female critics to the harassment of fellow players. Some harassment even goes so far as phone calls and rape threats, as one female game developer found out last year.

First In, Last Out

Apr 27, 2014

On-air challenge: For each word provided, give a word that can follow it to complete a familiar two-word phrase. The first two letters of the provided word should be the last two letters of the answer. Example: Red Square

Last week's challenge: Name certain trees. Also name something that trees have. Rearrange all the letters to get the brand name of a product you might buy at a grocery or drug store. What is it?

Answer: Firs + Leaves = Life Savers

Winner: Nils Thingvall of Lafayette, Colo.

For decades, it was mere legend: an "Atari Dump" rumored to harbor millions of copies of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, a video game so bad that burying it in the New Mexico desert seemed the best way to move on.

But now, the Atari graveyard has been exhumed, and the latest attempt to find the cache of game cartridges has been declared a success. Helped by heavy machinery, a crew found some of the games today, in a dig that inspired the Twitter hashtag #DiggingET.

On-air challenge: With spring in the air, it's a fitting time for a flower puzzle. Find the flower answer using its anagram, minus one letter. Example: R-I-S-H-I, minus H, is "iris."

Last week's challenge from listener Louis Sargent of Portland, Ore: Name a well-known American company. Insert a W somewhere inside the name, and you'll get two consecutive titles of popular TV shows of the past. What are they?

Answer: Westinghouse; West Wing, House

Winner: John Rowden of New York

In our Getting Back in the Game series, we're showing you how to get into the wide world of video games — whether you're new to gaming or a former player who hasn't picked up a controller in a while.

On-air challenge: This puzzle is called "Middle C." For each prompt or clue, think of a common three-syllable word or name in which the middle syllable is pronounced "cee." Example: Coming immediately before = preceding.

Last week's challenge: Last week's challenge came from listener Mike Reiss, a former writer and producer for The Simpsons. The film Wild Wild West had three W's as its initials. What prominent film of last year had two W's as its initials?

Answer: The Wolf Of Wall Street

On-air challenge: This week's challenge comes from a book called Puzzles & Pleasantries, published by the Old Farmer's Almanac. Since April Fool's Day is coming up on Tuesday, the challenge questions are all April Fool-ish. Each one has appeared in a past year of the Old Farmer's Almanac, and each has a legitimate answer.

Last week's challenge: Name a capital of a country. Change the first letter to name a familiar musical instrument. What is it?

Answer: Caracas, maracas.

On-air challenge: A series of paired words will be provided. For each pair, think of a third word that can follow the first one and precede the second to complete a familiar two-word phrase. Every answer starts with "W." Example: Open and Awake; Answer: Wide.

Last 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. The letters in his name can be rearranged to spell two numbers. What are they?

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?

On-air challenge: Today's puzzle is called "Let's." Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or title containing the consecutive letters L-E-T. Specifically, the first word will end in L-E and the second word will start with T.

Last week's challenge: Write down these six words:

  • Cupid
  • Yoo-hoo
  • Eyeball
  • Entrance
  • Seafood
  • Wiper

Just last week I was lamenting a severe lack of comedy-based video games, where perhaps getting a hearty laugh is the goal rather than quelling a rebellion or fighting off hordes of zombies.

On-air challenge: Every answer is the name of a famous person with four letters in his or her first name and four letters in the last. For each person, you'll be given initials and an anagram of the full name. You name the person.

Last week's challenge: Name a famous entertainer: two words, four letters in each word. You can rearrange these eight letters to spell the acronym of a well-known national organization, and the word that the first letter of this acronym stands for. Who's the entertainer, and what's the organization?

Mark Warner says that he got off to a good start, making it to Harvard Law School, but then promptly failed at everything he tried. No wonder, then, that he had to settle for a career in the U.S. Senate, where he's currently a democratic senator from Virginia.

We've invited Warner to play a game called "Danger! Get Away! Ahhhhh!" Three questions about warnings.

Jason Munkel and his father Bill are 39 years apart in age, but since last year, they've been sitting down together to play Call of Duty: Ghosts almost every night.

They also broadcast their gameplay to more than 120,000 followers, who watch the father-son duo pursue and shoot enemies on the screen, and talk to them during the game. Sometimes they do this for six to seven hours a day, and their audience has grown dramatically in just one year, though not all watch every day.