Sunday Puzzle: New Names In 2020

Jan 3, 2021

On-air Challenge: Every year around this time I do a year-end "New Names in the News Quiz." Here's how it works. I'll name some people and things you probably never heard of until 2020, but who sprang to prominence during the past 12 months. You tell me who or what they are. This list was compiled with the help of Kathie Baker, who played a similar quiz in the past.

1. Amy Coney Barrett

2. Deborah Birx

3. Doug Emhoff

4. Li Wenliang

5. Sarah Fuller

6. Isaias

Last week's challenge: This challenge came from listener David Curren of Arlington, Mass. Think of a familiar two-word phrase (5, 2). Replace the last letter with the next letter of the alphabet. The result will be a palindrome (the seven letters will read backward and forward the same). What phrase is it?

Challenge answer: Queue Up

Winner: Tyler Elliott from Mountain View, Calif.

This week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from listener Robert Flood of Allen, Texas. Think of a seven-letter hyphenated word for a kind of cooking. Change the middle letter to get a new word describing a kind of music. What words are these?

Submit Your Answer

If you know the answer to next week's challenge, submit it here by Thursday, Jan. 7, at 3 p.m. ET. Listeners who submit correct answers win a chance to play the on-air puzzle. Important: Include a phone number where we can reach you.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

It's time to play The Puzzle.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Joining us is Will Shortz. He is puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzlemaster.

Hi, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu. Happy New Year.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Happy New Year. Remind us of last week's - shall I say last year's challenge.

SHORTZ: That's right. It came from listener David Curren of Arlington, Mass. I said think of a familiar two-word phrase, five letters in the first word, two letters in the second. Replace the last letter with the next letter of the alphabet. And the result will be a palindrome, reading backward and forward the same. What phrase is it? And the phrase is queue up - Q-U-E-U-E U-P. Change the P to a Q. And there you go. You've got a palindrome.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received nearly 1,300 correct responses. And the winner this week is Tyler Elliott from Mountain View, Calif.

Congratulations and welcome to the program.

TYLER ELLIOTT: Thank you so much.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: How did you figure out this week's challenge?

ELLIOTT: Well, you know, I usually use it as a way to fall asleep. I think about The Puzzle every night, and I never get the answer. And I wake up the next morning without the answer.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter).

ELLIOTT: And this week, I had no success in figuring it out before falling asleep. And so I started going through lists of five-letter words until I found one that made sense. Then - and there it was - queue up.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I think it's time to play. Will, take it away.

SHORTZ: All right. Tyler, every year around this time, I do a year-end new names in the news quiz. And here's how it works. I'll name some people and things you probably never heard of until 2020 but who sprang to prominence during the past 12 months. You tell me who or what they are. And this list was compiled with the help of Kathie Baker, who played a similar quiz in the past. Here's number one - starting easy, I think. Your first one is Amy Coney Barrett.

ELLIOTT: Oh, well, that was the Supreme Court justice that replaced Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

SHORTZ: Excellent. Number two is Deborah Birx - B-I-R-X.

ELLIOTT: Deborah Birx.

SHORTZ: You might have seen her in some news conferences.

ELLIOTT: I...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It's...

ELLIOTT: Go ahead.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: ...Got to do with the pandemic.

ELLIOTT: Oh, that could be...

SHORTZ: And what if I said she was the coordinator of something?

ELLIOTT: This - is this, like, the vaccine response or the - something like that?

SHORTZ: Yeah, I'll give you that. She's coordinator of the White House's coronavirus response.

ELLIOTT: OK.

SHORTZ: All right. Next one is Doug Emhoff - E-M-H-O-F-F - Doug Emhoff. And I'll give you a hint. He's the husband of somebody famous.

ELLIOTT: Doug Emhoff - is...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: He's going to be the first man to hold this position ever.

ELLIOTT: Is it the first vice husband?

SHORTZ: Yes.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yes.

ELLIOTT: All right.

SHORTZ: I'm not sure what we're going to call that, but that's the husband of Kamala Harris.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah.

SHORTZ: Your next one is Li Wenliang. That's - the family name is L-I and then W-E-N-L-I-A-N-G - Li Wenliang.

ELLIOTT: I'm going to have to venture a guess here. And is this the Chinese scientist who discovered the coronavirus?

SHORTZ: Yeah. He warned of the dangers of COVID-19, and he died of the disease. All right. Let's see if you follow sports. Your next one is Sarah Fuller, spelled just as you'd think.

ELLIOTT: I think she is the first woman to score in a college football game.

SHORTZ: Excellent - in a Power Five conference football game.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Good job.

SHORTZ: She's a Vanderbilt University soccer player, first woman ever to play in a Power Five conference football game. And two weeks later, she scored - so becoming a first in that as well. All right. And here's your last one - Isaias. That's one name - I-S-A-I-A-S - Isaias.

ELLIOTT: S-I - I...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It's not a person.

SHORTZ: It's not a person.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It's a thing.

SHORTZ: It was something that was very destructive.

ELLIOTT: Very destructive. Oh, was it a - the tropical storm that flooded the Gulf Coast?

SHORTZ: It was worse. It was a hurricane that ripped through the Caribbean and up the East Coast at the start of August. So Tyler, I'd say you did pretty well.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You did pretty well. How do you feel?

ELLIOTT: I'm still really excited and delighted. That was incredible.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: For playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, as well as puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle. And Tyler, which member station do you listen to?

ELLIOTT: We are members of KQED in San Francisco, but we listen online.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Tyler Elliott of Mountain View, Calif., thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.

ELLIOTT: Thanks so much for having me.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Will. What is next week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes, it comes from listener Robert Flood of Allen, Texas. Think of a seven-letter hyphenated word for a kind of cooking. Change the middle letter to get a new word describing a kind of music. What words are these? So again, a seven-letter hyphenated word for a kind of cooking. Change the middle letter to get a new word describing a kind of music. What words are these?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: When you have the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle, and click on the submit your answer link. Remember, just one entry per person, please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, January 7, 2021, at 3 p.m. Eastern. 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 if you pick up the phone, you'll get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's very own puzzlemaster. And his name is Will Shortz.

Thanks so much, Will.

SHORTZ: Thank you, Lulu.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.