Sunday Puzzle: The Odd Word Out

Dec 15, 2019
Originally published on December 15, 2019 8:03 am

On-air challenge: I'm going to give four words. Three of them have something in common. I'll tell you what that something in common is. You tell me which word is the odd one out.

1. Compound words that become new words when their sides are switched: Bankroll, Bookwork, Downturn, Overhang

2. Words that name countries if you change a letter: Child, Fiance, Mother, Spawn

3. Words containing "A-I" that become new words if the A and I are reversed: Dairy, Plaint, Strain, Trail

4. Words that rhyme with names of domestic fowl: Bacon, Juice, Perky, Thicken

Last week's challenge: Last week's challenge came from listener Dominick Talvacchio of Chicago. Name a food in two words — a total of 11 letters. Some of these letters appear more than once. The food has seven different letters in its name. You can rearrange these seven letters to identify the form in which this food is typically served. What food is it?

Challenge answer: Cream cheese (schmear)

Winner: Lizabeth Ault of Amherst, N.Y.

This week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from listener Andrew Chaikin of San Francisco. Write down eight different letters of the alphabet. Add an apostrophe. Then write the same eight letters in a different order. With proper spacing, you now have a four-word phrase meaning "took a risk." What 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 by Thursday, Dec. 19 at 3 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

And it's time to play The Puzzle.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Hey there, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So what was last week's challenge?

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Dominick Talvacchio of Chicago. I said, name a food in two words, total of 11 letters. Some of these letters appear more than once. The food has seven different letters in its name. And I said you can rearrange these seven letters to identify the form in which this food is typically served. What food is it? Well, the food is cream cheese. And you do that operation - it's served in a schmear.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received just 148 correct responses. It was a tough one this week. But the winner is Lizabeth Ault of Amherst, N.Y.

Welcome.

LIZABETH AULT: Thank you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: How did you figure it out?

AULT: Well, I do look at Blaine's Puzzle Blog, and I had just taken some clues from that. And then I was just sitting, thinking about breakfast foods. And all of a sudden, cream cheese just came to me.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter).

AULT: And I just went from there.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So how long have you been playing?

AULT: I've been listening and playing since the mid-'90s, but I've only started entering once you did it online.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Are you ready to play?

AULT: I think so.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You are. I'm - I have a good feeling about this.

AULT: I'm trying to just go with this and have fun.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Exactly.

SHORTZ: There you go.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right, Will. Take it away.

SHORTZ: All right, Lizabeth. I'm going to give you four words. Three of them have something in common. I'll tell you what that something in common is. You tell me which word is the odd one out.

AULT: Oh, dear.

SHORTZ: All right. Number one is compound words that become new words when their sides are switched.

AULT: OK.

SHORTZ: And your words are bankroll, bookwork, downturn, overhang.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So if you flipped it...

AULT: Yeah. Hangover...

SHORTZ: Hangover is right.

AULT: ...Turndown...

SHORTZ: Right.

AULT: ...Workbook, roll bank.

SHORTZ: And which one is not a word?

AULT: I'd say bankroll.

SHORTZ: Yeah, because there's no such thing as a roll bank, at least as far as I know. Here's your next one - words that name countries if you change a letter.

AULT: OK.

SHORTZ: And your words are child, fiance - that's F-I-A-N-C-E - mother, spawn - S-P-A-W-N.

AULT: OK. Child would be Chile.

SHORTZ: That's correct.

AULT: Finance would be France, right?

SHORTZ: That's right. Yeah. Fiance becomes France. Right.

AULT: Mother...

SHORTZ: So you're between mother and spawn.

AULT: Oh.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Ole.

AULT: Oh, OK. Spawn would be Spain.

SHORTZ: Right. And so the answer is...

AULT: Mother.

SHORTZ: Mother is right. Good. Here's your next one.

AULT: OK.

SHORTZ: Words containing AI that become new words if the A and I are reversed. And here are the words - dairy - D-A-I-R-Y - plaint - P-L-A-I-N-T - strain and your last one is trail - dairy, plaint, strain and trail.

AULT: OK. I'm thinking that strain is the one.

SHORTZ: That is true 'cause you get diary, pliant and trial. Good one.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Good job.

SHORTZ: And here's your last one - words that rhyme with names of domestic fowl. And your words are bacon, juice, perky, thicken - words that rhyme with names of domestic fowl.

AULT: Oh, boy. This I will need help with.

SHORTZ: Nah, I think you can do it. What about - can you think of a fowl that rhymes with thicken?

AULT: Chicken.

SHORTZ: There you go. Now you're between bacon, juice and perky.

AULT: Turkey.

SHORTZ: That's it. Now you're between bacon and juice.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Honk, honk, honk, honk.

AULT: (Laughter).

SHORTZ: What animal - what bird...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Duck, duck - when you go duck, duck...

AULT: Goose.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: There we go.

AULT: (Laughter) Oh, I should know that because we have enough Canadian geese around here.

SHORTZ: (Laughter) Good. So the answer, of course, was bacon.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Good job. How do you feel?

AULT: Relieved.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah.

AULT: But this was fun.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Good. I'm so glad. 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 Lizabeth, what member station do you listen to?

AULT: WBFO in Buffalo.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's Lizabeth Ault of Amherst, N.Y. Thanks so much for playing The Puzzle.

AULT: Oh, thank you so much.

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

SHORTZ: Yes. This week's challenge comes from listener Andrew Chaikin of San Francisco. Write down eight different letters of the alphabet. Add an apostrophe. Then write the same eight letters in a different order with proper spacing. You now have a four-word phrase meaning took a risk. What is it? So again, eight different letters of the alphabet. Add an apostrophe. Write the same eight letters in a different order. And with proper spacing, you now have a four-word phrase meaning took a risk. What phrase is it?

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, December 19, 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 you'll get to play on the air with the puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's very own puzzlemaster Will Shortz.

Thanks so much, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Lulu.

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