Sunday Puzzle: State Capitals

Sep 27, 2020
Originally published on September 27, 2020 1:17 pm

On-air challenge: I'm going to read you some sentences. Each sentence conceals the name of a state capital in consecutive letters. You name the capitals.

Example: Check the chart for details. --> HARTFORD
1. You can't rent only one trailer.
2. How does golf rank for television?
3. That's not too pleasant a feeling.
4. Dad prepared flapjacks once.
5. The numeral eight comes before nine.
6. We fly to Zurich Monday.
7. Are you and Eric on cordial terms?
8. I wanna polish off dinner.

Last week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from listener Greg VanMechelen of Berkeley, Calif. Take the name of a famous actor — 4 letters in the first name, 5 letters in the last. Spoonerize it. That is, interchange the initial consonant sounds of the first and last names. The result will be two new familiar first names — one male, one female — that start with the same letter ... but that letter is pronounced differently in the two names. Who's the actor?

Challenge answer: John Wayne — Juan, Jane

Winner: Larry Otten from Sheridan, Ore.

This week's challenge: This challenge comes from listener Ben Austin, of Dobbs Ferry, N.Y. It's not too hard. Name a major world city with a population in the millions. Take one letter in its name and move it two spots earlier in the alphabet. Reading backward, you now have the name of a major restaurant chain. 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, Oct. 1, at 3 p.m. ET.

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

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

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: Remind us of last week's challenge.

SHORTZ: Yes. It came from listener Greg VanMechelen of Berkeley, Calif. I said, take the name of a famous actor - four letters in the first name, five letters in the last. Spoonerize it - that is, interchange the initial consonant sounds of the first and last names. And the result will be two new familiar first names - one male, one female - that start with the same letter, but that letter is pronounced differently in the two names. Who's the actor? Well, the actor is John Wayne. Spoonerize that and you get Juan, Jane - both starting with J, but those Js are pronounced differently.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: We received nearly 450 correct responses, and the winner is Larry Otten of Sheridan, Ore. But he joins us today from Juneau, Alaska.

Congratulations.

LARRY OTTEN: Well, thank you very much. It's a pleasure to be here.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So what exactly are you doing in Alaska?

OTTEN: I'm a medevac pilot, and I'm pulling shifts up here away from home - away from my home in Oregon for a few weeks at a time.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So I assume you're joining us from the hangar you're stationed in.

OTTEN: That's right. And so I'll apologize for any background noises that may come up, but that's the most isolated place I can find at this time.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: No, I understand. And also, you might have to leave at any minute, right? (Laughter).

OTTEN: That's correct. Yeah, we live an on-call life, much like fire department folks.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. So we're going to try and get this show on the road so that you'll have time to play The Puzzle. Will, take it away, and make it snappy.

SHORTZ: All right. Larry, I'm going to read you some sentences. Each sentence conceals the name of a state capital in consecutive letters. You name the capitals. For example, if I said check the chart for details, you would say Hartford, as in Hartford, Conn. And Hartford is hidden inside the words chart for details.

OTTEN: OK. Sounds like we can have some embarrassing fun with this one.

(LAUGHTER)

SHORTZ: Number one - you can't rent only one trailer. You can't rent only one trailer. And look inside the words can't rent only.

OTTEN: Yeah. Trenton, N.J.

SHORTZ: That's it. Trenton, N.J.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yay.

SHORTZ: You got it. Number two - how does golf rank for television? How does golf rank for television?

OTTEN: Frankfurt.

SHORTZ: Frankfurt, Ky. Good. That's not too pleasant a feeling. That's not too pleasant a feeling. And look inside pleasant a feeling.

OTTEN: Yeah, Santa Fe, N.M. Sorry about that.

SHORTZ: Santa Fe, N.M. Good. Dad prepared flapjacks once. Dad prepared flapjacks once.

OTTEN: Prepared flapjacks - I have to write them out and see them at the same time. Jackson.

SHORTZ: That's it - Jackson, Miss. Good. The numeral eight comes before nine. The numeral eight comes before nine.

OTTEN: Again, I'm (unintelligible) sit here and write them out embarrassingly slow. Sorry.

SHORTZ: You're doing fine. Look inside numeral eight.

OTTEN: Yeah. Looking for that one and - Raleigh. Raleigh.

SHORTZ: Raleigh, N.C. We fly to Zurich Monday. We fly to Zurich Monday.

OTTEN: Richmond.

SHORTZ: Richmond, Va. Are you and Eric on cordial terms? Are you and Eric on cordial terms?

OTTEN: Concord.

SHORTZ: And here's your last one. I wanna polish off dinner, and wanna is W-A-N-N-A. I wanna polish off dinner.

OTTEN: Annapolis. I'm sorry.

SHORTZ: Annapolis, Md. Good job.

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

OTTEN: I feel slow and sloppy and embarrassingly happy. All is good.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: (Laughter) Embarrassingly happy - those two words shouldn't go together.

SHORTZ: That's quite the combination.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yeah. You should just feel happy. You did really, really well. And 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 Larry, which member station to you listen to?

OTTEN: KOPB out of Portland, Ore. And I'd like to say hello to my lovely wife Alice (ph), who's down in Oregon and 1,200 miles away from me right now.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Larry Otten of Sheridan, Ore., safe travels to you. Thank you very much for playing The Puzzle.

OTTEN: Thank you both so much. You have a great day.

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

SHORTZ: Yes. It comes from listener Ben Austin of Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., and it's not too hard. Name a major world city with a population in the millions. Take one letter in its name and move it two spots earlier in the alphabet. Reading backward, you now have the name of a major restaurant chain. What is it? So again, major world city - take one letter in its name. Move it two spots earlier in the alphabet. Read it backward. You now have the name of a major restaurant chain. What 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, October 1 - yay, the spooky season - 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: Thank you, Lulu.

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