Sunday Puzzle: Opposites Attract: NPR


And it’s time to play the puzzle.


RASCOE: Will Shortz joins us today. He is Puzzle Editor of The New York Times and Puzzle Master of WEEKEND EDITION. It’s good to talk to you, Will.


RASCOE: I heard you’re attending a very special event this week, and we’re going all the way to Poland on the airwaves.

SHORTZ: That’s right. I’m at the World Puzzle Championship. There are 197 applicants from around 30 countries. All puzzles are logical, so there are no word puzzles. Everyone can compete equally, regardless of their language. And it just ended as we speak. And the Americans finished second and eighth out of 197 – not bad. And the American team finished second behind Japan.

RASCOE: And Will, please remind us of last week’s challenge.

SHORTZ: Yeah, it’s from listener David Edelheit of Oyster Bay, NY I said, think of a pair of two-syllable words that sound the same except one is accented on the first syllable and the other on the second. And the word that is stressed on the first syllable is associated with confrontation, while the word that is stressed on the second syllable is associated with cooperation. What words are these? Well, the intended response was conquer and approve. We also had a second answer which I thought was very good – converse and converse. You can justify both. We also differ and differ. But I didn’t think the first syllables of dif and de were the same. So we got two good answers.

RASCOE: We’ve had a lot of close, but not quite exact answers. So that was a problem for all of you. But our lucky winner, Erick Eklund of Santa Cruz, Calif., comes out on top. Congratulations, Erick, and welcome to the show.

ERICK EKLUND: Thank you. Glad to be here.

RASCOE: So how long have you been playing puzzles, Erick?

EKLUND: We’ve been listening to NPR for about five years and look forward to the Sunday Puzzle every week.

RASCOE: And what do you like to do when you’re not playing puzzles?

EKLUND: Well, I’m an oral surgeon by profession, so that keeps me pretty busy. But we do a lot of outdoor activities like cycling, we like going to see live music – things like that.

RASCOE: Since you’ve had surgery, I know you’re up for the puzzle, right?

EKLUND: I think so.

RASCOE: Alright. Take it away, Will.

SHORTZ: Okay, Erick and Ayesha. I’ll give you some six-letter words. For each, change a consonant to a vowel to create a new word. For example, if I said default, DEFECT, you would say defeat, changing the C to A. It’s still a consonant to a vowel. And your first is the bike, the bike.

EKLUND: Bike – bikini.

SHORTZ: Nice. Here’s your next one – loud, LOUD.

EKLUND: Strong – I still want to change a vowel, but we want to go from consonant to vowel.

SHORTZ: Change the T.

RASCOE: Oh, change the T. OK.

EKLUND: Pareo.

SHORTZ: Pareo. Yeah.

EKLUND: Alright.


EKLUND: This one should be simple.

RASCOE: Let me see.

EKLUND: Simple – comparison.

SHORTZ: Comparison. Good work. Salmon, as in fish.

EKLUND: Salmon. Let’s see. Too many consonants.

SHORTZ: Try changing the M.

RASCOE: Oh, oh, oh, I get it. This is where, if you’re a cowboy, you go…

EKLUND: Oh, the saloon – saloon.

RASCOE: …to let off steam.

EKLUND: Two bones. OKAY.

SHORTZ: You’re going to the saloon.

EKLUND: Thanks for the hint.

SHORTZ: Good, Ayesha. Your next is the zither, CITHERE, as in the musical instrument.

EKLUND: Zither – so be it.

SHORTZ: Yeah. One or the other, yes. Stanch, STANCH, like dressing a wound.

EKLUND: Stanch – position. Replace the H with an E.

SHORTZ: Stance. And your last is to use that same word – position, STANCE – and get a new answer.


EKLUND: T to an E – session.

SHORTZ: Session – you get the idea. Good work.

RASCOE: It was great. Like, you understood that, Erick (laughs).

EKLUND: Well, thank you. You know, you play this every Sunday at home, and it’s so easy. And then you’re there, and it’s very different. But it was great fun.

RASCOE: So for playing our puzzle today, you will receive a WEEKEND EDITION pin as well as books and puzzle games. You can read all about it at And Erick, what member station do you listen to?

EKLUND: 90.3 KAZU in Seaside, CA.

RASCOE: This is Erick Eklund from Santa Cruz, California. Thank you very much for playing the puzzle.

EKLUND: Thank you for inviting me.

RASCOE: Okay, Will, what’s next week’s challenge?

SHORTZ: Yeah, it’s from Wei-Hwa Huang from San Jose, California. He’s a four-time World Puzzle Champion, and he’s here with me in Krakow. And he notes that it’s unusual for a multi-word movie title to be made up entirely of words beginning with vowels, neither of which is the article A or the pronoun I. And here’s the puzzle. Can you name a popular movie with a five-word title with word lengths 10, 10, three, two, four, all of which start with vowels. So that’s the puzzle. Think of a popular movie with a five word title, word lengths 10, 10, three, two, four. All words begin with vowels. What movie is it?

RASCOE: When you have the answer, go to our website,, and click the submit your answer link. Remember, only one entry, please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, October 27 at 3 p.m. EST. Don’t forget to include a phone number where we can reach you. If you are the winner, we will call you. And if you pick up the phone, you can play live with New York Times puzzle editor and WEEKEND EDITION puzzle master Will Shortz. Thank you very much Will.

SHORTZ: Thank you, Ayesha.


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