Will Shortz

NPR's Puzzlemaster Will Shortz has appeared on Weekend Edition Sunday since the program's start in 1987. He's also the crossword editor of The New York Times, the former editor of Games magazine, and the founder and director of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament (since 1978).

Will sold his first puzzle professionally when he was 14 — to Venture, a denominational youth magazine. At 16 he became a regular contributor to Dell puzzle publications. He is the only person in the world to hold a college degree in Enigmatology, the study of puzzles, which he earned from Indiana University in 1974.

Born in 1952 and raised on an Arabian horse farm in Indiana, Will now lives near New York City in a Tudor-style house filled with books and Arts and Crafts furniture. When he's not at work, he enjoys bicycling, movies, reading, travel, and collecting antique puzzle books and magazines.

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6:00pm

Sat January 7, 2012
Sunday Puzzle

Arrange The Notes

On-Air Challenge: Each answer is a five-letter word or phrase containing the letters N, O, T, E plus one other letter. Answer the clues to get the words.

Last Week's Challenge: Name certain scores in a certain sport. The score and the sport are both two-word phrases with a total of 10 letters (five letters in each word). Rearrange the letters to name a different sport, also in two words (six letters in the first word, four in the second). What are the scores, and what is the sport?

Answer: Rearrange "field goals" to name "ladies golf."

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2:00am

Sun January 1, 2012
Sunday Puzzle

The Fame Game

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On-Air Challenge: It's our annual year-end news quiz, compiled with the help of Kathie Baker and Tim Goodman. You are given new names in the news — people you probably never heard of before 2011, but who became famous during the past 12 months. Explain why they're famous.

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10:01pm

Sat December 24, 2011
Sunday Puzzle

Unwrap The Phrase To Reveal A Gift

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On-Air Challenge: Identify a gift for a child spelled by consecutive letters in familiar two-word phrases. For example, if given "tomato paste," the answer would be "top."

Last Week's Challenge: Take the word "at." Put a man's first name on each side of it, and say the word out loud. Phonetically, you'll get a word that describes a growing part of our country.

Answer: Put "Jerry," "at," and "Rick" together, and phonetically, you get "geriatric."

Winner: Ginny Walters from Shelburne, Vt.

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10:01pm

Sat December 17, 2011
Sunday Puzzle

Rearranging Titles On The Magazine Rack

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On-Air Challenge: Rearrange a series of anagrams to identify some well-known magazines. For example, if given "never point," rearrange the letters to spell "Prevention," the name of a popular health magazine.

Last Week's Challenge: Think of an animal whose name contains the letter "O." Change the "O" to an "H", and rearrange the result to name another animal. What animals are these?

Answer: Change the "O" in "antelope" to an H, and rearrange the letters to spell "elephant." "Orca" and "char" is an alternative pairing.

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10:01pm

Sat December 10, 2011
Sunday Puzzle

Teasing Out A New Word

On-Air Challenge: Add a letter to create new words in a series of word teasers.

Last Week's Challenge from listener Monti Montgomery of Washington, D.C.: Name a style of music. Change the middle letter to a B, and you'll name a style of cooking. What are the style of music and the style of cooking? (There are several ways to spell the cooking style, but the answer is one of them.)

Answer: "Baroque" is the style of music, and "bar-b-que" is the cooking style.

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