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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6:25am

Sun September 15, 2013
Games & Humor

A Most Noteworthy Puzzle

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 6:50 am

NPR

On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name with the initials M.N. For example: Be pleasant in order to appease someone? Answer: Make Nice.

Last week's challenge: Name a famous person in history — four letters in the first name and six letters in the last. Move the first letter of all this to the end. The result will be a two-word phrase that might be defined as "beeline." Who's the famous person, and what's the phrase?

Answer: Marc Antony, arc antonym

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3:40am

Sun September 8, 2013
Sunday Puzzle

Close, But No Cigar

Originally published on Mon September 9, 2013 12:09 pm

NPR

On-air challenge: Each of the following answers is a made-up, two-word phrase in which the two words are homophones, and both words start with the letter C.

Last week's challenge from listener Henry Hook of Brooklyn: Think of a well-known celebrity who goes by a single name — the last two letters of which are alphabetically separated by only one letter (like A and C, or B and D). Replace this pair of letters with the one that separates them, and you'll have a common, everyday word. What is it?

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3:56am

Sun September 1, 2013
Sunday Puzzle

Shh! Listen Carefully

Originally published on Sun September 1, 2013 12:42 pm

NPR

On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase with the consecutive letters of S-H-H. Specifically, the first word in the answer will end in SH, and the second will start with H.

Last week's challenge: Think of a business that's found in most towns. Its name consists of two words, each starting with a consonant. Interchange the consonants and you'll get two new words — neither of which rhymes with the original words. What business is it?

Answer: Car wash

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3:18am

Sun August 25, 2013
Sunday Puzzle

It's All Greek To Me

Originally published on Sun August 25, 2013 9:22 am

NPR Graphic

On-air challenge: You're given some sentences. Each sentence conceals the name of a language in consecutive letters. Name the language. Each answer has five or more letters.

Last week's challenge: The Roman numeral for 38 is XXXVIII. What is special or unusual about this Roman numeral that sets it apart from every other Roman numeral that can be written?

Answer: If every possible Roman numeral were listed in alphabetical order, XXXVIII would be last.

Winner: Joseph Kuperberg of Pittsford, N.Y.

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6:25am

Sun August 18, 2013
Sunday Puzzle

A Matter Of Succession

Originally published on Sun August 18, 2013 2:07 pm

NPR Graphic

On-air challenge: You're given two words starting with the letter S. For each pair, give a third word — also starting with S — that can follow the first one and precede the second one, in each case to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase.

Last week's challenge: A logic puzzle: "Nieces and nephews have I none, but that man's father is my father's son." What is the gender of the speaker? And who is the speaker referring to?

Answer: Male, the speaker is referring to his own son.

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