On-Air Challenge: Each clue contains at least one seven-letter word. Rearrange the letters in that word to answer the clue.
Last Week's Challenge from listener Ed Pegg Jr.: Write the digits from 1 to 9 in a line. If you put times signs after the 2 and 4, a plus sign after the 5, and a minus sign after the 7, you have 12 x 34 x 5 + 67 - 89, which equals 2018. That's six years off from our current year 2012. This example uses four arithmetic symbols. The object is to use just three of the following arithmetic operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, in a line from 1 to 9 to get 2012 exactly. The operations should be performed in order from left to right. There are no tricks to this puzzle. Can you do it?
Answer: 1234 - 5 - 6 + 789 = 2012
Winners: Alan Hirshfeld of Silver Spring, Md.
Next Week's Challenge: Name an animal. Add the letters "A" and "T," and rearrange the result to name another animal. These are both animals that might be found in a zoo, and the last letter of the first animal is the first letter of the last one.
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 Thursday at 3 p.m. Eastern.
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. And, yes, it is, once again, time for the puzzle.
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MARTIN: Will Shortz joins us now. He is, of course, the puzzle editor of the New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master. Good morning, Will.
WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Hey, Rachel.
MARTIN: OK. So, you gave us a math challenge last week. Remind us: what was the challenge.
SHORTZ: Yes. I said write the digits from one to nine in a line. Use just three of the following operations - addition, subtraction, multiplication and division - in a line from one to nine to get 2012 exactly. And the operations should be performed in order from left to write.
MARTIN: OK. And we should add, the original example that we gave last week may have been a bit misleading, depending on the order you perform the math operations. So, a big thank you to our listeners for pointing that out and we did post a clarification on our website. But the confusion could not stump more than 330 of you who were able to solve last week's challenge. And our randomly selected winner this week is Alan Hirshfeld from Silver Spring, Maryland, who joins us now on the line. Congratulations, Alan.
ALAN HIRSHFELD: Thank you.
SHORTZ: Hey, Alan. Congratulations.
MARTIN: So, Alan, tell us the answer to last week's challenge.
MARTIN: Equals, of course, 2012.
MARTIN: Nice job. So, was this something that came really easily to you or did you have to sit and think about this for a while?
HIRSHFELD: Well, it took me most of the week, and I kept working at it and finally got it Wednesday night.
MARTIN: Well, good for you for sticking with it. And you are in Silver Spring, Maryland. What do you do there?
HIRSHFELD: I'm a retired physicist.
MARTIN: A retired physicist. So, I'm guessing you probably did a lot of math in your time, more complicated math even.
HIRSHFELD: Yeah, yeah.
MARTIN: So, now's the big moment. Are you ready to play the puzzle?
HIRSHFELD: I hope so.
MARTIN: OK. Let's do it. Will, what's our puzzle this week?
SHORTZ: All right, Alan and Rachel, I think this is a mindbender. I'm going to give you some clues. Each one contains at least one seven-letter word. Rearrange the letters in that word to answer the clue. For example, if I said sugar beets and sugar cane are sources of this, you would sucrose, because sugar beets and sugar cane are a source of sucrose and sucrose is an anagram of sources. There we go. Number one: magazine that answers men's fashion-related queries. Magazine that answers men's fashion-related queries. I'll tell you it's an anagram of queries.
HIRSHFELD: Oh, Esquire.
SHORTZ: Esquire, good. Like some deductions claimed on tax returns. Like some deductions claimed on tax returns. And here's a hint: let's say you were sick over the past year. What kind of deduction...
SHORTZ: Medical is it. Good. Anagram of claimed. Tree with a fir-cone; fir-cone being a hyphenated word. Tree with a fir-cone.
SHORTZ: Conifer is right.
MARTIN: Well done.
SHORTZ: Where bidders should exhibit caution. Bidders B-I-D-D-E-R-S.
MARTIN: Ah, bidders, OK.
SHORTZ: Where bidders should exhibit caution. And it's an anagram of caution.
HIRSHFELD: Not casino.
SHORTZ: Um-hum. Where would you bid.
SHORTZ: Auction is it, good. It's largely filled with paintings. It's largely filled with paintings.
HIRSHFELD: Gallery, museum.
SHORTZ: Gallery, good.
SHORTZ: Gallery, yes. Like people who observe no limit on the number of words they use. Like people who observe no limit on the number of words they use. And you're looking for an anagram for observe.
SHORTZ: Verbose, good.
MARTIN: Nice, Alan.
SHORTZ: Here's your last one: they give the precise ways to prepare dishes, and you're looking for an anagram of precise.
HIRSHFELD: I figured that out but...
MARTIN: And we follow them, right?
SHORTZ: That's right. If you were a cook...
HIRSHFELD: Oh, recipes.
SHORTZ: Recipes is it. Nice job.
MARTIN: Oh, good job, Alan. For playing the puzzle today, Alan, you will get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin as well as puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at NPR.org/Puzzle. And, Alan, which public radio station do you listen to?
HIRSHFELD: WAMU in Washington, D.C.
MARTIN: Great. Alan Hirshfeld, thanks so much for playing the puzzle this week. We appreciate it.
HIRSHFELD: All right. Thank you.
MARTIN: OK, Will. What is our challenge for next week?
SHORTZ: Yes. Name an animal. Add the letters A and T - and that's T as in Thomas - and rearrange the result to name another animal. And here are two hints: these are both animals that might be found in a zoo, and the last letter of the first animal is the first letter of the last one. So again, name an animal, add the letters A and T, rearrange the result to name another animal. They're both animals in a zoo, and the last letter of the first animal is the first letter of the last one. What animals are these?
MARTIN: OK, an animal puzzle. When you have the answer, go to our website, NPR.org/puzzle and click on the Submit Your Answer link. Just one entry per person, please. And our deadline for entries is Thursday, February 9th at 3 P.M. Eastern Time. Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. And if you are 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 own puzzle-master, Will Shortz.
Will, thanks so much.
SHORTZ: Thanks, Rachel. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.