Where In The Blanks Are The Answers?

Nov 20, 2011
Originally published on November 21, 2011 7:08 am

On-Air Challenge
Every answer is a familiar phrase in the form of "_____ for _____ ." Given the word that follows "for," what's the first word that precedes "for"? For example, if you're given "joy," the answer would be "jump" to complete the phrase "jump for joy."

Last Week's Challenge
From listener Henry Hook of Brooklyn, N.Y.
What number comes next in the following series: 2, 4, 6, 9, 11, 15, 20, 40, 51, 55, 60 and 90?

Answer: 101 is the next number is a series of numbers, in ascending order, that can be represented in Roman numerals by two characters.

Winner: Barbara Cruse from Florham Park, N.J.

Next Week's Challenge
Name a food item. Divide this word in half. Take the second half followed by the first half twice, and you'll get a familiar saying. If you take the second half twice, followed by the first half, you'll name a well-known person. What are the food item, saying, and person's name?

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 Wednesday at 3 p.m. Eastern.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish. And it's time now for the puzzle.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

CORNISH: Joining us now with last week's challenge is Will Shortz. He's, of course, the puzzle editor of the New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle master. Good morning, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Audie. Well, before we start, I have to announce a correction to last week's puzzle challenge. The puzzle was by Henry Hook, but it was my error, not Henry's. I gave a series of numbers and the challenge was to figure out the next number in the series. And some listeners wrote in and correctly pointed out that two of the numbers in the series were missing. So, the correct sequence was 2, 4, 6, 9, 11, 15, 20, 40, 51, 55, 60 and 90. And I asked what is the next number in the series?

CORNISH: And we did post a correction on our website earlier this week after we received a tip from a number of listeners. Now, 185 out of 800 of you figured out the correct answer. And our randomly selected winner this week is Barbara Cruse from Florham Park, New Jersey, who's on the line now. Congratulations, Barbara.

BARBARA CRUSE: Thanks, Audie.

CORNISH: So, I need to know now what is the next number in the sequence?

CRUSE: 101.

CORNISH: Ah, and how did you figure it out?

CRUSE: I just thought it didn't seem to be mathematical. The second thing I tried was writing out the numbers in words and I didn't see a pattern. And then the third thing I tried was roman numerals and then I saw the pattern.

CORNISH: How long have you been playing the puzzle?

CRUSE: I think it's at least 15 years.

CORNISH: Wow. And all that time, I mean, do you always send them in or, like, where do you work them out?

CRUSE: I will usually ponder it while I'm finishing my breakfast. But the ones I like best are the ones that you can think about - you don't need pencil and paper and you can think about it, like, if you wake up at 3 o'clock in the morning, as older people are prone to do.

CORNISH: That sounds like when Will's creating them, right, Will? You told me that sometimes you do them in the middle of the night.

SHORTZ: I make puzzles in the middle of the night. So, I'm making puzzles when Barbara is solving them.

CORNISH: All right. You guys are on the same wavelength then.

CRUSE: Yeah, it's amazing how that happens.

CORNISH: It sounds like we are all warmed up. Are you guys ready to play?

CRUSE: Sure.

SHORTZ: I am ready.

CORNISH: All right, Will. Let's do it.

SHORTZ: All right, well, Barbara, you're in luck - there's nothing that doesn't involve homophones or pronunciation today. Every answer is a familiar phrase in the form of blank for blank. I'll give you what goes in the blank that follows for; you tell me what goes in front. For example, if I said joy, you would say jump, as in jump for joy. All right. Number one is thought.

CRUSE: Food.

SHORTZ: Food for thought is correct. Number two is news.

CRUSE: Hard-up?

SHORTZ: Hard-up for news? No. Someone who's a good reporter has this.

CRUSE: Nose, a nose for...

SHORTZ: Has a nose for news, that's it. Godot.

CRUSE: Waiting.

SHORTZ: Waiting for Godot. Bonzo.

CRUSE: Oh dear.

SHORTZ: This is a Ronald Reagan movie.

CRUSE: Yes, and I can't think of the first letter. Audie? I mean, the first word. Audie, can you?

CORNISH: Does it begin with a B also?

SHORTZ: Yes, it does. Go ahead, Audie.

CRUSE: It's a little before me.

CORNISH: Yeah. Bedtime for Bonzo?

SHORTZ: Bedtime for Bonzo is it. Good.

CRUSE: Oh, thank you.

SHORTZ: Try this: tennis. And it's usually asked as a question actually.

CRUSE: Anyone for tennis?

SHORTZ: Anyone for tennis it. How about tots.

CRUSE: Toys.

SHORTZ: Toys for tots. Grabs.

CRUSE: Uh, was that with a C?

SHORTZ: No, with a G.

CRUSE: A G. Oh, up for grabs.

SHORTZ: Up for grabs is it. Nothing.

CRUSE: Something for nothing.

SHORTZ: Something for nothing. All right. I'll give you that. Also, good for nothing, all for nothing, not for nothing - they all work. How about Mr. Goodbar?

CRUSE: Waiting for. Or is it looking?

SHORTZ: Looking for Mr. Goodbar, right.

CRUSE: Looking for Mr. Goodbar.

SHORTZ: All right. The course.

CRUSE: Par.

SHORTZ: Par for the course. The count.

CRUSE: Out for the count or down for the count.

SHORTZ: Down for the count is it. The mill.

CRUSE: Grist for the mill?

SHORTZ: Grist for the mill. Good job. None of my test solvers got that, so congrats. How about the hills?

CRUSE: Head for the hills.

SHORTZ: Head for the hills. The road.

CRUSE: One for the road.

SHORTZ: Um-hum. The moon. Yes?

CRUSE: Shoot for the moon?

SHORTZ: Shoot for the moon is it. And your last one is the memories.

CRUSE: Thanks.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SHORTZ: Thanks for the memories. Good job.

CRUSE: I do remember that.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

CORNISH: Great job, Barbara.

CRUSE: Aww. Yeah, well once I got on a road.

CORNISH: Well, for playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, as well as puzzle books and games. And you can read all about it at NPR.org/slash puzzle. But first, Barbara, which member station do you listen too?

CRUSE: WNYC, New York and I'm a member of New York Public Radio.

CORNISH: Thank you so much for playing this week.

So, Will, what's our challenge for next week?

SHORTZ: Yes, name a food item. Divide this word in half. If you take the second half, followed by the first half twice, you'll get a familiar saying. And if you take the second half twice, followed by the first half, you'll name a well-known person. What's the food item and what's the saying and name?

So again: A food item. Divide this word in half. Take the second half followed by the first half twice, you'll name a familiar saying. And take the second half twice, followed by the first half, you'll name a well-known person. What's the food item and what's the saying and name?

CORNISH: 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 because of the Thanksgiving holiday, our deadline for entries this week is Wednesday, November 23rd at 3 P.M. Eastern Time.

Please include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. 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 puzzle-master, Will Shortz.

Thanks so much, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Audie. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.