Sunday Puzzle: Familiar Phrases

Dec 9, 2018
Originally published on December 9, 2018 9:33 am

On-air challenge: Every answer today is a familiar three-word phrase or title in which the first and last words are the same. I'll give you the middle word (and a clue, if necessary). You tell me the phrase.

Ex. AFTER — Repeatedly --> TIME AFTER TIME

1. THINGS — Phrase suggesting priority

2. SWEET — What you say after returning from a long trip

3. AGAINST — Not give up despite impossible odds

4. SAY — Don't give up, there's always a possibility

5. BABY — Catchphrase said by Sarah Palin at the 2008 Republican National Convention

6. THOUSAND — The number of "Arabian Nights"

7. GLORIOUS — Song from "Oliver!" with the lyric "Just picture a great big steak / Fried, roasted, or stewed"

8. BLOODY — 1971 film with Glenda Jackson and Peter Finch

9. NOT — Faux apology

Last week's challenge: This puzzle also involves rhymes. It comes from listener James Matthews of Little Rock, Ark. Think of a common seven-letter word. Drop its second letter, and you'll get a six-letter word that does not rhyme with the first. Alternatively, you can drop the third letter from the seven-letter word to get a six-letter word that doesn't rhyme with either of the first two. Further, you can drop both the second and third letters from the seven-letter word to get a five-letter word that doesn't rhyme with any of the others. What words are these?

Challenge answer: Through --> though --> trough --> tough

Winner: KPBS listener Geoffrey Mayne of San Diego, California.

This week's challenge: This week's challenge comes from listener Dominick Talvacchio of Chicago. Think of a word that can go before "table" to make a familiar phrase. Move the last letter to the front, and you'll have a word that can go after "table" to make a familiar phrase. What phrases are these?

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 by Thursday, Dec. 13, at 3 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

And it's time to play The Puzzle.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Joining us is Will Shortz. He's puzzle editor of The New York Times and WEEKEND EDITION'S puzzlemaster. Good morning, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Remind us of last week's challenge.

SHORTZ: Yeah, it came from listener James Matthews (ph) of Little Rock, Ark. I said think of a common, seven-letter word. Drop its second letter, and you'll get a six-letter word that does not rhyme with the first. Alternatively, you can drop the third letter from the seven-letter word to get a six-letter word that doesn't rhyme with either of the first two. And then you could drop both the second and third letters from the seven-letter word to get a five-letter word that doesn't rhyme with any of the others. What words are these? And the answer is through, making though, trough and tough, which just proves that English is a very weird language.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Indeed. So last week, we posted the challenge online like we always do, but, Will, there was a problem.

SHORTZ: Yes, I hear the answer was posted on NPR's website along with the puzzle.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: It was only up for an hour or so. And then it was taken down when we were alerted by many of our avid listeners. So thank you for that.

SHORTZ: And fortunately, I think NPR listeners are honest people and people wouldn't send in an answer that they hadn't gotten legitimately.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's right. We received over a thousand responses. And our winner this week is Geoffrey Mayne of San Diego, Calif. Congratulations.

GEOFFREY MAYNE: Thank you very much.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: I have to ask, did you see the answer online when it was posted?

MAYNE: Oh, I did not. I wouldn't have been awake at that hour.

(LAUGHTER)

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Fair enough.

SHORTZ: I like that.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Are you ready to play The Puzzle?

MAYNE: I am ready.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Take it away, Will.

SHORTZ: All right, Geoffrey. Every answer today is a familiar, three-word phrase or title in which the first and last words are the same. I'll give you the middle word and a clue, if necessary. You tell me the phrase. For example, if I gave you after with the clue repeatedly, you would say time after time.

MAYNE: I understand.

SHORTZ: Number one is things, and your clue is a phrase suggesting priority.

MAYNE: That would be probably something around first things first.

SHORTZ: First things first is right. Number two is eat, and your clue is cutthroat.

MAYNE: Dog eat dog.

SHORTZ: Right. Sweet, and if you get any of these answers before the clues, feel free to jump right in. Sweet, and what you say after returning from a long trip.

MAYNE: Home, sweet home.

SHORTZ: Against, not give up despite impossible odds.

MAYNE: Let's see, I - it's coming to me. I'm having a hard time with this one. It's - gosh, it's not coming to me.

SHORTZ: OK, it's a four-letter word, starts with H.

MAYNE: Hope against hope?

SHORTZ: Hope against hope is it. Means, M-E-A-N-S, and emphatic refusal.

MAYNE: No means no.

SHORTZ: That's it. Versus, V-E-R-S-U-S, and your clue is a classic feature in Mad Magazine.

MAYNE: Oh, "Spy Vs. Spy."

SHORTZ: Right. And there's also "Kramer vs. Kramer." Baby, and your clue is catchphrase said by Sarah Palin at the 2008 Republican National Convention.

MAYNE: Drill, baby, drill.

SHORTZ: That's it. Thousand. The number of Arabian Nights.

MAYNE: Oh, one thousand one.

SHORTZ: That's it. Here's a tougher one - glorious, and your clue is a song from Oliver with the lyric...

MAYNE: Food, glorious food.

SHORTZ: Oh, listen to that. You didn't even need the lyric. Bloody, 1971 film...

MAYNE: "Sunday Bloody Sunday."

SHORTZ: Nice. And your last one is not, N-O-T. It's a faux apology.

MAYNE: Sorry, not sorry.

SHORTZ: Sorry, not sorry. Good job.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: You did a great job. That was a fun one. Did you like it?

MAYNE: Thank you. Yes, I did very much. Thanks, Lulu.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Oh, you did great. You really did. And for playing our puzzle today, you'll get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin, as well as puzzle books and games. You can read all about it at npr.org/puzzle. And, Geoffrey, which member station do you listen to?

MAYNE: I listen to KPBS in San Diego, Calif.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Awesome. Thank you so much for playing The Puzzle.

MAYNE: Thank you.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: All right. Will, tell us next week's challenge.

SHORTZ: Yes, it comes from listener Dominick Talvacchio (ph) of Chicago. Think of a word that can go before table to make a familiar phrase. Move the last letter to the front, and you'll have a word that can go after table to make another familiar phrase. What phrases are these? So again, a word that can go before table to make a familiar phrase. Move the last letter to the front, and you get a new word that can go after table to make a familiar phrase. What phrases are these?

GARCIA-NAVARRO: When you have the answer, go to our website npr.org/puzzle and click on the Submit Your Answer link. Remember, just one entry per person, please. Our deadline for entries is Thursday, December 13 at 3 p.m. Eastern. Include a phone number where we can reach you at about that time. And 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 puzzlemaster, Will Shortz. Thanks so much, Will.

SHORTZ: Thank you, Lulu. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.