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.

On-air challenge: Every answer this week is a familiar two-word phrase or name, in which the first word starts with the letters C and A in that order, and the second word starts with P.

For example, a sheet that a typist once used to make a copy of something --> CARBON PAPER.

On-air challenge: Every answer this week is the last name of a late-night TV host, past or present. Identify the hosts from their anagrams.

Example: EMERY + S ---> (Seth) MEYERS.

Last week's challenge: It's a well-known curiosity that the longest, common unhyphenated word that can be typed on the top row of a typewriter or a computer keyword is typewriter. What is a common hyphenated word, in 12 letters, that can be typed using only the keys on the top row of a typewriter or computer keyboard?

On-air challenge: Every answer this week is the first and last name of one of the major Republican candidates for president. Identify the candidates from the anagrams given.

For example: PORTLAND MUD --> Donald Trump.

Last week's challenge from listener Ben Bass of Chicago: Name a well-known U.S. geographical place — two words; five letters in the first word, six letters in the last — that contains all five vowels (A, E, I, O and U) exactly once. It's a place that's been in the news. What is it?

On-air challenge: Every answer this week is the name of a state. For all the words given, ignore the vowels in them. The consonants in them are the same consonants, in the same order, as in the states.

For example, the word "regain" would be "Oregon."

Last week's challenge from listener Martin Eiger: Name part of a car. Drop the fifth letter. Now reverse the order of the last three letters. The result, reading from left to right, will name a major American city. What city is it?

Answer: Seat belt, Seattle

On-air challenge: Every answer today is a made-up three-word phrase in which all three words rhyme ... and every word has two syllables.

For example, using the the initials V, H and F, an extremely hirsute sprite: very hairy fairy.

Last week's challenge from puzzle-maker Rodolfo Kurchan: Write down these six numbers: 19, 28, 38, 81, 83, 85. What are the next three numbers in the series?

On-air challenge: Today's puzzle has a bit of wordplay. Change one letter in each word provided to make two new words. The letter you change must be in the same position in each word of the pair. And the letter you change each of them to will be the same letter of the alphabet.

For example, "relief" and "mallet" become "belief" and "ballet."

On-air challenge: Today's puzzle involves wordplay on some well-known Canadian place names. Example:

The name of which Canadian province is an anagram of "oration"?

Last week's challenge: The seven words in the following sentence have something very unusual in common — something that almost no other words in the English language share. What is it?

"Ira saw three emigrants restock large wands."

On-air challenge: In each pair of clues, the answer to the first clue is a word that contains the consecutive letters A-R. Drop the A-R, and the remaining letters in order will form a word that answers the second clue.

Example: Sweet brown topping on ice cream / Animal with humps = C(AR)AMEL

On-air challenge: Every answer today is a made-up two-word phrase, in which the two words rhyme. The initials of the two words will be provided, along with a one-word clue. Example: C S, Tennis ---> Court Sport

1. N L, Moon
2. B R, Semitrailer
3. P T, Cuestick
4. H C, Electrocardiogram
5. N H, Cold
6. T V, Haiku
7. H S, Bowwow
8. R P, Speedway
9. L N, Slipknot
10. D S, Coma
11. P T, Hookah
12. G W, Obesity
13. M W, Bull
14. S O, Exclaim
15. P D, Pepto Bismol

First, Do This Puzzle

May 31, 2015

On-air challenge: Because tomorrow is June 1st, today's game is one of categories, based on the word "first." For each category, name something in it starting with each of the letters F-I-R-S-T. For example, if the category were "Two-Syllable Boys' Names," you might say Francis, Isaac, Richard, Simon and Tony.

1. State Capitals

2. Foreign Makes of Cars

3. Parts of a Book

4. Common Newspaper Names (like Post, Herald or Daily News)

5. Things to Take to the Beach