Will Shortz

On-air challenge: Change one letter in each word to name something to eat.
Ex. STEAL --> STEAK
1. BREAK
2. BUDGE
3. ROUST
4. BARON
5. FILED
6. DUMBO
7. LIVEN
8. PRUDE
9. PASTY
10. CHILD
11. BUTLER
12. TICKLE
13. BOOKIE
14. POODLE
15. CLEESE
16. BUTTON
17. RAN OUT
18. DELISH

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you clues for two words. Reverse the last four letters of the answer to the first clue to get the word that answers the second clue.

Ex. Part of a flower / Flat dish --> PETAL, PLATE
1. Apportion / Coral island
2. Distress signal shot into the air / Wild, as an animal
3. Rugged / Many-headed serpent of myth
4. Nosy person / Implement for eating soup
5. Call the wrong telephone number / Lost
6. Fragility / Place to order a sandwich to go

On-air challenge: Every answer today is the name of a famous person whose last name is the name of a well-known U.S. city.

Example: Actress who played Samantha on Bewitched [Ala.] —> ELIZABETH MONTGOMERY

On-air challenge: Today's theme is the World Boxing Association — the W.B.A. Every answer is a compound word or a familiar two words in which the first word starts with "W" and the second word starts "BA-."

Ex. Long ago —> WAY BACK

1. Small cart with handles that a gardener pushes

2. Top of a pair of pants that might be elasticized

3. Round, white toy with holes that you hit with a bat

4. Missile in a summer fight that lands with a splat

5. Area disputed by Israelis and Palestinians

6. Person who talks, talks, talks

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you some words. For each word, move one letter to a different position to spell another word.

Ex. NEVER —> NERVE

1. HURLED

2. GALLERY

3. INFIELD

4. SOOTHER

5. STARTLE

6. AMENDER

7. WITHER

8. SPARED

9. TOPICAL

10. PARLEYS

11. RETAIN

12. NEAREST

13. SIMMERED

The last one is a little different. It has two answers — which go together to make a familiar compound word:

14. SHORE

On-air challenge: I've brought a game of Categories based on the word STYLE. For each category I give, name something in it starting with each of the letters S-T-Y-L-E. For example, if the category were "Girls' Names," you might say Sarah, Teresa, Yvette, Lisa, and Elizabeth. Any answer that works is OK, and you can give the answers in any order.

1. Vegetables

2. Animals in a Zoo

3. Foreign Rivers

4. Football Terms

5. Songs by the Beatles

On-air challenge: Every answer is a compound word with two hyphens in which the part in the middle has two letters.

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you clues to some 8-letter words. Each word contains a doubled letter. Drop that doubled letter, and the remaining letters in order will spell a 6-letter word that answers the second clue.

On-air challenge: I'm going to read you some sentences. Each sentence contains two words that phonetically sound like a world capital. The words will be in left-to-right order, but not necessarily consecutive.

Ex. The Sigma Chi house can be found on Fraternity Row. --> CAIRO (Chi + Row)

1. The opening bell rang for the grade school.

2. The Chinese kid trying to sell me a Buddha figure was such a pest.

3. Mom got a bag of golf balls for dad on his birthday.

4. The Russians watched a black car whisk past Lenin's Tomb.

On-air challenge:

Every answer today is a famous person whose first name is also the name of a well-known U.S. city.

Ex. Co-anchor of The Today Show [Ga.] — Savannah Guthrie

  1. Author of Jane Eyre [N.C.]
  2. Academy Award-winning actress for Moonstruck [Wash.]
  3. Abstract expressionist famous for drip painting [Miss.]
  4. Fictional spy played by Mike Myers [Texas]

On-air challenge: For each word, change one letter in it to get a common boy's name.

Ex. VECTOR --> Victor or Hector

1. CHARGES

2. TENNIS

3. CARGOS

4. SPENDER

5. EVEREST

6. WAVIER

7. MARGIN

8. COWARD

9. SEVILLE

10. NORMAL

11. WAITER

12. SLIVER

13. CORDON

On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar three-word phrase that has "and" in the middle. Each sentence contains two words that have homophones that will complete the phrase.

Ex. A cane makes an infirm person able to walk. CAIN AND ABEL

  1. I found a beautiful reed on the river's right bank.
  2. Some friends of mine say "hi's" in Lowe's housewares department.
  3. The musician composed a new hymn for the "Ben Hur" soundtrack.
  4. The woodworker won a chisel and awl in a lottery.

On-air challenge: For each word, change one letter in it to name a drink.

Ex. LATER --> WATER or LAGER
1. COFFER
2. TOPIC
3. WIDER
4. WHISKER
5. PINCH
6. SCORCH
7. MARTINS
8. POSTER
9. MILD
10. BEAR
11. LEAD
12. WINK
13. COLD
14. LAKE
15. BRANDS
16. SO LONG

On-air challenge: Today's theme is HMO's. Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which the first word starts with H- and the second word starts MO-.

Ex. "Wow!" or "Gadzooks!" --> HOLY MOLY or HOLY MOSES

1. Payment to keep someone from talking

2. "Friday the 13th" or "Nightmare on Elm Street"

3. Lunar phase midway between the first and last quarter

4. Device prescribed by a cardiologist

5. Everest is part of this range

6. State capital northeast of Boise, Idaho

7. Nisan, Shevat, or Adar

On-air challenge: Each clue is a thing that belongs to two categories. Name something that's in both categories.

For example: U.S. city + Large mammal --> BUFFALO

1. Country + Large bird

2. Country + Popular wedding gift

3. University + Color

4. Insect + Sport

5. Card game + Construction project

6. Vice president + Foreign money

7. Fruit + Company on the Dow Index

8. Comic strip + Snack food

9. Breed of dog + Athlete in a particular sport

10. Alcoholic drink + Tool

On-air challenge: The answer to each clue is a 6-letter word that rhymes with the last word:

Ex. Cause of muscle pain ---> STRAIN

  1. Time of year when birds start to sing
  2. Having glaring light
  3. What follows Sunday
  4. What's raised in a mound
  5. More than twice
  6. Place where you might find a vassal
  7. Tool on a mechanic's bench
  8. What you can use to fill in a stencil
  9. Bank feller
  10. Traveling theater group

On-air challenge: Every answer is the name of a well-known U.S. city in 6 letters. You'll get a word or phrase that contains those letters in left-to-right order, but not consecutively. You name the city.

Ex. PRAETORIAN (Illinois) --> Peoria

  1. BROWNSTONE (Massachusetts)
  2. JUNIOR LEAGUE (Alaska)
  3. TOUCHSTONE (Arizona)
  4. CRAFTSPERSON (Wyoming)
  5. PALEOBOTANY (New York)
  6. ACQUISITION (Texas)
  7. DOUBLE DUTCH (Minnesota)
  8. RESURGENCE (Oregon)

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you a 4-letter word and a 5-letter word. Rearrange the letters in each one to make two opposites.

For example: POST TARTS --> STOP & START
1. SLOT FONDU
2. LUDO QUITE
3. ROVE NUDER
4. DINK LUCRE
5. TALE RELAY
6. VASE PENDS
7. SKIN ALOFT
8. FILE HATED

On-air challenge:

I'm going to give you clues for some 5-letter words. Switch the 2nd and 4th letters to make a new word that answers the second clue.

On-air challenge: Here are some words. For each one, think of a word that can follow mine to complete a familiar two-word phrase. The first two letters of my word must be the first and last letters of yours.

Ex. Freedom --> FIGHTER ["freedom" starts with FR, and "fighter" starts and ends with FR]

3-letter answer

Electric

4-letter answers

Glamour

Relay

Prickly

Test

5-letter answers

Stick

Frequent

Mass

Stuffed

6-letter answers

Candid

Draft

Merchant

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you clues for two words. The first word starts with the letter "A" and is accented on the second syllable. Reverse the order of the syllables and phonetically you'll get the second word.

On-air challenge: Every answer today is a word that contains part of the human body in the exact middle.

Ex. Group of Native Americans, starting with T and ending with E --> TRIBE, which contains RIB between the T and the E
1. E ____ Y Mournful poem
2. W ____ Y Tired
3. A ____ G Very sore
4. EL ____ SE Geometrical shape
5. LE ____ ES Beans and peas
6. RE ____ AL Opposing argument in a debate
7. OB ____ TE Out of date
8. RA ____ SS Quality of a harsh voice
9. FLA ____ ESS Showy display

On-air challenge: This puzzle is called "BBC," as in the British media giant. You get two words starting with B. Come up with a word starting with C that can complete each of the first two words to complete a compound word or a familiar two-word phrase.

Ex. Bob Burmese ---> CAT [bobcat, Burmese cat]

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you some 6-letter words. For each one insert two letters in the exact center to complete a familiar 8-letter word.

Ex. INNATE --> INNOVATE

1. ARGENT
2. VANISH
3. CORRAL
4. ROSARY
5. PANAMA
6. THOUGH
7. CARNAL
8. CRUDER
9. MANURE
10. CHAISE
11. ESTATE
12. OFFING
13. SUBTLE

On-air challenge: Every answer today is the name of an airline. Name each one from its anagram.

Ex. ALL + E (2 words) i--> EL AL
1. LEAD + T
2. TUNED + I
3. SANTA + Q
4. CARMINE + A
5. FOR RENT + I
6. STEAMER + I
7. LEAF ROT + O
8. HALF NUTS + A

On-Air Challenge: Every answer today is a familiar two-word phrase or name with the initials T-A. Answer their clues.

Ex. Professor's aide --> TEACHER'S ASSISTANT

On-Air Challenge: I'm going to read some sentences. Each sentence has two blanks. Put two five-letter homophones in the blanks to complete the sentence. For example: If I said, "Criminals went to a Pittsburgh factory late at night to ___ ___," you'd say they went their to "steal steel."

  1. "Because I never took a class in penmanship, I never learned to ___ ___."
  2. "The driver jammed his foot on the pedal so hard, he made the ___ ___."

On-Air Challenge:

For each five letter word, change the middle letter to two new letters to get a familiar six letter word. For example if the word is " being" you would say "belong" changing the "i" to an "l-o."

1. Minor

2. Croon

3. Favor

4. Count

5. Dinar

6. Amore

On-Air Challenge: A game of categories based on the word APRIL. For each category, name something in it starting with each of the letters A-P-R-I-L. For example, if the category were "Chemical Elements," you might say Argon, Platinum, Radium, Iron, and Lead. Any answer that works is OK, and you can give the answers in any order.

1. Five-Letter Girls' Names

2. Parts of a Car

3. Foreign Rivers

4. Terms in Geometry

5. Words Ending in "X"

On-Air Challenge: Take two-word clues that might appear in a crossword. The first and last letters of each answer are the same as the first and last letters of the clue.

Example: Football mistake --> FUMBLE (both the clue and the answer start with F and end with E)

  1. Snow tool
  2. Autumn flower
  3. Warm material
  4. Stairway toy
  5. Math operation
  6. Spanish mister
  7. Near relative
  8. Cable giant
  9. Baby's shoe

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