Will Shortz

On-air challenge: Today's puzzle is geographical. I'm going to give you some words and phrases. In each one, change two consecutive letters to name a country.

Example: SUDDEN --> SWEDEN

1. FRAPPE

2. GREEDY

3. ALGEBRA

4. CANARY

5. SIROCCO

6. BARGAIN

7. SERENA

8. JOBMAN

9. MALADY

10. SENSUAL

11. CAME UPON

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you two words. Insert the same letter in each of them to complete two things in the same category.

Example: Shots Skit --> Shorts, Skirt

1. FIE SEEN
2. MONEY SUNK
3. ETHER PALMS
4. BARE ALLEY
5. PARS SOFA
6. CURING WRESTING
7. MONTAGE CAPLET

On-air challenge: Every answer today is the name of a world capital. I'm going to give you two words. Change the last letter of each word to a new letter so the result, reading left to right, names the capital.

Ex. CARD CAP --> Caracas

1. BET JINX

2. BUDS PESO

3. NAB ROBE

4. PRO TORIC

5. KINK HASP

6. TRIM OLD

7. DAMP SCUM

8. KHAN TOUR

On-air challenge: Every answer today is the name of a major-league baseball team. You tell me what they are from their anagrams.

Example: SCARY – C --> (Tampa Bay) Rays

1. SCUBA – A

2. STEAM – A

3. DRESS – S

4. DESPAIR – I

5. AGAINST – A

6. ADVERBS – D

7. COSTARS – C

8. RESTING – N

9. SEALING – I

10. STOCKIER – T

11. MINERALS – E

12. WIRETAPS – W

13. EARRINGS – I

14. THEISTICAL – I

15. NONSPATIAL – P

On-air challenge: Every answer today is a made up two-word phrase, in which the first word has six letters. Its last three letters spell the second word that will complete the phrase.

For Example: Scurrying insect whose appearance has been affected by radiation --> MUTANT ANT

On-air challenge: Today I've brought a game of categories based on the word COMBS. You probably know how this works. I'm going to give you a series of categories. For each one, name something in it starting with each of the letters C-O-M-B-S.

For example, if the category were "Three-Syllable Boys' Names," you might say Christopher, Oliver, Mathias, Benjamin and Sebastian. Any answer that works is fine, and you can give the answers in any order.

1. Musical instruments

2. Cities in Florida

3. Wild mammals in America

On-air challenge: The theme of today's puzzle is giving. I'm going to give you two words. You give each of them a letter — the same letter for each word — in order to complete a familiar two-word phrase.

On-air challenge: Every answer is an anagram of a geographical feature.

For example: PACE --> CAPE.

1. KALE
2. SAME
3. LIES
4. SPAS
5. ROOM
6. ALLOT
7. DEALT
8. CANOE
9. HARMS
10. DIRGE
11. LAPIN
12. RESTED
13. MASTER
14. ARTIST
15. SOFTER
16. NO GOAL
17. SECTIONAL
18. REAL FORCE (2 words)

On-air challenge: We're in the merry month of December. Every answer this week is a two-word phrase or name in which the first word starts DE- and the second word starts C.

For example: Underwater explosive device --> depth charge.

Last week's challenge: This challenge may sound impossible, but there's a good answer. Think of a common two-word phrase, in seven letters, that has two R's in the middle. And "in the middle," means exactly in the middle. What phrase is it?

On-air challenge: Insert the letters A and R into the middle of the first clue to get the answer to the second clue. For example, when given the clues "small argument" and "a tax on imports," the answer would be "tiff" and "tariff."

Last week's challenge, from Ken Stern of Brooklyn, N.Y.: Think of a sign that's frequently seen around this time of year — two words of four letters each. Among these eight letters all five vowels — A, E, I, O and U — appear once each, along with three consonants. What sign is it?

On-air challenge: I'm going to name some categories. For each one, I'll name something in the category that closely follows the name of the category alphabetically.

For example, "states" and "Texas." You tell me the only other thing in the category that fits between these two things alphabetically. In the case of my example, you would say "Tennessee."

On-air challenge: This week's puzzle is called "SuperPACs." Every answer is a familiar two-word phrase or name in which the first word starts with PA- and the second word starts with C.

For example: Official who oversees a city's green spaces --> PARKS COMMISSIONER.

These Letters Don't LI

Oct 9, 2016

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you clues for two words. Insert the consecutive letters LI somewhere inside the first word to get the second one.

For example: Bit of mischief/Instrument for measuring --> CAPER, CALIPER

Last week's challenge: Name an 11-letter occupation starting with H. If you have the right one, you can rearrange the letters to name two things a worker with this occupation uses — one in six letters and one in five. What occupation is it?

On-air challenge: Every answer this week is a pun on a well-known food brand at a grocery or supermarket.

For example: given the prompt "tiny golf pegs," the right answer is "Wheaties." (Get it? "Wee tees.")

Last week's challenge: Take the words DOES, TOES and SHOES. They all end in the same three letters, but none of them rhyme. What words starting with F, S and G have the same property? The F and S words are four letters long, and the G word is five letters. They all end in the same three letters.

On-air challenge: Every answer this week is a nine-letter phrase that's a palindrome — in other words, it reads the same both forward and backward.

For example: Certain floor models (4,5) --> some demos.

Last week's challenge, from listener Sandy Stevens of Bandon, Ore.: What one-syllable word in seven letters becomes a four-syllable word by inserting the consecutive letters I-T somewhere inside?

Answer: reigned, reignited.

Winner: Dan Bradshaw of Farmington, Conn.

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