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.

Sunday Puzzle
8:45 am
Sun September 21, 2014

Stuck In The Middle With Clues

NPR

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 10:15 am

On-air challenge: Given a five-letter word, insert two new letters between the second and third letters of the given word to complete a common seven-letter word. For example: Amble - Am(ia)ble.

Last week's challenge: This three-part challenge comes from listener Lou Gottlieb. If you punch 0-1-4-0 into a calculator, and turn it upside-down, you get the state OHIO. What numbers can you punch in a calculator, and turn upside-down, to get a state capital, a country and a country's capital?

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Sunday Puzzle
10:09 am
Sun August 10, 2014

Getting Thick In The Midsection

NPR

Originally published on Sun August 10, 2014 3:09 pm

On-air challenge: You'll be given some four-letter words. For each one, insert two letters exactly in the middle to complete a common, uncaplitalized six-letter word.

Example: pace + L-A = palace

Last week's challenge: This challenge came from listener Ben Bass of Chicago. Take the name of a modern-day country. Add an A and rearrange the letters to name a group of people who used to live in the area of this country. Who are they?

Answer: Netherlands and Neanderthals

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Sunday Puzzle
8:09 am
Sun June 22, 2014

Oh, You Know The Answer

NPR

Originally published on Sun June 22, 2014 11:33 am

On-air challenge: Every answer is a compound word or familiar two-word phrase or title in which each word has OU as its second and third letters. Example: Given "heading to Antarctica," you would say, "Southbound."

Next week's challenge: From 11-year-old listener Eli Shear-Baggish of Arlington, Mass. Name a certain trip that contains the letter S. Change the S to a C and rearrange the resulting letters. You'll name the location where this trip often takes place. Where is it?

Answer: Safari; Africa

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Sunday Puzzle
8:01 am
Sun June 15, 2014

Floating Down The Anagram River

NPR

Originally published on Sun June 15, 2014 10:38 am

On-air challenge: Today's puzzle is geographical. Every answer is the name of a river — identify it using its anagram minus a letter. Example: Top minus T = Po (River).

Last Week's Challenge: Name part of a TV that contains the letter C. Replace the C with the name of a book of the Old Testament, keeping all the letters in order. The result will name a sailing vessel of old. What is it?

Answer: Viking Ship

Winner: Jay Adams of Monticello, Fla.

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Sunday Puzzle
12:49 pm
Sun March 3, 2013

Perfectly Puzzling

NPR Graphic

Originally published on Sun March 3, 2013 6:43 am

On-air challenge: You will be given two words starting with the letter P. Name a third word starting with P that can follow the first one and precede the second one, in each case to complete a familiar two-word phrase. For example, given "peer" and "point," you would say "pressure," as in "peer pressure" and "pressure point."

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