Missing In Action

Sep 15, 2012
Originally published on September 16, 2012 7:36 am

On-air challenge: Every answer is a familiar phrase in the form of "___ and ___." You'll be given the two missing words, each with a letter removed, and you give the phrases. For example, given "lot and fund," the answer would be "lost and found."

Last week's challenge from listener Erica Avery of Wisconsin: Name a world capital whose letters can be rearranged to spell a popular and much-advertised drug. What's the capital, and what's the drug?

Answer: Tripoli, Lipitor

Winner: Thad Beier of Lafayette, Calif.

Next week's challenge from listener Ed Pegg Jr.: Think of something that the majority of adults buy. It's a two-word phrase with 10 letters in the first word and nine in the second. This phrase uses each of the five vowels (A, E, I, O, and U) exactly twice. What familiar product is this?

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 Thursday at 3 p.m. Eastern.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer and it is time for the puzzle.


WERTHEIMER: Joining me now is WEEKEND EDITION's puzzle-master Will Shortz. Good morning, Will.

WILL SHORTZ, BYLINE: Good morning, Linda.

WERTHEIMER: So, Will, could you go over our challenge from last week again?

SHORTZ: Yes. The challenge was to name a world capital whose letters can be rearranged to spell a popular and much-advertised drug. And the capital was Tripoli. You could rearrange those letters to spell Lipitor.

WERTHEIMER: Almost 800 listeners figured that out. And our winner this week is Thad Beier of Lafayette, California. He joins us by smartphone app, so we have a nice clear line. Congratulations, Thad.

THAD BEIER: Well, thank you, Linda. Thank you, Will.

WERTHEIMER: So, Thad, did you run to a map or a pharmacy first to figure out...


BEIER: Well, you're right. I figured there are a lot fewer heavily advertised drugs than capitals, so I just started going through drugs, and found Lipitor, which has a P in it, which is a pretty uncommon letter, then looked for capitals with a P. And there you go.

WERTHEIMER: What do you do in Lafayette, California?

BEIER: I'm in the movie business. We do movie visual effects. Worked on recent movies like "Transformers 3" doing stereo. And some of the first movies I worked on was "Titanic."

WERTHEIMER: And, Will, have you seen any of these movies?

SHORTZ: Well, of course, I've seen "Titanic." How could you not love "Titanic?" "Transformers"...

WERTHEIMER: "Transformers," that's a new one.

SHORTZ: No, never saw that. That was just too loud.

WERTHEIMER: And, Thad, let's see if your movie magic helps you with solving puzzles. Are you ready to play?

BEIER: Absolutely.

WERTHEIMER: OK, Will, on to you.

SHORTZ: All right, Thad and Linda. Every answer today is a familiar phrase in the form of blank and blank. I'll give you the two missing words - each with a letter removed - you tell me the phrases. For example, if I said lot L-O-T and fund F-U-N-D, you would say lost and found.


SHORTZ: All right. Number one is bat B-A-T and witch W-I-T-C-H.

BEIER: Bait and switch.

SHORTZ: That's it. Number two is fat F-A-T and lose L-O-S-E.

BEIER: Fast and close?

WERTHEIMER: No. You're right there.

SHORTZ: And so how you might play with the facts. You would play fast and...

BEIER: Fast and loose.


SHORTZ: Fast and loose with the facts, right? Pint P-I-N-T and lick L-I-C-K.

BEIER: Point and click.

SHORTZ: That's it. Cash C-A-S-H and bun B-U-N.

BEIER: Crash and burn.

SHORTZ: That's it. Toot T-O-O-T and ail A-I-L.

BEIER: Let's see, pail. Is the letter in the middle?

SHORTZ: No. It's at the end of one word and the start of the other.

BEIER: Tooth and nail.

SHORTZ: Tooth and nail is it. Read R-E-A-D and butte B-U-T-T-E.

BEIER: Bread and butter.

SHORTZ: Bread and butter is it. Hear H-E-A-R and sol S-O-L.

BEIER: Heart and soul. I worked on that movie too.

SHORTZ: Nice. Pen P-E-N and hut H-U-T.

BEIER: Open and shut.

SHORTZ: Good. Ski S-K-I and ones O-N-E-S.

BEIER: Skin and bones.

SHORTZ: That's it. Was W-A-S and war W-A-R.

BEIER: Wash and wear.

SHORTZ: Um-hum. Tie T-I-E and gain G-A-I-N.

BEIER: Time and again.

SHORTZ: That's it. Tars T-A-R-S and strips S-T-R-I-P-S.

BEIER: Stars and stripes.

SHORTZ: That's an easy one. Son S-O-N and dane D-A-N-E.

BEIER: Song and dance.

SHORTZ: That's it. And here's your last one: case C-A-S-E and deist D-E-I-S-T.

BEIER: Cease and desist.

SHORTZ: Cease and desist. Thad, great job.

WERTHEIMER: Very, very good.

BEIER: That was fun.

WERTHEIMER: For playing our puzzle today, you will get a WEEKEND EDITION lapel pin with which to amaze your friends.

BEIER: I will.

WERTHEIMER: As well as puzzle books and games. And you can read all about it at npr.org/Puzzle. Now, what is your public radio station?

BEIER: It's KQED up here in San Francisco.

WERTHEIMER: Thad Beier of Lafayette, California, thank you very much for playing the puzzle this week.

BEIER: Thanks, Linda. Thanks, Will.

SHORTZ: Thank you.

WERTHEIMER: OK. Will, we're ready for whatever it is you're going to stump us with for next week.

SHORTZ: Well, let's see. The challenge comes for listener Ed Pegg, Jr., who runs the website MathPuzzle.com: Think of something that the majority of adults buy; two words, 10 letters in the first word and nine in the second. It's a familiar and this phrase uses each of the five vowels - A, E, I, O, and U - exactly twice. What familiar product is this?

So again, something that the majority of adults buy, 10/9 is the enumeration. It's a familiar phrase and this phrase uses each of the five vowels exactly twice. What familiar product is it?

WERTHEIMER: When you have the answer, go to our website, npr.org/puzzle and click on the Submit Your Answer link - just one entry per person, please. The deadline for entries is Thursday, September 20th at 3 P.M. Eastern Time. Please include a telephone 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 puzzle-master, Will Shortz.

Thank you, Will.

SHORTZ: Thanks, Linda.

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