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Matching Near-Homonyms

NPR's Puzzlemaster Will Shortz quizzes one of our listeners, and has a challenge for everyone at home.

Last week's challenge, from listener Kevin Connors in Colorado Springs, Colo.: Think of a seven-letter word that names a much-admired person. The first letter is "p." Replace the "p" with an "r", rearrange the result, and you'll name a person who is despised. Neither word is capitalized. Who is it? The answer: PATRIOT -- TRAITOR.

This week's winner is Stephen Grady from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. He listens to Weekend Edition on member station WSCL in Salisbury, Md.

Next Week's Challenge

Take the animal name puma: the last two letters of its name, "m" and "a," start mandrill, which is a large baboon. The last two letters of mandrill, "ll" start llama, and the last two letters of llama start marmot. So, the result is a chain of four animals, with two letter links, puma, mandrill, llama, and marmot. Can you form a similar chain of animal names linking, hippo to ermine? And the number of links in the chain is for you to determine. Every animal has to be either a mammal or a reptile. Only the general terms for animals are allowed -- not the names male, female, young, breeds, nicknames, etc.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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).