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Looking For Something To Wear? Just Scramble Some Letters


On-air challenge: Every answer this week is the name of an article of apparel — something to wear. Name the items from the anagram given.

Example: LOOP --> POLO.

Last week's challenge: This was a variation on the old word-ladder puzzle. The object is to change WHOLE to HEART by either adding or subtracting one letter at a time, making a new, common, uncapitalized word at each step.

For example, you can change RED to ROSE in five steps. Starting with RED, you could add a U, making RUED; drop the D, leaving RUE; add an S, making RUSE; add an O, making ROUSE, and then drop the U, leaving ROSE.

Changing or rearranging letters is not allowed, neither are plurals or verbs formed by adding -S. No word in the chain can have fewer than three letters.

How many steps are needed to change WHOLE to HEART?

Answer: Here's an example of one possible answer: WHOLE --> HOLE, HOE, HOPE, OPE, COPE, COP, COOP, COOPT, COOT, COT, COAT, CAT, CHAT, HAT, HEAT --> HEART.

The randomly selected winning answer was done in six steps. WHOLE --> HOLE, HOE, HOER, HER, HEAR --> HEART.

Winner: Melissa Goodwin of Munster, Ind.

Next week's challenge: This challenge comes from listener Sandy Weisz of Chicago, who runs The Mystery League, which conducts puzzle hunts.

This challenge isn't too hard. Name a unit of measurement. Remove two consecutive letters. The letters that remain can be rearranged to name what this measurement measures. What is it?

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, Jan. 14, at 3 p.m. ET.

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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).