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Drawing A Blank (Or Two)

On-air challenge: You are given sentences with two blanks. Put a word starting with R in the first blank. Then move that R to the end to make a new word that goes in the second blank to complete the sentence. For example, given the sentence, "The door of the Indian ___ was left slightly ___," the answers would be "raja" and "ajar."

Last week's challenge: It's an anagram word ladder. For example, take the word "spring." If the last letter is changed to an O and the letters are rearranged, you get "prison." Alternatively, if the last letter is changed to an E and the letters rearranged, you get "sniper." Or change the last letter to an A and get "sprain," and so on. For this challenge, start with the word "autumn." Changing one letter at a time, and anagramming it each step of the way, turn "autumn" into "leaves." Each step has to be a common word. In how few steps can you do it?

Answer: Five is the fewest number of steps using the combination: autumn, mutual, amulet, salute, vestal, leaves; or autumn, mutual, amulet, salute, values, leaves. Many other combinations are possible.

Winner: Sherin Varghese of Los Angeles

Next 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?

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 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit


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