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Coming up, it's Lightning Fill In The Blank. But first, it's the game where you have to listen for the rhyme. If you'd like to play on air, call or leave a message at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. Or click the contact us link on our website, waitwait.npr.org. And if you want more WAIT WAIT... in your week, check out the WAIT WAIT... quiz for your smart speaker. It's out every Wednesday with me and Bill asking you questions. And if nothing else, putting it on is a way to get your children to leave you alone for about five minutes.

Hi. You're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

BRANT RUSSELL: Hi. This is Brant Russell (ph) calling from Cincinnati, Ohio.

SAGAL: Hi. How are things in the Queen City?

RUSSELL: They are muggy. And we're now a hot spot for COVID.

SAGAL: Oh, congratulations.

RUSSELL: So, you know, it's going pretty well.

SAGAL: What do you do there in Cincinnati when you're allowed to leave your home?

RUSSELL: I am a theater director and professor.

SAGAL: Wow. Theater is a tough business to be in right now since it's basically illegal.

RUSSELL: Yeah. We're - you know, my parents told me to follow my dreams, so who's laughing now?


SAGAL: Well, welcome to the show, Brant. Bill Kurtis is going to read you three news-related limericks with the last word or phrase missing from each. If you can fill in that last word or phrase correctly in two of the limericks, you'll be a winner. You ready to play?

RUSSELL: I sure am.

SAGAL: Here is your first limerick.

BILL KURTIS: Though baseball's on, seating has seen cuts, so the vendors have less call to feed guts. Fewer people who cheer means less calls of, beer here. And we've got a huge surplus of...

RUSSELL: Peanuts.


SAGAL: Exactly. Right.


SAGAL: Nobody thought of the poor peanut when they canceled baseball because without baseball games, Americans are just not buying as many peanuts. One-fifth of all peanuts are destined for sale at baseball stadiums. They're great there. They provide fans with a salty treat and lots of ammo to throw at the Astros. So trying to save the industry, the CEO of the National Peanut Board is trying to market stadium peanuts in grocery stores that fans can eat at home, a move endorsed by the National Filthy Floors Board.


SAGAL: All right, Brant. Here is your next limerick.

KURTIS: When an astronaut comes back to base, there's a scent that's not easy to trace. It clings to the suit, smells like steak, rum and fruit. Let's distill it and sell eau de...

RUSSELL: Space suit.

SAGAL: No space is right - just space.


SAGAL: Eau de Space - have you ever wanted to impress a date with the alluring, terrifying scent of the endless void? Then make sure you pledge to the Kickstarter for Eau de Space, the new space-scented perfume. The inventors of this perfume say they used a Freedom of Information request to extract from NASA their secret space scent, which NASA uses to train astronauts. The smell of space has been described as smoky, bitter, with hints of fried steak, raspberries and rum. Who knew space smells exactly like an Applebee's?


PAULA POUNDSTONE: I never even thought to think about how space might smell.

SAGAL: I know.

POUNDSTONE: Would you guys - if you - if they came to you now - if NASA came to you now and said, look; we can take you to the moon, would you do it?

MAZ JOBRANI: I'm not much of a camper, so I probably wouldn't.


SAGAL: There's Maz on the surface of the moon unable to set up the tent.


MAEVE HIGGINS: I think actually we're banned from the moon. I think if you live in America, you're actually - there's a travel - the moon has a travel ban.

SAGAL: You can't go to the moon. You can't go there either; oh, god. All right, Brant. You have one more limerick to go. Here it is.

RUSSELL: This talking bird here in our garrett made Harvard kids earn a demerit. When they played a shell game, his advantage was plain. All those students just lost to a...

RUSSELL: Parrot.

SAGAL: Yes, a parrot, Brant - very good.


SAGAL: In a recent study, an African gray parrot outperformed students across all age brackets, including a group of Harvard college students on a multiple-choice memory test. It's not fair, though, since most of the questions were just, who wants a cracker?


SAGAL: The actual - the study studied visual memory, how well people could remember where things are. And they did it by making people and this one parrot play a version of that game where you move the shells around and you have to remember where the P is. And the parrot beat all comers. Basically, a parrot is like that one person at work who always notices haircuts.

HIGGINS: (Laughter).

JOBRANI: So the next time I come upon one of those games in the streets and they have a parrot there guessing...

SAGAL: Yeah.

JOBRANI: ...The right ones, I know he's in on it.

SAGAL: Right, exactly.


SAGAL: Never trust the parrot, man. The parrot's in on the scam. He's a plant.

HIGGINS: Now if there's a pigeon pecking around, you'll actually have a wild advantage over that moron (laughter).

SAGAL: Bill, how did Brant do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Brant is a winner.


KURTIS: But he'll have to celebrate alone in the lock down. Sorry.

SAGAL: All right. Congratulations, Brant.

RUSSELL: Thank you.

SAGAL: And may all of us get back in front of audiences as soon as possible.

RUSSELL: Sounds great. Thank you guys very much.

HIGGINS: Good luck, Brant.

POUNDSTONE: Take care, Brant.

RUSSELL: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.