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When It Comes To The Puzzle, Don't Mail It In — Just Exchange A Letter

Sunday Puzzle.
Sunday Puzzle.

On-air challenge: I'm going to give you two words. Move one letter from one of them and insert it in the other — without changing the order of any of the letters — to get two synonyms.

For example: Kid, snort --> kind, sort.

Last week's challenge, from listener Darrell Myers of Somerville, Mass.: Name a famous actress of the past — first and last names, 10 letters altogether. Change one letter in the first name and one letter in the last. The result is a two-word phrase naming a food item often found in a kitchen cabinet or refrigerator. What is it?

Answer: Grace Kelly --> Grape Jelly.

Winner: Steve Meyer.

Next week's challenge: This is a two-week challenge. Take the digits 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1, in that order. Using those digits and the four arithmetic signs — plus, minus, times and divided by — you can get 1 with the sequence 5 - 4 + 3 - 2 - 1. You can get 2 with the sequence (5 - 4 + 3 - 2) x 1.

The question is ... how many numbers from 1 to 40 can you get using the digits 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 in that order along with the four arithmetic signs?

You can group digits with parentheses, as in the example. There are no tricks to this, though. It's a straightforward puzzle. How many numbers from 1 to 40 can you get — and, specifically, what number or numbers can you not get? I'll reveal my solution in two weeks.

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, Oct. 27, at 3 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2021 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).