On-air challenge: This week's puzzle celebrates ringing in the new year. Take the letters Y-E-A-R. Add one letter and scramble to make a new word that answers the clue. For example, by adding the letter B to Y-E-A-R, with the clue "maker of aspirin," the answer would be "Bayer."
Last week's challenge from listener Ben Bass of Chicago: First, name a U.S. state capital. Rearrange its letters to spell the name of another American city. Remove one letter and read the result backward to spell a third American city. Finally, move the first letter of that to the end to spell a fourth American city. The cities are in four different states. What are they?
Answer: Salem, Ore.; Selma, Ala.; Ames, Iowa; Mesa, Ariz.
Winner: Zvi Rosen of Berkeley, Calif.
Next week's challenge from Sam Loyd: This challenge appeared in a puzzle column in the Woman's Home Companion in January 1913, exactly 100 years ago. Draw a square that is four boxes by four boxes per side, containing altogether 16 small boxes and 18 lines (across, down and diagonal). There are 10 ways to have four boxes in a line — four horizontal rows, four vertical columns, plus the two long diagonals. There are also eight other shorter diagonals of two or three squares each. The object is to place markers in 10 of the boxes so that as many of the lines as possible have either two or four markers. What is the maximum number of lines that can have either two or four markers, and how do you do it?
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.