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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. It's waitwait.npr.org. There, you can find out about attending our weekly live shows right here at the Chase Bank Auditorium in Chicago. You should also check out the new podcast from our good friend, Paula Poundstone, Live From the Poundstone Institute. This week, Paula talks to a NASA engineer who built the world's largest super soaker. And comedian Kevin Nealon warns about the perils of hiking in Los Angeles. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

SHAWN BEATTY: Hi, this is Shawn from Columbia, Miss.

SAGAL: Hey, Shawn. How are you?

BEATTY: Fantastic.

SAGAL: And what do you do there?

BEATTY: I'm a Japanese teacher.

SAGAL: No kidding. Really?

BEATTY: Really.

SAGAL: I'm told Japanese is a very, very hard language for English speakers to learn. Is that true?

BEATTY: No. Actually, I would argue it's easier than Spanish.

SAGAL: Really?

BEATTY: I can give you, like, five things off the top my head that make it easier.

SAGAL: Go ahead.

BEATTY: No masculine, no feminine verbs. No plurals.

SAGAL: No plurals? What?

BEATTY: No plurals. Let's see. Two verb types that actually follow a pattern.

SAGAL: Wait a minute. If there's no plurals, how do you warn people that there are two giant monsters attacking Tokyo?


BEATTY: Oh, you just use context.

SAGAL: Yeah, I guess so.


SAGAL: Well, welcome to the show, Shawn. 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 will be a winner. You ready to play?

BEATTY: I'm ready.

SAGAL: Here is your first limerick.

BILL KURTIS: When tiles show words made in babble, we men labor hard, women dabble. Since points are our aim, we forget it's a game. We have taken the fun out of?

BEATTY: Sports?


HONG: Maybe you should concentrate more on English, less on the Japanese.


BEATTY: That could be it.

SAGAL: Yeah. Does Japanese have rhyme? Do they...

BEATTY: It does not, it does not.


SAGAL: All right. This is a limerick.



SAGAL: So we'll - go ahead, again. And this time, it will become so clear. Here we go.



KURTIS: When tiles show words made in babble, we men labor hard, women dabble. Since points are our aim...


KURTIS: ...We forget it's a game. We have taken the fun out of...

BEATTY: Scrabble.


HONG: Yes.




HONG: Thank goodness.

SAGAL: According to a recent study from the University of Miami, men tend to be better at Scrabble because - and this is science - women don't care about stupid games as much as men do.


SAGAL: The study shows that men care more about analyzing and strategizing. During game, the women care more about enjoying the - you know, the interactions with people. This is why women, as an opening gambit, often just walk away from the board to go play with other women.


SAGAL: All right. Here, Shawn is your next...

BEATTY: All right.

SAGAL: ...Limerick.

KURTIS: My footwear is hard to abuse - not with vomit, nor spilt mugs of booze. In this beer tent, I'm host because Adidas made Prost. They're special Oktoberfest...

BEATTY: Shoes?

SAGAL: Shoes.






HONG: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Adidas - remember that Adidas is a German company. Their new special Oktoberfest custom sneakers - they look like your standard Adidas sneakers. But these shoes are specially made to repel beer or anything else that might burst forth from the celebrant's schnitzel holes.


HONG: Are they made of sawdust?

SAGAL: They're not made of sawdust. But they have a special moisture repelling thing. So in case you walk through something unpleasant or somebody sort of does something unpleasant onto your shoes at Oktoberfest, your shoes will be fine.

O'ROURKE: They come in...

HONG: Wow.

O'ROURKE: They come in wingtip?


TOM BODETT: We call those duck boots and...

SAGAL: Yeah.



SAGAL: Here is your last limerick, Shawn.

KURTIS: The hotel staff has catered my wish for companions whose scaly tails swish. This friend in a bowl makes my stay here feel whole. For a surcharge, I'm renting a...


SAGAL: A fish - rents a fish.


HONG: Yay.


SAGAL: We've all been there. When you're traveling for work, staying in some anonymous cardboard hotel, or in Tom's case, it's the Ritz-Carlton. It's in his rider.


SAGAL: The point is you get lonely. Well, a hotel in Belgium has a solution, a rent-a-fish. There's a sign in each room that says, alone in your room and want company? Rent a fish. 350 a night.

O'ROURKE: I've seen that sign. But the fish part was...

SAGAL: Yeah.


O'ROURKE: Well, that's because I decided to save on room service sushi.

SAGAL: Exactly. Super fresh.


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

KURTIS: Shawn tried so hard, we're going to give him all three.

SAGAL: Congratulations. Well done, Shawn.


SAGAL: Thank you so much for playing.

BEATTY: Thank you.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.


ELVIS PRESLEY: (Singing) I wonder if you are lonesome tonight. You know, someone said that the world's a stage, and each must play a part. Fate had me playing in love. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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