Dot Dot

Jun 20, 2013
Originally published on March 4, 2015 1:18 pm

Those two little dots that get placed over vowels are known either as umlauts or diaereses. They're used to indicate that the vowel is pronounced in an unusual way, and sometimes they're used in people's names because they're foreign. Or pretentious. (Just ask Anaïs Nin or Chloë Sevigny.) Puzzle guru Art Chung leads this final round full of double-dotted words.

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Now, we're going to crown this week's grand champion. Let's bring back, from Game of Many Thrones, Sean Ruppert.


EISENBERG: From Ham Sandwiches: Darren Glass. From TV Time Machine: Samantha Lee. From With the Beatles: Alexis Howe. And from Phrase Anatomy: Rekha Shankar.


EISENBERG: I'm going to ask our puzzle guru Art Chung to take us out.

ART CHUNG: Ophira, this final round is called Dot Dot. You know those two little dots that appear over vowels? They're called either umlauts or dieresis. They're used to indicate that the vowel is pronounced in an unusual way, or sometimes they're used in people's names because they're foreign or pretentious.


CHUNG: So in this game, we're going to give you a clue to a word or proper name that is or can be spelled with a double-dotted letter. For example, if I said it's an adjective meaning unknowing or simple minded, you would say naïve.

We're going to play this spelling bee style, so one wrong answer and you're out. You only have a few seconds before you have to give me an answer. The last person standing will be our grand winner. Sean, it's a 70s rock band that suggested you don't fear the reaper.

SEAN RUPPERT: Blue Oyster Cult.

CHUNG: That's right.


CHUNG: Darren, it's a premium ice cream brand that sounds Danish but actually isn't.

DARREN GLASS: Haagen Dazs.

CHUNG: Correct.


CHUNG: Samantha, in this mockumentary about a fictional heavy metal band, the guitarist shows off an amplifier that goes to 11.


CHUNG: This is Spinal Tap.


CHUNG: Alexis, she wrote "Wuthering Heights."

ALEXIS HOWE: Emily Bronte.

CHUNG: Correct.


CHUNG: Rekha, Tommy Lee drummed for this glam metal band. Three seconds. I'm sorry; we're going to have to move on. Sean, Tommy Lee drummed for this glam metal band.

RUPPERT: Motley Crue.

CHUNG: That's correct. Rekha, thank you.


CHUNG: Darren, it's a word meaning to work together to achieve the same goals.

GLASS: Cooperate.

CHUNG: You got it.


CHUNG: Samantha, this actress is the daughter of Lenny Kravitz.

LEE: Zoe Kravitz.

CHUNG: Wow, you got that right.


CHUNG: Alexis, it's an adjective meaning having paramount rank or importance.

HOWE: Preeminent.

CHUNG: That's right.


CHUNG: Sean, he wrote the plays "Blithe Spirit" and "Private Lives." Sean shakes his head. No guess. Darren, do you know the answer?

GLASS: Noel Coward.

CHUNG: That's right. Sean, thank you.


CHUNG: Samantha, from 1971 to 1997, it was the name of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

LEE: I was going to saw Swaziland.

CHUNG: Samantha, I'm sorry. Alexis, do you know the answer to that?

HOWE: Zaire.

CHUNG: Zaire is correct.


CHUNG: We are down to two players, Darren and Alexis. Darren, it's used to identify a point on a two-dimensional graph.

GLASS: I'm the math guy. I should really know this. Axis.

CHUNG: No, I'm sorry. Alexis, if you know the answer you'll be our winner.

HOWE: Coordinate.

CHUNG: That's right.


EISENBERG: Congratulations, Alexis. Well done, Darren, thank you so much. Alexis, you are our ASK ME ANOTHER big winner and your prize has been given to us by our VIP Owen King. He has offered to give you a personal writing consultation on your next project, be it a work of fiction, an essay, an email, perhaps a greeting card, a text message, whatever you want.

HOWE: Amazing.

EISENBERG: You will be able to get that from him.

HOWE: Thank you so much.

EISENBERG: Congratulations.

(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.