When a guy named Shmuel aces NPR’s Christmas ‘puzzler’
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When a guy named Shmuel aces NPR’s Christmas ‘puzzler’

The New York Times Crossword Editor Will Shortz speaking onstage during The New York Times DealBook Conference at One World Trade Center in New York, Dec. 11, 2014.  (Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for New York Times)

The New York Times Crossword Editor Will Shortz speaking onstage during The New York Times DealBook Conference at One World Trade Center in New York, Dec. 11, 2014. (Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for New York Times)

A guy named Shmuel Thaler solved last week’s Sunday morning NPR puzzle challenge. It was pop-culture related — the answer was Green Hornet.

So no big deal. Except that Shmuel’s name was randomly picked out of over 120 winners for this week’s on-air puzzler, hosted by The New York Times puzzle master, Will Shortz.

The theme was Christmas carol or song titles.

Still no big deal but …

Listen to the slight awkwardness as Shortz, Thaler and NPR’s Rachel Martin run through the quiz (which wasn’t exactly challenging.) Sample question: Who’s the regular at King Arthur’s round table who doesn’t speak?

Shmuel aces it, and then this happens:

Martin: “Shmuel! That was really really well done!”

Shortz: “I’m impressed!”

OK, I listen to the puzzle fairly regularly. Martin and Shortz are never this effusive about people who ace the questions.

I think I know what’s going on here. And here’s my question for Martin and Shortz:

Who do you think authored about half the fershlugginer Christmas canon?