Beach Reads

Jun 14, 2019
Originally published on November 16, 2019 9:10 am

It's a mash-up of clues about authors' names and common beach objects. If Jay Gatsby put on sunscreen at the beach, he'd have S-P-F Scott Fitzgerald to thank.

Heard on Josh Gondelman And Catherine Cohen: Brooklyn Famous.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

In our next game, we're taking famous writers to the beach. As Jane Austen said, it's a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of catching a gnarly wave. Let's meet our contestants. First up, Michelle Barras. You work for a financial company, and you've been collecting rocks and geodes for most of your life.

MICHELLE BARRAS: I have for...

EISENBERG: This is excellent.

BARRAS: ...About 25 years.

EISENBERG: Twenty-five years. OK, what's your first one? Like quartz, those - you know?

BARRAS: I have a bunch of rose quartz.

EISENBERG: Really?

BARRAS: And then I have a mother-of-pearl obelisk.

EISENBERG: That's beautiful.

BARRAS: Yes. And they're all displayed in my apartment with my husband.

EISENBERG: How many do you have in total?

BARRAS: He thinks I have 10, but we have 25 around the apartment.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Excellent. Excellent. Michelle, when you ring in, we'll hear this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Your opponent is Matt Spiegel. You're visiting us from Harrisburg, Penn.

MATT SPIEGEL: Yes, I am.

EISENBERG: Hello. Welcome.

SPIEGEL: Thank you.

EISENBERG: Where you work for the state library.

SPIEGEL: Mm-hmm.

EISENBERG: OK.

SPIEGEL: Very NPR.

EISENBERG: Very NPR.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: What's the most - one of the most exciting moments about working in the library for you?

SPIEGEL: Oh, my gosh. There are tons of them. We have a great rare books collection.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

SPIEGEL: The state library was started by Ben Franklin, so thinking about that is kind of a cool notion.

EISENBERG: Are rare books still coming through that people donate or...

SPIEGEL: Oh, gosh.

EISENBERG: Yeah?

SPIEGEL: Yeah, we get things from Lewis and Clark. We get all sorts of really cool stuff, yeah.

EISENBERG: Oh, that's awesome. OK. So, Matt, when you ring in, we'll hear this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Remember, Michelle and Matt, whoever has more points after two games will go to our final round. OK, so in honor of summer, this word game is called Beach Reads. You're going to mash up beach things and famous writers.

JONATHAN COULTON: For example, if I said Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan are so pale, they'd better pick a sunscreen with a high sun-protection factor, you would answer SPF Scott Fitzgerald.

EISENBERG: Mm-hmm, yeah. The beach thing will always come first in the mash-up. Here we go. According to the tongue twister, she sells seashells by this place. She stole them from an "Animal Farm" in "1984."

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Matt.

SPIEGEL: I want to say it has something to do with Mary Shelley...

EISENBERG: With Mary Shelley, OK.

SPIEGEL: ...But I can't quite get there, Ophira (laughter).

EISENBERG: OK, interesting. All right, Michelle, do you want to steal this?

BARRAS: I don't think I fully can steal...

EISENBERG: OK.

BARRAS: ...But I can half steal...

EISENBERG: Sure.

BARRAS: ...And maybe that rounds up.

COULTON: (Laughter)

BARRAS: But shore - so shore, sells by the shore, and "Animal Farm" author.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Oh. Yeah, you want to go any further there?

SPIEGEL: Sort of...

BARRAS: No.

EISENBERG: OK, Matt, do you want to just say it even though we can't give you the...

SPIEGEL: She sells seashells by the seash-Orwell (ph).

EISENBERG: Yeah.

SPIEGEL: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: That's what we were going for.

BARRAS: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: That's right. That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: OK, I love this tequila cocktail with salt on the rim, so happy it's garnished with the newest Atlantic piece by the writer of "Between The World And Me" and "We Were Eight Years In Power."

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Michelle.

BARRAS: Margarita-Nehisi (ph) Coates.

EISENBERG: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

BARRAS: Thank you.

COULTON: This famous neurologist wrote the books "Awakenings" and "The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat." He should have written a book about himself called "The Man Who Fell In Love With An Inflatable Plastic Sphere" (ph).

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Michelle.

BARRAS: I think that's Oliver Sacks. Ball-iver (ph) Sacks, Beach ball-iver Sacks.

COULTON: Yes, we'll take that.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Beach ball-iver Sacks. Well done.

EISENBERG: This sticky, soft candy is made fast and loose. Sold on boardwalks everywhere, it comes in many flavors, like watermelon, mint, banana, "Ethan Frome," and "The Age Of Innocence."

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Michelle.

BARRAS: So it's taffy and Edith Wharton.

EISENBERG: Yeah. Well, put them together.

BARRAS: Edith - taf-Edith (ph) Wharton.

EISENBERG: The...

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Yes, taf-Edith Wharton. There you go. OK, this is your last clue. If you are going to conduct an "Interview With The Vampire," don't make him meet you at the beach. He burns easily, and bronze skin would ruin his look anyway.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Michelle.

BARRAS: Tan Rice.

EISENBERG: Yeah, suntan Rice. Good enough. Tan Rice. Well done.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: OK, hard game. Michelle is in the lead.

(CHEERING)

EISENBERG: ASK ME ANOTHER is coming to Seattle for a live taping at the Moore Theatre on June 20. And our special guest is comedian and host of "Nailed It," Nicole Byer. So if you're around the Seattle area or in Seattle, join us for NPR's hour of puzzles, tossed salads and scrambled eggs. Info at amatickets.org.

Coming up, comedian Catherine Cohen will join us. GQ called her one of seven people reshaping comedy. Now it's going to be a rhombus. I'm Ophira Eisenberg, and this is ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.