New York Times Best Sailors

Feb 7, 2020

Literary figures take to the sea in this word game where every answer is a mashup of a bestselling author and an aquatic creature.

Heard on Tan France: Naturally Tan.

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OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Our next game is called New York Times Best Sailors.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Everyone knows the best sailor is the one who doesn't give you an STI.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Let's meet our contestants. First up, Fiona Finlay-Hunt - you're a lawyer at a major tech company, and you say that working at a tech company is a ton of fun.

FIONA FINLAY-HUNT: Well, it's kind of a zany place. They focus on making the decor a lot of fun. We have a lot of perks.

EISENBERG: What are the perks?

FINLAY-HUNT: Massages.

EISENBERG: No.

FINLAY-HUNT: Yes.

EISENBERG: Every day?

FINLAY-HUNT: You can have them every day.

EISENBERG: Oh.

FINLAY-HUNT: Yes, you can.

EISENBERG: OK.

FINLAY-HUNT: Free food. We have a rock-climbing wall.

EISENBERG: Do people bring in their pets?

FINLAY-HUNT: Oh, yeah. I bring my dog to work.

EISENBERG: That's nice.

FINLAY-HUNT: Yeah. He loves it. He adds more value than I do in meetings.

(LAUGHTER)

FINLAY-HUNT: Yeah...

EISENBERG: Because everyone just looks at the dog...

FINLAY-HUNT: ...He makes everyone stay.

EISENBERG: ...And they're like, what do you think, Schnookie? - or whatever.

(LAUGHTER)

FINLAY-HUNT: Right. They're like, bring Kirby in, but keep legal out of the room.

(LAUGHTER)

FINLAY-HUNT: No, just kidding.

EISENBERG: All right. Fiona, when you ring in, we'll hear this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Your opponent is Jamie Wernet. You work for a software company, but not in customer service, in customer success.

(LAUGHTER)

JAMIE WERNET: That's correct.

EISENBERG: All right. Tell me what that means.

WERNET: Well, instead of servicing the customer, you success them.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: All right. Jamie, when you ring in, we'll hear this.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Remember, Fiona and Jamie, whoever has more points after two games will go onto our final round. Ahoy, this word game is called New York Times Best Sailors. Every clue is a mash-up of a bestselling author and an aquatic creature.

JONATHAN COULTON: For example, if I said, this Russian author wrote "War And Peace" while slurping the goo out of saltwater mollusks and asking, does this arouse you...

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: ...You would answer, Leo Tolstoyster (ph)...

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: ...Mashing up Leo Tolstoy and oyster.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Here we go. This author wrote "The Joy Luck Club" on a strict diet of this salty fish also found on Caesar salads and gross pizza.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Jamie.

WERNET: Amy Tanchovies.

EISENBERG: Yeah, that's right. How do you feel about anchovies?

WERNET: Oh, I hate them.

EISENBERG: What?

WERNET: Disgusting.

EISENBERG: Why?

WERNET: They're tiny fish that you eat whole. I don't...

COULTON: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: Keep going.

WERNET: What's good about that?

EISENBERG: Do you like sardines?

WERNET: Absolutely not.

EISENBERG: Herring?

WERNET: No.

EISENBERG: Tilapia.

WERNET: You know, I will eat a white fish.

EISENBERG: Interesting. All right.

COULTON: See? Common ground - we're all the same.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Did you know the author of "Little Women" originally wrote her novel about four cute furry mammals who hold hands while floating on their backs down a river?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Jamie.

WERNET: Louisa May Alcotter (ph).

EISENBERG: Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: You know what? Like, I love anchovies. I would never eat an otter.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Probably wouldn't taste very good - gamey.

EISENBERG: You don't know - gamey. They serve them just holding hands. Oh, that's disgusting.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Let me take what you love.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Monster. Don't take too much of a shining to this seafood when you're a server. Christine carries it to your table in a kloche under the dome. If you eat a Salem's lot of it, you'll be in misery.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Fiona.

FINLAY-HUNT: Stephen King Crab.

COULTON: Yes. We'll accept that.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: We were looking for king fish or king mackerel, but I think king crab, yeah, fits the clue.

FINLAY-HUNT: OK. I don't know her.

COULTON: Because all we did was put a bunch of dumb puns about Stephen King in there, so...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: So in this author's original manuscript of "Charlie And The Chocolate Factory," Augustus Gloop was a highly intelligent bottlenosed creature who swam in the chocolate river.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Fiona.

FINLAY-HUNT: Roald Dolphin.

EISENBERG: Yeah, that's right.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: This Japanese bestselling novelist who's known for "1Q84" and "Men Without Women" says his next book is going to be electric. It's about a sly snake-like fish with pointy teeth - hip, hip, moray.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Fiona.

FINLAY-HUNT: Haruki Murakameel (ph).

COULTON: Yeah, that's right. Well done.

EISENBERG: Nice.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Here's your last clue. Did you know the first draft of "The Metamorphosis" was actually about a guy who went to bed one night and woke up as a soft-bodied sea creature with eight limbs?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Jamie.

WERNET: Kafkapus (ph).

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Correct. Correct.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Great game. And we have a tie.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

EISENBERG: Coming up, we'll play a game that combines punk music and silly fads that would have Sid Vicious rolling over on his Segway. And "Queer Eye's" Tan France is back to play another game. Turns out, all things do keep getting better. I'm Ophira Eisenberg, and this is ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.