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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. And hey, besties. For more WAIT WAIT in your week, follow us on Twitter @waitwait and on Instagram @waitwaitnpr. There, you can be besties with our bestie intern ever, Emma Choi. Wow, we really are just letting her write whatever she wants to here, aren't we?

Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.


EMMA OXFORD: Hi, this is Emma calling from Pittsburgh, Pa.

SAGAL: Speaking of Emmas, how are you, Emma?

OXFORD: I'm good. How are you?

SAGAL: What do you do in beautiful Pittsburgh, Pa.?

OXFORD: I'm a graduate student at Carnegie Mellon University.

SAGAL: Oh, the fine institution of higher learning right there in Pittsburgh. What do you study?

OXFORD: Physics.

SAGAL: Physics. I'm glad you're here because there is a story in the week's news that we did not include 'cause none of us could understand it.

OXFORD: Is it about the muon g-2?


SAGAL: It's about the muons 'cause I read this story about the muons. I read the whole thing. And according to the story that I read, this study proves that the universe does not work at all the way we thought it did. And everything has changed. Is that right?

OXFORD: Not quite.

SAGAL: (Laughter) Now, if you could - if you - I give - I'm going to give you 20 seconds to explain the meaning of this discovery that was announced this week. Go.

OXFORD: OK. I'll do my best. So a muon is an elementary particle. And the standard model of physics predicts that it will have particular magnetic moment. And this discovery suggests that it does not have the magnetic moment that we predict it should have. And I hope my adviser's not listening to this right now because, presumably, he'll tell me everything I explained incorrectly in those 20 seconds.

SAGAL: (Laughter) Well, we won't tell your adviser then.

OXFORD: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Emma, welcome to the show. Bill Kurtis is going to read you three news-related limericks with the last word or phrase missing from each. Ready to do this?

OXFORD: Let's do it.

SAGAL: Here's your first limerick.

BILL KURTIS: A tube is so crude, it seems feudal. I'll revamp the whole pasta caboodle. Spaghetti I'll toss 'cause it won't hold the sauce. I'm inventing a new kind of...

OXFORD: Noodle.

SAGAL: That's right.


SAGAL: Podcaster Dan Pashman of "The Sporkful" took three years to develop the perfect new pasta shape, and he's done it. This is the most a podcaster has done for society - that's it. That's the sentence. It just is.


SAGAL: The new pasta shape he has dubbed cascatelli, based in the Italian word for waterfall, looks like a kind of weird, little shovel which is used for shoveling sauce in your mouth. Everybody thinks it's so great that this guy made a new pasta shape. It's not that hard. I did it. I have a whole new shape from pasta this year.


KIM BOOSTER: I could come up with a new pasta shape in a year. Give me a year.

SAGAL: Took him - you could?

KIM BOOSTER: I could do it in a year.


KIM BOOSTER: Easy. It's going to be called Joelottavi (ph).



KIM BOOSTER: And it's going to be so hot, this pasta.

POUNDSTONE: Oh, you know what, Joel? I just made pasta shape right then. So never mind, I beat you.

SAGAL: What's your pasta shape?

POUNDSTONE: Well, I'll be honest, it looks a lot like spaghetti.

MAEVE HIGGINS: It's two spaghettis stuck together.

POUNDSTONE: Yeah, exactly.


SAGAL: OK, Emma, here is your next limerick.

KURTIS: I'm not trusting my old Swedish nana. Those toppings aren't used in Tuscana. I sincerely dispute that they'll use a sweet fruit, but her pizza comes topped with...

OXFORD: Banana.




SAGAL: People got so freaked out by this online viral rumor that people in Sweden put banana on their pizza that Snopes had to go and check it out. And it turns out to be true.


SAGAL: Also, that counts as a rumor in Sweden? Don't their celebrities have sex with each other? This disturbing Tropicana Pizza has tomato sauce, cheese, ham, pineapple, banana, curry, the U.K. coronavirus variant and Matt Gaetz.

POUNDSTONE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: And by the way, pineapple, if you're listening, do not get excited. This does not help your case. People still hate you, too.

All right, Emma, we have one last limerick for you. Here it is.

KURTIS: You do SoulCycle. I'm in a cooler group. It's so fun. It will make my medulla whoop. I could eat extra chips 'cause I wiggle my hips. I will exercise using my...

OXFORD: Hula hoop?

SAGAL: Hula hoop, Emma That's right.


SAGAL: Adults looking to fight boredom and get some exercise during the pandemic have been turning to hula hooping. Over a million hula hoops were sold last year. That's a 20% jump over the prior year. There are now specialty hoops. There are weighted hoops, even smart hoops that connect to the Internet and tell you which lamp you are about to knock over.

POUNDSTONE: (Laughter).

SAGAL: You know what's funny? You know how it goes - on the first day of the pandemic, I got a hula hoop, but by the end of the pandemic, it was just really a belt.

POUNDSTONE: (Laughter).

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

KURTIS: We would expect nothing less from Carnegie Mellon. She got three perfect muons.


KURTIS: Thanks, Emma.

SAGAL: Emma, thank you so much for playing. And congratulations.

OXFORD: Thank you so much for having me.

SAGAL: Bye-bye. Take care.

HIGGINS: Bye. Well done, Emma.



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