PETER SAGAL, HOST:
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, waitwait.npr.org. Also, check out a special holiday edition of our bonus podcast Letter From The Editors, where you can hear things that got cut from the show. What makes it a special holiday edition? Well, you just have to tune in and be disappointed to find out. Find it in the WAIT WAIT podcast feed.
Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.
MATTHEW ZIPPLE: Hi. This is Matthew Zipple from Hillsborough, N.C.
SAGAL: Hey, how are things in Hillsborough?
ZIPPLE: Oh, pretty much the same as ever, I guess.
SAGAL: What do you do there?
ZIPPLE: I'm a Ph.D. student in biology at Duke University.
SAGAL: Oh, what are you studying?
ZIPPLE: So I study the social behavior of baboons as part of a much larger project called the Amboseli Baboon Research Project, which is a long-term study in southern Kenya that's been ongoing for nearly 50 years now.
SAGAL: This is a weird question. Is this the same baboon study that Robert Sapolsky was a part of and wrote his book "Primates" (ph) about? 'Cause that is, like, one of the best nonfiction books I have ever read, and it made me just want to go stare at baboons.
ZIPPLE: Yeah. He's an excellent author, and it's very fun to stare at baboons.
SAGAL: I envy you, a life of staring at baboons. Well, welcome to the show, Matthew. Bill Kurtis is going to read you three news-related limericks with the last word or phrase missing from each. If you can fill in that last word or phrase correctly in two of the limericks, you'll be a winner. You ready to play?
ZIPPLE: Yes, I am.
SAGAL: All right. Here is your first limerick.
BILL KURTIS: Though ghostbusters might be undaunted, a house filled with ghouls is not wanted. Both agent and seller cast out spirit dwellers. We promise this house is not...
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: A Baltimore realtor offers an additional selling point to help her move her houses. She's added a tile to the for sale sign in front of her houses that reads, not haunted.
SAGAL: It's guaranteed. She verifies this with the seller that the home is free from paranormal activity before she posts the signs. And she says she can sense supernatural presence herself. What a great realtor. Don't worry. The only spooky creaking sound you'll hear at night are from the rotting foundation.
HELEN HONG: Yeah, that just makes it very suspicious. It's like if I was swiping through Tinder and a guy's profile is like, doesn't have STDs.
TOM BODETT: Right.
PETER GROSZ: Now STD-free.
GROSZ: What if your house was haunted by, like, a ruthless real estate agent? This house is overpriced.
GROSZ: Shut up. Shut up.
HONG: What if you get haunted by a ghost that's, like, just say it's not haunted. Just say it's not haunted.
GROSZ: The paper that - like, officially says it's not haunted. And, like, a pen just floats in. It's like, stop that.
SAGAL: All right. Here is your next limerick.
KURTIS: The folks who get airsick won't smirkle 'cause tummies will jiggle and jerkle (ph). We are coming to ground on a flight path that's round 'cause our runway is built in a...
SAGAL: Yes, a circle.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: Aerospace engineers now say they can revolutionize air travel by creating one giant circular runway instead of the grid pattern that we have in most airports, which means you can just sit in one location anywhere along that circle and see all the crashes. The problem is, apparently, regular runways take up too much space and make too much sense. So a Dutch designer says that building one two-mile-long circular banked runway would maximize safety and efficiency. It allows multiple planes to take off and land at the same time. And as anyone who's driven through a, say, traffic roundabout will tell you, what in God's name are they thinking?
GROSZ: But once you get in there, how do you get out if it's a circle?
BODETT: Well, there's a - like they say, it's just like the - it's just like the traffic circle, right? You go around until your exit's there unless, like, there's, like, the old couple in the Prius airline.
BODETT: It's just creeping along and going around and around and around.
SAGAL: All right, Matthew. Here is your last limerick.
KURTIS: Most drones whiff around like a lame blower. They make sounds in the yard like a tame mower. But mine will aim higher, fights wasp nests with fire. My drone comes equipped with a...
SAGAL: Flamethrower, exactly right.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
BODETT: Oh, I want one.
(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE SOUND EFFECT)
SAGAL: There's finally a drone strike even Obama can't keep secret. A small town in China figured out how to deal with their terrible wasp infestation - a drone with a flamethrower attached.
SAGAL: Yeah, it's a real, huh, why didn't I think of it thing. And then it's a because it's a horrible idea thing. And, finally, it's like an oh, my God, everything is on fire thing.
SAGAL: They take a drone - right? - one of these little remote-controlled flying vehicles. They put a gasoline tank and a 3-foot nozzle on the drone.
SAGAL: And that sounds like something you can build at home, but do not build it at home.
SAGAL: It works. They flew it up to the wasp nest, and they sort of probably said something snarky to the wasps. And then they (imitating flamethrower). It worked.
BODETT: Well, I have a buddy who's a drone pilot. He's - he does all kinds of cool things with them. And his drone will come back if it, like, goes out of range, you know...
BODETT: ...And he loses control of it, it's programmed to return to where he was. So imagine if it had an active flamethrower on it.
BODETT: It's like, no, no.
SAGAL: No, go away. Don't come back. Don't come back. Bill, how did Matthew do on our quiz?
KURTIS: Matthew lit it up with a perfect score. Good going, Matthew.
SAGAL: Congratulations, Matthew.
ZIPPLE: Well, thanks very much.
SAGAL: Good luck with the doctorate.
ZIPPLE: All right. Thanks very much, Peter. Bye-bye.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.