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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, waitwait.npr.org. And check out the WAIT WAIT quiz for your smart speaker. It's out every Wednesday with me and Bill asking you questions and listening to your answers because, let's be honest, when's the last time someone listened to you - I mean, really listened?

LUKE BURBANK: (Laughter).



SAGAL: Hi. Who's this?

NICHOLSON: This is Maggie. I'm calling from Rockport, Texas.

SAGAL: Rockport, Texas - what do you do there?

NICHOLSON: I'm in the public service industry. I go, and I smile at people. And they don't know that I'm smiling because I have a mask on.

SAGAL: I see. Have you ever tried smizing, trademark Tyra Banks?

NICHOLSON: You know, now that you mention it, it's on my to-do list.

SAGAL: Well, welcome to the show, Maggie. Bill Kurtis is now 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 the limericks, you'll be a big winner. You ready to play?

NICHOLSON: I'm ready.

SAGAL: All right. Here's your first limerick.

BILL KURTIS: It's a Wonka dream, not Machiavelli's scheme. When you win this, you won't keep your belly lean. You'll make your own gummies to fill up our tummies. Win a factory where you'll make...

NICHOLSON: Jelly beans?

SAGAL: Jelly beans.



SAGAL: Very good. Absolutely, Maggie.


SAGAL: With the new Jelly Belly sweepstakes, you can finally achieve the dream of every child everywhere - operating a factory in Florida. One of the founders of Jelly Belly is choosing his successor through a Willy Wonka-like golden ticket contest, where one lucky winner gets the deed to their own candy factory, and four loser children will be tortured in amusingly ironic ways.

Now, to participate in this contest - I know you're all excited - you just purchase a clue. You have to purchase the clue from their website, which will lead you to the location of the golden ticket in your state. There are 50 of them, and one of them will provide the keys to the candy factory in Florida, which does not come, sadly, with a glass elevator but does come with a lifetime supply of cost analysis spreadsheets to determine acceptable profit margins under a recession - magic.


ADAM BURKE: It does sound like a nightmare. Like, you go from being...

SAGAL: It really does.

BURKE: You go from being - you're 9 years old. And all of a sudden, you're in trade union negotiations.

BURBANK: You're right.

SAGAL: Yeah, it's terrible. It's like, oh, hi. Welcome. Here's your corner office. And by the way, the senior Oompa Loompa has been accused of sexual harassment. You'll be meeting with the lawyers at 11.


BURBANK: And not to in any way rain on the parade, but I believe there is a small detail to this, which is the guy is no longer associated with The Jelly Belly Company. He sold his stake.

SAGAL: Yeah.

BURBANK: And so Jelly Belly has had to release a statement clarifying that they're not going to give you a jelly bean factory.

SAGAL: So wait a minute. So if he's not really giving away a Jelly Belly factory, what is he giving away?

BURBANK: He's giving away what he has called a - I think, like, it's a food health-certified facility. In other words, you can make food there. But that's all the details he'll give you. It is like...

SAGAL: Right. So it's not even a Jelly Belly factory that you have to run. It's just, like, a factory that you can bring up to code. And...

BURBANK: (Singing) I've got the golden ticket.


BURKE: Actually, the winner is whoever finds the golden subpoena.

SAGAL: Exactly.


SAGAL: Very good, Maggie. Here is your next limerick.

KURTIS: When it comes to food, it is the best you want. And as maitre d', you would request your aunt. Everyone's looking for scrumptious home cooking, so turn your house into a...

NICHOLSON: Oh, a restaurant?

SAGAL: Exactly.



SAGAL: A new law in California...


SAGAL: ...Will allow chefs open mini-restaurants in their homes in lieu of their maxi-restaurants on the street. It's a great opportunity for anyone who was tired of going to real restaurants to get the virus. Now you can just do that in the comfort of a stranger's home.


SAGAL: You can go to the White Castle in a beige duplex.


BURBANK: How - wait...

JESSI KLEIN: It's just getting more and more appetizing by the second.


BURBANK: How is this an improvement? Is this - because fewer people...

SAGAL: Well, the idea is, of course, that restaurants can't open with the pandemic. So as a compromise, they said, OK, chefs now can have small gatherings in their homes, which is legal.


SAGAL: And they can charge for them.

KLEIN: Do I still have to pretend to offer to help clean up?


KLEIN: If I'm a guest at the home, do I have to do that little fake-out move of, like, what can I do or...

SAGAL: (Laughter) No, I think if you're paying, you're allowed to get up and leave.

BURKE: It sounds like all my favorite things about restaurants. Only now, I have to take off my shoes and bring a bottle of wine I don't get to drink.


SAGAL: All right. Very good, Maggie. Here is your last limerick.

KURTIS: Our dentists see reason to pause. Teeth are cracking, and we know the cause. COVID's a mess, and it's causing you stress. And since March, you've been clenching your...



SAGAL: Yes, jaws.


SAGAL: It seems we're all trying to grin and bear it a little bit too hard. One dentist in Manhattan wrote in The New York Times that she's treated more broken teeth since reopening her practice in June than she did in the six years prior. She attributes the broken teeth to stress and families trying to supplement their income with tooth fairy cash. Now, when an American Dentistry Association spokesman was asked if the pandemic could actually be causing this epidemic of clenched teeth and thus broken teeth, he replied, I don't know. It's odd. I don't know what's causing this.

BURBANK: Do you ever just, like, notice you've been clenching your jaw for 22 years?


BURKE: Well, I've - you know, I don't clench my teeth. I have punched all these holes in the walls, though. So that's something.


BURKE: Could that be connected?


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

KURTIS: Maggie did great. She got them all right, a perfect score.



SAGAL: Woo hoo. Congratulations, Maggie.

NICHOLSON: Thank you guys for having me. Y'all have a wonderful weekend.

SAGAL: Thank you so much, Maggie. You, too.

KURTIS: Thank you. Bye, Maggie.


THE WEEKND: (Singing) I can't feel my face when I'm with you, but I love it. But I love it. Oh, I can't feel my face... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.