A Contest That Would Make Dr. Seuss And His Cat Tip Their Hats

Originally published on March 3, 2013 7:43 am
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Now, on to a puzzle of a different kind. We're going to delve into the world of the tongue twister. We actually use these a lot in the production of our show, but you never hear them on the air. It's the way we check our guests' sound levels before we start the interview. Take a listen.

ROBYN HITCHCOCK: Peter, here we are. Peter began to pick things - the pepper.

MARTIN: That's musician Robyn Hitchcock and we're going to hear more from him in a moment.

But first to a contest that would make Dr. Seuss and his cat tip their hats and knock the socks off that fox. It is the 13th Annual International Tongue Twister Contest. Judith Schulz is the director of the Logic Puzzle Museum in Burlington, Wisconsin, and that's where we reached her just after the contest finished.

Hi, Judith.


MARTIN: So tell us how this contest works.

SCHULZ: Well, we give you 10 seconds, it's timed. And in that 10 seconds, you need to say as many as you can as fast as you can successfully.

MARTIN: OK, and besides the glorious title of International Tongue Twister Champion, are there any other prizes?

SCHULZ: Oh, of course. The Tongue Twister Prize for the adults is a portion of a peck of pickled peppers.


MARTIN: All right, and you have this year's champion with you. Can you pass the phone to the winner?

SCHULZ: And that would be the adult winner and here he is.

MARTIN: Great.

TOM BECK: Hi, my name is Tom Beck.

MARTIN: Congratulations.

BECK: Well, thank you very much. I am so proud.


MARTIN: So what was the final alarmingly awkward alliteration that tried to trip your tongue?

BECK: Well, I had to say: Please pass the peas. And I have an aversion to green vegetables.

MARTIN: Oh, no.

BECK: So this was quite a feat.

MARTIN: So you know we're going to ask you to do this, right?

BECK: Please pass the peas. Please pass the peas. Please pass the peas. Please pass the peas. Please pass the peas. Please pass the peas. Please pass the peas.


BECK: I'm done.

MARTIN: That was great.

BECK: Thank you.

SCHULZ: Judith here. We have one more winner, the kids' division.




MARTIN: Hello. Who am I talking to?

BECK: My name is Samuel Beck.

MARTIN: Samuel Beck, are you related to Tom Beck?

BECK: Yes.

MARTIN: Wait, so your dad won the adult division and you won the kids' division?

BECK: Mm-hmm.

MARTIN: You guys clearly do a lot of tongue twisters at the dinner table?

BECK: Not really.


MARTIN: So, Samuel, what was your tongue twister that you won with?

BECK: It was Black bugs' blood.

MARTIN: Well done, my friend. Well done, a champion, indeed. That was Samuel Beck, his dad Thomas Beck, and Judith Schulz who's the director of the Logic Puzzle Museum in Burlington, Wisconsin. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.