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NPR puzzlemaster Will Shortz says he is recovering from a stroke

Will Shortz at home in Pleasantville, N.Y.
Tsering Bista
Will Shortz at home in Pleasantville, N.Y.

NPR puzzlemaster and New York Times puzzle editor Will Shortz announced on Sunday that he is recovering from a stroke.

Shortz, who hosts NPR's Sunday Puzzle, shared the health update in a brief recorded message which aired at the end of the segment — in part to explain his recent absence from the show.

"Hey guys, this is Will Shortz. Sorry I've been out the last few weeks. I had a stroke on Feb. 4 and have been in rehabilitation since then, but I am making progress. I'm looking forward to being back with new puzzles soon," he said.

Since Feb. 11, Shortz's role has been temporarily filled by Greg Pliska, the chief puzzle officer of The Puzzler podcast with A.J. Jacobs and former puzzle guru of NPR's Ask Me Another.

Shortz has been a staple of the Sunday Puzzle since Weekend Edition Sunday began in 1987. Each week, Shortz presents an on-air quiz to one contestant while listeners at home play along. He's rarely missed a week.

The show recently visited Shortz at his home in Pleasantville, N.Y., where he spoke about his passion for table tennis, his early interest in puzzles, and his love life.

On Sunday, Weekend Edition host Ayesha Rascoe wished Shortz a speedy recovery.

"We here at Weekend Edition, we love Will and I know that everybody at home does too. And we are rooting for him and we are so hopeful and know that he will feel better soon," she said.

Pliska added that he looks forward to Shortz returning to the show.

"I know I speak for the whole puzzling community in wishing Will the best. He has been a great friend to me for many years and as much as I love playing the puzzle on air with you Ayesha, I look forward to getting to play from home with you and Will again in my Sunday morning pajamas," he said.

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Juliana Kim
Juliana Kim is a weekend reporter for Digital News, where she adds context to the news of the day and brings her enterprise skills to NPR's signature journalism.