Kacey Musgraves got her start in Austin, then left to conquer the world. She's about to do it all again on her Star-Crossed tour, but not before she answers our three questions about national anthems.


UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: The following program was taped before an audience of no one.


BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. It's time we end the filibuster and begin the Bill-i-buster. I'm Bill Kurtis. And here's your host, a man who just hit No. 1 to select English on an automated customer service line. It's Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. And thank you, fake audience. Just to make sure, you guys all hear them, too, right? Anyway, later on, we're going to be talking to Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves. She is our second-favorite country music star. And I'm afraid she's going to remain at No. 2 until she opens a theme park as magical as Dollywood.

We want to hear you sing about your troubles, so give us a call. The number is 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. Let's welcome our first listener contestant.

Hi. You're on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

CHUCK DANAS: Hello. This is Chuck Danas calling from Valley Stream, Long Island, N.Y.

SAGAL: Hey-a (ph), Chuck. What do you do there in Valley Stream?

DANAS: I am a real estate photographer, believe it or not.

SAGAL: Really? Wow. Now, it just so happens I've been in the market myself. Are there tricks to making a house look much nicer than it really is 'cause I have had the repeat experience of showing up, and it's basically like a bad Tinder date. They're just like, something about the photo was just - led me on.

DANAS: Yeah, my pictures are a tease, and that's what - it's funny. You know, the realtor will tell the potential buyer, oh, my God, you're absolutely right. These pictures are very much teasing you to get you here. But we're glad you're here.

SAGAL: So do you have, like - you really don't care. Once they arrive and they find out you photoshopped all, like, the animal bones, like, they don't - they're like, oh, fine, you're here. Enjoy the house.

DANAS: Exactly, exactly. I mean, I don't go as far as removing things like bones and such. But we do use a very wide lens. It makes things look a lot bigger than they are. But, yeah, it's what I do.

SAGAL: Well, welcome to our show, Chuck. Let me introduce you to our panel this week. First up, it's a comedian who hosts the trivia podcast "Go Fact Yourself" on the Maximum Fun network. It's Helen Hong.

HELEN HONG: Hey, Chuck.

DANAS: Hello.


SAGAL: Next, the comedian who'll be performing at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco on February 11 and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., March 18 and 19. It's Maz Jobrani.

MAZ JOBRANI: What's up, Chuck?

DANAS: Hello, Maz.


SAGAL: And finally, the comedian whose latest standup album "Party Nights" is available for streaming anywhere you stream, it's Emmy Blotnick.


EMMY BLOTNICK: Hey, Chuck. Oh, and can you tell them I'm performing at the Lincoln Memorial? I just want to keep up with everyone.


SAGAL: Well, Chuck, welcome to the show. You're going to play Who's Bill This Time. Of course, Bill Kurtis is going to recreate for you three quotations from the week's news. Correctly identify or explain two of them, you'll win our prize - the voice of your choice on your voicemail, anyone on our show. Are you ready to do this?

DANAS: I am.

SAGAL: All right, let's. Your first quote is about a major medical achievement in the week's news.

KURTIS: Well, will I oink?

SAGAL: That was a man named David Bennett before becoming the first recipient of a transplanted what?

DANAS: Pig heart?

SAGAL: Yes, a pig heart.


SAGAL: A pig heart has been successfully transplanted into a human for the first time. Doctors, of course, are celebrating, while all the pigs are like, where is the success exactly? It turns out pigs and humans have very similar internal organs, which means two things. First, there's a possibility of more lifesaving transplants. And second, it might be worth hickory smoking a human belly and see how it tastes.

HONG: First of all, I feel like this is going to make ordering bacon for this person awkward from here on out.

SAGAL: Yeah. Yeah, for him, for the pig.

HONG: But also, haven't we been getting transplants from pigs in the past?

SAGAL: We have. We have. We've been using pig valves because they're just like human valves for hearts.


SAGAL: My grandmother - my grandmother had one, meaning she was a Jewish grandmother who wasn't kosher, which...

HONG: Oh, yikes.

SAGAL: ...We brought up all the time. Anyway, so...

JOBRANI: I wonder if you know if the heart is glitching if he walks around going, (imitating Porky Pig) that's all folks...


JOBRANI: ...And then he just flops over.

BLOTNICK: Well, it's exciting if this works 'cause I would like to have four stomachs like a cow.


BLOTNICK: And if they would do that, you know, I'm open to a miracle.

SAGAL: Sure. Oh, yeah, there's Emmy over there just chewing her cud.

BLOTNICK: Can I say I'm grass-fed? That's kind of the hope.

SAGAL: Yes, you can do that.

BLOTNICK: Free-range, grass-fed.

SAGAL: Oh, that Emmy. She's so well marbled.


HONG: Did the pig have any say in this matter, in the - in this transplant?

SAGAL: I don't think they asked the pig, no.

HONG: Like, did the pig have an O - an organ donor sticker on its driver's license?

SAGAL: I'm sure the pig - I'm sure the pig saw its (laughter) - usually when pigs donate organs, it just goes to hot dogs.

All right, here, Chuck...

BLOTNICK: He's a pig - guinea pig. Is that, I think, a good...

SAGAL: Sort of. The pig gave the heart, and the guinea pig got it. All right...

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: That'll do, panel. That'll do.


SAGAL: All right, Chuck, here is your next quote.

KURTIS: Oh, he's gone.

SAGAL: That was NPR's Steve Inskeep after who hung up on him to end an interview this week?

DANAS: Donald Trump.

SAGAL: Yes, Donald Trump.


SAGAL: For the first time...


SAGAL: ...Since he began his run for president back in 2015, Donald Trump agreed to an interview with NPR, though to be fair to him, he did once do a guest appearance on Thistle & Swastika. Did you...

HONG: Peter.


HONG: Peter, I remember one time you told me that Trump didn't know what NPR is.

SAGAL: Right. That turned out to be the case. They've been trying to get Trump because he was a presidential candidate, and then he was the president, and Trump never agreed. And they looked into it, and they found out that Trump had no idea what NPR is or was and, therefore, wasn't interested in talking to us.

JOBRANI: You know, NPR came after he gave an interview to OAN. I mean, it's, like, we're that far...

SAGAL: Exactly. It's just the next series of letters, I guess. Now, it's possible, I guess, that Trump has now learned about NPR, he might become a big supporter, right? Support is provided by the Donald and Melania Trump Foundation, working to make the world great again. And love - it's what Melania doesn't.

HONG: (Laughter).

BLOTNICK: Oh, my God (laughter).

JOBRANI: You know, it was interesting because he had to - Steve had to fill in the time. He starts the interview by giving us a backstory. He's like, OK, this guy's going to...

SAGAL: Yeah, it...

JOBRANI: ...Not going to give us real answers.

SAGAL: It was...

JOBRANI: So let me give you the...

SAGAL: If - it was basically Steve Inskeep and his associates saying, all right, Donald Trump is going to lie about this. And then they had Donald Trump come on and lie about that. And then afterwards, they were like, well, Donald Trump just lied about that.


SAGAL: There's a term for that. It's truth sandwich. Have you heard this? Where the idea is like...

BLOTNICK: A one-act play.

SAGAL: Exactly.


HONG: Wait, is the truth the chocolate portion of the Oreo cookie in this...


HONG: ...Analogy?

SAGAL: The truth would be...


SAGAL: So the truth would be the chocolate cookie...

HONG: The chocolate. And then the...

SAGAL: And the lie would be...

HONG: The lie is the white cream center.

JOBRANI: The white cream is a white supremacist cream in the middle.

SAGAL: Exactly. It's very appropriate.

HONG: And this one was definitely double-stuffed.

SAGAL: Exactly (laughter). All right. Chuck, here is your last quote.

KURTIS: It's the new want to hear my dream from last night?

SAGAL: That was writer Rob Kutner on Twitter talking about the new game that's taken over the internet. What's the game?

DANAS: I don't know, a TikTok dance.

SAGAL: (Laughter) No, it's not a Tik - it's sort of like a TikTok challenge for people who can't dance. I'll give you a hint.

BLOTNICK: It's the thinking man's TikTok challenge. Let's be kind about this.


SAGAL: I'll give you a hint. In the game, you have to guess a word.

DANAS: No. It's not - I'm sorry.

SAGAL: No. You have better things to do with your time. I'll just give it to you. The game is Wordle.


SAGAL: If you haven't played Wordle, it's a game where you try to guess a five-letter word by trial and error. It tells you if you got a letter right, and then you keep going. It would be a great system to use for, like, remembering people's names. Is it Steve? No, but there is an S. OK. Scott?

HONG: (Laughter).

SAGAL: The game was invented by a New York programmer as a gift for his girlfriend because it was her birthday and he'd totally forgotten to buy anything she actually wanted. And the game is great fun. I love it. But for some reason, everybody decided it would be a lot of fun to post their scores on Twitter. And everybody started doing this. It's like, what if your friend who bragged about doing the crossword in pen was even more annoying?

JOBRANI: So the whole game is you - it's a bunch of words with five letters.

SAGAL: No. You see, it's a bunch of empty boxes, five of them.

HONG: So it's Wheel of Fortune without Vanna White?

SAGAL: No, it's - that's - Wheel of Fortune is Hangman. This is more like an old game called Mastermind. Anybody?


SAGAL: Ringing any bells?

BLOTNICK: I got to say, it gives me hope when a game this abstract is popular. It makes me feel like there must be a lot of smart people out there 'cause we've explained this back and forth a little bit, and none of it is sticking for me (laughter).

HONG: I don't get it.


HONG: I don't get it at all.

JOBRANI: (Laughter).

SAGAL: They don't get it.

BLOTNICK: I can't fathom it (laughter).

HONG: And the game is called Wordle, meaning it's word plus curdle?

SAGAL: Well, actually - this is interesting. It's called Wordle. It's a word game. The inventor of the game based it on his own name, which is Josh Wardle. And this game...


SAGAL: ...Is proving to be far more popular than his last games, Wardopoly (ph) and Wardlers (ph) of Catan.


SAGAL: It would be nice if, like, this is how all the great games were created, as gestures of romantic affection. It's like, I know we've only been dating a couple of months, but I made you something. It called PAC-MAN.


BLOTNICK: Oh. Yeah, my husband never makes me apps.


HONG: Dump him, Emmy. Dump him.

SAGAL: He must not care for you.

HONG: (Laughter).

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

KURTIS: Two out of three, Chuck. Good game.

DANAS: Thank you.

SAGAL: Congratulations, Chuck. You won.

DANAS: Thank you.

SAGAL: Thank you. Thank you. And (laughter) I'll try not to resent you the next time I go look at a house that looks nothing like its dating photos.



SAGAL: Take care, Chuck. Bye-bye.

DANAS: Bye-bye now.


SAGAL: Right now, panel, it's time for you to answer some questions about this week's news. Emmy, we all know the animal kingdom is ruthless. It takes a lot to survive out there. Well, a new study found that animals, like humans, are more likely to succeed in this world if they have what?

BLOTNICK: Rich parents.



SAGAL: Exactly.

HONG: What?

SAGAL: Rich parents. It turns out animals, just like people, benefit from inherited wealth. For example, squirrels pass down their stores of nuts to their children. Primates leave tools to their offspring, teach them how to use them. And I just knew that gopher could not have afforded that two-bedroom hole in the West Village on his own. His parents bought it for him.

BLOTNICK: That is fascinating.

SAGAL: It is absolutely fascinating.

BLOTNICK: I did not know that you could inherit acorns from your squirrel dad. That's beautiful.

SAGAL: You could, man. You could, and, you know, you...

BLOTNICK: Or mom. Or mom.

SAGAL: And you know they're, like, so, so bragging about it at college.

HONG: Of course.

SAGAL: They're like, oh, I'm going to go visit my parents but in our summer tree...


SAGAL: ...You know, on the vineyard.

BLOTNICK: I just Googled this, actually. It says that tigers sort of form their own country clubs, and they also don't allow Jews.


SAGAL: It turns out Tony the Tiger's last name is Berkowitz (ph). He's been hiding it for years...


SAGAL: ...Because of the vicious, vicious anti-Semitic tiger culture.


SAGAL: He was trying to assimilate. His first name isn't really Tony. It's Tevye (ph). We found him out, Emmy.


SAGAL: Coming up, we're out for justice in our Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play. We'll be back in a minute with more WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME from NPR.

KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We are playing this week with Maz Jobrani, Emmy Blotnick and Helen Hong. And here again is your host, a man who also hung up on Steve Inskeep. It's Peter Sagal.


SAGAL: Thank you, Bill. Right now it's time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on the air.

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

RACHAEL CLAXTON: Hi, Peter. My name is Rachael Claxton, and I am from Cincinnati, Ohio.

SAGAL: Well, that's great. What do you do there in Cincinnati?

CLAXTON: I am a scenic artist for a company that builds theme parks.

SAGAL: Wait, what?

CLAXTON: (Laughter).

SAGAL: So you, like - what - you paint or design buildings, attractions for theme parks? What do you do?

CLAXTON: I do. I do. So I run the paint shop for a company. And we do all sorts of theming - themed environments, everything like that - but predominantly for theme parks.


CLAXTON: So if you go to see a roller coaster car, we might have made it, or a building in a theme park, we might've made it, too.

SAGAL: Wow. Wow. Can you tell me, like, a particularly cool thing you're proud of?

CLAXTON: Oh. We sign a lot of NDAs, so I don't know if I can (laughter).

SAGAL: Oh, really?

HONG: Did you do - did you work on the ship for the Pirates of the Caribbean ride? Blink twice if you did.

CLAXTON: Oh. I might be blinking. Who knows? (Laughter).


SAGAL: We can't see you. We have no idea. Rachael, it's great to have you with us. You're going to play the game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Rachael's topic?

KURTIS: Justice is served.

SAGAL: It can seem like there's no justice in this world, and that's true, except for one single instance in all of history that we are going to talk about now. Our panelists are going to tell you about real justice. Pick the one who's telling the truth. You will win our prize, and we will empty all the prisons. Ready to play?

CLAXTON: All right. Let's do it.

SAGAL: First, let's hear from Emmy Blotnick.

BLOTNICK: Two men in Key West rung in the New Year in true Florida style by getting drunk, dragging a Christmas tree in front of the Southernmost Point buoy and setting it on fire. And despite a webcam catching them in the act of vandalizing the monument, they might have gotten away with it, as no one had any idea who they were except for one man - the bartender at the bar where the men had gotten drunk. Cameron Briody had served the two men earlier that night at Irish Kevin's, the name of the bar and also my type. How did he remember their faces so well? - because they neglected to leave him a tip. And though the bartender did not receive a tip, he did give one to the police. Shortly thereafter, the men were arrested, both of whom are 21 years old, and one of whom is named Skylar, which is usually the first red flag. The guys have both been charged with criminal mischief, which is also my true crime podcast for children over 3. So Happy New Year, and tip your bartender.

SAGAL: Two vandals in Key West get caught because they failed to tip their bartender. Your next story of someone getting what they deserve comes from Maz Jobrani.

JOBRANI: Tommy Pacedo (ph) of Boulder, Colo., loves his beer, football and denying climate change. For years now, whenever he's done drinking, he just tosses the bottle wherever he happens to be and keeps on going. This has not set well with Eleanor McCoy (ph), secretary of the Boulder Landscaping Association of Colorado. I've known Tommy since we were kids, and he's always been stubborn. The bottles are piling up all over town. He thinks he's making a political statement. We just don't know how to change his mind.

Well, last week, the recycling gods must have gotten Ms. McCoy's message because as Tommy was crossing the street while downing the last bottle of a six pack, he heard a rumbling sound. When he looked up, he had just enough time to notice the blue recycling bin that had been accidentally nudged loose by some neighborhood children rolling towards him. Tommy tried to maneuver his way out of the path of the linebacker-sized bin but instead wobbled, closed his eyes and was knocked on his ass like a flimsy rag doll. As luck would have it, his bottle spun through the air and landed perfectly in the bin. When he came to, a local reporter asked if he'd learned his lesson, and he replied, yes, of course. From now on I'm going to drink beer from a can.

SAGAL: A litter bug gets clocked by a recycling bin. Your last story of just desserts comes from Helen Hong.

HONG: The life of a porch pirate must be an exhilarating thrill, like playing the lotto or going on a blind date. What treasures could these stolen packages hold? - a new laptop, perhaps, a fresh pair of Jordans, bougie soap imported from France. A package snatcher in Brea, Calif., got a wild surprise when she opened a freshly stolen UPS box to discover an unbelievable stench. It was durian, the extremely pungent exotic fruit from Southeast Asia. The odor of the durian fruit, which smells like a mix of gym socks and rotting garbage, is so intense that it is banned from public transportation in Japan and Singapore.

After opening five mysteriously sealed Ziploc bags, porch pirate Elsa Simpson (ph) was hit with a stench so crazy she panicked and called 911, which was ballsy considering how much stolen property was in her house. A hazmat team arrived in full protective gear. Ms. Sadeen (ph) was ultimately charged with misdemeanor theft. But best of all, her house will never smell right again.

SAGAL: All right. So these are your choices of a small measure of justice in an unjust world - from Emmy Blotnick, two men get caught in an act of vandalism in Key West by the bartender who remembered them because they stiffed him on a tip; from Maz Jobrani, a litter bug who got clocked by a recycling bin seemingly aiming right for him; or from Helen, a porch pirate gets foiled when she steals some very stinky durian fruits. Which of these is the real story of a just dessert?

CLAXTON: I am going to have to go with the Key West vandal. I used to live in Florida, and it seems on brand.

SAGAL: It does seem - it does definitely seem like a story of three Florida men when you count them all up. All right. Well, to bring you the real story, we spoke to a reporter who covered it.

GWEN FILOSA: Key West police got a huge tip from a bartender. He recognized him. He said he served him. He said he remembered him because he didn't tip.

SAGAL: That was Gwen Filosa of The Miami Herald, the person who actually broke the story of the vengeful bartender talking about, of course, the guys who didn't tip and got busted. Congratulations, Rachael. You got it right.


SAGAL: You earned a point for Emmy, and you've won our prize.


SAGAL: Yay - the voice of your choice on your voicemail. Congratulations.

CLAXTON: Thank you.

SAGAL: Thank you, and thanks for playing. And I will, you know, look for your work the next time I'm in a theme park.

CLAXTON: (Laughter) Sounds good. Thank you.

SAGAL: All right. Take care.



KENDRICK LAMAR: (Singing) And I know just, know just, know just, know just, know just what you want. Poetic justice - put it in a song. All right. You can get it. You can get it.

SAGAL: And now the game where we ask bright stars to dim their light just for a moment. It's called Not My Job. Kacey Musgraves got her big break as a country music artist when she appeared on the country music competition program "Nashville Star" in 2007 and came in seventh. We don't know if her subsequent career, with six Grammy Awards including best country album and album of the year, were just a way of getting back at them, but it's worked out pretty well. In any case, her new album is called "Star-Crossed." She joins us now. Kacey Musgraves, welcome to WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.


KACEY MUSGRAVES: Thank you so much for having me.

SAGAL: And I just want to confirm that's true. You were on this sort of "Star Search" for country music stars.

MUSGRAVES: For just a blip of a second, you know, just long enough to get my feelings hurt and go home (laughter).

SAGAL: Wow. Is the show still going on? Have they invited you to come back?



MUSGRAVES: No, no, no.

SAGAL: No. They figured out they couldn't pick talent and they just sort of, you know, let the whole thing die. We were looking into your background and your start. And I found out something that is - I hope is true - that one of the things you did as a very young artist was to entertain at the Sweet Potato Festival in Golden, Texas.

MUSGRAVES: Oh, hell yes I did.

SAGAL: Oh, my gosh.

BLOTNICK: That's a huge gig.

MUSGRAVES: (Laughter).

SAGAL: I want to know everything about the Sweet Potato Festival in Golden, Texas.

MUSGRAVES: The Sweet Potato Festival happens every year. It's in my tiny little hometown of Golden, Texas. All the old ladies do, like, bake-offs with, you know, sweet potato casseroles and pies. And they crown a sweet potato queen every year.

SAGAL: Tell me it was you.

MUSGRAVES: No. You know, I tried out for it. So for the little kids, they have a Little Miss Tater Tot and Little Mister Tater Tot.


MUSGRAVES: And I didn't win that freaking competition either, OK? Sore subject.

SAGAL: So - but did you, in fact, get up as a child with your guitar and play?

MUSGRAVES: So I did. I did try out for Little Miss Tater Tot. It did not fare well for me. But it's funny, though. I do actually have like - I have this video of my mom walking me kind of across the stage. I had this, like, little prairie dress on. I was clutching a doll. And the the emcee of the night said - and it's in such a country accent. It's like - it's really cute, but she says, this is Kacey Musgraves. She loves pizza, sparkly dresses, movies, singing, looking at books - not even reading books. She said looking at books.


MUSGRAVES: She don't like bedtime. She don't like bugs. And she don't like the word no. And I'm like, still true. Hey, at least I'm still me.

SAGAL: I know. Wow. You're still...

MUSGRAVES: I'm like, check, check, check, check. I love looking at books, and I hate the word no.

SAGAL: Were you one of those kids who, like, was - just knew you were destined for stardom? Or has it all been sort of like a weird thing that you never expected to happen, everything that's happened?

MUSGRAVES: Well, I lived in Austin before Nashville. I think it was my parents way of saying, all right, you can give the music industry on your own kind of a shot. And yeah, I mean, there were some really awkward times, just eating a bunch of ramen noodles and, yeah, trying to make some ends meet.

SAGAL: Did you have any, like, really weird gigs as a struggling musician? Were you like, all right, they're paying me, I'll show up?

MUSGRAVES: Oh, I've definitely played some very strange gigs, for sure. But I guess one of the most memorable things that I have done, which - it doesn't really pertain to music that much, but when I came to Nashville, I had this other friend who worked for this company who - they did children's birthday parties. Like, you would dress up in a costume as, you know, Cinderella or Ariel and come, you know, change the lives of these birthday children and paint faces and, like, you know, have the best time, make, like, 100 bucks and then get out of there. And I was like, OK, hell yeah. Like, I'll sign up for that. Like, that sounds really wholesome and fun.

So I signed up for this job. The first gig that I got with them was to go to this park. It was a kid's birthday party, and they requested Miley Cyrus - no, excuse me. They requested Hannah Montana. And I was like, OK. So they gave me this, like, terrible, terrible wig. And I had to put, like, an outfit together that kind of looked like Hannah Montana. I had a boombox. And I had to - the idea was that I'd get out of my car, which was a really beat-up Honda Element from 2006. So I get out of my green Honda Element. I press play on the - like, the "Hannah Montana" theme song. And I, like, go up to the kids at the birthday party. They're not impressed at all. They're like, you ain't the real Hannah Montana. They're, like, tugging at my wig. I, like, paint a couple faces. The mom pays me in change, and she's like, I don't know. Here - dumps a bunch of change in a bag at me. And then...

SAGAL: Change? She gave you, like, coins?

MUSGRAVES: It was, like, mostly change, yeah.


MUSGRAVES: And I was like, OK. Cool.

SAGAL: It clinked. All right.

MUSGRAVES: The next day, actually, I get a call from the same company. And they're like, all right, we have another birthday party. And I was like, cool. I'm like, fingers crossed it's, like, Ariel, you know, Snow White or Belle or something. And they're like, so this one, it's a little different. They're looking for a French maid to deliver balloons to a birthday boy. It's, like, an industry birthday party down at the Palm restaurant downtown.

SAGAL: A French maid...

MUSGRAVES: And I was like...

SAGAL: ...To deliver balloons. How old was this boy? Do you know?

MUSGRAVES: I was like - thank God that I had, like, a shred of dignity because I was like, absolutely not. And I said no. And it turned out to be a birthday party for Blake Shelton, who later on, you know, I would have, like, as I got into the Nashville industry, I probably would have known a lot of people in that room.



HONG: Whoa.


SAGAL: So you almost...

MUSGRAVES: And then I quit.

JOBRANI: You should have dressed as Hannah Montana and been like, hey...

MUSGRAVES: (Laughter) Yeah.

JOBRANI: ...I'm Hannah Montana.

MUSGRAVES: Hey, I'm here. I should have dressed as Blake Shelton.


SAGAL: Before we get to the game, which I'm, frankly, not looking forward to because this is too much fun, I have to ask you about your "Saturday Night Live" appearance.

MUSGRAVES: Oh, my goodness.

SAGAL: For those who haven't seen it, you do one of the songs off the new album - beautifully, of course. The lights come up. You're sitting. The lights are behind you. You're sitting cross-legged on a stool. You've got your guitar, your guitar strap. You're playing. You're singing. And it slowly becomes apparent that you are naked.

MUSGRAVES: You forgot the cowboy boots. Cowboy boots and a smile - just a typical Thursday evening, you know? It's funny. That was one of the first gigs - I think that is the first gig, maybe, that I've played with my band on this - in this chapter. And it was like, hello. Here's my butt crack.

KURTIS: (Laughter).

HONG: Very important question - did you put a Kleenex down on the stool before you sat on it?


HONG: Please say yes.

MUSGRAVES: I'm not...

SAGAL: This is network TV. They could afford a towel.

MUSGRAVES: I'm - we - I'm not going to answer that. I didn't have a Kleenex.


SAGAL: Well, Kacey Musgraves, it really is fun to talk to you, but we have business to do. We have asked you here to play a game we're calling...

KURTIS: (Singing) Oh, say, can you see?

SAGAL: So you sing...


SAGAL: ...Country music. So we were wondering what you knew about countries music - that is, national anthems. Answer two out of three questions about national anthems. You'll win our prize for one of our listeners - the voice of their choice on their voicemail. Bill, who is Kacey Musgraves playing for?

KURTIS: Emily Weaver (ph) of Boston, Mass.

SAGAL: All right. Ready to do this?

MUSGRAVES: I think so.

SAGAL: Here's your first question. The national anthem of Costa Rica was written by its composer while in jail back in the 19th century on what charge? Was it A, smuggling endangered sea turtles in his pants; B, calling the president an aardvark, a word the president did not know; or C, failing to write a national anthem.

MUSGRAVES: I'm going to go with B for some reason (laughter).

SAGAL: All right. I - this is what got you where you are, that sense of confidence. But, in fact, this time, it was actually C. He failed to - what happened was the president said, you, military band leader, I need a national anthem now. And the guy's like, I don't know how to write a national anthem. So the president threw me in jail and said, your bail - one national anthem.

MUSGRAVES: That's actually amazing.

SAGAL: Anyway. All right. You still have more chances. This is not a problem. When an Australian racer won a Formula One Grand Prix race in Austria in 1977, organizers were completely surprised. They couldn't find an Australian national anthem to play, so the winner, that Australian guy, was serenaded with what? A, a drunk guy playing "Happy Birthday To You" on a trumpet; B, two pit crew members trying to remember the words to "Waltzing Matilda" and failing; or C, the entire crowd singing "A Hundred Bottles Of Beer On The Wall" - the whole thing.

MUSGRAVES: My God. I hate this game.


MUSGRAVES: This is so much pressure. OK.

SAGAL: It - there's no pressure. Nobody cares. You have six Grammys. You get to keep them no matter what happens.

MUSGRAVES: No. Come to find out they actually revoke one each time.

SAGAL: Really? Every time you lose - exactly.


MUSGRAVES: All right. I'm going with A.

SAGAL: You're right. It was A, yes.


SAGAL: Drunk guy on trumpet - maybe it was his birthday. Who knows? All right.


SAGAL: Yes. All right. Last question - no anthem, say experts, is as hard to sing as the national anthem of Spain. Why? A, due to an old law, anybody who forgets a single word commits a felony and can be imprisoned; B, in order to be sung correctly, you have to drink an entire bottle of wine during it; or C, it has no words. It can only be hummed.

MUSGRAVES: Oh. (Humming). Why don't we do C? Like, maybe it's a humming thing.

SAGAL: Why don't we do C? It is correct.


SAGAL: There are no words for the Spanish national anthem. So before, like - when they have a baseball game in Spain, somebody has to come out and just hum the thing at home plate.

MUSGRAVES: That's even more awkward.

HONG: How do you do vocal theatrics while humming? Like - (humming).

SAGAL: I don't know. I don't know. Bill, how did Kacey Musgraves do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Kacey is very smart. She got two out of three, which makes her a winner.




SAGAL: Somewhere inside you, a Little Miss Tater Tot just smiled...

MUSGRAVES: Just received her crown.

SAGAL: ...Because she finally got - just got her validation. Kacey Musgraves - if you want to have as much fun with her as we're having right now, she's heading out on tour for her new album, "Star-Crossed," starting in St. Paul, Minn., on January 19. Kacey Musgraves, thank you so much for being with us. You are a delight. The album is amazing. Thank you so much for being on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

MUSGRAVES: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. That was really fun.

KURTIS: Bye, Kacey.

MUSGRAVES: See you all later.


MUSGRAVES: (Singing) Here's what he'll do. He'll play it cool when he hangs out with a woman like you.

SAGAL: In just a minute, Bill knocks back a few thick and chunky ones in our Listener Limerick Challenge. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to join us on the air. We'll be back in a minute with more of WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME from NPR.


KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis, and we're playing this week with Emmy Blotnick, Maz Jobrani and Helen Hong. And here, again, is your host, a man who not only tweets his Wordle scores but demanded we read them here. Today, he didn't guess it. It's Peter Sagal.

SAGAL: Thank you, Bill. In just a minute, Bill tries a-rhyme-atherapy in our Listener Limerick Challenge. If you'd like to play, give us a call at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. But right now, panel, some more questions for you from the week's news - Maz, in 2015, a bombshell scientific study claimed to have found the first-ever fossil of a four-legged snake. However, new research shows that this four-legged snake was actually what?

JOBRANI: The four-legged snake was a lizard?

SAGAL: Yeah, exactly. It was just a lizard.


SAGAL: The researchers at the University of Toronto went to look at this fossil of this ancient four-legged snake, and they discovered that it wasn't a snake. It didn't have an inflexible jaw. There was an absence of curved incisors, which snakes have, and perhaps the biggest red flag - legs.


JOBRANI: You would think somebody in that lab would've been like, guys, this is a lizard.

SAGAL: Lizard.

JOBRANI: And they're like, no.

SAGAL: It's a lizard. No. No, no, no, no.


SAGAL: It's a snake with legs.

JOBRANI: I'm sticking with the snake. I'm sticking with snake.

BLOTNICK: This kind of reminds me of the time I wore my sweatshirt inside out, and then I tried to say that it was for fashion reasons...


BLOTNICK: ...Just because I didn't want to admit the mistake.

SAGAL: Oh, yeah. Everybody's doing that now. They're wearing their sweatshirts inside out. Don't you?


JOBRANI: I'm curious where the snake legs went. Did they run into the mob, and they started getting their legs whacked off? Is that what happened?

BLOTNICK: They're in cement shoes.

SAGAL: Emmy, Pope Francis made some headlines this week after he made an unannounced visit to what?

BLOTNICK: Oh, no. I don't know. Petco?

SAGAL: Petco.

KURTIS: (Laughter) Yes.

SAGAL: No. Pope-co (ph)? No.

BLOTNICK: It's where the popes go.

SAGAL: I'll give you a hint.


SAGAL: It wasn't a Virgin Megastore. It was a Virgin Mary store.

BLOTNICK: A record store.



SAGAL: It was a record store.


SAGAL: The Pope popped into his favorite record store in Rome.

HONG: What?

SAGAL: It's called Stereo Sound. He showed up completely unannounced, and he left 10 minutes later with a new album. We don't know exactly what the album was. We're guessing it was something by his favorite artist, Iggy Pope.



HONG: Wait a minute. The pope spins vinyl?

SAGAL: Apparently, yeah. He's really into vinyl, man. He's old school. Somewhere in the Vatican, there's a sweet hi-fi setup with some black light posters and this beanbag chair. And he's like, once that Zeppelin drum solo starts, you're talking to God, man.

JOBRANI: Does he slip in alone, or does he have an entourage?

SAGAL: Well, apparently - so somebody posted a photo that was either taken by another customer or by the security camera, and it's exactly what you would expect but what you would never expect, which is the door opens - maybe there's a little bell. Ding, ding - and in walks the pope.

HONG: Wait.

SAGAL: And he's dressed like the pope. He's got the robes...

HONG: He's in his pope outfit?

SAGAL: Yes. He's got the...

HONG: Like, the robes?

SAGAL: Yeah. Yeah.


SAGAL: He's got the white robes. He's got the little white yarmulke they wear. He's got the whole thing. And it's like, hello.

HONG: It's not a yarmulke, Peter, just FYI, just...

SAGAL: It's a yarmulke. I don't care what they call it. It's a yarmulke.


SAGAL: I know it. I grew up with them. That's what it is. I'm sure if you took off the little white beanie from, like, the top of the pope's head, it would say, the bar mitzvah of Max Heschel (ph), 1983.


SAGAL: OK? I'm sure...

JOBRANI: He stole it.

SAGAL: And he kept it because you don't want to buy your own. It's white...

BLOTNICK: I had a rocking good time at Matt's jukebox-themed bar mitzvah.

SAGAL: Yes. Exactly.

BLOTNICK: Do you think the pope is, like, kicking back with a record? Or is he, like, scratching the ones and twos and doing some...

SAGAL: Is he, like - is he standing there, like, holding one cup of a headphones to his head, and he's, like, doing the whole thing?

HONG: I love it.

KURTIS: Well, I love the mystery of nobody knows what he got, right? We don't know if it was rock or opera or - it could be anything.


BLOTNICK: I mean, I pushed my ear to the glass popemobile, and I could hear it was, I think, the Replacements' 1987 "Pleased To Meet Me" album.

SAGAL: I'm sorry. Wouldn't it be funny - you're, like, in traffic in Rome. And all of a sudden, you hear, like, this, like, the deep, shaking bass, like, (vocalizing). And you turn around, and it's the popemobile.

BLOTNICK: Oh, yeah. And he's just hotboxed the [expletive] out of it.


SALES: (Singing) Pope is a rock star hoping on a late night.

SAGAL: 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. You can click the Contact Us link on our website, waitwait.npr.org. And you can see us live and in-person at the Harris Theater in Chicago on February 3 and April 7. Tickets and more information is at waitwait.npr.org.

Hi. You are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

STEVE BRUNER: Hi. This is Steve Bruner (ph) calling from Londonderry, Vt.

SAGAL: Londonderry - I've heard of Londonderry, but I've never been there. What's it like?

BRUNER: Oh, it's great. It's in an area that houses a bunch of ski areas - Stratton, Magic and Bromley.

SAGAL: Oh, yeah. What do you do there other than - you, like, apparently ski a lot.

BRUNER: Yeah. So I manage the Stratton Mountain Nordic Center. So we maintain a...


BRUNER: ...System of trails for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and fat-tire biking.

SAGAL: Wow. And what do you say to people - I know people who, like, downhill ski a lot, and they're like, why would I ever want to go Nordic skiing? That's boring, and it's slow, and you have to work at it. What do you say to them to convince them to give it a try?

BRUNER: Oh. Under your own power, getting to go through the woods and see all the beauty inherent in the forest and not just sitting on a chairlift - I think that's where it's at.

SAGAL: All right. Let the word go forth.

BRUNER: That's right. That's right.

SAGAL: Steve, welcome to the show. 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 big winner. You ready to play?


SAGAL: Here is your first limerick.

KURTIS: After boiling and skimming the froth, I invent a new cocktail, whole cloth. Thai chicken, negroni - tastes great and sounds tony. It's gin and some leftover...

BRUNER: Broth.

SAGAL: Yes, broth.


SAGAL: Are you tired of having to choose between eating soup and drinking alcohol? No? Well, too bad. This week, Campbell's joined forces with several mixologists to create recipes for soup-based cocktails. That's great. I've always wanted a Manhattan-style clam chowder Manhattan.

HONG: Eww.

SAGAL: I know.

HONG: Eww.

SAGAL: Now, we made that one up. But these are real - the mushroom truffle daiquiri...


SAGAL: ...A pork ramen margarita...


SAGAL: ...And, indeed, a Thai chicken negroni featuring chicken broth ice cubes because, as they always say, Campbell's soup is mmm, mmm (ph) wasted.

HONG: How - is this how far gone we've become during the pandemic, that we'll just find different ways to just guzzle alcohol?

SAGAL: Pretty much.

HONG: Like...

SAGAL: I have a feeling just some guy after two years of this was like, I'm just going to put vodka in my soup and save time and effort.

HONG: I bet if you have - like, if you have a milder form of COVID, this is pretty, actually, comforting, right? Like, oh, I've got these cold symptoms, but I also want to be really drunk right now.

SAGAL: And you can't taste anything, so...

BLOTNICK: Yes, exactly.

JOBRANI: The only warm alcohol that I know of is Baileys Irish Cream. That's the only one, right?

BLOTNICK: Oh, you've got to try Baileys Irish Cream of Mushroom. That's one of the best soup cocktails.


SAGAL: When you think about it, though, like, a bloody Mary is cold tomato soup with vodka.

JOBRANI: That's true.

SAGAL: I mean, let's not get too high and mighty about this.

BLOTNICK: Yeah, that's soup.

HONG: That's true. Yeah, you're right.

SAGAL: Yeah, yeah. All right. Here is your next limerick.

KURTIS: It's a ludicrous bovine hornswoggle. In VR, though, a cow's mind just boggles. Their brains may be fried, but they think they're outside. The cows in our barn all wear...

BRUNER: Goggles?

SAGAL: Goggles. Yes.


SAGAL: A farmer in Turkey has figured out how to increase production from his dairy cows. He's given them VR headsets. During the winter, when they can't go outside, he puts on a program on the VR headset that looks like a big, warm, open field. And the cows - and you have to see a picture of the cow because they have eyes on either side of their big heads - have to wear two VR goggles, one on each side. It's really weird. It - apparently, they think they're outside, and they make more milk, right?

HONG: Whoa.

SAGAL: Yeah.

HONG: Do they do the thing that I do when I have VR headsets, which is they just keep walking into walls? Because I'm like, oh, I'll just go over there. (Vocalizing).

SAGAL: (Vocalizing).


SAGAL: No, but it's really weird. You're looking at these cows, and they think - they're in the stall, and they think they're outside enjoying life on a farm. And you realize they're caught in the moo-trix (ph).


HONG: Peter, please.

SAGAL: I'm sorry. Here's your last limerick.

KURTIS: The helmets we Vikings have worn were simple and sleek, unadorned. In a fight, we'd be screwed with two things that protrude, so our helmets did not feature...

BRUNER: Horns.

SAGAL: Right. Horns.


SAGAL: Vikings, it turns out, did not really wear helmets like they do in all the pictures of Vikings with horns. It's a revelation that sent shock waves both through the archaeology and Minnesota sporting goods communities. So they had these horned helmets that they thought were Viking helmets dating from around the year 1000, but it turns out they've been dated much, much earlier, back to the Bronze Age. It's a little surprising it took this long to figure that out. I mean, they are made of bronze - kind of a clue there, right? Well, if you think about it, I mean, aren't horns on a helmet really dumb? Because if you're fighting somebody and he's got horns on his helmet, you just reach down, pull on the horn. He can't see. You just pulled his helmet down in front of his eyes.

HONG: I thought the horns were, like, detachable, and you would fill them with mead. You know, you always had, like, a wine - a beer-drinking receptacle.

SAGAL: Well, if you think about it, yes. You've got, like, a wine stein.

HONG: Yeah.

SAGAL: And - as it were - and if it's Rosh Hashana during a Viking raid, you got your shofar right there.

HONG: Yeah. Exactly.

BLOTNICK: You guys are really making these helmets sound like Swiss Army knives. I hadn't thought of it this way.

SAGAL: It's true.


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

KURTIS: Boy, did Steve do well - three in a row. And a champ he is.

SAGAL: Well, congratulations, Steve. Well done.

BRUNER: Thank you. Thank you. Come visit sometime.

SAGAL: Take care.


SAGAL: Now it's time for our final game, guys, Lightning Fill in the Blank. Each of our players will have 60 seconds in which to answer as many fill-in-the-blank questions as they can, each correct answer now worth two points. Bill, can you give us the scores?

KURTIS: Helen has 2. Maz has 2. Wait for it. Emmy has 4.

SAGAL: Oh, my goodness, Emmy.


BLOTNICK: I have never not lost, I think. This is really big for me.

SAGAL: Well, you haven't won yet, so don't get too excited.

BLOTNICK: I did. I did just get too excited.

SAGAL: You did. You got a little too excited. I will arbitrarily pick Helen to go first. So, Helen, the clock will start when I begin your first question. Fill in the blank. On Thursday, the Supreme Court blocked Biden's blank mandate for large employers.

HONG: Vaccine.


SAGAL: Yes. This week a new report warned that U.S. blank had risen 7% in the past year.

HONG: Inflation.


SAGAL: Yes. Following another missile test, the U.S. imposed even more sanctions against blank.

HONG: North Korea?


SAGAL: Right. This week, an industrial facility in Australia proudly announced it will only use renewable energy while it blanks.

HONG: Ruins the environment.


SAGAL: Exactly, by shipping millions of tons of coal to power plants. This week, two cops in LA were fired after it was revealed that instead of responding to a call about a robbery, they blanked.

HONG: Joined the robbers.

SAGAL: No. Instead, they went to find a Snorlax in a Pokemon Go game.


SAGAL: The men were fired shortly after video from their squad car showed them turning down the robbery call so they could drive around LA looking for virtual Pokemon.


SAGAL: It's true. They immediately appealed the ruling and apologized for their misdeeds, insisting that whether it's Pokemon or bad guys, they were determined to catch them all - didn't work. They were fired. Bill, how did Helen do on our quiz?

KURTIS: She had four right for 8 more points, and with 10, she moves into the lead.


SAGAL: All right. That would mean, Maz, you are up next. Please fill in the blank. On Monday, New York City passed a law allowing non-citizens to blank in municipal elections.


SAGAL: Yes. This week, the White House announced they would send schools 10 million blank tests every month.


SAGAL: Right. On Tuesday, the Department of Justice announced the formation of a new unit handling blank.

JOBRANI: Domestic terrorism.

SAGAL: Right. Just seconds after surviving a crash landing, the pilot of a small plane in California was shocked when his plane blanked.

JOBRANI: Exploded.

SAGAL: Not quite - was hit by a train because he landed on train tracks. On Monday, workers at a Starbucks in Cleveland became the latest to file for blank.


SAGAL: Yes. On Wednesday, a court allowed the FTC's antitrust complaint against social media giant blank to proceed.

JOBRANI: Facebook.

SAGAL: Yes. A British power company was criticized this week for suggesting customers lower their heating bills by blanking.

JOBRANI: Wearing sweaters.

SAGAL: No. They suggested that customers lower their heating bills by cuddling with their pets. The SSE Energy Services has all sorts of fun, cost-saving ways to stay warm. Just, quote, "have a cuddle with your pets" - and this is true - do jumping jacks. The company has apologized for their insensitivity. It says they have a better solution for people who can't afford their current heating bills. The company is working to heat the entire planet to a comfortable 130 degrees. Bill, how did Maz do on our quiz?

KURTIS: Well, Maz got five right for 10 more points. He now has 12 and the lead.


SAGAL: All right. So how many, then, does Emmy need to win for the first time?

KURTIS: Four to tie, five to win.

SAGAL: Wow. All right.

BLOTNICK: OK. All right.

SAGAL: Here we go, Emmy. Are you ready? You ready to do this? You feeling confident?

BLOTNICK: I am ready.

SAGAL: OK. We'll just go with ready. Here we go. This is for the game. Fill in the blank. On Wednesday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he would not voluntarily appear before the blank Committee.

BLOTNICK: January 6.

SAGAL: Right. On Tuesday, Pfizer announced they were working on a vaccine specifically targeted at blank.

BLOTNICK: Omicron?

SAGAL: Right. Following four hours of talks, NATO's negotiations with Russia about troop buildup on the border of blank ended in a stalemate.

BLOTNICK: Ukraine.

SAGAL: Yes. According to newly released data, the past seven years have been the blankest on record.

BLOTNICK: Sexiest. No, hottest.

SAGAL: Right. Thanks to a computer error, self-checkout lanes at a grocery chain in England required anyone purchasing blanks to be over 18.

BLOTNICK: Cigarettes.

SAGAL: No, sausages. Though it wasn't televised, the winners of the blank Awards were revealed via tweet on Sunday.

BLOTNICK: Golden Globes.

SAGAL: Yes. Best known as the leader of the Ronettes, blank passed away at the age of 78.


SAGAL: Ronnie?

BLOTNICK: Spector.

SAGAL: Yes. This week, the nation of Turkmenistan disappointed tourists by announcing plans to close one of their most popular tourist attractions, a blank.


SAGAL: A giant pit filled with burning natural gas. The burning pit is called the Gates of Hell. It's been on fire since the 1970s, but the country of Turkmenistan finally announced plans to fill in the pit this week as part of the country's harsh new immigration limits on demons.


BLOTNICK: Well, thank God for that.

SAGAL: Yes. Bill, did Emmy do well enough to win?

KURTIS: You got six right for 12 more points. It means with 16, you are this week's champion.


BLOTNICK: Oh, my God. I got to call my mother. Something terrible has to happen now, you know?


BLOTNICK: It's - this is, like, such good news.

SAGAL: In just a minute, we'll ask our panelists to predict, after the big heart transplant, what will be the next newsmaking thing a pig will do? Now, panel, what will be the next thing a pig does to make the news? Emmy Blotnick.

BLOTNICK: Wear lipstick and look amazing.


SAGAL: Maz Jobrani.

JOBRANI: The first news program with talking pigs will be launched on Fox News, and they will call it "Prosciutto, Con-sciutto (ph)."


SAGAL: And Helen Hong.

HONG: There's so many billionaires going to space. Why not pigs?


KURTIS: You're right. And if a pig does any of those things, we'll ask you about it on WAIT, WAIT, DON'T TELL ME.

SAGAL: Thank you, Bill Kurtis. Thanks also to Emmy Blotnick, Maz Jobrani and Helen Hong. Thanks to all of you for listening. I am Peter Sagal. We'll see you next week.


SAGAL: This is NPR. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.