Note 1: Click on the
button to see the question's thread in Google Groups, in
a new browser window. (At the time this page was created, Google wasn't formatting the results very
helpfully. To get a threaded view it was necessary to select a post, then click on Options,
then on View as tree. Of course, things might have changed since then.)
Note 2: Hints, answers, explanations, and comments are initially
concealed. To reveal a single hint, answer, or explanation, click
and drag over the area to the right of the "H" or "A" or "E" or "C" .
To reveal all answers and explanations, click
E. Inari and sake are rice spirits; dryad and methanol are wood spirits.
Q-1. July teaser: Safari
SF conventions usually have at least Guest of Hono(u)r, or GoH. What kind of GoH should a Harry Potter convention
For extra kudos, explain the connection with safaris.
Q Zero My first is in feet but not in net Second in Avon and Po Third in boat but out of debt Last is in pad
Do you know
E. The question was hidden, and existence of its
whereabouts was mentioned by the Panel numerous times, but no one found it. It was an acrostic formed from the first
letters of the subject (slug) lines of questions 1-90, in order.
Q1. Question about neurotics
analog, erotic video, a comedian, a ministrant, most irate, my anger, enemy, acrimonies, bare mud, a garden,
spa region, rumba, diners' waltz, tango, safari touch, Englander, lenient ethics, noisy peal, regalia, chain,
pure, old animals, I am near, serial, penalties, earlier eons, braise, an ingrate, gnome tenor, bag handles aneurism
panel, reign, no radar
A. they're all anagrams of countries.
E. analog, (Angola) erotic video (Cote D'Ivoire) a comedian, (Macedonia) a ministrant (Saint Martin) most irate
(East Timor) my anger, (Germany) enemy (Yemen) acrimonies, (Micronesia) bare mud, (Bermuda) a garden, (Grenada)
spa region (Singapore) rumba, (Burma) diners' waltz (Switzerland) tango (Tonga) safari touch (South Africa) Englander,
(Greenland) lenient ethics, (Liechtenstein) noisy peal (Polynesia) regalia, (Algeria) chain, (China) pure, (Peru)
old animals (Somaliland) I am near (Armenia) serial, (Israel) penalties, (Palestine) earlier eons, (Sierra Leone)
braise, (Serbia) an ingrate, (Argentina) gnome tenor (Montenegro) bag handles (Bangladesh) aneurism (Suriname)
panel, (Nepal) reign, (Niger) no radar (Andorra)
I've always been intrigued by the exotic-sounding name of the active ingredient of a medicine I sometimes
use. I finally got around to investigating, and a fascinating read it has been, leading me to, inter alia, Dava
Sobel's "Longitude" and a famous hapax. What's the stuff?
We have a set of five answers for you, Jeopardy!-style. Supply the category; for added sheep, supply appropriate
Hal and Alice's daughter. My eye. Alfre Woodard. Sanders-Little. Rancho Mirage.
A. Betty. Who is Betty Cooper? What's the now-two-word phrase that once contained "Betty Martin"? Who played Betty
on _Desperate Housewives_? What would Betty Shabazz' real name be if she hyphenated? Where's the Betty Ford Clinic?
Q6. Mystery illness
I checked the etymology of what seems to be wrong with my mother-in-law, but she swears that it's other parts
of her anatomy that are troubling her. What do I think is the matter with her?
Q7. Years of our lives
I'm in Napeague State Park. I have no flashlight. Whither am I headed?
E. The man pictured is Walter Boron, Professor of Cellular and Molecular Physiology at the Yale University School
of Medicine, and editor of _News in Physiological Sciences_. Boron is the element with atomic number five.
We're not sure whether it was included in the episode shown on the BBC on 9 February 2005, but can you tell
you tell us what its first word is?
E. First transmission of "The Rotters' Club", BBC dramatisation of Jonathan Coe's novel of the same name, which
contains a 13,955-word sentence, supposedly the longest in the English language.
Laura F. Spira
Q11. Switch off your mobile (cell) phones, please
In which city on which date was a ringing telephone during a musical performance greeted with amusement? Name
the composer, the conductor, the piece and, if you can, the number -- opus, not phone.
A. Vienna, 1 Jan 2006, "The Telephone Polka" op.165 Eduard Strauss, Mariss Jansons
Q12. Train of thought
A recent posting by Arcadian Rises about sex with plants led a panelist to think about sex between humans
and organisms of other kingdoms, naturally, and then to wonder about the love life of a former sports champion.
Who was the champion?
A. Rod Laver.
E. Laver is a seaweed.
Q13. I wasn't very well
Which ailment connects Raynerius, December, tellurium, oysters and six gentlemen?
Paraphrase these sentences to show what they have in common. (As usual, once you get the answer, you'll feel
sure it's right.)
"Wrangell Island is rightfully American territory--could you open a little wider, please?--and we should be
demanding it back instead of trying to turn it over to the Russians." "As the leader of the people, I present
this protest." "That cell is where we put sailors who get too smart."
H. Another title we considered was
A. The dentist is an irredentist. The demarch made a demarche. The brig is for the bright.
Name a word (not a name) with a silent letter that was added without justification in any ancestor of the word.
A. 'Ptarmigan'. M-W says "modification of Scottish Gaelic tarmachan". Nothing to do with Greek or words with a p.
C. There are probably other answers. --Jerry
Q19. End result
If it's a slaughter, Slaughter is joined by Taylor and even Black. What is this about?
A. Skat or schafkopf, or any card game that counts "matadors" in the score and has bonuses for
"schneider" (a lopsided win) or "schwarz" (a shutout).
Q20. Tangled verbs
A,B and C are verbs (in the infinitive) with past participles D, E and F respectively. A and B have the same
spelling; C and D likewise have the same spelling. B and C are spelt differently; D and E are also spelt differently.
Find a set of English verbs A, B and C satisfying these criteria.
A. wind (wound), wind (winded) and wound (wounded), for example
Q21. Bend around
What two items are found in the grocery store and in a well-known opera? Please explain the connection to
the slug line.
H. The number is a trio.
H. The slug could have been "Benz around".
A. Melons! Coupons!
E. With a circumflex over the e and one over the u, that's the title of the fortune-telling scene in /Carmen/. ("Let's
shuffle! Let's cut!") "Bending around" is a translation of "circumflex".
E. Benz for Mercedes, one of the characters who sings the number.
Q22. Useful in many circumstances
What links the following:
peasant after 1861
never been to sea
tropical storm e4
"If you take my advice--oh, then do it your own way."
A. All swear-words used by Captain Haddock in the Tintin books.
E. Ichneutae = acting the goat. peasant after 1861 = Moujik. leaderless warrior = Bashi-basouk. smallpox scar =
pockmark. never been to sea = landlubber. brigand = pirate. obstructive speech = filibuster. tropical storm e4
= 10,000 thundering typhoons. Arlecchino = harlequin. monotreme = duck-billed platypus. ghostly substance = ectoplasm.
"If you take my advice--oh, then do it your own way." = anacoluthon. lie detector = polygraph. rollmops = pickled
herrings. Dick Turpin = Highwayman. cave dweller = troglodyte.
E. The pictures represent, in order, jump boot, Jumpluff, jump page, jump ring, jumpseat, and jump shot. Of the
six four-letter counterparts' respective second letters, o, u, a, i, e, and h, one, h, is odd, in that it's a consonant.
E. These are the men on the street interviewed weekly in The Onion, each week with a different name and occupation.
msh210 and Adrian Bailey
Buren is to clean as Beauvoir is to shiny as Ashan is to what?
E. Martin (van Buren): martinizing makes something clean. Simone (de Beauvoir): simonizing makes something shiny.
Eddie (McAshan): edifying makes something knowledgeable. And in the slug line, Real (McCoy).
Q35. Opposition and baking
The grandfather--one of the most important figures in prewar British politics; the granddaughter--an okay
postwar actress. Perhaps unsurprisingly, she gets 750,000 ghits to his 55,000. Name them.
A. George and Angela Lansbury
Q36. New International
Seven successive entries in the W3NID have the following definitions. Which entries?
A. Fykie, fyle, fylfot, fyrd, fytte, fz, g.
Q37. Did I change in days of old?
What do the words SET, DRENCH, WEND, FELL, REAR and LAY have in common?
A. They are all from Class I weak verbs in Old English derived regularly as the causative of a corresponding strong
E. The corresponding strong verbs in Modern English are of course SIT, DRINK, WIND, FALL, RISE AND LIE. The rule
governing this derivation is addition of the infinitival ending -jan to the preterite (sing.) of the strong verb.
The /j/ of the ending then gave rise to i-mutation of the root vowel and was subsequently lost. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I-mutation
). For example, 'settan' was derived from 'sittan' (the OE forerunners of 'set' and 'sit' resp.) thus: sittan (pret.
s??t) -> s??tjan ->
Q38. It's a food word
This word looks like a translation from German or a Hobson-Jobson from French. What word is it and what is
A. Cutlet, from French /côtelette/, ultimately from Latin /costa/, rib. AHD mentions no connection to German /Schnitzel/.
Q39. Not hockey
0 40 20 60 20 25 50 25 ?
E. scores on a dartboard, starting at the top and moving vertically down the board
Q40. All of them are like that
Who might have been mistaken for Superman, owned many cows, and found the closet too dark?
H. STS warning
A. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
E. Mnemonics for beginnings of movements from his fortieth symphony: "It's a bird, it's a plane, no it's Mozart!" "Oh,
Mo-zaart had a herd of cattle." "Mozart's in the closet--let him out, let him out, let him out! Mozart's in the
closet--let him out, let him out, let him out! It's dark, it's dark in here! It's dark, it's dark in here!"
E. The ratio reads: "Fifth is to fluid ounce as inch is to what?" Then just do the (almost exact) arithmetic.
Q43. New vocable
I walked into the bank today with some things, including a paper, and walked out with the same things, except
that the paper now had more writing on it. While I was in there, I added a word to my vocabulary. The word starts
with 'j'; what is it?
"The work is incomplete, as it was originally intended that each character would tell four tales, two on the way
to Canterbury and two on the return journey. This would have meant a possible one hundred and twenty tales which
would have dwarfed the twenty-four tales actually written."
Q46. Double Jeopardy
We have a set of five answers for you, Jeopardy!-style. Supply the category; for added sheep, supply appropriate
Anthrocon. Life. Plas Newydd. Slow Hand. Wampus Cats.
A. Conway. What does Samuel Conway head up? What did J.H. Conway invent? Where's the HMS Conway, a stone frigate?
What did Conway Twitty famously cover? What's the Conway (Arkansas) High School sports team?
I'm reading a book that has every letter of the alphabet on its cover except R, V, W, X, Y, and Z. What book?
A. _Quiddities_, by Quine.
E. As to the slug line, note that, if infinite programs were allowed, then print(print(...)) would be a quine.
Q48. Obscure in nature
A panelist on a recent foreign trip had occasion to use a word--some might call it a proper noun--that is
found on the Web and in books but is not in the OED or Webster's Third. It was apparently used in French earlier
but is not in any French dictionary he could find. What is the word? A Cormo is available for a documented etymology
(including documentation of "origin unknown").
H. In English this word always collocates with a common word, but that's not true in French.
H. This question is not Google-proof.
A. Baglafecht (as in baglafecht weaver, /Ploceus baglafecht/, an African bird called "le baglafecht" by Daudin and
Q49. Translation, please
The 3059 was 4658 because the 3037 was 4673. The 4420 asked what had happened.
"After the 4135 3072 3075, who had 4271, 4576 4779 with a 4726 4767." "So what did you do, 3277?" "Kept it as
A. The crown prince was boiling because the queen was blackeyed. The king royal asked what had happened. "After
the gala, large Lady Baldwin, who had champagne, sticks sweet mama with a long, white golden nugget." "So what
did you do, baby?"
"Kept it as a fine!"
A sheep is available for the first competitor to list twenty correct answers (and match them to the correct
pictures). An additional sheep for whoever gets the balance.
A. Reading across the rows from left to right: Top row: the bunnies from _The Runaway Bunny_; Thumper from Disney's
_Bambi_, the hare statue in Copley Square, Boston; the Stanford bunny; the Duplo (Lego) logo, Little Nutbrown Hare
and Big Nutbrown Hare from _Guess How Much I Love You_; Oolong. 2nd row: a Faroese hare on a Faroese postage stamp;
the logo for Vysm'at'y Zaj'ic, a restaurant in Prague; tile in Louvre from Zakariya al-Qazwini's book; Trix cereal
mascot; picture on wall from the 1998 film _Bunny_; _Nature morte aux troph'ees de chasse, au li`evre et au perdreau_
by Jan Weenix. 3rd row: from _Goodnight Moon_; the velveteen rabbit; _Thinker on Rock_; Rabbit from Disney's _Winnie
the Pooh_; Quik mascot (Quicky, except stateside); Roger Rabbit; statue of Brer Rabbit in Eatonton, Georgia, USA;
Bunny Rabbit from _Captain Kangaroo_; Peter Rabbit from the 1965 book; _Playboy_ logo. Last row: South Dakota State
University Jackrabbits logo; Bugs Bunny; Energizer Bunny; Duracell Bunny; White Rabbit from _Alice_; Hip Hop, the
Philadelphia 76ers' mascot.
Q53. Don't worry
I changed my surname when I was naturalized, translating it from an eighteen-letter German name to an eleven-letter
English name. What is the English name?
E. The slug line refers to the subtitle of the book.
Q54. Inca problem
Phonetically speaking, where is five usually replaced by a capital?
Phonetically speaking, where is
"five" usually replaced by a blunder?
A. Spain (other than Andalusia)
E. "cinco" -> "thinko"
C. Maybe "Spain" should be accepted, with a Herdwick or two for excepting Andalusia. -JF
Q56. Blessed is He who cometh in the name of the Lord.
BEATUS QUARE DOMINE CUM VERBA ... What comes next?
E. They are the first word of the incipit of the first five psalms in Latin: 1. Beatus vir, qui non abiit, &c.
2. Quare fremuerunt gentes? 3. Domine, quid multiplicati? 4. Cum invocarem 5. Verba mea auribus The incipit of
the sixth psalm is 6. Domine, ne in furore
Two university teachers in Columbus share a surname that seems quite appropriate, given the opinion of Dave
Gorman (and others) about the cityfolk. Sum their phone numbers (excluding area codes).
He won a spelling bee, and was extremely proud of himself. In salute, he shot his pistol into the air, not realizing
the bullet could hit something or somebody. It went extremely high and hit a propeller plane. That caused the
plane to wave its wings, which the shooter took as friendly. But when the plane starting coming down, he felt
lower than a worm. He saw the plane arch through the air; the pilot was trying to land it safely. He said, "I'd
better hide -- go underground -- bar the door -- they're going to come and arrest me."
H. abracadabra, alakazam, hocus pocus, hey presto
A. Each sentence contains the name of one of the tetrahexes (respectively, bee, pistol, propeller, wave, worm, arch,
A. map1, Forest Park in St. Louis, MO; map2, Green Bay, WI; map3, Boulder, CO; map4, Williamsburg and Newport News
[accept either], VA; map5, Matagorda Bay and Matagorda Peninsula [accept either], TX; map6, Cincinnati, OH
Airlines, Broadcasting, City, data, European, fibered, Generale, hash, Intelligence, Johnson, karabin, ljudska,
message, nervous, our, Partei, sonar and underwater sound, River, Service, ____, ....
E. The items are the expanded versions of abbreviations 'A', 'B', etc., where the letters appear in acronyms 'SAS',
'SBS', etc; the next item is then the expanded version of 'T' in 'STS'.
E. For the curious, 'SQS' is a designation on sonar systems. What the letters stand for is defined by the JETDS,
which you can look up online: it turns out the 'Q' stands for 'sonar and underwater sound'.
Q66. Only if
There's a common phrase that appears in "if" clauses, but what you would expect to be its declarative and
interrogative equivalents don't exist. What is it?
When they arrived at the big house, he correctly assumed that the name he saw was the name of the owner, rather
than the name of the house, though it could conceivably have been either. What was the "owner's" real name?
A. Phillip Vandamm
E. A scene in Hitchcock's "North By Northwest"
Q69. Electric "Friends"?
Discussion of a certain phrase in an a.u.e. thread this year touched on which noble family who did much to
bring Baghdad into the eighth century?
E. Although uncommon these days, Malay was traditionally written in the Arabic script, called Jawi in Malay. (Bonus:
This letter is in fact the loyal address of the Legislative Council of the Federation of Malaya on behalf of the
Malayan people to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of Her coronation. Although neither the name of
the queen nor the date is actually mentioned therein, the context is sufficient to uniquely identify the monarch
Which linguistic fruit is apparently commoner in China than in Finland or Turkey?
"Things are different in languages with other sorts of writing systems. Mandarin eggcorns will be even easier to
detect than English ones. Finnish or Turkish eggcorns will almost all be hidden. An eggcorn hunt in Helsinki or
Istanbul will be a tough undertaking indeed, while one in Beijing will be a breeze."
E. Four-dot symbol is to colon as colon is to period: halve each.
Q86. Officially more or less
What's so famous, metaphorically, etymologically and US-historically speaking, about one of the least significant
of the Quantock Hills?
A. Buncombe (Hill) gave its name to a family, one of the descendents of which was the war hero for whom Buncombe
County, North Carolina, was named. And the rest, as they say, is history.
E. The question and the title allude to Henry Ford's famous remark.
Some time ago, a panelist asked in sci.lang for two words that have similar meanings and appear to be cognates
(according to the rules of historical linguistics) but are unrelated. One example requires relaxation of the
requirement that they be words but gives us the possibility of a third element. We present this question without
malicious trickery in the hope that you will answer it without error. What are the two (or three)
A. mis- from Teutonic (related to "miss") and from French (related to "minus"). The third "word" is "miso-", from
E. "malicious trickery" is supposed to suggest "mischief";
"error" is supposed to suggest "mistake".
The first time, this plural-seeming noun takes a plural verb, but the second and third times it takes a singular
verb. Elsewhere, it occurs attributively, so it's naturally singular in form. What is it?
E. And so castles made of sand fall in the sea, eventually.... And so castles made of sand melts into the sea, eventually....
And so castles made of sand slips into the sea, eventually.... --Jimi Hendrix, "Castles Made of Sand". The "elsewhere" is "Spanish
Q90. One is missing
What genus is named for its description but sounds like it's named for the Holy Family?
E. Chris' and the mum.
Q91. What (but not who)
If you're not Annie Sullivan, a man who stayed home from work today, Sigmund Freud, Paul Carrack, David Copperfield
or Sissy Spacek's father, and you've never been hoist by a petar, what exactly are you?
A. a doctor
E. Dammit, Jim, I'm a doctor, not a: Miracle worker (Annie Sullivan); bricklayer (man who stayed home from work
today, as in the joke); Psychiatrist (Sigmund Freud); Mechanic (Paul Carrack); Magician (David Copperfield); coal
miner (Sissy Spacek's father); engineer (hoist by a petar)