Questions and Answers

SDC 2000: Contents Bottom


Toughies 1 2 3 4 5
Regular questions 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95

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Toughie #1: Describe the preparation of a chip butty in exacting detail with precise English grammar.

Aaron J Dinkin (with grateful appreciation to Laura Spira and Stephen Toogood):
>Put a pot of beef dripping on to heat at a low temperature. Peel four
>large floury-variety potatoes, rinse them, and put them into a bowl
>of cold water. Cut the potatoes into strips that are approximately
>half an inch wide and two inches long. Put the chips in a bowl of
>fresh water until the beef dripping has reached 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
>For best results, cook the chips in batches so they don't all lump
>together. Take the first batch out of the water, dry the chips off,
>put them into a chip basket, and lower them into the beef dripping.
>Let them cook for five to six minutes, or until they get 
>flabby-looking and are soft but not browned; drain them; and put them  
>to one side. Raise the temperature of the beef dripping to 360 degrees  
>Fahrenheit and plunge the chips into the hot beef dripping to brown.
>This should only take two to three minutes. Afterwards, put the chips
>on a hot serving dish and keep them warm in the oven at 275 F. Spread
>white bread thickly with butter. Make a half-sandwich of the bread
>and chips by folding single slices of white bread around generous
>helpings of chips, adding salt, vinegar, and ketchup. A good chip 
>butty should have more chips than bread and should ooze butter and
>ketchup when bitten. Serve with a glass of beer.

Toughie #2: Radiant Countenance, Long White Mountains, Elegant Ornament, and one more

Dan Karp:
>Jade Years.
>Tan Yu Ling was "Jade Years" and Li Yu Chin was "Jade Lute".  Both
>   were consorts while P'u Yi was Emperor of Manchukuo, reigning as
>   K'ang Teh ("Tranquility and Virtue").
>Info taken from .

Toughie #3: Add one more to complete this series: Orlando Furioso, Orlando Innamorato, Ogier the Dane, and ?

Aaron J Dinkin:
>Morgan le Fay?


Gwen Lenker:
>"Outside the Arthurian stories, Morgan appears in the romance Ogier
>the Dane as the lady of Avalon, and in Ariosot's Orlando Furioso as
>the enchantress Morgana, living under a lake. She gives her name to
>the Fata Morgana, a mirage seen in the Straits of Messina, once
>attributed to her magic.

Toughie #4: Add another name to this list such that it is consistent and meaningful: Anita Loos, Margaret Langdon, Edna Ferber, and ?

Aaron J Dinkin
>Frances Hodgson Burnett.
>(All four are women who have written novels on which a well-known Broadway
>musical was based: respectively, _Gentlemen Prefer Blonds_, _Anna and the
>King of Siam_ [which became _The King and I], _Show Boat_, and _The Secret

Toughie #5: If an infinite number of rednecks riding in an infinite number of pickup trucks fire an infinite number of shotgun rounds at an infinite number of highway signs, what will happen?

>Strictly speaking the answer is indeterminate since infinity is not a
>well-defined number. Contrast the three following examples:
>First case: We have N pick-up trucks carrying 2N rednecks and there are
>N/5 highway signs. If we assume that the rednecks all fire their first
>round at the same time then after the first round of shots there will
>be on average 10 shots through each highway sign. In the limit where N
>tends to infinity, with probability 1 we can say that the complete
>works of Shakespeare (and any other work of literature for that matter)
>will appear an infinite number of times. The same will hold after each
>further round of shots.
>Second case: We have N pick-up trucks carrying 2N rednecks and there
>are N/5 highway signs. This time we assume that the rednecks all fire
>their shots randomly, and take a finite amount of time to reload. In
>the limit N tends to infinity, at any instant with probability 1 the
>complete works of Shakespeare will appear an infinite number of times.
>However each appearance will only last for an infinitesimal amount of
>time until further shots make the text unreadable.
>Third case: We have N*N pick-up trucks carrying 2N*N rednecks and there
>are N/5 highway signs. If we assume that the rednecks all fire their
>first round at the same time then after the first round of shots there
>will be on average 10N shots through each highway sign. In the limit
>where N tends to infinity with probability 1 we can say that the
>highway signs will be completely obliterated instantaneously, and the
>complete works of Shakespeare will hence never appear on the signs.
>In summary, in the first case the complete works of Shakespeare appear
>an infinite number of times. In the second case the complete works of
>Shakespeare also appear an infinite number of times but are only ever
>present for an instant. In the third case the complete works of
>Shakespeare never appear.
>It is a simple matter to invent some even more ridiculous examples, but
>the conclusion is that the answer is indeterminate based on the
>information provided.

Now for the regular questions...

1. What English word is used to describe the morsel of dark meat in the front hollow of the side bone of a chicken?

Gwen Lenker:

2. This 18th century physician believed that illness was caused by an imbalance of invisible fluids in the body. In developing a cure using magnets, his name was adopted into the English language as an eponym. Who was he?

Richard Fontana:
>Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815).

3. Please give the English word for a written document whose etymology ultimately leads to a Greek word for "Treasury"?

Evan Kirshenbaum:
>MW gives the etymology as
>   New Latin, from Latin, treasure, collection, from Greek _thEsauros_
>and the online Liddell-Scott-Jones dictionary gives
>"thêsaurophulakion" as a Greek word meaning "treasury".

4. Please give a 15 letter English word that contains no repeated letters.

Evan Kirshenbaum:
>    Main Entry: der·ma·to·glyph·ics
>    Pronunciation: "d&r-m&-t&-'gli-fiks
>    Function: noun plural but singular or plural in construction
>    Etymology: dermat- + Greek glyphein to carve + English -ics --
>               more at CLEAVE 
>    Date: 1926
>    1 : skin patterns; especially : patterns of the specialized skin
>        of the inferior surfaces of the hands and feet 
>    2 : the science of the study of skin patterns
>    - der·ma·to·glyph·ic /-fik/ adjective


Gwen Lenker:
> Uncopyrightable

5. While travelling through an ancient forest, you encounter a heavily armed dwarf accompanied by a minstrel. What is the correct greeting in this situation?

>One of,
>Hail and well met.
>Howdy Rumplestiltskin, long time no see!
Aaron J Dinkin:
>Is there an explanation for this one?
Garry J. Vass:
>Fair enough.
>Given that the dwarf is heavily armed, it is a safe bet that she expects
>trouble in the forest; and is at a clear disadvantage in combat because a
>minstrel generally cannot heal serious wounds.  Hence, although deadly
>dangerous in combat, she will engage in combat only as a last resort.  She
>is unable to heal any wounds she might endure.  That's why she's waiting for
>your greeting.
>Given that you were not cut down as you approached by a bolt from the
>minstrel's crossbow, there's a good chance she suspects you might be useful.
>Given that you are human (that's a fair bet), it is probable that you
>possess innate healing ability, healing potions (important to the dwarf),
>and more importantly, charisma (important to the minstrel).
>Being human, you realise that the dwarf can provide [1] invaluable
>protection against hostile adversaries; and [2] inflict serious damage in
>melee combat.
>And the minstrel can [1] assist in your understanding of lore; [2] gather
>information; [3] provide a ranged weapon in combat (crossbow); [4] barter
>for food and supplies; and [5] perhaps pick a few locks here and there where
>Based upon this, it makes sense to befriend them, to demonstrate human
>charisma, and to offer a greeting which is acknowledged by dwarven folk as
>friendly:  "Hail and well met".
>That's the explanation.  Had it been a dwarf and a mage (or anything else),
>the answer would have been *completely* different.
>I might add that this was a *very* tough question, and it's quite pleasing
>that Fabian managed to sort it.

6. What anniversary will occur on May 11th, 2001? What does "The Cat in the Hat" at Santa Cruz Operations have to do with it?

Gwen Lenker:
>The tenth anniversary of the creation of alt.usage.english.
>David Bedno, who sometimes used the nickname, "The Cat in the ,"
>sent the control message that started it all.

7. What connects Charles Dickens to a "little jumping flea"?

Richard Fontana:
>Dickens => Tiny Tim (_A Christmas Carol_) => Tiny Tim (ukelele performer)
>=> ukelele means "little jumping flea"  in Hawaiian.

8. What's the name of the tingling sensation one experiences when his or her foot "falls asleep"?

Brian Griffin:
>Paresthesia is the correct medical term, although "pins and needles" is
>the more common lay term.

9. Name a U. S. state whose etymology comes from "This place is not an island"?

>Alaska - based on the Aleut word "alaxsxaq" literally meaning "object
>toward which the action of the sea is directed".

10. In what sport does one find a nurdle?

Mark Barratt:

11. Where is "The Back Pan"?

Tootsie hinted:
>Maybe our entrants would benefit from a look at a pear tree and said tree's
Aaron J Dinkin:
> I tried looking up "Back Pan" in Eric Partridge's _Dictionary of Slang and
> Unconventional English_ and _Origins_ but didn't find anything. Partridge
> wrote several more works on the English language that I don't have access
> to at the moment; if you can check them, perhaps you'll be luckier than I.
Garry hinted:
> Probably stopped at 'z' also, right?
Aaron J Dinkin:
>What are you trying to tell me, that there's a section in Partridge's
>_Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English_ beyond "Z"? Ha! Some
>Appendix or something, perhaps one on Railwaymen's Slang and
>Nicknames? One that on page 531 of the 1990 _Concise_ edition identifies
>"The Back Pan" as referring to Washwood Heath? Ha! again I say.

12. Please name a London tube line whose etymology can be traced to a Hebrew word for "ram".

Aaron J Dinkin:
>The Jubilee Line.

13. Shot dead by a gun that didn't make any noise. But it wasn't the bullet that laid him to rest. Then what was it?

Aaron J Dinkin:
> It was the low spark of high-heeled boys.


Alex Chernavsky:
> The question refers to a song by the rock band Traffic.  The song is called,
> "The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys", and it was released in 1971.  The
> songwriters were Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi.  Steve Winwood went on to
> have a fairly successful solo career.  I'm not sure what happened to Jim
> Capaldi.
> More information on the meaning of the phrase, "Low Spark of High-Heeled
> Boys":
> Complete lyrics to the song:

14. An uncommon name in common: Kingly worship, wartime betrayal down by the riverside, and an erstwhile economist. What uncommon name connects these three, and how?

John Rickard:
>Taking "economist" in a wide sense, the erstwhile economist is that
>spirited time-traveller, Ebenezer Scrooge.
>A search of the Web reveals that the wartime betrayal was the betrayal
>at Ebenezer Creek during the American Civil War.
>I don't know about the kingly worship; perhaps something to do with
>the musician Ebenezer Prout, who edited Handel's Messiah?
>Anyway, the uncommon name is Ebenezer.
John Holmes:
>... and the name Ebenezer means 'stone of help', which GJV alluded to in
>another thread.
John Holmes again:
> And it was aslo the name of the King family's church. Martin Luther King
> Jr's father became pastor there in 1931. Hence Kingly worship.

15. Whilst traveling from Derby to Liverpool, you overheard a conversation in which one participant said something like, "shot a pink 'un ite". What could this possibly mean?

Aaron J Dinkin:
>'Gave birth'. (Reference: <>.)

16. A newly coined word for the purposes of this competition: "bogataj". This is an action verb. Please use it in a sentence that demonstrates its correct meaning.

> I hope I don't bogataj the answer to this question.
> [See]


Gwen Lenker:
> You know, this whole competition is starting to create some intense
> feelings of anxiety in me.  In spite of the fact that Aaron has
> obviously taken the lead, it still seems as if everyone is
> scrutinizing my every move, just *waiting* for me to bogataj so that
> they can point, and laugh, and jeer at my humiliation, and, well, it
> just hurts.

17. What was found in Relay 70, Panel F?

Richard Fontana:
> A bug -- more accurately, a moth
>From the Jargon File:
>"Admiral Grace Hopper (an early computing pioneer better known for
>inventing COBOL) liked to tell a story in which a technician solved a
>glitch in the Harvard Mark II machine by pulling an actual insect out from
>between the contacts of one of its relays, and she subsequently
>promulgated bug in its hackish sense as a joke about the incident (though,
>as she was careful to admit, she was not there when it happened). For many
>years the logbook associated with the incident and the actual bug in
>question (a moth) sat in a display case at the Naval Surface Warfare
>Center (NSWC). The entire story, with a picture of the logbook and the
>moth taped into it, is recorded in the "Annals of the History of
>Computing", Vol. 3, No. 3 (July 1981), pp. 285-286. 
>"The text of the log entry (from September 9, 1947), reads "1545 Relay #70
>Panel F (moth) in relay. First actual case of bug being found". This
>wording establishes that the term was already in use at the time in its
>current specific sense -- and Hopper herself reports that the term `bug'
>was regularly applied to problems in radar electronics during WWII. 
>"Indeed, the use of `bug' to mean an industrial defect was already
>established in Thomas Edison's time ...."

18. What is the correct response to "Queen to queen's level three"?

>"Queen to king's level one"


Gwen Lenker:
> In the Star Trek (original series) episode, "Whom Gods Destroy," an
> insane criminal shapeshifter impersonates Captain Kirk in an attempt
> to escape from his imprisonment.  Kirk decides to give Spock a, um,
> shibboleth by which the real Captain may be distinguished from the
> impostor.  The challenge and response are based on moves in 3-D chess.

19. What is the word that describes a female chicken one year old or younger?

Richard Fontana:

20. Ring, ring, why don't you give me a canine?

Mike Barnes:
>Hint: Although Garry posted the question, it was devised by Peter.
John Holmes:
> It's not rhyming slang in this case. If 'dingo' is the Totally Official
> answer, it is something like a clue one might find in a cryptic
> crossword puzzle:
> "Ding"= one ring
> "o" = second ring

21. You are built like a car, you've got a hub-capped,diamond-star halo... What genus of reptile?

Gwen Lenker:
> Tyrannosaurus.
> T-Rex, to be more precise.


Dan Karp:
>The song in question is "Bang a Gong (Get It On)", by a group called
>   T. Rex.  Lyrics at

22. Please name a literary figure named after an automobile.

Benjamin Krefetz:
>Ford Prefect.
>(Hitchhiker's "trilogy")

23. Please complete the following series by adding a name such that the series is complete: Washington, Kennedy, Fillmore, Hoover, and ...?

Magical hints:
> You might want to redirect your thoughts in the direction of
> English Usage to find the Totally Official answer.
John Rickard:
>For each of the five vowels, a US president's surname with that vowel
>as the second letter -- provided one counts A, E, I, O, and U as the
>five vowels.  (What's wrong with Tyler?)

24. Consider these seven virtues worthy of an avatar: Compassion, Valour, Sacrifice, Honesty, Humility, Spirituality, and Honour. Please identify the missing virtue.

Mark Brader:
>Justice, says <>.

25. An adjective whose etymology ultimately leads to the Scandic 'bear-skin'?

Frances Kemmish:
>'berserk' from the Old Norse 'berserkr', which could mean

26. A word meaning 'key to understanding' whose etymology is the name of an Egyptian city.

Aaron J Dinkin:
>"Rosetta stone", assuming that's a single word.
>(Explanation: The historical Rosetta Stone, found near Rosetta in Egypt in
>1799, bore the same inscription three ancient languages - one already
>known - and therefore allowed hieroglyphics to be deciphered for the first
>time in modern history.)

27. What was special about Mousehole's Dolly?

Richard Fontana:
>Dolly Pentreath was (or was said to be) the last surviving native speaker
>of the Cornish language. See, e.g.,
><>, which notes:
>"Mousehole is located just three miles westward around Mounts Bay from
>Penzance and is one of the most beautiful coastal villages in Britain....
>The village, whose name is pronounced "Mowzel", is centred around a nearly
>circular harbour protected from the force of the sea coming across Mounts
>Bay by two sturdy breakwaters....  It was in Mousehole that lived Dolly
>Pentreath, reputedly the last person who spoke the Cornish language as her
>natural tongue, which died with her some 200 years ago. A memorial to her
>is to be found in the churchyard at Paul, a small village just above
>Mousehole. In recent years, this ancient Celtic language has undergone an
>enthusiastic revival."

28. When one needs a new pair of shoes, one plucks them from a shoe tree. Where?

Richard Fontana:
> One such place is Piers Anthony's Xanth.  See, e.g.,
> <> which notes:
> "Shoe Tree: The plant from which most citizens of Xanth get their shoes.
> All kinds of sturdy footwear grow on its branches. The sap from fresh
> high-heeled pairs can be used as emergency heeling potion when nothing
> else is available."

29. The Blind Owl (Boston, Mass)... The Mole (New York,and Memphis, and LA)... Henry, The Sunflower (Takoma Park, Md), and one missing from "South of the Border". Who?

Alec Horgan:
> Adolpho "Fito" de la Parra, Canned Heat drummer.

30. The three main types were Browny, Tommy, and Louie; and they are all eponyms! Please identify who they were named after.

Aaron J Dinkin:
>John Browning, John Thompson, and I. N. Lewis.
>According to <>, "John Browning
>designed the BAR [Browning Automatic Rifle] for use during World War I."
>According to <>, "the tommy
>gun was invented by John Thompson."
>According to <>, "the Lewis gun
>was... developed and perfected by I. N. Lewis of the US Army."


Gwen Lenker:
>Browny - John Moses Browning
>Tommy - General John T. Thompson
>Louie - Colonel Isaac Newton Lewis

31. Consider this list: Parker, Abingdon, Worcester, Canterbury. Please add the remaining item in this list so that it is complete.

Gwen Lenker:
> Laud (or "Peterborough")
> Known MSs of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

32. Consider this statement: "Whilst overtaking a removal lorry in a tailback, I saw a tights advert depicting a gam with a ladder on a hoarding near a transport caff just before a slip road leading to a public school". Translate this to LeftPondian please, regardless of its grammatical interpretation.

Mark Brader:
>"While passing a moving van in a traffic jam, I saw an ad for
>stockings depicting a gam with a run on a billboard near a
>truck stop just before a ramp leading to a private school."
>I'm guessing on "tights".  For "slip road", "exit" would also do.
>"Gam" is bipondian as far as I know, though hardly current usage
>leftpondwise, so I did not translate it into "leg".
>As others have said, "tights" are usually called "pantyhose" in the US,
>but there are plenty of people (men especially, I think) who still say
>"stockings" even if the "stockings" are one-piece pantyhose. As for
>"gam," readers of older tough detective novels (the "older" refers to
>the novels; the "tough" refers to the tecs) will be familiar with it. In
>fact, older people who *don't* read detective novels will know what a
>"gam" is, I'll bet. (Again, men especially, I think.)
>And...since we don't discriminate here on the basis of age or sex or
>veteran status or any of those kinds of things, the older word is
>approved as acceptable LP usage.

33. Who can be drawn from his foot?

Jerry Friedman:
>The saying is "Ex pede Herculem" translated as "'From the foot (we
>recognize) Hercules.' (We judge the whole from the specimen.)" at
><>.  I don't see
>anything about drawing.

34. Which character name appears the most in Shakespeare's plays?

>[5 times, according to my source,
> - Much Ado About
>Nothing, The Tempest, The Merchant of Venice, Twelfth Night & The Two
>Gentlemen of Verona. Antonio also gets a mention in All's Well That
>Ends Well & The Taming of the Shrew, but isn't a character. Close
>seconds are Balthasar/Balthazar, Edward, Lucius and Margaret with 4
>each - there may well be others]

35. Reclaimed by one dressed in samite, its etymology is thought to ultimately lead to the Old Irish 'hard belly'. What?

Richard Ragan:
> It is Excalibur. The arm from the lake was clad in samite.
> The old Irish sword is called Caladbolg.
Richard Ragan again:
>And a slightly better reference tying Caladbolg to Excalibur.

36. Which one doesn't belong with the others? Vulcan, Mars, Neptune, Hermes, and Cupid.

Richard Ragan:
>Hermes is the odd one out. All the rest are Roman god names
>while Hermes is Greek.

37. Discourteous Comestible: it has a dark side, or two. Its very name derives from an act which is not accepted in polite society, as well as one past whom the act should not be put. What?

John Rickard:
> Pumpernickel.
> Apparently from German "pumpern" meaning "fart" and "nickel" meaning
> "devil" (or "demon" or "goblin").  It's a dark bread: I suppose if you
> butter a slice then only one side remains dark.  I don't know why one
> should not put a fart past the devil


Jack Gavin:
>Main Entry: pum·per·nick·el
>Pronunciation: 'p&m-p&r-"ni-k&l
>Function: noun
>Etymology: German, from pumpern to break wind + Nickel goblin; from its
>reputed indigestibility
>Date: 1756
>: a dark coarse sourdough bread made of unbolted rye flour

38. Please complete this sequence: eldest, elder, and ?


39. Are the two statements, "I think I am going to faint" and "I may faint" semantically equivalent?

Gwen Lenker:
> The two statements are not equivalent.
> The first, "I think I am going to faint," means that I fully expect to
> lose consciousness at any moment, so if you see me start to topple
> over, would you please be so kind as to give me a nudge toward
> something soft to land on.
> The second, "I may faint," merely acknowledges a possibility that loss
> of consciousness could occur, but does not express a firm belief that
> fainting either will or will not happen.  Open a window, goddam it!

40. Where did men skate with bacon attached to their feet?

Richard Ragan:
>On a huge griddle in a Paul Bunyan story prior to making flapjacks.>
>Here is a reference for support.

41. Consider this statement: "Breaker one nine to that North bound Smackwater, I got an eyeball on a plain-brown Smokey sneaking in your back door from behind a portable parking lot". Please translate this statement to RightPondian.

>I say, attention on channel 19 to the Theakstons lorry travelling in a
>northerly direction. I caught a glimpse of an unmarked police car which
>appears to catching up with you. It is currently obscured from your
>view by a car transporter.


Peter Hoogenboom:
>Nobody has specifically identified the particular type of police officer
>identified as "Smokey."  Not even, I might add, the poster who gave the answer
>accepted by the panelists.  Smokey identifies an officer of the State police,
>since they often wear Smokey-the-Bear-type park ranger hats.  I seem to recall
>hearing "lokel yokel" for a town or city cop, and I have heard "county
>mountie" for a sherriff's deputy, though I think it might have been obsolete
>by then.  I just don't remember.  I am sure there are more.  It's usually
>pretty easy to interpret these expressions on first hearing.

42. Please remove one item from this list so that the remaining items are grammatically consistent: Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, Israel, and Pakistan.

Peter Ringeisen:
> Remove Syria, and you only have to add an -i to each
> item in order to get the adjective.

43. Please give a financial term whose etymology ultimately leads to the Latin word for 'death'.

Alex Chernavsky:

44. Snoopy, Daisy, Sandy, and one more?

Richard Ragan:
>There are so many but Odie is perhaps one of the more famous dogs
>in comic strips.

45. What word describes an English property owner's right to have rainwater drip from his roof on to the property of someone else?

Richard Fontana:
>The corresponding term in *Roman* Law is stillicidium.
>See <>; 
>I do not believe it is correct to say that "stillicidium" is the official
>term for the *English* property owner's right, since the English common
>law of property does not generally follow the Roman Law tradition, and I
>believe that the proper term is "right of drip"; since a single word is
>asked for, it would be "easement", the right of drip being a particular
>type of easement.
>(Cf.: "Right of drip} (Law), an easement or servitude by which a
>        man has the right to have the water flowing from his house
>        fall on the land of his neighbor."
>Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913), quoted at
>However, I believe that the SDC Panel is probably looking for a specific
>word like "stillicidium", and not a general word like "easement", and in
>fact I am reasonably certain that this Roman Law term has been referred to
>in English case law dealing with the Right of Drip, so my final answer is
>"Stillicidium".  And it is probably not incorrect to say that the Roman
>Law term *describes* the English property owner's right.
Jerry Friedman:
>In fact, it's in the NSOED.  So is the more English "stillicide", and
>that's my answer.
>I've seen this word in only one place: Vladimir Nabokov's amazing novel
>_Pale Fire_.  John Shade, in his poem, refers to icicles as
>                         the svelte
>Stilettos of a frozen stillicide

46. Mildly negative noun, whose etymology is derived from a conjurer's word, and ultimately from the Basque word for 'God'. What is it?

Alex Chernavsky:
>====Begin quote====
>jainko The ordinary word for `god' (in the generic sense) and also, as
>Jainko, a name for `God' (in the Christian sense). The word has a variant
>Jinko, and it is a puzzle. The most widespread name for the Christian God is
>Jaungoikoa, from jaun `lord' and goiko `who is on high', plus the article.
>This name too is odd, since the order of elements is very un-Basque: we
>would have expected *Goikojauna. It may be that Jaungoikoa has its anomalous
>form because it is a calque on some Romance term of the form `the Lord on
>high', but nobody knows. The word Jainko is still in use today, especially
>in the north, and in early texts it is often more frequent than Jaungoikoa.
>There are at least three hypotheses on the table concerning these two words.
>(1) Jainko is an ancient Basque word for `God' (possibly deriving from the
>name of a pre-Christian deity), and Jaungoiko is a folk-etymology designed
>to rationalize this name in Christian terms, thus accounting for the odd
>form of the latter. (2) Jainko is nothing but an irregular contraction of
>Jaungoiko. (3) The two names are not related at all, and the resemblance is
>purely coincidental. I myself favor the third of these, but I take no
>position on the origin of jainko. I note two things, however. First, it is
>extremely rare for a Basque noun to begin with j. Second, the presence of
>the cluster nk is highly anomalous: save only in the easternmost dialects,
>plosives in all Basque words, of whatever origin, were uniformly voiced
>after n some centuries after the Roman period, and hence this word does not
>look ancient: we would have expected *jaingo. Finally, the oft-made
>suggestion that English By jingo! derives from Basque Ala jinko! `By God!'
>seems too fanciful to be taken seriously, especially since English loans
>directly from Basque are virtually unknown.
>====End quote====

47. Please give the name of a river whose etymology is traced to a proto-Celtic word for 'river'?

Aaron J Dinkin:
>"Avon", apparently from Celtic "afon".

48. Describe the connection between an Old French word for "fool" and the issuance of sidearms to the British Nuclear Police.

Alec Horgan:
>The Old French for "fool" is the source of
>sometime AUE contributor James Follett's
>surname, and his novel The Doomsday Ultimatum,
>which deals with the take-over of a nuclear
>power station, is, according to some
>speculations, the reason the BNP are now

49. Please name a reference work completely dedicated to etymology written before 700 AD.

Aaron J Dinkin:
> The _Etymologies_, by St. Isidore of Seville, who (according to
> died in 636.

50. Consider the following statement: "Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg Address while travelling from Washington to Gettysburg on the back of an envelope". If this statement contains an error in grammar, please give the term best describing the error.

Tim Coleman:
> Misplaced modifier.
> Reference <URL:>
> You don't have to be a grammatical genius to stay out of the modifier trap.
> You just need to think clearly. Ask yourself what the modifying phrase is
> talking about, and then put it next to that thing. For example, you can
> fix this sentence by just changing the word order: "Abraham Lincoln wrote
> the Gettysburg address while travelling from Washington to Gettysburg on
> the back of an envelope."


John O'Flaherty:
Mark Barratt:
>Yep. That looks like the one. It's in the section of the faq
>that I mentioned earlier, at:


Mark Brader:
Mark Brader again:
>I snappily posted an empty article (with a carefully selected
>signature) in response.  Here is my explanation.  The statement
>contains an error of fact -- as I understand it, the Gettysburg
>Address was begun before Lincoln began traveling.  And if the intent
>is to say that the writing was on the back of the envelope, it
>contains an obvious error of style, discussed elsewhere in the
>thread.  But it is grammatical; therefore we are not being asked
>to do anything, so I didn't.

51. Five of the six words in this list: "Odds, Numerals, Premises, Quarters, Outskirts, and Funds" share a common attribute. Please select the word that does not share the common attribute.

Aaron J Dinkin:
>All of the others are plurals, or plural in form, that have usages other
>than 'more than one of [x]', and a singular sense (though they
>remain grammatically plural). Thus, for example, "premises" means 'the
>grounds of a building' or the suchlike, in addition to meaning 'more than
>one premise'. A house cannot have several premises; a city does not have
>two or three outskirts.

52. Where does the Kitchen god go in January?

Richard Fontana:
>He returns (on the 24th day of the last month of the old lunar year, which
>I believe will always fall sometime in January) to Heaven to make his
>report to the Jade Emperor on the members of the
>household.  Household members offer sticky cake or sweets to the Kitchen
>God on the 23rd day to 'sweeten' his mouth.
>See, e.g, <>, 

53. Ruler whose name means, 'No law and no king'?

Mark Brader:

54. Consider this citation from a 1905 New York newspaper: "...Big Six applied the Kalsomine brush in the fashion of Togo at Tsushima, permitting the White Elephants but four bingles and nary an Annie Oakley and delighting the Gotham bugs, the meanwhile his fellow Brushmen were denting the dish on three occassions..." Please provide a translation to contemporary English.

Dan Karp:
>Christy Mathewson pitched a complete-game shutout, allowing just four
>singles as the New York Giants defeated the Philadelphia Athletics
Dan Karp again:
>Oops!  That should read "four singles *and no walks*".
>In case you'd prefer a more word-for-word translation, I'd venture
>   "...Christy Mathewson whitewashed the opposition like
>   Schwarzkopf outflanked the Iraqis, holding the Philadelphia
>   Athletics to just four singles and no walks and thrilling the
>   New York faithful as their Giants won, 3-0."

55. Consider this list of eight words: Belch, Blanch, Feeble, Silence, Simple, Sad, Slender, and Sly. Removing a word from this list makes the list meaningful and consistent. Which word should be removed and why? (please show your work)

Tom Deveson:
>Belch in Twelfth Night
>Blanch in King John
>Feeble in Henry IV Pt 2
>Silence in Henry IV Pt 2
>Simple in Merry Wives of Windsor
>Slender in Merry Wives of Windsor
>Sly in Taming of the Shrew (and, incidentally, a fellow-actor of
>Sad not in any Shakespeare play

56. Please contribute another word to this list: Steps, Blows, Samurai, and Jacks.

Richard Fontana:
>Explanation::  These are all parts of film titles in which the missing
>part is a number or quantity.  Specifically:
>The 39 Steps 
>The 400 Blows 
>The Seven Samurai 
>Four Jacks; A Pair of Jacks 
>One Hundred and One Dalmatians
>Source:  <>

57. What did Holly do on the way from Miami to L. A.?

Jens Brix Christiansen:
> Plucked her eyebrows, I suppose.
Jens Brix Christiansen again:
> All right, this was somewhat of a long shot, but the justification is as
> follows:  The Lou Reed song "Walk on the Wild Side", starts with these
> lines:
>   Holly came from Miami F.L.A.
>   hitch-hiked her way across the U.S.A.
>   Plucked her eyebrows on the way
> Of course, that is "F.L.A", not "to L.A.", and the lyrics don't give
> positive evidence that Holly ever was in L.A., so I may have unearthed a
> Totally Unintended Red Herring here.

58. When is the arrival of the eyetooth celebrated?

Mark Barratt:
>on the day of the new moon in Esala (July-August).
>see <>

59. How many is a pompey?

Gwen Lenker:
> Oh, crap, I've never been any good at sports questions.  Even with all
> the stats in front of me, I don't know which ones are significant.
> Is it 44?
Geoff Butler:
>I still don't know why a pompey is or are 44.
Mark Barratt:
>It looked like Gwen struck lucky to me - it appears that Gwen guessed
>44 because at a quick glance there appear to be 44 players in
>Portsmouth football club's squad. There aren't, in fact - it's just
>that the highest shirt number is 44. The Totally Official answer was
>that "Pompey whore" is rhyming slang for "forty-four", although the
>only reference to this that anyone found said that it should be 24.
>"Pompey", of course, is well-known slang for the town of Portsmouth, in

60. What English word defines a summer festival held by a printing establishment for its staff?

> Waygoose

61. Please identify the connection between Squadron Leader Bigglesworth, the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, and Aircraftsman Ross.

Aaron J Dinkin:
>As Cheryl and Laura both noted, Lawrence enlisted in the Royal Air Force under
>the pseudonym of Ross, and he was later the author of _The Seven Pillars of
>Wisdom_. Bigglesworth was a character is a series of books by W. E. Johns, who
>was also the captain who originally recruited Lawrence into the RAF
>(source: <>).

62. Consider two relatively obscure Carolina bluesmen: Anderson and Council. Their first names were combined to form the name of a mega-successful rock group. Which?

Dan Karp:
>Pink Floyd.

63. What is referred to as "Languish and Yawn"?

John Rickard:
>According to Paul Beale's "A Concise Dictionary of Slang and
>Unconventional English" (derived from Eric Partridge's "A Dictionary
>of Slang and Unconventional English"), "Languisher and Yawner" was a
>nickname for the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway.  I'm guessing that
>"Languish and Yawn" is the same thing.

64. Are the two questions, "Did someone call me?" and "Did anyone call me?" semantically equivalent?

Tim Coleman:
> No.

65. What English word means "a word or form of which only one instance is recorded in literature"?

Alec Horgan:
> hapax legomenon

66. Please remove a name from this list such that the remaining list is meaningful and consistent: George Papanicolaou, John Landon-Down, Vitorio del Cello, Mikhailovich Molotov, and Sam Ellis.

Alec Horgan:
> Vitorio del Cello.
>By way of explanation, the other four are people
>after whom various things are named: a smear, a
>syndrome, a cocktail, and an island.

67. What is the modern-day name for 'poona'?

John Holmes:

68. "Every duke and earl and peer is here, everyone who should be here is here." Where?

Aaron J Dinkin:
>The Ascot opening race.
>(It's a song from _My Fair Lady_: "The Ascot Gavotte".)

69. A description of a Scottish castle written in 1650 includes the phrase "28 Short Brasse Munkeys". What were these?

Tim Coleman:
>A kind of gun or cannon.
>From <URL:>
>According to the Concise OED, the two volume version with four-pages-in-one
>printed in micro lettering, it is "a kind of gun or cannon." The usage seems
>to be archaic. The dictionary cites a 1650 book called Art. Rendition Edinbur.
>Castle as referring to "28 short brass munkeys alias dogs", and a 1663 (1672)
>publication called Flagellum, O Cromwell as referring to "Twenty eight brass
>drakes called Monkeys."
>How this relates to 'freeze the balls off a brass monkey' is unclear, but
>Perhaps it is a reference to the coefficient of expansion, ie; if it was very
>cold, perhaps the muzzle of the cannon was too small to prevent the iron balls
>from being loaded (differing coefficients of expansion)? I may be stretching
>the point a bit, but food for thought anyway.

70. What does 10 1027565 3501 eat?

Jens Brix Christiansen:
>48879 is a distinct possibility, but unlikely if he is a Hindu.


Mark Barratt:
> OK, for the benefit of anybody who's still trying to work out
> what this is all about, it's hexadecimal representation, where
> the numbers 0-9 are followed by A,B,C,D,E,F before reaching 10,
> which in hex is sixteen. So some numbers in hexadecimal look
> like words:
> 3735928559 = DEADBEEF

71. More food! Please remove an item from this list such that the remaining items are part of a well known recipe: Celery, beets, watercress, turnips, spinach, parsley, tomatoes, carrots, and lettuce.

Ted H:
>V-8 cocktail has eight of the above.  The extra ingredient is
>lettuce, I believe.
Gwen Lenker:
>Tom Cruise Could Pass By Wearing Loose Shorts.
>Nope, the extra must be turnips.

72. Henry got an item whose etymology may come from a German word meaning "to pocket ". Meat in small pieces stewed with vegetables; the bay where Nelson destroyed the French fleet; an apparatus for lifting weights; the capital of Paraguay; and a herb used to flavour roast meats. Got what in return?

Dan Karp:
>Henry's father's rectal thermometer.
>Radar O'Reilly and Henry Blake exchanged gifts (the key fob and the
>   rectal thermometer) in the M*A*S*H episode in which Col. Blake left.

73. Please name a verb whose etymology is from the Latin "to breath together".

Gwen Lenker:

74. What is the minimum number of English county names required if one wishes to use their letters to spell a South American capital?

Gwen Lenker:

75. Please complete the following sentence: "Pack my box with five dozen liquor ?".

Alex Chernavsky:
> "Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs" is a pangram, like the more
> famous "The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dogs". ...

76. Sheep! Please give an English word that rhymes with "silver". There is also a popular misconception that no English word rhymes with "orange". For extra credit, please defy this misconception and provide an English word that rhymes with "orange".

Alex Chernavsky:
>Can that word be a name?  "Chilver" rhymes with "silver":
Alex Chernavsky again:
>A possibility is "sporange", though some sources dispute this: > >

77. A person who calls "safe" and "out"; a composition for a full orchestra; a pert girl; the upper curve of an arch; the killing of a king; and a person with scurvy. Six letters and five pronouns within. What?

Tim Coleman:
>Here's some guesses
>A person who calls "safe" and "out" = umpire
>A composition for a full orchestra  = overture?
>A pert girl                         = minx?
>The upper curve of an arch          = extrados?
>The killing of a king               = regicide
>A person with scurvy                = scorbutic?
Tom Deveson:
>How about something like the above, but with symphony for the
>composition and 'hellcat' (surely there's a better synonym?) for the
>pert girl and the whole spelling *ushers*?
>Then you've got us, she, he, her & hers to give the five pronouns.
Tim Coleman again:
>I'll try that.  The six letters are: u, s, h, e, r, s.
>The five pronouns are: us she he her hers.

78. You are punting on the River Am. What is the name of the nearest pub?

Red Valerian:
>The River Am is the fictional river in the fictional village of
>Ambridge which is the fictional setting of the Archer's - Radio 4's
>long running radio soap opera.
>But what the name of the pub in the Archers - that's the question.
>The Bull, perhaps?

79. Please name a verb whose etymology comes from the Latin "to examine the stars".

Alex Chernavsky:
>Details from MWCD10:
>Main Entry: con·sid·er
>Pronunciation: k&n-'si-d&r
>Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French considerer, from Latin
>considerare to observe, think about, from com- + sider-, sidus heavenly body
>Date: 14th century

80. In a badly matched basketball game, the University of Maine beat the University of Wisconsin by a score of 1001 to 102. Who won the game between the University of Wisconsin and Mississippi State? Please show your reasoning.

Jens Brix Christiansen:
>Mississippi 1004, Wisconsin 102.
>To obtain score take proper part of name; extract all occurrences of the
>letters m, d, c, l, x, v, and i; rearrange to form Roman numeral of
>highest possible value; interpret in conventional decimal notation.
>Note that MIIII in some contexts has been superseded by MIV as the usual
>notation for 1004, but certainly not in basketball contexts.

81. What is the next item in the series: C, D, L, N?

Alex Chernavsky:
>C contains zero straight lines in a sans serif font
>D has one straight line
>L has two straight lines
>N has three straight lines
>E, M, and W have four straight lines each
>If I had to pick just one letter, I would say "W", since the other four
>letters (C, D, L, and N) are all in alphabetical order.

82. What word is used to describe the interchange of position between sounds or letters in a word?

Aaron J Dinkin:
>No, that's not right....
>Okay, one more try....
>"Metathesis"! This is my answer.

83. Please name an aue perennial which appears in Kurdish song.

Alex Chernavsky:

84. A pop pitchman who warns teamsters?

Garry hints:
>I bet you're getting max'ed out...
Alex Chernavsky:
> OK, Max Headroom used to pitch Coca Cola.  "Maximum headroom" could be
> construed as a warning sign for truckers.


Richard Fontana:
> "My four official answers are "Bobby Kennedy", "Reinhold Aman", "Charles
> Riggs", and "James Hoffa".  Explanations forthcoming if necessary (i.e.,
> if one of those is correct)."
> I am very curious as to how these four men
> came to be your official answers. Explanations are hereby requested,
> even though none of the answers are correct. And which Hoffa do you
> mean?
Richard Fontana again:
> Okay.  "James Hoffa" can in fact be either James Hoffa Sr. or James Hoffa
> Jr.  The Bobby Kennedy and James Hoffa answers were just playing it safe.
> One associates them with teamsters, and perhaps with warning teamsters in
> some way.
> As for Charles Riggs and Reinhold Aman:  The key there is Ray
> Charles, though Ray Charles was itself not the answer (as I imagined it).
> Ray Charles was a pop pitchman.  Charles is the first name of Charles
> Riggs.  A teamster drives a truck; a truck can be called a 'rig',
> misspelled 'rigg' and pluralized 'riggs'.  Meanwhile, 'Ray' and 'Rey' are
> (I assume) homophones.  (Is the first syllable of 'Reinhold' more like
> 'rhine' or 'rain'?)  And Reinhold Aman is Aman, while Ray Charles and
> Charles Riggs are each also a man.  Also, some of Reinhold Aman's actions
> on AUE might be viewed as an attack on 'teamsters' (i.e., conformists,
> anti-iconoclasts).

85. Who played shortstop?

Mark Brader:
>No, Who's on first.  I Don't Give a Darn played shortstop.


Tim Coleman:


>Someone (maybe more than one) pointed out that there's another [Abbott &
>Costello] version, using "damn" instead of "darn."  There probably is,
>but the "darn" version would certainly have been used by A & C on the
>Colgate Comedy Hour (on TV, brought to you by the Colgate-Palmolive-Peet
>Company) in the early 50s. "Darn" was most likely used by them on radio,
>(Whether "damn" or "darn," it was a funny routine, wasn't it? Still is.)

86. Please consider the following verse...

"Wha'll buy my caller herrin'?
They're bonnie fish and halesome farin';
Wha'll buy my caller herrin',
New drawn frae the Forth?"

And provide a translation to LeftPondian.

Gwen Lenker:
>Who wants to buy my fresh-caught herring?
>They're good-looking fish and real good eating;
>Who wants to buy my herring,
>Just pulled out of the bay?

87. Churchill, Rothmans, and Todd. Where?

Mark Barratt:
> Australia
> Booked and recorded too early for my liking - all very well to bang
> in a one-word answer and hit "send" in the interests of racing
> to the post - but some other panel members might like to
> see some of the reasoning behind the answer...even if it is
> in a leisurely follow-up.
Mark Barratt:
>Ok, here was my reasoning Jitze: The words Churchill, Rothmans, and
>Todd when entered into a search engine produce hits on the subject of
>Australian rugby. The question says "Where?" rather than "What?" so I
>concluded that the TO answer *might* have been "Australia". I am an
>expert on neither Australia nor rugby, and in the latter case have no
>interest, either. It would have taken considerably more time to
>ascertain the information that Garry has posted in reply to you, and I
>still wouldn't have been 100% confident that it was correct, because
>there could (and arguably should) have been a more esoteric solution.
John Holmes:
>It turns out they are all the names of medals awarded to rugby league players.

88. No, it was not named after a Spanish princess, but rather after a motif on a livery company's coat of arms. Which company?

Paul Draper:
>Virgin, from the Mercer's coat of arms?
>Chevron, found in several coats of arms?
>Ah. of course we are talking about the Elephant and Castle (Infanta de
>Castile) so it's the Cutler's Company. 

89. From Unchained to the Triple R. Who?

Gwen Lenker:
>Tim Considine, whose career as an actor included work in the film
>"Unchained" and in the Disney serial "The Adventures of Spin and
>Marty" (set at the Triple R Ranch, a summer-camp-style ranch for

90. Please add the final word to this series, "Man", "Woman", "Birth", "Death", and ?

Robert Lipton:
> Once again, this answer may be used by anyone who wishes to.   It is not
> for my acocunt.  T he reference is to Ben Casey and the last item is
> 'Infinity'
Aaron J Dinkin:
> Okay, Bob, if you insist.... I'll take it. "Infinity".
> Bob has to deserve a sportsmanship award for this. I wonder if he'd accept
> it.

91. (There was no question 91)

92. (There was no question 92)

93. (With special thanks to Lars Eighner) The dog wakes to walk her just before dawn. I didn't see something this morning that caused me to conclude that it must be a dog day morning (or very nearly).

John O'Flaherty:
>Are you sirius?


Lars Eighner:
>The dog days are the forty days centered on the conjunction of the Sun
>and Sirius (most of July and the first third of August,
>approximately).  In the midst of the dog days Sirius is not visible
>owing to its proximity to the Sun on the celestial sphere.  It was
>once believed that the heat of this season was caused by the heat of
>Sirius (the brightest fixed object in the sky) being added to the heat
>of the Sun - a theory which fails miserably in the Southern Hemisphere
>where the dog days occur in the dead of winter.
>The helical rising of Sirius is the beginning of the ancient Egyptian
>new year, because this marks the season of the annual flooding of the
>Nile.  This is etymologically related to "dog days," but as we all
>know by now, etymology is not definition.

94. (With special thanks to Lars Eighner) For what living things are the Canary Islands named?

Dan Karp:
>Dogs.  (From the Latin.)

95. (With special thanks to Reinhold Aman) What do each of the following four groups of words have in common?


Aaron J Dinkin:
>Revised guess: _all_ sixteen words come from the same Indo-European root
>(namely *"dheu-"). I'm not sure what the significance of the four sets is,
>if any.


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