Questions and Answers, 31-60

SDC 2002: Contents 0-30 31-60 61-90 91-120 Scores Bottom

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Q31 Dinkum Sawbones

Q: This Underpondian suburb is named after a surgeon (who was buried in London's WC2). Please name this suburb in Underpondia. If this suburb has an even number of letters, then the fortress is in North America; otherwise "Greaseball" would not need the handbook to decipher the code.
A: mickwick posted at 12 Aug 2002 12:26:15 BST

Balmain, Sydney.

Q32 Extra Credit Toughie - Mystery Ceiling

Q: Where was the picture taken that is to be seen at [archive copy]
A: Platypuss posted at 12 Aug 2002 23:28:59 BST

King's College Chapel, Cambridge?

Q33 Multi-Redundant Nomenclature

Q: The scientific name repeats the meaning, the English name repeats the sound, and one use repeats the word. What transpondial plant is it?
A: Evan Kirshenbaum posted at 13 Aug 2002 19:20:40 -0700

Well, the clue makes it sound like bearberry (_Arctostaphylos uva-ursi_), at least with respect to the English part.

and he followed up with

And, I guess the scientific name ("bear grape" in Greek and Latin).

According to the web The usual form of administration is in the form of an infusion, which has a soothing as well as an astringent effect and marked diuretic action. Of great value in diseases of the bladder and kidneys, strengthening and imparting tone to the urinary passages. The diuretic action is due to the glucoside Arbutin, which is largely absorbed unchanged and is excreted by the kidneys. During its excretion, Arbutin exercises an antiseptic effect on the urinary mucous membrane: Bearberry leaves are, therefore, used in inflammatory diseases of the urinary tract, urethritis, cystisis, etc.

I can't quite get "repeats the word" from this. Or are you referring to "kinnikinnick", which was bearberry as used as a tobacco substitute according to

Status: No sooner hard this question become Herdwick-enabled than Evan answered it - gaining One Cormo and 25 Herdwicks (if time clocks are to be believed)

Q34 Mystery food

Q: What is the name of the classic ethnic dish being consumed in the picture at [archive copy]
A: Don Aitken posted at 12 Aug 2002 04:37:16 +0100

Spotted Dick and custard?

Q35 Don't look down on these...

Q: John and Mary ran the store located on the street that now runs between Hockley and Old Market Square until John died. Mary then took over management of the shop with the help of her 10 year-old son, Jesse. Twenty-one years later, Jesse expanded the store to multiple locations and changed its name. Jesse's wife, Florence, introduced the sale of books and stationery to the existing line. Jesse later sold the chain to an American, but Jesse's son, John, bought it back thirteen years later. What is this chain called today?
A: Richard Ragan posted at 11 Aug 2002 22:11:01 EDT


Q36 Sim simile sim simile sim-sim-uh-lee...

Please consider this snippet of verse from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer
Night's Dream":
"...And then the moon, like to a silver bow. New bent in heaven..."
and translate it into modern English.  Please be sure to include a rationale
for any grammatical changes you make.
A: Michael J Hardy posted at 12 Aug 2002 02:23:10 GMT

  "...And then the moon, like a silver bow. Newly bent in heaven..."
"Like to" was formerly used as we now use "like" (as we now like it?).
"New" is being used as an adverb, so "newly".
    But really, it's *already* modern English.

Q37 obFood

Q: A French poet once likened the aroma of a certain cheese to a portion of divine anatomy. Name the cheese, the poet, and identify the anatomy in question.
A: Sebastian Hew posted at 12 Aug 2002 15:54:20 +1000

Léon-Paul Fargues
God's feet

Devant un bon camembert à bonne et forte odeur, il s'exclama :"Les pieds du Bon Dieu !".

Q38 Another Set

Q: Please examine the following list: knocker, brag, fallop, skriker, and spriggan. Deleting an item from this list will make the list meaningful and consistent. Please identify which item should be removed and explain your rationale.
A: Richard Ragan posted on 12 Aug 2002 05:23:56 GMT

Remove "fallop". The rest are theater productions.

and Gwen Lenker posted at 12 Aug 2002 05:56:00 GMT

Remove "fallop." The rest are monsters.

Q39 Bull rounder-upper

Q: Please identify a creature whose name originally comes from the words "those who round up bulls". Further to the hint given in question 4, one example is question 113.
A: Laura F Spira posted on 12 Aug 2002 06:24:52 +0100


Q40 LeftPondian pejorative

Q: This LeftPondian pejorative term incorporates a reference to a 17th century monarch. Please identify the term and the monarch.
A: Ben Zimmer posted at 14 Aug 2002 01:20:42 -0700

Hillbilly... referring to William III, Prince of Orange.

Q41 At the sound of the tone...

Q: How much does the operator want for the next three minutes?
A: david56 posted at 12 Aug 2002 10:26:08 +0100

Forty cents. From "Silvia's Mother" by Dr Hook et al.

Q42 Egregious Anachronism

Q: What is the most significant anachronism in the tale that may be found at ? [archive copy]
A: my-wings posted at 12 Aug 2002 12:31:00 GMT

I'm going to guess that the most significant is the reference to a Britain contaminated by the metric system, since the solution depends upon it.

Status: A couple of Katahdins fell on this one in addition to the final Cormo (and 4 Herdwicks after the time factor was computed correcly.)

Q43 Optical Symmetry in Anagram

Q: When spelled with all capital letters, the word "TOOT" remains the same when it is reflected in a mirror. What is the name given to such words?
A: Ben Zimmer posted at 13 Aug 2002 14:47:47 -0700

Based on the hint over in Q63, I'll guess such words are called "catoptric".

Status: Herdwick Enabled - 24 of them gained by Ben Zimmer in this case in addition to the Cormo

Q44 Extra Credit Toughie - Aerial view 1

Q: Please identify what city is shown in [archive copy]as well as the two best-known landmarks in the picture.
A: Richard Ragan posted at 12 Aug 2002 14:02:07 GMT

Well it certainly is San Francisco. As to the "best" know landmarks, let me try a few
- Ferry Building
- Vailaincourt Fountain in Justin Herman Plaza
- Hyatt Regency Hotel
- The foot of Market St
So many things could be considered "best known"

Q45 Extra Credit Toughie - Aerial view 2

Q: Please identify what city is shown in [archive copy]as well as the two or three best-known landmarks in the picture.
A: mickwick posted at 12 Aug 2002 13:01:19 +0100

London, Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross Station, The Strand.

Q46 The Lady is a tramp

Q: Under what circumstances may the wife of a KBE use her first name in her title (as in "Lady Anne Jones")?
A: Ben Zimmer posted at 12 Aug 2002 13:17:13 -0700

If she is the daughter of a duke, marquess, or earl.

Q47 obFood - Hot Pepper

Q: What should one do with the hot pepper sandwich?
A: John Seeliger posted at 12 Aug 2002 14:01:14 -0500

Give it to the Cyclops, after saying Ulysses or Odysseus and before giving him the bottle of water.

Q48 A curious web reference

Q: What is remarkable about the following URL?
A: John Seeliger posted at 12 Aug 2002 13:55:00 -0500

In case spelling counts, change my last answer to:

It's palindromic. Or simply, it's a palindrome.

Q49 Riddle me this

Q: The following riddle is provided to exercise the collective minds of the community: A little word of doubtful number,
A foe to rest and peaceful slumber.
If you add an "s" to this,
Great is the metamorphosis.
Plural is plural now no more,
And sweet what bitter was before.
What am I?
A: Richard Ragan posted at 12 Aug 2002 17:48:46 CDT

cares to caress by adding an "s"

Then later, after various news-servers caught up, it transpired that

Sebastian Hew posted at 13 Aug 2002 08:43:26 +1000


Accordinly, using a precedent set by The Olympic Skating Committee, and because we are incapable of subtracting, One Cormo is awarded to each.

Q50 The Dire Telegram

Q: This fictional character, whose name was taken from her grandmother's maiden name (and whose ultimate etymology comes from a type of cloth) received an urgent telegram from her husband, whose name is believed to come from a Welsh word for "enthusiasm". Both the town and the state where she received this telegram have names derived from English monarchs. When was the next train?
A: Ben Zimmer posted on 12 Aug 2002 19:05:10 -0700

In ten minutes.

From "Gone with the Wind":

Scarlett was in Marietta when Rhett's urgent telegram came. There was a train leaving for Atlanta in ten minutes and she caught it, carrying no baggage except her reticule and leaving Wade and Ella at the hotel with Prissy.

Q51 Country Club Management

Q: Johnny Dribble stole something from a locker at a fashionable country club in Pennsylvania. We can not disclose what he stole or the name of this country club because they are accessible on the first page of a Google search.

We can, however, disclose that the Google terms, "merchant" and "Baghdad", will be immediately helpful. We also note with pride that both aue and afu have had a relevant threads on this! Please provide the name of this country club.

A: Ben Zimmer posted at 12 Aug 2002 17:31:52 -0700

The Lantenengo Country Club

Q52 The ailing professor

Q: A mathematician became ill and was admitted to the hospital. Another mathematician took a hired car to the hospital to visit him. What was the registration number of the hired car?
A: Michael J Hardy posted at 12 Aug 2002 23:26:50 GMT


Explanation: The visitor was Godfrey Harold Hardy, to whom I am not related as far as I know (although he and I both have lots of British ancestors named Hardy); the visitee was Srinivasa Ramanujan (the spelling of whose name varies) whose biographer was Robert Kanigel, author of _The_Man_Who_Knew_Infinity_. That number, 1729, as Ramanujan immediately observed, is the smallest number that is the sum of two cubes in two different ways: It is 10 cubed plus 9 cubed, and also 12 cubed plus 1 cubed. The story is well-known because Eric Temple Bell included it among his biographical sketches.

Q53 Trained Observers

Q: Tantalized solvers, suffer no more--here is the long-awaited Q53! I trust that one or more of you know more about this than I, for no one could know less.

Whilst patrolling the streets of London on a dark and foggy night, you are approached by a well-dressed gentleman who has become lost and seeks directions. You assist him on his way. He thanks you; stuffs a small, crumpled sheet of paper into your hand; and disappears into the mist.

You examine the paper and see a hurried, scrawled note that says, "12 o'clock = ordinary passengers; 6 o'clock = light engines; 5 o'clock = ordinary freight". Finally, you observe that the entry for 7 o'clock is illegible. A feeling of dread passes over you as you realize that Lycos and Google are meaningless terms from the distant future. Please provide the correct entry for 7 o'clock!

A: Richard Ragan posted at , 13 Aug 2002 01:29:34 EDT

Ok a few more details as "express freight" wasn't exactly what the table said but I opted for a simpler answer along the lines of the others.

Source is:

However, various parts of the tables give slightly different meanings to
the 7 o'clock position of the lights.
To wit:
Mineral or empty wagon train. (4-1)
Freight, mineral or ballast train stoppibg at intermediate stations. (3)
Through mineral or empty wagon train.
I believe I may have misread the table originally and used the two lights
forming a 7 o'clock hand rather than a single light at the 7 position.
Status: The Totally Official answer is indeed "7 o'clock = freight trains stopping intermediately..." taken from From the Boy Scout Handbook...

See The Scout Handbook 01930_05.jpg

Q54 Polyanagrams

Q: This is an extra-credit question only! I encourage you to try it, though. I had more fun with this question and the ones on pennies than with any of the others.

Please examine the list of words at ../sdc2002/words.txt.

Caution: This file is approximately 1.66 Mbytes. Don't download or point your browser to this file unless your Internet connection is fast enough to handle it.

We have noted that some of the words in this file are anagrams of each other, "resorting" and "restoring", for example. In some cases, a word may have two anagrams, such as "operas", "pareos", and "soaper".

Which group of words in this file forms the greatest number of such mutual anagrams? This is not a trick question.

If you have relied upon automated support to answer this question, please include the source code along with your answer for additional sheep. The number of sheep may increase if your code is elegant and efficient, but only if you provide clear documentation. There's also at least a Katahdin in this for the first program whose execution time increases minimally as the number of words N increases. So if you're not the first to present the anagrams, but you can solve the problem in O(N^6) time (say) and other solutions are O(N^7) or worse and there's no way to solve it any better, post your solution!

A: Richard Ragan posted at 12 Aug 2002 19:17:57 CDT

apers apres asper pares parse pears prase presa rapes reaps spare spear
for a total of 12.
The program is far from the fastest to run but was quick to develop.
#! /usr/bin/perl
$longest = "";
$max = 0;
open (DICT, "../sdc2002/words.txt") || die "No words\n";
while (<DICT>) {
  $a = join('',sort(split(//,$_)));
  $list{$a} = $list{$a} . "$_ ";
  if ($ana{$a} > $max) {
    $max = $ana{$a};
    $longest = $list{$a};
 print "$longest\n";
Status: In programming, where brevity is elegance (when not carried to extremes) this example is clearly worth extra points - so a Katahdin in addition to the Cormo!

Q55 Nymphian colours

Q: The name of this colour is said to be taken from a river nymph.

Please name this colour.

A: Jonathan Jordan posted at 13 Aug 2002 20:19:41 +0100


Q56 Buccaneering buddies

Q: The queen's minister was born in the long fields of Dumfriesshire and married to the saddler. What is her favorite part?
A: Sara Moffat Lorimer posted at 13 Aug 2002 09:46:28 -0400

Oh dear... the rear end or, by some definitions, the female genitals?

Status: One Cormo for SML who clearly groked the answer, which is "Booty" - the title of a book authored by one whose name is made up of:

"Sarah" is "female minister, chief, prince, ambassador";
"Moffat" is the name of a village in Dumfriesshire that comes from the Gaelic for "long field";
"Lorimer" is from "lorimier", a maker of spurs and saddles.

Q57 Noms des plumes

Q: This savant almost wrote _Chamber Music_ and _Jackdaws_.

Can you name him?

A: Mike Oliver posted at 12 Aug 2002 22:29:52 -0700

James Follett, who's almost Ken Follett?

Q58 Family Robinson foiled


In 1910, there are two passengers on board a liner sailing westward across the Atlantic to a Canadian port.

They have aroused the interest of the captain who received a radio signal about these two passengers a few days after the ship left Europe. They are apparently an American named Robinson and his son.

How did the captain confirm his suspicions that these two were not who they claimed to be, and what was it that eventually caused them to become famous?

[Poster's note - the source for the Totally-Official answer appears to be someone who's more famous for his accent than his journalistic accuracy. Bonus points for finding this version of events]

A: Ben Zimmer posted at 13 Aug 2002 03:27:59 -0700

Harry Kendall, the captain, had been watching the tall, slim boy with haphazardly mended trousers and soon realized that "his" hips swayed unnaturally for a male and "his" hair that was noticeably too soft and feminine despite the hat that covered most of it.

Newspapers weren't available on the voyage, but the captain had brought along with him a copy of the local newspaper that had come out the morning of sailing; on its front page were photos of the wanted twosome, Dr. Crippen and Ethel Le Neve. Studying the photographs, Kendall determined that Mr. Robinson closely resembled the eluding dentist and that his companion, the boy with the pretty face, could very well be Ethel.

Captain Kendall made history when on July 22 he sent the first-ever wireless telegraph that resulted in the capture of a criminal. Sent from a point 120 miles west of Cornwall, England, to the White Star Company in Liverpool, it read:

Have strong suspicion that Crippen London Cellar Murderer and accomplice are among saloon passengers. Mustache taken off growing beard. Accomplice dressed as boy. Voice manner and build undoubtedly a girl. Both traveling as Mr. and Master Robinson. Kendall.

> [Poster's note - the source for the Totally-Official answer appears to
> be someone who's more famous for his accent than his journalistic
> accuracy. Bonus points for finding this version of events]
Angus Hall?

Then Jonathan Jordan posted at 13 Aug 2002 11:28:59 +0100

The first of these sites ( ) is a Letter from America by Alistair Cooke, who (at least on AUE) is famous for his accent.

Status: One Cormo each for providing correct answers

Q59 Sheepish Author

Q: This author is perhaps known just as much for the characters she created in her books as for the books themselves. Born into a well-to-do Victorian family, she was schooled at home by governesses, and spent a large part of her life as a spinster looking after her parents. She did eventually marry later in life and managed to buy up large tracts of land with the help of her husband and the considerable proceeds from her books. In addition, she became an accomplished illustrator of plant life and a conservationist. Indeed, a lesser known but lasting legacy of this author are the herds of a particular and rare breed of free-roaming sheep that she established on her lands, and that survive there to this day.
A: Matti Lamprhey posted at 13 Aug 2002 10:30:38 +0100

Mrs William Heelis, aka Helen "Beatrix" Potter.

Q60 Checkmating Author

Q: This writer's first novel could have been called _D4_. Who is he?
A: Ben Zimmer posted at 13 Aug 2002 03:03:53 -0700

Lars Eighner (Pawn to Queen Four)

SDC 2002: Contents 0-30 31-60 61-90 91-120 Scores Top