Questions and Answers, 61-90

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

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Q61 Protectionism

Q: "Down under we send soldiers and wool abroad, but keep ___ and wine at home." What is the missing word and who is the source?
A: "Poets",

John Manifold, explaining that he wasn't the first noteworthy Australian poet but just the first to get any recognition outside his country.

Q62 Sometimes identified with Mae West

Q: The etymology of this piece of military equipment comes from a musical instrument invented for, and used in, a 1930s era comedy act. Please name it.
A: Ben Zimmer posted at 13 Aug 2002 03:35:11 -0700


Q63 Tails of Nails

Q: Assume that you are magically transported to Edwardian England and are given 10 pence. How many 10d nails could you buy? If the answer to this question is an even number, then the answer to a previous question is etymologically related to the word "optical". Otherwise, the nymph's name is not also an eponym for a river. If the registration number of the hired car was an odd number, then a valid rationale for Q120 is "Because we said so". Otherwise the answer to the next question is "4 quarks and a cole-slaw on the side, please".
A: Jonathan Jordan posted at 13 Aug 2002 14:36:06 +0100


Q64 Rossini? Who or Whom?

Q: Please consider the following three items:
  1. incendiary equine
  2. 1.8 times 10^12 furlongs per fortnight
  3. a cloud of dust.
Please add the remaining item such that the list is complete. Please provide a rationale for your answer.
A: Richard Ragan posted at 13 Aug 2002 14:24:28 CDT

And a "Hearty Hi Yo Silver"

and then added

And now more of a rationale:

"The Lone Ranger! "Hi Yo Silver!"
A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty "Hi Yo Silver!" The Lone Ranger. "Hi Yo Silver, away!" With his faithful Indian companion Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains, led the fight for law and order in the early west. Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. The Lone Ranger rides again!

Incendiary Engine (= Fiery Horse). Note it does not read Incendiary Injun which might be Tonto makeing a fire.

1.8time 10^12 furlongs per fortnight (=speed of light in odd units)

a cloud of dust (literal)

and a hearty Hi Yo Silver.

Q65 Food, SOTB style!

Q: "You can put them in a salad, you can put them in a pie, but never in the refrigerator..." What? And why? As this question pertains to food, please note that exactness is of critical importance here.
A: Gwen Lenker posted at 13 Aug 2002 20:55:30 GMT

To be *exact*, it's because they don't like it in there -- Chiquita told me:

"I'm Chiquita banana and I've come to say - Bananas have to ripen in a certain way- When they are fleck'd with brown and have a golden hue - Bananas taste the best and are best for you - You can put them in a salad - You can put them in a pie-aye - Any way you want to eat them - It's impossible to beat them - But, bananas like the climate of the very, very tropical equator - So you should never put bananas in the refrigerator."

Q66 Forerunner to the minnow

Q: "Tall, dark, small, or any kind of dream at all, he has to have a girl to call his own..." Who?
A: Richard Ragan posted at 13 Aug 2002 19:19:15 GMT

Dobie Gillis

Q67 Cast in stone?

Q: Please examine the photo that you can find at [archive copy]and tell us where it was taken.
A: Skittposted at 13 Aug 2002 15:55:08 -0700

That is the James Joyce statue in Dublin, Ireland.

and followed it up with

Taken in front of Cafe Kylemore.

Q68 The trouble with neighbors

Q: History tells us that this national figure took up residence for a brief period at the beginning of the 20th century in an area now known as Clerkenwell Green, London EC1. History also tells us that he had difficulty learning English, and that his spoken English had a distinct regional accent. Please identify this person who later became associated with a new phase in a nation's history, and for extra credit, please identify the English accent with which he spoke.
A: John Seeliger posted at 13 Aug 2002 18:00:21 -0500

Vladamir I. Lenin

and then

Ben Zimmer posted at 13 Aug 2002 16:56:04 -0700

Did he pick up an Irish accent from Speakers Corner?;=17

Q69 Trigger Happy

Q: Many years ago in the 1st Summer Doldrums Competition, we asked you the name of Dale Evans's horse. Remember? It turns out that she is connected to the lads shown in the photograph at [archive copy]

How? What's the connection? Please have a gander at this photo and provide the connection to Dale Evans.

A: Gwen Lenker posted at 13 Aug 2002 23:32:24 GMT

If those nice young lads are Quicksilver Messenger Service, they recorded "Happy Trails" by Dale Evans.

Q70 Mangy mobile menagerie

Q: A dappled swine, two teams of cattle, a xanthic hound, and what additional animal to complete the set?
A: Evan Kirshenbaum posted at 13 Aug 2002 16:34:18 -0700

A vertically endowed male poultry animal associated with a port on the Huangpu.

"Oh don't you remember sweet Betsy from Pike"

Status: The Totally Official Answer (to which the above was deemed close enough) was "A tall Shanghai rooster." Oh don't you remember
Sweet Betsy from Pike
Who crossed the wide prairie
With her lover Ike
With two yoke of cattle
And one spotted hog
A tall Shanghai rooster
And one yeller dog.

Q71 Dancing itinerant

Q: Having established his bivouac by a convenient water supply and under a tree indigenous to the area he was wandering, a traveler prepared to cook his meal. As he did so, he burst into song and issued an invitation to dance. How did he phrase that invitation?
A: John Seeliger posted at 13 Aug 2002 18:32:05 -0500

Who'll go Waltzing Matilda with me?

Q72 He only does it Tannoy

Q: Whilst waiting for your train at Mornington Crescent, you hear an announcement. Unfortunately, the speakers are not working properly and all you can make out is something that sounds like, "deflector spams, deflector spams, crawl <cackle> con troll priest". What was the announcer saying? And why?
A: Mark Brader posted at 14 Aug 2002 04:56:42 GMT

"Inspector Sands, Inspector Sands, Call Control Please."
"Sands" as in what you might throw a bucket of on a fire.

It's an automatic announcement information station staff that there is a fire alarm in the station. A further automatic announcement will order the evacuation of the station a few minutes later, if no one intervenes to stop it (because they've checked out the problem). Or so it has been said in various threads in

Q73 Vocal harmony

Q: What is unusual about the pronunciation of this couplet?

There is a lady sweet and kind,
Was never a face so pleased my mind.

A: Ben Zimmer posted at 14 Aug 2002 00:13:50 -0700

You could call it a triple rhyme, with the three stressed vowels at the end of each line being long a, long e, and long i. (I won't venture rendering the Early Modern English diphthongs into ASCII IPA.)

Q74 New term coinages

Q: The increase in day to day use of this modern artefact has spawned the creation of new nomenclature for it in many different languages. The source of these names relates to creatures as diverse as pachyderms, monkeys, and worms. But English seems to be the exception.

What is this artefact in English usage?

A: Ben Zimmer posted at 13 Aug 2002 23:12:53 -0700

The "at sign" (@).

In German, it is frequently called Klammeraffe, 'spider monkey' (you can imagine the monkey's tail), though this word also has a figurative sense very similar to that of the English 'leech' ("He grips like a leech"). Danish has grisehale, 'pig's tail' (as does Norwegian), but more commonly calls it snabel a, 'a (with an) elephant's trunk', as does Swedish, where it is the name recommended by the Swedish Language Board. [etc.]

Q75 Angels weeping

Q: Despite the fact that he is on a street known for an affectionate emotion, this policeman's countenance displays an intense hostility.

Name the city, the time of day, and the relative temperature.

Please defend your reasoning with an appropriate citation.

A: Ben Zimmer posted at 14 Aug 2002 00:32:21 -0700

San Francisco, night, warm

Cop's face is filled with hate
heavens above he's on a street called love
when will they even learn
old cop young cop feel alright
on a warm San Francisco night

Q76 Little nifties from the 50s

Q: Please complete this analogy: Atlas and Prometheus are to the 50s as Athena and Hercules are to ?
A: Ben Zimmer posted at 18 Aug 2002 14:36:53 -0700

The 40s.

In midtown Manhattan, statues of Atlas and Prometheus can be found in the 50s, while Athena (Minerva) and Hercules can be found in the 40s.

Q77 Food!

Q: The etymology of this delicious treat is said to come from a Spanish or Portuguese word meaning "grinning face". Please name this food.
A: david56 posted at 14 Aug 2002 10:51:56 +0100


Q78 A penchant for major talent

Q: She was the wife of a famous composer, then the wife of a famous architect, and finally the wife of a famous novelist and poet. In addition to these marriages, she took as lovers a famous tenor, an artist, and some more famous composers.

She herself was a composer, and the death of her daughter inspired a violin concerto by yet another composer. Finally she herself was immortalized in song by an American mathematician. Can you name her?

A: david56 posted at 14 Aug 2002 10:54:14 +0100

Alma Mahler.

Husbands: Gustav Mahler, Walter Gropius, and Franz Werfel. Sung about by Tom Lehrer.

Q79 Protty Training

Q: You are preparing a news article (for publication in the US) about a U. S. Ambassador and his wife, who kept her maiden name after marriage. What is the correct way to refer to this couple?
A: Ben Zimmer posted at 14 Aug 2002 13:12:37 -0700

The ambassador and his wife, Ms. (maiden name).

Q80 Turn 'round

Q: This aging rock star was once employed as a grave digger in the neighbourhood where Dick Whittington reportedly heard the bells of Mary le Bow peal, "Turn 'round". Please name this rock star.
A: Sebastian Hew posted at 14 Aug 2002 21:49:06 +1000

Rod Stewart?

Q81 Boo!

Q: What should Boo go for?
A: Dick.Zantow posted at 14 Aug 2002 07:58:42 -0400

The Eyes

Q82 POW!

Q: This woman was captured and held by the Union army. Later, her son became a U.S. President. Please name this U.S. President.
A: Richard Ragan posted at 14 Aug 2002 18:57:02 GMT

Harry S. Truman

Q83 Floral cowpat

Q: The current leader of the free world (as he likes to define himself) has been known to address his minions by pet names. One of these refers to the floral decoration that will sometimes grow out of a dropping deposited by a cow or horse. What is this term of endearment and who does it refer to?
A: John Seeliger posted at 14 Aug 2002 13:32:45 -0500

turdblossom Karl Rove

"Bush's other nickname for Rove is "turdblossom," a flower that grows out of a cowpie"

Q84 The Plumber's friend

Q: These beings look something like a plumber's friend. They have one hand at the top and a single, green eye. Who are they?
A: Evan Kirshenbaum posted at 14 Aug 2002 15:01:36 -0700

Tralfamadorians. And the Tralfamadorians themselves are described as being:

". . . two feet high, and green, and shaped like plumber's friends. Their suction cups were on the ground, and their shafts, which were extremely flexible, usually pointed to the sky. At the top of each shaft was a little hand with a green eye on its palm." (p. 26).

Q85 Trips or better

Q: The first two are humint and sigint. What's the third?
A: Richard Ragan posted at 14 Aug 2002 23:02:46 GMT

IMINT Image Intelligence

Q86 The cause at the Causeway Heights

Q: My biographer was mistaken! Sure, I was expelled for drinking, but I *certainly* never mixed beer with gin. And besides, when I deloped in that duel with Bernier, I made regimental history. Who am I?
A: Ben Zimmer posted at 14 Aug 2002 16:05:27 -0700


Q87 How the sherriff got shot

Q: I was born in the era that some call the "pretty time period". My father was a well-known painter and my mother was an accomplished musician. I studied music for a bit, but changed my major to philosophy and studied that in Marburg. After that, I returned home and worked in a factory, and later in a library. Then I became interested in Shakespeare and translated many of his works - my translations of Shakespeare are still considered to be the finest in my native language. Finally, I wrote and published my own novel, for which I was awarded a Nobel Prize! My novel was subsequently made into a Hollywood movie which was released about the time many aue civilians were teenagers.

Who am I?

A: Ben Zimmer posted at 14 Aug 2002 16:07:53 -0700

Boris Leonidovich Pasternak.

Q88 Many colors belonging to gravity

Q: How did Rachel get her yo-yo back? Actually, we don't want to know how. Where would we go to find out for ourselves how she got her yo-yo back?
A: Ben Zimmer posted at 14 Aug 2002 18:38:39 -0700

Thomas Pynchon's "V".

then Richard Maurer posted at 15 Aug 2002 06:29:31 GMT

In case it is a question of matching the "Totally Official" answer rather than the correct answer, I will put in

        Thomas Pynchon's "Gravity's Rainbow"

I have been bitten the other way twice so I will try this way once.

Q89 A motley crew

Q: The VIP lounge at Heathrow Airport was very busy one day. In the lounge together were Geraldine Ferraro, Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, Ernie Kovacs, Kathleen Ferrier, and Alexandr Kuznetzov.

"My! My! What a coincidence." murmured the PR lackey from British Airways. What was she referring to?


rzed posted at 14 Aug 2002 18:39:50 PST (According to Google)


Ben Zimmer posted at 14 Aug 2002 18:40:27 PST (According to Google)

Surnames all mean "smith".

Status: The time difference here being within our resolving powers - declared a draw with Cormos to both.

Q90 Adam didn't have this

Q: Fill in the blank: "Hanes Fig Leaf Brief and __ Trouser Fastener".
A: Talon (Vladimir Nabokov, _Pale Fire_)

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