Questions and Answers, 1-30

SDC 2005: Contents 1-30 31-60 61-90 Timings Scoreboard Results Bottom


Author's name
Qn. Title of question Google

Text of question

A. Answer

E. Explanation

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Q1. Back to the past. Google

What SDC-related word used to belong on this list?

  • bear
  • fall
  • feel
  • find
  • grind
  • speak

A. Shear

E. Its past tense form used to be 'shore', which is a separate (present-tense) verb.

Q2. Keep thinking. Google

There's someone with green lipstick! And there's someone with blue rouge! What's so wonderful?

A. the world

E. "The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky are also on the faces of people going by."

Q3. Made for romance. Google

I don't like lemon in my Diet Coke. I don't like Al Hedison. And I eat rice on the side. What am I really?

A. smart

E. "A watusi girl is-a really smart". According to the lyrics, she doesn't like the Twist, the Fly, or the Mashed Potato. (Al Hedison was the Fly in the film of that name.)

Q4. English does have postpositive adjectives. Google


What's next on this list?


E. Initials of successive UN Secretaries General.

Ben Zimmer
Q5. Sex, Lies, and Jackanapes. Google

There's a single English word that can conjure up the following eclectic associations:

  1. Mother Goose rhymes
  2. sexual slang
  3. an eponymous con artist

Name that word!

A. diddle

  1. "Hey diddle diddle", "Diddle diddle dumpling", etc.
  2. to diddle (slang for copulation)
  3. Jeremy Diddler was an artful swindler in James Kenney's 1803 play "Raising the Wind". From the play, "diddle" came to mean "cheat".

Ben Zimmer
Q6. Alternative Lexicon. Google

There's a peculiar four-letter English word that hasn't received much attention from the major dictionaries, but it's bubbled up in pop culture from time to time...

  • In the '40s, it appeared in the titles of two songs by famous bandleaders -- one of the titles was also the name of a movie.
  • In the '50s, it was in the title of an R&B singer's first single, which cracked the Billboard pop chart (peaking at #62).
  • In the '60s, it found its way into underground comics.
  • In the '70s, it hit the Billboard pop chart again (#61), appearing in the first line of a song that paid homage to the '50s song.
  • And in the '80s it showed up in the lyrics of a rock group's first hit (peaking at #14 on the Billboard chart) -- this time recalling the '60s comics usage.

Name the word.

Bonus sheep for naming as many songs as possible in which the word has appeared.

A. reet

E. '40s:
"Are You All Reet?" by Cab Calloway, 1941. "Reet Petite and Gone" by Louis Jordan, 1947. Title of a 1947 movie: (Also appeared in "The Jitney Man" by Earl Hines, 1941; "Five O'Clock Drag" by Duke Ellington, 1941; "G.I. Jive" by Louis Jordan, 1943; "I Like 'em Fat Like That" by Louis Jordan, 1944; and "The Calloway Boogie" by Cab Calloway, 1947)

"Reet Petite" by Jackie Wilson, 1957 (Also appeared in "ABC Boogie" by Bill Haley, 1955)

Appeared in R. Crumb's Zap Comics

"Jackie Wilson Said" by Van Morrison, 1972. (Also appeared in "Sweet Gene Vincent" by Ian Dury, 1977; "Red Money" by David Bowie, 1979; and "Jitterbug" by the Charlie Daniels Band, 1979)

"Brass in Pocket" by The Pretenders, 1980. Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders said her usage of "reet" was inspired by Zap Comics: (Also appeared in "UFO Has Landed in the Ghetto," by Ry Cooder, 1982)

Q7. No food. Google

Consider the pictures at q7/q7.html What's common to them?

A. They're breeds of dog.

E. Respectively, Beagle, boxer, Harrier, pointer, Alsatian, St. Bernard, and Dalmatian. (Albert Schweitzer was from Alsace, and Pietro II Orseolo was the duke of Dalmatia.)

Ben Zimmer
Q8. Abecedarianism. Google

A dictionary is EILNORSTTUUV, according to whose definition?

A. Anatole France

E. He wrote, "Un dictionnaire, c'est tout l'univers par ordre alphabétique" ("A dictionary is the universe in alphabetical order"). EILNORSTTUUV is TOUTLUNIVERS in alphabetical order.

Wiz Aus
Q9. Old Nick. Google

Rummaging through items in a box at a jumble sale, I noticed that Jason D. seemed to collect a lot of them. What were the items?

A. calendars


Ben Zimmer
Q10. Strange Fruit. Google

A slave in a New World colony discovered the extract of a particular kind of tree. His discovery was eventually communicated to a Swedish scholar, who named the extract in honor of the slave. What is the name of the extract, still in use today?

Bonus question: On what day of the week was the slave born?

A. Quassia; Sunday.

E. Named by Linnaeus after Kwasi, a slave from Suriname. "Kwasi" means "born on Sunday" in Akan, the West African language of many of Suriname's slaves.

Ben Zimmer
Q11. Simultaneous Equation. Google

Solve for A, B, C, and D:

  • A is a multiple of B
  • B sounds like someone who performs a C
  • a C resembles a D
  • D is A metathesized

A. octillion, quadrillion, quadrille, cotillion

Ben Zimmer
Q12. Menagerie. Google

There's a word that looks like two animals next to each other. (In fact, it refers to an animal that likes to hang around another kind of animal.) From another perspective, it looks like a onetime haven for hitmen and outlaws, surrounded by a common AUE exclamation. Name the word.

A. Oxfly.

E. ox + fly, or "XFL" (the now defunct Extreme Football League, which had teams named the Hitmen and the Outlaws), surrounded by "Oy".

Q13. Pre-Who Google

I so hated my job that I took an almost-a-year-long vacation to Palm Beach. When I learned that my temporary replacement was about to replace me permanently, I (unsuccessfully) demanded my job back. What's my name?

A. Mayzie

E. from Dr. Seuss' Horton Hatches the Egg

Adrian Bailey
Q14. From A to B. Google

What does the dedicatee prefer to call himself? See q14/q14.html

A. Billy Moon

E. The pictures are of King John and Jim Morrison, characters in the poem "Disobedience" by A. A. Milne from the collection "Now We Are Six" dedicated to Christopher Milne - nickname Billy Moon.

R. H. Draney
Q15. You're going to hate us! Google

What's the next number in this sequence? 3, 9, 27, 2, 0

A. 0.60206 (to 5 d.p.)

E. The sequence refers to the smallest whole number whose English name contains each letter of the alphabet:
10^3 = one thousAnd
10^9 = one Billion
10^27 = one oCtillion
10^2 = one hunDred
10^0 = onE
...given this definition, the next "number-word" is obviously "Four", so the next number in the sequence is (approximately) 0.60206....

Q16. Not to be confused with the 59th Street Bridge. Google

Complete the Swifty: "I took the 60th Street bus," said Tom _____.

A. benignly

E. The B9 is the 60th Street bus in NYC.

Q17. Guess who. Google

Add one item to this list so that the list is complete and meaningful: 238, 243, 246, 248, 258, 251, 252, 253, 255, 256, 257

Q18. Respect. Google

How much does a wreath cost in American bills?

A. 100

E. "A wreath a Franklin" - Aretha Franklin.

Ben Zimmer
Q19. Compliments to the Chef. Google

It is said that on December 14, 1649, a French nobleman settled a local rebellion by serving a sumptuous meal. At that meal the guests were served a new delicacy especially prepared by the cook. To this day, the food bears the name of the nobleman (not his cook!). What is it?

A. pralines

E. Named after the Duke of Choiseul, Count Du Plessis-Praslin, who settled a revolt by members of the Bordeaux parliament.

Ben Zimmer
Q20. Nota Beanie. Google

First, fill in the blanks to complete the names of two Beanie Babies:

Ants the ___
___ the Horse

These two words form an anagram of the name of a landmark religious document. What is it?

A. Nostra Aetate

E. (anagram of ANTEATER + OATS)

Jitze Couperus
Q21. To pee or not to pee. Google

In the U.K. an American may often be surprised on visiting "the facilities" in a Pub to find the image of a bee embedded in the porcelain enamel of the men's urinal.

While it is generally understood that this is intended to serve as an aiming point for the micturator, what is the significance of a bee being chosen for this function rather than a blue-arsed fly or some other insect?

A. The Latin for "bee" is "apis".

E. From a letter to the editor of the Telegraph, published December 6, 2004: "As chairman of Armitage Shanks between 1925 and 1975, my father had a major input into the style of the wall urinal. He was also responsible for an aiming mark in the form of a bee - in Latin, apis. Now that is high art." -- Charlie Stott, Edinburgh

Ben Zimmer
Q22. Scare Tactics. Google

On Halloween night, she said "Hey" and then "Boo". What was her costume?

A. a ham

E. Scout Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird dresses up as a ham for her school's Halloween pageant of agricultural products. In a climactic scene later that night, she greets Boo Radley by saying "Hey, Boo."

Adrian Bailey
Q23. Purple Patch Google

What's this the logo of? ../sdc2005/q23/sdc_logo.gif

A. Renfrewshire Council, Scotland

Jim Ward
Q24. We dare not mention any more information. Google

A shepherd found in Virgil
(and the Faerie Queene),
kiss'd what lillied nymph
and laid her on the green?

Adrian Bailey
Q25. OK. Google

Who is still alive?

Adrian Bailey
Q26. The OC. Google

Ms Jones said: He will be ostracised.
Mr Blunkett said: Anything else is charlatanism.
What happened to the ostracised charlatan?

A. He was elected MP for Blaenau Gwent.


Adrian Bailey
Q27. Mind your head Google

A shop in town had a big two-word sign over the window advertising its wares, made up of individual letters that gradually fell off. What was (somewhat) remarkable was that every time a letter fell off either word, the remaining letters still formed two words, even when only one letter remained of each. What did the shop sell?

Accepted answers: Brass Plates; Clothes Store; Leather Goods

Q28. The librarian (1). Google

An AUE regular who's a librarian has been keeping torn-out pages, and corners of pages, which he's found in his library. Now that a few have accumulated, he wishes to tape each back into the book it came from. Alas, he didn't note, for each page, which book that is. Can you help him?


A. Major Barbara by GB Shaw
The Power Broker by R Caro
The Diary of Anne Frank
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by A Solzhenitsyn

Adrian Bailey
Q29. The People's Car.... Google

See ../sdc2005/q29/sdc_ab6.jpg

Name the car's owner.

A. The Golden Palace Casino, Austin, TX


Adrian Bailey
Q30. Bringing a little Sunshine into their lives.... Google

See q30/sdc_ab_2.html
What's the connection?

A. The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin

E. The pictures represent the three ice-cream flavours selected by the computer: Bookends, Pumice Stone, West Germany.

SDC 2005: Contents 1-30 31-60 61-90 Timings Scoreboard Results Top