Q: As they were robbing a bank, the one
who told them to do it got killed. So they had to take the fall for
it, except for the one whose best friend was invisible. That one got
sent to a place about half-way between Clear Creek and Pine Town. In
what year did they rob the bank?
Explanation: "In 1972 a crack commando unit was sent to prison by
a military court for a crime they didn't commit. These men promptly
escaped from a maximum security stockade to the Los Angeles
underground. Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as
soldiers of fortune. If you have a problem, if no one else can help,
and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the A-Team."
Murdock was sent to the VA Hospital in Westwood, CA. His
invisible dog was named Billy.
The slug, of course, refers to the "T"he "A" "T"eam
28. A delicate sound of butterfly thunder (Jerry Friedman)
Q: You have the chance to travel back in
time to the eve of any battle and slip an incapacitating dose of a
laxative to the officer of your choice, thus changing history. Who
offers you this opportunity?
Extra Credit for excellent answers to which battle and officer
you would choose and why.
A: The Alien Space Bats or ASBs (soc.history.what-if,
29. Donna's game (Jerry Friedman)
Q: We're thinking of a word.
A: "amaranthine" (or whatever we decide on). This
would involve somebody who would be willing to answer guesses as
soon as they show up, saying whether the answer is later or earlier
in the alphabet than the guess.
(We might have to skip it if people actually try playing this in
the "word game" thread.)
30. A nasty four-letter word (Jerry Friedman)
Q: Earlier this year, while taking his
groceries to his car, an SDC panelist saw an SUV with the license
plate BRYOZOAN. Naturally excited, he asked the driver about a word
that he (the panelist) thought meant "colony of bryozoa". The driver
patiently explained that it was an old word for any colony of
aquatic animals. Glad not to stay confused, the panelist headed
toward a nearby seasonal competition.
What was the word?
A: asty (which happens to be an anagram for "stay",
found in "nasty").
31. Sophomore? (Garry Vass)
Q: Who was a sophomore? Where was he/she
A: Cass was a sophomore, planned to go to Swathmore...
32. Climbin' the wall (Garry Vass)
Q: Why is she about to climb the wall?
A: She's looking for some hot stuff!
Donna Summer, "Hot Stuff"
33. Nothing can stop me (Garry Vass)
Q: Nothing can stop me. Why?
A: Cuz I'm the "Duke of Earl"
Gene Chandler, "Duke of Earl", 1962......
34. They left me here to die alone (Garry Vass)
Q: I mean like, like it sez, they left
me here to die alone. But where?
A: In the middle of Tobacco Road
60s rock, Nashville Teens, "Tobacco Road".................
35. Heah come da judge, da judge is a cominâ€™ (Jitze Couperus)
Q: In the early 1970s, an American
comedian hosted a popular comedy show on television named after
himself. This show popularised a number of "characters" depicted by
the comedian. Through the mouth of one of these characters, he
unwittingly established the etymological root for a term that is
used today to describe certain types of software.
Identify that term and the comedian.
For extra sheep, name the prominent figure in the computer
industry who adopted this term for use in the context of describing
A: WYSIWYG, Flip Wilson.
It was Mr. Seybold, according to his son Andrew, who first used
"what you see is what you get" in reference to computerized word
processing, after watching "The Flip Wilson Show," on which Mr.
Wilson used the phrase to describe his female character Geraldine.
The phrase came to be abbreviated as WYSIWYG and was popularized
by computer systems developed at the Palo Alto Research Center of
Xerox in the early 1970's.
(From the obit for John W. Seybold, a pioneer in the field of
36. Phyllis and Sharon (Jerry Friedman)
Q: One is an SDC regular; the other
appears here for the first time. Who are they? We're as happy with a
real name as with a pseudonym
A: Phyllis is Rod Stewart and Sharon is (Sir) Elton
John or Reg Dwight. They call each other by those nicknames.
37. Not T. E. Barnes (Jerry Friedman)
Q: Who made a writing, in unmixed
English of this kind, about the thing-lore of our days, and what was
Q: A loyal panelist gets Stuck-Tune
Syndrome whenever the Steady-State Theory (or an American fast-food
chain) is mentioned. What is the tune?
A: "Rule Britannia", the tune of George Gamow's song
about the Steady-State Theory and the theme music of Arthur
Treacher's Fish & Chips commercials (at least in the old days).
39. Cherokee rose (Jerry Friedman)
Q: Aue has discussed the use of "skunk"
for certain African animals, and some Australian animals are called
possums. Name a bird that is not found in the New World but has an
English name of Native American origin.
A: The jabiru stork of southern Asia and Australia,
named after a stork of tropical America. "Portuguese and American
Spanish jabirú, from Tupi." --AHD Or any of the African, Asian, and
Australian jacanas (lotus birds, lily trotters). "Portuguese jaçanã,
from Tupi jaçanam, jaçanã, one that cries out."
Q: What is the origin of the name DE781?
(Young Joey's e-mail address)
A: The answer is not available. Young Joey has requested that it be removed from this page.
42. Competition (Jerry Friedman)
Q: What did young Auberon learn was
A: Background conversation noise as called for in TV
scripts. (From _Little, Big_, by John Crowley, one of the great
novels of the last century.)
43. Confusion of kingdoms (Jerry Friedman)
Q: What did Doc say to Johnny? Hint: he
wasn't talking about pie.
A: "I'm your huckleberry."
44. I'll be frank, you be... (Dr Whom)
Q: If Arthur played Charles onstage, who
played Dennis in the movie? And what does Herman have to do with it?
A: Russell. And Herman wrote the musical.
Explanation: Bea Arthur played Vera Charles in the Broadway
musical _Mame_, composed by Jerry Herman. Rosalind Russell played
Mame Dennis in the movie _Auntie Mame_.
45. Well-Travelled (Dr Whom)
Q: Our car windows were decorated with
memorabilia commemorating tourist attractions in Las Vegas, Nevada;
Kissimmee, Florida; Enterprise, Alabama; Plymouth, Massachusetts;
St. Petersburg, Florida; Overton, Nevada; and Olney, Illinois, among
others. Where did we go with Bernie?
A: The biggest ball of twine in Minnesota.
Explanation: This is from the song "The Biggest Ball of Twine in
Minnesota", by Weird Al Yankovic. The tourist attractions alluded to
in the question are Elvisarama, the Tupperware Museum, the Boll
Weevil Monument, Cranberry World, the Shuffleboard Hall of Fame,
Poodle Dog Rock, and the Mecca of Albino Squirrels.
46. The Turnpike Mystery (Adrian Bailey)
Q: What date was this photo taken?
What's odd about the bridge? Which (fictional) detective is (partly)
A: 15/12/2003. It's an aqueduct which isn't ducting
any aqua. Poirot. See http://www.fletcherrobinson.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/ukstreetwise/images/PC150796.JPG
47. Strange Bedfellows (Dr Whom)
Q: What do Baron Ashkenazy and Charles
Kringas have in common?
Explanation: Baron Ashkenazy is a character in the musical
_Ragtime_, and sings the song "Buffalo Nickel Photoplay, Inc.";
Charles Kringas is a character in the musical _Merrily We Roll
Along_, and sings the song "Franklin Shepard, Inc."
48. Liddy bet blue in the lanes (Garry Vass)
Q: Please consider the following
unordered list: Sun, Moon, Stars, Rainbow, Hope, Triumph, Victory,
Glory, Bull, and Merlin. Removing an item will make the list
meaningful and complete. Which item should be removed and why?
A: Stars. The others were English ships at the defeat
of the Spanish Armada in 1588
49. Surnames (Dr Whom)
Q: Here is a list of four surnames and
Engel Williams ----- Jones Frog
Your task: Present a surname that could fill that blank in the
third position on the list, and provide evidence that that surname
fills it appropriately according to the relevant criterion. Number
of letters is not significant.
A: The surname of any person or fictional character
whose first name is Kentucky is acceptable, as long as satisfactory
verification is provided. (The given surnames are those of Georgia,
Tennessee, Indiana, and Michigan; Kentucky is the only state
adjacent to both Indiana and Tennessee.)
50. Apportionment (Dr Whom)
Q: If all the states in the U.S. had
equal population density, there are exactly four states that
would have the same number of representatives in Congress as they do
in real life (as of the 2000 Census reapportionment). Name three of
 Equivalently, if Congressional apportionment were determined
on the basis of land area, rather than population.
A: Delaware, Vermont, West Virginia, Texas.
I don't think there's an easy way to
solve this without just doing the math. But the algorithm by which
apportionment is determined is available on the Web, and someone
could probably write a program to carry out the algorithm and then
plug in the area figures instead of the population figures as the
base data and see what happens. It took me a few hours to do it in
perl, and I have very little perl experience; someone more
programming-savvy than me could probably do it faster.
51. Apple Pie in the sky (Jitze Couperus)
Q: In order to be able compute fees
associated with the filing, the Securities and Exchange Commission
asked Google to estimate the amount of money that their planned
Initial Public Offering (IPO) would bring in. They responded with
the figure $2,718,281,828 .
What rationale did they have for this number, and for extra
sheep, why might $2,147,483,647 have been seen as a more appropriate
A: They were following the dictum that this number
should represent a rational approximation. (This figure is a
rational approximation of 'e')
The second number is known as Maxint, any number larger than this
may cause problems in a 32-bit world.
52. Commonality (Dr Whom)
Q: What does the first chairman of the
New York Port Authority have in common with a particular physicist
(the latter having been born in 1852 and having taught at what is
now the University of Birmingham)?
Extra credit for naming a third person who, in the judgment of
the Panel, also shares this characteristic.
A: The men referred to are Eugenius Outerbridge and
John Henry Poynting, and their names also serve as descriptions of
the items that were named after them. That is, the Outerbridge
Crossing is named after Outerbridge and it is the _outermost bridge_
between New Jersey and New York. The Poynting vector is named after
Poynting and it _points_ in the direction in which an
electromagnetic wave propagates.