Wednesday, October 15, 2014
My "Says You" Questions, including some about music
'Twas definitely a major hoot.
They gave me credit of course. This caused one of the ushers (who hadn't heard the show and didn't know audience members could send in puzzles) to assume that they'd chosen my name at random and were just picking on me for some reason. She said I was a good sport about it.
Anyway, four of the questions contained material about music (actually six did originally, though they didn't ask the one about Axl Rose and they edited the music out of another), so it’s suitable for posting in this blog. Here, then, is the complete set of questions that I’d written for that evening. I've put the answers separately at the end for any reader who’d like to try to figure them out first.
Round One: Odd One Out (Which one doesn’t belong in the list? Why?)
1. Marty, Melvin, Michael, Morton
2. Cephalopod, Gigantic, Monopoly, Preposterous, Sophomore
3. Anime, karaoke, karate, Pokemon
4. Bruce Dern, C. S. Lewis, H. G. Wells, Jody Foster, John Cage, Rachel Carson
5. Boston, Chicago, Cincinnati, Kansas, Oregon
6. Esmeralda, Nostromo, Pequod, Titanic, The Book of Job
Round Two: Bluffing
“Frob” is a real word. Which of the following does it mean? (Two of these definitions were invented on the spot by the panelists.)
1. to randomly move the controls of an electronic device, to see what they do
2. counterfeit money or goods
3. Facebook status: “finally rid of boyfriend”
Round 3: “Stuff” or “Things” that may not actually exist – Tell me all that you know about these (possibly) fictional substances or ideas.
1. The Ether
2. The Great Inuit Vocabulary Hoax
3. The Philosopher’s Stone
4. Piltdown man
6. The (original) Planet Vulcan
Round Four: Bluffing
“Bloob” is a real word. Which of the following does it mean? (Two of these definitions were invented on the spot by the panelists.)
1. a professional wrestling chokehold
2. coffee shop slang for a blueberry muffin
3. to make a humorous noise
Round Five: “Doppelnyms” – Names shared by two (or more) famous people, real or fictional
1. Espionage ace and ornithologist/author.
2. Actor and literary giant’s spouse.
3. Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, and (spelled slightly differently) inventor of potato chips.
4. Philosopher/politician, and painter.
5. Former NBA star, and revolutionary-era newspaper publisher who performed the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence and was the founder of the American Antiquarian Society.
6. Magazine mascot, and Academy-Award nominee film composer.
Odd One Out:
1. Melvin. The others all share a last name: Marty Feldman, the comedian; Michael Feldman, the radio personality; and Morton Feldman, the composer. There’s no famous Melvin Feldman that I’m aware of.
NOTE: This question was the result of some friends and I having a game retreat; the prize package for the winner of one tournament was a Michael F. “Whadya Know” game package, a CD of Morton F., and a DVD of “Young Frankenstein” starring Marty F.
2. Gigantic. The others are (self-contained) oxymora: cephalopod is “head-foot”, monopoly is “one-many”, preposterous is “before-after-(ous)”, and sophomore is “wise fool”.
NOTE: Another blogger commented (below) that the etymology of "sophomore" might be different, which is possible, so I'll say it could mean "wise fool".
3. Karate. It’s the only one of these Japanese words that doesn’t contain any English. Anime is short for “animation”; the “oke” in “karaoke” is from “orchestra”; and “Pokemon” is “pocket monster” with a few letters missing.
NOTE: Incidentally, the “kara” in both “karaoke” and “karate” means “empty” – “karaoke” is an “empty orchestra” – missing a vocalist, I guess – and “karate” is “empty hand” – no weapons.
4. H. G. Wells. As far as I know, he didn’t do anything with “Silent” or “Silence” in the title. Jody Foster starred in “Silence of the Lambs”; Bruce Dern starred in “Silent Running”; C. S. Lewis wrote “Out of the Silent Planet”; Rachel Carson wrote “Silent Spring”; and John Cage wrote “Silence: Lectures and Writings” and “Four Minutes and Thirty-Three Seconds” (which is 4’33” of silence, though it isn’t in the title).
NOTE: They didn’t use “John Cage” in the clues; it would have been too easy and there were other questions about music.
5. Cincinnati. The others are (or were) well-known bands.
NOTE: There was some confusion about this one. I'm sure I heard them answer "Oregon, because the others are bands". During the intermission several other audience members approached me and stated that Oregon was a band but Cincinnati wasn't, which I knew. Just before the second half started, I asked Richard Sher (the host of the show) what he'd heard the panelists answer for the one about the cities/bands. He said the answer was "Cincinnati, because the others are bands", which is, of course, the correct answer. So I don't really know what happened there. Maybe we'll have to wait until it goes on air to hear it for real. In the meantime, is there a band called Cincinnati that I should know about?
6. Titanic. “…and I alone escaped to tell the tale”. The first chapter of the Book of Job contains this phrase four times; the others (except the Titanic) all end with only one escapee to tell the tale. The Esmeralda was Robinson Crusoe’s ship; the Pequod was the ship in “Moby Dick”, and the Nostromo was the spaceship in “Alien”.
NOTE: The audience booed this one for some reason.
Frob: to randomly move the controls of an electronic device, to see what they do.
NOTE: One of the panelists pointed out that if it had actually meant “finally rid of boyfriend”, then it could have had a sister word "frog".
“Stuff” or “Things” that may not actually exist
The Ether: a medium that, in the wave theory of light, permeates all space and transmits light waves and other forms of energy. Proved not to exist by Einstein’s theories.
The Great Inuit Vocabulary Hoax: The “Eskimo” language doesn’t have five hundred words for snow. It doesn’t even have one hundred. It has about twelve, which (if you count the specialized usage by skiers, snowboarders and weather forecasters) is about the same number as English.
NOTE: The word “Eskimo” is considered to be pejorative by some, who prefer “Inuit”.
Philosopher’s Stone: a legendary alchemical substance said to be capable of turning base metals (lead, for example) into gold or silver.
Piltdown man: a hoax in which bone fragments were presented as the fossilised remains of a previously unknown early human. These fragments consisted of parts of a skull and jawbone, said to have been collected in 1912 from a gravel pit at Piltdown, East Sussex, England. The Latin name Eoanthropus dawsoni ("Dawson's dawn-man", after the collector Charles Dawson) was given to the specimen. The significance of the specimen remained the subject of controversy until it was exposed in 1953 as a forgery, consisting of the lower jawbone of an orangutan deliberately combined with the skull of a modern human.
The (original) Planet Vulcan: a small planet proposed to exist in an orbit between Mercury and the Sun. Attempting to explain peculiarities of Mercury's orbit, the 19th-century French mathematician Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier hypothesized that they were the result of another planet, which he named "Vulcan". No such planet was ever found, and Mercury's orbit has now been explained by Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity.
Bloob: Coffee shop slang for a blueberry muffin.
NOTE: One of the panelists (I believe it was Carolyn Faye Fox) called the definitions for this word “bloob jobs”.
Round Five: “Doppelnyms”
1. James Bond: Ian Fleming got the name of the (fictional) spy from the (real) ornithologist.
2. Anne Hathaway: movie actress, and wife of William Shakespeare.
3. George Crumb: Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, and (without the “B”) inventor of potato chips.
4. Francis Bacon
5. Isaiah Thomas
6. Alfred E. Newman: Mad Magazine mascot, and Academy-Award nominee film composer.
NOTE: The unused one about Axl Rose (see beginning of this post) was one of these. His real name is Bill Bailey, as are two major-league baseball players, a comedian, and a character in “West Wing” (also called Will Bailey). I also included one about two presidents and two composers (all John Adams with various middle names), though it would have been redundant by this time and probably too easy.
Addendum 11/10/2014: A couple of days ago I heard another of my questions that they'd asked (at another taping), on the radio broadcast. They didn't give me credit for it, though. The question: "Odd One Out": which one doesn't belong?
Sarcastic fringehead, diabolical nightjar, invisible rail, screaming piha
Answer: sarcastic fringehead; it's a fish and the others are all birds.