Sunday, November 14, 2010

Your starter for 10 ... The Answers

And here, as promised, are the answers to Wednesday's quiz ... plus a few interesting snippets:


Round 1 – Animal Vegetable Mineral

Q1. Rosemary (from Ros-marinus). Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis) evergreen needle-like leaves related to mint.

Q2. Answers vary but the most commonly cited figure is (d) 95% (Note: In this week's episode of First Life, David Attenborough said it was 80%. If this is more correct, answer (d) is still closest). There are approximately 10 quintillion (10, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000) individual insects alive on this planet at this exact moment. 10% of the total biomass of life on Earth is made up just of ants. That's more than the total biomass of all the humans that have ever existed (approximately 90 billion). There are more insects in one square mile of empty field than there are people in the world. By comparison, we humans make up just 0.33% of the animal biomass - and there are six billion of us. We don’t even know how many species of insect exist; new beetles are discovered at a rate of one an hour. There are 350,000 named beetles, plus perhaps eight million more as yet unnamed; if you lined up all the animal and plant species in a row, every fifth one would be a beetle.

Q3. Approximately two million. Or one if the flower and the bee are both immortal! However, the bee would still need to make two million trips to that flower

Q4. (c) Cranberry - In botany, a berry is defined as a single fruit with seeds inside, not a composite of lots of smaller fruits. All of which means that, technically, a lot of the things we call berries – like strawberries, blackberries and raspberries - aren’t berries at all. True berries include grapes, blackcurrants, gooseberries, cranberries, lychees, guavas, aubergines, tomatoes, peppers and avocados.

Q5. Pearls and amber. Pearls are made by certain shellfish by covering foreign objects in mother of pearl or nacre. Amber is fossilised evergreen tree sap.

Q6. A cat or a dog as food for the lions. The menagerie boasted lions, leopards, lynxes and camels and a tiger that probably inspired William Blake to write his poem ‘Tiger tiger burning bright'.

Q7. It goes through the digestive system of an animal before it gets to you. The Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) eats coffee cherries from the coffee plant and the enzymes in its stomach digest the outer fruit. They then break down the protein in the seed (the coffee bean), which reduces the bitterness of the flavour. The civet then excretes the beans and they are harvested from the animal’s droppings to be made into coffee.

Q8. (a) A grapefruit - A Blue Whale’s throat is small because it eats only Krill and other very small animals. It’s tongue is the same weight as an elephant and 50 people could fit on it. Its heart is the size of a Mini and its aorta is large enough for a small child to crawl through. A Blue Whale can live for 110 years. The sound of a blue whale may reach 188 decibels, making it louder than a jet, which is 140 decibels.

Q9. (a) a drift of ... quail, (b) an intrusion of ... cockroaches, (c) an unkindness or conspiracy of ... ravens

Q10. The Pinta Island (Galapagos) tortoise - There is only one left alive called ‘Lonesome George’. The species was considered extinct until 1971, when George was found. Since then, the Charles Darwin Research Station, Santa Cruz, has been searching for a female tortoise, even posting a reward of $10,000 for anyone who can find one. It's possible that they're out there as, historically, many tortoises were taken from the island for meat or as curiosities. If they do find a female, it may be possible to save the species. Even if George isn't up to it (he is aged between 60 and 100), they have his sperm on ice. Very recently a male tortoise from Prague Zoo called Tony has been identified as a possible second male survivor of the species. Work is ongoing to confirm the genotype. Meanwhile, there is some suggestion that a viable female may exist on the neighbouring island of Isabella as cross-breeds between the local tortoises and the Pinta islnad tortoise have been discovered.


Round 2 - Victoriana

Q1. Sir Edward Elgar – He was a huge fan of Wolves and would often cycle 40 miles from his home in Malvern to watch the team play.

Q2. William Henry Smith (1825-1891) – The younger W H Smith became the Conservative MP for Westminster 1868. He swiftly rose to become Treasury Minister in Benjamin Disraeli’s parliament and, in 1877, First Lord of the Admiralty despite having no military or seafaring experience. It is firmly believed that he was the model for Sir Joseph Porter, the ‘Ruler of the Queen’s Navy’ in Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera HMS Pinafore. W H Smith also created the world’s first chain store when he opened newsstands at railways stations. The store still has the railway franchise to this day. He also commissioned the creation of the ISBN code for cataloguing books.

Q3. The creation of a new sewer uncovered a charnel house beneath the chapel. It was estimated that around 12,000 corpses rested in a space just 59’ by 12’ and covered with just a sprinkling of earth. Apparently, the smell was so bad at times that parishioners frequently passed out. The place was run by a Baptist minister Mr Howse who charged just 15 shillings per burial – other churches nearby charged over a pound (St Clement Danes £1 17s 2d adults and £1 10s 2d for children). Sixty loads of dirt and human remains were thrown into the Thames in 1842. Some was used as landfill at Waterloo Bridge. In 1847, four cartloads of bones were removed and reburied at Norwood cemetery. The discovery of Enon Chapel was a major influence in reforming the burial laws.

Q4. McLean’s attempted assassination of the Queen at Windsor Railway Station on 2nd March 1882 resulted in a change in sentence for those found to be criminal lunatics, from being ‘not guilty by reason of insanity’, to becoming ‘guilty, but insane’. The motivation for the law change came from Victoria’s response to McLean’s not guilty verdict: ‘Insane he may have been, but not guilty he most certainly was not, as I saw him fire the pistol myself.’ Queen Victoria suffered several assassination attempts during her reign – three times in 1842 alone - mostly from subjects who, if not legally insane, were certainly considered to be so. McLean was sent to Broadmoor after his trial and remained there until his death in 1921.

Q5. As an anaesthetist during childbirth. Snow was a leading exponent of the use of chloroform and personally administered to the Queen when she gave birth to the last two of her nine children, Leopold in 1853 and Beatrice in 1857. At the time, the church was oposed to pain relief during childbirth on the grounds that God told Eve in Genesis that: ‘In sorrow and pain shalt thou bring forth children.’ Victoria was prescribed Cannabis for menstrual cramps by her personal physician, Sir Russell Reynolds.

Q6. Technically, in 1966. Under the Treaty of Perpetual Peace between Henry VII of England and James IV of Scotland in 1502, Berwick Upon Tweed was given a special status as being ‘of’ the Kingdom of England but not ‘in’ it. As a result the town thereafter needed special mention in royal proclamations. Consequently, when Queen Victoria signed the declaration of war on Russia in 1853, she did so in the name of ‘Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, Ireland, Berwick-upon-Tweed and the British Dominions beyond the sea.’ But Berwick was not mentioned in the Treaty of Paris that concluded the Crimean War in 1856, leaving the town technically still at war with Russia until a peace treaty was signed by a Russian diplomat and the Mayor of Berwick in 1966.

Q7. Hawker’s Hut is on the cliffs near Morwenstow, Cornwall and is just a little smaller than a bus shelter. It was buily mainly of timber and driftwood is partially built into the hillside (earth sheltered) with a turf roof. Parson Hawker spent many hours in the Hut writing poems and smoking opium. Visitors to the Hut during Hawker's time there included Alfred Tennyson in 1848 and Charles Kingsley. Hawker was a noted eccentric who dressed in a yellow poncho, pretended to be a mermaid to freak out visitors, had a giant pig as a pet and who excommunicated a cat for mousing on a Sunday.

Q8. For being lost most of his professional career. During his expedition of 1812 his colleagues had to light beacons in the evening to guide him back to camp. One night he failed to return and a search party was sent out. As it approached Nuttall assumed they were Indians and ran away. The annoyed rescuers pursued him for three days through bush and river until he accidentally wandered back to camp. Another time Nuttall was so tired he lay down, he looked so pathetic that a passing Indian picked him up, carried him to the river and paddled him home in a canoe.

Q9. Le Petomane, which translates as ‘Farting Maniac’. He was famous for his remarkable control of the abdominal muscles, which enabled him to fart at will. He could play tunes, imitate animal noises and blow out a candle from several yards away. The climax of his act was an anal impression of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. It is said that Prince Albert hired him to hide under the table while Queen Victoria was having dinner and fart ‘Rule Britannia’ at an appropriate moment.

Q10. In his autobiographical dictations, Mark Twain boasted that ‘I was the first person in the world to apply the typemachine to literature.’ He started typing occasional letters on an early Remington machine in 1874, and by all accounts was the first author ever to have a manuscript typed. He remembered it as the manuscript of Tom Sawyer (1874), but according to typewriter historian Darryl Rehr, the book was Life on the Mississippi (1882), and the machine was a Remington No. 2. (One point for either answer).


Round 3 - Wordsmithery

Only one definition of the following obscure English words is true. Tick the one you think is correct.

Q1. Abligurition - (D) Spending a huge amount of money on food.

Q2. Anglewitch - (B) A worm used as fishing bait.

Q3. Bloviate - (B) To speak in a pompous or overbearing way.

Q4. Festuceous - (A) Straw-like.

Q5. Impignorate - (A) To pawn or mortgage something.

Q6. Mulligrubs - (B) The blues, a state of misery.

Q7. Nudiustertian - (C) Relating to the day before yesterday.

Q8. Pilliver - (C) A pillowcase.

Q9. Tittynope - (B) A morsel left on a plate.

Q10. Umquhile - (D) Former or previous.


Round 4 - Picture this …

Q 1-4. (A) Luciano Pavarotti, (B) Paris Hilton, (C) Amy Winehouse, (D) Johnny Cash, (E) Sarah Jessica Parker, (F) Kurt Cobain, (G) Brian Warner (Marilyn Manson), and (H) Pamela Anderson.
Q5-6. The first picture is of the fairy chimneys at Goreme, Capadocia, Turkey. The formations are called ‘Hoodoos’ and are created when soft sedimentary rock is capped by harder rock. The second picture is the Crooked House at Bohaterów Monte Cassino Street, Sopot, Poland. It was constructed in 2003 based on drawings from Jan Marcin Szancer and Per Dahlberg.

Q 7-8. (A) A fly’s foot, (B) A human hair follicle, (C) Velcro, and (D) Pollen.

Q9. William Patrick Hitler. William Patrick was the son of Adolf’s half-brother, Alois, and his Irish wife Bridget Dowling. They had met in Dublin in 1909 and eloped to Liverpool where William was born in 1911. Anecdotal stories tell of the young boy being known as Billy or Paddy Hitler. After the outbreak of World War II, the Hitlers moved to America where William served in the US Navy and the Naval Medical Corps. He was used in several US propaganda films where he was seen berating and taunting his uncle. After the war, and with the Hitler name forever stained with the blood of millions, William became William Stuart-Houston. He married, had four sons and moved to Long Island, New York, where he set up a business analysing blood samples for hospitals. He died in 1987 and is buried alongside his mother, Bridget, at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Coram, New York. A Broadway show called ‘Little Willy’ tells his life story.

Q10. Thunderbirds. (Sir Walter SCOTT, TRACEY Emin, Dorothy PARKER, Robin HOOD, VIRGIL, TIN TIN.)


Round 5 - Not So General Knowledge

Q1. The doctor gave me two tablets for my head/face.

Q2. 893 is the literal translation of Yakuza – the name of the so-called ‘Japanese Mafia’. The name ‘Yakuza’ comes from a card game called Oichu-Kabu and literally translates (in old Japanese) as eight nine three (Ya Ku Sa). This is the worst hand of cards you can have during the game. Therefore, it is the hand that requires the least luck to win and, if you get it, needs the most skill to outmanoeuvre the opponent. Yakuza see themselves in the same way. The hand is sometimes called ‘good for nothing’.

Q3. (b) 1868 - Interestingly, capital punishment was abolished in the UK in 1964 but it did still exist for certain military and treasonable offences until the Human Rights Act of 1998 abolished it completely. The gallows were only dismantled and removed from Wandsworth Prison that year.

Q4. ‘Set’. It has 58 uses as a noun, 126 as a verb and 10 as an adjective. It takes the OED 60,000 words to explain it.

Q5. Adolf Hitler, as the man who ‘for better or worse’ (as Time founder Henry Luce expressed it) had most influenced events of the preceding year. The cover featured Hitler playing a ‘hymn of hate in a desecrated cathedral while victims dangle on a St. Catherine's wheel and the Nazi hierarchy looks on.’ This picture was drawn by Baron Rudolph Charles von Ripper, a German Catholic who had fled Hitler's Germany.

Q6. Vengeance (Vergeltung).


Q7. Do you want to know a secret? What goes on? Why don’t we do it in the road? (No points for How do you do it? as that was written by Murray and Faith).

Q8. Your wife. If you killed your husband it would be mariticide. Other interesting ones include: Neonaticide (killing of an infant less than a month old), Parricide (killing your father, mother, or other close relative or a person whose role resembles that of a father), and Prolicide (killing offspring either before or soon after birth). Stephen Fry once said that ‘countrycide’ was killing Piers Morgan.

Q9. Idaho is probably just a made-up word created as a practical joke. In the early 1860s, when the United States Congress was considering organising a new territory in the Rocky Mountains, eccentric lobbyist George M Willing suggested the name ‘Idaho’, which he claimed was derived from a Shoshone phrase meaning ‘the sun comes from the mountains’ or ‘gem of the mountains’. However, this later proved to be untrue and Willing admitted that he had made up the name himself. But by then the name was in common usage and had stuck. Real examples include Michigan, which comes from the Ojibwe term mishigami, meaning ‘large water’ or ‘large lake’ and Texas is named after the Hasinai word táysha which means ‘friends’ or ‘allies’.

Q10. The Bell family. Adrian Bell invented The Times cryptic crossword. His daughter Anthea Bell and Derek Hockridge) are the translators who turn the original French humour of Asterix the Gaul into English humour. They invented many of the brilliant puns in the names. Anthea’s brother (and Adrian’s son) is Martin Bell, former war correspondent, independent MP and UNICEF ambassador.

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