Answers for June 2010

Answers for June 2010, and the WINNER was the first to understand the Ghastly Secret of the William Ferrers Centre ….

Geoff Merrell

Question 1

Why does Mickey Mouse wear gloves?


So you can see his hands when they are in front of his body.

Additional Answers

  • Because it’s really hard to draw mouse’s fingers, isn’t it?
  • Dr Bob Dr Bob how many times? Mickey Mouse is not a real person. It is a cartoon, a drawing. It does not wear gloves. It is drawn with gloves to make the hands easier to see.
  • He supposedly wears gloves to allow audiences to distinguish the characters’ hands when they appeared against their bodies, as both were black. But I reckon it was to avoid leaving his fingerprints on all those scenes he stole from my hero, Donald Duck.
  • Mickey and his other black coloured cartoon characters were given gloves to provide contrast when drawn with their hands over their body. Otherwise the viewer could not determine if the hands were in front, or behind, the body. Felix the cat I believe refused to wear his gloves and was in all sorts of trouble when he did not know is his hands were in front or back – probably accounts for his molestation of females.
  • My initial thought was – so he won’t leave fingerprints in his career as a mouse burglar. Unfortunately it’s more mundane – it’s so his hands could be seen against his black body in black and white animation. The same reason in fact that the black and white minstrels wore them.
  • To keep his hands warm. Also covers up the unsightly scars caused by the acetate film fire during early production. And because in any scene with Minnie, the censors demanded that both of Mickey’s hands be clearly visible at all times to avoid claims of cartoon hanky panky. White gloves are easy to see. Given his continued on and off screen behaviour, this requirement was extended to MM’s interactions with Pluto and Goofy as well. Oh, the shame of it all, it cost Disney huge sums to cover it all up.
  • To make his hands look different to the rest of his body.
  • To make them easier to see in the black-and-white animation. Once colour came about they decided the viewer still needed black and white of one form or another so with Bambi they eliminated all ethical colour and shades of grey. This was done by writing out all of the predatory non-human animals from Felix Salten’s original book, and replacing man’s climactic redemption with a catastrophic manmade wildfire. Hooray for misanthropic classics!
  • You would too if you wanted to keep your warfarin rash private.
  • He had blood on his hands.

Question 2

Captain Ahab’s log reads: Funny thing happened this morning, we were looking for white whales between Pitcairn Island and Tahiti. Well that’s not really funny, but this is – we have a devout Muslim sailor who helps the navigator – that’s not the funny bit either, but it’s coming – and he always makes a big deal about calculating the correct direction to pray in. But this morning, he didn’t bother for once – he simply knelt and prayed in the direction he happened to be already facing. But for afternoon prayers he again worked out the proper direction with care. Maybe Dr Bob’s fans could tell me why that was? … will finish this later, white whale sighted


A Muslim can pray facing in any direction, not only inside the Ka’aba, but also at its antipodeal point.

Additional Answers

  • Because he was as far from Mecca as it was possible to be and still be on the planet. [A bit like Dr Bob]. No matter which way he faced, there was no direction closer to Mecca, he was directly opposite it on the planet.
  • Because, as we know prayer waves follow the isostatic gravity field of the earth and would flow around the earth to Mecca by the shortest route. His other alternative was to drill through the earth, but BP had all the rigs busy. Just why is it that prayers follow the land surface? Does this mean that prayers sent to heaven will eventually run out of momentum and come crashing back to earth?
  • Fans? I laughed over that one. Antipodes
  • He was the prophet Mohammed
  • Hey, Dr Bob, what a great Scrabble word! I’ll add ‘QIBLA’ to ‘QI’ and ‘VUGH’ and ‘NIQAB’ and ‘XYST’ and ‘BTFSPLK’ and will score zillions from every passing triple word score. Well, maybe not with ‘BTFSPLK’ because it is a proper name (for those who recall the long-departed L’il Abner).
  • Let’s not qible about this – he was at the exact antipode of Mecca which I learned off a television show last week is located in the South Pacific. So of course whichever way he pointed he was pointing towards Mecca.
  • My recall of Melville’s story is that it was because he foresaw his own death
  • Oh, well, I guess that it should probably depend from the fact that Pitcairn and Tahiti are less or more with a latitude South equal to the latitude North of Mecca, and in some very special day of the year maybe this means something, But I really don’t know, to be honest, and I don’t care too much, because I just want to greet Dr. Bob after years of absence from his quiz.
  • Well, paste the following in to Google Maps :21.42251, 39.82619. Then do -21.42251,-140.17381. The Qibla was indeterminant because the Qabaa was antipodal at the time. I wonder if the missing ‘u’s fell down the singularity.
  • He was exactly opposite Mecca so all directions were equally distant.

Question 3

How is the first business week (Week 01) of the year defined?


It is the week containing the first Thursday in the year.

Additional Answers

  • Arbitrarily
  • As the first business week. Probably not tautologous – must be the first full working week from Monday to Saturday entailed within the definition of the year (Jan Dec or July June)
  • At last – a use for that silly finance subject I did as part of an MBA! (Now that was two years of my life I’ll never get back) In the ISO week system it is the first week to have a Thursday in it. The ISO week also has an annual Doomsday but I’ll leave that for you to puzzle out…
  • By bleary eyes, a lack of enthusiasm, and an extra 4kg.
  • First Week
  • Hmmm… this seems too easy. I recall something about the week that contains the first Thursday of the year is week 01. Am I so wrong?
  • Oh bugga, here we go again.
  • The definition is written down on pieces of paper, or typed into a computer and then printed. Some nerdy type in a funny suit derives the original words from very thin premises.
  • The week that contains the first Thursday of the year… almost as bad as Easter!
  • Week 1 July

Question 4

What is ironic about Hercule Poirot’s reverence for “the little grey cells”?


Brain cells are pink – they only go grey when you’re dead.

Additional Answers

  • They are pink not grey when alive
  • Are they red with big yellow dots, in reality? Or maybe they are absent inside egg-like brains?
  • Because all his gray cells had been stained white by the long term use of moustache wax.
  • Because the “little grey cells” he referred to were the ones in Brussels’ gaol.
  • cf other cells they be big
  • Hercule Poirot, or as my aunt refers to him, Herocle Perocle, as a fictitous character in literature doesn’t really exist and therefore doesn’t have a brain at all. If however he was a real live person, and only relied on his “little grey cells” he would only be using part of his brain – or else is in some way biased against “little white cells” and refuses to acknowledge the part they play in his reasoning.
  • It’s the little gray (prison) cells that the criminals end up in – but I think it’s the white matter that does the work.
  • No idea! Something to do with signs of obsessive compulsive disorder? Studies link it with changes in the distribution of grey matter. Not really ironic in a belly laughter kinda way though unless you’re more odd than I first thought.
  • They do not exist. There is grey matter (cell bodies predominate), and white matter (myelin sheaths predominate). If he meant the giant cortical cells of Betz, of course, they are not little in cytological circles.

Question 5

In the event of a general flooding of the low-lying landscape, residents of South Woodham Ferrers – once designated the 33rd worst town in the UK – would be evacuated to the William de Ferrers Centre. What would happen next?


Not much, because it is 5 m below sea level.

Additional Answers

  • A fire?
  • According to the Chelmsford and Maldon Council Emergency Planning website it is being worked on by the local council committee. The general plan requires the completion of registration card on entering any ‘rest’ centre, you can come and go as you please but not return to your own home until it is declared safe.
  • Being British – they would be offered a nice hot cup of tea. The first official request would be for them to be asked to “… in this yellow form please dear so we know where you are thats a pet. Now dont you worry. We’ve survived worse in the blitz.”
  • Ham and turkey sandwiches, bags of lettuce, hard-boiled eggs, heaps of tomato, and lashings of ginger beer would be made availble to all and sundry for the next 1 hour 27 minutes. After that time several group photographs would be taken, the results cut up, and a montage of stunning clarity and detail created from the various pieces. This would be displayed to the public for up to 5 days, or until the flood receded, whichever was first. After these photo sessions, the residents would be divided into two teams, more photos would be taken, and a game of indoor croocket (with special rules) would then be held. The winners of this unusual game would then be allowed to refer to themselves for the next 72 minutes as “The Gronochs”, a title to be aspired to, and the player on the winning team with the longest inside leg measurement was traditionally awarded the “Cavenaugh Medal” as the best and fairest. Everyone would then return to the tables for more food and ginger beer and the whole process would repeat itself ad nauseam until water levels returned to normal.
  • No idea… I’ve wasted 15 minutes reading very boring websites about flood plans and sirens and so on and so forth…
  • Swimming in the marvellous swimming-pool of the sport centre?
  • The captain would break open a bottle or rum, and after the ark arrives the chosen family and two of everyone’s animal would be loaded onto the boat that would float away while the rest got very wet in an evacuation centre sited in a very low location.
  • They sat around and drank Britains best beer (2005 & 2006) from the Crouch Vale Brewery. Mind you if they were also evacuating everybody from the secret base under Bushy Hill, it might have become crowded.
  • They’d all have a jolly good time stuffing ferrers down their trousers while waiting for the floodwaters to recede.
  • Wait for George W to send help.

Question 6

Who shot Horrocks?


His camel.

Additional Answers

  • The Sherriff
  • “Horrie” Horrocks shot himself because an obstreperous camel moved as he went to fire his gun, and he shot himself in the hand and face. Before finally dying, Horrie had the camel (a known miscreant) shot by firing squad.
  • A kangaroo, what else?
  • Horrocks was shot by his own camel after the explorer made a rude comment about its toes.
  • I’m excited – an answer I know. It was a case of Death by Camel (now there’s an Agatha Christie title for you) – which was executed for its crime. At last, a photo of something that not only do I know where it is, I’ve seen it. St Marks Church on the corner of Church Lane and Pawelski Rd and not far south of SevenHills (an excellent winery run by the Jesuits with a nice red – and not far from Polish Hill where there’s a very nice riesling)
  • It is a little known fact that Horrocks did not, in fact, set out to “explore country north-west of Mount Arden” as claimed in the plaque. He and his fellow travellers were peace activists taking a flotilla of ships of the desert to bring humanitarian aid to an isolated enclave of oppressed aborigines in the face of determined opposition from Australia’s iron-fisted ruling regime. While forcing their way through the regime’s illegal blockade, poor defenceless Horrocks, who was armed only with peaceful poles and knives and blunderbusses, was shot by a trigger happy bobby who was attempting to board Horrocks’ camel after rappelling at night from a passing hot air balloon. The regime blamed Horrocks’ camel for the shooting, and the whole incident was suppressed until 1946.
  • John Ainsworth Horrocks’ camel bolted – gun jolted and discharged. Some would say “the camel” but a camel is not a “who”. It was his gun, and he was responsible for carrying it in a state where it could discharge so ultimately it was himself what shot him. That’s the problem with guns – they go bang and people get hurt/dead. Not a fun way to die – gangrene and he died several weeks later. My wife’s family were also early settlers in Clare district – established Spring Farm south east of town name of Bray.
  • No, not Liberty Valance, not Bob Marley, but a tragic tale of loaded firearms, rough roads and a drunken grumpy camel. “Watch out, they spit”. Who knew that suggesting that for once he might like to ride on that other nice long legged camel could cause such a violent reaction? Accident…more like a cover-up!
  • This was a major tragedy of early Australia. In order to keep the traditional owners suppressed when there were insufficient homo sapiens to man the barricades Horrocks led the way by arming his camel. Camels of course are neither intelligent nor sociable and shot the unfortunate Mr Horrocks. The real story is that he was training the camel to shoot a cigarette from his mouth and the camel sneezed and shot his face off instead.


  • Brain surgeons sneeze too, you know!
  • Consultant’s fee follows upon announcement of my winning submission
  • Four answers I didn’t have to search for! And not a Titanic, Glass, Hitler or Beefheart question. I do trust you’re well.
  • Hi, Dr Bob. I’m sure you missed a lot my legendary English, uh?
  • Just watched Jessica Watson sail by on her way home to Mooloolaba. She’s determined, accomplished and brave. Good on her.

Have a go!

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