Answers for July 2011

ANSWERS for July 2011. Only 4 responses! And one of those was from Dave Hawley … I am going to try offering different methods of sending the answers in, otherwise, I think the quiz has had its day. This month’s WHINGER is Dr Bob – this month’s WINNER is

Wendy Mooney

Question 1

Whose wife and child were recently noted as having rendered “incalculable” services to literature?


General Sir James Abbott wrote what the Guardian described as the world’s worst poem “Abbottabad”, but then ceased writing to enjoy more time with his family.

Additional Answers

  • General Sir James Abbott is considered to be a human who may challenge the Vogon’s for the title of “worst poetry ever”. Always nice to see someone congratulated for removing the lowest outliers that skew the bell curve.
  • Good grief, Dr Bob: one of the biggest fictional sellers of all time is the bible: you’re not talking about Marie and Hey-zeus, are ya? But really the wife and subsequent issue of their loins that distracted the poet of Abbottabad from continuing his craft with such gems as: ‘The wind hissed as if welcoming us / The pine swayed creating a lot of fuss’.
  • Mrs Mugabe.
  • Vogon Jeltz, apparently a worse poet than William McGonagall, and on a par with General Sir James Abbott.

Question 2

According to Ambrose Bierce, what two instruments are worse than a clarinet?


Two clarinets

Additional Answers

  • Piano accordion, and two piano accordions.
  • The ukulele, and the other ukulele, especially when bowed by using a clarinet. Still preferable to Vogon poetry though.
  • TWO clarinets, although I would revise that to slide guitar and a red-hot pincers, in that order. I *adore* Bierce: Meekness: Uncommon patience in planning a revenge that is worthwhile.
  • Two clarinets, I felt the question regarding how do you know if you have achieved perfect pitch with your clarinet? It doesn’t hit the sides as you toss it into the toilet. As a former flautist I must publicly decry this attack on the woodwind instrument however as they kept nicking the melody in my concert band then boo sucks to all non flutes

Question 3

What was the original manuscript of Bach’s St Matthew’s Passion used for, before being carefully preserved for posterity?


It was bought as wrapping-paper from the estate of a deceased cheesemonger.

Additional Answers

  • Cheese wrappers. Doubtless for Liptauer, Smoked Austrian or Limburger, even if it’s very runny.
  • Das Parroten Kage Linea.
  • Paula Nancy Millstone Jennings of Sussex was going to use it for some poetry before a wormhole in space/time was used to send a copy of the Hitch-hikers Guide To The Galaxy through, striking her in the back and spilling the ink. In an attempt to remove the ink, the music was fortuitously exposed.
  • To clean up the passion? Oh that’s inappropriate isn’t it? It would be an immaculate passion and hence no clean up required, oh this answer is getting worse I better stop before….

Question 4

In the remote city of Bodo, Norway – (a) In the church, why is there a light globe shining under the bowl of water in the font? (b) What is depicted by a granite statue in the children’s paddling pool?


(a) To stop the water freezing in winter – the priest had to keep cracking the ice to baptise babies (b) A rather large Walrus.


Additional Answers

  • (a) Hippies (b) Hippies
  • (a) So that penitents can read the Bach passion music in order to play it on Ukulele and Clarinet. In Bodo, 21 Hail Marys is a PROPER punishment. (b) A rather unusual looking two headed, three armed man, laughing at the incalculable improbability of it all.
  • Awww, Dr. Bob. Is it something sad about all the inhabitants killed in WWII by Nazis and therefore Hitler? Or sculptures of a sea eagle and a granite block with holes in it, thereby depicting a Hawk and a Wind?
  • We haven’t visited Norway for a little while – oh how I have missed its romantic allure

Question 5

Carpet pythons eat mice. Therefore if a carpet python is removed or killed, disturbing the balance of predators, there will be more mice, which will breed, producing yet more mice, etc., until equilibrium is again reached. How many mice are not born due to the predatory ingestations of one carpet python?


200,000 mice

Additional Answers

  • Generally just the two. Frankie and Benjy Mouse. It just keeps not happening over and over again, hence the thoughts of the bowl of petunias “Oh, no. Not not again” often misquoted without the first (or was it second?) not. Generational progression for each generation can be estimated simply by calculating n^42 where n is number of generations.
  • Is a “Gut full” a recognized SI measure for Carpet Python consumption rates?
  • OK, let’s say one kills a pregnant female every two weeks for 25 years. Each doe could, conservatively, produce 5 females per litter and 4 litters in a lifetime. Say, 15,000 second generation, 24 factorial = 2 to the power of 27, or 400,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. Blimey!
  • Proving a negative…uncool.

Question 6


Just after this iconic picture was taken, of the tank storming the Saigon Presidential Palace in 1975 – where did the tank go when it got inside?


It didn’t go anywhere – it ran out of fuel

Additional Answers

  • It didn’t.
  • Little known fact that the storming of the Saigon US embassy was May 25th, so the tank driver was looking for a towel rack. Very prescient of him, as International Towel day didn’t start being recognised until 2001. In the HHGTTG that hit Paula: “A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch-hiker can have.”
  • Straight to the Presidential bar where the crew who can be seen on the tank as being rather thirsty after a big day of storming relaxed for a few Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters, not recommended as the majority of the crew had a blast which can be a dangerous activity when in possession of a large machine of war.
  • The BBC sez: ‘Nothing happened’, but I prefer to think it tried to go up the stairs, and crashed through the ballroom floor like an overturned tortoise.


  • My damn evil email program thingy seems to not ever let me enter the quiz or only gives me the first question. Maybe my tin foil hat isn’t sitting right and is interfering with it. Anyway hope I managed to get back in the game this round.

Have a go!

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