Answers for August 1997

Our chronologically challenged (the quiz was 14 days late getting set up) WINNER this month is: yet again, taraa –

Mike Garrett

Question 1

Do the sides of the base of the Great Pyramid of Khufu align North-South?


Yes (to within 1/12 of a degree). Interesting school exercise: how could you get a large (hundreds of metres), level, exactly square base using only mud and string?

Alternative answers:

  • This is either a trick question or Dr Bob doesn’t know that a pyramid has a square base, with some sides aligned this way and the others aligned that way. [Which way? Oh, that way]
  • I believe the alignment of North and South was already predetermined, well before the pyramids were built. [15-love]
  • Did you know Khufu can also be spelt Khufwey, or even Khnomkhfwey, and people wonder why the Egyptians never developed a phonetic alphabet!! [Or had wonderfully clear nasal passages].

Question 2

What is the weight of 1,000 steel balls, each of diameter 2 millimetres?


1000.4.pi.r.r.r.rho/3 = about 30 grams, or 1 ounce.

Alternative answers:

  • It depends on whether they happen to be near the Earth – the mass is 30 grams. [Touche]
  • It depends on whether it’s ordinary steel, special steel, nerves of steel, steel magnolias, what a steel ….
  • It depends on whether they are ball bearings in some mechanism at sea level or if they have been forcefully injected into some hapless water fowl . . .

Question 3

What is the weight of a 1-metre diameter sphere of cork?


About 100 kilograms

Alternative answers:

  • Bugger that, imagine the bottle!!!
  • Who cares, if you’ve just uncorked 8,000 litres of wine?

Question 4

You row a boat at 7 km/hour, upstream on a river which is flowing at 4 km/h. Your hat falls off and floats, but nobody tells you until an hour later, then you begin to row back downstream to get it. From that time, how long does it take you to catch up with the hat?


One hour. Everything happens on the river, so never mind that the river is flowing – you rowed away for an hour so you row back for an hour.

Alternative answers:

  • Of course the hat would probably get snagged anyway.
  • 1 hr, clearly (neglecting waterfalls or your hat getting stuck somewhere, etc). If I win twice in a row, do I get double the prize this time? Huh, huh, do I?? [Yes]
  • Given that there was a 7km/hour wind blowing upstream, the hat had followed us, so all we had to do was reach over the stern and pick it up.

Question 5

How many of these quotes were actually said by the (real or fictitious) characters?

  • Laurel and Hardy “That’s another fine mess you’ve got us into”
  • Sherlock Holmes “Elementary, my dear Watson”
  • Long John Silver “Aha! Jim lad”
  • Bogart (Casablanca) “Play it again, Sam”
  • Juliet “O, Romeo! Romeo! where art thou, Romeo?”
  • Winston Churchill “Blood, sweat and tears”
  • Queen Victoria “We are not amused”


Probably only the last one; the real quotes were:

  • “Another fine mess we’ve gotten into, Ollie” – Another Fine Mess (1930)
  • “Elementary, my dear Watson” never appears in the original stories; tentatively traced to the film “The Return of Sherlock Holmes“, 1929. Long John Silver – “Aha! Jim lad” – Not in Treasure Island.
  • “Play it, Sam, play ‘As Time Goes By'”. Woody Allen subsequently wrote the play (and movie) Play It Again, Sam (1972)
  • “O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou, Romeo?” (R&J, Act 2, Scene 2)
  • “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat” -Churchill
  • “We are not amused”- Queen Victoria. Recorded in “Notebooks of a Spinster Lady” by Caroline Holland in 1919, which seems quite well documented. Phew!

Alternative answers:

  • Long John Silver may have said that – but Stevenson did not record it.
  • You list “Bogart” rather than “Rick”, who is the character played by Bogart in “Casablanca”. A little confusion over the reality and the fictitious? Which is what this site is supposed to be trying to clarify in the first place, I thought. [Touche again]
  • Zero, and you could have added, ‘Alas poor Yorick, I knew him well’. [Yes I will, in my next Live Trivia Quiz in Melbourne, Tuesday 9 December 1997 at Poyntonz, Melbourne – Thanks – Dr Bob]