Answers for January 2003

A lot of good answers this month – and our winner comes from Clearwater, Florida and so can be expected to get Q11 right – take it away (and don’t bring it back)

Joanne Kelley

Question 1

When the BBC marketed a videotape of “Bill and Ben” about 10 years ago, how many copies were sold?


To everyone’s amazement, about 300,000

More Answers

  • £4 million’s worth of the things, which is fairly impressive for a show like that. I always thought it was inspired by a little weed.
  • 4…one each for bill and ben, and one for each of the puppeteers
  • 666
  • bobble bubbred and bubbalub boo.
  • Censored or uncensored?
  • Eighty-three, all to low-IQ English marijuana growers seeking horticultural guidance from the self-proclaimed pot men.
  • Enough to make about 4 million pounds. Not bad. Now where are the videos of “Sharon, Lois, and Bram’s Elephant Show”?
  • Far more than were justified by the awful content.
  • Flibadob copies, or possibly flobadob copies.
  • Flobadobadob. 4m pounds worth. Weeeeeeeeeeeed!!!
  • Hopefully, none. It was a dreadful show when it was new. I doubt that it has aged particularly well. At school, in England, we did, however, walk around talking in BillandBenese. “Floppydeflop!” “Floppydeflop!” With an occasional cry of “Weed!!!” when in extremis. You do that when you are young.
  • How do you say 300,000 in Flobbadob?
  • I can’t tell you because, in the current international climate, this is now a matter of National Security.
  • I’ve still got a couple of dozen, want them?
  • None – they had to give them away
  • None, everybody thought it was gay porn.
  • None, the only tapes sold were originals.
  • None. Some dingbat had them all made in BETA.
  • Not a lot, I think, from the way you formulate the question.
  • Not enough information. Was this to do with the childrens series Bill and Ben, or does this relate to the video and audio production company owned and managed by Bill Brags since 1991(about 10 years ago). Bill being Bill Brags and Ben being his wife Helens nickname. The are filming Doctor Who and distribute through the BBC.
  • One, of course. It’s implicit in the question, “When the BBC marketed A videotape….” “A” defines a singular as does “videotape”. You tried to trick us didn’t you Your Bobship?
  • Only 8 because the kind of drugged out hippies that find that amusing have no shame about breaching copyright, stealing money from artists and furthering the criminal activities encompassed by those who pirate videos [Ahem <shuffles feet> um <looks over shoulder>]
  • Only one but, I made 20,000 bootleg copies and sold them thru an adult web site, “If you loved me you’d”, made a motza and retired.
  • Only six, but this was because Bill, regrettably, had very few living relatives due to a mix up between bags of potting mix and quick dry cement.
  • Quite a lot – however they were hastily recalled when a concerned parent noticed that in a background scene Dougall was doing some unmentionable thing to Zebedee, this was following the aggressive takeover of The Magic Roundabout, causing shares to plummet and nothing of note ever appearing on BBC again.
  • Thanks to China’s relaxed attitude towards intellectual property and an optimistic (but terribly misguided) entrepreneur, just under 2.7 billion copies were sold (wholesale – far fewer made it to retail).
  • Three thousand, two hundred and fifty eight but by remarkable coincidence or extremely good taste on the part of the consumer they were all returned.
  • Too many
  • Two. One to Bill, one to Ben.
  • Usually this kind of questions requires answers like “Zero” or “A googol”, especially for not-English-speaking and not-BBC-looking people like me. But Dr.Bob is too smart, so I guess the possible answer could be “twelve” or “two millions”. I bet on 12. How far am I? [About 10,000 kms from Melbourne. Not far enough.]
  • Very few copies were sold, since Bill and Ben suck. [No, that was the title of the follow-up video, which sold well to persons over 18]
  • Well, I’d hope at least 2; if I were Bill or Ben I’d want to buy one to see what they said about me…though it’s possible the BBC marketed something they didn’t really have, so they couldn’t actually sell it!!! How evil that would be!!!
  • Zero, you fool. EVERYBODY knows they were all given away.
  • [This from one of our American correspondents] Who the hell are Bill and Ben?

Question 2

St Denis is the patron saint of France; of the city of Paris; and also of what group of people?


Among other groups, those suffering from syphilis. But Dr Bob got this from an obscure source (the information, that is). Read on for Vatican-approved answers.

  • He was patron saint against frenzy, against strife, France, Paris, possessed people, and headaches. And no wonder about the headaches, after what they did to his.
  • The Professional Denis Players Association.
  • .hhhgggrU .elpoep dessessop fo tnias nortap eht si sineD tniaS taht dna ,tfosorciM ni tsevni ot uoy llet ot em stnaw nataS !hgrrrahahayN
  • Australians. We are also currently headless (just ask any of the poor buggers in the public service who have to interpret the twaddle that passes for directive)
  • Bandana Manufacturers
  • Cross-Dressers. My friend is Denis, but he prefers to be called Penny. When he came out of the closet, (wearing his Aunty Madge’s clothes), the mystery of why he and Aunty Denise were never seen in the same room together was solved.
  • Denizens
  • Flugelhorn players.
  • He is the patron saint of possessed people, so would have come in handy during “The Exorcist” or regarding Joan of Arc
  • He’s the patron of all True Christians, better known as The Possessed.
  • In alphabetical order: frenzy, headaches, possessed people and strife. I don’t know exactly why, but I have the impression that Frenchs an Parisiens will be not so amused by the question, Dr.Bob. [Correct]
  • LPSDC– Les personnes sans des cerveaux.
  • Men named Denis.
  • Patron Saint against frenzy, against strife, France, headaches, Paris, possessed people …. Seems that about covers it.
  • Patronists.
  • People who are possessed by the idea that there are such things as saints or miracles.
  • People who enjoy imitating John Cleese in the infamous “ferensch taunteir” scene.
  • People who’s names are almost spelled like embarrassing body parts (people with names like Mulva, Bagina, Bunt, Bussy, Billy, Pick, Drick, Deter, Dock, Decker, Wong, Putt, Pall, Pagg, Armspitts, Arsewholes, Prest, Pitties, Nockers, Pooters, et cetera, et cetera).
  • Popcorn poppers.
  • Possessed people and people in possession of headaches.
  • Possessed people, which explains the French.
  • The barge workers, of course. Remember the scenes from AMELIE where she was skipping stones on the Canal St Denis?
  • The frenzied. Please write your own damn French joke here.
  • The Gauls. He is also the patron saint of the beheaded but there are very few of those found alive today.
  • The possessed. He also apparently the Patron Saint of headaches, which proves the RC’s do have a sense of irony.
  • The possessed. He’s also the patron saint of headaches. I think this guy drew the short straw…
  • The Upper Anglesea Bowls Club. He makes a lovely cup of tea.
  • The voices tell me me!
  • Those with glasses
  • Those with headaches. And the possessed. And the frenzied and striven. Effectively anyone in a 70s disco.
  • Truffle hunters, onion sellers and Euro-Disney managers.
  • St.Denis? Menaces, of course. Quite appropriate for the French.

Question 3

How do the residents of Northern Ireland pronounce the letter ‘h’?


  • “Haitch” if you’re Catholic and “aitch” if you’re Protestant. And they fight over that?
  • “Haitch” by papists; “aitch” by prods. At least that’s how the stereotypes would have it.
  • ‘a’??
  • Ach
  • At random. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. Often they pronounce it even when it isn’t there. Especially when speaking Gaelic, where hs are inserted arbitrarily in text independently of when the letter is sounded. (
  • Duh. ‘h’, of course. As pronounced in Northern Irish…
  • Feck orf! what’s it to you, giz us a drink. Drink Girrls Arse Feck Drink
  • Heech
  • I don’t believe they are required to. They usually don’t.
  • In the Irish Republic, the haitch pronunciation is common, but the situation is more complex in Northern Ireland where, it is claimed, Catholics say haitch, whereas the royalist Protestants follow the poms and say aitch. We are told in a Northern Irish newspaper that “H is the most dangerous letter in the Northern Ireland alphabet. Catholics supposedly say haitch, when Protestants say aitch. There may not be any scientific evidence for this trait but bigots can’t even spell scientific… so, depending on how you say it, H can get you a right kicking”. This is tongue-in-cheek, of course, but a quick surf through the Internet provided ample evidence for this aitch/haitch divide in Northern Ireland… say haitch in a proddy area or aitch in a mick area and you could very well be in for “a right kicking”.
  • Is there an ‘h’ in “one more pint”?
  • Well, if you’re accosted late at night in Belfast and asked to say “Harry Hopkins”, best to mumble.
  • Like a Russian word ending in “off”?
  • Like this . Did you hear it?
  • n
  • No one really knows for sure, the rapidity of their speech combined with a slurring they inherited from their fathers (caused initially by the frequency with which they partook of Guinness) makes their speech a long incoherent string indecipherable to all outsiders.
  • Orally.
  • Same way as I do – “haitch”. ‘Course, I’m just illiterate.
  • The catholics say haitch, and the protestants say aitch. So take good care when you mention the H-block prison.
  • They don’t
  • They purse their lips and bring the tongue to the back of the teeth, before performing a small, rapid expulsion of air.
  • Trick question–they don’t, they talk like cockneys: “A’ ‘ate ‘ome rule!”
  • Well, since ‘h’ is an operation and not a letter, it comes out of their mouths any which way —
  • Wit’ difficulty, or t’ey ignore it altoget’er
  • With a guttural “haugh”, like when you are trying to clear your throat after eating Kraft cheddar and it forms that claggy mucusy thing right in the back.
  • With a lot of attention. Catholics are supposed to pronounce the letter “h” as “haitch” (what’s on hell is a “haitch”?), and so if you don’t want to let other people know you’re catholic, you have to pronounce the “h” in a different manner. By other side, if you are protestant and you don’t want to let catholics know you’re protestant, you have to pronunce the “h” as “haitch” and… oh, man. I’m Italian, after all, and like every Italian I do not pronunce the “h” at all. Is this because I am ateist?
  • With a silent apostrophe
  • With an exhalation.
  • With an Irish accent
  • Your questions are too hard
  • Zee. (The illiterate bunch of paddys.)
  • They open their mouths, stretch their lips back over their teeth, as if they were about to masticate; they then thrust their tongues forward and wiggle them like a lamprey in heat, while exhaling breath from the depths of their capacious pink lungs. [Gosh …. and all that under the rainy grey skies of Northern Ireland]

Question 4

Esso named its successive oilfields in the North Sea after sea birds – Auk, Brent, Cormorant, and so on – what problem did this lead to at first?


Some Esso bureaucrats (who didn’t know what an auk was) assumed that the name was constructed as “A-UK” for the first oilfield in the United Kingdom, and wondered how the 6th field would be named.

Other Answers

  • ..”and so on” is not a sea bird name
  • A legal battle with the Audubon Society
  • A succession of Japanese poachers who were lost at sea after concluding that if they were not allowed to eat endangered species of whales, they would fricassee large feathered friends of the ocean instead. And call them potent aphrodisiacs. Alas the North Sea is a tad cold, and they just weren’t prepared.
  • Auk, Brent, Cormorant, Dunlin, (Ehm!), Fulmar, Gannet. It was so easy! Even if there are no sea birds starting with “E”, a nice “Ehm” could save everything. “Esso Oil Field Ehm A” sounds nice.
  • Auk, Brent, Cormorant, Dunlin, er…, Fulmar, Gannet, help? I’ve just…, Kittiwake!! Lets manage next one properly. Quite right. Of course, they could have almost done it: Auk, Brent, Cormorant, Dunlin, Egret, Fulmar, Guillemot, Herring-gull, Ibis, Jaeger, Kittiwake, Loon, Murrelet, Noddy, Oilbird(!), Puffin, Quelea, Razorbill, Shearwater, Tern, Umbrellabird, Vireo, Wader, Xenops, Yellowlegs. All but 4 of which are seabirds.
  • Being totally ironic, since if they had an oil spill it would probably kill all those types of birds…
  • By the time they reached the seventh field they found their “Book of Seabirds” was the Expurgated Edition that didn’t contain the Gannet. Unable to think of another G name of suitable aqua-avian characteristics, they called it Gorgonzola, thereby alienating the powerful Italian Dairy Products lobby who are renowned for their fierce determination to stamp out pseudo-Italian cuisine. The ensuing court battles kept many lawyers in Lamborghinis for decades. Alas, just one of the many perils of membership of the European Onion.
  • Confusion in the bird community, particularly round christmas and mothers day, when the amount of mail being sent increased
  • Environmentalists were confused and thought they were nesting grounds for those birds
  • Esso workers were confused when they were sent to Shag.
  • Finding a seabird starting with X, Q or Z.
  • It turned out that names like Double-crested Cormorant, Great Black-backed Gull, Eurasian Oystercatcher, or Ferruginous Duck was quite impractical.
  • It was done in the hope that they could save on security by tricking Greenpeace in to guarding them. It didn’t work.
  • Like many housing developments that are named after what used to be there (Old Orchard Heights; Wild Meadow Estates; Country View Estates), Esso’s critics charged that they were naming the rigs after birds that they endangered.
  • Morons went to the oilfields looking for birds!
  • Near as I can tell, the birds interpreted the names as signs that the fields were wildlife habitats for them, and they pooped on all the machinery.
  • Oil flavoured seabird.
  • Oil-covered Auks, Brents and Cormorants.
  • Ran out of letters in the alphabet
  • The employees were all Americans and nun ov dem kud spel der defecut nems. Also there was no sea bird whose name started with a D.
  • The land birds got together and sued Exxon for Unfair Oil Field Naming practices and won millions
  • The only available “D” birds were Duck and Drongo, and Esso did not want to confuse its oilfields with either an American cartoon icon or an Australian politician.
  • The world was convinced that all Esso executives were hopelessly bird-brained.
  • The wrong birds were visiting the oil rigs.
  • These very same sea birds were being killed off by oil spills at the Esso oilfields.
  • They discovered so many oilfields, that they ran out of seabird names. Then they pumped up so much oil, they ran all the seabirds out of the North Sea.
  • They employed more ornitholgists than geologists.
  • They ran out of birds that were not stupid and the names were hard to say.
  • They were killing off the nests of each bird that they named.
  • They were unable to find any sea birds beginning with the letter ‘J’ which caused mass illiteracy among oil drillers.
  • What to do about the Shag?

Question 5

What country has a name whose ASCII character codes add to 666?


  • “al gore”
  • “Bill Gates III”
  • “(STX)Russia” where (STX) = Start of Text = Ascii Code 002.
  • According to the wonderful site (where you must be a regular contributor, Dr Bob), it’s INDONESIA. But let’s not overlook those satanic latin-american countries ASGENTINA, DOSTA RICA and PUATEMALA.
  • Afghanistan. No . . .Iraq. No . . . North Korea. No . . .
  • Babylon. By the rivers we sat down upon and wept and remembered Zion.
  • Does anybody really care? EBCDIC is the devil’s code.
  • exsqueeze me???
  • Iceland? Titanic? Hitler? Must be one of those as they are the only things you ever talk about.
  • Indonesia. Argentine, Cape Verde, Costa Rica and Kampuchea are close. Is this the new axis of evil?
  • Iraq seems to be the logical choice, so maybe…Australia?
  • Iraq, of course.
  • Iraq?
  • It has to be somewhere evil, like Disneyland, built on mind-control and marketing prowess to ensnare the innocent minds of our children and make them wish for a trip to the fabled place every Christmas, and disappoints them dreadfully when they find out that they are going to Bonnie Doon again.
  • No, not Indonesia. INDONESIA. Spelling it in all caps is cheating if you ask me, the nearest I could come is “France” at 653.
  • Texas.
  • The country of the beast, his name is Legion. Call him a cab!
  • USA (of course)
  • Vatican City.
  • Well it depends whether you spell the country in capitals, lower case or with initial capital only, in English or in the language of the country concerned, or whether you use decimal, hex or octal. Frankly, after about 20 I lost interest, my eyes glazed over and I thought there are boring little widgets who actually enjoy this sort of stuff. I will leave it to them to work out.
  • Feed your list of countries (one per line) as STDIN to this script:#!/usr/bin/rubyreadlines.each { |l| q, m = *(666 – l.strip!.upcase.sum).divmod(32) puts “#{l} (with #{q} lowercase)” unless q < 0 if m == 0 }
  • The country “oooooo”. It’s a little-known nation of barefoot natives living on an island covered with brambles and briars. Hence the name.

Question 6

What is this peculiar foreign habit – Tsujigiri


(in Traditional Japanese) To try out a new sword on a passer-by

Other Answers

  • From “tsuji”, street corner, and “kiru”, kill – this is a now thankfully obsolete Japanese custom – to wit, a “bushi” (warrior) killing someone in the street because they had showed perceived disrespect (usually, by brushing against the bushi or by touching his sword-scabbard). Nowadays, the word is still used, but to mean the act of committing murder in a public place. You hear it used about gangland murders, mostly.
  • A guy who assassinates with a sword. I hear that’ll be in the next edition of “Grand Theft Auto”.
  • A precise form of Japanese nose-picking, now practised only in three remote villages in northern Hokkaido [that’d be where the landscape suddenly caves in without warning]
  • A Samurai who kills someone with a sword on the street. Mind you, not in a tavern or so. And not just anyone, no, someone with a sword. The victim should be able to put up a good fight then.
  • An assassin who practises in broad daylight on the streets using a sword. There can be only one!
  • Apparently attacking someone with a sword on a street corner in the red-light district. Since most languages have short words for regularly used concepts, this must be a frequent occurrence in Japan.
  • Also the name of a new, noisy wave of musical talent originating in Manchester.
  • Ceremonial Japanese spring gutter cleaning.
  • Cutting someone at a street crossing, although I am amazed how many people use this as a nickname, a site name or a band name.
  • Dating a girl from Northern Ireland who cannot pronounce her H’s
  • Easy! This is a famous Japanese pastime in which Japanese roll down snow covered mountains naked and then stuff lighted candles up their sphincters.
  • Eating anchovies to enable astral travel
  • Eating with your mouth open
  • From Japan – street theatre involving swordplay and human sashimi.
  • Hula dancing while balancing a butter churn on each arm.
  • Japanese street fighting, but only after having examined winning and losing and having discovered the principles of each. This gives a new spiritual dimension to tossing a Molotov cocktail.
  • Nose picking [Especially on Hokkaido]
  • Not pronouncing T’s before words.
  • Swimming in the ocean dressed as a girl.
  • The bizarre practice of running your fingers between your toes and then sniffing them.
  • The Japanese custom of wiping their bums with cherry blossoms.
  • The Japanese version of jumping into the water through a hole cut in the ice
  • The practice of reflexively searching in Google for the answer to any question, however unnecessary.
  • These are the famous flatulence tournaments held each year in Japan. Prizes are awarded for loudest, most flammable etc. [I’m going to enter next year’s tournament – reckon I can blow them all away]
  • This is the pleasant samurai habit of killing innocent people he meets on the street. Apparently somewhat frowned upon now.
  • To kill people with a bunch of flowers, while dressing like a samurai. [Well OK, as long as you kill them.]
  • Tsujigiri: Japanese rock groups who habitually roam the streets of Tokyo, killing the descendants of Samurai who have “unagi” tattooed on their buttocks.
  • It’s part of an Uzbek saying “He’s involved in some sort of tsujigeri tsupokeri”, meaning a fraud. [Yes but which part of the Uzbek? Errr … don’t try to answer that]

Question 7

What is this peculiar foreign habit – Areodjarekaput


(Inuit) To exchange wives for a few days only. Nobody has read the same obscure book about linguistics that I have! Bwahahaha!

Other Answers

  • An ancient pagan rite still practised occasionally in Germany, involving the removal of the areola from the left breast of adolescent maidens. The girl’s mother then throws the areola away.
  • Areodjarekaput: The name of the strange habit of the Teutonic people who eat jars of lemon curd while flying in mechanically unsafe 767s.
  • Breaking your German Areodjare. In lots of WW2 movies you can hear some Sturmbahnführer grumble: “Verdammt nochmal, ist wieder mein Areodjare kaputt”.
  • Denying the divinity of the face on Mars. Areo- = of Mars (Greek), djare = face (Arabic), kaput = broken (German).
  • Flying above water while asking stupid questions to your friends.
  • From behind the garden shed – the language that weeds use to talk to flower pots.
  • German airplanes malfunctioning in Indonesia.
  • Guess what? I did a web search of Areodjarekaput and found a link to… Dr. Bob’s quiz!!!! So I deduce that you created this word! It is thus the habit of creating fake words to puzzle people!!!!!
  • Icelandic Scrabble with a 180×180 space board.
  • It’s what Germans say when anyone named Areodj kicks the bucket. As hardly anyone in Germany is named Areodj, this saying has largely fallen into disuse [also aggravated by a shortage of buckets]
  • Launching paper airplane with intent of collision
  • Making up words that don’t come up on yahoo (although a few years back they didn’t have anything on tigons so you never know)
  • Obsessive Compulsive disorder of shredding the cardboard insert in toilet rolls, whilst you wait to finish. [Yes I used to have OCD, but now I have washed my hands of it … tish boom]
  • Only Dr. Bob and Mrs. Bob know for sure [and Mrs Bob don’t know nuthin’]
  • Painting ones face green to celebrate the Siberian mid-winter.
  • Russian skeet shooting (using old glass jars and crossbows).
  • Skydiving without a Parachute
  • Sneezing into a paper cup at 50 metres.
  • Study of aircraft disasters
  • The insistence on repeatedly launching space probes to Mars equipped with aerobraking routines based on the imperial system.
  • The Norwegian tradition of “putting” (as in shot-put)a “jarek” (a really old fruitcake) while aerial skiing
  • The practise of sending someone around in circles? A google search brought me straight back here.
  • This is a well-known ritual which happens in Albania every Christmas Eve. The local men, fresh from drunken carousing on board icebound whalers near Greenland (see below) throw themselves from the tops of trees trying to fly before landing on top of their heads. Many end up very Kaput.
  • This looks sort of Indonesian, but I have no idea what it means.
  • Trying to fly when you are clearly unable to
  • Um.. it’s when your plane’s engines conk out!
  • You made this one up, didn’t you?

Question 8

What is this peculiar foreign habit – Raphanizein


(Ancient Greek) To insert a radish in the anus

Less Painful Answers

  • A red, white and blue habit worn by expatriate British nuns in Israel.
  • A word shouted out of superstition by men who follow religions that don’t allow them to cut their facial hair when some is accidentally cut/torn off
  • An Eskimo term meaning “to over-grease one’s harpoon” which is roughly equivalent to the English phrase “let them off the hook”.
  • Based on the old German folk tale about Rapunzel, people in Central Europe on Walpurgis Night swing each other around by the hair. These are all extremely dangerous pastimes and should not be attempted by children, unsupervised, or anybody sober, sane or intelligent.
  • Beating the Umpire up with a rule book
  • Buggering somebody with a horseradish. Usually cited as a possibly apocryphal punishment used in ancient Greece for adulterers. I have to say, ouch.
  • Circular hair braiding
  • Dressing up like ninja turtles and ordering a pizza while acting like a hippy.
  • From Ancient Greece – anal gardening, with radishes.
  • German Hip-Hop.
  • Germany: Spinning the wheel of ignored guilt.
  • Imitating Raphael.
  • In ancient Greece, it was supposed to be a punishment for adultery. It involving radishes, anuses, hot coals and the removal of hair. This is not to be confused with B grade porn.
  • It’s got something to do with radishes and people’s bottoms. Only Dr. Bob and Mrs. Bob know for sure [and the local greengrocer]
  • Punishing adulterers by flailing them with mullets (the fishy kind) and throwing radishes at them. (must’ve been a turnip shortage in ancient Greece)
  • Raphanizein: The cruel practice of ancient Greeks who punished those slaves who ate too much horseradish by making them watch “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” for the rest of their natural lives.
  • Repainting the local church roof and ceiling in the Tyrol
  • Smoking dope
  • Something to do with etymology (word origins?)
  • The art of letting one’s hair down from a castle window, thereby allowing one’s paramour to clamber up it into one’s room and engage in a little “tsuhanki tsupanki”.
  • The punishing of Greek adulterers by penetrating them with a Horse Radish root. Not sure in which orifice.
  • This is the hobby of photographing linoleum floors. Preceded by the age old practice of taking rubbings.
  • Throwing horseradishes at adulterers or politicians. The latter is wonderful tradition. We should bring it back.
  • Traditional Bavarian radish-eating [i.e. with the radish up the bum of a Greek]
  • Wearing shoes on the hands.

Question 9

What is this peculiar foreign habit – Mallemaroking


(British) Carousing by sailors on icebound whaling ships

Equally Fun Answers

  • A competition whereby participants try to insert as many straws as possible into a potato, thereby proving prowess with a straw and a potato, and contributing to modern art. Last year’s winner was titled “My unresolved feelings about my mother” – a total of 28 straws inserted – it was a big potato.
  • A compulsion to cheat at Scrabble by inventing words.
  • Australia: filling out stupid questionnaires late at night like it’s a fun thing to do.
  • Carousing drunkenly on sailing ships bound for Greenland. And if I were on my way to Greenland, I’d want to have a drink, too.
  • Consensual mutual masturbation by two Finnish adults. Is now frowned upon if practised in public [but is more acceptable on icebound whaling ships]
  • Crushing rocks with your bare hands
  • Dancing with the dead
  • From Greenland – being sick off the side of a whaling ship. [No, but there surely must be another word for that]
  • Having a pickled herring eating competition – Sweden
  • Ladder fights in the Mall
  • Mallemaroking: Captain Ahab’s demented habit of fraternizing with heavily mascara’ed great right whales dressed in sequined, black net, fluke adornments while his ship sat ice-bound off Greenland for 14 long, lonely days and nights.
  • North African foot massage using coarse salt and strong spiced tea.
  • Provoking people while walking across the street when cars are coming.
  • Rhyming Uzbek slang for “smoking”
  • Singing and nose picking while ice bound in fishing boat
  • Supposedly derived from a Dutch word meaning a mannish woman, this gem of a word means, specifically, rowdy or festive behaviour by seamen aboard a Greenland whaling ship. Throw another walrus on the barbie!
  • The antics of drunken bored whalers when trapped in ice floes. Not to be confused with Raphanizein.
  • The carousing of seamen aboard icebound ships. Can anybody explain what carousing is? [Well, bring me a radish and I’ll show you]
  • The carousing of seamen on board Greenland whaling ships. Sounds like a great night out.
  • This, of course, is Old Icelandic for drunken carousing by sailors on icebound whalers near Greenland. Apparently, and disturbingly, in these modern, less disciplined days, such carousing is no longer confined either to whalers, Greenland or drunken carousers. Sober carousers near Point Barrow or Point Perpendicular may do this, and many actually do.
  • Wailing on whalers in western waters / vernacular for venery on icebound vessels / gregarianism off Greenland
  • Wishing for a white Christmas.

Question 10

What is this peculiar foreign habit – Anaranjear


(Spanish) To kill a cockerel by throwing oranges at it. (At least that’s what it said in my obscure book. In English one could say “he was enoranged”. Several years ago there were facetious comments about a psychic who tried to stop a speeding train head-on – he was a “trained psychic”.

Other Answers

  • Anaranjear: When I tried to google this word, Spanish porn sites depicting “Anal Ninjas” popped up. Perhaps something was lost in the translation?
  • Arse picking
  • Aural insertion of tangerines. Literally A-naranj-ear. Practice limited to Northern Algiers and Tunis.
  • Carousing drunkenly while throwing radishes at an assassin. Strange but true.
  • Danish for eating danish.
  • Hatred of cricket
  • In the State of Orissa in Eastern India is a famous stupa, or temple, covered with those lewd and disgusting mithuna statues, i.e. men and ladies, except I would not call them ladies, performing all manner of unusual and normally private acts between consenting adults. [And then they fall into a stupa]. Some are so obscure that it requires several like-minded friends to assist in their execution. The village near this stupa is called Anaranjear. A three week long festival is held in this village to celebrate the end of the monsoon during which prizes are given for the most lascivious act of a personal and intimate nature involving the most assistants.
  • It’s the word for gardening in several Icelandic dialects
  • It’s how people in Northern Ireland pronounce Z.
  • Pakistani divination using sand beetles, lengths of colored string, and glass beads.
  • Phone sex on the internet
  • Something having to do with sex
  • Something Pedro Almodovar is likely to have filmed at some point, and probably in “Peppi, Luci, Bom and all the other girls”. (Searching for this sent me to all sorts of spanish porn sites, most full of viruses. Gee, thanks.)
  • Sounds painful, might have something to do with drunken seamen with mullets, who knows.
  • Spanish for: to turn into an Orange, like Máxima Zorreguieta when she married our beloved Prince William IV of Orange-Nassau (better known as Prince Fatty)
  • The act of lodging oranges in your rear
  • The irritating and discourteous habit practised by certain Bordeaux frenchmen of turning their backs and scratching behind their left ear in reply to polite enquiries from tourists as to whether they parlez anglais.
  • Thinking that John Mellancamp has talent.
  • This is a little known belief practiced in Peru by devout followers. They hold that McDonald’s is the new church and Ronald is the new messiah. Occasionally confused with Pauline Hanson at the height of her popularity.
  • This one is to be confused with B grade porn.
  • To throw oranges against someone. Search for “Carnevale di Ivrea” – for example at – in which you can find a whole city dressing up for the event and making a three-days orange-battle every year. [Damn it, Piero you are AGAIN the only person to get an answer right]
  • Universal to the male of the species, the involuntary eye-to-breast glancing reflex.
  • Walking around with a jar that has air filled in it and telling everything about it.
  • Watching fermented rice ferment – Indonesia
  • Well, literally in Spanish it means “to make orange.” My guess it has to do with discoloring or reddening skin by trauma – spanking, perhaps?
  • Where’s ya Anaranjear? On ya Anaranj head!

Question 11

Where is this crowd going?

Accurate answers:

  • Hopefully, nowhere near me.
  • I really do hope they’re going exactly in the place I would send them, if I had the right evocative power; I’d really like to see the boat following the Titanic’s route. [And hopefully it will, since they are all facing the wrong way]
  • Straight to damnation and eternal hellfire, because they will not accept the megalomanic jesus christ, and his self-appointed spokespersons on earth, as their lords and saviors.
  • They sure look like they’re going to take a voyage on a ship, but nope, they’re off to separate some fools from their money.
  • Wha hoo, I know this one!!!!! This crowd is going straight to hell. They are scientologists and members of an “elite” group within the “church” called the Sea Organization.
  • The picture appears to be that of Captain David Miscavige, Supreme Commander, Pacific Area Command of the Church of Scientology, [unfortunately, you are correct] and his crew of recently cleared “Clears” on their way to a fun cruise in the south Pacific, involving lots of projectile vomiting and abnormally frequent intestinal evacuations.


  • A mystery destination, since they are all facing the wrong way
  • Bankrupt?
  • Bravely into 1987!!!
  • Broadway or bust baby!
  • Down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and the sky…
  • Down.
  • Fertilising daffodils, eventually.
  • Home
  • Into the brig. What do they think they are doing crowding all over the deck? Who’s on duty?? Is this Mutiny on the Bounty? Do they want to ram into an iceberg?? Ground the lot of them!!
  • Mallemaroking, what else. Why do you think they all look so cheerful? Alternatively they could be the crew of a Russian nuclear submarine going on one of their extended exploratory cruises under the North Pole without having to go below or get out of their smart uniforms.
  • Nowhere. They are all standing still while they have their picture taken. The boat can’t be moving either since there’s no-one on the wheel.
  • Off to a Gay and Lesbian pride parade
  • On a cruise [Hmmmm – sort of correct].
  • Persian Gulf – the New Zealand Navy goes to war
  • Salsa dancing lessons.
  • Scrimshaw school. They’ve finished mallemaroking classes.
  • Somewhere at random – nobody is holding the wheel
  • Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. Grouse costumes!
  • The annual Greenland Mallemaroking championships.
  • The Gulf
  • They (and their set) are going to BROADWAY to perform in the new comedy musical “Anchors Awaitaminute.”
  • They are going to Plaid Pantry without shoes and are going to demand service even though Plaid Pantry has a sign on their door that says “No shirt, no shoes, no service.”
  • They are members of the Uzbek Navy. As Uzbekistan has no littoral, and consequently little in the way of nautical tradition, the navy spent its entire defence budget on a shed with a steering wheel. Their second mistake was to make everyone an officer, thus having no sailors to do the hard work such as splicing the mainbrace and keelhauling the mizzen shrouds, they found they couldn’t have taken their shed anywhere, even if they had any water. And that, sadly, is the answer, viz “Nowhere”.
  • They are on their way to a Spencer Tunic group session.
  • This crowd is going to work! These people are the new employees of McNavy – the newest fast-food trend in the world! The wooden “wheel” in the picture, is actually the communication centre that receives the customers’ orders, and according to who they are for, they are prepared either by McAdmirals, McCaptains, McLieutenants or McOS (ordinary seamen) or McOWS (ordinary women seapeople). The amount of gold braid on each person, is worn with pride and every centimetre represents 10,000 people that have perished from hardening of the arteries from McNavy food! The headwear is a new innovative idea used to keep the greasy dreadlocks hidden and you will notice that the gold stripes on their sleeves are indicative of the severity of flu or colds. The more stripes, the larger area for them to wipe their arms across their nose. And all this for work! [Well you’re right that “every centimetre represents 10,000 people that have perished” but not from hardening of the arteries, they were bombed by Xenu’s nukes and thrown into a volcano.]
  • To a fancy dress Mallemaroking.
  • To protest their omission from the “Sgt Pepper’s” album cover.
  • To see a screening of the cult classic Battleship Potemkin (those people look Russian to me). [Well, they certainly look alien]
  • To South-Australia, around Cape Horn
  • To the Grand Opening of Long John Silvers


  • After a long hiatus I am back at this. I don’t know why. This time I had no clue on any of them.
  • Am I getting better, or am I simply losing judgement? [Both]
  • Congratulations on finding not one, but three words that produce zero entries on web-searches.
  • Damn, these are hard questions!
  • Eleven bloody questions again? I thought last month was a one-off. Wrong again…
  • Flobbadob Flobbalobbalob
  • Great questions Dr Bob but, just a tad too hard for me. What do you think I could read to improve my score. [Well a score of 0/11 could certainly be improved… I would like to say “Not the Bible” but I do pose obscure questions from the Bible and am horrified that most people have not read it (it is part of our cultural upbringing). I reckon to know the Bible pretty well myself.]Yes I am skeptical about most things but I still call myself a Christian. Am I still allowed to join? [Oh yes – the Skeptics don’t vet or even care about people’s personal beliefs, only the defence of science, and do not address non-physical religious or moral issues. Some prominent members are active Christians, including several preachers.]
  • Have my answers become less clever recently?
  • I AM OBVIOUSLY VERY STUPID. I THINK I CAN PRONOUNCE ABOUT SEVEN WORDS IN THIS QUIZ – AND ONLY THREE CORRECTLY. THANK YOU FOR READING THIS [Well, it would be very difficult not to]. I AM SO ALONE. [You don’t need to be – call the Caps Lock Key Appreciation Society]
  • I am only a beginner and you are too obscure for me. [An answer for Q10 comes to mind “ Some [carnal acts] are so obscure that it requires several like-minded friends to assist in their execution”]
  • I finally really READ the blurb before this “quiz” and now realize that you don’t want REAL answers, you want clever stuff! All that time I spent trying to find answers and resorting to smart-ass when I couldn’t….well, now I know I need to resort immediately. So I will get back to you sometime later in the month, preferably from Hawaii, but if not the Bahamas will do [or perhaps Tasmania – now that would be a last resort]
  • I really look forward every month to answering the quiz questions and reading others quiz answers. The non-serious quiz answers are very funny — who would have thought skeptics could be so hilarious? [Well the creationists do, and the astrologers, anti-vaccination liars, UFO believers … yes, now you come to mention it, not significantly many]
  • I went to the trouble of looking up the answers (as best I could) to the bonus questions. I should do that more often as it was fun.
  • I’m going to floccinaucinihilipilificate this whole page
  • In a word, (using the obscure Ma Hy Thung dialect of Southern Szechuan), naerdehua!
  • It wasn’t me.
  • It’s fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A!
  • Its my first try and its 01:11 hours, January 31st 2003, in Australia time for bed. But had to have a go. [Damn you missed the symmetric date of 01:10 30.1.03 by 1 day and 1 minute]
  • Random true fact: Aristocratic people were talked to be have “blue blood” because they were the only untanned people, when almost every person was working in the fields. Their blue veins were seeable on their pale arms. So, we in the north emisphere are now quite nobler than you aussies, in this season. [OK. But at least our country is not shaped like a boot]
  • Such a l33t quiz.
  • Thanks a million for making me type “Anaranjear” into google. The first link was porn, and in some language I don’t know, so I clicked on it. My 5 year old was fascinated. [Of course I felt the need to go and check this out – strictly for scientific research of course. The page translated from Spanish as “modifications if elena anaya undresses to preceptuar the horns of anaranjear my consultos foods the Senate of nintendo 64 because informative gallantry as homepage” The text was so difficult, I had to look at the pictures instead. Not many oranges.]
  • Thanks for another challenging quiz, Dr Bob.
  • The only thing magical about magic water is that somehow people think that it is magical. Is this how the concept of magic (memetically) perpetuates itself? [It cannot be, because skepticism would die out by the same mechanism]
  • What kind of name is Bob? [One copyrighted by Microsoft]. Can’t you afford a decent name like Fauntleroy? [What name did he buy?]
  • Why do I have to retype an entire sentence if I go back to correct a mis-spelled word? Makes me want to commit Raphanizein [But not with me, I hope]
  • You a complete and utter idiot that asks stupid questions that no-one wants to know about. Why don’t you ask questions like “How is a volcano formed”. [Because enough other people already do. And I would get answers to that one like “sort of conical with a hole in the top”]
  • You have a lot of free time if you are actually reading these. [No, I have a rather small amount of free time – and now I’ve got a bit less]. If you do have that much free time I envy you yet at the same time feel saddened that you don’t have a hobby that doesn’t involve sitting at a computer, though I suppose who am I to talk eh? If you are not actually reading these I would feel rather upset that you wasted my precious free time. So, thanks for reading me! [No worries Emma- and by the way you got 0/11]
  • Your “5 bonus questions” are eating into my “terrorising Vice City” time. You’re going to have to wait for your five bonus answers…
  • Write a witty saying, and the world will forever remember your name. –Anonymous