Answers for November 2004

We have a new web site with different web master and things still have to settle down a bit. I have still not forgotten my intention, stated in September 2001, to assemble a Hall of Fame of the very best answers from all time. Meanwhile, the answers over 12 months old have flown away temporarily, but they will come back and roost here again. Anyway – the WINNER, with a lot of right answers to questions that few others got, this month is –

Stephen Merdith

But a special thanks to Natalie for the 4,000 word essay, with 17 references, on Bacterial Pathogenesis.

Question 1

The Koran states that the fires of Hell are guarded by nineteen angels. Why nineteen?


Because the infidel skeptics will wonder why that number were chosen. Surah 74, verse 31 “….We have not made their number but as a trial for those who disbelieve … that those in whose hearts is a disease and the unbelievers may say: What does Allah mean by this parable? Thus does Allah make err whom He pleases …. “

Other Answers

  • Unions Dr Bob, Unions.
  • Why nineteen what? You’ve got an incomplete question there Bob. Why nineteen needles in the voodoo doll?
  • Because if there were only eighteen, then anyone who was really determined could break in.
  • Clearly, that was the number that was left alive after Hell was originally ignited. Only nineteen asbestos suits were provided! The rest, oh well!
  • Because 20 virgins would have been excessive and greedy.
  • Due to the many mystical properties of “19”, such as it represents the alpha and omega.
  • It’s a trial for misbelievers. (They think it would be easy to clobber only 19, whereas believers know one angel is as strong as or stronger than all of mankind). I would have thought two would have been plenty in this case and you would have then had the opportunity to knock off a few undecided’s as well.
  • Nineteen happens to be the only word that rhymes with hell – all in Arabic, of course.
  • 19 is the number of times that the prophet had sex. We don’t count the number of times with women on their knees (since according to Clinton, that’s not sex).
  • Actually, in the verse after the one you’re referring to, it says that no-one but Allah really knows the number of Angels in Hell. The reason 19 is there is because (apparently) it asserts that Allah knows everything by telling us the amount of angels. It also bears a mathematical relationship to the verse number and the number of pages in the Koran or something, too.
  • It’s the Islamic equivalent of 42.
  • … The word that means number in Arabic (‘Adad) comes from the root word (“Adda). God told us in the Quran that He counted the numbers of all things. See 72:28 (yes it just happened to be 7+2+2+8 = 19.) God used the word (‘Adda) in all its forms in the whole Quran 57 times, and yes 57 is 19 X 3.
  • Why not? The whole statement is preposterous to start with, so the number of angels involved is purely fanciful. All I can suggest is that either the fires of hell are a nonadecagon and, just as the horse has a leg at each corner, so the fires of hell have an angel at each corner. Or Mohammed, or whoever thought it up for him, had lost a digit or a toe and could only count up to nineteen.
  • Because Satan stayed holding a queen and a nine in the BlackJack game that won him a bunch of souls off God. It’s been his lucky number ever since.
  • It’s a prime number smaller that 20, as required by hellfire guarding angels. But why do the fires of hell need guarding in the first place?
  • Mathematical significance, prime number, first and last numeral in combination; “…to disturb the disbelievers”, apparently men not of God find this number to be quite harrowing.
  • It’s a poetic liberty from archangel Gabriel – nothing else rhymed with Hell in arabic.
  • The writer only had 19 digits after a horrific camel accident as a small boy. [And the camel never really got over it either]
  • Yeah, it only takes 12. That Teamsters 666 is a badass union. Actually as near as I can tell from the ramblings on a number of web sites Allah chose 19 so that people who write the Bible Code books could also write one about the Koran. This follows – er logically – from the fact that it’s none of our damn business how many angels actually guard hell.
  • Unfortunately, like most Westerners, you have misinterpreted the Koran. The passage should read “nine teen angels”, and the phrase is located in the “Eight is not Enough” chapter of that holy tome.
  • God only knows.
  • To make it tricky for silly infidels who will just say “What?”, and so those in the know can say “I know something you don’t know! Nah-ne-nah-ne-nah-naaah!”
  • Actually, Hell is guarded by nineteen-year old virgin angels, to increase the torment of those in Hell with exposure to objects of desire the Hellees can’t get at.
  • Because it is an arbitrary impressive sounding figure thought up by the very person who wrote the book, surely in an enlightened age we are over the idea that such things are divinely inspired.
  • Because Satan is second banana to God/Allah, who rates 21 angels in Heaven. It’s like gun salutes for visiting royalty – kings/queens get 21 guns while lesser potentates/governors/vice-regal whatsits only rate 19. Simple, really.
  • Because that is what the Koran states.
  • The number is nineteen to ensure a trial for unbelievers in order that the People of the Book may arrive with certainty.
  • 19 and Hell have the same vibration. 1+9=10 and 1+0=1 Hell is 8+5+3+3=19. Hades is 8+1+4+5+1=19. Hell is guarded by the same vibrational number it exudes – 19 reduced to 1. It basically “takes one to know one”.
  • Because the golf course in hell have one beer angel per hole … and you obviously need another one for the 19th hole
  • Well since God created Hell it would therefore stand to reason that God controls Hell, with 19 angels. Q.E.D.
  • Six for each shift and one substitute. Union rules.
  • The simplest answer is: ‘only God knows’. A number seemingly plucked out of air and meant to show the faithful (and others) that God is all knowing and omnipotent when the question “why nineteen?” is asked. Of course, modern faithful number-crunchers with computers point to miracles of mathematics.
  • The 19 angels are not guarding hell. They are there to say that after your sex life is finished, life is hell.
  • We appointed angels to be guardians of Hell, and we assigned their number (1) to disturb the disbelievers. (2) to convince the Christians and Jews (that this is a divine scripture), (3) to strengthen the faith of the faithful, (4) to remove all traces of doubt from the hearts of Christians, Jews, as well as the believers, and (5) to expose those who harbor doubt in their hearts, and the disbelievers; they will say,” What did God mean by this allegory?” Well I’m undisturbed and unconvinced. 19 in cribbage is an impossible score and is used to mean “zero”. By having 19 angels, Allah is saying that there are really no angels and there is no hell but he only wants those special people who play cribbage to know this.
  • There are actually 20 of them, but one or other of them is always taking leave to set up an illegal computer spamming company.
  • You could actually say it’s twenty as the angel Malik is in charge of hell and has nineteen un-named zabaniya (subordinates, companions, or similar). But then why nineteen subordinates? Well, it allows Malik to organise them in groups of six covering three eight-hour shifts with one rotating holiday position. Or, if you don’t like my explanation read the (very long) couple of web pages explaining the significance of the number 19 in the structure of the Koran etc. which bizarrely doesn’t mention Malik and his angels as far as I can tell! Also, (particularly interesting for skeptics?) here is a page that debunks the other And for more about the number nineteen than you ever wished to know
  • Allah’s missing a finger and he wanted to be able to keep count.
  • It is a magical number, part of the mathematical coding system in the Koran that shows its authorship by God. It’s the only place in the book where this number occurs explicitly [Gosh – I did not realise this – but yes, you’re right]. Nineteen is the gematrical value of the word “ONE” in all the scriptural languages. And there’s a thousand other mathematical relationships with 19 and the book.
  • The number 19 has some unique mathematical properties, but-most important-Number 19 is also the numerical value of the word “ONE” in all the scriptural languages, Aramaic, Hebrew, and Arabic. The number 19, therefore proclaims the first commandment in all the scriptures: that there is only ONE GOD.
  • Why not?
  • Why not? What else could it be? Come on, Dr Bob, think! Would you want 18, or … 37? Geez, what a question! (I was tempted to say ‘To keep the rats out!’ but that would be kind of a private joke.)
  • You see it’s quite simple really. An anagram of nineteen angels is AGENE NINES LENT. Now your July 2004 quiz mentions that agene was removed from the 1972 Chamber’s dictionary. In 1972 the ninth day of Lent was February 25, 1972. On that date Paul McCartney released “Give Ireland back to the Irish.” So, the Koran mentioning the nineteen angels was actually a prediction of the modern conflict between protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland. The Koran reminds them that the simple solution to the conflict is for everyone to become a Muslim and hence also avoid the fires of Hell. The wisdom and vision of the prophets be praised.
  • Why six questions? WHY?

Question 2

The Koran points out that if all the trees were pens and all the seas were ink (presumably the big A provides enough parchment) then even if augmented by sevenfold more seas, this would still not be enough to record God’s word. Okey-dokey, if that much ink were used to write words, which were then typed up in ASCII and transferred to suitable 2004-vintage computer storage media, then what size building could it all be crammed into?


Let’s start with this Indisputable Fact: volume of oceans = 1.3 x 10^9 km3 = 1.3 x 10^18 m3 =1.3 x 10^21 L. Times 8, say 10^25 mL of ink. Dr Bob then reasoned as follows: Say you can write 2000 words per mL of ink = 2 x 10^28 words – 5 chars per word = 10 x 10^28 chars – ZIP compression by 80% = 2 x 10^28 bytes = 2×10^19 GB – New Scientist (31.7.04 page 20) reported storage of 2,000GB in 1 cm3 => 10^16 cc = 10^10 m3 required. = A complex of buildings, 100m high and covering 10km x 10km area. About the size of the industrial side of a large city.

Stephen Moratti reasoned as follows: Assume ink is 10% solids = 10^24 g. Assume ink is 10 microns thick. = covers an area of 10^27 cm2. One character takes up an area of ca. 0.5 mm2, so could get 2 x 10^29 characters. Say 1 character = 1 byte (no compression) so need 2 x 10^20 Gbytes. Store on DVD (say 2 GB), need 10^20 DVDs. Store each in case 12cmx12cm x 0.5 cm = 72 cm3. Need approx 7 x 10^21 cm3 = 7 x 10^15 m3.

Jeff Morford reasoned as follows: A magazine says it can print 150,000 copies of 80 pages of text using around 250 liters. I think they use a printing press instead of a tree, but I did not actually confirm this. If my back of envelope (literally!) calculation is correct that is around 50 pages to the ml of ink => 5 x 10^26 pages of text. At 2500 bytes per page = 1 x 10^30 bytes of information. Or 1 x 10^18 terabytes of information. IBM can but a terabyte of information on 1 in^2, so about 1/6 terabyte per cm^2. Surely whatever medium they are recording on can be stacked at least 6 deep in a cm so say 1 terabyte per cm^3. So we need 1 x 10^18 cm^3 of storage = 1 x 10^12 m3 – For ease of computation, let’s build a 10m roof over our facility. Then we need a land area of 100,000 km^2. The land area of Iceland is approximately <gasp- can it be?> 103,000 km^2. Is this why you’ve given all the Iceland questions over the years Dr. Bob? Is Iceland destined to be the home of the Word of God?
[Dr Bob cannot comment on this, having been struck speechless with amazement. “Hamlet, thou art slain … the treacherous instrument is in thine own hand”. Every clown wants to play Hamlet.]

Other Answers

  • If all the world were paper And all the seas were ink And all the trees were bread and cheese What would we have to drink?I have no idea about the answer to your question and I am not going to spend a morning computing the volume of ink in eight times the waters of the earth and then determing how many words are penned by a litre of ink and then transfer all this into ASCII code to decide how big a disc you need to hold it all. It would all probably fit into a well constructed dunny, and were we to put all the religious writings of the world there it might be a good idea.
  • 300 cubits x 30 cubits x 50 cubits
  • A match-box would be too big. Is there a difference between god’s Word and god’s words? God’s word is ‘Nuts!’
  • Approximately two world trade centre towers
  • Is that with or without space for the corridors, restrooms and the receptionist’s desk?
  • Building?! A wigwam will easily do the trick!
  • Crammed into two buildings, actually – each about 100 stories high and formerly located in southern Manhattan.
  • If you’re talking about storing all the words of Allah, I would think the volume of a toilet bowl would suffice.
  • A 3 storied carpark – is it not there where spooks exchange and store top secret documents. Top secret? Heck, who else can be bothered with Dick and Dora stories and, oh the shame the shame if the truth out there ever found its way in here. See, Scully, you twit, you have been looking in the wrong place: it’s in a 3 storied carpark you thickhead.
  • You haven’t specified what you’re going to write on. Since there isn’t enough physical room to write it in the first place (since you can’t write on the sea-floor etc).
  • A very small one, since once someone started writing god’s word, then the muslims would consider it an insult against the prophet, call for the person’s death, and the writer would have to flee to england. Funnily enough, since thats close enough to hell (have you ever tasted their beer, visited their beaches, or tried to see the sun?), the muslims would consider the death sentence to have been achieved and go back to finding someone else to send to heaven.
  • Ah, a scientific question, just not very succinctly put. It would, of course, depend, on a few things. Could you please clarify: what thickness pen/ tree, what size / style font is the original writing in. What language (do we need to translate kanji or chinese to ASCII), what type of storage media, what brand, do we want it instantly retrievable or is off line storage ok. How secure would you like the building. Is a DR site required? Of course if the word is “LAW”, then you don’t need very much.
  • Maybe the problem is that they didnt have enough parchment, in which case a standard desktop computer would be more than enough to store this, so I’ll say “cardboard box”.
  • A large Pentagon shaped one.
  • A big one?? Did I mention that mathematics is not my strong point? I mean, the word of God is supposed to be infinite, isn’t it? Is He still talking? I never get any voicemail or SMS or divine communications 😦
  • 14,325 square metres. Presuming that the text is stored in Zip files upon hard disks.
  • 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, 30 cubits high, in a field with tangerine trees and marmalade skies.
  • Bill Gates’s loft?
  • This is just so indeterminate. Do you use the trees as brushes, trim them like quills, point them like styli? It affects how much ink gets deposited per stroke. I would deduce that God has big Hands and while artistic, is also not averse to detail work, so I presume He would elect the option of trimming the trees to calligraphic pen nib shape. Then what language? Arabic, Latin, Aramaic, classical Hebrew? It all affects the transliteration to ASCII. This is where taking spiritual metaphors literally and quantitatively can be a stumbling block for the disbelievers. I imagine a refrigerator box full of double sided DVDs would hold everything God would want to say to us. Commentary and interpretation would fill a building the size of the Pentagon.
  • Not enough info, Dr Bob. Would the files be zipped? There would be significant space savings if the files were zipped with a decent “zipper”, the building required being potentially 10 – 50 times smaller.
  • Parliament House in Canberra, the point on the globe which radiates all wisdom!
  • As all good politicians say “I don’t answer hypothetical questions.” I want to know how big the desk holding the inkwell is and what is it made from, cos the timber is all used up on pens?
  • A three-car garage.
  • A centre for ants, but maybe 3 times as big
  • It could fit in a small cardboard packing box, as there have been great advances in microchip technology, and now stuff is small, even when it’s big. Yeah.
  • Have you enabled compression? If the words were arranged alphabetically as in a dictionary, and God had a habit of repeating herself, then each word had just itself and a count of its occurences, it’d fit on a floppy.
  • Well, presuming each grain of sand on the desert was a 100GB hard drive…. eh, stuff this, let’s just say that there is a LOT of God’s word. A heck of a lot of it!
  • Don’t know, don’t care. 1,389,500,000 million square kilometres is a lot of water (or ink) which could be better used for.. well, anything really.
  • World trade centre, both towers.
  • As high as all the virgins for all the martyrs stacked end to end to form the walls with the sacred cows making up the roof and the sacred scarabs forming the windows and the fairly special but unsacred nematodes knotting together to make the floor and the rather ordinary sea squirts wrapping around the cutest little bunny rabbits to form the shelves to hold the hard drives.
  • Reading it as “this would still not be enough to record God’s ‘word'”, I presume this means that he planned to write ‘word’ in very big letters. However, transposing this into the format described would allow it to fit into the smallest house in the world – The Quay House in Conwy, Wales.
  • I can already see the new iPod campaign: “The iGodsword.” What I really want to know is which word it is. I mean pneumoneutromicroscopicsilicovolcaniosis is a long word, but I don’t need an Atlantic of ink to bust it out. God must have real difficulty in defining the point to make.
  • Since that’s a lot of water, I don’t see it fitting into just one hard disk.
  • A port-a-potty.
  • An Oz outback type of dunnie presumably.
  • Yowzer! I didn’t notice the “crammed” in my original answer. So, take the disks from my original answer and drop them into a neutron star. Then pick them up (Details on that, next month). It will now fit comfortably in Barbie’s Dream house.

Question 3

The Druids respect the “four sacred directions”. Three of these are North, South, and East – what is the fourth one?


West. (Sorry, but some people have asked for easier questions).

Other Answers

  • “Down” – nothing good ever comes out of the west. Going “down” on the other hand gives much pleasure!
  • Presumably not west. Unless that’s the trick, and it is indeed west, deriving our current directions. No, Dr. Bob would never do that to us. But he had that question about seeing spots! Maybe it’s Hengeward. Or west. Yes… west would be deviously fitting. Hmmmm. A Fine Question. West.
  • Ahh the easy answer. Since they hated the west, the fourth direction … well they had no imagination, so it was west.
  • Antiperistaltic direction. Translation: up your arse. (This is just a guess. I could not possibly answer west, could I?)
  • As the Village People kindly pointed out – Go West
  • Backwards.
  • Down, they were Welsh.
  • Each direction is also an “element” – Since you have North, South and East, you are missing water (West). Presumably this means when you salute the west you pass water?
  • Funnily enough I’m gonna go with West, but my sources tell me most schools of Druidism have 7 sacred directions, including up, down and centre. Druids are pretty predictable.
  • Home
  • If this is a Bobbish trick question then the answer is “West”. If it’s a fair dinkum question then, after due consideration of solstices and rocks and heavy woollen robes, the answer is “Vote for Bush” (certainly a Direction if one is a Republican Druid, and most certainly a Sacred Direction if one is also a fundamentalist Druid). (BTW, Dr Bob, did you realise that “sacred” is an anagram of “scared”? Appropriate, eh?)
  • N. by S. E. but some fool might say West. Rubbish, I always find a three pointed compass more useful – it’s less complicated of combinations.
  • North by North West.
  • North, south, east and down – we don’t want underworld gods to frown.
  • North-east, because no one likes the people in the West anyway.
  • The cardinal point on the compass needle 90° anticlockwise from due north and equally south as that of east, and the direction opposite to the direction of the earth’s axial rotation … most commonly known as west.
  • The direction to Deepak Chopra’s house.
  • The Druids “respect”? Present tense? You want me to plough through reams of New-Age frippery? On the first page I found claims for seven sacred directions and six sacred directions. I don’t care what New-agers believe and, in a skeptic site, neither should you. If you have a pre-Christian text describing the beliefs and knowledge of the Druids I might allow that you got your tenses mixed up in your enthusiasm but I am still suspicious. If you want an answer for the Druids, not the bearded arm-wavers, I would suggest West. That was where the sun set and from what we know of the Druids, the sun was important.
  • The druids were not into rigid religious structures. So the fourth way varied with the facing of the druids and the location of the nearest supply of mead.
  • The fourth direction was, “Add 2 teaspoons of salt.”
  • The simplest answer is “west” but the four directions also represent the four elements: north=earth, south=fire, east=air and west=water. In Druidism, however, the ‘world of waters’ is not just in the west, it is everywhere. So I guess the fourth direction is ‘everywhere’. I’m confused. Damn Google!
  • There’s actually 7 sacred directions that are recognised by most schools of druidry, Bob (Seven’s a mystical number, after all – that’s why Newton added indigo to the spectrum so it wouldn’t have an imperfect six colours). To answer your question the SEVEN sacred directions are North, South, East, West, Up, Down and Center.
  • Tough one Dr Bob, tough one. Let me see. Wait for it. Roll on the drums…….West!!!! Da-daah! Close? Warm? Hopeless? Well, none of the hysterically funny new age web sites I looked up knew either. If they knew anything about the four sacred directions at all, they all assumed it was west.
  • Towards the bar.
  • Uh, west. Signifying water. Surely it can’t be this easy. Unless you’re referring to the fifth being centre or spirit.
  • ‘UP’ of course, as in ‘Up the Irish! as my mother liked to shout each morning as she poured our breakfast tea, and shooed the rats out of the kitchen.
  • Up, that’s where the old gentleman with the reindeer always came from.
  • Up.
  • Up. They would never have circumnavigated the world.
  • Up. They had a thing against the West. It contained the Welsh and the Irish (if we’re talking about stonehenge) and they didn’t particularly get on with either.
  • Up…as in smoke, from inside a Wicker Man.
  • Up. (I picked up instead of down, in, out, left, towards iceland etc because it’s further down the ascii table but before West)
  • West
  • WEST (intuition, introspection, earth and body)
  • West, but it may be a different west than us!
  • West, Dr Bob. It’s also important to note that most schools of druidry recognize 7 sacred directions, not just 4. They are North, South, East, West, Up, Down and Center. This more closely represents 3 dimensional space.
  • West, of course–the answer is so obvious you didn’t think we’d guess it.
  • West.
  • West? Widdershins? Deosil is wrong, but it’s a lovely word meaning clockwise.
  • Whichever direction happens to be the way towards that black-haired chick from Charmed. Man is she a good looking pagan.
  • Why isn’t north by north west a sacred direction?
  • Will I be marked down if I get this wrong? Will I get this wrong if I mark down?

Question 4

In the north of Scotland, a preacher named Fraser prepared his sermons in a room whose walls at each end had holes through the plasterwork. How did these holes arise?

Short answer

Because his wife was too stingy to heat or light the house (in Northern Scotland!), so he had to walk up & down to keep warm. It being totally dark, the holes were where he kept running into the walls.

Full answer

From “Moab Is My Washpot”, sermon #983, by C.H.Spurgeon – Spoken at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington, London, 1871. Biblical text: Psalm 60:8. “…An extreme case of the way in which evil treatment may tend to our sanctification, may be found in the life of one of the old ministers in the north of Scotland. “A cold, unfeeling, bold, unheeding, worldly woman was the wife of Mr. Fraser, one of the ministers of Ross-shire,” writes my beloved friend, Mr. John Kennedy, in his interesting book, entitled, “The Days of the Fathers in Ross-shire.” “Never did her godly husband sit down to a comfortable meal in his own home, and often would he have fainted but for the considerate kindness of some of his parishioners. She was too insensate to try to hide her treatment of him, and well was it for him, on one account, that she was. His friends thus knew of his ill-treatment, and were moved to do what they could for his comfort. A godly acquaintance arranged with him to leave a supply of food in a certain place, beside his usual walk, of which he might avail himself when starved at home. Even light and fire in his study were denied to him on the long, cold winter evenings; and as his study was his only place of refuge from the cruel scourge of his wife’s tongue and temper, there, shivering and in the dark, he used to spend his winter evenings at home. Compelled to walk in order to keep himself warm, and accustomed to do so when preparing for the pulpit, he always kept his hands before him as feelers in the dark, to warn him of his approaching the wall at either side of the room. In this way he actually wore a hole through the plaster at each end of his accustomed beat, on which some eyes have looked that glistened with light from other fire than that of love, at the remembrance of his cruel wife. But the godly husband had learned to thank the Lord for the discipline of this trial. Being once at a Presbytery dinner, alone, amidst a group of moderates, one of them proposed, as a toast, the health of their wives, and turning to Mr. Fraser, said, as he winked at his companions, ‘You, of course, will cordially join in drinking to this toast.’—’So I will, and so I ought,’ Mr. Fraser said, ‘for mine has been a better wife to me than any of yours has been to you.’ ‘How so?’ they all exclaimed. – ‘She has sent me,’ was his reply, ‘seven times a day to my knees, when I would not otherwise have gone, and that is more than any of you can say of yours.'” Ah, this is the way to make Moab our washpot, that is to say, to make those who grieve us most, act but as rough waves to hurry us on to the rock, or as biting winds that drift us the faster into port.”

Other Answers

  • James Fraser, minister of Allness in Ross-shire in circa 17th century, was a well respected theologian who, by all accounts, had a cold and unfeeling wife. His study was his sanctuary, and as no warming fire or lighting was allowed in the evenings he would pace to keep warm, holding his hands out in front of him to feel for the walls at either end of his refuge. Thus the holes in the plaster were worn. (And my hubby thinks his life is bad??)
  • By the plaster having been removed
  • When Fraser was making his sermons he needed to be in a trance of the divine, and thus created these four holes by head-butting each wall prior to each sermon.
  • Parishioners trying to shoot Fraser before he gave another of those damned boring sermons.
  • Fraser was tight-fisted whilst fancying himself as a lay-renovator. The holes were windows.
  • Someone put them there
  • Fraser drilled the holes in order to obtain sermon-fodder by spying on his evil atheistic neighbours – Nick at one end and Gough at the other.
  • Penance. The most severe penalty was having to watch Preacher Fraser prepare his sermons.
  • Drilled? Spy holes? I’ve heard mention that protestants and Catholics did not get along well at times in the British Isles.
  • According to snopes, the place was not once a public toilet (and where alterboys would wait in prayer for the trumpet of god to visit them). Instead, preacher fraser would do his sermons in rap and the holes are bullet holes from people who didn’t like his style.
  • They’re windows: shot windows as they were called. I hope.
  • they were put there originally to hide the tubing of an illegal whiskey still from the english, but were later used by Fraser to watch out for angels of hell disguised as door to door salespeople for telephone companies.
  • canon shot, or else it was formerly a hermitage which, in medieval times were attached to a church and the hermit had a window to gossip with the locals.
  • There was once a Scots preacher named Fraser, who e-quipped his coat with a laser, his room it had holes, both north and south poles, His coat he renamed to a blazer
  • Father Fraser obviously suffered from very severe flatulence and the holes were provided by his house-keeper, Alison Freshair.
  • Fraser The North Scottish Preacher had a rise against the plasterwork of both end of the room, and poked holes through them.
  • Too many nights playing darts
  • Don’t get me started on this. I have to visit the British isles frequently, and the quality of building IS atrocious.
  • His wife made him do it! Lots of men have claimed this, but in his case it is actually true. She treated him like a mushroom: kept him in the dark until he wore the holes in the wall from his constant pacing with his hands held out in front.
  • Fraser sometimes lacked inspiration for his sermons. Some people doodle… others poke holes in the wall.
  • From the insertion of trees used to write gods word. And to pump in the ink.
  • He was imprisoned in Dunnottar… Extracted from The Original Secession Magazine, March 1890 – “There are in particular a number of apertures cut in the wall about a man’s height, and it was the custom, when such was the jailor’s pleasure, that any prisoner who was accounted refractory, should be obliged to stand up with his arms extended and his fingers secured by wedges in the crevices I have described.”
  • From Blackadder II “Money”Mrs: What about the privies?Edmund: Well, what we’re talking about in, erm, privy terms is the very latest in front-wall, fresh-air orifices, combined with a wide-capacity gutter installation below.Mrs: You mean you crap out of the window.Edmund: Yes!Or, in this case, convenient holes through the plasterwork. Even preachers have to go sometime.
  • Yikes! I didn’t see that one. Plus, I think he was a psychiatrist and later a radio personality, not a preacher. But, did you see the Cheer’s where Norm comes in and says, “It’s a Dog Eat Dog World and I’m Wearing Milkbone Underwear.” (I don’t know if NBC sold Cheers and Fraser to an Australian network. Rest assured this response will be hilarious in North America. Well, that is, unless everyone who takes the quiz in North America takes the same angle on the question.)
  • Um, maybe holes to stick arrows through to shoot people. I really have no idea. Maybe it was a very thin room and father Fraser had very big ears and needed to make the holes in the walls so his ears had some room.
  • From banging his head in anguish
  • Angels from hell were playing golf and thought it a fun idea to shoot towards the preacher’s room
  • Every time he came into the room he head butted the wall saying, ‘life was not meant to be easy.’
  • It was found that the walls were tastier and less doughy after they put a hole in the middle.
  • Mac the Fork, practicising for the world fork-lift championships when they were held in Scotland.
  • I honestly do not know.
  • These holes did not arise. They went through the walls, presumably fairly parallel with the ground. At a guess, a parishioner, bored shitless by the turgid nature of Fraser’s doubtless interminable sermons had let him have it with both barrels of his elephant gun. Unfortunately Fraser had been bending over to pick up a crumb of oat cake that he had dropped the previous month and the shot missed.
  • Angry riots by the congregation, or possibly Vikings.
  • Well, to be honest, holes CAN’T arise. Because, after all, arising means moving upwards, does it not? And once a hole has been made, it’s not going anywhere.
  • Nasty wee bairns end thauyyr deerty wee fungers.
  • Passage for angels? Windows? Bullet holes from rival Scots preachers trying to eliminate the competition?
  • Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid shot those holes, being members of the Hole in the Wall gang.
  • Someone shot an arrow through his office.
  • Plasterwork has always been a delicacy for the Gaelic Killer Bee.
  • You could have given us his first name. There a lot of ‘Frasers” in Scotland, you know. [What, and have everyone Google straight to the answer?]
  • It was a small room and everytime he stretched his arms he knocked the walls like in that fisherman’s joke. I hope the real answer has William Shatner in it.
  • Icelandic druids (there were 19), armed with big pens and a huge inkwell mistook Fr Fraser for a hellfire intruder and attempted to impale him from one of the sacred directions, but missed.

Question 5

What book ends with the sentence “I love you.” ?


Protector, (or, Pak Protector) by Larry Niven

Other Answers

  • I remember “Protector,” by Larry Niven, ending that way. It’s a good book, so even if I’m wrong about the last sentence I recommend it. If there is a theme of sacred writings here a science fiction novel doesn’t fit, unless it’s “Stranger in a Strange Land” (Robert Heinlein), which, now that I consider, might be the answer. My SF books are in the basement so I can’t confirm either guess conveniently.
  • The as yet unwritten autobiography of Sir Dr Bob.
  • ‘The Collected works of Preacher Fraser”.
  • Well, I wonder, wonder who, bedoo hoo, umm–who wrote the book of love?
  • The Melissa Virus.
  • Are you trying to spoil the ending again?
  • 87 ways to drink beer naked
  • I prefer the sort of book immortalised in an E.H. Shepherd (he was the illustrator of Winnie-the-Pooh) cartoon in Punch. Young girl to her mother: “Sad ending. She dies and he goes back to his wife.”
  • The Kama Sutra. I mean that whole book is just one big I love you. Beginning, middle end, SO MUCH LOVE.
  • Beezus and Ramona.
  • Harry Potter: Queer eye for the straight wizard boy
  • The stage play I wrote in year 9 called “Fat Men and Cake.” If you don’t believe me, you should read it. It actually ends with the sentence “I love you Lemon Meringue Pie” but it IS co-incidentally alarmingly close.
  • The book of Sean Flannagan’s life – these were his last words, interestingly, spoken to his executioner.
  • The book of tickets issued by the Queensland Police Force soon after all police were given incentive bonuses for the number of fines which they issued.
  • True Confessions Of Dr Bob.
  • I am not going to read the entire Mills and Boon catalogue but I am sure there would be one or two in there. That would be too easy for you, your mind is more devious. It is probably something completely inappropriate or Icelandic. I’ll take a punt on the Icelandic Koran.
  • Must be Mills and Boon. I take a stab, every volume. [Sounds more like Agatha Christie]
  • “PS I Love You” by Cecelia Ahern.
  • The little known Icelandic Saga “PS I Love You”
  • Whatever it is, it sounds like smooshy crap. Are you into the boddice-rippers now, Dr. Bob?
  • Shortest book in the world: “How to win chicks”
  • “Franklin Says I Love You” by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark.
  • The one I just wrote. I call it “a book about love” and here it is in its entirety: ‘A man said to a woman something that would ultimately hurt her through the rest of her days. “I love you.”‘
  • Yes! I found another one: “PS I Love You.” Well, it sounds like it from the reviews on Amazon. I um actually didn’t read it. Or any book this week. OK, this month.
  • It can’t have been a very good one.
  • The one Hatti sent Matti
  • Easy, “From Galileo to Newton 1630-1720” (A. Rupert Hall)
  • “Inspirational Prose for Loved One’s” by Helen Steiner Rice.
  • Several no doubt do, but the one I can think of is “Shyness” by Phil Zimbardo, but then again I didn’t get past the acknowledgements section so the main text may have ended differently.
  • The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  • I’m sorry, but my brain can’t handle too many quotations about love (and if I see one more cute big-eyed puppy holding a bunch of flowers….). This answer is eluding me.. please tell me it’s not Nancy Reagan’s book “I Love You, Ronnie”….
  • Several Barney books? Say, when you exported the Wiggles did you have to import Barney? We’ll gladly trade you back. What if we sweeten the deal with a used chief executive? Still has at least 4 years of wear left in him.
  • Many, many books. I mean, seriously, Dr Bob, there would be more than one book that ends with a sentence like “I love you”. For example, a book I wrote, that is awaiting publication, ends with that sentence. So technically “The book I wrote” would be a valid answer, but you can’t verify that, can you?
  • All the books I sent you
  • It can’t be a book written by a real man. After saying ‘I love you’, a bloke wants to hear the reply ‘ok, we can have sex then’
  • This must be a trick question… I have never seen any book ends with “I Love You” written on them.
  • Oh, only about 67% of Mills and Boons, and 84% of Barbara Cartlands.
  • Dr. Phil’s (UAS) bestseller: How To Lose Your Wife In Ten Days.
  • Enid Blyton’s “Noddy and Big Ears Get Married”
  • The Quran
  • The Idiot
  • What book doesn’t?

Question 6

This photo was taken in 1968. Who are these people and what are they doing?


They are French students who have successfully occupied the Paris Opera House, and are now about to use the props of Mozart’s *Die Entfuhrung Aus Dem Seraglio* to defend themselves against the fascist riot police. How civilised.

Other Answers

  • Students, and they are revolting.
  • Probably students with too much time on their hands
  • A poor man’s `historical recreation society’ pretending to be vandals/ visigoths/huns/viking. Though they look more like lefty yobs on the rampage, which is close enough to any of the above.
  • They look like extras in a film about the siege of Constantinople.
  • They are undercover Queensland policemen doing training for when the South African rugby side visited in 3 years time. Unlike Victorian police (who prefer to use a gun on the public), Queensland police like nothing better than using a baton and shield on anyone who didn’t know their place.
  • They appear to be holding shields. 1968… I would guess that they would be some kind of lobbying hippies shielding themselves from the rocks of “the man,” but i couldn’t place the cause… if that word in the background is ASWEBALE as it seems to be my guess would be some form of drug is involved.
  • Infidels! so they must be doing….infidelity boom boom You didnt ask why? A It seemed like a good idea at the time.
  • I believe these people participate in the Paris demonstrations of spring 1968. But are they students or the police? My preference goes to the gendarmes, always so fond of sexy attire.
  • 1968 saw the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union. This is the Czechoslovakian People’s Front Crack Suicide Squad.
  • Finalists in the Turkish moonface competition
  • Making babies Star Trek style. Either that or dancing at a Captain Beefheart concert.
  • Cover their shame.
  • I just saw similar looking shield in the movie Troy. Maybe they’re a historic battle recreation society.
  • They are sad history buffs re-enacting some old battle somewhere. If only the white letters weren’t so blurry, I might know a bit more.
  • I don’t remember anything from the 60’s, but they look like two of the nineteen angels.
  • The guy on the right is Dr. Bob and the guy next to him is James Randi. It’s Year 12 “muck-up” day at Oslo High School.
  • A group of students who, not really paying attention in the SRC extraordinary meeting (who does, really), turned up in costume to protest the wrong war (which is why their shamed faces are hidden). It wasn’t called the psychedelic 60’s for nothing!
  • They are Norwegians, at a Surströmming party, using their Odin “fart shields” to good advantage.
  • I don’t know them personally, but some things they’re doing include standing, wearing helmets and holding shields.
  • Counter-culture people in San Francisco acting in an anti-Vietnam war protest.
  • How do I know these are actually people, and not just sales props?
  • Vikings playing hide and seek
  • The year gives it away! It was the Labor Caucus meeting again in Canberra trying to work out what went wrong this time! They are clearly faceless and their ideas came from outer space.
  • Some players from Essendon at their end-of-season trip having some whacky fun. Unfortunately, they were going to wear ballerina tutus but the frocks got left behind at the bus station.
  • Gearing up for the big game…Minnesota Vikings in the playoffs for a superbowl berth.
  • Speed dating finalists, Iceland
  • From the crescents on their shields, it is clear these are cardboard, and is a stage play of “Cinderella”. Is that the lighting of a shopping centre in the back?
  • Society of Creative Anachronism (Viking Chapter) meets SETI. I have met the alien, but I didn’t like him very much.
  • They’re Butch Cassidy and the Sunsolstice Kid, at Stonehenge.
  • Would you believe Icelanders taking part in the inauguration of Kristjan Eldjarn? No? How about experts waiting to testify before the US Congress during the UFO Symposium? No? Damn.
  • A really bad production of “Aida.” They are defending themselves from outraged Verdi partisans.
  • Bob Menzies and Harold Holt hiding from protestors, disquised as Angels.
  • Dr Bob and friends, obviously dressed up as medieval middle eastern warriors, re-enacting Saladin’s retaking of Jerusalem.
  • Hmmm, crescents and stars on shields, spiky helmets, non-cyrillic sign in the background, cool-weather jackets, swords or truncheons, rubbish strewn on the ground… Perhaps it’s cops at a Prague Spring riot in Czechoslovakia? Or participants in a reenactment of the First Crusade? I’ve got it – it’s a couple of Nixon voters hiding their faces in shame when stopped for an exit poll!
  • It is a scene from the little known first movie version of the Lord of the Rings filmed in Bollywood, India. This version never took off despite lengthy love scenes where the characters sang in high voices at each other and main characters regularly disappeared with no explanation to be replaced by new main characters.
  • Woodstock was a rough place to be. Crowding, shortages of water, vandalism … But most participants rate the attack by Vikings on the third day of the festival as the worst moment
  • Angry Americans. Protest against the launch of Apollo 8.
  • Humans [No – Students] – and they are posing for a photo.


  • Heya Bob, it’s been a busy month for me what with exams and all, just wanted to tell you your questions inspired me to go out and buy a couple of Captain Beefheart albums. Electricity and the big TMR. You’ve set me on the path to a better (at least DIFFERENT) phonic way of living.
  • A four year Bush is a fluke, but an eight year Bush is an era. [Fluke, n. (a) The summer flounder – a voracious predator. (b) A parasitic worm. (c) That part of an anchor that digs into the mud and takes hold. And you mis-spelt “Error”]
  • A set of inspired questions… just not sure what they were inspired by. [Not so much inspiration, as exasperation]
  • Bob roft nem moccit pyrcanet tir wevahi.
  • I’m only certain of two answers. Could it be harder? I enjoyed it though. [As the actress said…….]
  • get your own comments, leave mine alone!
  • Hmmm. Koran questions. Say hi to to Mr. Rushdie when you see him. I hope they have Internet service there.
  • If I had been a shield carrying warrior of ancient times, I would have had the most pornographic painting possible on the shield. The momentary hesitation of the enemy would have been enough time to get in the first cut. [And if your enemy mistook the picture for real life, and did not hesitate … then you’d have wished you had devised some other stratagem]
  • If the Chechens win, will Russia’s capital become Mosqueo?
  • Its been a long month already.. and its only Guy Fawkes day!
  • Just in case I miss the December quiz, Merry Xmas Dr Bob.
  • Look, if rats aren’t too good at drawing smiley faces, it’s not my fault. I’ve gone over it with them many times. They just don’t have a good attention span. (But I had one rat in my house who stole all my chocolates and lined them up in a neat row behind the piano – the whole box). Thanks for the ‘rat’ questions, or rather ‘rat’ answers. I’m usually pretty good on them.
  • My cat tastes like chicken.
  • Next week I’m off on a holiday to the Falklands. Any tips for travelling on the southern hemisphere? [Yes: All the brothels are marked with a blue light outside. Try the echo in the domed reading room of the Victorian State Library. Don’t run with scissors. Speak in Spanish on the islands and don’t forget to refer to them as “Malvinas”].
  • Nice touch on the answers for October prior to publishing all attempts.
  • Please don’t send me spam. Thanx. [The answers are forwarded straight to me with no copy left and I never let out the e-mail addresses. So the Skeptics will never leak your e-mail address – Dr Bob]
  • Question mark, exclamation mark, question mark, question mark, exclamation mark. [?!??!]
  • Real good questions this time Dr. Bob. I was stumped to come up with even joke answers for many, so your challenging us as ye should be. A worthy time passer. I hope next months questions have William Shatner in them.
  • Since I knew I couldn’t get all the questions right, I got the ones I could get right right several times, making me more right than those who may manage to get all of them right in one submission. For this reason, it makes me right; or at least more right, than those who believe they are technically right on every answer.
  • So, Dr. Bob yearns for ye olde Viking days, danegold, plunder, pillage, and transforming virgins into second hand goods, eh? I sympathise. The stirrings to do something naughty and un-PC are near overwhelming. [OK let’s roll. I’m gonna start by holding doors open for ladies]
  • Sorry I missed you last month, but my boss objected to all the unproductive time I spent on the computer looking for answers to your quiz. She now knows I can be unproductive doing a lot of things, so she let me go back to the ones I enjoy.
  • Sorry, but I had nothing better to do over lunch.
  • Stimulating, but not enough Icelandic references. Bjork rules.
  • Thanks Dr Bob – this is the first time I’ve had a go at this quiz … exhilarating when I think I’ve got the answer and oh-so-frustrating when I can’t find the answer. Even more frustrating to think up a witty answer!! But I’ve enjoyed the stretch of the neurons. Now I think I’ll go lie down.
  • Thanks, and keep it up Dr. Bob!
  • That limerick just popped into my mind, several other things were omitted to make room. Do you remember my address, I seem to have lost it.
  • Toughie this month. Not least because of the shock of the new web site. 29th of the month is a bit late to inflict change on a poor benighted accountant. I have had difficulty moving out of the 1960’s. I vaguely remember a Thursday afternoon when I was really quite good, for a few minutes, but little since. I have been far too busy to give your superlative quiz much thought this month. Sorry. Not enough on Iceland I suspect.
  • Where are you Dr Bob? Are you OK? It’s not like you to leave the results for last months comp this long. Is something wrong? We are all wondering with bated breath. [Sorry new web site, new webmaster etc]
  • Yippee, another quiz done. Thank the “Check” person for me Dr. Bob. Despite my keen powers of observation I never noticed the answers were alphabetized until that comment a few months ago.
  • You keep these types of questions up and you’ll end up with a nomination for bent spoon award. And no Icelandic answers.