Answers for May 2009

This was a short month – I put up the questions later than usual – and only two spotted the hidden Icelandic connection. (It is more obvious this month). Choice of a winner was hard, with superior efforts by many regulars, including Bob Bills, Ros Dalefield, Ben Huber, Tony Ellis, Mutty Mutwehir, Linda Houston, and the indefatigable Eulalia Penguinstretcher. And a special mention for newcomer Warren Ham, who has the amazing e-mail address w.ham@… and was one of only 2 to spot the Iceland connection in Q5 – but being new to the quiz, wouldn’t understand how deeply some themes run in my soul…. But an all-correct set came from our WINNER, whose juvenile humour, as he easily predicted, inevitably tipped the balance: he’s from Hawthorn. Hey Heathy, isn’t there a footy team there?

Heath Eddy

Question 1

When you open a bottle of champagne how many turns are required to undo the wire basket that holds the cork in place?


Six half turns (3 full turns). When I think of all the champagne I’ve guzzled – I must have been too intent on getting at the contents to bother to count the turns.

Additional Answers

  • 16 turns. [Crikey, you’d do the wire up again the other way and never get at the contents!]
  • 2.5
  • 3 turns … usually referred to as 6 half-turns, as this is the way a person usually manages to carry out the action! [Normal people, yes, but I simply hold the wire firmly and swing the bottle around over my head. Breaks the ice at parties. Among other things]
  • 4
  • 5
  • 5.5 according to Jack Van Nort but I’ve never bothered to check.
  • As a pensioner, I cannot afford to imbibe champagne. And Minchinbury gives me a headache so I can’t drink that either. This question clearly discriminates against pensioners and the migraine-afflicted. Shame on you, Dr Bob!
  • I actually counted 7 on one bottle and 8 on another– so I am going to say 7.5; but that can be conducted fairly quickly when you are doing it on a promise
  • I don’t know, because the waiter always hides the whole procedure under a white napkin. [Well if you must dine in places like that….]
  • It’s always six, unless you have rubber wrists that can twist more than 360 degrees.
  • None, if you’re drunk and break the top off.
  • None! That’s what wirecutters are for.
  • None. I hold the wire basket still, and rotate the bottle around it.
  • One big long one, if you decide to. But if you’re lazy its 4
  • One good turn every day.
  • One less than you think!! The damn cork always pops when you’ve got the bottle aimed at your face. Or does this only happen to me?
  • Six half-turns
  • Six turns counter clockwise (I think, I had to check several times and it all gets a bit vague)
  • Sober – four. Pissed – bugger that, get me those wire cutters will you…
  • That depends on how drunk you are.
  • Two and a quarter to two and a half.  Most people make the common mistake of thinking that a ‘turn’ is a full turn when it’s only a half turn! 😛
  • Who bothers with that? I whack the top off with a short sword. It’s a great party trick.
  • You just want me to go and buy a bottle of champagne to find out, don’t you, Dr Bob?

Question 2

OK, if you can’t afford champagne and you buy beer (disregarding the fact that bad champagne is cheaper than good beer).  Around the edge of the beer bottle crown cap, how many pinches are there?  And why that number?


21, it used to be 24 but someone got a patent for that, which did not cover any other number, and 24-pinched tops got stuck in the machines. A prime like 23 would have been better, but 21 it was.

Additional Answers

  • 16, because it’s a multiple of 4
  • 16? Because it sounds like the right sort of number estimate.
  • 21 – because no more will fit and that’s how many little indentations there are on stubby bottle top removers. It would be stupid having caps that didn’t fit the cap takerofferers wouldn’t it?
  • 21 – because the original factory was won in a game of blackjack? Something to do with a 21 gun salute? Or maybe it is just mathematically that is how many fit around that bottle cap with that size of crimps.
  • 21
  • 21. It was part of pre-Breathalyser test for drunkenness; the cops would make you count the pinches.
  • 21. It was originally 24 from William Painter’s patent 468,258 of 2nd February 1892. When automatic capping machines were introduced around 1930 it was found that caps with an even number of teeth would frequently jam the machine. It was then found that 21 was the optimum tradeoff between robust crimps (requiring large crimp size) and number of crimps required to maintain a good seal.
  • 21. The best reason for this is simply because it is. [A good enough reason! And why not. Yes I don’t mind if I do, thank you]
  • 21. The original patent was for 24 teeth, but it was found that an even number of teeth meant for more frequent jamming of the machinery used for bottle capping. A reduction to either 23 or 21 had little to recommend one number over the other, but 21 was settled on, perhaps because it allowed slightly more contact between cap and bottle, making the seal slightly more robust.
  • 42. Because
  • 9
  • 16, as many as the worker making the caps has teeth. And because making bottle caps is hard on the teeth.
  • Again none, because if you have pitchers of beer around, then you don’t need any bottles. Oh, *pinches*….um…lots then, but only when it is the first day of the month.
  • I can’t afford beer either. Have you seen the price of a carton of VB lately? And don’t start me on Kev’s alcopops…
  • I count 21. Are the pinches the bits that go in, or out?
  • I don’t have a real good memory of encounters with beer.
  • I think there was 24 but like the champagne I lost count after several bottles…
  • I wasn’t ready for that one — how about 7+8 to give a figure of 13 [or 15 — how much beer have you had?] — and I think that number because I drink Boags and I reckon the beer maker man has put one pinch per toe? What was the question again?
  • I’m usually way too drunk to ponder that question. But I’ll say… 30. Why? Heck, I don’t know.
  • I’ve never counted – I just whack the top off with a short sword. It’s a great party trick.
  • It’s too early in the morning to open a beer (the champagne was a different story though – hic) so I had to rummage around in the rubbish. It’s 21 because that’s exactly how many beers I need before I start dancing on the table in my underwear, fall over and pass out.
  • Mine all have 21 when I’m sober, and some unknowable amount when drunk. The LEGAL drinking age here in the States is 21, but I’m not sure if this has any relevance.
  • Originally 24 now 21 so that the effective separation of said locking projections being substantially an odd integer multiple of one half the pitch angle characterizing said series of teeth, and said projections extending sufficiently radially outward of said cap in the closed position to enable finger-actuated disengagement of said locking projection from said teeth, whereby the cap may then be unthreaded.
  • There are 21, the legal drinking age.
  • There are usually about 21… so you can fit it into your bottle top remover of course!!
  • You just want me to go and buy six-pack of beers to find out, don’t you, Dr Bob?

Question 3

Daniel Fahrenheit got the low point of his temperature scale by cooling ice with salt.  For the upper point, he measured the temperature of the human body. Where did he stick the thermometer?


In his wife’s armpit.  He was ever the gentleman, while also being smart enough not to use his own body in his experiments. And speaking of low points: if he’d been a UFO alien …

Additional Answers

  • At the breakfast table one morning, he was blathering on to his wife about his temperature scale experiments, and the difficulties in defining reference points, when an exasperated Frau Fahrenheit exclaimed “Oh, Daniel, stick it up your jumper!” So he did.
  • He used it as a swizzer stick and swallowed it — when he threw up he had the item back and wholla, there it was
  • I am guessing, not mouth….
  • I suppose armpit or mouth. Though I like to think he might have stuck it up his bum just for the fun of it.
  • I’ll show you later 😉
  • In his mouth, although many believe he tried under his arm also. This was said to be 96 degrees; so one would have to pick 32 for freezing point because 64 is 2 to the 6th.
  • In his mouth, under his tongue
  • In his mouth. After first sticking it in his armpit. He loved the taste of his own sweat. He was kinky that way. [Well, he could have had worse kinks than that…]
  • In his own blood, then he wrote some heavy metal lyrics and designed album covers.
  • In the mouth or under the armpit
  • Into a live human being. He was smart enough to realize he could really screw up his scale if he used a dead one.
  • Let’s just say he pulled the numbers out of his ass.
  • MISS BRAHMS: In me bum! CAPTAIN PEACOCK: I think Sister means, at what establishment?
  • Mouth or armpit.
  • Rectum
  • Under his tongue
  • Underarm. [No thanks, we had enough of that in 1981]
  • Up his celsius.
  • Up the erm *cough* I mean under the armpit.
  • Up the old dirt road…?
  • What about the armpit? … the upper temperature is commonly given as either the mouth or the armpit, but it would have been rather difficult (without an assistant) to read one’s own oral temperature, as the position of the graduations would have them at an inconvenient angle to read. Remember, the clinical thermometer had not yet been invented, so as soon as the thermometer was withdrawn the mercury would begin falling. At least with the armpit, one could read one’s own temperature with the thermometer still in situ!
  • Would you really like me to tell you!? Under his arm of course, you dirty minded perv!
  • He sat on it and invented the rectal thermometer. Or at least, that’s what he told the nurses at the casualty ward.

Question 4

The English hermit Mrs Celestina Collins, of Coventry, always dined with her pet rooster and pet rat.  But in later years she dined alone – why?


The rat ate the rooster. Must have been tired of Mrs C’s cuisine. Or perhaps the after-dinner conversation had waned in quality – one can only hear “cock-a-doodle-doo” so many times.

Additional Answers

  • Because both the rat and the rooster died, and she never got replacements for them.
  • After a while, those little varmits start to look mighty tasty. And rats have a tendency to ignore proper dinner table etiquette.
  • Ah a woman after my own heart.. the rat got greedy one day and wouldn’t share with the rooster so she killed the rat and after that she figured none of them could be trusted to remember their manners so were all banished from her table. You cannot allow table pets with no manners!
  • Because humans live longer than roosters and rats. CAPTAIN PEACOCK: I don’t see what that has to do with it.
  • Because the rooster shat on the tablecloth and the rat kept spilling his drink.
  • Being a hermit, did she run out of groceries…? Everything tastes like chicken anyways.
  • But she would not be a true hermit if she had (in her eyes, one presumes) anthropomorphic animals as dining companions. But I digress. She later dined alone because she earlier dined on, rather than with, her feathered & furry friends.
  • Mrs? Someone married this crackpot? I’d say she always dined alone because she was bat-shit crazy. Are you counting the rooster and rat as dining companions?
  • One day the rat ate the rooster’s food, so Celestina killed the rat.
  • One day the rooster got a bit toey and started on the rat, but the rat fought back and Mrs Collins decided to serve ratatouille. That fixed that problem, but the rooster was still toey so when it made out for the hermit Mrs Collins had had enough so she cut off the roosters dangly bits, so it ran away
  • Presumably she outlived them both!
  • She ate the rooster and rat
  • She ate them both.
  • She became so depressed, she contemplated suicide.
  • She had a falling out with her rat and rooster.
  • She had dined on them in the meantime.
  • She outlived the little critters but more importantly where was Mr Collins all this time; obviously not sharing the bed with the chickens and mice.
  • She turned the rooster into a feather duster to clean the place up a bit, and the rat was so upset that he never spoke to her again after that.
  • She wondered what a rat and rooster stew tasted like. So do I.
  • The rat died
  • The rooster and the rat objected to her table manners, and asked her to leave.
  • The rooster was attacked by the rat, which met its end at the hand of Celestina.
  • They died
  • They got swine flu and turned into zombies.
  • While my sources tell me it was Canterbury, she apparently killed the rat after it killed the rooster! Freak!

Question 5

Why, as is written in a famous book about chivalry, did the King of the Orkneys voluntarily pay tribute to King Arthur?


Bulfinch’s book of chivalry tells that after the battle of Badon, Arthur went off on various equally successful exploits, one of which was to wallop the King of Iceland. Whereupon the King of the Orkneys sort of got the message. Pretty weird really, as Iceland never had a King, that was the whole point, they had a committee with a 2/3 majority …. Anyway, this has been Dr Bob’s Hidden Icelandic Question!

Additional Answers

  • After Arthur defeated the people of Iceland, the rumour spread that no island could withstand his forces, and so King Doldavius of Gotland and King Gunhpar of the Orkneys came to do homage to him. Legends of King Arthur, by Richard Barber.
  • Arthur had some VERRRY embarrassing etchings of the Orkneys’ leader atop a dragon.
  • Arthur kicked their asses badly once before after his coronation when they came to fight him, and Arthur had it away with Lot’s wife (who was his sister OMG! but he didn’t realise at the time), so when Arthur was gallivanting about later they figured they’d better just side with him and be done with it. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em, hey?
  • Becasue he had A-Lot to give. See what I did there? Clever, yes? But I think the main reason was because he was a good family man.
  • Because Arthur had previously laid down his coat over a puddle so that the King of the Orkneys could walk across the road without getting his precious loafers wet and muddy.
  • Because Arthur told him that if he didn’t pay it voluntarily, Arthur and his knights would pay a friendly visit and make him pay it involuntarily.
  • Because he didn’t want to get swine flu and become a zombie
  • Because he really liked his songs and wanted to form a cover band.
  • Because he was keen for King Arthur’s daughter so wanted to get on the good side of him
  • Because King Arthur had just bested him in battle.
  • Because otherwise, he would’ve whacked their heads off with a short sword. It’s a great party trick.
  • Because the Easter Bunny told him to.
  • Better him than those silly French.
  • For going where Lot wouldn’t dare – the marital bed with Lot’s wife.
  • He liked his sword?
  • He was married to Arthur’s sister… yep the one he got up the duff and bore him Mordred.
  • He was scared of Arthur.
  • It was hush money, to stop Arthur telling anyone he had screwed the king’s wife, who also happened to be Arthur’s sister.
  • King Arthur gave Ireland (and of course Iceland) a bit of a flogging and the kings of Gothland and the Orkneys had the bright idea a little voluntary tribute might be in order. A trick the Gauls and Norwegians should have paid attention to.
  • So King Arthurs Knights wouldn’t attack him.
  • The King of Orkneys was gay, and was madly in love with King Arthur.
  • To get some champagne off him.
  • To stop him taking their land ?
  • If you lived in the wretched Orkneys you would be only too pleased to pay tribute to anyone who deigned, as Arthur did, to notice your frozen windblown miserable inconsequential existence.

Question 6

///quiz200905Q6.jpg///Dr Bob visited an art gallery in Europe and collected this guide, but unfortunately he spilt his champagne on it, which dissolved the paper.  There was similar lettering in the missing bit, what did it say?


///quiz200905Q6a.jpg///”PRA” four times. The art gallery was in Prague.

Additional Answers

  • “Difficult Scrabble Draw Leftovers of Mediaeval Europe – Southern Exhibition Hall”
  • That better be damn liquid paper. YES!! Juvenile humour for the win!
  • No food or drink permitted in the gallery
  • Check out the hot guide!
  • Do not spill champagne here!
  • It didn’t say anything,. You had to read it.
  • It said “*gurgle* Watch it mate – get a table cloth!”
  • WARNING: This label is soluble in ethanol. Do not spill your drink on it.
  • “Pra”, as in “Practically answers itself”.
  • PRA PRA PRA PRA…. giving you the host city’s name in numerous languages…PRAHA: Belarusian, Czech, Estonian, Finnish, Ido, Indonesian, Nauruan, Norwegian, Slovak, Ukrainian, Lithuanian; PRAGUE: English, French, Tagalog; PRAGA: Basque, Catalan, Italian, Kashubian, Latin, Maltese, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovene, Spanish; PRAG: Bosnian, Croatian, Danish, German, Luxembourgish, Serbian, Swedish, Turkish, and of course … Icelandic.
  • ah/gue/ga/g
  • aloha, vague, gaga, gag
  • HAHA PLAGUE BUGA PIG, a warning about the swine flu zombie virus
  • I’ll need to czech this since it’s definitely a praha/prague thing…
  • No idea
  • Pra-haps you pra-fer to pra-take in looking at pra-etty pra-ictures of pra-ncing pra-ixies in Pra-gue. That got a bit pathetic there for a minute, didn’t it?
  • Praha, Prague, Gaga, Hug
  • Sasha tongue toga pig
  • The gallery is sponsored by a scotch whisky company. The missing words are “Don’t be vaig, ask for Hague.”


  • 0 out of 6 this month!
  • A quix for you Dr. Bob – If I am atheist, and my wife is agnostic, why is my daughter getting baptised Roman Catholic? Answer: The church is pretty, and my brother already bought a christening gown from his trip to South America.
  • All that beer and champagne – I really am lost for words!
  • Fun quiz!
  • hello
  • Here you go, Doctor Bob:
  • Hi Bob, back after a being missing in action for a while and still relatively humourless and skeptical enough to provide the nom de plume.
  • I’m no longer waiting for my gin to hit me.
  • I’ve tried hitting the Escape key, but I’m still here.
  • Ouch! [Sorry!]
  • The first time in many years I’ve entered this quiz, I hope I have suitably shamed myself.
  • These were hard!
  • What a wild lot they were during Arthurian times! Rivetting stuff Dr Bob. [Yes, it’s how they held their armour together. It was the noise of Sir Lancelot doing his flies up that alerted Arthur that all was not well …]
  • Which alcohol company funds your research, Dr Bob?
  • Wot, no Iceland question this month, Dr Bob? Although I must admit the Orkneys come close despite having neither Bjorks nor nose flutes. [/sigh/ … Try Q5 again]