# Why 42 ?

16049 views

### Mark J Cherkas

Nov 1, 1993, 7:50:35 PM11/1/93
to

I am new to this group so bear with this beginners question:
Why is the answer 42 ?
Has Douglas Adams ever explained this ?

### Kampen van F

Nov 2, 1993, 6:50:41 AM11/2/93
to

NO, HELP, NOT AGAIN THIS NEVER ENDING DISCUSSION!!!
PLEASE NO! (Spare you precious bandwith...)

In binary it appears to be 101010 (VERY CONSPICUOUS)
Als there is some fooling arount with 2b OR (NOT 2b) (possibly with
some additional parantheses, I did not bother to check this).
(To be or not to be),
Sigh, it's very very very complicated.
YOU DON"T want to KNOW

Greetings

Florentijn van Kampen

--
+--------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Florentijn van Kampen | "O dear", says God, "I hadn't |
| fvka...@cs.vu.nl | thought of that", and promptly |
| (...) The World is Music (...)| vanishes in a puff of logic" |

### Robert Svebeck

Nov 2, 1993, 3:52:26 AM11/2/93
to
This is one-of-the-many explenations:

Douglas Adams The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
||||||| ||||| ||| ||||||||||| ||||| || ||| ||||||
7 +5 +3 +11 +5 +2 +3 +6 = 42 !

______..________________________
| (~ ) / /
| ___)( / Robert Svebeck /
|__(_____)__/_________________/

Nov 3, 1993, 2:51:46 AM11/3/93
to
In Article <2b4asr\$b...@syzygy.socs.uts.edu.au>, mjch...@socs.uts.EDU.AU

The answer to this is very simple. It was a joke. It had to be a number, an
ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that one. Binary representations,
base thirteen, Tibetan monks are all complete nonsense. I sat at my desk,
stared into the garden and thought '42 will do' I typed it out. End of story.

Best,

Currently in Santa Fe, NM | ada...@nic.cerf.net (current)

### Jack Death

Nov 2, 1993, 11:53:42 AM11/2/93
to

>
>The answer to this is very simple. It was a joke. It had to be a number, an
>ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that one. Binary representations,
>base thirteen, Tibetan monks are all complete nonsense. I sat at my desk,
>stared into the garden and thought '42 will do' I typed it out. End of story.
>
>Best,
>
>Currently in Santa Fe, NM | ada...@nic.cerf.net (current)

Hmmmm... I kinda figured it was something like that, but then
again if the REAL answer to life the universe and everything WERE
42, it would be a common number to _guess_ or _Pick_, wouldn't it?
I think that whether you, Mr. Adams, picked it intentionaly or not,
you hit the right answer anyways. (Besides isn't it Fun to see just
how many poeple are looking for this number to show up everywhere
they go? :) )

C U LAZER,

Jeffrey D. Shaffer

### Mike Vermillion

Nov 2, 1993, 1:01:11 PM11/2/93
to

Thank you very, very, very much Mr. Adams. I find it hard to
believe that this answer wasn't obvious to everyone from the start.

Will the rest of you please stop now?

Mike

### John E. Veness

Nov 2, 1993, 3:20:29 PM11/2/93
to
: In Article <2b4asr\$b...@syzygy.socs.uts.edu.au>, mjch...@socs.uts.EDU.AU

: Best,

Awww, all the myths come crashing down, one-by-one..

Pel

### Sodhed

Nov 2, 1993, 11:43:14 PM11/2/93
to

>In Article <2b4asr\$b...@syzygy.socs.uts.edu.au>, mjch...@socs.uts.EDU.AU
>(Mark J Cherkas) wrote:
>>
>>I am new to this group so bear with this beginners question:
>>Why is the answer 42 ?
>>Has Douglas Adams ever explained this ?
>
>The answer to this is very simple. It was a joke. It had to be a number, an
>ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that one. Binary representations,
>base thirteen, Tibetan monks are all complete nonsense. I sat at my desk,
>stared into the garden and thought '42 will do' I typed it out. End of story.
>
>Best,

*laugh* What a guy... thus ending a possible flame-war. If only the 'fan'
newsgroups ALL had the real source of the entertainment posting to them, there
would be few flame-wars arguing about stuff we don't even know. The main
reason, by the way, that I read this newsgroup is because a friend of mine is
a fanatic, and has told me much of Mr. Adams' work, and also the fact that the
MAN HIMSELF posts here. Almost makes me want to start reading something more
than textbooks again. Time to finish my physics homework....

=========================================================================
/|
/ | /\ / /\ / / / / / / /| _________ _____
/ | / \ / / \ / / / / / / / | / / / / /
/---|/ \ / / \ / / /---/ / / / | / / / /---<
/ | \/ / \/ / / / / /____/ |/ /__/ / \
\
--The Sodhed, Reid...@Max.cc.URegina.ca, is setting the world on fire...
=========================================================================

### Eschel A. Hamel

Nov 3, 1993, 3:54:35 AM11/3/93
to
>In Article <2b4asr\$b...@syzygy.socs.uts.edu.au>, mjch...@socs.uts.EDU.AU
>(Mark J Cherkas) wrote:
>>
>>I am new to this group so bear with this beginners question:
>>Why is the answer 42 ?
>>Has Douglas Adams ever explained this ?

I still don't get this. People are always trying to look into that one. When
I read the series, I saw it as a joke, plain and simple. It's simple (but
highly effective) irony, period. I've seen and heard him answer this question
way too many times. Let it rest folks. Remember, every moment he has to spend
explaining things, is one he isn't writing. I'd much rather see the script
completed, or perhaps a new novel.

### S.Casey

Nov 3, 1993, 6:22:36 AM11/3/93
to
>stared into the garden and thought '42 will do' I typed it out. End of story.

YOU`VE RUINED IT NOW!!!!
Hmm.....
I was watching my copy of HHGTTG last night (after a discussion over all the differences between all the different versions) And I suddenly noticed a certain 'Green' theme to the entire book. Naughty naughty - you were writing this before it was trendy to be green.. - This just won't do... Your only hope is that it was unintentional...

PS. I have only been skiming this group and was wondering if anyone actually got round to compiling that list of questions? - if so mail me or something - I might like to add to it.....

Thanks,
Steve

With a brain the size of a planet, who needs a .sig?

### MISS RA CLARKE

Nov 3, 1993, 7:56:43 AM11/3/93
to
>>I am new to this group so bear with this beginners question:
>>Why is the answer 42 ?
>>Has Douglas Adams ever explained this ?
>
>The answer to this is very simple. It was a joke. It had to be a number, an
>ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that one. Binary representations,
>base thirteen, Tibetan monks are all complete nonsense. I sat at my desk,
>stared into the garden and thought '42 will do' I typed it out. End of story.
>
>Best,
>
>Currently in Santa Fe, NM | ada...@nic.cerf.net (current)

Awwww, why spoil their fun? - they were happy with their binaries and base
13s...

Beccy
______________________________________________________________
Beccy Clarke g90c...@warthog.ru.ac.za
Aristotle defined man as a rational animal -
this was probably somewhat optimistic. Arthur Morgan

### Ken

Nov 3, 1993, 12:08:36 PM11/3/93
to

>The answer to this is very simple. It was a joke. It had to be a number, an
>ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that one. Binary representations,
>base thirteen, Tibetan monks are all complete nonsense. I sat at my desk,
>stared into the garden and thought '42 will do' I typed it out. End of story.

>Best,

But, perhaps your subconscious mind was giving you (and then all of
us) some wild insight to just what life is really all about ???

Ken. (Not wanting to see a funny thread die and lose all those wierd
possible explanations !).

---------------------->e-mail to: jmar...@unix2.tcd.ie<--------------------
You're all clear and my psychometer indicates smooth sailing.
- 7-Zark-7 (The Jupiter Moon Menace)
---------------------->e-mail to: jmar...@unix2.tcd.ie<--------------------

### Dale Schouten

Nov 3, 1993, 12:19:52 PM11/3/93
to
>
>The answer to this is very simple. It was a joke. It had to be a number, an
>ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that one. Binary representations,
>base thirteen, Tibetan monks are all complete nonsense. I sat at my desk,
>stared into the garden and thought '42 will do' I typed it out. End of story.

Right, think you know something about it, eh?
Surely you're denying your subconscious interconnectedness with
tibetan monks possessed of 13 fingers!?

Or isn't it true that you originally wrote HHGG in a previous
life in 1924?

You can't fool us with simple facts!

Dale Schouten
scho...@uiuc.edu

### Matthias Urlichs

Nov 3, 1993, 9:06:24 AM11/3/93
to

>
> The answer to this is very simple. It was a joke. It had to be a number, an
> ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that one. Binary representations,
> base thirteen, Tibetan monks are all complete nonsense. I sat at my desk,
> stared into the garden and thought '42 will do' I typed it out. End of story.
>
Bull. Or, to quote what a German philosopher once said to Isaac Asimov (it's
in his autobiography somewhere), "Just because you wrote it doesn't mean that
you know anything at all about it."

:-)

--
You should emulate your heroes, but don't carry it too far.
--
Matthias Urlichs \ XLink-POP Nürnberg | EMail: url...@smurf.sub.org
Schleiermacherstraße 12 \ Unix+Linux+Mac | Phone: ...please use email.
90491 Nürnberg (Germany) \ Consulting+Networking+Programming+etc'ing 42

### un Coeur en Hiver

Nov 4, 1993, 1:16:12 PM11/4/93
to
jdsh...@silver.ucs.indiana.edu (Jack Death) wrote:
>
> >
> >The answer to this is very simple. It was a joke. It had to be a number, an
> >ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that one. Binary representations,
> >base thirteen, Tibetan monks are all complete nonsense. I sat at my desk,
> >stared into the garden and thought '42 will do' I typed it out. End of story.
> >
>
> Hmmmm... I kinda figured it was something like that, but then
> again if the REAL answer to life the universe and everything WERE
> 42, it would be a common number to _guess_ or _Pick_, wouldn't it?
> I think that whether you, Mr. Adams, picked it intentionaly or not,
> you hit the right answer anyways.

> (Besides isn't it Fun to see just
> how many poeple are looking for this number to show up everywhere
> they go? :) )

I don't look for the number, it just keeps popping up all the time.

un Coeur en Hiver
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| e-mail: | "You can cry, you can mope |
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### Schumacher Gordon C

Nov 5, 1993, 12:17:46 AM11/5/93
to
cm5...@scitsc.wlv.ac.uk (S.Casey) writes:

>I was watching my copy of HHGTTG last night (after a discussion over all the differences between all the different versions) And I suddenly noticed a certain 'Green' theme to the entire book. Naughty naughty - you were writing this before it was trendy to be green.. - This just won't do... Your only hope is that it was unintentional...

No, he seems to like yellow much more. Yellow tongues (at the VERY
beginning), yellow bulldozers, yellow Vogon ships, Suffusions of Yellow,
and others (tho' I don't remember offhand)

BTW, it's considered polite to break your lines at about 75 chars. It
makes it much easier to read ;)

Gordon Schumacher

/-------------------------------------------------------------------\
| Champaign- "We apologize for the inconvenience." _@_ |
| Urbana -HHGTTG / \ |
| kilroy was here | o o | |
\-------------------------------------------------------U|--U--|U---/

### Kurt Brinschwitz

Nov 5, 1993, 1:50:03 AM11/5/93
to
In article <jmarston....@unix2.tcd.ie> jmar...@unix2.tcd.ie (Ken) writes:
>
>>The answer to this is very simple. It was a joke. It had to be a number, an
>>ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that one. Binary representations,
>>base thirteen, Tibetan monks are all complete nonsense. I sat at my desk,
>>stared into the garden and thought '42 will do' I typed it out. End of story.
>
>>Best,
>
>
> But, perhaps your subconscious mind was giving you (and then all of
>us) some wild insight to just what life is really all about ???
>
>Ken. (Not wanting to see a funny thread die and lose all those wierd
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ?????????

>possible explanations !).
>
>
>---------------------->e-mail to: jmar...@unix2.tcd.ie<--------------------
>You're all clear and my psychometer indicates smooth sailing.
> - 7-Zark-7 (The Jupiter Moon Menace)
>---------------------->e-mail to: jmar...@unix2.tcd.ie<--------------------

Good God, man ! get a life!

### Ken

Nov 5, 1993, 5:13:43 AM11/5/93
to

>>Ken. (Not wanting to see a funny thread die and lose all those wierd
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ ?????????

>>possible explanations !).
>>

>Good God, man ! get a life!

I would, but they are more trouble than their worth.

Ken.

### S.Casey

Nov 5, 1993, 8:13:08 AM11/5/93
to
>BTW, it's considered polite to break your lines at about 75 chars. It
>makes it much easier to read ;)

Erm yea... - I'll count them! hmm...

The point was green as in eco friendly....
and besides all the graphics were in green!!

the thing was about the burning of the trees on ancient earth etc.....

Steve

### Evan Douglas Macbeth

Nov 4, 1993, 5:22:22 PM11/4/93
to
Yesness, I seem to see it around much also...
I think it is an unwritten law of the Whole Sort of General
Mish Mash, "And 42 shall be the number of the counting..."

ed...@virginia.edu

### Alan Stokes

Nov 5, 1993, 8:16:37 AM11/5/93
to

>Best,

What's the point of us sitting down and wondering whether there may, or may not, be
a reason for the answer 42 if some bloody author comes along and tells us he just made
it up?

:-)

--
Alan Stokes al...@rcp.co.uk
Senior Software Engineer Tel +44 235 510116
Richards Computer Products Ltd FAX +44 235 511084
Dales, High St, Didcot, Oxon, UK

### James Messer

Nov 5, 1993, 1:24:20 PM11/5/93
to
Hi, I aseemeed to have nmissed the article on the hotel soap. Could
someone e-mail it too me? I am at jme...@morgan.ucs.mun.ca or at
mrm%statistics%dfo...@dfonfl01.nwafc.nf.ca
BTW Hello Mr. Adams, I was wondering if you had anyparticular piece of
Bach's music in mind when you wrote about him in the Dirk Gently book?
And what about the Mozart bit with the annoying note?
d
--
James Murdo Messer | "Ah, yes, |
jme...@morgan.ucs.mun.ca | the rattle" |

### Mike Unlimited

Nov 6, 1993, 3:04:30 AM11/6/93
to
In article <1Il2sAk...@rcp.co.uk> al...@rcp.co.uk (Alan Stokes) writes:
>>The answer to this is very simple. It was a joke. It had to be a number, an
>>ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that one. Binary representations,
>>base thirteen, Tibetan monks are all complete nonsense. I sat at my desk,
>>stared into the garden and thought '42 will do' I typed it out. End of story.
>What's the point of us sitting down and wondering whether there may, or may
>not, be a reason for the answer 42 if some bloody author comes along and tells
us he just made it up?
>:-)

Why, the entertainment value, of course. }->

--Mike

--
To err is human. To bleat is ovine. To bark is canine.
To forgive is divine. To oink is porcine. To purr is feline.
To moo is bovine. To howl is lupine. This list is asinine.
Mike Escutia | Pliable Lad of the LNH | Ergh, the warlord | mi...@unh.edu

Nov 8, 1993, 7:42:19 AM11/8/93
to
BTW Hello Mr. Adams, I was wondering if you had anyparticular piece of
>Bach's music in mind when you wrote about him in the Dirk Gently book?

Yes. Schubler Prelude Number six. Also appears as a viola obligato (*not*
cello, stupid mistake I made) in one of the Cantatas. Probably number 6.

### Ulrich Schreglmann

Nov 8, 1993, 4:28:53 AM11/8/93
to

>>Why is the answer 42 ?
>>Has Douglas Adams ever explained this ?

>The answer to this is very simple. It was a joke. It had to be a number, an
>ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that one. Binary representations,
>base thirteen, Tibetan monks are all complete nonsense. I sat at my desk,
>stared into the garden and thought '42 will do' I typed it out. End of story.

Not for me, it isn't! :-) What sort of desk was it you sat on? What
kind of things surrounded you? What did the garden look like? I'm
pretty sure the real meaning of it all is hidden somewhere in your sub-
conscious.

(Don't look at me like that! I won't give up a decade-long quest for a
meaning just because the author tells me there is none! Haven't you e-
er heard psychiatrists? "Everything has meaning, and the more the p-
tient denies it the more it's true. And the dirtier and more sexual it
is." So what's going on there in your filthy brain?! :-) :-) :-) :-) )

May the Cool Be with You!

(C)OOL mcmxciii

### Richard S. Sevrinsky

Nov 5, 1993, 11:54:35 AM11/5/93
to
--- A brief quote, if I might, from JohnvRe: Why 42 ?un.rhbnc.ac.uk:

Jo> : The answer to this is very simple. It was a joke. It had to be a
Jo> number, an : ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that one. Binary
Jo> representations, : base thirteen, Tibetan monks are all complete
Jo> nonsense. I sat at my desk, : stared into the garden and thought '42
Jo> will do' I typed it out. End of story.
Jo> : Best,

Jo> : London, UK | d...@dadams.demon.co.uk (dormant)
Jo> : Currently in Santa Fe, NM | ada...@nic.cerf.net (current)

Jo> Awww, all the myths come crashing down, one-by-one..

Not really. Now all we have to do is wonder exactly why the
number 42 was "suggested" in Mr. Adams' mind. My guess is it was
the mice. Any other ideas?
________________________________________________________________
| Richie Sevrinsky a.k.a "Life is an anticipation |
| rse...@dorsai.dorsai.org of....." |
`--------------------------------------------------------------'

... The OFFICIAL tagline of the 1996 Olympics!
___ Blue Wave/QWK v2.12

### Evan Douglas Macbeth

Nov 10, 1993, 10:58:11 AM11/10/93
to
serious or sarcastic, this response was just plain funny. :)

ed...@virginia.edu New College
The University of Virginia

### Ari P K Korhonen

Nov 12, 1993, 5:56:38 PM11/12/93
to
Ulrich Schreglmann (uhsc...@faui06n.informatik.uni-erlangen.de) wrote:

: >>Why is the answer 42 ?
: >>Has Douglas Adams ever explained this ?

: >The answer to this is very simple. It was a joke. It had to be a number, an
: >ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that one. Binary representations,
: >base thirteen, Tibetan monks are all complete nonsense. I sat at my desk,
: >stared into the garden and thought '42 will do' I typed it out. End of story.

: Not for me, it isn't! :-) What sort of desk was it you sat on? What
: kind of things surrounded you? What did the garden look like? I'm
: pretty sure the real meaning of it all is hidden somewhere in your sub-
: conscious.

: (Don't look at me like that!......[rest edited by A PK K]

And hey hey, did Mr. Adams have a Ballantine's Whiskey around or
something, I have an old Ballantine's add which says that it is
blended using 42 single whiskeys to create the true smooth
Ballantine...

Ari PK Korhonen (apkk...@cc.helsinki.fi and Zark Off!!

### Stefan Linnemann

Nov 13, 1993, 4:58:46 PM11/13/93
to
Ari P K Korhonen <apkk...@kruuna.Helsinki.FI> wrote:
>And hey hey, did Mr. Adams have a Ballantine's Whiskey around or
>something, I have an old Ballantine's add which says that it is
>blended using 42 single whiskeys to create the true smooth
>Ballantine...

Ah, that _does_ explain why there's something fundamentally wrong with
the stuff.

Stefan.
--
Stefan M. Linnemann Internet: Stefan.L...@cri.LeidenUniv.nl
System programmer Unix CRI, Leiden University, the Netherlands.

### The Doctor

Nov 16, 1993, 8:25:15 AM11/16/93
to

>
>
>>The answer to this is very simple. It was a joke. It had to be a number, an
>>ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that one. Binary representations,
>>base thirteen, Tibetan monks are all complete nonsense. I sat at my desk,
>>stared into the garden and thought '42 will do' I typed it out. End of story
> .

Are you the real BBC writer? If so, how come this US address?

>
--
God save the Queen! God bless and save us all!!
Remeber, Jesus saves all souls from eternal damnation!
Save the world! Purge Republicanism and Dictatorship!
A British citizen I was born, A British citizen I will most honourably die!

### Daniel O'Malley

Nov 17, 1993, 12:58:39 PM11/17/93
to
In <931116.062515.6...@galcon.ersys.edmonton.ab.ca> sys...@galcon.ersys.edmonton.ab.ca (The Doctor) writes:

[deleted]

>Are you the real BBC writer? If so, how come this US address?

Yes, it is the real Douglas Adams. Regular readers of the group will
know that he's on a booksigning tour of the US at the moment, hence the

Daniel.
--
/___Daniel O'Malley___\ /"A computer terminal is not some clunky old TV with\
\___Trinity College___/ \__a typewriter in front of it. It is an interface__/
/___Dublin, Ireland___\ /___where the mind and body can connect with the____\

### Simon Slavin

Nov 19, 1993, 8:24:43 AM11/19/93
to
In article <931116.062515.6...@galcon.ersys.edmonton.ab.ca> sys...@galcon.ersys.edmonton.ab.ca (The Doctor) writes:
>
>Are you the real BBC writer? If so, how come this US address?

which indicate that he reads this newsgroup). The reason he's
posting from the USA is that he's currently touring there and
doing readings and such stuff. I don't think he actually needs a
US account, there must be thousands of students only too willing
to let him use theirs !

And sorry if this sounds holier-than-thou, but please don't
pester him on the net because the more time he spends posting,
the less time he spends writing books and the movie script,
and listening to the excellent music which appears to inspire it all.

Unless, of course, Mr. Adams, you *prefer* spending time on the
net, in which case please tell us. :-) :-)

Simon.
--
< The wonderful thing about Tiggers is Tiggers are Wonderful Things. | slavins >
< Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream ? EAPoe |@cs.man.ac.uk >