As always, reply ONLY BY EMAIL to m...@vex.net; do not post to any
newsgroup. Entries must reach here by Friday, September 4, 2009
(by Toronto time, zone -4). See below the questions for a detailed
explanation, which is unchanged from last time.
0. Name a prime number smaller than 25. (Positive integers
only, the usual mathematical meaning of "prime".)
1. Using a single unhyphenated noun in English, name a type (not
a brand or model) of flying machine that *is not* an airplane.
2. Name a country where it is possible for a couple of the same
sex to get married and for this marriage to be recognized
as legally valid.
3. Name a child, grandchild, or great-grandchild of King Henry
VII of England who at some time was, or was claimed to be,
the king or queen of England.
4. Name a city where the modern Olympic Games have been held
more than once. This refers to the primary host city of
either the summer or winter games.
5. Give a single word in English that is a noun meaning
a person who commits or has committed one or more crimes.
Words that imply a specific type of crime are not acceptable.
6. Give a surname shared by two or more people who each have
individually won an Oscar (see rule 4.2). "Individually"
means that the award was not shared with another person,
as is common in some categories.
7. Give a relationship term in English that applies to "blood"
relatives and is a single unhyphenated noun that *does
not* start with G. "Relationship term" means a word that
specifies what relation one of them is to the other, as in
"Chris is Pat's _____". Only the formal terms typically
used in writing such as legal documents will be accepted.
8. Name a city whose usual short name in its primary local
language contains a letter that does not occur at all in its
most usual short name in English. The local language must
use a form of the same alphabet that English does, i.e. a
Latin-derived alphabet. For purposes of this question any
marks that an English-speaker would consider to be accents or
other diacritical marks are to be ignored (so O, �, and � are
all the same letter).
For example, if the Russians adopted the Latin alphabet,
Moscow would become a correct answer since the letter V
occurs in "Moskva" but not in "Moscow".
9. Name a major city existing today, whose name is also
part of the real name of a famous person, past or present.
A "major" city means any city that is a national capital or
has a population of at least 2,000,000, or is the main city
of a metropolitan area with population at least 5,000,000.
"Part of" means that the usual short name of the *city* occurs
*in full*, as a complete word or sequence of words, in the
name of the *person*. For example, if there was a famous
person named Mark Kansas City, then Kansas City would be a
correct answer if its population was sufficient; but a person
named Jane Kansas or Jane Kansas Cityite would not suffice.
Fame is to be measured by Google counts. Your answer must
include a set of three Google search terms:  the person's
year of birth (or an alleged year of birth, if there is
conflicting information),  a word somehow indicating
why or how the person is famous, and  the person's name
(as a phrase, including at least one given name and the
surname). The first page of Google results for this search
must indicate that there are "about" at least 1,000 hits.
For example, if there was a major city named "Harrison" or
"Ford", you might give:
1942 actor "Harrison Ford"
Different answers referring to the same city will be taken
* 1. The Game
As usual, for each of the questions above, your objective is to give
an answer that (1) is correct, and (2) will be duplicated by as FEW
other people as possible. Feel free to use any reference material
you like to RESEARCH your answers; but when you have found enough
possible answers for your liking, you are expected to choose on your
own which one to submit, WITHOUT mechanical or computer assistance:
this is meant to be a game of wits.
* 2. Scoring
The scores on the different questions are MULTIPLIED to produce a
final score for each entrant. Low score wins; a perfect score is 1.
If your answer on a category is correct, then your score is the number
of people who gave that answer, or an answer I consider equivalent.
A wrong answer, or a skipped question, gets a high score as a penalty.
This is the median of:
- the number of entrants
- the square root of that number, rounded up to an integer
- double the highest score that anyone would have on this
question if all answers were deemed correct
* 2.1 Scoring Example
Say I ask for a color on the current Canadian flag. There are
26 entrants -- 20 say "red", 4 say "blue", and 1 each say "gules",
"white", and "white square". After looking up gules I decide it's
the same color as red and should be treated as a duplicate answer;
then the 21 people who said either "red" or "gules" get 21 points
each. The person who said "white" gets a perfect score of 1 point.
"White square" is not a color and blue is not a color on the flag;
the 5 people who gave either of these answers each get the same
penalty score, which is the median of:
- number of entrants = 27
- sqrt(27) = 5.196+, rounded up = 6
- double the highest score = 21 x 2 = 42
or in this case, 27.
* 2.2 More Specific Variants
On some questions it's possible that one entrant will give an answer
that's a more specific variant of an answer given by someone else.
In that case the more specific variant will usually be scored as if
the two answers are different, but the other, less specific variant
will be scored as if they are the same.
In the above example, if I had decided (wrongly) to score gules as a
more specific variant of red, then "red" would still score 21, but
"gules" would now score 1.
However, this rule will NOT apply if the question asks for an answer
"in general terms"; a more specific answer will then at best be treated
the same as the more general one, and may be considered wrong.
* 3. Entries
Entries must be emailed to the address given above. Please do not
quote the questions back to me, and do send only plain text in ASCII
or ISO 8859-1: no HTML, attachments, Micros--t character sets, etc.,
and no Unicode, please. (Entrants who fail to comply will be publicly
chastised in the results posting.)
Your message should preferably consist of just your 10 answers,
numbered from 0 to 9, along with any explanations required. Your
name should be in it somewhere -- a From: line or signature is fine.
(If I don't see both a first and a last name, or an explicit request
for a particular form of your name to be used, then your email address
will be posted in the results).
You can expect an acknowledgement when I read your entry. If this
bounces, it won't be sent again.
* 3.1 Where Leeway is Allowed
In general there is no penalty for errors of spelling, capitalization,
English usage, or other such matters of form, nor for accidentally
sending email in an unfinished state, so long as it's clear enough
what you intended. Sometimes a specific question may imply stricter
rules, though. And if you give an answer that properly refers to a
different thing related to the one you intended, I will normally take
it as written.
Once you intentionally submit an answer, no changes will be allowed,
unless I decide there was a problem with the question. Similarly,
alternate answers within an entry will not be accepted. Only the
first answer that you intentionally submit counts.
* 3.2 Clarifications
Questions are not intended to be hard to understand, but I may fail
in this intent. (For one thing, in many cases clarity could only be
provided by an example which would suggest one or another specific
answer, and I mustn't do that.)
In order to be fair to all entrants, I must insist that requests for
clarification must be emailed to me, NOT POSTED in any newsgroup.
But if you do ask for clarification, I'll probably say that the
question is clear enough as posted. If I do decide to clarify or
change a question, all entrants will be informed.
* 3.3 Supporting Information
It is your option whether or not to provide supporting information
to justify your answers. If you don't, I'll email you to ask for
it if I need to. If you supply it in the form of a URL, if at all
possible it should be a "deep link" to the specific relevant page.
There is no need to supply URLs for obvious, well-known reference
web sites, and there is no point in supplying URLs for pages that
don't actually support your answer.
If you provide any explanatory remarks along with your answers, you
are responsible for making it sufficiently clear that they are not
part of the answers. The particular format doesn't matter as long
as you're clear. In the scoring example above, "white square" was
wrong; "white (in the central square)" would have been taken as a
correct answer with an explanation.
* 4. Interpretation of questions
These are general rules that apply unless a question specifically
* 4.1 Geography
* 4.1.1 Countries
"Country" means an independent country. Whether or not a place is
considered an independent country is determined by how it is listed
in reference sources.
For purposes of these contests, the Earth is considered to be divid-
ed into disjoint areas each of which is either (1) a country, (2) a
dependency, or (3) without national government. Their boundaries
are interpreted on a de facto basis. Any place with representatives
in a country's legislature is considered a part of that country rather
than a dependency of it.
The European Union is considered as an association of countries, not
a country itself.
Claims that are not enforced, or not generally recognized, don't count.
Places currently fighting a war of secession don't count. Embassies
don't count as special; they may have extraterritorial rights, but
they're still part of the host country (and city).
Countries existing at different historical times are normally
considered the same country if they have the same capital city.
* 4.1.2 States or provinces
Many countries or dependencies are divided into subsidiary political
entities, typically with their own subsidiary governments. At the
first level of division, these entities are most commonly called
states or provinces, but various other names are used; sometimes
varying even within the same country (e.g. to indicate unequal
Any reference to "states or provinces" in a question refers to
these entities at the first level of division, no matter what they
* 4.1.3 Distances
Distances between places on the Earth are measured along a great
circle path, and distance involving cities are based on the city
* 4.2 Entertainment
A "movie" does not include any form of TV broadcast or video release;
it must have been shown in cinemas. "Oscar" and "Academy Award" are
AMPAS trademarks and refer to the awards given by that organization.
"Fiction" includes dramatizations of true stories.
* 4.3 Words and Numbers
* 4.3.1 Different Answers
Some questions specifically ask for a *word*, rather than the thing
that it names; this means that different words with the same meaning
will in general be treated as distinct answers. However, if two or
more inflectional variants, spelling variants, or other closely
related forms are correct answers, they will be treated as equivalent.
Similarly, if the question specifically asks for a name, different
things referred to by the same name will be treated as the same.
* 4.3.2 Permitted Words
The word that you give must be listed (or implied by a listing,
as with inflected forms) in a suitable dictionary. Generally
this means a printed dictionary published recently enough
to show reasonably current usage, or its online equivalent.
Other reasonably authoritative sources may be accepted on a
case-by-case basis. Words listed as obsolete or archaic usage
don't count, and sources that would list those words without
distinguishing them are not acceptable as dictionaries.
* 4.3.3 Permitted Numbers
Where the distinction is important, "number" refers to a specific
mathematical value, whereas "numeral" means a way of writing it.
Thus "4", "IV", and "four" are three different numerals representing
the same number. "Digit" means one of the characters "0", "1", "2",
etc. (These definitions represent one of several conflicting common
* 4.3.4 "Contained in"
If a question asks for a word or numeral "contained" or "included"
in a phrase, title, or the like, this does not include substrings or
alternate meanings of words, unless explictly specified. For example,
if "Canada in 1967" is the title of a book, it contains the numeral
1967 and the preposition "in"; but it does not contain the word "an",
the adjective "in", or the numeral 96.
* 4.4 Tense and Time
When a question is worded in the present tense, the correctness of
your answer is determined by the facts at the moment you submit it.
(In a case where, in my judgement, people might reasonably be unaware
of the facts having changed, an out-of-date answer may be accepted as
correct.) Questions worded in the present perfect tense include the
present unless something states or implies otherwise. (For example,
Canada is a country that "has existed", as well as one that "exists".)
Different verbs in a sentence bear their usual tense relationship to
You are not allowed to change the facts yourself in order to make an
answer correct. For example, if a question asks for material on the
WWW, what you cite must already have existed before the contest was
* 5. Judging
As moderator, I will be the sole judge of what answers are correct,
and whether two answers with similar meaning (like red and gules)
are considered the same, different, or more/less specific variants.
I will do my best to be fair on all such issues, but sometimes it is
necessary to be arbitrary. Those who disagree with my rulings are
welcome to complain (or to start a competing contest, or whatever).
I may rescore the contest if I agree that I made a serious error and
it affects the high finishers.
* 6. Results
Results will normally be posted within a few days of the contest
closing. They may be delayed if I'm unexpectedly busy or for
technical reasons. If I feel I need help evaluating one or more
answers, I may make a consultative posting in the newsgroups before
scoring the contest.
In the results posting, all entrants will be listed in order of score,
but high (bad) scores may be omitted. The top few entrants' full
answer slates will be posted. A table of answers and their scores
will be given for each question.
* 7. Fun
This contest is for fun. Please do have fun, and good luck to all.
Mark Brader | "The only thing required for the triumph of darkness
Toronto | is for good men not to call Hydro."
m...@vex.net | --Michael Wares
My text in this article is in the public domain.
Because your questions still need addressing. Just take a look at what
you've actually asked, and then you wonder why people don't enter?
This time I won't quote the exact questions, but what about the following
way of asking:
1. Name a square number smaller than 50
2. Name a something that...
3. Name a direct descendant of King Simon who reigned as King or Queen...
i.e. simple versions of the required questions. I know it's not common
answers, but there's no reason why your questions can't be at least a little
If you're worried that pedantic answers will be entered, then your current
wording exists below the simpified questions, and an any answer entered will
be still be disqualified if it fails to meet your (sometimes bizzare)
The whole point will then be to answer some simple questions with the
Or am I on my own with this one?
Do NOT discuss the questions during the contest period.
Mark Brader "Men are animals."
Toronto "What are women? Plants, birds, fish?"
m...@vex.net -- Spider Robinson, "Night of Power"
For the benefit of anyone now seeing this contest for the first time,
I am therefore extending the contest period by 6 days beyond the
deadline previously announced, and there will be one more reminder
posting before that. My apologies for the error and for the annoyance
(to those in rec.puzzles) of the additional reminder.
As always, reply ONLY BY EMAIL to m...@vex.net; do not post to any
newsgroup. Entries must now reach here by Thursday, September 10,
2009 (by Toronto time, zone -4). See below the questions for a
detailed explanation. Everything below this point is the same as
in the original contest posting and the detailed rules are the same
as in the last contest.
As always, reply ONLY BY EMAIL to m...@vex.net; do not post to any
This contest attracted 40 entrants, and was evidently the toughest
one to score well on that I have ever run. The winner is GARMT DE
VRIES-UITERWEERD, whose score of 64,512 might have put him near the
bottom in some of my past contests. But that doesn't matter -- hearty
congratulations once again, Garmt!
In second place was Michael Holl, and tied for third right behind
him were Nick Selwyn and Don Del Grande.
As the field was a fairly large one, I will show the answer slates
for the top 6 entrants. As always, you should be reading this in
a monospaced font for proper tabular alignment.
GARMT DE VRIES-U. MICHAEL HOLL NICK SELWYN
 19 17 13
 Ornithopter Ornithopter Rocket
 Norway South Africa Spain
 Mary I Jane Grey Jane Grey
 Innsbruck Athens London
 Hoodlum Perp Crook
 Hunter Powell Davis
 Ancestor Sibling Nephew
 Flushing Syracuse The Hague
 Amsterdam Riga [wrong answer]
DON DEL GRANDE JOHN GERSON ROB PYLE
 11 19 11
 Blimp Gyroglider Gyrodyne
 United States [wrong answer] South Africa
 Henry VIII Elizabeth I Edward VI
 Innsbruck London St. Moritz
 Lawbreaker Mobster Outlaw
 Huston Powell Douglas
 Parent Uncle Cousin
 Copenhagen Milan Florence
 Houston Melbourne [wrong answer]
| Please do not quote the questions back to me, and do send only
| plain text in ASCII or ISO 8859-1: no HTML, attachments, Micros--t
| character sets, etc., and no Unicode, please. (Entrants who fail
| to comply will be publicly chastised in the results posting.)
Erland Sommarskog, Dean Ashley, Tom Salinsky, Geoff Roe, the entrant
who asked to be identified as Duke Lefty, Mark Hardwidge, and Gordon
Ridout should consider themselves chastised.
To review the scoring:
| Low score wins; a perfect score is 1.
| If your answer on a category is correct, then your score is the number
| of people who gave that answer or an answer I consider equivalent. If
| wrong, or if you skip the question, you get a high score as a penalty.
| The scores on the different questions are *multiplied* to produce a
| final score. ... It is also possible that I may consider one answer
| to be a more specific variant of another: in that case it will be
| scored as if they are different, but the other, less specific variant
| will be scored as if they are the same.
See the questions posting for the penalty score formula.
Here is the complete table of scores.
RANK SCORE ENTRANT Q0 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q5 Q6 Q7 Q8 Q9
1. 64512 Garmt de Vries-Uiterweerd 7 6 6 8 4 1 2 1 2 2
2. 96768 Michael Holl 8 6 4 7 2 1 3 6 1 2
3. 100800 Don Del Grande 10 4 6 7 4 1 1 3 5 1
=3. 100800 Nick Selwyn 1 2 10 7 10 2 1 3 1 WR
5. 105000 John Gerson 7 1 WR 5 10 1 3 5 1 1
6. 138240 Rob Pyle 10 1 4 8 6 3 1 1 2 WR
7. 216000 Ted Schuerzinger 10 3 6 5 6 2 2 2 5 1
8. 233280 Joshua Kreitzer 3 3 6 8 6 2 1 3 5 3
9. 345600 Clive Dawson 10 8 6 5 6 1 1 WR 2 1
10. 368640 Don Piven 2 WR 4 5 6 1 WR 3 1 2
11. 378000 Rob Parker 7 1 10 5 10 1 2 3 3 6
12. 396900 Tom Salinsky 7 5 5 7 6 3 1 3 2 3
13. 604800 Steven Taschuk 2 5 6 7 10 6 1 4 2 3
14. 645120 Geoff Roe 2 8 1 7 10 6 2 4 4 3
15. 691200 Dan Unger 5 8 6 8 10 3 2 3 2 1
16. 725760 Eric Sosman 10 3 6 7 6 1 WR 6 2 1
17. 1008000 Haran Pilpel 5 8 10 7 6 5 2 1 2 3
18. 1036800 Michael Shreeve 5 4 10 8 6 3 1 4 3 3
19. 1105920 Brian Tivol 10 8 6 8 6 2 1 4 2 3
=19. 1105920 Dan Blum 8 3 6 8 4 3 4 5 2 2
21. 1161216 Stephen Perry 8 3 6 7 2 3 2 4 2 WR
22. 1354752 Erland Sommarskog 7 WR 6 7 6 6 1 4 1 1
23. 1658880 Peter Smyth 2 WR 5 8 6 1 3 4 3 3
24. 1728000 Will James 8 10 6 5 6 3 1 4 WR 1
25. 2016000 Lieven Marchand 5 8 5 7 10 6 1 4 2 3
26. 2419200 Isabel Gibson 8 5 10 7 6 3 1 1 4 WR
27. 2764800 Lejonel Norling 8 6 6 8 6 1 4 5 5 2
28. 2903040 Robert Au 3 16 10 7 6 2 2 4 3 3
Duke Lefty 7 6 5 5 10 1 WR 6 3 2
Pete Gayde 3 6 6 7 6 5 1 6 2 WR
Dave Filpus 8 6 10 8 4 5 1 5 3 3
Dan Tilque 2 WR 6 5 6 5 2 4 4 2
Matthew T. Russotto 5 8 6 5 6 2 4 6 4 3
Bruce Bowler 2 8 4 8 6 6 2 4 5 6
Andrew Bull 7 5 WR 8 10 2 2 1 4 6
Derek Holt 10 1 10 8 10 3 2 6 4 6
Dean Ashley 10 16 6 8 6 5 4 2 2 2
Gordon Ridout 8 3 5 5 6 WR 1 5 4 WR
Alan Curry 10 4 10 8 6 2 WR 3 4 3
Mark Hardwidge 10 4 10 8 6 6 WR 3 WR 3
Scores of 3,000,000 or worse are not shown.
Here is the complete list of answers given. Each list shows correct
answers in the order worst to best (most to least popular). The
notation ">>>" means that "more specific variant" scoring was used.
| 0. Name a prime number smaller than 25. (Positive integers
| only, the usual mathematical meaning of "prime".)
One entrant give an answer and then added, "and I'll name it Bob :-)".
All 9 correct answers were given, with those ending in 2 or 3 scoring
much better than the rest. I wasn't surprised to see a collision on
17, but the even stronger collision on 11 did surprise me.
One entrant commented that "until recently" 1 was considered a prime;
that might be, but it isn't usual today. Didn't matter anyway,
as nobody tried that answer. In some discplines it is possible for
negative numbers to be counted as primes, but those were ruled out
by the question wording.
| 1. Using a single unhyphenated noun in English, name a type (not
| a brand or model) of flying machine that *is not* an airplane.
>>> 10 Airship
>>> 5 Dirigible [= Rigid]
>>> 1 [WRONG] Zeppelin
>>> 4 Blimp
>>> 3 Balloon
>>> 1 [WRONG] Helikite
8 Helicopter [= Chopper; Skyhook]
3 Autogyro [= Autogiro]
>>> 1 Spacecraft
1 Helikite (brand name)
1 Hovercraft (does not fly)
1 Maglev (does not fly)
1 Zeppelin (brand name)
I'll take the wrong answers first. The Zeppelin Airship Works --
Luftschiffbau Zeppelin GmbH -- is still in business, so Zeppelin
still indicates their brand of dirigible. A Helikite is a device
combining a kite and a helium-filled balloon; it is patented and
apparently solely manufactured by Allsopp Helikite Ltd., and they
capitalize the word on their web site, so it seems clear that it's
their brand name.
I first considered "flying machine" to mean a device that can lift
itself well above the ground under its own power, but on further
consideration I decided that a glider (sailplane) qualifies since
it provides aerodynamically controlled flight once launched from
a high place; and therefore a parachute and a gyroglider must be
correct for the same reason. But maglevs and hovercraft rise only
a short distance off the ground and do not qualify.
Under the correct answers, I was surprised by "ornithopter", which
is a machine that flies using a flapping wing. I did not think that
such a thing existed in real life, but it turns out that in recent
years a few have been built. So it is a correct answer, and was
similar in popularity as an answer to helicopter, blimp, and dirigible.
One entrant noted that Autogyro was once a brand name, but apparently
it's not one any more, so I treated it as equivalent to the other
Some entrants seem to have read the question as calling for a word,
rather than for a type of flying machine, and therefore looked for
unusual words. The worst victim of this were the two entrants who
picked "aerostat", a general term encompassing all lighter-than-air
flying machines, and therefore had all of the more-specific types
of lighter-than-air device that other people named (including those
designated only by brand name, therefore wrong answers) scored
A skyhook, in the sense indicated by the entrant, is a helicopter with
provisions for lifting heavy objects. I decided this did not qualify
as a separate "type of flying machine" from a helicopter and scored it
as an equivalent answer.
I scored "spacecraft" as a type of rocket because rockets are the only
type of spacecraft built so far. It is a more specific type because
not all rockets are large enough to reach space.
| 2. Name a country where it is possible for a couple of the same
| sex to get married and for this marriage to be recognized
| as legally valid.
6 United States
4 South Africa
1 United Kingdom
The question was carefully worded to include cases where same-sex
marriages are legal in only part of the country, and I was hoping
for a collision on the US, where currently they are only legal
in a few states. People did name the US more often than Canada,
but the favorite answer was Spain. As far as I know, the only
currently correct answer not given was the Netherlands.
Denmark and the UK are among the countries that recognize same-sex
"civil partnerships" that are similar to a marriage but are not a
| 3. Name a child, grandchild, or great-grandchild of King Henry
| VII of England who at some time was, or was claimed to be,
| the king or queen of England.
8 Edward VI
8 Mary I of England [= Bloody Mary; Mary Tudor]
7 Henry VIII
7 Jane Grey
5 Elizabeth I
5 Mary Queen of Scots [= Mary Stuart]
Last month I saw the Broadway revival of Schiller's 18th century play
"Mary Stuart", and it inspired this question. I was hoping for a
collision either on Jane Grey, whose accession to the monarchy was
successfully disputed in a matter of days, or else on the flamboyant
Henry VIII. In fact the answers were very well divided among the
six possible choices.
As I looked up the relevant history after seeing the play and already
wrote up for the friend I went with, I'll include it at the end of
| 4. Name a city where the modern Olympic Games have been held
| more than once. This refers to the primary host city of
| either the summer or winter games.
10 London (summer 1908, 1948)
6 Lake Placid (winter 1932, 1980)
6 Los Angeles (summer 1932, 1984)
6 Paris (summer 1900, 1924)
6 St. Moritz (summer 1928, 1948)
4 Innsbruck (winter 1964, 1976)
2 Athens (summer 1896, 2004)
All 7 possible answers were given. London, which is about to be
the first city to hold the Olympics three times, was the most
popular answer; Athens, the first to hold the modern Olympics,
was least popular.
| 5. Give a single word in English that is a noun meaning
| a person who commits or has committed one or more crimes.
| Words that imply a specific type of crime are not acceptable.
1 Embezzler (specific type of crime)
There are several classes of debatable answer here. Some (convict,
jailbird) refer to people who were *convicted* of a crime, which does
not necessarily imply that they actually committed it. Some (felon,
misdemeanant) refer to crimes not of a specific type but a specific
severity. Some (scofflaw, miscreant) may include offenses that
do not rise to the levels of being crimes. And one (recidivist)
refers to a person who commits *two* or more crimes. I decided that
it was unreasonable to try to draw a clear line between correct and
incorrect responses in these areas, and chose to accept all of them.
| 6. Give a surname shared by two or more people who each have
| individually won an Oscar (see rule 4.2). "Individually"
| means that the award was not shared with another person,
| as is common in some categories.
4 Jones (Jennifer: 1943 actress; Shirley: 1960 supporting
actress; Tommy Lee: 1993 supporting actor)
3 Powell (Anthony: 1972, 1978, 1980 costumes; Sandy: 1998, 2004
2 Barrymore (Lionel: 1930-31 actor; Ethel: 1944 supporting
2 Cooper (Gary: 1941, 1952 actor; Chris: 2002 supporting actor)
2 Fonda (Jane: 1971, 1978 actress; Henry: 1981 actor)
2 Hepburn (Katharine: 1932-33, 1967, 1968, 1981 actress; Audrey:
2 Hunter (Kim: 1951 supporting actress; Holly: 1993 actress)
2 Thompson (Francis: 1965 documentary short; Ernest: 1981 adapted
screenplay; Emma: 1992 actress, 1995 adapted screenplay)
1 Brooks (Richard: 1960 adapted screenplay; Mel: 1968 original
screenplay; Joseph: 1977 song; James L.: 1983 adapted
screenplay, 1983 director)
1 Coburn (Charles: 1943 supporting actor; James: 1999 supporting
1 Coppola (Francis: 1974 director; Sofia: 2003 original
1 Crosby (Floyd: 1930-31 cinematography; Bing: 1944 actor)
1 Davis (Bette: 1935, 1938 actress; Geena: 1988 supporting
actress; Dane A.: 1999 sound effects editing)
1 Douglas (Melvyn: 1963, 1979 supporting actor; Michael: 1987
1 Foster (Lewis R.: 1939 original story; Jodie: 1988, 1991
1 Huston (John: 1948 supporting actor; Walter: 1948 director,
1948 screenplay; Anjelica: 1985 supporting actress)
1 Jackson (Glenda: 1970, 1973 actress; John: 2002 makeup; Peter:
1 Newman (Alfred: 1938, 1940, 1943, 1947, 1952, 1953, 1955
musical score and similar categories; Paul: 1986 actor;
Randy: 2001 original song)
1 Nichols (Dudley: 1935 screenplay; Mike: 1967 Director)
1 Reed (Donna: 1953 supporting actress; Carol: 1968 director)
1 Rose (Helen: 1952, 1955 B&W costumes; William: 1967 original
1 Scott (George C.: 1970 actor; Deborah L.: 1997 costumes)
1 Wada (Sanzo: 1954 costumes; Emi: 1985 costumes)
1 Young (Loretta: 1947 actress; Victor: 1956 drama/comedy musical
score; Freddie: 1962, 1965 color cinematography, 1970
cinematography; Gig: 1969 supporting actor)
1 Bancroft (Anne: 1962 actress)
1 Bergman (Ingrid: 1944 actress, 1956 actress, 1974 supporting
1 Coen (none)
1 Grant (Lee: 1975, actress)
1 Hiller (Wendy: 1958 supporting actress)
Three of the wrong answers were based on awards of an honorary Oscar
(to Cary Grant), the Irving Thalberg award (to Ingmar Bergman),
and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian award (to Arthur Hiller). From
it is clear enough that these are not considered Oscars.
The entrants giving the other wrong answers were presumably thinking
of Joel and Ethan Coen, who have won several Oscars jointly but none
individually, and George Bancroft, who was an unofficial nominee
for acting in 1928-29 (there were no official nominees back then)
but did not win.
23 different correct answers were given; one entrant claimed to have
found web site data indicating that there were 58 possible, but this
included some of the above wrong answers. I don't know how many
there really are, as I only checked the ones that people gave, using
Anyway, answers were well divided and any correct answer got a score
of 3 or better.
| 7. Give a relationship term in English that applies to "blood"
| relatives and is a single unhyphenated noun that *does
| not* start with G. "Relationship term" means a word that
| specifies what relation one of them is to the other, as in
| "Chris is Pat's _____". Only the formal terms typically
| used in writing such as legal documents will be accepted.
1 Begetter (would not be used in legal documents)
When I wrote the question I thought there were 14 correct answers,
of which all but two were given. I wasn't surprised that there
was something of a collision on the slightly uncommon term "sibling".
The two answers that I did not anticipate, but decided were correct,
were "ancestor" and "twin". If "ancestor" is correct, then so is
"descendant", and nobody gave that.
I was interested to see a huge bias in favor of terms indicating
a male relative. Including the wrong answer, 21 entrants chose
male terms, 14 neutral ones, and just 5 gave female ones. "Uncle"
was one of the most common answers, and "nephew" fairly common; but
"aunt" and "niece" were the other two that weren't given at all.
This may have something to do with the fact that of the 40 entrants,
there is only one who has what I am sure is normally a female name.
(There are about six more whose sex I can't tell for sure from
| 8. Name a city whose usual short name in its primary local
| language contains a letter that does not occur at all in its
| most usual short name in English. The local language must
| use a form of the same alphabet that English does, i.e. a
| Latin-derived alphabet. For purposes of this question any
| marks that an English-speaker would consider to be accents or
| other diacritical marks are to be ignored (so O, �, and � are
| all the same letter).
| For example, if the Russians adopted the Latin alphabet,
| Moscow would become a correct answer since the letter V
| occurs in "Moskva" but not in "Moscow".
5 Copenhagen, Denmark (K�BenhaVn)
4 Cologne, Germany (K�ln)
4 Rome, Italy (romA)
3 Munich, Germany (m�nchEn)
3 Naples, Italy (napOlI)
2 Florence, Italy (fIrenZe)
2 Flushing, Netherlands (VlissingEn)
2 Lisbon, Portugal (lisboA)
2 Padua, Italy (padOVa)
2 Seville, Spain (sevillA)
2 Venice, Italy (veneZiA)
2 Vienna, Austria (Wien)
1 Milan, Italy (milanO)
1 Syracuse, Italy (sIracusa)
1 The Hague, Netherlands (DeN haag)
1 Turin, Italy (tOrinO)
1 Warsaw, Poland (warsZawa)
1 Carraroe, Ireland (aN cHeaTHr� rUa) (not a city)
1 Newport, Wales, UK (CASnewYDD in Welsh) (primary local language
Obviously, in the non-English forms I've capitalized the letters
that don't in the English names. There was a good range of correct
answers; again, I only checked the ones people gave, so I don't
know how many additional correct answers there may be.
In some types of question in these contests I may be loose about what
qualifies as a "city" -- as I did here on the following question
-- but Carraroe has less than 1,000 people and there's no way I'm
accepting something that size as one unless it is has an official
designation as a city.
| 9. Name a major city existing today, whose name is also
| part of the real name of a famous person, past or present.
| A "major" city means any city that is a national capital or
| has a population of at least 2,000,000, or is the main city
| of a metropolitan area with population at least 5,000,000.
| "Part of" means that the usual short name of the *city* occurs
| *in full*, as a complete word or sequence of words, in the
| name of the *person*. For example, if there was a famous
| person named Mark Kansas City, then Kansas City would be a
| correct answer if its population was sufficient; but a person
| named Jane Kansas or Jane Kansas Cityite would not suffice.
| Fame is to be measured by Google counts. Your answer must
| include a set of three Google search terms:  the person's
| year of birth (or an alleged year of birth, if there is
| conflicting information),  a word somehow indicating
| why or how the person is famous, and  the person's name
| (as a phrase, including at least one given name and the
| surname). The first page of Google results for this search
| must indicate that there are "about" at least 1,000 hits.
| For example, if there was a major city named "Harrison" or
| "Ford", you might give:
| 1942 actor "Harrison Ford"
| Different answers referring to the same city will be taken
| as equivalent.
6 London, England, UK (Jack London, 1876-1916, author) (Julie
London, 1926-2000, actress) (Jack London, 1913-63, boxer)
>>> 1 [WRONG] London, England, UK (entrant gave author Jack
London's birth date as 1916)
>>> 1 [WRONG] London, England, UK (entrant mentioned author
Jack London but gave no search terms)
3 Cairo, Egypt (Miguel Cairo, 1974-, baseball) (Francesco Cairo,
3 Dallas, TX, USA (Bryce Dallas Howard, 1981-, actress) (Dallas
Braden, 1983-, pitcher) (George Dallas, 1792-1864, vice
3 Moscow, Russia (David Moscow, 1974-, actor)
3 Paris, France (Paris Hilton, 1981-, socialite, actress, heiress)
3 Victoria, Seychelles (Victoria Beckham, 1974-, singer)
>>> 1 [WRONG] Victoria, Seychelles (entrant gave no search
2 Amsterdam, Netherlands (Morey Amsterdam, 1908-96, actor)
2 Berlin, Germany (Irving Berlin, 1888-1989, composer)
2 Lima, Peru (Jose Lima, 1972-, baseball)
2 Riga, Latvia (Riga Mustapha, 1981-, footballer)
1 Dublin, Ireland (Dion Dublin, 1969-, footballer)
1 Houston, TX, USA (Sam Houston, 1793-1863, governor)
1 Jerusalem, Israel (Siegfried Jerusalem, 1940-, tenor)
1 Kingston, Jamaica (Jack Kingston, 1955-, politician)
1 Melbourne, Australia (Stanley Melbourne Bruce, 1883-1967,
1 Nagoya, Japan (Akira Nagoya, 1930-2003, actor)
1 Santiago, Chile (Benito Santiago, 1965-, catcher)
1 Sofia, Bulgaria (Sofia Arvidsson, 1984-, tennis)
1 Columbus (Christopher Columbus, 1451-1506, explorer) (no major
city of that name)
1 Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam (entrant mentioned Ho Chi Minh,
1890-1969, revolutionary, but no famous person has
"Ho Chi Minh City" in name)
1 London, England, UK (entrant gave author Jack London's birth
date as 1916)
1 London, England, UK (entrant mentioned author Jack London
but gave no search terms)
1 Muscat, Oman (Brent Muscat, 1967-, musician) (insufficiently
1 Victoria, Seychelles (entrant gave no search terms)
I apologize for the length of the question, but I thought it was an
interesting one and I couldn't see any way to make it much shorter.
When I asked it, the two names I had in mind were Paris Hilton and
Jack London, and I wasn't surprised that their like-named cities
were among the most popular answers.
If people named different people for the same city (as with London)
or different reason-for-fame words for the same person (as with
Paris Hilton), they are each shown in the appropriate place above.
Where applicable I have added dates of death, this just for interest.
Although a careful reading of the question shows that the city had
to be named *in addition* to giving the three Google search terms,
I did not insist on this. As far as I know there is only one "major"
city, as defined in the question, having each of the relevant names,
and I took this city to have been designated implicitly if nothing
else was said.
To be consistent with this, I also did not disqualify for cheating
the entrant who listed 18 cities -- and a military base! -- all
named Columbus, without specifying which one was the intended answer.
(In fact there is no city named Columbus that is a correct answer.)
However, a few people did not give the search terms they used even
though they were specifically asked for, and this I could not accept.
Such answers were still scored against correct answers naming the
It may be argued that Melbourne does not qualify as a "major"
city as defined. The official City of Melbourne is quite small,
analogous to the City of London, while its metropolitan area does not
reach the population requirement of 5,000,000. However, I decided
that most people speaking of Melbourne would include a large part
of the metropolitan area as the "city", and that I should therefore
softheartedly accept it.
Finally, it should be acknowledged that Google's estimated counts
are not as consistent as is desirable for using them for this sort
of purpose. One entrant reported a count about 100 times higher
than I got from the same search. That's just too bad. I don't
have a better way to identify things like "people who are famous",
and if I can't reproduce a search result but the entrant says it
was real, I'll trust them not to be cheating and accept the answer.
Thank you all for playing.
Now, here's the history involving King Henry VII's descendants and
their claims to the throne of England. Mary I of England was also
named Mary Tudor, but in this writeup "Mary Tudor" always means her
aunt, Henry VII's daughter, of that name.
This chart only shows relevant descendants; Henry VII and VIII and
Mary Tudor all had other children, not on the chart, who all died
too young to be in a position to inherit or to have descendants
who could have inherited.
James V (Scotland)
Mary Queen of Scots [Mary Stuart]
James VI (Scotland)
Mary Tudor (see above)
The reason the Scottish royal family comes into it is because
Henry's daughter Margaret Tudor married King James IV of Scotland.
Queen Mary I of England was Henry VIII's child by his first marriage
(to Katherine of Aragon), Elizabeth I by his second (to Anne Boleyn),
Edward VI by his third (to Jane Seymour). He actually married Anne
a few months before his annulment with Katherine was proclaimed --
after all, if it wasn't a real marriage, he was free to, wasn't
he? -- but of course to the Catholics that made no difference,
as they didn't respect the annulment in any case and considered
Elizabeth illegitimate. But Katherine was also dead by the time
he ended his second marriage by having Anne executed, so they did
consider Edward VI legitimate.
Now, Henry VIII was empowered to specify the succession after him
in his will, and he put Mary Tudor's descendants after his own,
excluding Margaret's. In any case he had three living children
when he died in 1547. Edward VI was the only male heir, so he
inherited first, but he died in 1553, still a minor. However,
with his regents he had attempted to specify Jane Grey as his heir
ahead of his own sisters. This lasted about a week and then the
Privy Council proclaimed Mary I queen; Jane Grey was later executed.
Mary died in turn in 1558 and was succeeded by Henry VIII's last
remaining descendant, Elizabeth I, who lived and reigned until
1603; only, as I said, the Catholics did not recognize this,
so they claimed that the English throne belonged to Mary Stuart,
Henry VII's last remaining descendant at that time.
Meanwhile in Scotland, in 1542 James V died about a week after his
daughter Mary Stuart was born, so she became Mary Queen of Scots as
an infant. She moved to France in 1548 and in 1558 (age 15) married
the heir to the French throne. The next year King Henry II died
and Mary's husband became King Fran�ois II, so she was Queen Consort
of France as well as Queen Regnant of Scotland, while still a minor.
But Fran�ois died in 1560 and Mary soon returned to Scotland. In
1565, aged 22, she married her half first cousin (Margaret Tudor's
grandson by another marriage), Lord Darnley. He was murdered
in 1567 and she married her third husband, the Earl of Bothwell --
after his acquittal for the murder.
But these actions were so unpopular that the same year, aged 24,
she was arrested and made to abdicate. So the new King of Scotland
was another infant -- her (and Darnley's) son became King James VI.
She escaped in 1568 and made the mistake of fleeing to England in the
hope that Elizabeth I would support her, what with them both being
queens, not to mention first cousins once removed. In fact Elizabeth
had Mary arrested again and detained indefinitely. This continued
until Elizabeth finally had her tried in 1586 and executed in 1587.
(The play is set around these final actions, and shows Mary and
Elizabeth meeting once; in real life they never did.)
Elizabeth died in 1603, as I mentioned, and was succeeded by
the man who was *now* Henry VII's last remaining descendant --
King James VI of Scotland, who also became James I of England,
so uniting the two crowns.
Simple, isn't it?
Mark Brader "I cannot reply in French, but I will
Toronto type English very slowly and loudly."
m...@vex.net --Lars Eighner
> 1 Bergman (Ingrid: 1944 actress, 1956 actress, 1974 supporting
> Three of the wrong answers were based on awards of an honorary Oscar
> (to Cary Grant), the Irving Thalberg award (to Ingmar Bergman),
Interesting enough there are two more Bergmans, Alan and Marilyn,
who have received an Oscar, as a matter of fact, three each. The
answer is still incorrect, though, as Alan and Marilyn won all three
together which was not permitted in the question.
> Obviously, in the non-English forms I've capitalized the letters
> that don't in the English names. There was a good range of correct
> answers; again, I only checked the ones people gave, so I don't
> know how many additional correct answers there may be.
A few more: Genua/Genova, Prague/Praha and Dunkirk/Dunquerque/Duinkerke
(Don't really know what is the dominating language there these days),
> In some types of question in these contests I may be loose about what
> qualifies as a "city" -- as I did here on the following question
> -- but Carraroe has less than 1,000 people and there's no way I'm
> accepting something that size as one unless it is has an official
> designation as a city.
Melnik in Bulgaria has around 600 inhabitants, but has status as a city.
In the end of the 19th century there were some 15000 people living
there. Not that Melnik would ever be a correct answer to the question.
But it's location is very special, and definitely worth a visit.
> 1 Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam (entrant mentioned Ho Chi Minh,
> 1890-1969, revolutionary, but no famous person has
> "Ho Chi Minh City" in name)
I happened to see a text in Vietnamse recently, accompanied by an
English Translation and it was quite clear that in Vietnamese the
name is Ho Chi Minh only, with no "city" or corresponding tacked on at
the end. (Because it was in a section title.)
Then again, on http://www.citypopulation.de/Vietnam.html the city is
listed as "Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh", and maybe "Thanh Pho" means city.
I can't swear that there was no "Thanh Pho" before "Ho Chi Minh" in
that text. I've been searching my disk high and low, but I can't find
that it now. (I had no reason to keep it anyway.) But if there is
no "Thanh Pho" in that text, that would indicate that "Ho Chi Minh"
is the usual short name in Vietnamese, and thus could be a correct
answer. (The question did not say that it had to be the short name in
In case Mark is interested, I could research the issue further.
Erland Sommarskog, Stockholm, esq...@sommarskog.se
The obvious question, to me anyway, is whether combining these two
would have been acceptable in answering the second. Would an answer
such as "Wilhelm Wien, 1864, physicist" have passed muster?
The comfort of the wealthy has always
depended upon an abundant supply of
the poor. --Voltaire
>Here is the complete table of scores.
> RANK SCORE ENTRANT Q0 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q5 Q6 Q7 Q8 Q9
> 1. 64512 Garmt de Vries-Uiterweerd 7 6 6 8 4 1 2 1 2 2
> 2. 96768 Michael Holl 8 6 4 7 2 1 3 6 1 2
> 3. 100800 Don Del Grande 10 4 6 7 4 1 1 3 5 1
> =3. 100800 Nick Selwyn 1 2 10 7 10 2 1 3 1 WR
I was a little surprised at how well I did - the only other time I
came close to the top three was when I finished first in MSB22 eight
I don't know what surprised me more - that neither "Huston" (for the
"two Oscars in the same family" question, and when I wrote the answer,
I completely forgot about Angelica) nor "Houston" (for the "city named
after a person" question) had any collisions, or that I managed to
find the most popular answers for both the prime number and "city with
a letter in its local language name not in its English name"
I was surprised too. Not at your performance, but at mine. This is
definitely my first time in the top 3, and probably first time in the
top 5. I started playing these with MSB51 and they're fun, but
> I don't know what surprised me more - that neither "Huston" (for the
> "two Oscars in the same family" question, and when I wrote the answer,
> I completely forgot about Angelica) nor "Houston" (for the "city named
> after a person" question) had any collisions, or that I managed to
> find the most popular answers for both the prime number and "city with
> a letter in its local language name not in its English name"
I'm shocked (shocked!) that someone else came up with "Riga Mustapha"
as a person/city. I thought for sure that answer was sufficiently
obscure to garner a 1, but I'll settle for a 2. Interesting that my
first two answers for the city named after a person and the Oscar-
winning surname: Houston and Hoffman (Dustin and Philip Seymour) would
have gotten 1's. I dismissed both outright without a second thought.
I guess my approach to these contests is to go in one direction:
answers as obscure as possible. I haven't been gutsy enough to put
down an answer so common that everyone should avoid it.
Mark Brader, Toronto "For want of a bit the loop was lost..."
m...@vex.net -- Steve Summit
Well, actually, no it isn't. I have received a protest in email and
on further consideration I'm accepting it, and this moves Garmt down
to second place. Sorry, Garmt. I'll announce the new winner after
I see if there are going to be any other changes.
Mark Brader, Toronto, m...@vex.net C unions never strike!
"Mark Brader" <m...@vex.net> wrote in message
> | 1. Using a single unhyphenated noun in English, name a type (not
> | a brand or model) of flying machine that *is not* an airplane.
> 16 Aerostat
> >>> 10 Airship
> >>> 5 Dirigible [= Rigid]
> >>> 1 [WRONG] Zeppelin
> >>> 4 Blimp
> >>> 3 Balloon
> >>> 1 [WRONG] Helikite
> 8 Helicopter [= Chopper; Skyhook]
> 6 Ornithopter
> 3 Autogyro [= Autogiro]
> 2 Rocket
> >>> 1 Spacecraft
> 1 Gyrodyne
> 1 Gyroglider
> 1 Parachute
> 1 Helikite (brand name)
> 1 Hovercraft (does not fly)
> 1 Maglev (does not fly)
> 1 Zeppelin (brand name)
Why is Maglev considered wrong? A maglev train is not in contact with
the track while moving, therefore it is technically flying, albeit only
a few millimetres off the ground
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fly - definition 1c seems
c : to float, wave, or soar in the air
Webster's has a definition for "flying machine": an apparatus for
navigating the air. That seems to disqualify any sort of ground-based
I really thought Columbus was valid. Columbus,GA and Columbus,OH
immediately lept to mind. and yes, for those wondering I did find and
list all of the cities in my notes. but not as part of my answer.
congrats to Garmt, but since he wins so often he should really start
accruing "win penalties" so his final score is multiplied by the
number of times he's won. ;-)
I hope Mark will see this large turnout as a motion of support for his
effort to run these contests.
> The winner is GARMT DE
> VRIES-UITERWEERD, whose score of 64,512 might have put him near the
> bottom in some of my past contests. But that doesn't matter -- hearty
> congratulations once again, Garmt!
... and then you take it away from me in a later message. Ah well,
easy come easy go :)
> | 2. Name a country where it is possible for a couple of the same
> | sex to get married and for this marriage to be recognized
> | as legally valid.
> 10 Spain
> 6 Norway
> 6 Sweden
> 6 United States
> 5 Belgium
> 4 South Africa
> 1 Canada
> 1 Denmark
> 1 United Kingdom
It's interesting to compare this to a question in my own rare entries
contest GdV02, exactly five years ago:
| 7. Name a country where two persons of the same sex can legally get
4 United States
1 Sao Tome and Principe
There are four correct answers to this question, and all were given.
Belgium was the most popular choice by far, probably because there has
much debate on this topic in Canada and the US recently, and the
Netherlands was the first country to have a real same-sex marriage.
In many European countries, there exists a civil union, registered
partnership, or whatever other name is used, for partners of the same
In practice, there is often no difference with a real marriage: the
partners have the same rights, etc. Nevertheless, a registered
and a marriage are not the same thing, and I have to consider
Finland, Germany and Norway incorrect answers.
The entrant who submitted Sao Tome and Principe gave the URL
http://www.actwin.com/eatonohio/gay/world.htm as a reference, but that
only tells me that this country has no sodomy laws.
From four to eight countries in five years, that's some progress.
We'll see how this question can be answered in 2014!
> As far as I know, the only
> currently correct answer not given was the Netherlands.
Perhaps because that was the first country to make same sex marriages
>6. Give a surname shared by two or more people who each have
> individually won an Oscar (see rule 4.2). "Individually"
> means that the award was not shared with another person,
> as is common in some categories.
>* 4.2 Entertainment
>A "movie" does not include any form of TV broadcast or video release;
>it must have been shown in cinemas. "Oscar" and "Academy Award" are
>AMPAS trademarks and refer to the awards given by that organization.
>"Fiction" includes dramatizations of true stories.
The humanitarian awards you disallowed are given by AMPAS, and you claim that
http://www.oscars.org/awards/academyawards/about/awards/index.html says they
are not Oscars, but what do you see if you follow the links?
"The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, an Oscar statuette, is given to"...
Looks pretty clear to me. It's an Oscar!
I also thought, when I compiled my list of possible answers, that the
Thalberg memorial award would qualify, however I see that "The award is a
solid bronze head of Irving Thalberg"... so I don't mind seeing those marked
But I picked a Hersholt-based pair! My only "WR" should be a "1"!
Unfortunately it would also be my only "1", so my score would still suck. I'd
be up around 23rd place. How could so many people say 11... and Spain... and
Edward VI... and Cologne...
Looking at http://www.citypopulation.de/USA.html they seem to be
nowhere close to the population limits that Mark set up.
> Why is Maglev considered wrong?
I explained that in the results posting.
> A maglev train is not in contact with the track while moving,
> therefore it is technically flying...
Mark Brader | "This is a moral that runs at large;
Toronto | Take it. -- You're welcome. -- No extra charge."
m...@vex.net | -- Oliver Wendell Holmes
It's an Oscar statuette being used for another purpose. (Same goes for
honorary Oscars.) I'm taking the page I cited as definitive.
Mark Brader | "No woman in my time will be Prime Minister or Chancellor
Toronto | or Foreign Secretary ... Anyway, I wouldn't want to be
m...@vex.net | Prime Minister." -- Margaret Thatcher, 1969
> > I don't know what surprised me more - that neither "Huston" (for the
> > "two Oscars in the same family" question, and when I wrote the answer,
> > I completely forgot about Angelica) nor "Houston" (for the "city named
> > after a person" question) had any collisions, or that I managed to
> > find the most popular answers for both the prime number and "city with
> > a letter in its local language name not in its English name"
> > questions.
> I'm shocked (shocked!) that someone else came up with "Riga Mustapha"
> as a person/city. I thought for sure that answer was sufficiently
> obscure to garner a 1, but I'll settle for a 2. Interesting that my
> first two answers for the city named after a person and the Oscar-
> winning surname: Houston and Hoffman (Dustin and Philip Seymour) would
> have gotten 1's. I dismissed both outright without a second thought.
I found it by dint of using Wikipedia's disambiguation pages for
all the likely-sounding capital cities.
As it turned out, I should also have gone with my first instinct for
the city: (Judy) Chicago.
Dan Blum to...@panix.com
"I wouldn't have believed it myself if I hadn't just made it up."
I wasn't considering the population limits at all though.
common problem with these contests, I often fail to go back and
actually read the question. major city that was a local capital is
all I registered, regardless of its correctness.
>>> 1 [WRONG] London, England, UK (entrant gave author Jack
London's birth date as 1916)
In the immortal words of Roberto DeVincenzo; "What a stupid I am!"
I'm tickled pink to have scored so well. Some of these questions
were very good: They yielded a quick correct answer, but offered
more obscure answers with just a little more digging.
Thanks for doing these, Mark. I hope the good turnout convinces you
to keep at it.
Must've been St. Moritz, Australia. :-)
> > WRONG:
> > 1 Bergman (Ingrid: 1944 actress, 1956 actress, 1974 supporting
> > actress)
> > Three of the wrong answers were based on awards of an honorary Oscar
> > (to Cary Grant), the Irving Thalberg award (to Ingmar Bergman),
> Interesting enough there are two more Bergmans, Alan and Marilyn,
> who have received an Oscar, as a matter of fact, three each. The
> answer is still incorrect, though, as Alan and Marilyn won all three
> together which was not permitted in the question.
Similarly, for several of the correct answers, there were additional
same-name winners who only won joint awards. For instance, as well
as Andrew, Paul, and Randy Newman, there's Chris Newman, who has won
3 Oscars for sound, but all jointly.
> > 1 Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam (entrant mentioned Ho Chi Minh,
> > 1890-1969, revolutionary, but no famous person has
> > "Ho Chi Minh City" in name)
> I happened to see a text in Vietnamse recently, accompanied by an
> English Translation and it was quite clear that in Vietnamese the
> name is Ho Chi Minh only, with no "city" or corresponding tacked on at
> the end. (Because it was in a section title.)
I wondered about that myself when I saw the entry, but the entrant
actually gave the city name as "Ho Chi Minh City", and I figured
that settled the point as regards this entry.
But I was wrong, because I asked people to "name a city", not "give
the usual short name of a city". "Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam" would
have been an equivalent answer. If just "Ho Chi Minh" is a usual
short name of the city, then "Ho Chi Minh City" is a correct answer.
Well, in English it clearly isn't -- but I didn't say "in English".
> Then again, on http://www.citypopulation.de/Vietnam.html the city is
> listed as "Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh", and maybe "Thanh Pho" means city.
It does indeed. I've now done further research by looking at web
pages in Vietnamese and pasting various bits of text that mention
the name Ho Chi Minh into the Google Language Tools translator to see
if they were talking about the city or the man. I also did a Google
Images search for maps of Viet Nam in Vietnamese, by translating "map
of Viet Nam" into Vietnamese using Google Language Tools, and then
searching on the resulting phrase. (Incidentally, a surprisingly
large fraction of the hits are on maps that were scanned at so low
a resolution that all city names on them are illegible.)
My conclusion is that "Ho Chi Minh" is used *occasionally* is a short
name of the city, but not *usually*. "Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh" may be
written out in full, but commonly it is abbreviated as "TP Ho Chi Minh"
or "Tp. Ho Chi Minh" or "TPHCM" or other such forms. So the original
ruling that this answer was incorrect stands.
It also occurs to me that the fact that I didn't say "in English" could
mean that answers like Moscow and Cairo are wrong -- the *real* usual
short names of those cities are Moskva and something like al-Qahira.
But this question was long and complicated enough that I'm going to
forgive entrants who assumed I meant the name in English.
Mark Brader "...out of the dark coffee-stained mugs of
Toronto insane programmers throughout the world..."
m...@vex.net -- Liam Quin
RANK SCORE ENTRANT Q0 Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4 Q5 Q6 Q7 Q8 Q9
1. 28800 Clive Dawson 10 8 6 5 6 1 1 1 2 1
2. 64512 Garmt de Vries-Uiterweerd 7 6 6 8 4 1 2 1 2 2
3. 96768 Michael Holl 8 6 4 7 2 1 3 6 1 2
4. 100800 Don Del Grande 10 4 6 7 4 1 1 3 5 1
=4. 100800 Nick Selwyn 1 2 10 7 10 2 1 3 1 WR
6. 105000 John Gerson 7 1 WR 5 10 1 3 5 1 1
7. 138240 Rob Pyle 10 1 4 8 6 3 1 1 2 WR
8. 216000 Ted Schuerzinger 10 3 6 5 6 2 2 2 5 1
9. 233280 Joshua Kreitzer 3 3 6 8 6 2 1 3 5 3
10. 368640 Don Piven 2 WR 4 5 6 1 WR 3 1 2
The new winning score is still the highest winning score to have occurred
in any of my contests.
Clive's answers were:
 United States
 Mary Stuart
 St. Moritz
The correction was on question 7:
> | 7. Give a relationship term in English that applies to "blood"
> | relatives and is a single unhyphenated noun that *does
> | not* start with G. "Relationship term" means a word that
> | specifies what relation one of them is to the other, as in
> | "Chris is Pat's _____". Only the formal terms typically
> | used in writing such as legal documents will be accepted.
I should have scored "begetter" as correct; I thought of it as purely
a literary word, but it has lately gained a usage in law. It seems
that in at least one country "begetter" is now used to mean the
biological father of a child *not* conceived by artificial insemination.
It is therefore a relationship team used in legal documents. Here is
the corrected list of scores for this question:
Mark Brader, Toronto "He seems unable to win without the added
m...@vex.net thrill of changing sides." -- Chess
It occurs to me now that the first name of a Vietnamese guy I know is
exactly Thanh. (As he lives in the US, he is usually referred to something
completely different.) So Thanh Pho probably does not mean "city", but
that is of course irrelevant.
> It also occurs to me that the fact that I didn't say "in English" could
> mean that answers like Moscow and Cairo are wrong -- the *real* usual
> short names of those cities are Moskva and something like al-Qahira.
> But this question was long and complicated enough that I'm going to
> forgive entrants who assumed I meant the name in English.
My own interpretation would be that both local names and English names
would be permitted. But it would proabably be stretching it a bit too
far to use a third language, not local to the place. For instance,
if there was a person Bosse Kï¿½penhamn, I could have entered to be silly.
(Kï¿½penhamn is the Swedish name for Copenhagen.)
> Denmark and the UK are among the countries that recognize same-sex
> "civil partnerships" that are similar to a marriage but are not a
Tell that to AFP:
Online waterways route planner: http://canalplan.org.uk
development version: http://canalplan.eu
You never saw a mistake in a newspaper article before?
Mark Brader "People with whole brains, however, dispute
Toronto this claim, and are generally more articulate
m...@vex.net in expressing their views." -- Gary Larson
It does according to Google Language Tools and whoever set up the
interlanguage link for "city" on Wikipedia.
Mark Brader /"\ ASCII RIBBON CAMPAIGN
m...@vex.net \ / AGAINST HTML MAIL
Toronto X AND NEWS
>| 0. Name a prime number smaller than 25. (Positive integers
>| only, the usual mathematical meaning of "prime".)
> 10 11
> 8 17
> 7 19
> 5 7
> 3 5
> 2 2
> 2 23
> 2 3
> 1 13
>One entrant give an answer and then added, "and I'll name it Bob :-)".
Quite. Now that there is no contest under way, I will repeat my earlier
question - why do you say "name" when you mean "specify"?
Nick Wedd ni...@maproom.co.uk
I didn't notice it before.
> - why do you say "name" when you mean "specify"?
It's just normal English: because I mean "name". If the question
asks for a number, and not an expression, I don't want to be bothered
dealing with answers like "1+1+1+1+1+1+1-1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1+1",
which specifies the same number that "19" names. (I do use "specify"
in cases where the name might be ambiguous: for example, I said
"Specify unambiguously a punctuation mark that is commonly used in
ordinary English singly, not as part of a pair.")
Mark Brader, Toronto "...one man's feature is another man's bug."
m...@vex.net --Chris Torek
Well this is indeed a thrill! I had seen these contests over the
years, but never entered. A friend pointed this one out, and the
thought that Mark might stop doing them prompted me to enter.
I put way more time into this than I thought it merited, but now
consider it a very worthwhile and enjoyable investment! :-)
Apologies to all for bumping you down (up?!) a spot due to
Incidentally, when I was researching my appeal to Mark, I found a
which describes court cases of Prince George's County, Maryland, from
1696-1770. Many of them deal with women who were tried for the crime
of having a "bastard childe" with somebody of "another hue [or]
complection" , and who sometimes refused to identify the "begetter".
Such women were often sentenced to receiving 15 or 20 lashes. This
led me to wonder whether the word "bastard" would have been an
acceptable answer to question 7, e.g. "Chris is Pat's bastard."
Thanks again to Mark for his time and effort in putting these contests
together. I hope they continue.
Congrats! Mark had better do another one of these. After all, you
wouldn't want anyone chalking your performance up to "beginner's luck"
> Erland Sommarskog:
>> It occurs to me now that the first name of a Vietnamese guy I know
>> is exactly Thanh. (As he lives in the US, he is usually referred to
>> something completely different.) So Thanh Pho probably does not
>> mean "city"...
> It does according to Google Language Tools and whoever set up the
> interlanguage link for "city" on Wikipedia.
You never saw a mistake in a Wikipedia article before?
>> It does according to Google Language Tools and whoever set up the
>> interlanguage link for "city" on Wikipedia.
> You never saw a mistake in a Wikipedia article before?
You forgot to say, "or in a machine translation?"
Mark Brader | "I wish to inform you now that the square peg is now
Toronto | in square whole and can be voguish for that your
m...@vex.net | payment is being processed..." --seen in spam
> Erland Sommarskog:
>>>> It occurs to me now that the first name of a Vietnamese guy I
>>>> know is exactly Thanh. (As he lives in the US, he is usually
>>>> referred to something completely different.) So Thanh Pho
>>>> probably does not mean "city"...
> Mark Brader:
>>> It does according to Google Language Tools and whoever set up the
>>> interlanguage link for "city" on Wikipedia.
> Richard Heathfield:
>> You never saw a mistake in a Wikipedia article before?
> You forgot to say, "or in a machine translation?"
You never saw a mistake in a Usenet article before?
> ... As far as I know, the only
> currently correct answer not given was the Netherlands.
> Denmark and the UK are among the countries that recognize same-sex
> "civil partnerships" that are similar to a marriage but are not a
Perhaps this amounts to merely a formal objection.
There is no material difference between the act in Denmark and the act in the
Netherlands, thus the acts are equivalent, and equivalence has always been a
reason for same score scores in these contests.
In Sweden same-sex marriages are possible since July 1st this year. Before
that, all same-sex couples could was to register their partnerships, but
it was not marriage.
Is this a material difference or not? Obviously it was material for
the people concerned, since their was a strong push to make same-sex
> Is this a material difference or not?
It's kind of a legal term, to be sure, "material" is - and without knowing much, or being any kind of an expert, I nevertheless
can say that it refers to the straightforwardness of an idea, so, in *using* the word, maybe not formally though, it means,
um, actually; or to put it differently,
I agree entirely. The UK situation was a fudge to appease the opponents
by keeping the word "marriage" out of it. But it clearly is a marriage,
it's just not called "marriage" (any more, of course, than it is in
If a couple, in a UK "Civil Partnership" move to Holland, I expect that
any aspects of the law that apply to married couples will apply to them.
It is therefore the same thing.
And Mark's question went:
Name a country where it is possible for a couple of the same
sex to get married and for this marriage to be recognized
as legally valid.
He clearly says "marriage", and you equally clearly say that the word
"marriage" is carely avoided in the British law. Thus, it is clearly not
a marriage, even if it looks like one.
How a British partnership would be regarded in the Netherlands, I don't
know. Well, nor do I know abot the Swedish law, but since I don't think
that Swedish partnerships were automatically upgraded to matrimony on
July 1st, my guess is that British parnters would be regarded as
registered partners as well in Sweden. If they want to be regarded as
married, they would have to marry.
> How a British partnership would be regarded in the Netherlands, I don't
Probably as a registered partnership, I would guess. To turn the
question around: how would a Dutch same-sex marriage be regarded in
the UK, or worse, in countries like Italy or Poland, where not even a
registered partnership between two members of the same sex is
Any couple in the Netherlands (whether same-sex or mixed-sex) can
choose between four different forms of cohabitation:
1) Just cohabitating, without any official agreement
2) A "cohabitation contract"
3) Registered partnership
Option 1 means that nothing has been legally settled, but it has some
consequences, e.g. for taxes and social security.
Option 2 allows partners (possibly more than 2!) to make certain
arrangements, for example how to share the costs of the household, how
to divide possessions should the relationship end, etc. You can
deposit the contract with a notary if you wish. This is necessary if
you wish to profit from e.g. a pension for the partner.
Options 3 and 4 are almost equal. The partners have the same rights
and duties. There are small differences, e.g. you can only end a
marriage by divorce (involving a judge), a registered partnership can
be ended without a judge if you both agree and there are no children
below 18. (This is a reason why some people choose registered
partnership over marriage.) The main difference is in the relationship
with children. A child that is born in a marriage between a man and a
woman automatically has both partners as parents. In any other case,
same-sex marriage or any registered partnership (regardless of the
partners' sex), the mother is automatically a parent of the child and
the other partner has to acknowledge or adopt the child in order to
become a parent. This is the only difference between same-sex and
To conclude: marriage and registered partnership are two different
kinds of relationship.
I don't know the exact situation in Denmark or the UK, but I fully
agree with Mark that a partnership is not a marriage.
> but I fully
> agree with Mark that a partnership is not a marriage.
yes, yes, yes, it *is* about the small differences, and the
"small differences" vary among all the various acts to the
extent that there is, as I say, no material difference among
them, looking at them at as a whole, ... - they're
equivalent, (and equivalence has always been a reason
for marking things the same !)
"partner" is a euphemism for "person someone's doing
*it* with", and marriage is a word for the formalisation of
that, - such that "marriage" and "registered partnership",
being formalisations of such relationships as those, are
equivalent, so, and, it being that equivalence
has always been a reason for marking these things the
same, these things should be marked the same. !
Um, I feel hesitant putting this, but, -
"if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck, I call it a duck"
- "don't know who"
> "if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck,
> I call it a duck"
> - "don't know who"
Possibly J W Riley, of whom at least one person is so fond that they
have gone to a huge amount of trouble to set up this rather lovely
Web site: http://www.jameswhitcombriley.com/
And there is a legal twist we haven't covered yet. I don't know about
the situation in the UK, but I guess that is one of the driving forces
of not calling it a marriage over there.
In Sweden the church is separated from the state, but only since 2001.
Traditionally, the church has been *the* place to get married. Even so
in modern times when people get more and more secularised, they still
marry in church, probably because it's a more hip ceremony. (Although
I'm hearing that civil marriages is becoming more and more common.)
But the Swedish Church now faces a dilemma. If they want to keep the
right of marrying people legally, they will also have to accept to
marry same-sex couples. As you may imagine, there is some opinion against
this within the Church. Moreso, apparently they have received letters
from other national churches that if they agree to do so, the Swedish
Church would isolate themselves in the Christian community. One of the
churces was the Russian Orthodoc Church, the other was a British church;
I think the Angelican.
So to some people there is definitely a material difference between
partnership and marriage. Very material.
Maybe I'm missing the point of this discussion, but Mark did not ask
us for *relationships*, he asked us for *countries*. Whether or not
two countries support/allow relationships that are judged to be
equivalent does not change the fact that they are two *different*
countries. Analogously, just because 3 and 5 are both prime numbers
and both less than 25, it doesn't change the fact that they are two
> Nevertheless, one of the is marriage and the other is not.
No, no, no, you merely state this, and now twice, like a politician or an
advertisement, the idea being perhaps that the more often you say it the more
obviously true it must be. But, no, if you call a fence a barrier, or a
barricade, or a pallisade or a line of demarcation, or a border, or a boiled
egg, it's still a fence. What's in a word/name ? A rose by any other word/name
would smell as sweet. (Although I myself personally speaking that is, am not
quite actually really convinced about this. If you called "ice cream" say
"garden fertiliser", I don't really think you'd sell as much of it).
You're missing the point. Some people are claiming that certain wrong
answers should have been scored as correct.
> Analogously, just because 3 and 5 are both prime numbers and both less
> than 25, it doesn't change the fact that they are two different numbers.
The correct analogy would be if someone had answered 1 on that question
and been ruled wrong, and it was being suggested that under the standard
mathematical meaning of a "prime", 1 was a prime number.
Mark Brader, Toronto | "If any form of pleasure is exhibited, report
m...@vex.net | to me and it will be prohibited." --DUCK SOUP
And from the original contest:
Original Question (partially snipped)
> 6. Give a surname shared by two or more people who each have
> individually won an Oscar (see rule 4.2).
> Rule 4.2
> A "movie" does not include any form of TV broadcast or video release;
> it must have been shown in cinemas. "Oscar" and "Academy Award" are
> AMPAS trademarks and refer to the awards given by that organization.
> "Fiction" includes dramatizations of true stories.
I read the link that Mark cites above, and was unsatisfied with the
definition. From my read it is not clear that the Oscar is exclusive of
Humanitarian and Honorary awards. So I did yet some more digging on this...
and followed yet another link from Mark's cite.
A couple of excerpts from this article:
"Oscar stands 13� inches tall and weighs in at a robust 8� pounds"
"Officially named the Academy Award of Merit, the statuette is better known
by its nickname, Oscar. "
From this it appears to me that the statuette is the Oscar... Win the
statuette, whether through the normal categories, the Humanitarian award, or
Honorary (but only when they award the statuette as opposed to certificate,
etc.), and you have won an Oscar.
In the interest of full disclosure, I chose Brooks in honor of _Young
Frankenstein_ so I don't really have standing on this...
And since I am quoting the original contest elsewhere, I will remind Rule 5:
> 5. Judging
> As moderator, I will be the sole judge of what answers are correct,
> and whether two answers with similar meaning (like red and gules)
> are considered the same, different, or more/less specific variants.
> I will do my best to be fair on all such issues, but sometimes it is
> necessary to be arbitrary. Those who disagree with my rulings are
> welcome to complain (or to start a competing contest, or whatever).
And it's useless trying to claim that there is no material difference.
If there never had been any material difference between registered
partnerships and marriages, there would never had been anything called
"registered partnership". Partnerships as a legal term was introduced
just because the concept of same-sex marriage was met with opposition.
Thus a question about same-sex marriage cannot be about anything else
than same-sex marriages. If you think that registered partnerships are
the same, you are missing knowledge about the debate for rights for
gays and lesbians. A good analogy from this quiz is if you would claim
the "Bergman" is a correct answer to the question about two people with
same surname receiving an Oscar. After all, Ingmar Bergman won an Oscar
for "Fanny and Alexander", so he did receive an Oscar didn't he? But
the award was for best foreign language film, and on IMDB they list Sweden
as recipent. If you don't know about this, you may get the idea to submit
Bergman as an answer. And same here. If you think that marriages and
registered partnerships are the same, you may submit Denmark or the UK
as an answer. But this is not only a contest about strategy and googling.
It's also a contest about knowledge.