The Gate        The 19th Annual Xmas Quiz Answers
Jon Carroll
Tuesday, December 26, 2000
©2000 San Francisco Chronicle

OH, MAYBE YOU are already back at work but, really, wouldn't you rather satisfy your curiosity about all those weird questions you've spent 24 hours pondering? Of course you would! Thus:

1. Salem Sue is the world's largest fiberglass cow. She resides in New Salem, N.D., and is 38 feet tall.

2. Seven women have been crowned reigning queen of England: Mary I; Elizabeth I; Anne; Mary II (the wife of William III; they were crowned as co- rulers); Victoria; Elizabeth II; and Lady Jane Grey, crowned queen, and reigned for nine days before Mary I took London; she gave up the crown willingly, was arrested, imprisoned in the Tower, and later beheaded.

3. The hobble hanger, surcingle, shin boot and spoked wheel are all parts of a harness racing rig. The breeches, mask, bib and metallic plastron are all parts of a fencing costume. The register, spindle, retarding magnet and full- load adjustment screw are all parts of what's called a watt-hour meter, the thing on the side of your house that the PG&E guy looks at.

4. Oscar Wilde died in 1900. William S. Burroughs the writer was born in 1914, William S. Burroughs the inventor of the adding machine was born in 1855.

So either answer is right.

5. Irving Berlin was born in 1888; Ho Chi Minh was born in 1892. Buster Keaton died in 1966; Charlie Chaplin died in 1977.

6. In order: (a) Lucinda Williams, (b) Willie Nelson, (c) Miles Davis, (d) Keith Jarrett, (e) The Beatles, (f) Limp Bizkit, (g) Ernest Ranglin, (h) Talking Heads, (i) Frank Sinatra.

7. Seoul, Sao Paulo and Shanghai are among 15 of the world's most populous cities, as are Los Angeles and Lagos, as is Osaka.

8. "CONTACT Light." Buzz Aldrin actually spoke the first words on the moon; he was referring to the indicator light that told the astronauts their module had landed on something solid and had not been swallowed up by a bottomless sea of lunar dust, a very real fear at the time.

9. Herman Kahn wrote "Thinking About the Unthinkable in the 1980s." The scenarios discussed therein were one of the inspirations for "Dr. Strangelove."

10. The three plural forms of "octopus" are "octopuses," which is now common; "octopi," which is preferred by the more traditional, and "octopodes," which is preferred by the truly pedantic, aware that the word is originally from the Greek and thus a Latin plural is silly, no matter how sanctified by time, usage and reference books.

11. Oakland

12. (a) Boycott, (b) Diesel, (c) Leotard, (d) Bloomer.

13. (a) "POOR Mexico, so far from God and so close to the United States." (b) "As always, victory finds a hundred fathers but defeat is an orphan." (c) "If you build it, he will come." (d) "Yet who can presume to say what war wants, so vast and aloof it is . . . so absentee." (e) "Love means not ever having to say you're sorry." (f) "We have a cancer within, close to the president, that is growing."

14. The second country south of Vladivostok is Irian Jaya, or Indonesia, depending on your political sympathies. The second country north of Mecca is Syria. The first country west of New Orleans is Mexico, the first country east of New Orleans is Morocco.

15. Yes, it was (c) "A Turkey for the President." It was about Thanksgiving.

My thanks to John Steele, John Joss, the guy whose name I lost who gave me question 2, and to all you people at home already composing stern letters. The questions to these answers may be found at www.sf

No. 4 was a little tricky, but it was fair. That's important.

You know I'd give you everything I've got for a little peace of mind, I'm so

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