Sunday, August 13, 2006

Poema de Chile

Born in the Andean village of Vicuña, Lucila Godoy y Alcayaga published her first poetic works in the Chilean dailies La Voz de Elqui and Diario Radical de Coquimbo in 1905, but took to serious writing only after her passionate romance with a railway employee ended with the latter committing suicide.

Written in memory of the dead, Sonetos de la muerte (1914), made her known throughout Latin America, and it was then that she began using the pen name Gabriela Mistral -- taking it from the Nobel-winning French poet Frédéric Mistral (Y) and the Italian writer Gabriele d'Annunzio (X).

Mistral's first great collection of poems, Desolación [Despair], was published in 1922, and in 1945 she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature-- becoming the first Latin American to win the award.

Partial credits to Rahul Paul for correctly identifying Monsieur Mistral

Tonight's Question: Who is this kiddo and what's her claim to fame?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Gregory David Roberts was born in Melbourne, Australia. Sentenced to nineteen years in prison for a series of armed robberies, he escaped and spent ten of his fugitive years in Bombay-- where he established a free medical clinic for slum-dwellers, and worked as a counterfeiter, smuggler, gunrunner, and street soldier for a branch of the Bombay mafia. He also published short stories in a national daily under an assumed name, taught cosmology, and worked as a stunt man and actor in Bollywood movies.

Recaptured, he served out his sentence and devoted himself to writing. His first publication after becoming a full-fledged writer was the autobiographical write-up, Shantaram (a name given to him by the mother of one his closests friends in Bomday), which went on to become a bestseller. A celluloid version of the book is slated for release sometime next year. It will star Johnny Depp as Shantaram, and will have Shahrukh Khan and Chunkey Pandey in supporting roles.

Lone Warrior: Budhaditya Deb

New Question: Connect X and Y to a Nobel winner. Both these men are poets.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Behold the Man!

According to the Gospel of St. John, Ecce Homo or Behold the Man were the words used by Pontius Pilate when he presented Christ to the people before the Crucifixion. X = Ecce Homo by Italian painter Antonio da Correggio, with the crowned guy behind Jesus being Pontius Pilate.

Ecce homo, Wie man wird, was man ist is the title of German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche's autobiography, which is also the last book written by him. Y= Edvard Munch's portrait of Nietzsche.

And finally, Ecce Homo is the title theme of the British comedy series Mr. Bean (Z= Rowan Atkinson in the title role.)


Rahul Paul
Aneesh Jain
Budhaditya Deb

Next: Who is the guy below, and by what interesting moniker is he better known?

Friday, August 04, 2006


The weather was frightfully hot,
And a bout of dysentery kept him constantly on the trot,
But in seven weeks it was done, the frontiers decided,
A continent for better or worse divided.

Those words are by Anglo-American poet WH Auden (Z)-- from his poem "Partition"-- and 'he' being referred to in the quatrain is Sir Cyril Radcliffe (Y), the man who drew the line that became the border between India and Pakistan.

Auden's "Partition", written in 1966, talks about the impossible nature of Radcliffe's job, and is one of the four most-famous political poems written by him; the others being "Spain", "September 1, 1939", and "August 1968".

X= Lord Wavell, Viceroy of India (1945-1947), who laid the foundation for Radcliffe's work, drawing up a rough boundary, which would eventually become the Radcliffe Line.


Rahul Paul
Aneesh Jain

A very easy and slightly cheesy one for tonight. Give me the phrase that connects the pictures below:

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Essentially defined as the science of communication and control in animal and machine, the term cybernetics was coined by "father of cyborgs", mathematician Norbert Weiner (Y). Historically, though, the word was first used by French physicist André-Marie Ampère (X, in 1834) to denote the sciences of government.

In general, there are many definitions of the word cybernetics. Noted anthropologist Margaret Mead, for example, defined it as a way of looking at things and a language for expressing what one sees, while OR and management guru Stafford Beer (Z) called it the science of organization.

Cybernetics has also been defined as a discipline studying the methods of receiving, storing, processing, and using information in machines, living organisms, and their associations by Russian mathematician Andrei Kolmogorov, twentieth century's foremost contributor to the mathematical and philosophical foundations of probability.

Lone Warrior: Bobby Ninan

An old chestnut for tonight. As usual, connect the following. X's inclusion is kinda sorta redundant. Am mainly looking for a connection between Y and Z.


Versatile chemical and potent carcinogen, benzene, was discovered in 1825 by English chemist and physicist Michael Faraday (A), and its ring structure first deduced by German chemist Kekulé (B), who reportedly claimed that the structure came to him in an astonishing dream, in which he saw a snake eating its own tail! Such symbols-- with their origin in ancient alchemy-- depicting a snake or a dragon swallowing its own tail are called Ouroboros (C).


Raul Paul
Queen Millenia

PS: The Bunsen burner, named after Robert Bunsen (Y, Sunday night's quiz), was originally invented by Faraday.

Next: Connect the following to a 10/11-letter sci-tech term:


One of the most brilliant chemists of all time, Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev's most notable contribution to science and mankind was the development of the first Periodic Table of Elements. Born to a Russian father and a Mongolian mother in Tobolsk, Siberia, Mendeleev went to school in St. Petersburg, and attended the University of St. Petersburg for his doctoral research, during which time he also traveled to Heidelberg to work with Robert Bunsen (Y). [Incidentally, Julius Lothar Meyer, another name associated with the periodic classification of elements (Lothar Meyer's Curve) also got his training under Bunsen]

An admitted bigamist, Mendeleev had four children from his second marriage, of which the eldest, Lyubov, became the wife of the famous Russian poet Alexander Blok (X). [When the orthodox Russian church expressed its desire to chastise Mendeleev for his bigamist way of life, the Czar is said to have come to his rescue and said : Mendeleev has two wives, yes, but I only have one Mendeleev].

Dmitri Mendeleev died on 2 February, 1907, five days before his 73rd birthday, during a reading of Jules Vernes' Journey to the North Pole. Shortly before his death, his nomination for the 1906 Nobel Prize in Chemistry failed by one vote. The award went to Henri Mosain.

Element number 101 is named Mendelevium in his honor.

Lone Warrior: Budhaditya Deb

Tonight's Question: A seven-letter word/name connects the pictures on tonight's quiz. Also, 'A' on tonight's quiz is connected to 'Y' on last night's quiz through one of his (A's) inventions. Now work on both quizzes!

Sunday, July 30, 2006


John Dryden (X), in 1675, wrote Aureng-Zebe, his last rhymed play, which is frequently considered by many as one of his best. A grossly misrepresented and factually inaccurate account of the tyrrant's life, the play hails Aurangzeb as a figure of exemplary rationality, virtue and patience, and as a Charles II look-alike in his heroism!

Y= Thomas Moore, Irish literary figure and author of the narrative poem, Lalla-Rookh-- a work depicting Aurangzeb's daughter Princess Lalla-Rookh's journey from Delhi to Kashmere, to be married to the young king of Bukhara (Bactria).

Tonight's serving: He was X's father-in-law, Y's student, and he lost the Nobel Prize by a lone vote a few days before his death. Who am I talkin' abt?

Friday, July 28, 2006

Black Fever

Credited with establishing the first Blood Bank in India, Sir Upendra Nath Brahmachari is known more famously for his monumental discovery of the organo-antimony compound, Urea Stibamine: till date one of the most potent agents-- therapeutic, as well as prophylactic-- against Kala-Azar. For his outstanding contribution in the conquest of the disease, UNB was awarded the knighthood in 1914 and nominated for the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine in the year 1929.

New Question: English poets X and Y are connected to each other via an Indian father-daughter pair. Identify them poets, the father, and his daughter.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


The Pietà is a collective name given to artworks depicting the Virgin Mary holding Jesus' lifeless body on her lap after his Crucifixion. Of all the great paintings and sculptures created on this theme, the one by Michelangelo (X) stands out from the rest, and is perhaps the world's most famous scultpure of a religious subject.

Carved by the artist when he was only 24, this magnificient work of art is the only one he ever signed.

Y- one of the most famous images of the 9/11 attacks; of Father Mychal F. Judge, the Chaplain of the NYFD and the first official victim of the 9/11 attacks, being carried out of the debris by police and fireworkers. Taken by Reuters photgrapher Shannon Stapleton, the photograph has been dubbed as the American Pietà in reference to the above work by Michelangelo.

Tonight's Q: Identify this Nobel-nominee from India:

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Last night's quiz: Lone Warrior: Apurva Dubey (Will post the answer later.)

Tonight's question was originally framed by Rahul Paul. Connect the Renaissance figure X to the scene in Pic Y.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Ode to Joy

Set to music by Beethoven in the fourth and final movement of his Ninth Symphony, the poem An die Freude or Ode to Joy was the creation of 18th century German poet and dramatist, Friedrich Schiller (X).

Adopted as the EU anthem in 1972, the piece also formed the basis of three-time Pulitzer winning poet-writer Archibald MacLeish's (Y) poem by the same name, and was used by the Starz! network (Z) as their promotional theme (that Movies!movies!movies!movies! jingle).

New Q: Identify the trial shown in Pic X-- the subject of writer Y's latest work. Z is supposed to be a hint, a big one in fact!

Friday, July 14, 2006


Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning
And the first thing that I heard
Was a song outside my window
And the traffic wrote the words

From the 1969 Joni Mitchell (Y) single, Chelsea Morning.

Written by Mitchell as an ode to the artsy Chelsea district of New York City, the song was widely covered by other artists, including Neil Diamond and Judy Collins (X). Most popular of all the versions and an all-time favorite of the Clintons, the Judy Collins recording of the song inspired the former President and the former First Lady to name their daughter Chelsea.

PS: Collins also covered Mitchell's 'Both Sides Now', and once again the cover went on to become more popular than the original. Mitchell's rendition maybe found in the Love, Actually soundtrack. In the movie, the song plays when Emma Thompson finds out that her husband had been cheating on her.

Next: Connect poets X and Y to the logo in Z:

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


X- Popular conjurer, illusionist, hypnotist, and the real Mandrake the Magician, Leon Mandrake.

Y- Peter Sellers as Group Captain Lionel Mandrake in Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove. One of the three roles he played in that movie.

Z- Machiavelli, whose work, La Mandragola (The Mandrake) is considered the finest prose comedy of the Italian Renaissance.

A useless pop-culture trivia for tonight. Figure out 'who' in the following:

Monday, July 10, 2006

In Memorium A. H. H.

Few relationships between men in the nineteenth century have been subject to more sexual speculation than the one between Alfred Tennyson and Arthur Henry Hallam (X).

A precociously brilliant Victorian man, Hallam was Tennyson's closest friend and a major influence on the latter's poetry. Hallam's friendship had a lasting effect on the young Tennyson, and his untimely death from cerebral hemorrhage left Tennyson devastated, with the grief leading to some of his best poetry, including, the elegiac masterpiece In Memorium A.H.H.

Before meeting Tennyson and during his days at Eton, Hallam was involved in a relationship with future British PM William Gladstone (Y). The two parted ways when Hallam left for Italy and Gladstone, for the University of Oxford.

Z- Map of Mali. Points to Timbuktu, the subject of poems by Hallam and Tennyson, with Tennyson's poem awarded the Chancellor's Gold Medal at Trinity College.

P.S: With Tennyson unable to write down most of his work due to an extremely poor eyesight, Hallam transcribed the first version of The Lotos-Eaters as Tennyson declaimed it at a meeting of the Apostles.


Budhaditya Deb
Apurva Dubey

New Question: Connect X, Y, Z.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Mr. Nyet

Y- Andrei Gromyko, politician, diplomat, and long-serving foreign minister of the Soviet Union, was widely known for his intransigence by the nickname, Mr. Nyet (Nyet= Russian for 'No').

Before Gromyko, however, it was Stalin's foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov (X- he of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and Molotov cocktail fame), who was given that name by his counterparts in the Western bloc.

Known for his relationship with Y, X is remembered more famously as the subject of one of the major works by a nineteenth century English poet. Identify X, Y, and the poem. Z is a vague hint.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Gulf Stream

X- Benjamin Franklin, one of the first people to map the current, and credited with giving it the name, the Gulf Stream.

Y- American landscape painter Winslow Homer's most famous work, The Gulf Stream; depicting, simultaneously, mankind's universal struggle against nature and the plight of the African-Americans against racial seggregation in 19th century America.

[Incidentally, Hemingway's Old Man and the Sea also takes place in the Gulf Stream (between Florida and Cuba)]

Z- A Gulfstream III aircraft.

Two politicans, one nickname, of which X was the original owner. Identify X and Y, and give me their common nickname.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weeny

With its design credited to French Engineer Louis Reard (X) and fashion designer Jacques Heim, the modern bikini was born in Paris in 1946-- right after World War II-- and was given its name after Bikini Atoll, the site of nuclear weapons tests post-WWII (Y), on the reasoning that the miniscule namesake of the Pacific Proving Grounds island would set off its own beach explosions.

Z- The first bikini being modeled in public by Parisian exotic dancer Micheline Bernardini.


Prakash Nair
Amit Dhawan
Budhaditya Deb
Rahul Paul

The man, the painting, and the airplane: one two-word name connects all three. Figure out the name.

No new quizzes during the long weekend. Next update on Tuesday night. Happy 4th!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Lady In Red

A controversial witness to one of the most controversial assassinations of all time, Jean Hill (X), in her testimony to the Warren Commission, claimed having seen a shooter on the Grassy Knoll at the moment JFK was shot in the head on November 22, 1963.

Captured in the Zapruder Film (Y- Abraham Zapruder shooting the assassination), Hill, a third-grade (no pun intended) teacher from Dallas' H. S. Thomson Learning Center, earned the epithet 'The Lady In Red' because of the long red raincoat she was wearing on that fateful day.

Z- Chris de Burgh, via his song Lady in Red, was supposed to serve as an indirect hint .

Next: Connect X, Y, and Z.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

The Seducer of Seville

Originating in popular legend, Don Juan was first given literary identity in Spanish dramatist Tirso de Molina's (nom de guerre of Gabriel Tellez, Pic 1) tragic work El burlador de Sevilla or the Seducer of Seville.

Celebrated by Mozart (Pic 2) in his classical masterpiece Don Giovanni, the unrepentant seducer and symbol of libertinism made his most famous literary appearance in Byron's epic (and unfinished) poem Don Juan.

The postage stamp in Pic 2 was released by Monaco to commemorate the bicentenary of Mozart's creation of Don Giovanni, and depicts a scene from the opera.

The city of Seville is also the setting for Pierre Beaumarchais' Figaro plays, which were made into operas by Rossini (The Barber of Seville) and Mozart (The Marriage of Figaro).

New Q: Give me the epithet that is popularly associated with X. Y and Z may be used as hint.

Monday, June 26, 2006


X- Anglican minister, author of poetry, hymn and humorous work, and translator of Christian writings, Edward Caswall. Wrote Sketches of Young Ladies: In Which These Interesting Members of the Animal Kingdom are Classified According to their Several Instincts, under the pseudonym Quiz.

Y- Charles Dickens; followed up with Sketches of Young Gentlemen: Dedicated to Young Ladies as a rebuttal to Caswall's work, which Dickens considered an attack on women.

Incidentally, Hablot K. Browne (pseudonym 'Phiz'), the illustrator of Dickens' most famous works, also illustrated Quiz's Sketches of Young Ladies-- a fact that is partly responsible for the genesis of the popular misconception (esp. among quizzers) that Quiz and Boz are the two aliases of the same person; Dickens, that is.

Now, connect the following:

Friday, June 23, 2006

Fiber Optics

Though the first fiber optics cables were developed back in the 1880s, the term "fiber optics" was born when physicist Dr. Narinder S. Kapany coined it after building a few fiber optical glass rods-- demonstrating thereupon that the rods could project light without leaking at any point, as long as they were coated or wrapped in a dark material. Kapany has since been regarded in the scientific world as the "father of fiber optics".

Lone Warrior: Budhaditya Deb

For tonight: X, a 19th century poet and translator of religious works used to write under a very interesting alia. Identify X and give me the alias.
As a hint, X's work-- the one that made the alias famous-- was responded to with a satirical write-up written by Y, who considered X's writing overtly sexist.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Neutrinos, they are very small...

They have no charge and have no mass
And do not interact at all

The earth is just a silly ball
To them, through which they simply pass
Like dustmaids down a drafty hall
Or photons through a sheet of glass.

Proposed by Wolfgang Pauli (Y) as a solution to the missing energy in a nuclear beta decay, the 'neutrino' was given its name by Enrico Fermi (Z), and the elusive sub-atomic particle entered popular culture with John Updike's (X) poem Cosmic Gall (excerpt from the poem used above), written in 1950.


Rahul Paul(i)
Apurva Dubey
Amit Dhawan
Budhaditya Deb

New Question: What two-word sci-tech term would you associate the following sardarji with?

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Named after Ellis "Puss' Achong(X), the first cricketer of Chinese descent to play Test cricket, the term Chinaman refers to an off-break bowled by a left-hander with a leg-break action spinning the bowl from left to right in its flight down the wicket, and on pitching turning towards the leg side.

During the England-West Indies series (Old Trafford Test) of 1933, one such delivery from Achong had the English batsman Walter Robins(Y) stumped; and legend has it that Robins on his way back to the pavilion remarked, "fancy being out to a bloody Chinaman". And that is how the term came into being. (Read Puss Achong's narration of the incident)

Named the Wisden Cricketer of the Year for 1930, Robins was also an accomplished soccer player and captained the Cambridge University soccer team, before representing Nottingham Forest in the Premier League. Ellis Achong represented the Trinidad soccer team between the years 1919 and 1930.


Debopam Roy
Anirudha Bhattacharjee

After that singular googly, here's a rather straightforward question for the night: 'Y' postulated its existence, 'Z' named it, and 'X' wrote a poem dedicted to it. What am I talking about?

Friday, June 16, 2006

World Book and Copyright Day

Quoting directly from the UNESCO website:

23 April: a symbolic date for world literature, for on this date and in the same year of 1616, Cervantes, Shakespeare, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (from L-R in the top set) all died. It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors such as Maurice Druon, K. Laxness, and Vladimir Nabokov. It was thus a natural choice for the UNESCO's General Assembly to pay a worldwide tribute to books and authors on this date.....

The idea for this celebration originated in Catalonia, where on 23rd April, Saint George's Day (bottom pic: an iconic depiction of Saint George slaying the dragon), a rose is traditionally given as a gift for each book sold.

Lone Warrior: Budhaditya Deb

Since the soccer World Cup is on...

X, a former member of the Trinidad national soccer team, and Y, a former Nottingham Forest striker are together responsible for the introduction of what new term into the sporting vocabulary?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

"India's Buccaneer"

A key player in Indonesia's struggle for independence from the Dutch, and a close pal of independent Indonesia's first President, Sukarno, Biju Patnaik gave Sukarno's daughter the name "Megawati". (Pic 1: Megawati Sukarnoputri. Patnaik also named her daughter Orissa).

A champion of science and technology, Patnaik established the Kalinga Foundation for the dissemination of scientific knowledge, and instituted the prestigious Kalinga Awards, which are given away by the UNESCO every year for the popularization of science among the common people. Noted anthropologist and writer Margaret Mead (Pic 2) was the first female recipient of this award.

Pic 3: Front cover of Gita Mehta's satirical classic, 'Karma Cola: Marketing the Mystic East'. Mehta is Patnaik's daughter.

For tonight: Connect the set of three gentlemen on the top to the halo-ed figure depicted in the mural underneath.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Faux Pas!

Had intended to post a pic of the Oresundbron (or the Oresund Tunnel-Bridge) for last night's identification, but having gotten it mixed up with the Monitor-Merrimack Memorial Bridge Tunnel, ended up posting a pic of the latter. Sincerest apologies for that!

The Oresund Tunnel Bridge, which connects the two Scandinavian neighbors, Denmark and Sweden, is the world's longest single bridge carrying both road and railway traffic. It is also the only tunnel-bridge connecting two countries. Here is a picture of the actual Oresund:

Budhadiyta Deb and Lalit Pawar correctly identified the Merrimack, and Lalit went on to add: in fact, this is one of the most misinterpreted photographs in the world.

Apurva and Rahul somehow knew I had Oresund in mind. :-)

Movin' on... One person connects all three pictures of tonight's quiz. Who, exactly? (He/she connects to the lady in Pic 2 through an award, of which this lady was the first female recipient)

Sunday, June 11, 2006


From Left to Right (on the previous visual): the Machine itself (with programmer Max Woodbury), UNIVAC co-inventor J Presper Eckert, and CBS anchorman and once the "most trusted man in America", Walter Cronkite: looking at the read-out that correctly predicted the outcome of the 1952 Eisenhower-Stevenson presidential race.

Designed by J Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, the UNIVAC I was the world's first commercially available computer. Having entered the market in 1951, the UNIVAC made its television debut on Nov 4, 1952, when CBS used the machine to predict the results of that year's presidential elections. Using a program written by UPENN professor of mathematics, Max Woodbury, the machine predicted a 100-1 odd in favor of Eisenhower. However, conventional pundits and advance opinion polls having predicted a landslide win for Stevenson, the news media decided to blackout the computer's predictions-- and with Walter Cronkite anchoring the 1952 Presidential Race Returns, CBS declared that the UNIVAC had been stumped.

As it turned out, Eisenhower won the elections garnering a total of 442 electoral votes, against Stevenson's 89. The UNIVAC had predicted 438-93-- an error of less than 1%.

And as Leslie Goff reported in CNN, history was made on election night, 1952: in politics, journalism, and business computing. Echoing similar feelings the USToday said: in a few hours on Nov, 1952, UNIVAC altered politics, changed the world's perception of computers and upended the tech industry's status quo. Along the way, it embarassed CBS long before Dan Rather could do all by himself.

Lone Warrior: Rahul Paul

Next Q: Identify the structure:

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Confederacy of Dunces

Pulitzer-winning work by John Kennedy Toole (Pic 1), the novel takes its name from a quote in Jonathan Swift's (Pic 2) satirical essay, Thoughts on Various Subjects,Moral and Diverting.

Set in New Orleans, Toole's comic masterpiece begins under the clock of D. H. Holmes departmental store on Canal Street-- now the site to New Orleans' Chateau Sonesta Hotel. The famous clock presently hangs in its original location, with a bronze statue of Ignatius J. Reilly (Pic 3)-- the novel's protagonist-- underneath it, thus mimicking the opening scene of the novel.

New Question: What exactly are the folks below looking at?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


With its name partly inspired by the character Starbuck in Herman Melville's, Moby Dick (Pic 1), Starbucks' current logo was designed by merging the logos of the original Starbucks Coffee Co. and Howard Schultz's il Giornale-- the espresso cafe opened by Schultz that would eventually own Starbucks (Pic 2: il Giornale logo). As Schultz himself points out in his book, Pour Your Heart Into It, the company kept the siren logo with her starred crown, but dropped the tradition-bound brown and changed the logo color to il Giornale's more affirming green; also borrowing from the latter, its circular shape.

Lone Warrior: Apurva Dubey

And, Apurva also frames the question for tonight: Identify and connect the following two gentlemen, using the third pic as a hint. Additional hint: they are both writers.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Les Horribles Cernettes

Back in the 90s, an employee at the European particle physics laboratory, in Geneva-- popularly known by its French acronym, CERN-- was dating a resident scientist, but she would hardly get to see her loverboy as he was always too pre-occupied with his experiments. In desperation she asked CERN's de facto songwriter in residence, Sylvio de Genarro, to put her tragic tale to music.

Soon after, the women of CERN came together and the parody pop group Les Horribles Cernettes was formed, about the same time as the Web was invented (at CERN). Naturally then, the Cernettes became the first rock band to have a website, and their picture used in Thursday night's quiz the first image to be published on the internet.

Lone Warrior: Shrikant N.

Now, connect the following:

Friday, June 02, 2006

Sax Appeal

Loggins and Messina's Your Mama Don't Dance and Your Daddy Don't Rock n' Roll, played by Bill Clinton at the Arkansas Inaugural Ball, January 20, 1993-- First Presidential saxophone solo in the history of the United States.

Lone Warrior: Rahul Paul

Rahul has also framed the question for tonight: What exactly is the following picture's claim to fame?

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Lost Atlantis

The myth of Atlantis was first described by Plato in two of his dialogues Timaeus and Critias. Atlantis was the domain of Poseidon, the god of seas, with its general structure made of three concentric rings of ground, separated by large channels. The last ring was open toward the ocean and each ring connected to the other by covered bridges. At the city center-- termed by Plato as "bull's eye"-- was Poseidon's temple and the royal palace with ivory roof and gold, silver, and orichalcum walls.

Lone Warrior: Apurva Dubey

For tonight: The jazz version of a popular Loggins and Messina song from the 70s. Give me the name of the instrumentalist.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

"Brother Louis"

On March 31st, 1888, when Ludvig Nobel, brother of Alfred Nobel, died while staying in Cannes, a French newspaper mistakenly confused the two brothers and came out with an obituary that read: Le Marchand de la mort est mort: the merchant of death is dead. It further stated: Dr. Alfred Nobel who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday. This bizzare event had a profound effect on Alfred and is believed to have prompted his establishing of the Nobel Prize in order for him to have a better posthumous legacy.

Referred to as the "Oil King" of Czarist Russia, Ludvig Nobel's technical and commercial innovations in oil business included, among other things, the laying of pipelines for the transport of oil and the design of the world's first oil tanker (Pic 1: an oil tanker).

As a member of the Russian commission on technical education, he was instrumental in the introduction of metric system (Pic 2) in Russia.


Prakash Nair
Budhaditya Deb

Btw, the world's first oil tanker was christened Zoroaster to honor the Azeri belief that their country was the birthplace of Zarathustra (Ludvig's oil industry was in Baku, Azerbaijan). Azerbaijan is a persian word meaning the "land of eternal flames", referring to the Zoroastrian practice of worshipping fire.

And of course, the Fr. for Ludvig/Ludwig is Louis-- ergo, the title of tonight's blog! :-)

Tonight's Q: Whose design of what?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

An Apple A Day

The popular fruit McIntosh Red is a semi-tart apple used extensively in apple-pies, tarts, cobblers, and even ciders.

The first McIntosh orchard was started in 1811 on a farm near Prescott (Dundela), Ontario, when John McIntosh-- an emigre from NY-- discovered 20 young apple trees on his property. While most of the trees died within the next few years, one tree lived on to produce a particularly red, tart-tasting, crisp apple. Today, there are over 3 million McIntosh trees in the US and Canada, with every tree descended from this singular tree in John McIntosh's orchard. (Pic 1: John McIntosh standing next to the original McIntosh tree).

And today, ~12% of the computers in the world currently in use are Apple Macintoshes-- them machines named so after John McIntosh's popular fruit originated from that one-of-a-kind tree.

A nineteenth century businessman-innovator connects the pictures in tonight's visual. It is believed that this man's death was, in a way, responsible for the institution of a certain award of excellence. Who am I talking about?

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Serial Killer

Coined to describe the notorious criminal Ted Bundy (Pic 1), the authorship of the term has been attributed to former FBI agent Robert Ressler (Pic 2) and former Washington Police homicide detective, Dr. Robert Keppel (Pic 3), with the latter's relentless pursuit responsible for tracking down Bundy's cross-country homicide spree.

Both Michael Reilly Burke and Cary Elwes have given excellent performances playing Bundy in Ted Bundy and The Riverman, respectively. Get ahold of these movies if you can(those in the US-- SHO plays them from time to time).


Queen Millenia
Budhaditya Deb

Tonight's Q: Give me the claim to fame of the tree shown below (or the gentleman standing next to it):

Friday, May 19, 2006


The gentleman on the left was British painter Francis Barraud, whose 1898 painting (and its subject) Dog Looking At and Listening to a Phonograph-- re-titled "His Master's Voice"-- went on to become the most popular mascot and advertising logo of all time. Read more here.

In 1910, a gramophone and records were sent with Captain Robert Scott (Pic 2) on his Antartica Expedition. Scott recreated the HMV picture using the gramophone he brought with him and a husky standing in for Nipper.

Lone Warrior: Apurva Dubey

Tonight's question: The following three gentlemen are responsible for the introduction of what two-word term/phrase into popular vernacular?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Inspired by John Donne

Physicist and father of the atomic bomb Bob Oppenheimer (Pic 1) named the world's first nuclear test-- conducted at Alamogordo, New Mexico on July 16, 1945-- "Trinity" in reference to a poem by John Donne.

Ernest Hemingway was inspired to title his book For Whom The Bell Tolls (Pic 2: Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman on the poster of the movie) based on John Donne's 17th Devotion.

And lastly, John Donne's No Man Is an Island provides the inspiration for London 2012's (Pic 3) cultural and ceremonial program. Read Jude Kelly's interview to find more.

For tonight: The gentleman on the left-- a painter-- is the man behind one of the most famous trademarks of the 20th century. A version of this famous work by the gentleman on the right (not a painter) also exists. Identify both gentlemen.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Old Chestnut

Pic 1: Rohan Kanhai
Pic 2: ML Jaisimha
Pic 3: Gundappa Vishwanath

Sunil Gavaskar named his son (Rohan JaiVishwa Gavaskar) after the above three cricketers.


Rahul Paul
Lalit Pawar
Kiritee Konark Mishra

And for tonight, work out this simple connect:

Monday, May 15, 2006

"Space Cadets"

Sqn Ldr. Rakesh Sharma (X), Wng Cdr. Ravish Malhotra (Pic 2), and Wng Cdr. Yogesh Suri (Pic 3) were the three finalists in the selection of candidates for the Indo-Soviet Soyuz mission of 1984, which eventually launched Rakesh Sharma into space along with Russian cosmonauts Yuri Malyshev and Gennady Strekalov. Though all three of them underwent training at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonauts Training Center, Suri lost out early in the race, while Malhotra was retained as Sharma's back-up.

Sharma(later Wng Cdr.) and Malhotra (later Air Commodore) retired from the Indian Air Force to join HAL and Dynamic Aerospace, respectively.

As for Suri, he was one of the first Indian pilots to fly the MiG-25 in the 102nd Sqn in Bareilly, having flown from Jodhpur to Adhampur in just 30 minutes-- at Mach 3! And those of you that have been listening to FM Radio since its inception, you might remember a certain FM host named, "Yuri". That's him (Yogesh Suri).

Lone Warrior: Lalit S. Pawar. Great work, Lalit!

Tonight's quiz was originally framed by Debopam Roy and I am shamelessly posting it here without a single change to the original question-- okay, I did change the pics, if that counts! Anyways, just connect the following gentlemen:

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Crimean War

Pic 1: Scene from the war film The Thin Red Line : had reference to the historical event in the Crimean War, where Sir Colin Campbell's Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders(the 93rd Highlanders)-- drawn up in just two lines-- stood firm against a Russian charge before routing them completely. It was here-- at the site of the Battle of Balaklava-- that the phrase Thin Red Line originated, as all that the reporting correspondent William H. Russell of the London Times could see between the charging Russians and the British was a thin red streak tipped with a line of steel of the Scottish brigade.

Pic 2: Victoria Cross: The VC was instituted by Royal Warrant on January 29, 1856 to recognize the bravery of those who were then fighting the Crimean War.

Pic 3: The Crimean War introduced cigarettes to the western world. The British and French soldiers adopted it from their Turkish allies, who would roll their tobacco with newsprint once the original cigar-leaf had dried and crumbled. The war also introduced to the world a whole lotta other things, which includes the cardigan (the same Lord Cardigan led the infamous Charge of the Light Brigade), modern nursing methods (cf. Florenece Nightingale), and the ambulance to name a few.


Apurva Dubey
Prakash Nair
Budhaditya Deb
Ishani Chakraborty
Purba Rudra

Tonight's Q: Simple. Who's 'X'?

Thursday, May 11, 2006

From Two Nights Ago

Ans 1. Hamid Sayani, Ameen Sayani, Nikhil Kapoor, Derek O'Brien (BQC hosts, in chronological order)

Ans 2. Deepak Vohra, of Watchword fame, was the Indian Ambassador to Georgia and Armenia during 2002-2005.

Ans 3. Steppenwolf: the band (Pic 1), Hermann Hesse's (Pic 2) book, and Audi's Concept car (Pic 3)

Rahul Paul (6/7)
Gagan Ghosh (4/7)
Budhaditya Deb (4/7)

Now connect the following:

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Not Sigh, Not Kwai, but the Bridge of Spies

Glienicker Breucke or the Glienicke Bridge, infamous as Cold War's spy-swap bridge, connects the cities of Berlin and Potsdam. Badly damaged during WWII, the bridge was rebuilt and reopened in 1949 as the "Bridge of Unity", with the border between the two German republics running through the middle of the bridge (the two flags visible in the pic are that of the German Democratic Republic and the City of Potsdam).

As one of the few places in the world where the United States and the Soviet Union stood directly opposite to each other, the bridge was used--as many as three times-- to exchange captured spies during the Cold War (most notably the Francis Gary Powers and Rudolph Abel exchange), and was thus given the name the Bridge of Spies.


Rahul Paul
Purba Rudra
Budhaditya Deb

A set of three very simple questions for tonight:

i) Fill in the missing names: ____________, Ameen Sayani, Nikhil Kapoor, ___________ (2 points)

ii) Which Indian diplomat (ambassador/high commissioner) made his name as a DD presenter/quizmaster in the 80s? (1 point)

iii) Identify and connect the following (1 point for each correct identification and 1 for the overall connect):

Monday, May 08, 2006

Mother India

The title of (i) Katherine Mayo's (Pic 1) book [Mahatma Gandhi dismissed the book, calling it a gutter-inspector's report], (ii) Mehboob Khan's (Pic 2) Oscar-nominated film, and (iii) MF Hussein's (Pic 3) controversial painting depicting Mother India as a naked woman.

Straightforward identification for tonight. Just give me the name of the bridge. There are ample hints in the picture itself.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Banana Republic

As a term of critique, banana republic was coined to refer to Central American (Pic 1) pseudo-democracies set up for the purpose of foreign exploitation of natural resources, such as food and cash crops (read more here).

The first literary reference to the term may be found in O. Henry's (Pic 2) Cabbages and Kings, in which he describes the fictional nation of Anchuria as a small, maritime banana republic; with Anchuria being a disguised version of the Central American republic of Honduras (Anchuria= Sp. for "widths"; Honduras= Sp. for "depths".)

And lastly, Gap Inc. (Pic 3) owns and runs the Banana Republic clothing stores chain.


Apurva Dubey
Rahul Paul
Purba Rudra
Budhaditya Deb
Shrikant N.

Tonight's question is inspired by a recent photo-quiz posted by Apurva Dubey. As usual, connect the personalities in the pictures below:

Friday, May 05, 2006

Naevus Flammeus

Former Soviet premiere Mikhail Gorbachev, who appeared in a late 90s Pizza Hut commercial and also featured in a German Apple ad, moved to trademark his famous port wine birthmark after a vodka company (Nizhny Novogord distillery Rossa) displayed the mark on the labels of one of their drinks.

Gorbachev sought protection for the pattern of the distinctive birthmark on his forehead and for his nickname, "Gorby", in late 2003/ early 2004, stating that he would only allow his name to be used on respectable items.

Question for tonight: What two-word political terminology connects the following pics?

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The Most Beautiful Woman In The World

Nicknamed the MonaLisa of the Twentieth Century, Gina Lollobrigida played Lina Cavalieri (Italian soprano known for her stunningly beautiful looks, Pic 1) in the biopic La Donna piu bella del Mondo, which earned her the epithet, The World's Most Beautiful Woman. (Cavalieri was the original owner of this title)

As an accomplished photojournalist, she wrote, directed, and produced Ritratto di Fidel, a one of a kind documentary on the Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro. (as a photographer, she had Paul Newman, Dali, the German National Soccer Team, and Ronald Reagan 'model' for her)

The Lollo Rossa lettuce (Pic 2) is named after her signature hair-do. Also, the term lollobrigidienne (meaning "curvaceous") was introduced into the French lexicon in honor of her physical attirubutes.

And finally, she was the original choice for the female lead in Krishna Shah's Shalimar, a project she later backed out of.

Alternating between too easy and too tough [:-)], here's one on the easier side for tonight: What famous trademark registered in 2003 connects the following pics?

Btw, here's Gina posing with one of her sculputures during an exhibition of her work in Moscow last year.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Curse of the Bambino

On Jan 6, 1920 the Boston Red Sox (logo: Pic 2) cast adrift their greatest baseball player-- George Herman Ruth Jr., better known as Babe Ruth (Pic 1)-- and shipped him off to the New York Yankees. Since their inception in 1903, the Red Sox had appeared in five World Series Championships and won them all. With the trading of Ruth, things however took a different turn. Boston failed to win a single World Series for the next 86 years, with popular lore ascribing the failure to the Curse of the Bambino [one of Ruth's many nicknames, Bambino (Italian for Babe) is the name given in art to the images, figures, and statues of infant Jesus: Pic 3]

The curse was reversed in 2004, with the Red Sox winning the World Series game against the Cardinals-- having defeated Yankees in the semi-finals.

Tonight saw the first encounter between the Yankees and the Red Sox in this year's Major League Baseball, which the Red Sox won 7-3. The Twins, with their pathetic display of pitching and batting, lost to the Seattle Mariners 2-8! :(


Apruva Dubey
Budhaditya Deb
Sanyukta Jaiswal

Tonight's question has nothing to do with sports or phrase origins. The pics connect to a person; tell me who. And please explain your connect.

Sunday, April 30, 2006


From Thursday night:

Pic 1: The Indo-Swedish rock band, Mynta. The member missing from that group photograph: Shankar Mahadevan.

Pic 2: Red Eveready logo: points to Ehsaan Noorani, the man behind the Eveready ad and punchline: Gimme Red!

Pic 3: Quiz Time: Loy Mendonsa made his television debut with the title track of Quiz Time, and followed up with the scores and arrangements for Col. Kapoor's Fauji and Prannoy Roy's The World This Week, to name a couple.


Kiritee Konark Mishra
Gagan Ghosh
Rahul Paul
Aneesh Jain

Starting the week and the month with an absolute sitter: What ominous phrase connects the following pics? (The Biblical one is actually a hint)

Friday, April 28, 2006

Different Shades

Paintings by former Prime Minister Vishwanath Pratap Singh, with the Lady in Red being Shakuntala-- and a great last-minute crack by Sanyukta Jaiswal!

Following up with some more desi stuff : the band, the brand, and the show: what's the connection?

(this is as desi as it gets!)