- Fathers can mother, but mothers can’t father.
- The Mall of America is owned by Canadians.
- Neil Armstrong was 17 when Orville Wright died.
- LONELY TYLENOL is a palindrome.
- 258402 + 437762 = 2584043776
- “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled.” — Plutarch
Edward Gorey’s pen names included Ogdred Weary, Raddory Gewe, Regera Dowdy, D. Awdrey-Gore, E.G. Deadworry, Waredo Dyrge, Deary Rewdgo, Dewda Yorger, and Dogear Wryde. Writer Wim Tigges responded, “God reward ye!”
The names of the 48 contiguous United States fall neatly into the two halves of the alphabet:
16 start with A-L, 16 with M-N, and 16 with O-Z.
- WEALTH is an anagram of THE LAW.
- U.S. Navy submarines observe an 18-hour day.
- Joaquín Rodrigo wrote his compositions in Braille.
- 45632 = –45 + 63×2
- “Thy modesty’s a candle to thy merit.” — Henry Fielding
Paul McCartney never learned to read music. “I don’t have any desire to learn,” he said. “I feel it’s like a voodoo, that it would spoil things if I actually learnt how things are done.”
- Alexander Pope was 4 foot 6.
- SOCIAL INEPTITUDE is an anagram of POTENTIAL SUICIDE.
- 6! × 7! = 10!
- Is the correct answer to this question no?
- “Do something well, and that is quickly enough.” — Baltasar Gracián
The Pont Neuf is the oldest bridge across the Seine.
Pont neuf means “new bridge.”
The towns of Dull, Scotland, and Boring, Oregon, became sister cities in 2012.
“One of the things our communities share is the weather,” Boring journalist Jim Hart told the BBC. “We get a lot of rain and snow every year.”
- Only humans are allergic to poison ivy.
- GUNPOWDERY BLACKSMITH uses 20 different letters.
- New York City has no Wal-Marts.
- (5/8)2 + 3/8 = (3/8)2 + 5/8
- “Ignorance of one’s misfortunes is clear gain.” — Euripides
For any four consecutive Fibonacci numbers a, b, c, and d, ad and 2bc form the legs of a Pythagorean triangle and cd – ab is the hypotenuse.
One hot summer day in 1904, Speaker of the House Joe Cannon of Illinois visited the House dining room and asked for a bowl of bean soup. He was told that, in view of the sultry weather, it had been omitted from the menu.
“Thunderation!” Cannon roared. “I had my mouth set for bean soup! From now on, hot or cold, rain, snow, or shine, I want it on the menu every day.”
And so it has been, ever since. The recipe was published on the menu in 1955:
2 lb. No. 1 white Michigan beans.
Cover with water and soak overnight.
Drain and re-cover with water.
Add a smoked ham hock and simmer slowly for about 4 hours until beans are cooked tender. Then add salt and pepper to suit taste.
Just before serving, bruise beans with large spoon ladle, enough to cloud. (Serves about six persons)
A piano keyboard can be used as a calendar mnemonic: If the notes in the chromatic scale from F to E are assigned to the calendar months from January to December, then the white keys correspond to months with 31 days, the black keys to those with 30 days or fewer.
- The first child to be vaccinated in Russia was named Vaccinov.
- Every treasurer of the United States since 1949 has been a woman.
- 15642 = 1 + 56 + 42
- up inverted is dn.
- “Life well spent is long.” — Leonardo
- AWE and WONDER are synonyms, but AWFUL and WONDERFUL are antonyms.
- The Czech word for guest is host.
- Abraham Lincoln is in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
- Ravel described Boléro as “a piece for orchestra without music.”
- “In politics, what begins in fear usually ends in folly.” — Coleridge
William Bliss’ 1949 book The Real Shakespeare concludes with a “Shakespeare examination paper for reasonably advanced students.” It includes this question:
5. What character (and in what play) has the shortest part; appears only once (and that in a stage direction); and says nothing — and yet is essential to the plot?
I thought this might make a good puzzle — but I don’t know the answer! Bliss withholds his, and despite a lot of fumbling research I can’t find a significant player in Shakespeare who says nothing at all. Maybe the bear in The Winter’s Tale? I’ll leave it here as an open-ended riddle.
UPDATE: In the messages I’ve received, the most popular candidate is Banquo’s ghost in Macbeth. Banquo appears alive and speaks early in the play, but Macbeth has him murdered in Act III and his ghost haunts Macbeth silently thereafter, plaguing his conscience. In the stage directions, the ghost is called “Ghost of Banquo,” so arguably this is a distinct character.
09/13/2013 Another possibility: the corpse of Henry VI in Richard III. He appears once, carried in a coffin while Richard woos the mourning Lady Anne; he certainly says nothing; and his death and the victory of the Yorkists set off the events of the play. (Thanks, Josh.)
The modern pentathlon comprises five events: show jumping, fencing, 200-meter freestyle swimming, pistol shooting, and a 3-kilometer cross-country run.
Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic Games, conceived the sport to reflect the skills needed by a Napoleonic cavalry officer: He must ride across unfamiliar terrain; engage an opponent at swordpoint; swim a river that his steed cannot cross; exchange fire with his enemies; and run across country.
Coubertin believed that this event, more than any other, “tested an athlete’s moral qualities as much as their physical resources and skills, producing thereby the ideal, complete athlete.”
In 1940 Ronald Reagan was voted a “Twentieth Century Adonis” by the University of Southern California’s Division of Fine Arts for having the “most nearly perfect male figure.”
He posed for student sculptors there.
- Colombia is the only South American country that borders both the Atlantic and the Pacific.
- GRAVITATIONAL LENS = STELLAR NAVIGATION
- 28671 = (2 / 8)-6 × 7 – 1
- Can a man released from prison be called a freeee?
- “Nature uses as little as possible of anything.” — Johannes Kepler
Sergei Prokofiev died on the same day that Joseph Stalin’s death was announced. Moscow was so thronged with mourners that three days passed before the composer’s body could be removed for a funeral service.
- Mississippi didn’t ratify the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery, until 2013.
- To protect its ecosystem, the location of Hyperion, the world’s tallest living tree, is kept secret.
- 34425 = 34 × 425
- CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE = ACTUAL CRIME ISN’T EVINCED
- “Well, if I called the wrong number, why did you answer the phone?” — James Thurber
The insignia of the Royal New Zealand Air Force is the kiwi, a flightless bird.
Australia’s tallest mountain and most populous city were named for people who never visited the country. Mount Kosciuszko was named after Polish military hero Tadeusz Kosciuszko, because of its resemblance to a prehistoric mound in Kraków, and Sydney was named for British politician Thomas Townshend, Lord Sydney.
- A pound of dimes has the same value as a pound of quarters.
- The French word hétérogénéité has five accents.
- 32768 = (3 – 2 + 7)6 / 8
- Can you deceive yourself deliberately?
- “My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.” — Thomas Paine
In 2000, Guatemalan police asked Christmas revelers not to fire pistols into the air. “Lots of people die when bullets fall on their heads,” National Civilian Police spokesman Faustino Sanchez told Reuters. He said that five to ten Guatemalans are killed or injured each Christmas by falling bullets.
- Will Rogers died at the northernmost point in the United States.
- 94122 + 23532 = 94122353
- TO BE OR NOT TO BE contains two Bs.
- If you stop me being mute, what sound do I make?
- “Better to ask twice than to lose your way once.” — Danish proverb
George the Third said with a smile,
“Seventeen sixty yards to a mile.”
This gives two unrelated pieces of information: the date of George’s accession and the number of yards in a mile.
There are exactly 10! seconds in six weeks.
January 10, 2011, is a palindrome in four different notations: 1/10/2011, 1/10/11, I/X/MMXI, and I/X/XI.