15 October 2017

Some Sunday morning English word puzzles

Here are some more interesting English words to get you going on a Sunday. Please feel free to answer in the Comment section if you know or after you have found the answers…

1. I remember growing up during childhood, one of the best things about rains was that typical smell of the earth after the initial showers. I am sure you remember it too – and even experience it today – that earthy smell you get after the first showers – especially if the ground was very dry. There is actually a word to describe that smell. Do you know what it is?

2. I have a not-so-healthy habit of piling up books. When I hear good reviews of a book from friends, I usually go to iBooks, read up a few sample pages and if it still interests me, I buy it. Here is the catch though – I do not often get to reading those books. Sometimes, it takes me a long time to start reading them. Do you have the same habit? That of buying books and not reading them? There is a word to describe that behavior. Do you know it?

3. Any of you who have visited us in our Atlanta house will know that we live in a forest. We love the raw beauty of nature and the privacy of a forest. There is a word to describe people like us who love the forests. What is it?

4. While I dabble a lot in alcohol, I never could get myself to drink beer. Certainly, I understand the production process and categories of various gins, wines, vodkas, whiskies, but I am an absolute neophyte when it comes to beer making. I have heard my friends use a few words – like IPA, hops etc when talking about beer. I never knew what hops are – except that it has to do with beer. Curiosity eventually got the better of me and I looked it up. Well, hops – I found out are a kind of plant and is used during the beer making process. In fact the category of plant that hops belong to is called “bine”. I was sure that was a misprint of “vine” (I guess I was thinking wine – grapes etc etc). Turns out “bine” is the right word. Do you know what a “bine” is? More importantly, what is the difference between a “bine” and a “vine”?

5. If you have gotten to this point, you obviously love words and are at least moderately curious about them. So, we will finish up with a word to describe you. What do you call somebody who is a lover of words?

Here’s to learning a few more new words…

28 September 2017

Presidential Trivia

To distract all my USA FB friends voicing their strong opinions for or against our current President’s tweets/statements on NFL players “taking the knee” (ha ha), here are some Presidential trivia questions. Hope both sides of the debate can work together to find the answers….

1. I was stunned to find out recently who our first President to have been born in a hospital was. Want to take a guess?

2. George Washington, of course, was our first President. Did you know that in both his terms, he was voted unanimously to be the President? Not a single electoral college of any party voted against him. Here is the question – which party did he represent in those two elections?

3. Kennedy, as we know was the youngest person to have been elected President. (Technically, Teddy Roosevelt became President when he was younger than Kennedy but that was not thru an election – previous President was assassinated). How about the oldest President to have been elected?

4. There has been only one President in the history of US who was a confirmed bachelor. Who was it?

5. On the other hand, there was another bachelor who was elected the President. And he married his sweetheart in White House while he was the President. In fact, even had his daughter born in the White House. Who was it?

6. We know many Presidents who have held the position multiple times. Almost always consecutively. (Of course, after Franklin Roosevelt’s 12 years of Presidency, there was a law promulgated that put a cap to 2 terms only). In fact, in the recent past, Obama, George W, Bill Clinton have been all 2 term presidents. There has been only one President who had 2 terms but not consecutively. He won, then lost a rebid and then won again the next time. Making him the only President who has 2 separate numbers for himself(like George HW Bush was 41 and his son was 43…). Who was it?

7. We have all heard about the crazy schedule of Presidents. President Obama, for example, wore the same color shirt and trousers to avoid wasting time in the morning in selecting clothes. On the other hand, there was a President that woke up every morning at 5AM only to practice piano for 2 long hours!! Who was it?

8. Being a President and being the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court are two of the highest positions in US (in fact they are the highest positions in two of the three branches – Executive, Legislative and Judiciary wings). There was one President that has the distinction of being both (of course – at different times). Do you know who it is?

9. A sitting President was once pulled over and arrested for going too fast (eventually fined too). Who was it? I will give you a hint – he was crossing the speed limit while riding a horse!!

10. There was one fortunate President who survived two consecutive attempts to assassinate him within a space of 17 days – and I say fortunate since he survived both attempts. Here is the crazy thing. Both were attempted by women. In fact, those were the only instances of a woman ever attempting to assassinate a sitting US President. Who was that President?

Bonus question:
By most accounts, Anne Royall was the first female journalist of this country. She had tried, for months, to score the first ever woman conducted interview of a US President. The President just would have nothing if it. Anne came up with a devious plan. She had found out that the President regularly swam in the Potomac early mornings. In the nude!!! So, she simply snuck up on him one morning while he was in the river, gathered all his clothes and sat on them till he would agree to an interview! Who was that hapless President (no doubt he would consider himself lucky to be in the pre-selfie era 🙂 )

31 August 2017

Some random facts that I have learnt over the years…

Here are five of them:

1. Do you know how the Romans whitened their teeth? Believe it or not, they used urine. Now, the chemically oriented ones among you obviously have figured out that it should work. And it does. But, please, please, DO NOT try this at home.

2. Since we dealt with the Romans, let’s talk about the Greeks. And their drinking. Drinking wine. I bet you that brings up images of Greeks drinking themselves silly thru the night in drinking orgies. Well, here is the deal, The Greeks drank wine. A lot of that. But they despised anybody who got overly drunk. You know what they did? They mixed what you and I call wine with water – one part of wine to five parts of water!! I can see all my wine enthusiast friends grimacing 🙂

3. Can you imagine being struck by lightning? How about twice and living thru it? How about thrice and still living. Park Ranger Sullivan was struck seven times – SEVEN times – by lightning while on duty in park. You know how he eventually died? Self inflicted gun wound. Apparently while cleaning his guns!!

4. How long for light to emanate from the core of the sun to reach the earth. I know many of you are going eight and a half minutes. But that is the time taken for light to travel from the surface of the sun to the surface of earth. Actually a photon takes thousands of years to get from the center of the sun to the surface of the sun and then another eight and a half minutes to get to earth!

P.S. Does that we are really living in the past? 🙂

5. Ratio of humans to ants. Want to take a guess?
There are 1.6 million ants to every human being!!
And all those ants put together – will weight about all the humans put together!!

Hope you enjoyed these. My friend from i2 – Dev Ghoshal – had once accurately remarked: I focus on inconsequential data 🙂

28 August 2017

There is a name for that?

See if you can guess any of these punctuation marks:

1. In 1962, a punctuation mark was invented which was basically the question mark and the exclamation mark together. It looks like this: ?! It is used to ask mostly rhetorical exclamatory questions. Like – What the heck?!

That symbol has a name. Do you know what it is?

2. Sometimes, in Word, you might have pressed the wrong keys (or maybe you wanted to do it purposely) and you would have seen all those line break and paragraph break symbols come up. The paragraph break symbol looks like this: ¶ (like an opposite P)

Do you know the same of that symbol?

3. Have you seen the following symbol usually used to separate different sections of a story or essay? “§”

Want to guess what it is called?

4. Remember the “divide” sign? “÷” Originally it was used to separate out sections in a story or essay too. And that has its own name.

Do you know it?

5. Sometimes, you might have seen this symbol – † in footnotes. Or might be even ‡

Can you guess what their names are?

Not sure how I got started this evening on this but I was looking up the name for a symbol and then one thing led to the other….

11 July 2017

Five mind blowing facts I learnt last evening…

Late evening, Nikita decided to go for a swim and I went out to give her some company. Instead of actually jumping in, I stayed land side and started reading up on some geography trivia. Some of the things I learnt just blew my mind away. See how many of these you already know. After answering them, Google up and find out the answers!!

1. Which city first reached a population of 1 million?

2. Which country has the maximum number of pyramids?

3. What fraction of the Nile river’s total length flows thru Egypt?

4. In which continent is the driest place on earth?

5. There is a sea that has no coastline. Can you name it?

25 June 2017

A very interesting puzzle

I understand the problem is attributed to Pythagoras. (I am not sure of the veracity of the story). In any case, my friend Prodipto posted this in our school Whatsapp group. Try it…

In a party that had 100 guests, the first guest was given 1% of a large cake. The next guest got 2% of what was left. And the next got 3% of what was left…. on and on… the 99th guest got 99% whatever was left at that time and the 100th guest got the final (100% of) leftover.

Which guest got the largest piece?


Adding the answer here…


23 June 2017

A logic puzzle after a long time…

Found an interesting one from my friend Prodipta Chatterjee. Took me a few minutes till I realized that the trick is to not think of it as other problems of similar descriptions… Try it…

From a bag that has 26 bills (of three denominations – $1, $2 and $5), you pick out 20 of them blindfolded. You are guaranteed (probability = 1) that you will have at least one $1 bill AND two $2 bills and five $5 bills.

You have to solve for the following question: How much total money is there in the bag?

26 February 2017

Some crazy toy trivia

Can you guess the following? You can Google for the answers – you do not need to post them… But first try to guess

1. What is the oldest toy? If you think hard, you might be able to guess this.

2. What is the second oldest toy? For the life of me, I would not have guessed this right.

3. In England, it is against the law to not provide whom or what with toys? You are going to laugh your head off once you find the answer.

4. Speaking of which, in France it is a crime to sell dolls without this. Can you guess?

5. Which toy originated in gym classes in Australia, was banned in Indonesia, also banned by Japan from playing in public and the Russians deemed it to be “symbol of emptiness of American culture”?

6. Finally, can you guess who is the largest distributor of toys? You can get this if you think about it for a second.

Now check the internet for the answers…

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