Idle Moments – Aug/Sept 2020

Rose’s are red,
Violet’s are blue,
Mary’s are green,
And they’re looking at you.

I don’t know why that little ditty came to me; it just did. I Googled to see if I was remembering it from somewhere but I couldn’t find any reference to it so it must be all mine (and so I can’t blame it on anyone else). No, it’s not meant to be a riddle, but if you want it to be . . .
How are you all keeping in these strange times? I had my first couple of pints in a pub a couple of days ago (as I write this); it felt a bit strange after 16 weeks, though strangely familiar. I didn’t try on the Saturday as we thought with the reduced seating we probably wouldn’t get in the local and it’s a bus ride for my mates; I thought Monday would be quiet and I was right.
Anyway, let’s get some semblance of normality with some number puzzles:

  1. 3 V on a FH
  2. 7 N in the TS-F
  3. 4 TU the T on the JL
  4. 2 RE on a VWB
  5. 1 for S (it’s a M)
  6. 3 T of CR in the HE
  7. 215 (at least) V of DHS
  8. 5 PLFT in GL
  9. 7 DN by TD
  10. 2 E are L at RT (B and M)

There. Now we are back in the swing of things let’s do some 5BY4-ing. In the last edition I chose national flowers from Commonwealth countries. This time, to save wasting the research, I have taken ten countries in Europe for the same treatment. Can you match them up?

1.France              A. Cyclamen
2.Hungary             B. Sunflower
3.Belgium             C. Carnation (red)
4.Portugal            D. Lily of the Valley
5.San Marino          E. Iris
6.Spain               F. Poppy (red)
7.Finland             G. Lavender
8.Switzerland         H. Tulip
9.Ukraine             I. Cornflower
10.Estonia            J. Edelweiss

If you want to do some research of your own, we might (or might not) have some national flowers from the rest of the world next time (or some other time in the future). Right. Let’s have some trivia; you might notice that quite a few of these questions are on an engineering theme. No special reason, I just thought I would.

  1. What was the name of the first U.S. space shuttle orbiter, which was used for approach and landing tests but did not actually have an orbital capability?
  2. What was the name of the last space shuttle orbiter, built to replace Challenger?
  3. What was the name of the school teacher who died in the Challenger space shuttle accident?
  4. Used as part of the space shuttle program, what was the function of the ships MV Freedom Star and MV Liberty Star?
  5. And finally for the space shuttle, how many orbiters were built in total?
  6. Not the statue on Crete, who was dubbed the ‘Colossus of Roads’?
  7. We all know (don’t we?) that James Watt did not invent the steam engine, but what is he most famous for inventing?
  8. . . . . and how did it greatly improve the efficiency of the steam engine?
  9. We all (I assume) know of Jerome K Jerome’s book Three Men in a Boat, but what was the title of its sequel which involved the same three protagonists?
  10. Name the guitarist who is the only person to have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three times: once as a solo artist and twice as a group member (and with what two groups was he inducted)?

And there we are for a couple more months. Will we be available on paper next time? I don’t know, but I’m not holding my breath. Stay safe and keep smiling.
Andy Pirson

THE ANSWERS from the previous issue
Number puzzles:
1.1616 Miles from the Equator to the Tropic of Cancer (or Capricorn)
2.105 (New) Pence in a Guinea
3.176 Feet is the Height of the Albert Memorial
4.27 Bones in the Human Hand
5.3 Number of Beethoven’s Symphony ‘Eroica’
6.25 Points for First Place in a Formula One Grand Prix
7.404 Error Code ‘Not Found’
8.1509 Coronation of Henry the Eighth
9.48 Ceremonial Counties of England
10.606 Square Miles of Greater London
5BY4 (Commonwealth National Flowers):
India – Lotus
Belize – Black Orchid
Trinidad & Tobago – Chaconia (wild poinsettia)
South Africa – Protea
Mauritius – Jasmine
Sri Lanka – Blue Star Water Lily
Australia – Golden Wattle
Tonga – Heilala
Canada – Maple (leaf)
New Zealand – Kowhai
General knowledge:
1.The historical landmark at Fishbourne, just outside Chichester, is Fishbourne Roman Palace (with its extensive remains of mosaic floors).
2.The historic landmark in the grounds of Boscobel House in Shropshire is the ‘son’ of the Royal Oak (in which the future Charles II evaded the roundheads after the battle of Worcester).
3.It is the ‘son’ because it was grown from an acorn from the original which had to be felled in about 1725 after the depredations of souvenir hunters.
4.Pen-Y-Ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough – the focus of annual Three Peaks challenge – are the three highest peaks in the Yorkshire Dales national park.
5.‘The Cage’ (possibly built as a hunting lodge) is a major feature of the grounds Lyme Park in Cheshire (owned by the National Trust).
6.No. 6 was a trick question. Lewis and Harris are the north and south parts of the same island.
7.Jacopo Robusti, an Italian painter of the Venetian School, is generally known (because his father was a dyer) as Tintoretto.
8.Michelangelo Merisi, the Italian painter noted for his dramatic use of chiaroscuro is usually known as Caravaggio.
9.Apart from Richmond Park, Bushy Park etc. the cemetery administered by the Royal Parks is Brompton Cemetery.
10.Another sneaky one (though not a trick): the organisation which administers Victoria Tower Gardens by the Houses of Parliament is also the Royal Parks.