Idle Moments – August/September 2021

Well hello there! I’m feeling a little (maybe tiny is a better adjective) bit upbeat at the moment. I have just come

out of five days of self-isolation. The rule is actually ten days from ‘significant contact’ but it took the NHS five of those days to retrieve the information from whoever it was and get the message to me, so I didn’t become too emaciated during my incarceration – and my local excellent beer and wine shop (small plug here for Noble Green Wines of Hampton Hill) do free local delivery on orders costing over 40 squids.

I was going to do a different type of non-rhyming limerick but I think you’ve probably had enough of my self-indulgent rambling on for one edition, so I’ll just get on with some number puzzles for your delectation (?) and delight (???):

  1. 105 PS is OHG
  2. 20 in H is T-T in D
  3. 3 N (AC) to the P
  4. 16 I of the S are I
  5. 75 P for TD in the O
  6. 25 P is a P
  7. 6 HP the DJSC
  8. 20 W on the FS and its T
  9. 15 FB in RU
  10. 3 S (and a C) on the MC of A

Right, 5BY4 time. No doubt you will be pleased that, having done avian taxonomy for three out of the last four editions, I decided to try something different (Yes, I am fed up with them as well). So I thought for a bit and suddenly, ‘There are lots of breweries in London; let’s see if my erudite readership can match some of them with their locations’. This one could run and run! Here’s the first batch which I have called ‘London Brewers (1)’:

  1. Earth Ale A. Herne Hill
  2. Dog’s Grandad B. Strawberry Hill
  3. Signal C. Tottenham
  4. Bullfinch D. North Kensington
  5. Partizan E. Wood Green
  6. Concrete Island F. Bermondsey
  7. Werewolf G. Dollis Hill
  8. Moncada H. Walthamstow
  9. Jawbone I. Kentish Town
  10. One Mile End J. Brixton

It’s all right; I promise not to do them every edition. I’ll just drop a few in when you think you are safe. Incidentally, the locations are taken from CAMRA’S Brewery Information System – ‘home’ of London’s Brewery Liaison Officers in case you don’t recognise Strawberry Hill, for example.

Finally, for Trivial Knowledge, in the absence of anything original coming to mind, I decided to go back to events that happened in years ending in 1 and again during the months covered by this edition. As it happens, when I whittled my long(er) list down to ten items I found that I had weeded out all of the questions which had a year for the answer. I think this makes for better questions; I hope you agree:

  1. On 1 August 1831, the new London Bridge (the one now in Arizona) was opened. Who was the engineer who designed it?
  2. Who was the famous landscape gardener and architect, born on 3 August 1801 near Woburn, Bedfordshire, and for what iconic building in London is he most famous?
  3. On 10 August 1821, which U.S. state (nickname the ‘Show Me State’) became the 24th of the Union?
  4. Who was the British, European and World Middleweight boxing champion born on 17 August 1951 in Penge?
  5. What world famous painting was stolen from the Louvre on 21 August 1911 by waiter Vincenzo Peruggia? It was recovered in 1913.
  6. On 2 September 1971, what country discontinued its use of the title ‘United Arab Republic’ and reverted to its original name?
  7. Which president of the USA was shot on 6 September 1901 in Buffalo by Leon Czolgosz, dying eight days later? And who succeeded him?
  8. Which former leader of the Soviet Union died on 11 September 1971 at the age of 77?
  9. Who was the author of Last of the Mohicans who died on 14 September 1851?
  10. Robert Muldoon, born on 25 September 1921, was prime minister of which country?

Well, I seem to have ground to a natural break, so I’ll say farewell for now. Stay safe and let’s see what transpires after 19 July. Of course, we’ll all know a lot more about that by the time you read this.

Andy Pirson


I have been found out! Following the June/July column, loyal reader and good friend Martin Butler has pointed out that Apollo 9 did not actually leave Earth orbit so there are two possible answers to general knowledge question No. 1, which I shall clarify when we get there.

Number puzzles:

  1. 80 Chains in a Mile
  2. 3 Astronauts in an Apollo Mission Crew
  3. 100 Hectares in a Square Kilometre
  4. 5 Permanent Members of the United Nations Security Council
  5. 1688 Glorious Revolution
  6. 6 Edges of a Tetrahedron
  7. 100 Laps of Major Tom’s Garden
  8. 1111 in Binary is F in Hexadecimal
  9. 100 Hectares in a Square Kilometre
  10. 361 is Nineteen Squared

5BY4: Avian Taxonomy (repeated name)

  1. Quail – Coturnix coturnix
  2. Corncrake – Crex crex
  3. Goldcrest – Regulus regulus
  4. Magpie – Pica pica
  5. Buzzard – Buteo buteo
  6. Red Grouse – Lagopus lagopus
  7. Lapwing – Vanellus vanellus
  8. Red Kite – Milvus milvus
  9. Greylag Goose – Anser anser
  10. Sand Martin – Riparia riparia

Please note: In the column as I sent it, I did include both the genus and species; one of them was omitted by somebody – presumably to save space.


  1. Among the ten (NO! Nine) Apollo space missions to leave Earth orbit THREE people flew on two missions – James Lovell, John Young, Gene Cernan. In addition, David Scott flew on Apollo 9 and 15, so four astronauts flew on two of the ten missions 8 to 17 inclusive. Thanks Martin.
  2. Of the above two-mission astronauts, the only one who did not walk on the Moon on either mission was James Lovell (on Apollo 13, as noted in the question).
  3. The first Apollo mission to employ a lunar rover was Apollo 15.
  4. With the recent demise of Michael Collins, the last surviving member of the Apollo 11 crew is Edwin (Buzz) Aldrin.
  5. The oldest person to walk on the moon was Alan Shepherd (47 years and 80 days), on Apollo 14.
  6. And the youngest person to walk on the moon was Charlie Duke (36 years and 201 days), on Apollo 16.
  7. The first person to set the world land speed record at over 200 mph, in his twin engined ‘1000hp’ Sunbeam on 29 March 1927, was Sir Henry Seagrave.
  8. The first person to set the world land speed record at over 300 mph, on 3 September 1935, was Sir Malcolm Campbell.
  9. The first person to hold the world land and water speed records simultaneously was also Sir Henry Seagrave.
  10. And finally, the last person to hold the world land and water speed records simultaneously was Donald Campbell.