Latest answers

Latest answers

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

408. Dull and boring?


Originally a halogenic compound this word is a byword for a dull, boring person or a cliche. The credit for the figurative usage of the word goes to one gentleman named Gelett Burgess who used it for the first time in an essay called the "The Sulphitic Theory". In the fall of 1906, Gelett published a revised and enlarged essay in the form of a small book called "Are You a _______?" The essay also gave rise to a different word meaning a short promotional piece accompanying a creative work. Which two words were coined by Burgess?

Saturday, June 16, 2018

407. Pole Position?



According to some, the most famous Polish guy ever, his was a remarkable life. His name endorses the first ever Zloty bank-notes and one of his residences constitutes the smallest unit of the national park system in the United States. He willed away a large part of his American estate for the emancipation of slavery, however for various machinations, the will stayed unexecuted.

In Krakow, Poles from around the world financed and voluntarily built a memorial mound in his honor containing urns of earth from all the battlefields that he fought in Europe and America. Noticing a certain resemblance to this structure, in another continent, an apex point was named after him by another freewheeling Pole.

What? 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

406. A mother's tears?


This aromatic tree gets its name from the mother of Adonis. She was transformed into a tree after having had intercourse with her father and gave birth to Adonis as a tree (as shown in the painting). According to legend, the aromatic exudings of the tree are her tears. Name the tree, which is native to West Asia and Horn of Africa and whose resin has been used throughout history as a perfume, incense, and medicine? Additional point for identifying the painter.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

405. Corny Beginnings?

His remains were relinquished to an unmarked grave in Kolkata, India, until the fact was unearthed by a keen eyed researcher only a few years ago.  He is probably the reason why many in India have to partake of  a portion of their yearly earnings to the government exchequer, though that is probably the least known fact about him. Something that he established in the 19th century had a rather corny inspiration but continues to thrive in the modern age today and in 2007, started publishing a lifestyle focused spin-off, named after the year of its (the 19th century something's, not the spin-off's) own birth.

Who was this champion of free-trade? What did he establish? When? 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

404. (Not) a very childish pastime....

Though now associated with a fun "thing" for kids by virtue of the work done in sequence by an engineering count and an author with some intelligence, some believe that its ultimate origins were far from kiddish. The first half (a double word construct) comes from an innocuous enough Sanskrit word with an epistolary nature that was borrowed by the Tommies. In the lonely barracks of World War Two, this may have been bonded with the second half (another double word construct) for the whole to signify that the bearer now had permission to partake in the pleasures of the "maisons tolérées".


What? Which author?

Friday, June 1, 2018

403. So much confusion!


The two-word name of this musical instrument (Paul McCartney holding on the cover of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band) is a misnomer. The instrument neither originated in the place nor belongs to the family of instruments as the name suggests. In fact, the instrument originated in a region of central Europe and belongs to the oboe family. The present name could be from a misunderstanding from the resemblance of the instrument played by angels as depicted in the Middle Ages. To make matters more confusing, this instrument is most often referred to by its French name and the English name is a literal translation of the French name. Which instrument?

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

402. Drunken brawl

This slang term for a scene of uproar or disorder gets its name from an Irish fair which started in the 13th century under the auspices of King John of England but by the beginning of the 19th century turned into a site of public entertainment and drinking thus leading to it getting abolished.  What term, which also shares its name with an Irish jig and an upmarket food chain?