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Noggin Hoggin' Challenge Starting on Monday April 11, 2011

Here are the past questions which were used in this Noggin Hoggin' Challenge, along with the answers we accepted and an explanation.


Bonus Question (Head Start Clue)

I guess you could call me an icon. A "friend" to most, I stand prominently, extending welcome. Nearly 1,600 competed for my coveted position, and a fair amount of controversy surrounded my rise to distinction on the world stage. More than 100 of my ancestors reside at Enukso Point.

I have other noteworthy relations. In fact, one of my cousins is a veritable, record-holding giant. He's nicknamed after his father, and (IMHO) spends far too much time at work.

Another alleged relative (there's been debate about his true origins for decades) is a weathered recluse with illusions of grandeur. He claims to be of Norse descent and stares out longingly across the sea towards the Green land from whence his "forefathers" came. Would you believe he claims to be able to command storms?

What are my personal Proper name, my cousin's nickname, and my estranged relation's namesake? (Separate the three answers with commas)

Acceptable answers:
Ilanaaq, Little Joe, Thor
Ilanaaq,Little Joe,Thor


Enukso Point is a Canadian National Historic Site in Nunavut, famous for having more that 100 inuksuit erected by its indigenous people.

The logo for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver was a particular inuksuk whose proper name was 'Ilanaaq', the Inuktitut interpretation for the word 'friend'. More than 1600 entries were submitted by designers hoping to have their work represent the games. The final selection generated controversy among some First Nations groups who felt the symbol didn't reflect the native art and culture of the Vancouver region and the rest of British Columbia, as totem poles might have done.

There is a record-holding inuksuk at Allstone Quarry Products Inc., in Schomberg, Ontario. At 11.377 metres, it was recognized by Guinness World Records as the tallest structure of its kind in the world. Jose Melo, the creator of this inuksuk, is known to friends, family, and coworkers as 'Big Joe', so he affectionately nicknamed the behemoth granite figure 'Little Joe':

Finally, on the shore of the Arnaud River, in far northern Quebec, there stands a 3.3 m tall monolith named "Thor's Hammer" by its discoverer, Thomas E. Lee, because he assumed it to be of Viking origin (some modern scholars argue that it might be an Inuit inuksuk). However, the last part of the question asked for the object's namesake, not the name of the object itself. The namesake is the person or thing an object is named after, which in this case would be "Thor" rather than "Thor's Hammer". In Norse mythology, 'Thor' is a thunder god armed with a fearsome hammer weapon:


Question for Monday April 11, 2011:

For more than a hundred years, acousticians have identified the following as representing a watershed moment in their field.

However, just three years ago, researchers stunned the world by deciphering related (though different) technology that had been employed 17 years prior to what they'd previously considered to be the "first of its kind".

In the country where this recently discovered sound was made, at the time when it was made, what name did its ruler go by? Note that this person has a Roman numeral after his or her name - don't forget to include that!

Acceptable answers:
Napoleon III
Napoleon III, Emperor of the French
Louis Napoleon III
Emperor Napoleon III


Thomas Edison is credited for having invented the phonograph in 1877 - a device which could record and play back sound. His first phonograph used a stylus to engrave a track in tin foil which was wrapped around a cylinder and cranked by hand. By doing so, the vibrations of the stylus caused wiggles in the track. Later, if the stylus was placed in the track it had made and the cylinder cranked again, the variations in the track would cause the stylus to vibrate. Hooked up to a mechanical amplifying device, these vibrations resulted in recreating the original sound.

One problem with this technology though was that the stylus tended to destroy the tiny groove in the tin foil as it played back the sound. As a result, early recordings could only be played back once or twice. The audio recording you heard first is Thomas Edison's voice, though in 1927, recreating what he said 50 years prior when he made his landmark invention in 1877. It is unfortunate, though unavoidable, that the original recording no longer exists, but the mere act of testing his new invention determined its fate.

However, as revolutionary as Edison's invention was, recent discoveries have shown he was beat to the discovery of a method to record sound by 17 years - in a manner of speaking, anyway. In 1857, Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville patented the phonautograph. This was a device used to study the science of sound, by converting vibrations in the air into a line traced on paper or glass blackened by soot. However, he apparently was only interested in using this device as a method to visualize sound - neither he nor anyone else at the time realized that this recording might be able to be converted back into sound, and after his research on visualizing sound had been done, most of his work faded into obscurity.

However, in 2008, American audio historians found some of Édouard-Léon's phonautograms, stored with some of his papers at the French patent office and the Académie des Sciences. As his recordings consisted just of lines traced through the soot, a stylus couldn't be used to play them back as was done with Edison's recordings. So they took high quality pictures of the lines and then working with scientists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, used special computer software to reproduce the sound that would have created the vibrations recorded. From one phonautogram created on April 9, 1860, the haunting tune of the famous French song "Au Clair de la Lune" was finally heard once more, 150 years after it was sung. Though the quality is a few notches below that of an iPod, you may be able to make out some of the words from the first verse:

Au clair de la lune
Mon ami Pierrot

Some people, including those who carried out this research, think that the words sung may in fact be from the second verse:

Au clair de la lune
Pierrot répondit

But ultimately, nobody knows for sure, and likely never will. For those familiar with the song though, the tune is unmistakable (although it's quite clear that Édouard-Léon was not a particularly accomplished singer).

Nobody knew how fast the paper was pulled past the bristle that caused the line, so the researchers didn't really know how fast to play back the sound. Initially, they did so at what seemed to be a normal singing speed, and when done so, it sounded like a woman's voice. When you were trying to solve this question, you may have heard this first version on the Internet of what the sound may have been. However, later evidence revealed that Édouard-Léon recorded the song himself, meaning that a more close approximation to the sound is the one we provided here. It is sung much more slowly than would normally be done, but is consistent with an experimenter using the device to visualize each of the sounds in the song individually.

Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville lived his entire life in Paris, France, which is where he also did his research. In 1848, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (the nephew of the more well-known Napoléon Bonaparte) became the President of the French Second Republic. On December 2, 1851, he staged a coup d'état by dissolving the National Assembly even though he didn't have the right to do so. In the aftermath, he officially became known as Napoleon III, Emperor of the French, lasting in that role until 1870.

So at the time the sound was made, the leader of France was known as Napoleon III.


Question for Tuesday April 12, 2011:

Decipher the message in the video and provide the correct answer. The first three letters are initials, and be aware that there are no Ys.

Hint: _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

Acceptable answers:


Most people associate Alexander Graham Bell with his invention of the telephone in 1876. Some people also know that he later invented the gramophone.

Few people realize that Bell had a great passion for both aeronautics and kites. He used kites to further his knowledge of man-assisted flight. Bell designed, made and tested many of his own man-carrying kites himself.

A tetrahedron is a four-sided solid, triangular pyramid. Bell found the tetrahedron to have a very good strength to weight ratio. He built a kite called the Frost King, which was made up of 1,300 tetrahedron cells. This kite accidentally lifted one of its handlers some 30-40 feet above the ground while being tested.

It is no coincidence that the message in the video uses sign language. Alexander Graham Bell's mother and wife were both deaf.

In Boston, Bell opened a school for teachers of the deaf in 1872, and he founded the American Association to Promote the Teaching of Speech to the Deaf in 1890. This is now known as the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf.


Question for Wednesday April 13, 2011:

SAM's crest graces my final resting place, though my bust is gone. Look carefully and you may find a witch's broom, playing cards, stones, coins, and keys. Another broken wand? Halloween marked the end.

That boy they say I nicknamed sure was a deadpan. What did he like to eat best, according to his hat?

Acceptable answers:
pork pie
pork pies


Harry Houdini was a famous illusionist and escape artist who died on October 31, 1926 (Halloween). Members of the Society of American Magicians (SAM), the crest of which is inscribed at his gravesite, gather by his tomb to perform a ritual broken wand ceremony every year in November. Visitors regularly leave various magic-related artifacts on and around his grave marker. Although a cast of Houdini's bust once adorned his last resting place, it was stolen.

A widely circulated story, of questionable authenticity, relates how Houdini once exclaimed, "That was a real buster!", upon watching an eighteen month old Joseph Frank Keaton take a fall down a long set of stairs. The child was his business partner, Joseph Hallie "Joe" Keaton's, son. Apparently the child was thereafter nicknamed "Buster".

Buster Keaton is an actor best known for delivering exaggerated physical comedy while maintaining a signature deadpan expression. Another of his trademarks was the pork pie hat he always wore. He and his wife reportedly made thousands of these hats themselves out of Stetsons. Apparently, they were so damaged during his wild scenes that he was lucky to only go through six of them while filming a movie.


Question for Thursday April 14, 2011:

I was the loudest killer on the planet. This claim to fame has stood for over 120 years! I gave birth to a child on an island 44 years after the murderous streak that made me famous.

My child is now growing like a weed. His growth is so rapid it takes two plates to feed him. Unfortunately, my child has learned much from me. My explosive personality is coming through in his daily interactions with society. I fear he will one day bottle up this aggression and really blow his top. It has gotten so bad that the government is warning the authorities to keep an eye on him around the clock.

According to the CIA World Factbook, and rounded to the nearest hundred, how many islands make up the nation in which I reside and raise my son?

Acceptable answers:
17 500
17500 islands
17,500 islands
17 500 islands


Krakotoa is a volcanic island located in the archipelago of Indonesia. This name is used for a group of islands in the Sunda Strait between the islands of Java and Sumatra. On August 26 and 27th, 1883 the island exploded and created a shock wave that was considered the loudest sound ever heard in modern history. There are confirmed reports of it being heard as far distant as Mauritius, about 5,000 km away. That's like an explosion in Panama being heard in Edmonton! It is estimated that around 40,000 people were killed due to the fallout of the eruptions and tsunamis that followed. The eruption destroyed two-thirds of the island of Krakatau.

The first signs of a "Child of Krakatoa" appeared in 1927 when some underwater eruptions lead to a new volcano rising above the waterline in the form of a couple of small islands that were quickly eroded away. In 1930 a fourth island, Anak Krakatau, began to produce lava faster than the waves could erode the island. Currently, Anak Krakatau grows an average of over 6 metres per year. The island is steadily active with low level Strombolian eruptions almost continuously happening with occasional larger and more active explosions. Now measuring over 300 metres in height, this volcano is constantly being monitored and studied by volcanologists.

Anak Krakatau is part of the archipelago (island group or chain) of Indonesia. Indonesia is made up of an estimated 17,508 islands according to the CIA World Factbook. This makes it the world's largest archipelago. There are 8 major islands, and over 8,000 smaller ones have also been named, but only 922 have permanent inhabitants. With 130 volcanoes, Indonesia is very seismically active, with the effect that the number of islands continues to evolve. Sometimes, there is disagreement on what even constitutes an island, with some being little more than rocks that barely rise above the surface of the sea. In 2002, LAPAN (Lembaga Penerbangan dan Antariksa Nasional - the Indonesian Space Agency) did a survey and counted 18,306 islands. You may have also found other references to the number of islands in Indonesia, but the question specifically asked for the number specified in the CIA World Factbook, rounded to the nearest hundred. The answer we were looking for was therefore 17,500.


Question for Friday April 15, 2011:

I was discovered in Pakistan by Dr. Christiano, but am most distinctive in Mr. Bigglesworth and Sam the ugly.

What is the sum of the chromosome numbers where I reside in humans, mice, and "dew-loving" arthropods?

NOTE: We received several reports from people who did a compelling amount of research in trying to solve this question, and made a very good case for a response other than the one we came up with. Complicating the issue was the fact that in some cases, there are multiple genes associated with hairlessness across the three species. As a result, we've decided to void this question entirely for this challenge.

Acceptable answers:


The first human gene ever linked with hairlessness was discovered by Dr. Angela Christiano, herself a sufferer of alopecia areata, a health condition where hair is lost from some or all areas of the body, but most commonly from the scalp. The gene was identified in a remote village in Pakistan where an inherited disorder left afflicted family members without a single strand of hair on their bodies. This so-called "hairless" gene is not unique to humans.

Dr. Bigglesworth, a fictional cat from the Austin Powers film series, was played by a purebred Sphynx named Ted NudeGent in real life. The Sphynx (or Canadian Hairless) is a pelt-less breed of cat which originated in Toronto, back in 1966.

"Sam the ugly" refers to the nightmare-provoking winner of the World's Ugliest Dog Contest, three years running (2003-2005). Sam was a blind purebred Chinese Crested dog, a hairless species.

In humans, the hairless gene is found on chromosome 8. In mice, it is found on chromosome 14. In 'dew-loving' insects (a reference to Drosophila melanogaster, the common fruit fly), the gene is located on chromosome 3.

8 + 14 + 3 = 25


Question for Saturday April 16, 2011:


= 1 ipvtf

To complete this puzzle, you must use the information ABOVE to help you find the solution to ONLY ONE of the questions BELOW. Choose which of the two options you wish to answer. You cannot submit answers for both, or you will be eliminated. Remember that this is a timed challenge; if you choose to change your answer after having submitted it, your end time will be reset and will most likely affect your final rank.


What was the Proper name given to me by the eccentric person who masterminded my design?

_ _ _ _ _ _ _       _ _ _ _ _


What is the name (in modern English) of the daughter of the statuesque personage pictured above?

**REMEMBER to ONLY answer either Option 1 or Option 2, not both!**

Acceptable answers:
Llanada Villa


The first part of this puzzle is encrypted with a simple shifted alphabet code, where each letter is shifted forward one letter (A becomes B, B becomes C, C becomes D, etc.)

So the decoded message looks like this:


= 1 house

If we look up a house that has 13 bathrooms, 2 basements, 47 fireplaces, 17 chimneys, 6 kitchens, and 467 doorways, we find the Winchester Mystery House, home of the late Sarah Winchester. This is a fascinating place, with a remarkable history. To even try to describe or summarize it would not do it any justice. You'll just have to take the time to read up on it (if you haven't already!) and the official website at www.winchestermysteryhouse.com is a great place to start.


Today Sarah Winchester's Victorian mansion is marketed and widely known as the "Winchester Mystery House". When Sarah was living and the mansion was perpetually under construction, locals referred to her home as the "Spirit House". However, these were not names that Mrs. Winchester used to refer to her abode. The house's real name was Llanada Villa. Would you believe that this means "plain house" in Spanish? It most definitely does, but not "plain" in the sense of "simple" or "ordinary". It is actually a geographical reference as in the "house on the plain (or lowland)".


This beautiful statue of the Greek goddess Demeter graces one side of the front entrance to Llanada Villa, with a statue of Hebe standing to the other side. In mythology, Demeter is the goddess of the harvest and is responsible for the cycle of life and death, whereas Hebe is the goddess of youth. They are interesting choices for the entranceway to a home whose never-ending construction was expected to protect the owner from death. Demeter and Zeus had a daughter who is referred to as Persephone in modern English, also known as "Kore".

So, you would have answered this question correctly if you either answered "Llanada Villa", "Persephone", or "Kore".