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Noggin Hoggin' Challenge Starting on Monday November 21, 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)
The ability to walk on water is often associated with miracles of religious proportions. A man desperate to promote his lonely band has made it his hobby to master the art and take it to new lengths. In Montreal, this man set a speed record for walking on water. He also became famous for surviving at sea for over 2 months, ending his first ocean adventure in the record books. What is the English meaning, of the original name of the island where he ended his trek?

Acceptable answers:
Land of the Humming Bird
Land of the hummingbird
The Land of the Humming Bird
The Land of the hummingbird


For centuries, humankind has dreamed about being able to walk on water. But some people aren't content with leaving things as dreams, instead trying to turn them into reality. In fact, there are a number of people trying to perfect a technical solution of enabling man to walk on water, using pontoons or other floatation devices worn on the feet. In 2003, the Edinburgh Science Festival held a competition where 21 teams vied to be the fastest to sprint across a 40 meter section of water. The winning team set a Guinness world record for covering that distance in 70 seconds. As well, the University of San Diego has been holding competitions for 20 years.

Rémy Bricka from France is a musician and one-man band who has also been intrigued by the concept of walking on water. In 1989, he set a speed record by walking one kilometer in the Olympic swimming pool in Montréal in just over 7 minutes (substantially faster than even the Edinburgh people would have, if they had gone a full kilometer). But not content with setting a speed record, he also set a distance record. From April 2, 1988 to May 31, he walked 5,636 km across the Atlantic Ocean, from Tenerife to Trinidad. Incidentally, he took with him a water purifier so he could drink seawater, but took no food whatsoever, instead living off plankton and whatever fish he could catch along the way.

The question asked for the English meaning of the original name for the island where he finished his walk. When Christopher Columbus sailed across the Atlantic Ocean for the 3rd time in 1498, he arrived at an island in the Caribbean that he named "La Isla de la Trinidad" (The Island of the Trinity). But Trinidad is its current name - it is widely accepted that the original name for the island was "Lëre" in the language of the Arawak people who lived there, and whom Christopher Columbus encountered when he arrived. Lëre means "Land of the Hummingbird" in English.


Question for Monday November 21, 2011:
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but I'd rather a pineapple. Most of my 96 years on Earth were spent in deep reflection. I also tried my hand at music, and discovered I was quite the composer. The dome designed by Mr. Fuller for Expo '67 made good use of my research and discoveries. In fact, one of my close friends was also influenced by my work, specifically for improvements made to his "Circle Limit" series. He demonstrated an infinite gratitude for my contributions. This friend and I met at a conference in which city?

Acceptable answers:


Donald Coxeter was considered a leading mathematician and the greatest geometer of the 20th century. A documentary based on his life and accomplishments, titled "The Man Who Saved Geometry", was produced in 2009.


Photo courtesy of the Banff Center.

As a child, Coxeter was an accomplished pianist. He also composed a string quartet and, when he was 12, an opera. Even though his muscial talent was remarkable, his appreciation of the beauties of symmetry turned him towards mathematics.

Despite, or perhaps because of, his appreciation of the aesthetics of mathematics, Coxeter never used a calculator or computer and wrote all his papers in pencil so that he could go back and correct them. He spent 60 years as a professor at the University of Toronto, and could often be seen wandering around campus carrying a pineapple, which he used in his classes to illustrate natural symmetry.


Coxeter met M. C. Escher in 1954 at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Amsterdam and the two became lifelong friends. Much of Escher's art is based on mathematical principles, thus Coxeter's work about shapes in multi-dimensional space inspired Escher's "Circle Limit" series. After Escher's death, Coxeter published a paper proving that Escher's "Circle Limit III" is mathematically perfect. "Escher did it by instinct," Coxeter explained, "I did it by trigonometry."


Circle Limit III

"Coxeter groups", generated by reflection patterns, as in kaleidoscopes, have played an important part in many areas of mathematics and physics. Coxeter's work on polyhedra and their symmetries - such as the tesselation of a sphere by triangles - helped the American engineer and architect Buckminster Fuller to develop geodesic domes such as the one used in Expo '67, and led Sir Harry Kroto and two scientists to the 1996 Nobel prize-winning discovery of the carbon-60 molecule, known popularly as the buckyball.

In 1997 Coxeter was made a Companion of the Order of Canada. This is the highest of honours that Canada bestows upon people.


Question for Tuesday November 22, 2011:

The Bank of Canada just issued the first plastic $100 bills on November 14, 2011. There are a number of reasons for the move in the polymer direction that will eventually see all bank notes switching to plastic by 2013.


Due to necessity, C-notes were already redesigned as recently as 2004. Yet despite all the changes, many merchants refuse to accept $100 bills, in great part because of their shady history.

Much of this mistrust can be attributed to the dealings of one particularly notorious individual whose handiwork still impresses law enforcement and bankers today. His sophisticated enterprise ground to a halt in 2001.

How old was he when he first dabbled in this unscrupulous craft?

Acceptable answers:
13 years
13 years old
thirteen years
thirteen years old


Wesley Weber is a Canadian who was active as a counterfeiter in the late 1990's. He developed a talent for working with computers at an early age and chose to put that ability to work in forgery, making fake insurance papers, gift certificates, and eventually counterfeiting banknotes (he printed his first fake bill when he was 13). He found ingenious and creative ways to simulate security features and he is responsible for producing the most sophisticated and highest quality computer generated counterfeit of Canadian bills the RCMP and Bank of Canada have ever seen. The pièce de résistance was his $100 note, referred to as the "Weber bill" and still taught as the prime test case for counterfeit during police training.


The bill turned the retail world upside down. Weber bills were turning up in tills and business owners suffered losses as the Bank of Canada does not accept counterfeits as legal tender (obviously). In response, merchants across the country began posting signs refusing to do transactions with C-notes. People were furious — why wouldn't stores accept their Canadian currency?

Mr. Weber lived a life of luxury for some time, as the cash flow was endless. All the same, he felt dissatisfied and unfulfilled with his life. Fortunately, it was not to last. An undercover operation discovered his shady enterprise and took it down on July 11, 2001. The counterfeiter plead guilty to all charges and was sentenced to 5 years of prison.

As last reported in 2007, Wesley Weber was working at a Rogers store, selling mobile phones. He developed a new passion, the stock market, and has set about making his money legally. In response to being called a "mastermind", he responds "I'm a master moron. My lowest point was hearing my parents crying on the phone".

As for the rest of the country, the legacy of the Weber bill drags on. Many retailers continue to refuse $100 bills for fear of counterfeit, despite the many security improvements that have been implemented.


Question for Wednesday November 23, 2011:

Confounding Compounds

shark ABCD

ABCD ≠ #

ABCD = _ _ _ _ ?

Acceptable answers:


Solving this nontraditional hangman puzzle depends on determining the meaning of a few math/logic symbols:

  • represents the set of "real" numbers.
  • represents the set of "imaginary" numbers.
  • means "is a subset of".
  • means "does not equal".
  • is a general number sign (also called a pound or hash sign).

So we know that sharks are a subset (⊂) of whatever ABCD represents. We also know that we are looking for a 4-letter word, not a number (since we are told ABCD ≠ # : "does not equal numbers").

We are also given the clue that this puzzle has something to do with "compounds" — a compound word is made when two words are joined to form a new one.

So "elephant" + ABCD results in a compound word that is "real". This must also be the case when you combine "frog", "cow", "cat", "butterfly", and "lion" with ABCD.

On the other hand, "ostrich" + ABCD is "imaginary" — so is "bear" + ABCD.

The only word that logically satisfies all of these conditions is "fish", since sharks are a subset of fish, and:

+ fish=elephantfish
+ fish=frogfish
+ fish=cowfish
+ fish=catfish
+ fish=butterflyfish
+ fish=lionfish

There are no documented ostrishfish or bearfish (at least not as of yet!).

It is suprisingly difficult to come up with animals that have not been used for naming fish. Check out squirrelfish, zebrafish, ratfish, dogfish... You can keep yourself busy for hours Googling all the various possibilities (trust us - we know)!


Question for Thursday November 24, 2011:

Lets get to the point! Canada's southernmost and the US's geographical easternmost to be more specific. Both are currently isolated from the mainland and seen by only a handful of their countrymen. Until 2000, Canada's austral limit was privately owned by Americans and has a long and interesting history. It has all gone to the birds now. So many in fact, efforts were made to cull the most dominant population. This bird also has a cousin of a similar name that lives at the geographical easternmost point in the US. Nestled among seven hills closest to the anti-meridian you will find a significant population. What colour is their face?

Acceptable answers:


The southernmost point in Canada is on Middle Island, Ontario, in Lake Erie. Middle Island is now part of Point Pelee National Park, yet until 1999 it was privately owned by US owners. There are 27 US states that lie all or partly north of this island and this island lies further south than Rome, Italy. The island was donated to the Canadian national park system in 2000. Over the past ten years the island has become a nature preserve and although it is part of Point Pelee National Park, it is not officially open to visitors.

A hint for solving this part of the puzzle can be found in the picture, taken in Point Pelee National Park. Though it appears too small to read the writing on the "42", some savvy Noggin Hogginers may have realized that the picture itself could be enlarged by opening it in a new browser window or tab (the specific process to do so varies by your web browser, but generally, it is done by right clicking on the image and choosing the appropriate option). If you were to do this, you would be able to read about the significance of Point Pelee.

Middle Island is part of an archipelago that is an important natural migratory route for birds, making it a natural nesting point for many bird species. The excessive population of Double-crested Cormorants that now nest on the island has created an abundance of guano that is killing trees and vegetation. This over abundance caused Parks Canada to initiate a conservation plan that involved the culling of a large number of adult cormorants and the removal of a substantial number of their nests. Parks Canada wants to create a level that can be supported by the small island's ecosystem. The Double-crested Cormorant has a bare patch of orange-yellow skin on their face.

Now that we have discovered the variety of cormorant living at the southernmost point in Canada, is it time to discover who their American cousin is.

The geographical easternmost point in the US is a bit more tricky to discover. There are numerous places in the US that claim to be the easternmost point. Thus, we emphasized "geographical". Geographical pertains to the coordinate system of latitude and longitude used to define locations on the Earth.

The equator, the zero degree line of latitude, is easily defined as being the imaginary line midway between the north and south poles. Anything north of the equator is considered to be in the Northern Hemisphere. The zero degree longitude line, know as the Prime Meridian, was arbitrarily defined by those who first conceptualized the coordinate system used today. It was decided to have it pass through the center of the telescope in Greenwich, England where they were making their measurements. The Antimeridian is the corresponding line of longitude on the other side of the Earth, 180 degrees away. Generally, North and South America fall in the Western Hemisphere, however, some of Alaska's Aleutians islands find themselves in the Eastern Hemisphere as they lie on the other side of the antimeridian. Therefore the geographical easternmost point in the US is the point in the Eastern hemisphere closest to the antimeridian. This happens to be the easternmost tip of Semisopochnoi Island, which itself is only about 15 km away from the antimeridian. In Russian the island means "having seven hills"; all these mountains are of volcanic origin.

Incidentally, and somewhat paradoxically, any point on the Earth's surface lying along the antimeridian can simultaneously be considered to be both one of the easternmost points of the Earth, as well as one of the westernmost.

In looking for cormorants on this island, we can find that a significant population of Red-faced Cormorants make the island their home. Therefore, the answer we were looking for was simply "red".


Question for Friday November 25, 2011:

I am famous, often imitated, and impersonated. I try not to let it get to my head (it is actually Ellen's, after all), but I must admit that I have lost it on occasion (my head, of course — did I already say that?). They took Eline's arm from me, then gave it back. I am nearly 100 years old, and sometimes it feels as though I am not even really myself.

I am the embodiment of prose, related to Tommelise (we have the same father).

I have recently been to Shanghai — I appreciate different cultures, and styles of dress. Currently, you can join one of my impersonators in Vancouver, where she is trying out a new pastime. What is this imposter wearing?

Acceptable answers:
wet suit
a wet suit
a wetsuit
diving mask


Hans Christian Andersen, the celebrated Danish children's author, penned a great number of famous fairy tales, among them Tommelise (the Danish name for Thumbelina) and, 2 years later, Den lille havfrue (the Little Mermaid).

In 1913, a bronze statue of the Little Mermaid, created by Edvard Eriksen, was unveiled in Langelinie, Copenhagen, where it has been stood as the city's iconic tourist attraction for nearly a century. The statue was commissioned by Carl Jacobsen — a man so taken by the ballet version of the tale that he wished to have the prima ballerina, Ellen Price, immortalized as the heroine she portrayed. The mermaid's head was modelled after Ellen Price, however, she refused to model in the nude, so Edvard Eriksen's wife, Eline, substituted for the body.


Shockingly, this diminutive damsel has been the object of many acts of vandalism and political statements. She has been decapitated, dismembered (her arm was sawn off), blown away (possibly with dynamite), spray painted, as well as dressed in a burqa and hijab.

Aside from being temporarily relocated for restoration and repair (or because of a deliberate explosion), the statue has only left its perch on one other occasion — to travel to Shanghai where it was the main attraction at the Expo 2010 Danish pavilion.

Despite this, versions of the Little Mermaid statue can be found the world over, as it has been extensively replicated (sometimes with permission, though probably more often not). Interestingly, even the statue displayed in Copenhagen is not the original, but merely a copy of the artist's prototype, the location of which is known only by his heirs.

The city of Vancouver wished to have a copy of the statue to display on a large boulder just offshore of Stanley Park. However, the licence request was denied, so sculptor Elek Imredy was commissioned to create a modern version, inspired by the famous Copenhagen mermaid. The result is Girl in a Wetsuit (1972), complete with wetsuit, swimfins, and a diving mask.



Question for Saturday November 26, 2011:


Replace each of the numbers with the first letter of the musical instrument that is played in the list below to reveal your clue. Use this clue to discover the contents of the empty green boxes. Enter what would appear in the green boxes as your answer.

1. Play  
2. Play  
3. Play  
4. Play  
5. Play  
6. Play  
7. Play  
8. Play  
9. Play  
10. Play  
11. Play  
12. Play  
13. Play  
14. Play  
15. Play  
16. Play  
17. Play  
18. Play  
19. Play  
20. Play  
21. Play  
22. Play  
23. Play  
24. Play  
25. Play  
26. Play  
27. Play  
28. Play  
29. Play  
30. Play  
31. Play  
32. Play  
33. Play  
34. Play  
35. Play  
36. Play  
37. Play  
38. Play  
39. Play  
40. Play  
41. Play  
42. Play  
43. Play  
44. Play  
45. Play  
46. Play  
47. Play  

If needed, the following clues may also help:

A staple of most western orchestras, it is known as one of the woodwinds as it uses a reed. But it's distinctive among the woodwinds in that it has the largest pitch range.
Probably more children in North America begin their musical training on this instrument than any other.
This stringed instrument was very popular during the Renaissance. It had a deep, round back. Its strings are typically plucked rather than bowed.
Some people hate the sound of the drone, and others love it. But the skill lies in the chanter.
Most versions of this instrument have 6 strings, but 12-stringed versions are also popular. It would be hard to find a country music song that does not incorporate this.
This "aerophone" is very ancient, likely developed 5000 years ago, making it one of the oldest instruments known. They are even seen in paintings in the walls of the pyramids and have been uncovered in excavations of the era. It is prominent in Middle Eastern music, and has anywhere from six to seven holes on it.
This instrument wouldn't be possible without the contributions of people like Michael Faraday, Nikola Tesla, and even Benjamin Franklin. It typically has 6 strings, and is a staple of modern music.
Though a member of the "woodwind" family, this is usually made of brass. It is named after the Belgian instrument maker who invented it in the mid-1800s. It is now a staple in jazz music.
This Chinese guitar has a very round body, large tuning pegs, and usually 4 strings. One of its common nicknames references our lunar neighbour.
This percussion instrument consists of a series of wooden bars that are hit by mallets. It is associated very strongly with the country of Guatamela.
This instrument is found in almost all western orchestras. Its sound should be quite recognizable, yet it has never enjoyed the well-known recognition to the same degree as other orchestral instruments such as the violin. When it was first developed, it was an evolution of something called the "hautbois".
This brass instrument, like most of its relatives, is played by making a buzzing sound with the lips. But unlike its relatives, it plays the highest range of notes.
Probably one of the instruments most associated with western orchestral music, it consists of four strings tuned in perfect fifths, and is played by a bow. It plays the highest range of notes of others in its family.
A Hawaiian export, this instrument usually has four strings. Recently, it has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in large part due to a rendition of "Somewhere over the Rainbow" by Israel (IZ) Kamakawiwo'ole.
This instrument, beloved by "Weird Al" Yankovic, is powered by bellows.
This is a type of "aerophone", held horizontally while played. It's named after a place famous for rainbows and pots of gold.
This is one instrument that pretty much everybody can play right when they first lay hands on one. It is a simple, usually very inexpensive device, that adds a buzzing sound to the player's voice.
This type of instrument is without doubt the best known class of the percussion group of musical instruments. There are different versions of this instrument, but don't overthink it - we're looking for what this type of instrument in general is called.

Acceptable answers:


Though solving this puzzle is relatively straightforward, it may take some time to do if the letters in the clue are solved one by one, in order. Since time is critical to win this last Noggin Hoggin' Challenge, you may instead have decided to take the approach of skipping around throughout the clue to solve just enough letters in a given word to enable you to guess the rest. Similarly, you may have realized that even if you missed identifying a few instruments, you may still have enough information to be able to solve the clue.

Even if you were prevented from hearing the sounds themselves, a technically-minded person could still solve the problem by identifying the musical instruments from the clues given, and then making the realization that by holding their mouse over the various "Play" links, they would see which audio file would be loaded for each one, enabling them to ultimately tie the name of each instrument to the number or numbers they represent in the puzzle. But most people will (and should) solve this by listening to the instruments in conjunction with solving the clues.

To make it a bit easier to determine which musical instruments you hear, we attempted in most cases to play them in songs in which they have an iconic role or style. The instruments were as follows:

Clarinet: The song played is "Stranger on the Shore", written by Acker Bilk for his young daughter Jenny. The clarinet figures prominently and famously throughout the piece.

Recorder: "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" is a fitting tune to be played on an instrument that is the first most children learn to play.

Lute: The lute was very popular from the 14th to 17th centuries, yet had been played even for a thousand years before that. The song played is "Greensleeves", which emerged around 1600. This tune was then used to accompany the words for the Christmas Carol "What Child is This?", which most are probably familiar with.

Bagpipes: There is really no mistaking the sound of the Scottish bagpipes, particularly when playing "Scotland the Brave", as they have done in countless parades.

Guitar: A staple of most western music, the guitar should be familiar to everyone. With this, you can hear the beginning of "Classical Gas" by Mason Williams.

Ney Flute: Without the clue, this may have proven to be difficult to many western ears. Relatively simply constructed of a hollow cane or reed and fingerholes, it nonetheless is capable of producing a haunting and ethereal sound.

Electric Guitar: The individuals mentioned in the clue all contributed greatly to our knowledge of electricity, which is why the existence of the electric guitar owes its thanks to them. The tune heard is the opening riff from AC/DC's Thunderstruck.

Saxophone: Invented by Adolphe Sax in 1846, this is one of the few modern instruments named after a person. It is common in military and jazz music. The sound played here is from "Songbird" by Kenny G, who was instrumental (no pun intended) in bringing it into contemporary music as well.

Yueqin: One of the nicknames for this traditional Chinese instrument is the "moon guitar". It doesn't have a "sound hole" like a typical western guitar, but instead usually contains strands of wire inside attached at one end, giving a distinctive sound as they vibrate.

Marimba: Considered the national instrument of Guatemala, it can be found throughout Central America and Africa as well. The song here is taken from the theme of a Canadian nature documentary television series in the 1970s entitled "Untamed World".

Oboe: The powerful sound of the oboe has resulted many instances where it plays the lead melody in a piece. The song played here is an excerpt from "Swan Lake", by Tchaikovsky. You may also have heard it in a prominent role in Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf".

Trumpet: Trumpets and other brass instruments are often used for fanfares, such as this written by John Williams for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Fortunately for solving this question, if you had guessed other brass instruments such as the Tuba or Trombone, you would have still ended up with the correct first letter to solve the clue.

Violin: The violin has remained largely unchanged since the 16th century. It is the smallest (and highest pitched) of a family of similar instruments, which also include the viola, cello, and double bass. The piece played here is from the main theme of the movie "Schindler's List".

Ukelele: The ukelele emerged in the 1800s, when Hawaiians modified guitar-like instruments brought to the islands from Portugal. The chords strummed here are from the adaptation of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole. It was recorded in 1993, but enjoyed a recent resurgence of popularity, heard in recent films, TV programs, and commercials. Sadly, Israel (IZ) died in 1997.

Accordion: The accordion is played by squeezing or expanding its bellows, forcing air over reeds inside. The reeds themselves are similar to those found in a harmonica, but of course in a harmonica, it's the player's breath that causes them to vibrate. The song played here is from "Hava Nagila" - a Hebrew folk song often played at Jewish weddings and Bar Mitzvahs.

Irish Flute: The Irish Flute is typically constructed of wood, and has a relatively simple fingering system (an "aerophone" is a musical instrument which produces sound by vibrations of a body of air). The clue about rainbows and "pots of gold" should have drawn you to immediately think of the leprechaun, famous in Irish folklore.

Kazoo: The kazoo was invented by Warren Frost in 1883, and makes its sound with a membrane that vibrates in sympathy with a person's voice. It isn't played by blowing into it - instead, you have to hum into it.

Drum: Finally, the last sound was that simply of drum kit being played. Drums are without doubt the oldest instruments in the world.

After sorting out all the instruments and substituting them in for the appropriate numbers, you will have been left with the following clue:

From here, an Internet search should lead you to the Revelstoke Nickelodeon Museum in British Columbia, which you will find has an 84-key Belgian dance organ. Therefore, the contents of the green boxes is simply the number "84", which is the answer we were looking for.