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Noggin Hoggin' Challenge Starting on Monday April 16, 2012

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)

You're looking for something—
So here's what you do.
To help out some nice folks,
We're asking of you
To follow this link, please,
and have a good read.
If you check out "Legal",
You'll find what you need.

How many Legalians appear in the video?


(We know you're a keener
but DON'T try to count,
Just pay close attention—
You'll know the amount.)

Note: Yup, we admit that this is blatant and shameless promotion of the small town where ExamBank was founded. We're proud of Legal and everyone working at ExamBank was heavily involved in the production of this video submission for the Big Valley Jamboree Small Town Saturday Night competition. The community spirit in Legal won out - competing against other towns more than 10 times its size, it won the competition and will be hosting a major event on April 28th, with the proceeds going towards a much-needed new playground for the school. ExamBank has always been about helping kids!

Acceptable answers:


If you read the text that shows up in the last few seconds of the video, it clearly states that 244 Legalians, out of a total population of 1225, appear in the video.


Question for Monday April 16, 2012:

Here, before you, I lay my true art form bare —
neither essay nor prose would rhyme with such care.
In spite of my critics, I've poured out my soul
and penned a collection that most have found droll.
Judge me, or don't, I don't care much what you think.
To discover my muse you must make the link.

I must admit I've been a tad impolite,
revealing my "Queen" to exceed certain weight.
I'm Canadian so Imperial begone!
In kilograms whole, how much weighed the blond?

(over __________ kg)

Acceptable answers:
3 175
3175 kg
3,175 kg
3 175 kg


Stilton, Edam, Gorgonzola, Tintern, and Oka are all types of cheese.

James McIntyre, a.k.a. The Cheese Poet, was a proud Canadian who loved to write about... You guessed it, cheese!

In some circles, he is lauded as the Worst Canadian Poet, if not the worst poet of the English language. What he lacked in talent, he made up for in sheer enthusiasm and passion. His 'masterpiece', "Ode on the Mammoth Cheese Weighing Over 7,000 Pounds", celebrates a gargantuan cheddar.

7,000 lbs = 3,175 kg


Question for Tuesday April 17, 2012:

Acceptable answers:


Zombie, Elvis, and Lazarus are all terms that describe taxa in paleontology. Specifically, a "Lazarus taxon" refers to a lifeform that reappears in the fossil record after being absent for a long period of time. In the Bible, a story tells of Lazarus who was miraculously raised from the dead. The term was not used because scientists thought miracles were involved—it just cleverly described an important gap in the fossil record. When no trace of a species has been found for millions of years, it is assumed that it was completely wiped out, but it is entirely possible that it is just extremely rare, or existed somewhere where no fossils were left behind.

The Wollemi Pine is a Lazarus taxon. The species was believed to be extinct (the oldest fossil found is 200 million years old and the last known fossils date from about 2 million years ago), but living specimens were discovered in the Blue Mountains, by David Noble, in 1994. Its bark is unusual in that it is very bumpy, and has been described as resembling Coco Pops, a chocolate breakfast cereal. The Wollemi Pine is classified as Critically Endangered and the exact location of the wild specimens is undisclosed to the public in an effort to protect them from curious visitors.

The Blue Mountains actually look blue when viewed from a distance. It is believed that this is due to the great number of Eucalyptus trees releasing terpenoids into the air and scattering ultraviolet light. This process is known as mie scattering and causes the coloured haze/mist for which the Blue Mountains are known.


Question for Wednesday April 18, 2012:
Use the picture clues below to determine my identity, then answer the question below.

I became the first president of which famous sports team in 1927?

Acceptable answers:
Toronto Maple Leafs
Maple Leafs


The identity of the person in question is William George Barker (1894-1930). He remains Canada's most highly decorated soldier, serving as a very successful fighter pilot during World War One. He received a total of 12 awards for valour.

The photo clues provided leads us to his identity in the following ways:

William Barker was said to be the inspiration for Ernest Hemingway's famous short story "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" for his 1917 Christmas Day attack on an Austrian aerodrome in Italy.

A dogfight, in this context, refers to an aerial battle between two or more aircraft. From November 1917 to October 1918, Barker logged more than 379 hours of flight time, in which he shot down 46 enemy aircraft.

A flying ace is a military aviator credited with shooting down several enemy aircraft during combat.

And finally, William Barker was a recipient one of the 628 awards of the Victoria Cross given for his brave action during the First World War. An account of those actions is provided in this passage from the November 30, 1918 edition of the London Gazette.

"On the morning of the October 27, 1918, this officer (Barker) observed an enemy two-seater over the Foret de Mormal. He attacked this machine and after a short burst it broke up in the air. At the same time a Fokker biplane attacked him, and he was wounded in the right thigh, but managed, despite this, to shoot down the enemy aeroplane in flames. He then found himself in the middle of a large formation of Fokkers who attacked him from all directions, and was again severely wounded in the left thigh, but succeeded in driving down two of the enemy in a spin. He lost consciousness after that, and his machine fell out of control. On recovery, he found himself being again attacked heavily by a large formation, and singling out one machine he deliberately charged and drove it down in flames. During this fight his left elbow was shattered and he again fainted, and on regaining consciousness he found himself still being attacked, but notwithstanding that he was now severely wounded in both legs and his left arm shattered, he dived on the nearest machine and shot it down in flames. Being greatly exhausted, he dived out of the fight to regain our lines, but was met by another formation, which attacked and endeavored to cut him off, but after a hard fight he succeeded in breaking up this formation and reached our lines, where he crashed on landing. This combat, in which Major Barker destroyed four enemy machines (three of them in flames), brought his total successes to fifty enemy machines destroyed, and is a notable example of the exceptional bravery and disregard of danger which this very gallant officer has always displayed throughout his distinguished career."

In 1927 the Toronto Maple Leafs' manager, Constantine Falkland Cary (Conn) Smythe, a former RAF pilot, had Barker appointed the first president of the hockey club, a symbolic gesture to help raise the losing team's profile.

In September of 2011, Barker was honoured (81 years after his death) at a Toronto cemetery with the unveiling of a monument in his honor. A bronze propeller rises from atop the monument, which features a picture of Barker and a plaque that reads: "most decorated war hero in the history of Canada, the British empire and the Commonwealth of nations."

Before this, the only evidence of Barker's final resting place had been a small marker inside his wife's family crypt at Mount Pleasant.


Question for Thursday April 19, 2012:

My first honoured the ox.
My fifth is most common.
My fifth-last and sixth-last were allographs.
My last recalls a weapon.
Though today I have but 26,
by what name does my 27th go?

Acceptable answers:


The evolution of the English alphabet is very interesting, with each letter having its own unique provenance.

The letter 'A' is derived from the Phoenician letter 'Aleph' – a western Semitic word meaning ox. The character comes from an ancient Egyptian hieroglyph or pictogram depicting an ox's head.
Read more here.

E is the most commonly occurring letter of the English language.

There was no letter U in the alphabet. There was the sound for the letter we call U, but it didn't look like U. It looked like V. The Classical Latin alphabet had only 23 letters, not the 26 that we have today. (This is why the W looks like a double V but is pronounced like a double U.) For a very long time, U and V were allographs: variations of the same letter used in different contexts, such as uppercase and lowercase. Before the use of the letter U, the shape V stood for both the vowel U and the consonant V.
Read more here.

The Greek zeta is the origin of the humble z. The Phoenician glyph zayin, meaning "weapon," had a long vertical line capped at both ends with shorter horizontal lines and looked very much like a modern capital I. By the time it evolved into the Greek zeta the top and bottom lines had become elongated and the vertical line slanted, connecting to the horizontal lines at the top right and the bottom left.
Read more here.

Up until about 2 hundred years ago, there was a 27th English letter. This 'letter' is still in common use today although it is no longer part of the alphabet; it is now regarded as either an abbreviation or punctuation. It is the symbol '&', which is called ampersand.

There was a time when British children recited the alphabet with an extra line "...x,y,z, and, per se, and". Translated from Latin, this means "and, by itself, and". (Try saying the above line real fast and you'll probably see where the word ampersand came from.)

It's not clear exactly when this was dropped from the alphabet recitation, but we do know where the symbol originally came from. It traces back to Latin, where scribes regularly wrote et, the Latin word for and, with the letters mushed together. This was eventually corrupted into its own symbol, and as the centuries passed it came to be used in other languages as a valid word. You can even see a hint of the original Latin et in the ampersand below.


Question for Friday April 20, 2012:

"Stand", "run", and even "fall".
Did you know "set" beats us all?

Figure out which quirk we share.
Defining us will get you there.

Our common trait could fill a book.
Don't overthink it, just scan and look.

A top ten list names us four.
Please attempt to GIVE ONE MORE.

If you find you're feeling stuck,
Unscramble this for extra luck.


Acceptable answers:


According to dictionary.com, "set" has a total of 464 definitions in the Oxford English Dictionary, making it the word with the most definitions in the English Language. In fact, a complete list of the top ten words with the most definitions can be found on this site.

"Run" lands in second place with 396 definitions.

The remaining top ten are "go" with 368, "take" with 343, "stand" with 334, "get" with 289, "turn" with 288, "put" with 268, "fall" with 264, and "strike" with 250 definitions.


Question for Saturday April 21, 2012:

     International Salutations

I have been neglected and suppressed.
They do not know my true face or where I lay to rest.
My genius and contribution cannot be denied.
My celestial namesake orbits far and wide.

When this namesake is at its furthest point from the Sun, how long in minutes, rounded to the nearest whole number, does it take sunlight to travel to it?

Acceptable answers:
39 minutes


Communicating messages through the use of international maritime signal flags is an example of using semaphores (in this case a system of long distance visual communication based on a pre-established code).

The square flags each represent a letter of the alphabet, whereas the pennants are substitute or repeater flags. Repeated characters can be a problem in flaghoist signalling. To avoid having to carry multiple sets of signal flags, the code uses four "substitute" (or "repeater") flags. These repeat the flag at the indicated position. For instance, to signal ALL the A, L, and 2nd substitute flags would be flown, the substitute indicating a repeat of the second letter.

In the case of this puzzle, the flags represent the following:


This is actually a historically significant anagram used by the English scientist Robert Hooke (1635-1703), to establish priority for his discovery of the law of elasticity, Hooke's Law, without revealing details until his work was complete. Eighteen years later, he published the solution to the anagram as "Ut tensio, sic vis", Latin which means "As the extension, so the force." The connection of these two seemingly unrelated topics (semaphores and Robert Hooke) is not without significance. Modern design of semaphores, using towers with pivoting blades, was first foreseen and described by Hooke, though it was never put into practice.

One of the most brilliant and versatile figures of his time, Robert Hooke died a disappointed man. His own law, Hooke's Law, has to do with elasticity, but he brought a piercing intelligence and inventiveness to bear on a remarkable range of fields – anatomy, astronomy, geometry, geology, biology, and paleontology among them – at a time when science was young and not yet compartmentalized. Hooke proved the rotation of Jupiter on its axis and determined the rotation period of Mars. He discovered that light rays bend around corners (diffraction) and put forward the wave theory of light to account for it. He investigated the action of the lungs and identified the role of air in combustion. He studied the crystal structure of snowflakes and the honeycomb structure of cork. He was interested in music and acoustics, and he designed balance springs for watches. He suggested the manufacture of artificial fibres by copying the action of silkworms. He examined fossils and tried vainly to get the history of the Earth examined in a non-Biblical light. He was the type of scientist that was then called a virtuoso - able to contribute findings of major importance in any field of science. Robert Hooke's genius was recognized in his day and he was appointed curator of experiments for the New Royal Society, a post he held for 40 years.

Despite all this, Robert Hooke has suffered neglect as a result of his heated conflict with Sir Isaac Newton. It is often suggested that not only did Newton "borrow" ideas from Hooke, he wasn't always inclined to give Hooke as much credit as he deserved. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that Hooke had a more accurate picture of gravity and planetary motion than did Newton. Yet it is Newton who we think of when it comes to both. Newton's actions not only ensured that Hooke was airbrushed out of the story of the discovery of universal gravitation, but also led to his being assigned a lesser place than he deserves in the history of science as a whole.

Remarkably little is known about Robert Hooke's life. The year he died, Isaac Newton became President of the Royal Society. It may be a coincidence, but the only known portrait of Hooke, which had been housed in the President's office, was mysteriously lost, as were the records of much of Hooke's work. His final resting place is not even known.

But Robert Hooke's star is rising. He is finally receiving some of the attention he deserves for his wide-ranging contribution to many facets of science. In 1971, Luboš Kohoutek discovered an asteroid which was later named 3514 Hooke in honour of him.

We need to determine how long it takes light from the Sun to reach this asteroid. To do that, we have to research a few things about its orbit. The term "aphelion" is used to designate the furthest point in an orbit from the Sun. Depending on the source you use, you will find an aphelion distance for this asteroid of around 4.72 AU (astronomical units).

You may then need to determine how far an astronomical unit is. It is equal to about 149,597,870 km, or approximately the average distance between the Earth and the Sun.

From here, you can multiply 4.72 AU by the number of kilometers in an AU to determine the number of kilometers to the asteroid at its furthest point, and then use the speed of light (299,792,458 meters per second) to determine how many minutes it would take to get there. It's probably easier, however, to find out the average amount of time it takes light to travel from the Sun to the Earth (about 500 seconds), which is by definition a distance of 1 AU. Then, multiply that by 4.72 for the light travel time to the asteroid. 500 × 4.72 = 2360 seconds = 39.3 minutes. We asked for the answer in minutes rounded to the nearest whole number, which is 39.