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Noggin Hoggin' Challenge Starting on Monday November 1, 2010

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)

Laura Kieler was the inspiration behind an important work inscribed on the Memory of the World Register.

Canadian Mabel Malley (née Forster) can also be associated with the title's namesake. Which notable individual painted the tiny souvenir that Katie retained for herself?

Acceptable answers:
Laura Muntz Lyall
Laura Muntz
Laura Lyall


Laura Smith Petersen, Laura Kieler after marriage, inspired the 1879 play A Doll's House by Henrik Ibsen. The play is one of his most famous and was an international success. Many consider it to be the first true feminist play. In fact, this piece was considered to be of such universal influence and importance to the literary world that its autographed manuscripts have been inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World Register.

The question tells us that Canadian Mabel Malley (née Forster) can also be associated with the title "A Doll's House" and a quick search reveals that Mrs. Malley (1914-1997) was the owner of an amazing dollhouse which was built and added to by 6 generations of the Forster family. This dollhouse, now a National Treasure, was eventually donated to the Children's Museum, in the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Hull, Quebec, where it remains on permanent display.

Laura Muntz Lyall, a well-known Canadian impressionist painter during the late-19th and early-20th centuries, was a student of prominent Canadian artist William Charles Forster, Mabel Malley's father. Mrs. Lyall created two original miniatures for the dollhouse: a portrait and a kitten's head. Katie, Mrs. Malley's daughter, selected the tiny drawing of the kitten's head as her souvenir when the dollhouse was donated to the Canadian Museum of Civilization. As a result, the item is not part of the dollhouse exhibit.


Question for Monday November 1, 2010:


= Number of toes on a normal cat
= Number of hearts in an octopus
= Number of legs on a bumblebee
= Number of bones in a giraffe's neck
= Number of eyes on a box jellyfish
= Number of phalanges in a human thumb


Acceptable answers:
twenty two


  • A = Number of toes on a normal cat = 18
    (five on each front paw, and 4 on each back paw)
  • B = Number of hearts in an octopus = 3
    (two to pump blood to each gill, one to the body)
  • C = Number of legs on a bumblebee = 6
    (like all insects)
  • D = Number of bones in a giraffe's neck = 7
    (just like us, but each of theirs are about 25 cm long)
  • E = Number of eyes on a box jellyfish = 24
    (these are true eyes, with retinas, corneas, and lenses)
  • F = Number of phalanges in a human thumb = 2
    (there are three in the fingers)

Question to be solved (note that the dot is another symbol for multiplication):

 D × (C)F + E = ?
         A        B

In a math problem like this one, it's important to observe the proper order of operations, which are often summarized by the acronym BEDMAS (Brackets, Exponents, Division, Multiplication, Addition, Subtraction):

 7 × (6)2 + 24 = ? Brackets, Exponents
        18        3

 7 × 36 + 24 = ? Simplify the fractions
        18      3

 7 × 2 + 8 = ? Multiply

 14 + 8 = ? Add

 22 is the correct answer.


Question for Tuesday November 2, 2010:



Which one am I?

Acceptable answers:
Victoria, BC
Victoria, B.C.
City of Victoria


As you probably gathered from the CAPITAL hint and the buildings in a couple of the provided images, we are looking for the names of the capital cities associated with the provided logos (or portions thereof ☺).

The maple leaf in the second image hints to a Canadian city. In fact, all of the capital cities we were looking for are Canadian!

Here are the correct responses:


Now, the coloured bubbles over some of the letters clearly correspond to the matching coloured bubbles in the mystery phrase below:

But what to do with the remaining letters in the green bubbles? Writing them into the blanks in the order they are listed gives us gibberish:

They obviously need to be unscrambled. The question "Which one am I?" serves as a hint, indicating that we must identify a particular capital city. With a bit of work we can narrow it down to the following three possibilities:

  • City of dangers
  • City of ganders
  • City of gardens

The first two options are not necessarily associated with any Canadian capital (although there is a TOWN called GANDER in Newfoundland—not a CITY). However, a search for the "City of gardens" in Canada leads us to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, and the answer to this question.


Question for Wednesday November 3, 2010:

The Richard Bass challenge has been attempted by many an adventurer. Inspired by the following elementary mural, a fledgling thrill-seeker aims to top them all.

Assuming he peaked at noon, GMT, what Julian day number marks his high point for the pink one?

Acceptable answers:


The Richard Bass challenge is also known as the "Seven Summits" challenge—the original mountaineering feat whereby a climber ascends to the highest point of each continent's tallest mountain. Richard Bass was the originator of this idea and the first to conquer all of the peaks on his list (here in order starting with the tallest) on April 30, 1985:

  • Mount Everest, Asia ( Purple)
  • Aconcagua, South America ( Yellow)
  • Denali (Mount McKinley), North America ( Pink)
  • Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa ( Green)
  • Mount Elbrus, Europe ( Red)
  • Mount Vinson, Antarctica ( White)
  • Mount Kosciusko, Australia ( Orange)

Nine-year old Jordan Romero (pictured below) was inspired by a mural depicting the above mountains, in the same order, at his Big Bear Elementary school:

Jordan excitedly announced to his father that he wanted to climb each one, and his dad decided to support him wholeheartedly in his efforts to realize this dream.

Here are the heights that Jordan and his family have reached since that life-defining moment:

  1. Mt. Kilimanjaro – July 22, 2006 (10 years old)
  2. Mt. Kosciuszko – April, 2007 (10 years old)
  3. Mt. Elbrus – July 11, 2007 (10 years old)
  4. Aconcagua – December 30, 2007 (11 years old)
  5. Denali (Mt. McKinley) – June 18, 2008 (11 years old)
  6. Carstensz Pyramid (Puncak Jaya) – September 1, 2009 (13 years old)
  7. Mt. Everest – May 22, 2010 (at 13 years old, the youngest person to reach the summit!)

Now, you may be thinking that he scaled 7 mountains and therefore must have made it to the top of all Seven Summits... not quite. Look closely - the 6th peak on his list of accomplishments was not on the original list.

So why did Jordan climb Carstensz Pyramid (Puncak Jaya) instead of tackling Mt. Vinson and completing Bass' original list? The fact of the matter is that Mt. Kosciuszko is only 2,228 m above sea level, whereas Carstensz Pyramid is 4,884 m (more than twice as tall!). As far as most serious mountaineers are concerned, climbing Kosciuszko is nothing more than an easy hike. This is why Reinhold Messner, who some consider as the greatest climber in history, postulated his own Messner (or Carstensz) list that has since superseded Bass' in the competitive and challenging world of mountain climbing. It's all a matter of geographical boundaries, because whereas Kosciuszko is the highest peak in the Australia mainland, Puncak Jaya stands in New Guinea, on the Australian continental shelf.

The bottom line is that Jordan is probably playing it safe. He stands to be the youngest person to ever conquer the "Seven Summits" and wouldn't want anyone to be able to dispute that honour based on a technicality. Still, to reach his goal and secure his place in history, he must attain one last peak: Mount Vinson, in Antarctica.

Now, if we backtrack a bit to Richard Bass' original list, we find that the pink mountain in the Big Bear Elementary mural is actually Denali (or Mount McKinley), which Jordan summited on June 18, 2008.

A Julian day number simply defines any moment in time as a number which is based on the elapsed time since January 1, 4713 BC, Greenwich noon. Assuming that the young Romero attained Denali's peak at 12:00 pm, Greenwich Mean Time, the Julian calendar day would have been 2454636 (this can be found using any number of Julian day number calculators/converters).


Question for Thursday November 4, 2010:

Six friends were sitting around having a chat on November 2nd this year.

"Hey! Where's Macropus rufus?" asked Vombatus ursinus hirsutus.

Dasyurus maculatus turned to his distant cousin and asked "You saw him the other day. Didn't you?"

"Yeah. He got a job with the federal government. Some sort of partnership with Dromaius novaehollandiae." replied Sarcophilus harrisii.

Ornithorhynchus anatinus piped up "Let's go visit him!"

"Not until after I see Major-General Stanley on final night this Saturday. I paid $180.00 for a premium stall!" hollered Phascolarctos cinereus.

"OK. Fine, we'll drive down after. How many kilometers from your event to Parliament House?" sighed Dacelo novaeguineae.

"_____ km by the Hume" replied Phascolarctos cinereus. (round to the nearest 10 km)

Acceptable answers:
290 km
300 km


The first step in this question would be to figure out what all these strange words are. These are the taxonomical species names using the Latin terms that can be understood worldwide. Here is the story rewritten in common vernacular:


Six friends were sitting around having a chat on November 2nd this year.

"Hey! Where's Red Kangaroo?" asked Wombat.

Quoll turned to his distant cousin and asked "You saw him the other day. Didn't you?"

"Yeah. He got a job with the federal government. Some sort of partnership with Emu." replied Tasmanian Devil.

Platypus piped up "Let's go visit him!"

"Not until after I see Major-General Stanley on final night this Saturday. I paid $180.00 for a premium stall!" hollered Koala.

"OK. Fine, we'll drive down after. How many kilometers from your event to Parliament House?" sighed Kookaburra.

"_____ km by the Hume." replied Koala.

Once we figure out the names, we realize that all these animals are unique to the continent and country of Australia.

The "partnership" would be referring to the Commonwealth Coat of Arms of the Australian Federal Government where a red kangaroo and an emu are seen together. Using the clue about his job, we are led to Canberra, the national seat, and Parliament House on Capital Hill.

Our next step is to find out who Major-General Stanley is and where Koala would have paid to see him. Major-General Stanley is a key figure in the opera The Pirates of Penzance. Some people may be familiar with the famous song about his extensive knowledge of everything vegetable, animal, and mineral.

The specific date mentioned in the first line gives you a clue about which Saturday, and what night the final showing of the opera is to be played. Opera Australia gives out information regarding their plays, show times and ticket prices. The only place in Australia that The Pirates of Penzance is playing this week is the Sydney Opera House. You can use the ticket price and seat section of their web site to confirm where Koala is seeing the play.

From there, it's a simple jump to figure out the driving distance from the Sydney Opera House to Canberra's Capital Hill driving on the Hume Highway, using any of a wide variety of online route planning web sites. The most direct route is approximately 290 km long, but we decided to accept 300 km as well to accommodate those who took a slightly different route within the cities. In either case, since the question did ask you to round to the nearest 10 km, we did not accept any answers other than 290 or 300.


Question for Friday November 5, 2010:

As a young man, he fled from conscription to China. As a master of the empty hand way of life, he taught of the tiger, crane, and dragon to his son who finally passed his experience along to a foreigner in the 1950s. With deference to the great master's teachings, the Strong Fist Group carries on the tradition of honour in the three conflicts and the half-hard, half-soft form. What day was this great master born (mm/dd/yyyy)?

Acceptable answers:


Kanbun Uechi was born on May 5, 1877 in Isumi, Japan. Instead of being drafted into the Japanese army he fled to China. There he became a student of Shushiwa, a Buddhist priest, who was a master of the Chinese art of Pangai-noon and in about 10 years he was awarded his certificate of mastery.

Kanbun returned to Okinawa in 1910, married, and soon his son Kanei was born. Kanei learned the martial art from his father and achieved Master status in 1941. Kanei was the first to teach Karate to a foreigner, George Mattson from the United States.

When Kanbun died, the Shinjo family, students, and close friends carried on his teaching and renamed the style to Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do (Uechi's Style of Empty Hand). Kiyohide Shinjo, with his younger brother Narihiro, started the Kenyukai (Sieyu Shinjo's Strong Fist Group) and to this day follow and teach the style in honour of the great teacher that was the father of Uechi-Ryu Karate-Do, Kanbun Uechi.

Today, Canadian children as young as six start learning Sanchin Kata (Kata of three conflicts) as white belts. To honour the teachers, students bow and show respect to their Sensei as well as the photos of the great masters, say "Onegaishimasu" (Please teach me), and are expected to remember those that came before them in an effort to keep the memory, and respect, of them alive.

ShushiwaKanbun UechiKanei UechiSeiyu ShinjoKiyohide Shinjo


Question for Saturday November 6, 2010:

Welcome to "Larry the Traveling Gnome's European Vacation" photo album! Be the first to solve the riddles of his summer travels and win this Noggin Hoggin' Challenge.

Larry began his trip to Europe in London on Canada Day 2010.

After taking part in the celebrations, he wandered a short distance to the open air theatre in the picture below. Located on the banks of the Thames river, it is an authentic reproduction of the original which was built in essentially the same location approximately 400 years ago, and is the site of many world class plays. A few days later, Larry had the pleasure of watching a play there whose main character was Falstaff, trusty sidekick to Hal. Which actor played this character?

But wait - do not enter that as your final response for this question, as this is a multi-part question which you've just begun; instead, use the last name of the actor (written in lowercase letters) to go to the following web address:


Substitute his last name for the blanks. Then follow the instructions for the next step at the web page you will see. If you get a "Not Found" error, it means you haven't determined the right answer, so try again!

Once you have found all the clues, come back here and enter your answer below to the final question you will discover.

Acceptable answers:
Ponte dei Sospiri
Ponte di Sospiri


For the first part of this question, we are looking for a replica of a famous theatre built about 400 years ago, knowing it to have been constructed in London. A bit of research will lead you to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.

The original Globe Theatre was built in 1599 by the Lord Chamberlain's Men - the group of actors that Shakespeare was associated with. It burned down in a fire in 1613 during a performance of Henry the Eighth when a cannon misfired. It was then rebuilt the following year, but closed by the Puritans (who banned all theatres in London) in 1642. Despite having had such a major influence on English literature, no further reconstructions (or even significant memorials) were in place until 1997, when actor and director Sam Wanamaker built "Shakespeare's Globe". It is located about 200 metres from the site of the original (other buildings have since been constructed on the original site).

Armed with this knowledge, you can find that Falstaff appeared in Shakespeare's Henry IV Part 1 and 2 this year at the Globe, played by Roger Allam. Using his last name "Allam" you could then proceed to the next question, which was:

A well known music icon once dangled his young son from the balcony of the hotel pictured on the right side through this massive gate. In 1806, the horses and chariot on the top of the gate were seized and moved to another European city by whose army?


Some of you may remember or have heard of a famous controversy in 2002 when singer Michael Jackson held his baby out of a hotel window. This happened at the Adlon Hotel in Berlin, near the Brandenburg Gate pictured here.

In 1806, Napoleon defeated the Prussian Army in what is now Germany. As part of his victory, he claimed the "quadriga", a statue of a chariot drawn by four horses sitting atop the gate, and brought it back to Paris as a kind of trophy. 8 years later, roles were reversed, when the Prussians defeated Napoleon and occupied Paris. They brought the quadriga back to Berlin and restored its rightful position atop the gate.

So we were looking for Napoleon's last name, which is "Bonaparte" to proceed to the next question.

Inside the Государственный Эрмитаж, you will find one of three famous works of art of an Italian Lute Player. How much surface area, specified in cm2, does the one in this location cover?


The Russian writing in this clue should have given you the hint that this picture is located in Russia. In particular, Государственный Эрмитаж, or "State Hermitage" is a museum in St. Petersburg. The famous Winter Palace, shown here, is one of several buildings which now make up the Hermitage.

The Lute Player is one of three very similar paintings created by Italian Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (not the Michelangelo who is famous for creating the Statue of David or the Sistine Chapel - his full name was Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni). The version of the Lute Player found in the Hermitage museum measures 94 cm × 119 cm. Multiplying the two numbers together gives us a surface area of 11186 cm2. 11186 is the answer needed to proceed to the next question:

There are a few different ways to get to the top of this structure, one of the most fun being to simply take the stairs. Unfortunately, the public is only allowed to take the stairs to the second level, about halfway up, and need to take an elevator the rest of the way if they want to get to the very top.

Nevertheless, stairs do exist all the way to the top. The exact number of stairs you'd have to climb depends on exactly how you do it, as there is more than one stairwell route that can be followed. If you take the year this structure was completed and subtract the number of stairs if you were allowed to climb completely from the ground to the top, what would the answer be?


The Eiffel Tower should be immediately recognizable. It was constructed in 1889 to be the entrance arch for that year's World's Fair. According to the official web site of the Eiffel Tower, there are currently 1665 stairs to go from ground level to the top via the east pillar. Subtracting the two, you get an answer of 224 which brings us to the next question:

A very short and simple question this time - what country is Larry in?


You should have no trouble in doing a Google search for some of the locations mentioned in the signs. In particular, looking for any of Schynige Platte, Grindelwald, Waldspitz, or Grosse Scheidegg should have led you unambiguously to this hiking trail in Switzerland. "Switzerland" is thus the key to our next clue:

"Doe, a deer, a female deer..." comes from a famous musical that has a scene where people are running through this tunnel. This spot can be found in __________ garden.


We'd be willing to bet that every single person doing the Noggin Hoggin' challenge has heard the "Do-Re-Mi" song. It seems like a song that has been around forever, but actually it was written in 1959 for the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The Sound of Music, which was later adapted into an incredibly successful 1965 film starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, filmed entirely in the area around Salzburg, Austria, where the production is set.

This particular song was sung in various locations throughout Mirabell Gardens adjacent to Mirabell Castle in Salzburg, including this hedge tunnel, which still exists and is as beautiful as ever 50 years later.

So "Mirabell" is the clue we need to proceed to the next and final question:

Larry spent one of the last days on his holiday taking in the sights in this rather unique city. The highest point in the city (which incidentally is not particularly known for high elevations) looks down on a palace where visitors can view great council halls, torture chambers, and prison cells. To see the state prisons, visitors must pass over a bridge under which boats just like this regularly pass.

In this city's history, prisoners would often see their last views of freedom and the outside world through small windows in the bridge, before being led down into the cells.

What is the full name of this bridge, in the language predominantly spoken in this city?


The boats in this photo are gondolas. Though they may have been more recognizable in a side view, the watery street should have led you to think that the scene was one from Venice, Italy. The highest point in Venice is St. Mark's Campanile, the bell tower of St. Mark's Basilica, from which the entire city can be seen in spectacular view. It is located right next to the "Bridge of Sighs", connecting the interrogation rooms in the Doge's Palace with prisons. Prisoners led to their fate would catch their last glimpse of freedom from small windows in the bridge. The poet Lord Byron gave the bridge this name in the 19th century, and the name has stuck ever since.

Of course, the language predominantly spoken in Venice is Italian, and in Italian, this bridge is known as the "Ponte dei Sospiri", the final answer we were looking for to complete this Noggin Hoggin' Challenge.