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An entry in Fortnightly Topic Challenge #49: Pub Quiz Camouflage


Last week I popped into my local bar, Staggers, on Tuesday night with my work colleagues to have a few well drinks and jalapeño poppers, and kick some tail at bar trivia. Somewhat to my surprise, the bartender Sam had put up a huge, Jeopardy! style board for the evening, which looked like:

9x9 Tally Board with the numbers 1-81 running from left to right, top to bottom

"Looks like somebody has been doing good business on trivia night," I said to Sam. Sam replied, "Yep, thought we'd do it up right, and have a place for folks to keep track of their answers."

After a few minutes, Sam started calling the questions, and my team slapped! But after question #64, Sam called "Alright, that's it for questions." I shouted, "But there are 81 squares?!?" Sam broke into a small smile, and said "Oh, you should be able to fill in the rest. We're not done."

What did Sam mean? If there were no more questions, what was left to do? And what about the extra questions? Oh, I guess I should give you the question list:

  1. What was Mr. Howell's first name on Gilligan's Island?
  2. Who was the drummer for The Velvet Underground?
  3. Who played Bob Newhart's wife in his first starring sitcom role?
  4. What nickname was given to American soldiers who served in the American Expeditionary Force in World War I?
  5. What actress starred in the 1970s avant-garde film Emily?
  6. How many stripes are on the 50-star version of the flag of the United States of America?
  7. Which syndicated comic strip by Mell Lazarus ran from 1970 to 2016?
  8. About which topic is Emily Post most famous for writing?
  9. What is "Magic" Johnson's given first name?
  10. What did the puppy Blue put her pawprints on in a 1990s children's cartoon?
  11. What was Three Dog Night's first gold record?
  12. What is another, slightly more generic, name for blackjack?
  13. What was the title of Huey Lewis and the News' fourth album?
  14. How many days are in a fortnight?
  15. What song by The Byrds has lyrics taken from the Book of Ecclesiastes?
  16. How many bits are in an Internet Protocol version 4 address?
  17. What is the German word for "no"?
  18. Which album has sold the most copies in its debut week in the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada?
  19. Which rule asserts that Internet pornography exists for any conceivable search term?
  20. What was the final single released from The Smashing Pumpkins' album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness?
  21. For the United States government, what sort of resolution extends funding current operations without passing actual appropriations?
  22. In 2019, there was an Internet campaign proposing the mass storming of which secretive US military installation?
  23. According to the popular phrase, what does "might" make?
  24. What card "game" consists of tossing a deck of cards into the air and forcing the other player to gather the scattered cards?
  25. What is Dirty Harry's preferred handgun, which he calls "the most powerful handgun in the world"?
  26. What is the largest number that is not a "McNugget" number?
  27. At what age did notorious record producer Phil Spector die?
  28. What highway did Bob Dylan revisit in a 1965 album?
  29. What term is used for old phonograph records from the 1920s and 1930s, differentiating them from the slower revolving standards that evolved in the late 1940s?
  30. What recently cancelled television show on the Paramount network boasted Ron Howard as executive producer?
  31. Which United States national park borders more than 100 miles of the border between Texas and Mexico?
  32. Which rapper's debut album was titled Get Rich or Die Tryin'?
  33. What shorthand is used by amateur radio operators to convey "Best Regards"?
  34. What tagline has been used by the H.J. Heinz company since 1896 to advertise its array of products?
  35. What 1982 film starred Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte?
  36. For what NFL football team did O.J. Simpson play his last down in 1979?
  37. What term is used to describe the process of shaping material on a lathe?
  38. How many flavors does the Baskin-Robbins ice cream chain advertise serving?
  39. As suggested by a Clint Eastwood movie title, many young baseball players have trouble hitting which pitch?
  40. What unusual date appeared on the calendar in Sweden in 1712?
  41. What was the first novel featuring adventure hero Richard Hannay?
  42. What line formed the pre-Korean war border between North and South Korea?
  43. What is the formal term for a coin collector?
  44. What travel trailer manufacturer is known for their unpainted, polished metal styling?
  45. What is the scientific term for the branch of zoology dealing with fishes?
  46. What was the British project name for the intelligence derived from breaking the German Enigma cipher?
  47. Other than skeins, what is a common crossword answer indicated by "balls of yarn"?
  48. What was Metallica's first top 40 hit single in the United States?
  49. Which United States military unit was tasked with the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden?
  50. What is the signature song from The Music Man?
  51. What song on Let It Be was introduced by John Lennon with the phrase "in which Doris gets her oats"?
  52. What is the second perfect number?
  53. According to the lyrics of a Four Seasons song, when was the special night in late December?
  54. What 1980s comedy film was directed by Leonard Nimoy?
  55. What was the name of the house band on Late Night with Conan O'Brien?
  56. What classic New York nightclub gave its name to Sirius XM's disco/dance station?
  57. What pro wrestling stable was formed by Ric Flair and Ole Anderson?
  58. What phrase is often used to denote the bar at a golf course visited by golfers after their round?
  59. What movie starred Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt as police detectives tracking a serial killer?
  60. Which Interstate highway runs between Erie, Pennsylvania and Charleston, West Virginia?
  61. How many main Hawaiian islands are there?
  62. How many balls are used in a typical game of Bingo?
  63. What is the longest song issued by the Beatles?
  64. Where did the worst civilian nuclear power generation accident in the United States occur?
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  • $\begingroup$ To my knowledge, #64 is called Guerr Zvyr Vfynaq. $\endgroup$ – Rewan Demontay Feb 11 at 23:48
  • $\begingroup$ Is it possible that either rot13(dhrfgvbaf gjraglsvir naq gjraglfvk be dhrfgvbaf sbeglbar naq sbeglgjb) are the wrong way around? (I expect the answer is that they aren't and my reason for thinking they might be is bogus.) $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Feb 12 at 0:19
  • $\begingroup$ @GarethMcCaughan I checked my solution, and am pretty sure those are all in the correct locations, and in particular are in the correct order. $\endgroup$ – Jeremy Dover Feb 12 at 0:26
  • $\begingroup$ OK. (I take it you can see why I wanted a switcheroo. But I don't yet understand the significance of the feature that made me want one, so I'm not very surprised to find that I was wrong.) $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Feb 12 at 0:36
  • $\begingroup$ On a similar nitpicking note, are you sure that Q31 is actually correct? (I am fairly sure I have the intended answer, but I think the fraction is much less than 1/4. But, here too, it is very possible that I am wrong.) $\endgroup$ – Gareth McCaughan Feb 12 at 0:51
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It is unfortunate that table markup doesn't work inside spoiler blocks.

Here are the answers to the quiz questions:

     Thurston                 What was Mr. Howell's first name on Gilligan's Island?
     Moe Tucker               Who was the drummer for The Velvet Underground?
     Suzanne Pleshette        Who played Bob Newhart's wife in his first starring sitcom role?
     Doughboys                What nickname was given to American soldiers who served in the American Expeditionary Force in World War I?
     Koo Stark                What actress starred in the 1970s avant-garde film Emily?

  13 13                       How many stripes are on the 50-star version of the flag of the United States of America?

     Momma                    Which syndicated comic strip by Mell Lazarus ran from 1970 to 2016?
     Etiquette                About which topic is Emily Post most famous for writing?
     Earvin                   What is "Magic" Johnson's given first name?

     Clues                    What did the puppy Blue put her pawprints on in a 1990s children's cartoon?

A  1 One                      What was Three Dog Night's first gold record?
A 21 Vingt-Un                 What is another, slightly more generic, name for blackjack?
A  4 Fore!                    What was the title of Huey Lewis and the News' fourth album?
A 14 14                       How many days are in a fortnight?
A    Turn! Turn! Turn!        What song by The Byrds has lyrics taken from the Book of Ecclesiastes?
A 32 32                       How many bits are in an Internet Protocol version 4 address?
A  9 Nein                     What is the German word for "no"?
A 25 25                       Which album has sold the most copies in its debut week in the United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Canada?
A 34 34                       Which rule asserts that Internet pornography exists for any conceivable search term?
A 33 33                       What was the final single released from The Smashing Pumpkins' album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness?
A    Continuing [res.]        For the United States government, what sort of resolution extends funding current operations without passing actual appropriations?
A 51 Area 51                  In 2019, there was an Internet campaign proposing the mass storming of which secretive US military installation?
A    Right                    According to the popular phrase, what does "might" make?
A 52 52-card pickup           What card "game" consists of tossing a deck of cards into the air and forcing the other player to gather the scattered cards?
a 44 S&W .44 Magnum           What is Dirty Harry's preferred handgun, which he calls "the most powerful handgun in the world"?
a 43 43 `                     What is the largest number that is not a "McNugget" number?

B 81 81                       At what age did notorious record producer Phil Spector die?
B 61 61                       What highway did Bob Dylan revisit in a 1965 album?
B 78 78                       What term is used for old phonograph records from the 1920s and 1930s, differentiating them from the slower revolving standards that evolved in the late 1940s?
B 68 68 Whiskey               What recently cancelled television show on the Paramount network boasted Ron Howard as executive producer?
B    Big Bend? (seems wrong)  Which national park borders almost a quarter of the length of the border between Texas and Mexico?
B 50 50 Cent                  Which rapper's debut album was titled Get Rich or Die Tryin'?
B 73 73                       What shorthand is used by amateur radio operators to convey "Best Regards"?
B 57 57 Varieties             What tagline has been used by the H.J. Heinz company since 1896 to advertise its array of products?
B 48 48 Hrs.                  What 1982 film starred Eddie Murphy and Nick Nolte?
B 49 49ers                    For what NFL football team did O.J. Simpson play his last down in 1979?
B    Turning                  What term is used to describe the process of shaping material on a lathe?
B 31 31                       How many flavors does the Baskin-Robbins ice cream chain advertise serving?
B    Curve                    As suggested by a Clint Eastwood movie title, many young baseball players have trouble hitting which pitch?
B 30 30 February              What unusual date appeared on the calendar in Sweden in 1712?
b 39 The 39 Steps             What was the first novel featuring adventure hero Richard Hannay?
b 38 38th parallel            What line formed the pre-Korean war border between North and South Korea?

     Numismatist              What is the formal term for a coin collector?
     Airstream                What travel trailer manufacturer is known for their unpainted, polished metal styling?
     Ichthyology              What is the scientific term for the branch of zoology dealing with fishes?
     Ultra                    What was the British project name for the intelligence derived from breaking the German Enigma cipher?

     Clues                    Other than skeins, what is a common crossword answer indicated by "balls of yarn"?

   1 One                      What was Metallica's first top 40 hit single in the United States?
   6 SEAL Team Six            Which United States military unit was tasked with the mission that killed Osama Bin Laden?
  76 76 Trombones             What is the signature song from The Music Man?
   2 Two of Us                What song on Let It Be was introduced by John Lennon with the phrase "in which Doris gets her oats"?
  28 28                       What is the second perfect number?
  63 1963                     According to the lyrics of a Four Seasons song, when was the special night in late December?
   3 Three Men and a Baby     What 1980s comedy film was directed by Leonard Nimoy?
   7 The Max Weinberg 7       What was the name of the house band on Late Night with Conan O'Brien?
  54 Studio 54                What classic New York nightclub gave its name to Sirius XM's disco/dance station?
   4 Four Horsemen            What pro wrestling stable was formed by Ric Flair and Ole Anderson?
  19 19th hole                What phrase is often used to denote the bar at a golf course visited by golfers after their round?
   7 Se7en                    What movie starred Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt as police detectives tracking a serial killer?
  79 Interstate 79            Which Interstate highway runs between Erie, Pennsylvania and Charleston, West Virginia?
   8 8                        How many main Hawaiian islands are there?
  75 75                       How many balls are used in a typical game of Bingo?
   9 Revolution 9             What is the longest song issued by the Beatles?
   3 Three Mile Island        Where did the worst civilian nuclear power generation accident in the United States occur?

(I've said that Big Bend "seems wrong" because the question claims it runs along 1/4 of the Tex-Mex border, which it doesn't. OP has confirmed that this was an error and by the time you're reading this the question may have been amended.)

Here,

you will notice that many of the answers are, or contain, numbers in the range 1-81. I have put those in the column immediately before the answers themselves. There are two blocks, one immediately after the other, that are almost 180-degree rotations of one another when drawn on the 9x9 grid. (The answers in these blocks are either numbers or things like "turn", "right", "continuing", "bend" that evidently kinda describe the path we're taking; the latter occur in the same positions in the two blocks, though the specific words don't correspond closely.) I have labelled them A and B in the first column; the last two entries in each of these blocks I have given lowercase letters a,b instead because they are in the wrong order to preserve the symmetry. I don't think the symmetry has any particular importance other than its prettiness.

Before these we have some non-numerical clues; the 13 is actually one of these. The starts of the answers in the first block say THER/MO SU/DO/KU THER/MOM/ET/ER CLUES. After that come the aforementioned numerical-and-"turn" answers. Then NUM/ER/IC/AL CLUES, and a bunch more numerical answers.

So we are evidently meant to construct and solve a Thermometer Sudoku puzzle. (Maybe some variant thereof, depending on what it is I've failed to get out of "Thurston / Angus MacLise". Maybe it's just Thurston / MacLise -> THER/MAL or something.) But how are we supposed to interpret the clues? There are several kinda-plausible guesses as to how to interpret the thermometer clues, but all of them quickly encounter fatal objections other than this one: by default a thermometer is a single straight line, specified by its endpoints; "curve" etc. signifies a continuation. And the numerical clues seem clear enough: there are 1s in positions 6 and 76, 2s in positions 28 and 63, 3s in positions 7 and 54, etc.

So we now have the following:

enter image description here

OK, let's work this thing out.

The C-shaped thermometer on the left must have a 1 in its bulb. (If that's not a 1, it has to be at least a 4 because of 2 in the same 3x3 and 3 in the same row, and then the other end is at least 8, but it has 8 and 9 in its column.) The diagonal thermometer in the NW corner has at least a 5 in its bulb (1-4 all being excluded on row or column) so at least a 7 at the far end -- but the far end has 8 and 9 in the same column so must be exactly 7, and we can fill in that whole thermometer. This means that that C-shaped thermometer has a 5 or 6 at its tip, which working backwards lets us put a 2 in the cell next to its bulb.

At this point we have

enter image description here

Now

the C-shaped thermometer at the right has at least a 3 in its second cell because of the 2 in that row, so at least 4,5,6 in the other cells. The tip can't in fact be a 6 because that would make it 13456 from bulb to tip, which would put both 4 and 5 in the central 3x3, and then we'd be stuck filling the other C-shaped thermometer. So the tip of this thermometer is at least a 7, hence (since there's a 7 in its column) at least an 8. This reasoning also shows that the cell next to the tip is at least a 6. The top-centre thermometer has at least a 2 in its bulb (1 in row), so at least 3 after that, so at least 5 after that (4 in row), so at least 6 at its tip. The top-right thermometer has at least a 4 in its bulb (1,2,3 in row/col), so at least a 5 in the middle, so at least a 6 at its tip. (And if it isn't exactly 456, then it has >=6 in the bulb, so >=7 in the middle, so 8 or 9 at the tip, and note that there's another 8-or-9 in the column.) The bottom-right thermometer has bulb at least 4 (1,2,3 in row/col), so middle at least 5 and tip at least 6. If this isn't exactly 456 then again the tip is at least 8. But these right-corner thermometers are in the same columns; they can't both be 456. And there's already an 8-or-9 in the column, so they can't both be not-456. One of them is 456; the other has 8-or-9 at the tip. So we know that these thermometer-ends, along with the end of the right-hand C-thermometer, have {6,8,9}, and a 7 in that column was one of our givens. So was a 3; the other cells in this column are 1,2,4,5. The bulb of that C-thermometer is currently known to be 145; it can't actually be 5 because that would force the thermometer to be 56789, and then the tip of the other C-thermometer is out of options. Nor can it be a 4 because then the "low" two cells of this C-thermometer and the "high" two of the other C-thermometer must all be chosen from {4,5,6}. So it must be a 1.

The state of play is now

enter image description here

and now

note that the bottom-right thermometer can't be 456 because there's a 45 cell elsewhere in its 3x3. So the top-right one is 456, which lets us fill the centre-left cell of that 3x3 with a 2. So we have
enter image description here

Now

let's consider the short centre-right thermometer. If its bulb is 4 then its tip is 5; then the middle of the left-hand C-thermometer is 3; so the short centre-left thermometer has >=6 in its bulb, and also <=6 because 7,8,9 are already taken in that column; then the left-hand C-thermometer has to be exactly 12345; this then forces the right-hand C-thermometer to be exactly 16789 because its second cell can't be anything <6; then the bottom-centre thermometer has to be exactly 2345 because its tip can't be anything >5; then the top-centre thermometer has 9 at its tip because nothing else >=6 is possible there; and the centre cell is 1 because we've filled in the rest of its 3x3. Then the next cell of the top-centre thermometer has to be 8; the bulb of that thermometer is >=6 because it has 1,2,3,4 already in its column and 5 in its row, and <=6 because its third cell is 8; so this thermometer is exactly 6789. Now the centre column is filled apart from a 2 and a 6, which have to go at top and bottom respectively. Now the top row is filled apart from a 7 and an 8, which have to go on the right and the left respectively. (How have we not got a contradiction yet? Is this going to be the actual solution? I didn't expect that.) So, so far we have -- all conditional on the short centre-right thermometer having 4 rather than 2 in its bulb --
enter image description here
The bottom-right thermometer has 8 not 9 at its tip. Its previous cell is 6 (7 being unavailable). Its bulb is therefore exactly 5. Now the bottom-left cell is 349; it can't be 9 because it's a bulb; it can't be 4 because there's a 4 in its column; so it's 3. The cell near bottom right labelled "45" has to be a 5 since we already have a 5 in the column; so the rightmost cell of the bottom row is 9, and the other blank cell in that row is 4. The remaining cells of the bottom-right 3x3 are 1,3, and must have the 3 at the top and the 1 at the right. The top-right 3x3 has three blank cells, one of which must contain a 1; it can't be either of the right-hand two so it's the bottom-centre one. The other two cells of that 3x3 are 8,9, so the other two currently-unfilled cells in the rightmost column are 6,7; we must put the 7 above and the 6 below. Oh, and at the top right it must be 8 above 9. Now we have -- still all conditionally --
enter image description here
The centre-right 3x3 is missing 2,8 ... and finally we have the contradiction I was expecting to find earlier, because the lower of its two empty cells can't contain either of those. OK, so, finally, that hypothesis turned out not to work; the bulb of the short centre-right thermometer doesn't contain a 4, it contains a 2. (I expect there was an easier way to see that.)
enter image description here

Now

the only cell of the central 3x3 that can be a 1 is the centre cell. The top-centre cell of that 3x3 is currently marked >=6 but it can't be a 6 because then the cell two to its left would be a 5, the one in between would be a 4, the one to its right would be a 3, and then we couldn't fill the remaining cell of the left-hand C-thermometer. So that cell is >=7. The cell above that is >=5, can't be 6 or 7 because those are already in its row, and can't be 9 because it's in a thermometer and not at the tip, so it's 5 or 8. The cell above that is 3..7 and has 5,6 in its row so is 3467. The bulb of that thermometer is therefore 23456 but already has 345 in its row so is 2 or 6. Ah, and it can't be a 2 because there's already one of those in the column, so in fact that thermometer is exactly 6789.
enter image description here
This constrains the bottom-centre thermometer a lot: 23-34-45-56. Now we have four cells in the central 3x3 labelled 45, 3456, 34, 56; these must be 3,4,5,6 in some order, and the remaining two are therefore 7,8, and there is only one way around they can be because they're part of a thermometer. This in fact tells us that the right-hand C-thermometer ends 789. And that resolves the other 8-or-9 in its column.
enter image description here

What now? Well,

the top row is missing 2,7,8. Its middle cell can't be 7 or 8 so must be 2. The left-hand empty cell can't be 7 so must be 8. So the right-hand empty cell is 7. The bottom-right thermometer's middle cell is >=6; there's a 7 in its column and an 8 above it in the thermometer; so it must be exactly 6; and then the bulb of the thermometer must be exactly 5. The top-left 3x3 is missing 1,2,3, and the only one of those cells that can be a 2 is the bottom-centre one. This in turn means that we can fill in the 2 in the bottom-left 3x3, at centre right, and then the 2 in the bottom-centre 3x3, in the bulb of the thermometer. That's all the 2s.
enter image description here
Back to the top left 3x3. It's missing a 1 and a 3 and there's only one way around they can go. Now the second row is missing 4,8,9. The 8 can't go in either of the cells in the middle 3x3, so goes on the right. The bottom-left thermometer's bulb is at least 3 (1,2 in both row and column); if it isn't a 3 then since the column contains 4,5 it must be >=6, but that's impossible because its tip is at most 6 because 7,8,9 are already present in its column. So the thermometer's bulb is 3. The tip, as already mentioned, is <=6, and it must be >=5; so this, like another cell in its column, is 5-or-6. The only remaining cell in that column is the bulb of the short centre-left thermometer, which must therefore be 4, which means that the cell to its right is 3 and the tip of the short centre-right thermometer is 5, so the remaining cell in that column is 4, so the second cell of the bottom-centre thermometer is 3. The 4 near bottom right now means that the middle cell of the bottom-left thermometer is 5, so its tip is 6, so the tip of the other thermometer in that column is 5, so the remaining cell of that thermometer is 4, so the remaining cell of the right-hand C-thermometer is 6, so the remaining cell of the central 3x3 is 5, so the remaining cell of the thermometer that's in is 4, so the remaining cell of the central column is 6.
enter image description here

Now all that's left is mopping up. I won't insult your intelligence by showing every step.

enter image description here
enter image description here
enter image description here

and, finally:

enter image description here

(It doesn't look as if there's any further extraction required after this.)

I guess I should also mention that there is, as one would expect, an informative-in-hindsight pun in the title.

Credit where due: There were two possible answers to question 2, and I picked the wrong one; Stiv pointed out the right one in comments. Thanks, Stiv!

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1
  • $\begingroup$ That's it! Great job. Sorry about the earlier issue with #31, and with #2. The answer you picked never occurred to me...anywho, hope you enjoyed! $\endgroup$ – Jeremy Dover Feb 12 at 18:10

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