My school had recently hired a new professor, and I volunteered to assist while he moved into his new classroom. He happily accepted my help. I walked into the classroom, and saw him unpacking some boxes.

"So what class are you going to be teaching?" I asked.

"You don't need to worry about that," was his reply. "Oh, and by the way. Could you run to the store and grab those items for me. I forgot to get them earlier."

"Sure..." I said, still confused.

As I headed out the door, I wondered why he hadn't told me which subject he taught. I looked at the list he had given me.

  • Squash
  • Quiche
  • Raw Broccoli
  • Yellow Bathrobe
  • LED Lightbulb
  • White Turmeric
  • Microwave Popcorn
  • Sweet Potato
  • Stuffed Wolf
  • Disposable Phone
  • Can of Tuna

As I read it again, I suddenly understood.

"That man is a genius!" I yelled as I headed off to the store.

What did I learn from the professor's shopping list? Why?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ WTF is a "Heartburn Antibiotic"? And do you seriously send a colleague to a store to purchase you a luxury car like a Porsche??? If I saw the shopping list, I'd think anything but 'that man is a genius'... $\endgroup$
    – subrunner
    Nov 11, 2021 at 10:42
  • $\begingroup$ To make a slightly more palatable (and affordable) shopping list, you could have One Pound Tuna / Can of Tuna, yellow (or white) turmeric, brioche / quiche $\endgroup$
    – subrunner
    Nov 11, 2021 at 10:55
  • $\begingroup$ Fair point. The things one doesn't notice until after it's done. : ) $\endgroup$
    – PiGuy314
    Nov 11, 2021 at 14:36

1 Answer 1


You learned that the professor teaches:



his 'shopping list' is not actually a shopping list; instead it's his way of communicating to you the subject he teaches. You can tell he is a chemist because the lines of the list end in the sequential symbols of the first 11 elements in the Periodic Table:

Raw broccoLi
Yellow bathroBe
LED lightbulB
White TurmeriC
Microwave PopcorN
Sweet PotatO
Stuffed WolF
Disposable PhoNe
Can of TuNa

  • $\begingroup$ I wonder how a music professor's list look like. $\endgroup$
    – WhatsUp
    Nov 10, 2021 at 23:28
  • $\begingroup$ Challenge Accepted. (maybe) : ) $\endgroup$
    – PiGuy314
    Nov 10, 2021 at 23:42
  • 7
    $\begingroup$ It might begin with "The Picture of Dorian Gray" and an Aeolian harp, but continuing that list seems like it would be troublesome. $\endgroup$
    – Gareth McCaughan
    Nov 10, 2021 at 23:57
  • $\begingroup$ What about "Xyrtec, 10 mg" $\endgroup$ Nov 11, 2021 at 14:17

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.