The Binomial Elks Club
For many months, Bill Gates had heard whispers of an exclusive club for the super rich, but when pressed, no one would provide any details. The secrecy surrounding the club piqued his curiosity, so he hired a team of private investigators to find out everything they could about the club. The only thing the investigators discovered was the location of the club and the fact that all members entered wearing masks (presumably to keep their identities secret).
Armed with this knowledge, he decided to see what the club was all about. Donning a Guy Fawkes mask, he approached the front door, where two security guards awaited. The security guards looked at him but said nothing. Unsure of what to do, he said "I'm Bill Gates". There was no reaction from the guards, so he said again "I'm Bill Gates. I can prove it". As he lifted his mask to show his face, the two guards quickly stopped him from removing his mask, grabbed him, and ushered him through a side door to a holding room. Five minutes later, a man wearing a Phantom mask entered the room.
"Well well, I was wondering when you would find out about the club", said the man. Bill Gates recognized the voice. "Steve, is that you?". Steve Ballmer removed his mask and said, "Yes, it's me. I founded this club together with Larry Ellison a year ago".
Bill: What is this place?
Steve: This is the Binomial Elks Club. We are a secret society of the most powerful and influential people in the world, whose purpose is to manipulate the direction of society according to our private agenda. I've already said too much, but I have a feeling that you will be joining us soon.
Bill: Sounds intriguing. How can I join?
Steve: We have several rules here. The first rule is that club members must never reveal their identities, which is the reason why we wear masks when entering. We know that there are people watching. This also means that when entering, we never use our real names. Instead, we use anagrams of our names. In fact, you should know that 'Binomial Elks' is an anagram for 'Make Billions'. So we are in fact the "Make Billions" Club.
Bill: Well I certainly qualify. So can I enter using "Gill Bates" as my name?
Steve: Not so fast. We have another rule. "Binomial" means "two names". This means that you can't enter the club alone. You must enter with at least one other person using an anagram of all your names combined. This helps us disguise our identities because let's face it, "Gill Bates" isn't fooling anyone. Also, to create more confusion, the person or people you enter with must have the same number of letters in their first and last names as you do. So for example, you may enter with John Smith (4,5) but not with John Doe (4,3) or Larry Page (5,4).
Bill: Is that it?
Steve: No, here are the other rules:
- Despite the club's name, we value fame over money, as influencing the public requires a certain amount of recognition and trust. Therefore, each member must be famous enough to be a household name. This fame requirement is more restrictive than the wealth requirement, which is a mere \$100 million net worth. The majority of our members, however, have over \$400 million net worth. Had we not been the founders, Larry Ellison and I would not be famous enough to qualify as members.
- If a person is known for their stage name, that name will be used for entry, even if that name is mononymous (only a single name). If a name is hyphenated, it counts as a single name.
- Each group of people entering together must all be from the same professional field (e.g. actors, musicians, businessmen, athletes).
- Each group enters using a passphrase which is an anagram of all of their names combined. A computer system decodes the passphrase into a list of names, verifies each person's net worth, and either allows or rejects admission. Once inside the front door, a retinal scan is used to screen out any imposters before members are admitted into the main club.
Bill: I think I understand. And I know just the person to call.
The next day, Bill arrived with another businessman. Together they walked to the front door and he announced "false beef blitz jogs". A green light appeared above the door and the security guards let them in. Who did Bill enter with?
That day, the following groups were also admitted:
- Two top Hollywood directors, each with three Oscar wins.
- A group of three mononymous female musicians.
- Another group of three female musicians, one a Canadian.
- A group of four mononymous musicians, of which two were male with over 20 Grammys each, and two were female.
- Two male rap/hip-hop/R&B musicians, each with over 10 Grammys.
- Two male musicians, known for both their singing and piano playing.
- Two athletes, currently active and both considered to be the best in their respective sports in the last 15 years. One was American, the other was not.
- Two athletes, one retired and one nearing retirement, both considered to be the best ever in their respective sports. Both were not American.
- Two athletes, one active and considered to be the best ever in his sport, one retired as a 5 time champion of his sport. Both were American.
- Two active NBA players and MVP winners who were former teammates.
- An actor and actress, both Oscar winners, who co-starred together in a recent movie.
- Two actors who are also known for controversial beliefs.
- Two actresses who were notorious for their relationships with famous actors.
- Two radio personalities.
Can you identify each of the groups above using the list of passphrases that were overheard that night? These are the passphrases, in order of their lengths (which are in parentheses):
hijack bronze pony (16) sesame bunny artwork (18) beer glut commission (18) jolly hell bone joint (18) grower edited jokester (20) anyone abandon chairmen (21) rejuvenated shaman drink (22) major senile nobles smile (22) dark energy tweezer forgery (24) usual trash chamber syringe (24) eject major kneecap ransoms (24) send oracle neurology backlog (26) infernal alien zoo jeep jingle (26) inflationary wheat charisma stairway (33)