No. 14: “Two Pair”

No. 14: “Two Pair”

No. 14: “Two Pair”

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
March 18 1998 3:30 AM

No. 14: “Two Pair”

No. 14: "Two Pair"

"News Quiz" Unretitled


As the table of contents shows, the name remains the same, although it is now qualified by the phrase "topical comedy in convenient quiz form." Were there a prize--and due to a meddling bureaucracy, there is not--it would go to Larry Doyle, who first urged reverence for the old ways of three weeks ago. (A similar suggestion came from Tim Wilson, who inquired demurely: "The name 'News Quiz' is perfect. Why are you f*cking with it?" Such asterisk tact.) Thanks for the many clever suggestions, for which I kiss each of you on the forehead in a comforting, nonsexual manner.

By Randy Cohen

Two of these words describe one thing, and two refer to another. Match up each pair and identify what it refers to: Pizazz, Allure, Oomph, Charm.

(Note: No digs at Miss Liza Minnelli. Unless you are Miss Liza Minnelli or think you might be.)


by noon ET on Tuesday to e-mail your answers (

Responses to Thursday's question (No. 13)--"Death Star":

Likely to pass within 30,000 miles of Earth on Oct. 26, 2028, Asteroid 1997 XF11 has been added to a list of 108 PHOs, "potentially hazardous objects." Can you name another?

"That bone that the ape threw up in the air at the beginning of 2001. It's still up there somewhere, so heads up, everyone."--Nancy Franklin


"Monica Lewinsky's teeth."--Colleen Werthmann

"Plastic dry cleaning bag nebula."--Greg Diamond

"Humbert Humbert Beanie Babies."--Julia Oskarsdottir

"John Glenn's dentures."--Evan Allen


"Any Ally McBeal fan and that bar under my desk I'm always whacking my knee on."--Beth Sherman

"The particles from Kathie Lee Gifford's aerosol usage."--Meg Wolitzer

"Depends on your point of view. For Asteroid 1997 XF11, a PHO would be: EARTH."--Patty Marx

"In descending order of peril: rolled up bath towels, licked butter knives, hair not brushed away from 'such a lovely forehead,' tight bluejeans, 'smart remarks like that, Missy,' and mile-wide asteroids on a direct collision course with the Earth."--David Rakoff


"Yes, but what good would it do? Because I've just learned that an unnamed asteroid will actually hit Earth on THIS St. Patrick's Day with no warning whatsoever and will, in a few hours time, destroy all life on the planet. On the positive side, though, it'll be a direct hit on Baghdad."--Bill Franzen

"Andrew Giuliani."--Kate Clinton

"Gene Roddenberry's ashes."--Tim Wilson

"Ortega's new product: Refried Beans. Now refried with Olestra."--Jon Hotchkiss

"A Marine Corps A6 near a ski slope."--John Keller (Andrew Staples had a similar answer.)

"Historical epics starring Leonardo DiCaprio."--Robert Ingram

"Hillary Clinton's left hook after Chelsea publishes her tell-all book, particularly after Hillary reads Chapter 5, 'The Women in My Life.' "--Jim Hutchinson

"XF-58: EXTREME-ULTRA! An even greater threat to our way of life. Not only is it thundering right at us with horrifying velocity, but it's also full of Mexicans. Someone's got to stop it, and no price is too high. Write your congressman, tell him to send the Jet Propulsion Laboratory all your money--NOW!"--Chris Kelly

"Randy, I thought you'd beaten your paranoid addiction to cataloging every potentially hazardous object. It's simply not possible, nor will it make you any 'safer.' You make a mockery of the oddly as-yet-not-named News Quiz by using it for personal and self-destructive ends. I, for one, will not sit back--OK, I will, but not in an ergonomically correct position, more sort of hunched over with my elbows not at a 90 degree angle--and feed your insatiable need to control your surroundings. Seek help, before you start 'cutting' yourself again and wind up as just another statistic."--Stephen Sherrill

Randy's Wrap-Up:

An impressive range of references--scorn for NASA, unrelenting disdain for Rudolph Giuliani, deft allusions to Stanley Kubrick and Vladimir Nabokov. Bill Franzen's anti-Saddam hostility covers him in glory. With so many evil men clamoring for attention, I salute his patriotic loathing of our official enemies.

On a personal note, I once took a particularly wonderful vacation in Iceland, so I'm pleased to receive from Julia Oskarsdottir what I take to be our first Icelandic response. How pleasant to receive sardonic remarks from the country where America's astronauts trained for the lunar landing, the country with more published poets per capita than anywhere on earth, the country with the world's farthest-north Benetton--in Arkurery, just below the Arctic circle.

And on an even more personal note, I'm wearing bluejeans and a black T-shirt. In a comforting, nonsexual manner.

Thursday's Chance for Edward Teller to Finally Get to Blow the Hell Out of Something Answer:

It turns out that 1997 XF11 won't come within 600,000 miles of us, but we still have much to fear. 1998 DV9, 1998 CSI, and 1998 BY7 are Potentially Hazardous Asteroids. Read more about a chunk of rock and dirty ice that just might have your name on it at I particularly enjoy potentially dangerous "Near-Earth Objects (NEOs)," "Unusual Minor Planets" (which is how I think of several regular quiz players), and "Rock & Roll Minor Planets." This site includes instructions on how to report discovery of a supernova. It's better to tell someone; you don't want to keep something like that bottled up inside.

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