No. 195: "Suggestive Gestures"

No. 195: "Suggestive Gestures"

No. 195: "Suggestive Gestures"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
Feb. 24 1999 3:30 AM

No. 195: "Suggestive Gestures"

Last week, the British government received a letter offering advice on an ongoing investigation. From whom; suggesting what?


by noon ET Tuesday to e-mail your answer to

Thursday's Question (No. 194)--"Unaffordable":

After a call from Ford Motors, Greg Bradsher of the National Archives said, "You have to think in terms of corporate memories. There is probably no one around who knows anything about this stuff." What stuff does Ford need help remembering?

"Henry's first minivan, the 'Ford YellowStar.' "--Beth Sherman

"The schematic of the rather messy, and sadly unsuccessful, 'pudding-filled airbags.' "--Danny Spiegel

"Robert McNamara's gentle, charming wit. It's for a miniseries."--Greg Diamond

"The brief yet tumultuous reign of Generalísimo Franco as Ford CEO."--Tim Carvell

"I can see where this is going, Randy. Yes, Ford cooperated with Hitler, but it was Chevy that made 19 zillion truck ads with Bob Seger's 'Like a Rock.' "--Chris Kelly

Click for more answers.

Randy's Wrap-Up


A year ago, when News Quiz debuted, Slate was free. Now, to commemorate our first anniversary, in an act of incredible corporate generosity that is every bit as good as providing health insurance (I'm sure that Mr. Gates will make this sort of thing more available should Microsoft prove profitable), Slate is once again free. I like to think of it as my personal gift to News Quiz participants. (And the high concentration of oxygen in the atmosphere that sustains life on this planet--hey, it's on me!) Enjoy. Because, at the risk of sentimentality, it's the News Quiz participants that make it fun for me. We've come a long way together from Strom Thurmond's ass (which, while not free, is surprisingly affordable), and if online technology were not in its infancy, right about now I'd be buying you all a round of free-range rug shampoo. Maybe next year. Thanks for playing.

Professionally Researched Answer

Ford can't remember if it profited from its German operations under the Nazis, so it has hired historians to help it recall. A key detail--did it lose control of German subsidiary Ford Werke before or after the United States entered the war?

It is Holocaust litigation, not the love of learning, that has sent several corporations into the archives, notes Barry Meier in the New York Times, including General Motors and Deutsche Bank, both of whom hired prominent historians. However, the natural bias of their corporate employers can make academics uneasy.


"Among certain corporate historians, there is an ideology that corporations are unfairly maligned and that they are less powerful than they are made out to be," says Professor Michael Pinto-Duchinsky of England's Brunel University.

On the other hand, the pay is terrific, notes researcher Miriam Kleinman, who works the other side of the street for a class-action law firm: "Some of those people have limousines picking them up."

Tim Carvell's Anniversary Extra

A guest extra marking the first year of News Quiz.


Granted this corner of the quiz to fill how I choose, I'm going to live the dream of every participant who's ever had an especially good answer rejected: I'm going to run my dozen favorites that Randy, in his "wisdom," callously spurned.

  • "Covered with festering sores, of course."
  • "A saucy Margaret Thatcher, fresh from the hairstylist."
  • "Tom DeLay, polling the constituents, if you catch my drift."
  • "They don't."
  • "Michael Kinsley's pale, puffy ass."
  • "CLINTON GETS OFF," the New York Post.
  • "A pissed-off Barbara Lippert."
  • "That new Irish film, Wanking Ned Devine.
  • "The Korean War."
  • "Casey Silver, explaining his decision to green-light Babe: Pig in an Abattoir.
  • "John Ehrlichmann, describing what he liked best about Pat Nixon."
  • "Miss Tori Spelling."

Common Denominator

Ford's miserable anti-Semitic founder.

Strong second: Ford's unexpectedly flammable Pinto.

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