No. 400: "Expeditious Story"

No. 400: "Expeditious Story"

No. 400: "Expeditious Story"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
March 16 2000 3:00 AM

No. 400: "Expeditious Story"

Pending government approval, something will soon go on sale that makes it possible to do only once a week what many people must now do once or twice a day. Explain.


Send your answer by noon ET Thursday to

Tuesday's Question (No. 399)—"Dilatory Story":

A new government study reveals that these are now the slowest in the nation. What?

"Old people."—David Finkle


"Sales for Backstreet Boys albums, I'm hoping?"—Francis Heaney

"The meetings of the Log Cabin Syrup Republicans."—Greg Diamond

"Those 20 minutes in Magnolia when Jason Robards just won't shut up."—Tim Carvell (Chris Kelly had a similar answer.)

"Now I get it! Hah, hah. The smirking fool was making fun of Letterman's heart surgery! Heh heh!"—Anthony Wright


Click for more answers.

Randy's Wrap-Up

Is life speeding up? Not on a long car trip with Billy, Dolly, Jeffy, and PJ, those scamps! Even before we hit the interstate, I'm taking off the trigger lock and snapping a full magazine into … no, wait, sorry—that's something I was working on for my other job, feeding story ideas to Bill Keane over at Family Circus. The answer is—yes, life does indeed race by, at least the time I spend doing News Quiz, and that's because the participants are genuinely bright and amusing. Sorry about the sentimentality. And sorry that, when I first started the quiz, unsure of what to expect from the Slate readers, I asked George Meyer to write all the responses himself, which was just so totally unnecessary. I blush retroactively. And so here we are at No. 400. To mark the occasion, I'd like to suggest that we get together more than once a year. If anyone else would like to host a quiz gathering, I'd be happy to post the invitation and help tote the empties out to the curb. My way of saying thanks. And meaning it. Except for the part about the toting.

Dirty, Unreliable, and Slow-Moving Answer


New York City buses are the country's slowest.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority's own figures show that buses in the city move—if that's the word I mean—at an average speed of 8 mph; those in Manhattan average only 6. The national average is 13.

Forty-one percent of the city's buses are "irregular." That is, there are long waits between arrivals, and when buses do arrive, they come in herds, blocking traffic, making loading and unloading difficult, and causing increasing passenger delays.

Critics attribute the problem primarily to the MTA's failure to add enough buses to handle the 38 percent increase in ridership over the last three years. Al O'Leary, spokesman for the agency, responded with assorted unconvincing denials, denouncing his critics as "intellectually dishonest."


Tuneful and Free-Spirited Extra

These lungs are your lungs, these lungs are my lungs,

If you fill 'em with smoke, you're gonna die young

Once you get the habit, you'll never quit, son,

You'll be smokin' in the crematorium.

—Scott "Deadlines Mean Nothing to Me" Sparling

Most Wanted Extra

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" list. Since the program began, 458 fugitives have made the list; seven have been women. One hundred and thirty-four arrests have come from the publicity the list generates and the $50,000 reward it offers. To make the list, you must have a lengthy record of committing serious crimes and/or be considered a particularly dangerous menace to society. Academy Awards, same way. Culturally speaking. Or perhaps not.


Can you name the crimes that made each of these men Most Wanted?



1. James J. Bulger

2. Donald Eugene Webb

3. Ramon Eduardo Arellano-Felix

4. Victor Manuel Gerena

5. Agustin Vasquez-Mendoza

6. Henry Kissinger


  1. Extortion and Rico charges, including gambling, loan-sharking, and drugs.
    Fun Facts: He is an avid reader with an interest in history and has been seen frequenting libraries and historic sites. He maintains his physical fitness by working out at health clubs and walking on beaches and in parks with his female companion. (Not unlike everyone in every personal ad in New York magazine.)
  2. Murder of a police chief in Pennsylvania, shot twice at close range after being brutally beaten about the head and face with a blunt instrument.
    Fun Facts: Webb, a master of assumed identities, specializes in the burglary of jewelry stores. He is reportedly a lover of dogs, a flashy dresser, and a big tipper. (The big tipping and dog loving will stand him in good stead with NY magazine personal ads, less so the brutal beatings.)
  3. Conspiracy to import cocaine and marijuana.
    Fun Facts: Policeman, rancher, and physician. (All jobs that would generate many responses in a personal ad, even if he's not much of a tipper.)
  4. Armed robbery of approximately $7 million from a security company in Connecticut.
    Fun Fact: former security guard. (Lover of cheap irony. Unclear how he feels about walking on beach, dogs, tipping.)
  5. Drug conspiracy involving an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration special agent who was killed during a drug transaction.
    Fun Facts: He considers himself to be a ladies' man. He tends to wear expensive slacks, cowboy boots, and gold chains. (Apparently considers himself a ladies' man in 1978.)
  6. Oh, OK, he's not really wanted. But in a decent society …

Read more about it here.

Common Denominator

Government studies of government studies of … ow! … my head hurts.