No. 439: "To Die For"

No. 439: "To Die For"

No. 439: "To Die For"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
June 8 2000 3:00 AM

No. 439: "To Die For"

This week the results of an Australian research project called 2dF will be presented to the American Astronomical Society. Of particular significance, 2dF confirms an assumption called the "end of greatness." Meaning? 


Send your answer by 6 p.m. ET Thursday to

Monday's Question (No. 438)—"The Deer and the Antelope …?":

It took a Supreme Court ruling, but what occurred in New York early Sunday morning was worth the effort said participant Keith Finney. "It's like when you watch those shows on the Discovery Channel and you see a herd of antelope. This was like a herd of … people." What were they doing? 

"Elderly New Yorkers racing to snatch their grandchildren before Justice Thomas and his buddies could stop them."—Adam Bonin (Benjamin Anderson and Ed Page had similar answers.)


"Announcing they were 'for the Lakers, anyway.' "—Peter O'Toole

"I knew the zoo's new 'free-range' lion exhibit was a bad idea."—Robert Hofheimer (similarly, Scott Pollino)

"Getting adopted by Rosie O'Donnell. 'It relaxes me. I enjoy it,' said the Tony host backstage."—Beth Sherman

"Straining the metaphor-creating abilities of Keith Finney, who went on to report, 'Then when we were done being photographed, we all got dressed, like a snake ... getting dressed, and then we went home like ... people going home.' "—Francis Heaney


Click for more answers.

Randy's Wrap-Up

"The antelope," says the World Book Encyclopedia, "is the name of a large group of animals that have hoofs and horns." And yet, a cow is not an antelope, and neither is Roy Cohn, so let's not go overboard. Antelopes belong to a family that includes goats and oxen, but you can't blame them for that; we've all got relatives that make us uneasy. Antelopes are ruminants, which means they chew their cud. This can make them appear to be thinking deep thoughts much as Tom Brokaw often seems to be doing on the nightly news, generally about what fun World War II was. There is little evidence that either of them is actually thinking anything much. Antelope horns come in many shapes and sizes, albeit pretty much all long and pointy—ridged and unridged, curved and straight, even corkscrewed. Antelope horns never branch like those of deer, and if that arrangement suits both species we ought not quibble. Despite the cowboy song, no true antelopes live in America, but instead are found in Asia, Africa, and southeastern Europe. Given the scientific training of most cowboys and the rhythmic demands of the song, we should count ourselves lucky that it's not "… where the deer and the elephant play." (This sort of thing is called a "tall tale," the cowboy and National Public Radio term for what regular people call "a long boring lie.") Even with their impressive horns, most antelopes would rather flee than fight. (Although I'll bet that the quick-tongued Tom Brokaw could talk himself out of a jam, if it was with a singing cowboy, particularly if the cowboy was a World War II veteran not immune to flattery.) Others, including the gnu, the roan antelope, and the sable antelope, will defend themselves with their horns, which are often seen mounted in the dens of hunters; so much for fight vs. flight. The heads of hunters are seldom seen mounted in the dens of antelopes, suggesting that antelopes have a better sense of interior design than do hunters. Incidentally, the lesser kudu can cover 30 feet in a single leap, jumping six feet into the air, although none has been known to land on Tom Brokaw. That's because they were thwarted by the American GI, every one of whom was a better person than you.

Nudes You Can Use Answer


They were posing with their clothes off. The ellipsis in Mr. Finney's comment elides the word "naked."

Early Sunday morning, in a 15-minute window granted by a district court judge, 152 amateur nudes lay prone on Delancey Street beneath the Williamsburg Bridge for the camera of Spencer Tunick. The day before, the Supreme Court ruled that the city could not stop the project, despite another of Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's futile assaults on the First Amendment.

"People who do not choose to watch it are being exposed to it," said Michael Hess, the city's corporate counsel. "Like all those damn billboards we crammed into Times Square. I see now how wrong we were about that. By all that's holy, I'll work night and day until they are removed," he did not add.

Tunick began shooting public nudes in 1992 when he posed a naked man in front of Independence Hall in Philadelphia. He has been arrested several times; the charges have always been dismissed. I don't know what happened to the naked man.


A Personal Note on the News From Josh Kamensky, Just Like Christiane Amanpour Does Extra

I was in one of those pictures, on New Year's Day in Chinatown in Los Angeles, with my sister. And you know, my sister's really cool, but for some reason I haven't really been in a hurry to buy a print.

Jon Delphin's Fun With Double Meanings Extra

I know there's a joke in here somewhere: I canceled all my magazine subscriptions except one computer mag and Penthouse. Yes, I've achieved cosmic balance with PC World and Non-PC World.

Charles Star's Fun With Childhood Humor Extra

When I was 8 years old I read a book of jokes that included the following witty dialogue. It was the funniest thing I had ever read at the time and remains a close second to some answer given by someone on News Quiz. Any players who think it was their answer are free to believe that it was.

1: "Hey look, a group of cows!"

2: "Herd."

1: "Heard what?"

2: "Of cows."

1: "Sure I've heard of cows."

2: "No, I mean the cow herd."

1: "I don't care if the cow heard. I've got nothing to hide."

Verbs Are Superfluous Extra

Perhaps it's the pithiness of New York Times prose or maybe it's the paucity of network television plots, but one way or the other recent descriptions in the TV listings have gone all verbless. Can you match each unabridged summary with its show?


  1. Boyfriend's apartment
  2. Board games
  3. Beautiful woman
  4. Rogue demon
  5. Oliver's apparent inability

*Quickly read down all five, and you get a tidy story. Almost a haiku. A grim, demoralizing, haiku.


  1. Veronica's Closet
  2. King of Queens
  3. Dharma & Greg
  4. ABC News*
  5. Suddenly Susan

*Actual answer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Common Denominator

Herd mentality.