No. 461: "Expert Tease"

No. 461: "Expert Tease"

No. 461: "Expert Tease"

Testing your knowledge of what happened this week
Aug. 3 2000 3:00 AM

No. 461: "Expert Tease"

"The real critical thing is that someone has got to go in there and get the rebels out," said Ralph Hazleton, a Canadian expert, testifying at a U.N. hearing. What is his area of expertise? 

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Send your answer by 6 p.m. ET Thursday to newsquiz@slate.com.

Monday's Question (No. 460)—"Turkish Delight":

Fill in the blank as one Istanbul lawyer offers his solution to a serious national problem. "My suggestion is to ___________ everyone who bought a Jeep Cherokee or Range Rover last year."

"Ask for rides to the airport from."—T.G. Gibbon

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"Solicit soft-money contributions from."—Francis Heaney (Sheila Brennan had a similar answer, but more personally.)

" 'Send for two years of work in Germany.' 'They love us in Germany,' the lawyer added."—Charlie Glassenberg

"Torture, following the Amnesty International approved guidelines we use on the Kurds."—John Leary

"Um, serve very strong coffee to? Beats me. My knowledge on Turkey is kind of limited."—Tim Carvell

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Click for more answers.

Randy's Wrap-Up

Istanbul, the largest city in Turkey, was once known as Constantinople; before that it was ancient Byzantium. Most cities get along fine with one name, but the bright and talented actress Barbara Hershey—not, of course, a metropolitan area—was formerly known as Barbara Seagull, when the spirit of that bird passed into her body. It was the '60s. Before that, she was Barbara Hershey, creating a pleasing feeling of symmetry. Under its various names, Istanbul has been the capital of the Byzantine Empire, of the Ottoman Empire, and, until 1923, of the Turkish Republic. Barbara Hershey was very good in those Woody Allen movies. Istanbul was in that James Bond movie where he takes the Orient Express, back before Sean Connery ever thought he'd wear a hairpiece. (I think it was From Russia, With Love.)

The name Byzantium may derive from that of Byzas, who, according to legend, was leader of the Greeks from the city of Megara who captured the peninsula from pastoral Thracian tribes and built the city about 657 B.C. Hershey, Penn., was named for the popular candy bar and not the attractive actress. In A.D. 196, having razed the town (Byzantium) for opposing him in a civil war, the Roman emperor Septimius Severus rebuilt it, naming it Augusta Antonina in honor of his son. (Although in our time, a boy named "Augusta" or "Antonia" would probably have it tough in high school, even in Hershey, Penn.) In A.D. 330, when Constantine the Great dedicated the city as his capital, he called it New Rome. The coins, nevertheless, continued to be stamped Byzantium until he ordered the substitution of Constantinopolis. Sometimes you just have to spell things out for people in no uncertain terms. In the 13th century Arabs used the appellation Istinpolin, a "name" they heard Byzantines use—eis ten polin—which actually was Greek for "in the city." Transformed over the centuries, this name became Istanbul. Similar mishearings occur to this day with the lyrics to rock songs—Excuse me while I kiss this guy!—but, perhaps like Barbara Hershey in the '60s, there may be drugs (and candy bars) involved.

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Off the Books Answer

"My suggestion is to audit everyone who bought a Jeep Cherokee or Range Rover last year."

That's how you ferret out those tax cheats. Turkey is enduring a national crisis of tax evasion, and schemes for hiding income are flourishing. Buyers avoid the 17 percent value-added sales tax by paying cash to sellers who stash the undeclared income. The government loses badly needed funds, and those few poor saps who do pay taxes (either out of an excess of honesty or a lack of opportunity to cheat) must shoulder a heavier tax burden than they might, were the tax base broader.

As a consequence, those whose jobs require accurate records seem to have surprisingly higher income than those who can deal in cash. Notaries, for instance, officially average more than $50,000 a year, while doctors average just over $4,000.

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"The commercial ethic has disappeared and honesty is called stupidity," said Mehmet Yildirim, chairman of the Istanbul Chamber of Commerce. "If only we had some weekly syndicated column of ethical advice to set us straight like those lucky Americans," he did not lament.

Sarah Lawsky's It Goes Without Saying Headlines Extra

"Republicans Nominate Bush, Stress Minorities"

Conventional Extra

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"Most of the lighthearted moments are early in the evening, and the evenings will build."—GOP media guy Russell Schriefer, describing his plans either for the convention's dramatic structure or for his dream date with Condoleezza Rice

Crypto-Anti-Semitism(?) Extra?

"What are you going to say when you get a great, outstanding choice like Cheney, who's widely respected? They've got a carping—they've got a little minion sitting there with their dark glasses, you know, digging up dirt on someone."—Former President Bush disdains the eyewear style of 10 Jews?

Our First Time Extra

For our first ever reference to Incirlik AFB, a tip o' the Hatlo hat to Kathy Whitesel

Common Denominator

Delightfully anti-SUV hostility expressed in convoluted syntax due to shoddily constructed question.