468 questions answered in 2009!

aired 3rd December 2009

Andrew: what sort of chairs do you sit in to do the podcast? I like to picture a couple of slightly floral armchairs but I fear I may be disappointed.

Ellie, 13, Brussels: I’ve been listening to the radio lately and heard a song called ”Russian Roulette” by listening to the lyrics I made the conclusion that it is not like common roulette… Answer me this: what is Russian Roulette?

Jim from Tewkesbury: like you, I am a big fan of hats. It has dawned on me recently that in the not-too-distant past it was commonplace for menfolk to don, depending on the chosen profession, a flat cap, bowler, homburg or top. So, Helen and Olly, answer me these: why did hat-wearing fall out of favour, and which occupation should I embark upon to disguise my retreating cranial coat with some panache?

Poppy from Aberdeen: jigsaws, how did they come about? As well as your podcast I have also recently discovered the joy of jigsawing.

Ashley from Atlanta, Georgia: here in the States (where I live by the way) the radio stations have started playing Christmas music all friggin day. It makes me start to really really dislike the Christmas season. There are only so many Christmas song that can be done in different ways and I think singers accomplished that along time ago its like a CD on repeat, constantly. So answer me this: what do you guys hate about the Christmas season or pre-Christmas season?

Jason from Sydenham: my 15-month baby daughter bugs me constantly to read from a nursery rhyme book of which her fave ‘rhyme’ is the twelve days of Christmas. Having now had to read it all through for the kazillionth time I find I have a few questions, so Helen and Olly, answer me this:
Where does this strange present giving story come from, did anyone actually do this?
What’s a Colly bird?

Fintan: I don’t know if you have this recession thing in the UK, but it would appear that Ireland is currently arseholed. As a result I have to go on strike tomorrow as my union are a bunch of annoying cunts. I’m not interested in the union or their cause and don’t look forward to to standing out in the pissy, Dublin, November weather. But I was thinking that it would be nice to get to shout “SCAB!” at people. So. Helen and Olly, answer me this: where do the words “scab” and “strike” in such a context come from?

Harvey: my girlfriend is thinking of buying a Citroen Pluriel. Olly, answer me this: what are the drawbacks of this piece of shit car?

Pete from Barnet: I am going to see Alice Cooper play. The last time I saw him was around 1982, and I thought then that the next time, I must make an effort and do the eye make-up thing. So Helen and Olly, answer me this: is it ok for a now middle-aged, bald, overweight bloke who wears glasses, to do the Alice Cooper look, and should this be done before getting on the tube, or at the venue? Or would it be a case of ‘that Amy Winehouse has let herself go’?

Suzy from New Zealand: how young is too young to get married?

aired 26th November 2009

Jason of Cambridge: do any of you hold any world records? And if not, which ones do you think you could break? As far as I’m concerned, you hold the world record for ‘World’s best podcast’… but seriously… you’re in the prime of your life, you’ll never be able to run the 100m faster, break some records!

Sam from New Winton in Scotland: how do 3D glasses work?

Georgie and Izzie from Dorset: Helen, this one is mainly for you: we know that you studied Latin and Greek at school. We too are ancient Greek-ites, and respect your courage for admitting your classical education in public!!
Now. The question is, do you remember any?? We think quite a few people who learnt Latin can trot off ‘amo’, BUT can you still decline the Greek definite article???
If a Greek related question is considered too niche we have another one for you all.
As knowledgeable teenagers (or geeks, some might say….) we were asked to review Answer Me This! for our school magazine. We hope we did you justice, and might send you the magazine when it’s published, if you care enough!! Here’s the question: were you ever part of a school magazine or something similar?

Ed: I’m pretending to have a girlfriend but everyone in my school says I don’t and they are correct it has been going on for about 1 and a half weeks so answer me this how long shall I keep this bundle of lies on for?

Dean in Peterborough: to ask this question I must first admit to never actually growing out of watching wrestling. WWE is still as much fun for me now as it was 10 years ago and yes I am ashamed of that but what I want to know is how and when did the pro sport wrestling become fake? Did two Olympic athletes say to one another “I tell ya what Terry, I bet this will look awesome if we fake it” or what?

Adam from London: I was wondering about the phrase ‘Jap’s eye’ for the hole in the end of a cock. I kind of feel it probably is very racist, but I do like it, and will probably continue to use both the phrase and that part of my cock.

Tim from Watford: does the term ‘paddy wagon’ have anything to do with the Irish? Is it another of those racist phrases?

Stephanie from Bristol: if I drop food on the floor is it OK to pick it up and eat it?

Rebecca from London: where does the phrase ‘cockahoop’ come from? I’m guessing it’s not a bizarre gay sex thing.

Bradley, St Paul, Minnesota: the other day I was at my local library in the film section. All or of a sudden a uniformed police officer walked in and started to look at books on a low shelf directly beside me. He was bending over with a hip thrust to one side revealing a a handgun in a holster no more then 10 inches from my hand. I suddenly felt an overwhelming desire to grab the gun. He then turned around and stood on the opposite side, revealing a tazer. My desire to grab it became so strong that I had to walk out of the library and wait for the officer to leave before I could continue to browse. I hate guns, have never touched one and probably never will. Why did I get this crazy impulse?

Robert from Florida: when my girlfriend and I are lying together in bed, how can I pass gas without her noticing?

Jorge from Mexico: what would you like to do but just for one day just to know how it feels? I told my sister that I wanna be a gay for one day and she told me that I have been gay for more than a day.

aired 19th November 2009

Dave from Chorley: I was off work this week ill – it’s my first sick day in quite a while and I made a shocking discovery – EVERYONE WANTS TO BUY MY GOLD!!! – pretty much every advert during the day is for people trying to buy gold from me! Could you possibly answer me this – why do they all want my gold? I’m pretty sure the last time I was off sick and watched daytime tv there was no mention of anyone interested in my filings or rings?

Neil: Olly: following your recent admission of being a Coldplay fan, here’s a chance to redeem yourself. Answer me this: what are the first 5 songs that come up on your iPod in shuffle mode?

Richard from Exeter: why is death always depicted carrying a scythe? Does he come from an agricultural background? If so, you’d have thought he’d have got with the times and invested in a combine harvester by now.

Matthew from Loughborough: my wife bought a bag of Cadburys Mis-shapes at the weekend and we found a bag substantially full of distorted strawberry and orange creams. I though to myself, who likes these? Why do they make them? Even my late grandmother used to avoid them if given a chance. So answer me this: who likes strawberry and orange creams as the chocolates of choice?

Tom from London/Bradford: I really fancy my best friend’s cousin who lives in Ireland. She’s coming to London in a couple of months and has expressed an interest in me and wants to meet up. So Helen and Olly answer me this: Do I shag her and beg her not to tell my friend or do I leave it?

Sam from South-East London: a hot young pair of televisual researcher types have just left my humble abode in a South-East London tower block. Their purpose: to validate my credentials as a contestant for the popular TV show Come Dine With Me. When I applied I thought that this would be a marvellous opportunity, yet after meeting the chirpy chap and cheerful gal for 90 minutes of self-congratulation I am beginning to have my doubts. Is 15 minutes of fame really worth having the gizzards of my lovely little life dashed across the cold hard slab of prime time TV? Would you appear on a reality TV show?

Cory from Daytona Beach, Florida: What is the difference between Shepherd’s Pie and Cottage Pie and how come the two of them are often confused?

Bradley, almost 18, from Hamilton, New Zealand: what the fuck is up with Peter Pan? I don’t get it. He is always young, but define young because 20 is young to a 40-year-old and 3 is young to a 10-year-old, so how old is Peter Pan?

Mark in Birmingham: why do people say ‘laughing like a drain’?

Joe, 17, Streatham: in action movies when they try to defuse a bomb why do they say ‘Cut the red wire’ or ‘Cut the blue wire!’? surely it’s just a circuit so if you cut all the wires it would stop working?

Rick: I tried to pay my girlfriend a compliment a few weeks ago, by saying that she was a sight for sore eyes, thinking that this phrase meant she was so beautiful that someone with sore eyes would feel better just by looking at her. Wnfortunately she took this phrase to mean that she was an ugly trollope and anyone who looked at her would end up with sore eyes. So answer me this: did I pay my girlfriend a wonderful compliment or call her an ugly trollope?

Steve: for the past 30 years since school I have been known by the nickname ‘Smeg’. Some of my friends don’t even know my real first name. Do you have any nicknames?

aired 12th November 2009

Si from Takeley: my mate Strongy claims to have seen porn in which a person (can’t remember if he said man or woman) has an entire pineapple shoved up their arse! Assuming that this is possible, answer me this: if you had to have a whole pineapple shoved up your arse, leaves, skin and all, which way round would you go for? Fat-end first or leafy-end first?

Mark from Liverpool: why isn’t Bonfire Night illegal?

Rick from East Dulwich: I’m going on a cruise with Mum and Dad and my girlfriend, Suzie, next year. The parents are veteran cruisers, but we’ve never been before. They’ve briefed us that one has to get dolled up on several of the nights, and for fellas this means dinner suit.
Sounds easy, right. NOOOOO!
So many choices and because I have worn a dinner suit only 4 times in my life and not since university (left 5 years ago) I don’t understand the etiquette and social statement you make with the choices you make. So I would welcome your help!
So, Olly and Martin, answer me this:
What the best thing to do….
Tied bow-tie or pre-tied?
Patterned/spotted or plain?
Wing collar or flat collar?
Patent shoes or suede shoes?
Cummerbund or waistcoat?

Jim from Sydney: what’s the worst haircut you’ve ever had, and did it go away?

Dom from Twickenham: what football team does Martin support?

Cameron from Alexandria in Scotland: why in motor racing sports (e.g. Formula 1) is being in first place referred to as being in ‘pole position’?

Milly in Exeter: it was my brother’s birthday last week and I forgot to buy him a pressie. So in a panic I sent him three T – shirts that were already his to him at university. He hadn’t seen them in so long that he had forgotten about them and thought that I’d bought him a really nice gift…
My question is, answer me this, What is the worst present that you have given or received?

Rory in Worcester: I was wondering about Chinese burns – are they anything to do with Chinese people?

Alexander in Seattle: where did the term “drag queen” came from? I’m hoping it has to do with the first transvestite to clear 1/4 mile under 4 seconds.

Dave from Smethwick: why won’t Jews eat milk with meat?

Kirsten from Loughborough: I have been asked to be a godmother. Flattered as I am, I’m not sure what is required apart from getting the boy presents at Christmas and birthdays. So, what’s required to do the job well?

aired 5th November 2009

Harvey from Perth: why do people carve pumpkins into lanterns at Halloween?

Steve in Cheltenham: Should domestic cats be allowed raw meat? When I give our cat raw chicken it shits liquid for days. I thought, being linked to lions and tigers, that the domestic cat’s digestive system could handle the occasional scrag-end of raw chicken-breast. Apparently not, it’s decomposed into a vicious brown liquid, capable
of stripping paint and removing house guests.

Robert from Colchester: I was staying with some friends at the Mermaid Hotel in Rye and while reading the Visitors’ Book we noticed how people adopt a sort of ‘Judith Chalmers “Wish you were here” style’ when writing their entries. Why is this the same in any Visitor Book anywhere in the country?
That is not the main question though – the question is – what sort of person feels the need, after a shag in a hotel bedroom, to trot downstairs and tell everyone about it in the hotel guest book?! It said:
“A longstanding wish to stay here –
exceeded all expectations.
Wonderful food and service and we have stayed at some good hotels!
Quirky rooms – no ghosts seen!
Made love in the afternoon before dinner
with the Sun streaming through
the windows. What a sunset!
Fantastic! I agree! Peter x. Lush
will definitely do this again soon!”

I am not complaining – it makes life interesting – but I am still curious as to who these people are and what makes them tick.

Monica from New York: I need some help quick!
On Friday night myself and my friend, whom we will call Rachel for the purposes of this email, were at a friend’s (let’s call her Emily) birthday party. We spent most of the evening with another girl we know who’s name is ‘Julie’. ‘Julie’ is clingy, needy and really really hard work. She was also extremely pissed.
Around 10.30, ‘Rachel’ and I decided to leave. Another close friend of ours, ‘Phoebe’, had invited us to her brother’s wife’s 30th party and we quite fancied popping in on that. In order to get out without causing offence or arousing suspicion, I faked a migraine.
We went to the other party, had an absolute ball, got rather drunk and rolled home around 5am.
‘Pheobe’ put photos of ‘Rachel’ and me at the party on her facebook page. ‘Julie’ is friends with ‘Pheobe’ on Facebook. The photos are now deleted, but we don’t know if ‘Julie’ has seen them or not.
So, answer me this: do we come clean to ‘Emily’ and tell her what we did and why, or do way just pray that ‘Julie’ didn’t see the photos on ‘Pheobe’s’ page and deal with the fallout if it happens?
Help me!
(P.S. we’re all well in our 30s and feel very embarrassed to have potentially have been caught out via Facebook)

Bradley: where does the term to get off ‘scot(t) free’ come from?

Mike from Birkenhead: how do we go about making Stephen Fry our next prime minister?

Chris from Glasgow: I walked into quite a heated debate at work recently. And to my surprise it was about fishing!? One side defended fishing as a sport, and the other labeled it as a simple pastime that has just got out of hand. Please help us end the debate once and for all and answer me this: Should fishing be considered a sport, or demoted to a simple leisurely hobby? My opinion: If you just sit on your arse, using not much physical exercise, then it’s not a sport! Fishing was most likely pressured into being a sport by people with massive egos, measured only in trout!!

Raymond in France: do fish have hearts?

Jack from Leeds: about 5 generations ago (my great-great-grandfather William Bliss) was the owner and founder of Bliss Tweed Mill in Chipping Norton. In fact, this is the very mill that the town was mainly built around. He made houses, jobs, and was closely associated with the socialist utopian movement, which I’m sure you’re aware of. He and his father William Sr. also spent time as the mayor of this town. Now, being descended from this chap (I call him a chap because he had a splendid beard (I call the beard splendid on account of how 19th-century it was)), my father and I were invited to a book launch about the history of the mill. I received requests for no fewer then 6 autographs and two pictures, including one couple awkwardly hanging around waiting for me to finish texting. It was like I was Harry Potter or something. This got me thinking: what is your greatest moment of famousness?

aired 29th October 2009

Patrick from Sarasota: having worked a fair amount of past jobs in tourist-rich parts of Florida, I’ve had much occasion to interact with your vacationing counterparts – ie: British people. Never did have trouble understanding or communicating with them, but there was one bit of vernacular weirdness that always stuck out in my mind: the usage of the word “Cheers”. Now, of course I understand what is generally meant upon hearing it, but the word sounds to be so ubiquitous that its use seems mostly contextually dependent, and a bit infuriating. To me, the word often sounds like a complete non sequitur, and other times almost as though the person would like to cheer, but can’t give enough of a shit to really do so, thus sounding more sarcastic than friendly. So, answer me this: when and why did the word “cheers” come into popular use over there?

Adam, MYP for Horsham and Mid Sussex: do you think that the trip I made today to Thorpe Park with my AS physics class was in ANY way justified, or just an excuse for students and teachers to ride some rollercoasters?

Kat from Barcelona: I live right in front of the Sagrada Familia and this got me thinking; if you could choose any palace, cathedral, museum, national monument, art gallery, historical building or any other architectural wonder in the world to live in, which one would you pick? You could then have it moved to wherever you wanted too!

Ciaran: is escorting illegal? I’m in some pretty bad debt at the moment and the idea of it seems less repulsive by the day.

Hope from Leicester: when you were younger, did you like the clubbing scene? I just came home early from a night out because I HATE it, but all my uni friends want to do it and I don’t know why.

Joe from Luton: why do people get red eyes in photos? I always thought people who get it are devil children.

Sam from Rugby: why is a Mexican Wave called a Mexican Wave?

Paul aka Cliff, 47, Hampshire: what did people do before toenail clippers were invented? Is this why shoes in medieval times were long and pointed? Did Stone Age people have toenails that scraped on the ground and wore down (like a dog) or did they bite them (like a cat) or did they cut them off with pieces of flint? Who invented the toenail clipper? I’ve seen that Romans had devices (made of metal) to remove ear wax – but did they cut nails?
PS I haven’t asked about fingernails as it’s obvious – Stone Age people would have bitten them I guess

Reggie: First off I have epilepsy.
Secondly I have a girlfriend of about 2 years now.
Well She has decided I need to get a service seizure dog….. *rolls eyes to the heavens waiting to be smited* I have looked up information about seizure service dogs and i am am quite skeptical and so I told my girlfriend and she has been refusing to talk to me for about a week because I wont get the stupid ass dog. I have a Demon Cat whom I love more than her who would kill said dog AND I don’t want to be a freak walking around with a dog people will think i am blind, but I really love my girlfriend
So answer me this: should I get the stupid service dog costing me 10,000 dollars or! break up with my girlfriend?

aired 22nd October 2009

Richard from Exeter: I’ve been stuck in a traffic pile-up for an hour and a half and I’m desperate for a wee. Is it acceptable to get out the car and go at the side of the road?

Simon from Oxford: cycling home from work today, a tearaway teen leant out of his mate’s max powered Fiesta and shouted at me, “Oi, when can I fuck your mum again?” I thought about a response but by then they’d driven off in laughter. All I could think is I highly doubt he’d want to, especially if he’s done her before. I was a little embarrassed and through my discomfort I felt the eyes of pedestrians look at me waiting for a witty comeback. So answer me this: What would have been the wittiest retort you would have shouted, instantly gaining the respect of passers by and making his driver friend crash the car in shock, burning them both in a ball of chav flames?

Izzy: I was listening to your podcast whilst baking Cinnamon Rolls, and I wondered: what is your favourite cake/pastry to bake and eat?

Fozz from Hinckley: we used to call my grandma ‘Grandma Fish’, because when we were younger she used to give my cousins & me fish for tea. When we got older, she started giving us beans on toast, this brought up at a family party & it was decided Grandma Beans On Toast was a little to long, so it was shortened to Grandma Bot. Since then every family gathering has seen the family chanting ‘Bot! Bot! Bot!’ Anyway, answer me this, do you have odd nicknames for elderly relatives?

Rebecca from London: why is Chinese whispers called that? Is it another racist term like Indian Summer?

Martyn in Middlesbrough: why are golf balls surfaces covered in dimples? Wouldn’t a smoother ball be more aerodynamic and allow for a cleaner connection?

Alex from Leeds: where does the term “Juke Box” come from? I get it’s a box but what on earth is a Juke?

Mike from Birkenhead: what is the appeal of boxing? I’ve got two thoughts about this: i) is it returning to our primal urges or ii) homosexual urges?

Naomi in Dundee: I seem to keep seeing people wearing t-shirts that have the slogan ‘Vote for Pedro’. Vote for him for what? Prime Minister? Surely it should say what Pedro wants votes for. What does Pedro need votes for?

Tom from Coventry: has anyone ever heard from someone who has actually bought a full-priced sofa from DFS?

aired 15th October 2009

Alex from Leeds: I was told in primary school by my headmaster during assembly that the reason doughnuts are they way there is that there was a captain on a ship that wanted to eat whilst he was at the wheel (with the bits pointing out at the spokes), maybe because he needed to stay there for a long time, maybe because he was a dick. Anyway, the head said he stuck the doughnuts on the bits that poke out the wheel and the idea just stuck.
So Helen, Olly and Martin the Soundman, answer me this – Why the fuck do we get told so many misleading or downright false things in school? Where the fuck do teachers get off lying to kids?

Neil: I’m on tour at the moment with Smoke Fairies and we’ve been enjoying the podcast On The Road, or at least part of the road on the way to Birmingham Town Hall, it breaks up the journey rather well! As a support band we only get a modest rider consisting of beers and water, and on the odd occasion, if we’re lucky, some tasty bourbon. Answer Me This: what would you have on your rider and where does the name ‘rider’ originate from?

Jordan: with Halloween less than a month away, a lot of my friends are all ready planning their parties, but some of them also planning to go out egging people’s houses. So answer me this: where did the tradition of egging peoples houses begin? and what is your view on the matter?

Tom from Godalming: why a greasy spoon? Surely the fork is greasier. After all, the spoon is used only for transferring sugar into a mug of tea. No grease contact whatsoever.

Peter from Bromsgrove: what’s the point of putting cushions on the beds in hotels? I have to throw them on the floor to go to bed (or if I’m feeling tidy, put them in the wardrobe) and then the next day THEY ARE BACK AGAIN ! It’s a complete waste of time. And whilst on the subject of hotels, why do they think that I need someone to fold the end of the loo roll into a little point ?

Tim from Watford: where did the idea come from to give things star ratings?

Molly: what were your favourite websites when you were younger? Did you even know what a computer was? Were they invented when you were born?

Stu in Cambridge: where does the term ‘cockpit’ come from?

Dave from Berkeley, CA: why are assholes so attracted to ukuleles?

James from Portishead: I am organising a party for my daughter who is going to be seven. What is the all-time best children’s party game?

aired 8th October 2009

Ed in Essex: on my return to school I was trusted with the care of a young boy to have under my wing. He is 12 and has sort of become my sidekick. Recently, he asked: “Can you have sex in space?” After telling him no, I went to get confirmation from my Physics teacher who used to teach at Cambridge University but he was boring as fuck and kept going on about conditions of where u were actually knobbing each other (e.g.spaceship, in no gravity). So please answer me this: Can You Knob Somebody In Space? Please help me, I don’t want to be a bad mentor.

Lucy from Devon: my mum’s getting married for the sixth time next month. Do I need to get her a present?

Milly in Exeter: Helen, answer me this, how do I convince my grandfather that my skirt is not too short for going to visit my boyfriend? It’s only mid thigh. Martin the Sound Man: will that make me seen slutty? Olly: don’t even think about it…I’m 15.

Graham: Why do girls wear their blazers backwards? I keep seeing girls walking to school waring their blazers/coats backwards. Why do they do this is? I can’t ask as I’m 40 and would seem like some sort of pervert. When I was at school no one wore their blazers backwards!

Katherine from Southampton: I first discovered AMT when I was very seriously depressed and since then I find that I turn to it in times of crisis, eg when my house caught fire 2 1/2 weeks ago. What makes you happy in times of need?

Maggie in Melbourne: I am single, in my 30s, and I recently met a gent who is attractive, gainfully employed, and generally a “good catch”. However, he has a speaking voice that is quite stereotypically “gay”. I’m embarrassed to say that, though I am entirely certain he does, in fact, like girls of the lady persuasion, and though I am a “Friend of a Friend of Dorothy”, his fruity tones are so viscerally off-putting that I’m reluctant to go on a second date. So, Olly, answer me this: how did your girlfriend get past this?

Andy from Essex: who invented Braille?

Lottie: why are goose pimples called goose pimples?

Peter in Derbyshire: why is the limelight referred to as the “lime” light? As in “their moment in the limelight?” Why is this light specifically lime? And not blue, or yellow or turquoise?

Brad from Warrington: why are limes put in beers? My friends were arguing over one of them pushing the lime in his Corona and he said that people who put the lime in Coronas or other Mexican-related beers are tools – it’s not there for flavour at all, it’s there to keep insects out. Is this true? I remember seeing an episode of King of the Hill where Hank and his neighbour go to Mexico and they get told about it or something in a bar.

Phil: why do doughnuts have holes in?

aired 1st October 2009

Richard from Prestwick: why do nuns wear the habit? Wot’s that all about? I wish they wouldn’t as I find it a bit sexy and they’re nuns, it’s wrong in so many ways!

George: in a couple of weeks I am going to a friend’s birthday party, which happens to be fancy dress. It will either be ‘things beginning with S’ or ‘double acts’. I have been trying to think of ideas for both themes, but I am struggling on the ‘things beginning with S’. Do you have any ideas?

Gareth from Leytonstone: where did the old wives’ tale come from that if you masturbate too much you end up going blind?

Andy: why are bike frames built differently for men and women?

Mike from Birkenhead: what is the purpose of crinkle-cut beetroot?

Andy from Aberdeen: why are the Home Counties called the Home Counties?

Alex from Leeds: I have recently heard my mum use the phrase “Indian Summer” when referring to hotter weather in the later months of the year. I called her up on this and asked why she was suggesting Indians are later than everyone else and although she claims not to be a racist I feel this calls it into doubt. So guys, answer me this – is my mum a dirty racist?

Jen: why is it that American Universities have fraternities and sororities and we don’t, or they just have not caught on yet?

Harry from Harrow: people are always saying that stuff is ‘STATE OF THE ART’. None of those words make me think of things that are brand new and innovative… it’s just, apparently, a random assortment of words…so, Answer Me This: why do they use this phrase to describe things that are so awesome and new and fantastical and technological?

William from Toronto: the top-of-the-line computer that I’ve been using for the last year or so is originally from someone’s trash. Answer me this: what is the most interesting/expensive thing that you’ve seen or taken from someone’s trash?

Ben from Oxford: if you associate doctors with medical qualifications, why do people with PHDs say they’re doctors?

Ben from Oxford: when did the use of the letter ‘x’ (as in ‘XXX’ of ‘X-Rated’) begin (and why)? Is it because of the female chromosome?

David from Sheffield: I was recently watching Mars Attacks! and it got me thinking about some the cliches that are associated with aliens and alien abductions. So answer me this: why is it a commonly held belief that if we are ever abducted by aliens they will want to subject us to an anal probing to learn more about us? What could they possibly learn by doing that, except perhaps about different humans levels of personal hygiene?

aired 24th September 2009

Nathan from Manchester: I’ve just finished listening to last week’s podcast where Olly talked about his dastardly plans to gunge the most hated teacher in the
school. When I was in high school a charity gunging was to take place so, of course, we all voted for the least popular teacher to be gunged. He set the price and we all happily donated enough money.
When the day of the gunging came around the organisers found that they couldn’t run a hose pipe for the gunge mix from the school down to the playing field. They asked for some lads to take some large containers and fill them with water so a few friends and I volunteered. As we were slowly filling them one by one in the caretaker’s room my friend, let’s call him Tim, spat in the water.
Following his lead we all gobbed up as much as we could until another mate, lets call him Tom, suggested that one of us should do a wee in the water as well. After we all agreed that this had to be the best thing in the world, two of us did the deed! It was only when the charity organisers were mixing the gunge did we realise that pissing on a teachers head, no matter how cool in theory, was just a step to far. But it was too late as we couldn’t own up to what we had done and stop the gunging so we made a solemn promise (well not so solemn) that we wouldn’t tell anyone about what we had done.
As our least favourite teacher was gunged, all my three friends and I could do was smile more broadly than our fellow classmates and know that we were the only students there who had ever pissed on a teacher’s head.
So answer me this: have you ever pissed on someone’s head without them knowing about it?

Andy from Essex: why do witches have cats? Surely witches can have dogs, pigs or any other kind of animal as their familars, but they always have cats. And why must their cats be black?

Rich from Sandhurst: why do the Americans name their storms after people? Who are these people, and what have they done to deserve being the subject of a big whirly cone of destruction? If there was a storm that I knew had killed hundreds of people and destroyed homes and lives, and it had been called Hurricane Rich, that would make me feel pretty fucking shitty for the rest of the day.

Henry from Bath: what’s the etymology of the word ‘pimp’, and when did it begin to mean ‘improve’ as in Pimp My Ride rather than purveying prostitutes?

Liam: why is the emergency services number 999? When the service was set up the world used the rotary phone, which means dialing three nines in a row would be the most time consuming combination. Why would they set up a number that would only be called in an emergency to be the slowest to dial?

Chris from Chesterfield: why do people say ‘taking the piss’ – where did it start from? How on earth is taking the piss out of something related to mocking them?

Richard from Rayleigh: why do some Jews have big noses? I’m watching one of those Justin Lee Collins programs where he learns to do something and the person teaching him has a big nose and it reminded me that some Jews have big noses. Why is this?

Esther from London: given all the hullabaloo about the Jonas Brothers recently, there’s been a lot of talk about purity rings. These bother me, partly because I spend quite a lot of time not shagging and I never knew there was jewellery available for it, but also because the only other time I’ve heard of a ring controlling someone is with Frodo and Lord of the Rings. If you can tell me, I’m vaguely interested in where the whole ring thing came from and if it has any history other than jewellery companies exploiting religious teenagers, but mostly I’d like you to answer me this: if you could invent an item of jewellery that could stop/enable the wearer doing something, what would it be?

Chessie: why’s a Squares bar called a Squares bar when it’s rectangular?

Kat from Brighton: how should I broach the subject of weight to my boyfriend? We have been going out for almost 5 years now and I love him dearly, but more and more of late he is getting larger and larger round the middle. This, of course, has no bearing of my love and devotion for him, but is starting to get to me slightly as I feel responsible for leading him down the line of excuses and poor diet (I just eat less of it than he does!). When we started going out, he had almost no visible fat, and I feel a bit of nostalgia for the old him. I know he realises this is an issue and hates the fact he is getting larger, but how do I motivate him to do something about him, without hurting him? Should I even be upset about this? Should I be tough with him or pretend I hadn’t even noticed the ‘spare tyre’?

Aaron from Belfast: I am several hours into a stag day, currently at Newmarket races losing a lot of money. Answer me this, why do we call the individuals at the centre of these events “stag” and “hen”? I would have thought that these two animals are not compatible. Even then stags are supposedly quite virile and noble, but hens…not so much.

aired 17th September 2009

Luke from Shrewsbury: out of all the gods/goddesses (current & retired), who’s your favourite?

Keith from Bradford: what makes an ultimate party, and how lavish is too lavish?

Craig from Alexandria in Scotland: why do people get gunged when they get things wrong on kids’ tv programmes?

Jacob from Bloomington, Indiana: in older movies and television shows, I’ve noticed the use of the command to “go suck an egg” or referring to one’s grandmother sucking eggs as some sort of insult. So answer me this, what the hell does this even mean and where does the expression come from? Surely it cannot refer to literally sucking on an egg. While it would be, admittedly, an odd fetish for one’s grandmother to enjoy, it seems like it would be too harmless and unimportant of an action to be of any consequence.

Alex: why are there blank pages at the back of most books? It seems very wasteful and pointless to me.

Alex, Nathan and Jack from Lewes: what is the point of a clip-on tie? Our school uniform is changing ties and blazers, so we all have to wear, and thus learn to tie, a tie. A clip-on one is also available, but no one is buying them, due to their unpopularity. Why?

Andy from Essex: why do human being kiss with tongues? When you think about, what is so flipping romantic of ramming your tongue into the other person’s mouth and, basically, exchanging saliva?
Answer me this: is it the case now that when you get famous, you need to make a perfume to prove you’re famous (you guys haven’t and you’re pod-lebrities!)? And which idiot started this trend, and how can we stop it?

aired 10th September 2009

David from Thirsk: I’ve decided to continue the tradition of naming pets after you by naming our hamster after Martin The Soundman. This has caused a problem for me though. You see, Martin The Soundhamster has taken to chewing on the bars of his cage, which is rather irritating and probably isn’t good for him. So, answer me this: how can I stop him from chewing the bars?

Nick from London: the love of my life fucked a guy at the Reading festival, while I was in the same tent. Why are women such slutty bitches?

Connor, 14, Scotland: I was at a friend’s house and we were winding up his little brother, he kicked a ball at me and it knocked a small mirror off the wall and it smashed. So naturally we started winding him up about the 7 years of bad luck he was going to have, but neither me or my friend could explain to him why it’s specifically 7 years of bad luck that you supposedly receive for breaking a mirror – why isn’t it something like 10 or 20?

Ahmed from Leicester: I recently got engaged to my girlfriend of three years, and we’re planning to get married next summer. As pretty much the only input I plan to have into the wedding is who should be my best man, I have given it a great deal of thought. I have three really good friends, who I’ve known for a good 15 years at least, and was planning to ask all three to be joint best men (partly because I don’t think that they can individually be trusted with much responsibility).
I decided to inform them of my engagement by asking them to come up for an impromptu night out in Leicester (they all live in London), then surprising them with the news and asking them to be best men. Uncharacteristically, they all wholeheartedly agreed to make the trip, without any coaxing, which made me confident that I’d made the right decision. However, one of them (Rav) is known to flake out on most plans, so I was still sceptical that he would turn up.
Sure enough, on the morning of the night out, Rav suddenly said he’d catch the train up after the others as he had some family commitments, but assured us that he’d come later. I told the other two guys about the news and we started celebrating while waiting for Rav, all the time doubting that he would turn up. Then I realised that perhaps I shouldn’t be asking someone to be my best man if I can’t even trust him to keep a simple promise. I decided that if he didn’t turn up, I wouldn’t ask him to be a part of the wedding. I called him and warned him that there would be repercussions if he didn’t come, but he still didn’t make it; instead he went to bed at ten after revising for an exam he had 6 weeks later!
A few days later, Rav called and I explained to him what he had lost by choosing revision over his friends, and he was (probably understandably) upset. We then had a long discussion in which he said that “a secret challenge” was not a fair way to exclude someone from such a big occasion, and that I should surely only be choosing best men based on who my best friends were. I could see his point, but was also still annoyed at his consistent unreliability.
One of my friends thought that I should make him a Jim Carrey movie-style ultimatum where he has to go through with any plans he makes from now until the wedding to decide whether he’s in or not. Rav said that we should each put our arguments to a jury of our peers, and see what decision they make. I’ve decided to go one step better, and I’m asking you guys what you think. I agree to be bound by your decision, no matter how harsh it is.

Jessii: my boyfriend paid for me to get my hips pierced before I went on holiday. So answer me this: why did the piercing lady wait til after she had finished to tell me that I couldn’t go swimming for four weeks? During the ‘procedure’ we had been talking about my holiday to turkey the NEXT day and she didn’t say a word! Needless to say, i didn’t wait four weeks and they are completely fine.

Luke from Haverhill in Suffolk: today a colleague of mine who I’m not particularly friendly with and don’t know that well with came out with: “I won’t be here next week, I’m getting a circumcision.” There was a long awkward pause and I said, “Wow, its gonna be weird when you masturbate for the first time after the operation.” He looked really sad and walked away without saying anything. How would you have reacted in this situation?

Lola from Ealing: where do the names of coins come from – eg florin, groat, crown, bob, guinea?

Ferdie in a churchyard: can you join the Mile High Club if you climb a mountain and have sex on it?

William from Larne: I have just recently been accepted into uni and have received information on the loans that I have been offered which total £8672. I am living in accommodation at the campus itself costing 4563 quid a year and 3225 goes directly to the uni for tuition fees, leaving me 987 squid for food, toiletries and socialising it up to the max. So answer me this: as past students, can you give me a couple of useful tips as to where I can save money as I am really startin to panic on how I will survive this hellish situation?

aired 3rd September 2009

Joe from Cambridge: after Cameron from Scotland’s question last week about dogfights, I was thinking about other dog-related words and phrases. So, answer me this, where does the term ‘dogging’ come from? I guess it’s not from pilots chatting each other up over radios during aerial fights.

Jemma from Clapham: I want to know where the phrase shotgun comes from. I always annoy my boyfriend by “shotgunning” the first shower or not getting out of bed to turn the light off – it’s definitely from school and is obviously very annoying but a good way to get out of things…

Duncan from Sevenoaks: I recently had a conversation with my girlfriend about weird crushes – that is, people you fancy who don’t fit the traditional definition of attractive. Her weird-crush is Eddie Izzard – who I am reliably informed “looks better when he’s dressed as a woman.” As I’ve always been attracted to strong and independent women, my weird crush is Miss Piggy, who is after all only really a pig from the neck up, but apparently this makes me strange. So, answer me this – is it really wrong to be sexually attracted to a puppet?

Clark, 14, Doha: what film should be adapted into a Muppets movie/musical? What movie do you think would be better if it was adapted to be a Muppet movie?

Dan from Cleveland, Ohio: why is Sting, the “musician”, called Sting? Is it because he was in the Police and real police conduct stings? If that is the reason, what kind of fucking twat is he?

Daniel from Bristol: zombies… What’s the deal with them? I imagine nobody has come face to face with one, so where did they come from?

Gareth from Leytonstone: why do flies like shit so much?

Nick in Reading: I have just been canal boating with a group of my mates and every time we waved at people all they said was ‘slow down’. Answer me this: why are people who own canal boats such boring cunts?

Samantha: why do people high-five?

Jared from Houston: when I was a child I had a dimple on each cheek, but now I only have one on my right cheek. What causes dimples to form and what could cause them to go away?

Tim from Christchurch, New Zealand: is it true that ketchup was originally made with mushrooms not tomatoes?

James from Keynsham: what is Skinny Water and what is the point of it? Surely it isn’t just watered-down water. Did we learn nothing from the Emperor and his new clothes?

aired 27th August 2009

Alex from Nottingham: I’m out to get wasted! I gave blood to make the night more economical so answer me this – will there be any additional effects to being a pint of blood down, besides getting drunk faster and more cheaply?

George from Redcar: for the last four years I have been collecting ringpulls from drinks cans. I have about 10,000. I am trying to make a world record for the biggest amount of ringpulls collected. So answer me this: firstly, should I rethink my life, and secondly, what’s the strangest thing you have ever collected?

Cameron from Alexandria in Scotland: why are dogfights, as in aerial battles, called dogfights?
Why is the Royal Mint called the Royal Mint, because as far as I know it has nothing to do with mint?

James from Oxford: when and why did the capital of England change from York to London? Were there any other capitals before York, and if so what were they?

Leigh from Barnsley: who invented wallpaper and why? It’s taken me a week to paper my lounge lining paper and top paper as it takes ages why didn’t they just say fuck it and paint and I would never have had to go shopping with the wife for new paper and then spend the week putting it up thanks

Sean from Leicester: in mythology, why do dragons prefer to eat virgins as opposed to other women? Is the hymen that tasty? Would the dragon notice the difference if it was given a frigid girl or a slapper?

Luke from Shrewsbury: if the three of you were doing a pub quiz and you needed a fourth member for your team, who – living or dead – would you choose?

Owen from Teesside: I was in the pub where a bloke who claims he is NEVER wrong was firstly claiming my big toe pain was caused by gout rather than the fact I had tight shoes and hadn’t cut my toenails recently and secondly (quite offensively) claims ALL forms of cancer start in the legs.
I tried reason but he talked over me.
Helen, Olly & Martin, Answer Me This:
1. Was pisshead Mick right about cancer?
2. Why do I put up with such fuckery?
I think the answer to the second one is that I don’t need assault, verbally or otherwise, for a daft pub conversation.
If he is right about 1 I despair.

Caz: do any famous people have a colostomy? I am asking this as I also have a colostomy and would like to know if anyone famous has one so I can say “he/she is a shit bag just like me!!!!!!”

Paul from Stafford: Helen, if you marry Martin, will you take his surname? Helen the Sound Man doesn’t have a nice ring to it.

aired 20th August 2009

Matt in London: back in episode 87 the introduction song included the lyrics “Will Michael Jackson’s comeback be a huge disappointment?” Do you feel any guilt or possibly even responsibility for his death?

Liam and Lucy in Luton: why is Scotland Yard called Scotland Yard, as it is (as far as i can tell) nowhere near Scotland?

Phil from Hitchin: Olly and Martin answer me this: Would you do the ginger one from Girls Aloud? If not which one would you? (I’d probably do her, if I was bored).
Do you know where Hitchin actually is, or anything about it?

Ant from Brighton: there is a girl at work, we met in the lift, she left some chocolate on my desk, I left some olives on hers, more chocolate, more antipasti & olives, more chocolate (and so the cycle continues). Often each gift left with a jibe about the mess on my desk or that she will nick my wallet if I leave it out again.
We started emailing each other around…let me check……30! Emails in 3 weeks!
I asked her out for dinner yesterday and she said she had a boyfriend, although would love to and offered lunch instead…..
My dilemma is that my competitive side wants to take her out for lunch and steal her away from her boyfriend, in fact if I’m honest it makes me more determined to get her on a date now I know she’s someone else’s! I want her!
Should I be nice and wait until she sheds the boyfriend, or go into battle? All’s fair in love and war right?????/!!!!!!!!

Laurence from York: I have £185 in my back pocket. What should I buy?

Jacqui from Fife: where the fuck did children’s party bags originate from? My kids have stated going to parties and upon leaving are given a party bag filled with about £10 worth of stuff, most of which they throw about the car/eat/mush into things. Am I supposed to be providing party bags at their parties, if so how am I going to fund it? I will already be providing food and a house the wreck; now I find I have to give them all party bags coasting probably more than the rubbish toys the birthday child will get.

Stephen in Dublin: the area around Dublin is historically known as the Pale. And to be from the Pale is seen as a sign of shame/pride dependent on whether you are from there or not. Answer me this, is this the Pale referred to in the expression “beyond the pale”?
Answer me this, how many of your GCSE or O-level exams, could you pass today? I figure I could still pass 6-7 of the 10 I did.

Scott from Leeds: after spending the day at the theme park, where there are lots and lots of well organized and bloody good queues, answer me this: where did the first queue or at least the concept of queueing begin?

Chad from Rutland: how can I make my beard more appealing?

Dom from Southend: why do people have fingerprints? Surely people didn’t evolve them to purely help solve crimes!

Rebecca from London: my boyfriend and I have been together for four years. He had problems with immigration, but he’s finally living here in the UK and I’m so happy that he’s here. However, he’s just moved to Brighton for work, and I live in Essex, a two-hour drive away. What do I do?

Neal from Crawley: last week I had a job interview with a panel of three people. The interview went ok and, as I stood up to leave I shook the interviewers by the hand. The first two were fine but then, as I went to shake the third interviewer, I realised to my horror that she had no hand for me to shake! I realised afterwards that I should have swapped hands and shaken her with my left but instead I shook her by her stump. There was a very awkward silence and then I left. So Helen and Olly answer me this: do you think I’ve got any chance of getting the job and what ways have you ever sabotaged yourself in an interview?

aired 13th August 2009

Sheriff from Nigeria: where did the phrase ‘shop till you drop dead’ originate from?

Cameron: I live in Azerbaijan. Answer me this: am I the only fan in Azerbaijan?
Also, what’s your favourite post-Soviet republic?

Dave from Wallington: what’s the best way to get semen stains out of a carpet?

Lottie from Oxfordshire: recently I took my little five year old nephew to the village fete. We were having a relatively fun time (well, as much fun you can have at a village fete!) until we came upon a ‘Punch and Judy’ show, and the memories just came flooding back! As a child I HATED ‘Punch and Judy’ shows. I found them scarily creepy and frightening. I just did not stick to that plump, red-faced little man with his squeaky voice and peculiar ways. And since my early years, I have always felt a shiver of dislike go up my spine when I see him. So, answer me this: Why has British culture decided to immortalise a man who beats his wife with a stick and throws his baby down the
stairs. I mean the man is a WIFE BEATER AND CHILD CRUELTY PRACTISER!!!!!!! And why oh why is he shown in front of vast audiences of children across the country?!?!? Do they want these kids to become violent and abusive?!?

Gordon the BritAmeriCanadian in Edinburgh: Tim Rice or Tim Curry?

Chris from Barcelona: during the summer here in Spain it is so hot at night that I have great difficulty in getting to sleep, and last night was no exception. I just could not sleep and was tossing and turning for ages until out of respect for my girlfriend, who has to get up at 6 am, I decided to go and sleep in another room on a sofa bed. My girlfriend has just told me that she had a fantastic nights sleep last night as she had the bed to herself and was not disturbed by me. This has got me thinking, if more couples slept in separate beds and better still, separate rooms, I am sure this would actually be beneficial to a relationship as both would sleep better, as well as having their own privacy and personal space and it would not interfere with any intimacy as you would just decide which room to have sex in and then after, go to your separate rooms to sleep.
So Helen, Olly and Martin, answer me this, why do so many couples share beds when it seems to be detrimental to both people, and why do I feel if I told people I had a separate room to my girlfriend, that I believe they would think us “weird”.

‘Rose’ from Birmingham: basically i broke up with my boyfriend last week
well, i dumped him.
because im a heartless bitch.
and i am now going out with one of my best friends, who i thought was gay. but it turns out he’s not. so far…
anyway last night my ex boyfriend younger brother text me saying that he’d go out with me if i sent him a picture of my tits. and i said no. so he said he’s send me a topless picture of him if i sent him a topless picture of me.
and he is pretty damn fit.
so im thinking ill go out with the younger brother now. and there’s three brothers.
so answer me this, if i go out with the second one is it only a matter of time before i go out with the third and is it worth trying not to?
much nuts
rose, birmingham (that’s not my real name but all 3 adoring males listen :P)
nb. i am still completely in love with my ex boyfriend.

Milly from Wales: do you want your organs to be donated when you die? Also, how do you feel about donating your body to medical science?

Iain from Aberdeen: 1) Why, when the water resistance of a watch measured in metres (such as resistant to 50m), does this measurement not actually relate to how deep you can take the watch? For instance, the classification of a watch marked to 50m means the watch is suitable for “water related work and fishing” and it is not suitable for “swimming or diving”. A watch classified to 200m is apparently suitable for “serious surface water sports”. When was the last time a serious surface watersport was undertaken at 200m?
2) Why, when an airplane nearly collides with another airplane, is it referred to as a near-miss? Surely it’s a near-hit, as in they nearly hit each other? If they nearly miss, surely that means they hit each other?
3) I’m sick of the misuse of the word ultimate to indicate something really good, as opposed to meaning the last of something. With this in mind I want to set up the ultimate bungee jump corporation. How many customers do you think I would get before being done for some breach of health and safety?

aired 6th August 2009

Ben in Llantwit Major: Olly, answer me this; are you the Oliver Mann who sang backing vocals on the song ‘Nevereverdid’ by Aussie loons Architecture In Helsinki? After all, you do appear to own a cracker of a booming baritone. Your name is in the liner notes. You? Or an imposter?

Jake from South-West London: why do humans still need hair?

Alex and Rosie in Hull: if no-one buys a cinema ticket, do they still run the film?

Joe from Brighton: when people die and are dressed for a funeral, do they wear underwear?

Blair from the University of Aberdeen: when I was attempting the cool-single-dad thing yesterday at Center Parcs with my teenage kids, my attempt at sweeping generosity and wit ran aground. My son’s girlfriend who is here with us (see – I told you I was being cool!) asked if she could go swimming and I replied (inanely, I retrospectively admit) by telling her:
“Center Parcs is your Oyster!”
“What does that even mean?” asked my 13-year-old daughter.
“Fuck knows!” I would have replied, had I actually, instead of only aspirationally, been cool.
So, Helen and Olly, answer me this: where does the phrase “The world is your oyster” come from, and what does it even mean? I would have asked at Center Parcs Reception, but they’d’ve charged me £8.50.

Mike from Stafford: despite recently turning 18 and feeling obliged to give up my childish rapscallion ways, I still could not help but snigger at my Aunt when she was telling me about her recent excursion to the French town of Condom. Answer Me This… is there any relation between the humble johnny and a French settlement, or is it simple linguistic coincidence?

Amelia from London: what’s the best way to hide a hickey?

Nathan: where does guerrilla warfare come from, and why is it looked down upon when it seems to be quite successful?

Mike from Belfast: how can I improve my handwriting?

Kat from Barcelona: I’ve noticed (by springing the question randomly on people) that there are always several of the 7 sins that are impossible to recall. So answer me this: can you remember them right now?

Stephen from Tamworth: why, though Wine Gums all have different colours and flavours, do they have different names that do not correspond to the colours and flavours? I had a green one that was labelled ‘Port’ when Port is a reddy-brown colour, what’s that about?

Baggsie from Liverpool: when I visited my sister at Uni, I found that she had neighbours living in the maisonette below that were a real pain in the arse. The slightest sound and they would be ringing the doorbell and complaining. Trust me when I say my sister was not living in a party household! So one night we started a trend of pissing on the neighbours growing strawberries when coming back from nights out, a trend that lasted 2 years, so answer me this… What is the best revenge that you have carried out or heard of?

Luke from Cambridge: What is the correct collective noun for when you want to say “A [blank] of Answer Me This! listeners”?

aired 30th July 2009

Paul from Glasgow: I’m a storeman in a prison. Am I the only person listening to you from inside a prison?
Also: my girlfriend has said a couple of times recently that I’m turning into her dad, is that a good or bad thing? (I’m only 23!)

Sam: today I nearly fell off my chair when reading your mail-out. When reading the paragraph starting ‘Therein, a moving’ I suddenly saw ‘dramatization’ spelt with a ‘z’. Ahh, Ahhhh, ahhhhhhh. (continuous scream) Helen and Olly, Answer Me This! why did whoever wrote this use ‘z’ rather than ‘s’? Furthermore, why does the Oxford English Dictionary use ‘z’ for words such as organisation rather than ‘s’? Here (Britain) ‘s’ is the common and ‘z’ is strongly favoured with the Americans.

Kweku from London: I was in an airport a couple of days ago and one of the restaurants had a different omelette for each day of the week. Why? Does anyone adjust their flight plans based on whether they’ll be able to get a mushroom omelette or will have to settle for cheese?
After how long do spoilers become socially acceptable? For example, ruining the end of The Sixth Sense is now a part of popular culture.
Helen, answer me this: what are your parents’ views on your partnership with Martin? Does your mum want him to convert to Judaism like she did?

Jake from Bournemouth: how was sunscreen invented?

Rich from Lichfield: when, and why, did glue sniffing go out of fashion? Having been born in the 70s and grown up in the 80s you couldn’t switch on the telly without seeing something about the joys and perils of glue sniffing and general solvent abuse.

Sam from Leeds: I’ve just met my new downstairs neighbour, who in contrast to her predecessors was really nice and complimented me on my taste in sci-fi telly, which she’d heard through the floor a few days ago. Bearing in mind that the only time we’re likely to meet each other is if one knocks on the other’s door, can you suggest a way I can ascertain her possible single nature and chat her up in a neighbourly way?

Callum from St Andrews: why do onions make you cry, and how can you chop them without crying?

Dean: what is up with that game that Americans play in swimming pools called Marco Polo? I thought he was a Venetian merchant, so whats going on there?

Rebecca from London: where does the saying, ‘Bully for you!’ come from?

aired 23rd July 2009

Adam from Ipswich: Due to my girlfriend being a fucking bridesmaid on the same day as your live podcast I feel a sense of injustice as I couldn’t attend what would be a life affirming and throughly good evening. Not only that, it was also my 24th birthday that day so you can understand my right royal fucked-offness! With this in mind, I think it would be a fitting and justified that the following question can be answered by your good selves… Answer me this…. Why are brides to be such head-cases when it comes to organising weddings? It cant be that fucking difficult.

Sian: To try and keep it in theme, I’ll ask a question about the number 101 in culture. Not many people know that “Room 101” is a Nineteen Eighty-Four reference originally, and not a BBC2 series. It was a sort of torture chamber in the novel where “citizens” are sent to have their spirits broken and face their worse nightmares.
…..Annnnyway, Helen and Olly: who would you send to room 101 to face their own nightmares if by chance you had the power to? I mean the full-out George Orwell flavour of Room 101, and not the “Anne Robinson really dislikes traffic wardens” version.

Ray from Belfast: where does the phrase “Piece Of Cake” come from? I know what it means, it means that something is easy. My wife and I do a bit of baking and sell our muffins, buns and cakes at local car boot sales etc and I can tell you that CAKES ARE NOT EASY! They are bloody hard.

Eve: what’s the best way to get over a break up?

George from Haringey: why do so many Chinese takeaways sell fish and chips?

Jon, 14, from Bath: how much do those massive cheques cost? The ones they have if you’ve raised, say £4000 for charity, how much would you save buy just giving them a normal cheque?

Boris from Staines: boxers or briefs (or maybe other…)?

Graham from Canada: sure, emotions are fun, but do they really serve a purpose? (besides associating pain with negativity)

Samantha: why does ‘fanny’ mean a lady’s front bottom when it used to be a woman’s name?

Sally from London: the other day I was listening to a podcast about medicine. The person said orange peel was used as an early form of contraception. Is this where the phrase ‘fruit of my loins’ comes from?

Beth in Dudley: why do chavs wear tracksuits? The only exercise they get is running away from the police.

Callum from Colne Engaine: I remember seeing an album cover with something like a man with headphones on (the big ‘cans’ type) with only half of his face on the album cover. I think he may have been wearing a beanie. Do you know whose album it was? Please?

aired 16th July 2009

Gavin from Harold Wood: what’s the strangest thing you’ve ever celebrated?

Naomi from Kent: my husband is very very obsessed with Answer Me This!, and I worry that he may love you more than me. So, Helen, Olly (and Martin – because we think you are cool too!), if I win tickets to your 100th episode, should I give him my second ticket???

Jonathan from Brighton: who invented the Scotch Egg and why?

Jason from Essex: what was the point of Walt Disney including an extra dog in 101 Dalmatians when surely 100 would have been an impressive enough amount of dogs to make a movie about?

Phil from Norwich: I’ve been working at a new job for a few months now, and usually let my new work mates know that I’m gay fairly soon into starting the job. Answer me this: Is asking a question on a comedy podcast the right way to come out to work mates?

Lalla from London: if you could erase from the back catalogue ONE piece of personal information that you shared with your beloved listeners in the last 100 episodes, what would it be?

Alastair from London: I know that Christianity is full of strange and wonderful mysteries – how the Archbishop of Canterbury gets his eyebrows to stand up like that for example – but answer me this: why do Vicars and Priests wear ‘dog collars’?

Cairn from London: was trepanation really ever used as a form of exorcism?

Edward from London: why do women always tell me to go fuck myself? If I could do that I wouldn’t be sticking my hand up their skirts in the first place.

aired 9th July 2009

Michelle in Arlington Heights, Illinois: is it safe to keep salted butter on the counter instead of in the fridge? My husband claims it is, but I feel uneasy having it sit out all the time. It would be lovely having it soft and ready to spread at a moment’s notice. I’ve heard of butter bells which keeps the air out but I don’t like the idea of having to repackage the butter. I’m not wild about having it sit in water either. Where do you keep your butter?

Acatia: why does my Grandma refer to Broccoli as ‘Calibray’? She’s the only person I’ve ever heard call it that…

Jerry from Myrtle Point, Oregon: why is an elaborate formal party called a “ball”?

Archie: who is the youngest person to ask you a question?

Lucas from Berlin: my parents are waiting to adopt a child from Ethiopia. They’ve been waiting four years and have spent €10,000 so far. Why does it cost so much and take so long?

Jon, 14, Bath: Why is it as American as apple pie? Apple pie was around for centuries before, and is multi-cultural, or at least it’s popular throughout Europe, Apple Pie is distinctly not American.

Jessii: I got my arm pierced the other day. I really love it and think it looks cool. What is the easiest way to shut up (or kill) the people who keep calling me stupid? I don’t think it’s stupid to get a piercing you like…do you?

Sam from Milton Keynes: why is a nightmare called nightmare? I’m pretty it has nothing to do with female horses under the age of three – so why ‘mare’?

Lucy from Edinburgh: last year I received a call from a call centre in China. I can’t remember what the product was, but the man at the other end of the phone asked me to go out with him. At the time I was 15 and he was a lot older so naturally I was scared and just thought “paedo.” Is it common practice for people in call centres to do this when they are bored ‘just for a laugh’, or was he being serious? What reason would he have to ask me out? The only thing he knew about me was what my voice sounded like.

Tom from Wales: if you could live with a celebrity who would it be? (You would keep your lifestyle and live in your house, so if you picked Bill Gates you wouldn’t have loads of money or live in a mansion.)
How do I get more people to listen to Answer Me This!? I have introduced two of my friends and they listen regularly but I tell other people about you and they refuse to listen.

aired 4th June 2009

Sarah and Michael in Melbourne: our housemate is a complete knob-end and is constantly doing things like:
Taking the bigger bedroom even though he doesn’t have to share with someone like we do,
Bringing his bitch girlfriend around,
Using up all the hot water,
Trimming his beard over the bathroom vanity and NOT CLEANING AWAY THE HAIR,
Bugging us about money that isn’t rightfully his,
Leaving dirty dishes and cutlery in his room for weeks, including my (Sarah’s) Beatles mug,
And just generally being a self-important twat.
Drawing on your collective wealth of life experience, how can we get back at him aside from the obvious having sex very loudly?

David from Handforth: why does golf bring out the worst in people?

William in Cambridge: I have an ex-girlfriend who I was with for 2 years. We weren’t friends before we went out but we stayed good friends when we broke up and talk all the time. We haven’t met up much as we now live other ends of the country because we’re both at uni. Tomorrow she is arriving to stay at mine for “a few days”, I have no idea how long this means so Helen and Olly answer me this, is it a good idea to have her stay in my room a few days bearing in mind I only see her as a friend and how many is “a few days”?

David from Durham: I was recently at a Kristin Hersh gig where she told the audience a little story about the writing of my favourite song by her, ‘Gazebo Tree’. However, the story she told was totally different from one I’d heard her tell about the same song at a gig a couple of years back. Answer me this: does it matter where the song came from, in fact is the origin of any song of great importance, or should I just accept the story I liked best and ignore the other one?

Acatia: after my A-level exams, at the end of June, I’m going off to Scarborough for a week with some friends. They all happen to be skinny as a skinny thing, unlike myself, and so I have decided to go on a diet just so that I don’t look like the incredible blob next to them should we manage to get ourselves into a swimming costume at any point! Could you please answer me this:
a) Why is it that as soon as I go onto a diet, all I can think of is chocolate brownies, chocolate bars and white bread? I don’t normally think about those things at all!
b) How do I avoid eating myself into an early grave during my study leave, which is about 6 weeks! I’m going to be in a house with loads of junk food that I MUST NOT EAT!!!

Amy from London: what does B&Q stand for?

Lew from the Czech Republic: on rollercoasters these days there is always a digital camera which takes a picture of you at the scariest moment. Do they spoil the fun for you? I now find myself trying to control my features instead of screaming like a girl, and I end up with an expression which makes makes me look like I’m trying to keep in a really powerful fart. Do you try to compose your features on rollercoasters these days?

Francis from Northern Ireland: what does your appendix actually do? If it does nothing what is its purpose?

Leila in Medford, MA: I am a Muslim, and I know a moderate amount of Arabic. When I see romanized Arabic words, sometimes they have apostrophes in them (i.e. Qur’an, al Qa’ida). Maybe it’s because I’m bad at Arabic, but I don’t see their point. So answer me this: what is the purpose of apostrophes in romanized Arabic words?
I failed to find anyone who had a proficient knowledge of both English and Arabic, and therefore could answer my question. (My mosque’s imam included.) Honestly, my next best bet was this.

Beth from West Sussex: why is it that when women want bigger boobs they have to get a boob job but when male to female transsexuals want to grow boobies they just have to take pills? Surely the pills would work for ladies too? Do doctors just not like women?

Tom from Southport: does Cat Woman eat Cat Food?

Andy from Essex: yesterday was my birthday (turned 24). As a treat, I had a meal out with my family and my sister’s boyfriend. I went to TGI Fridays (why, I have no idea!). The plan was not to mention it was my birthday, but I heard that they make you stand on a chair and sing to you. My sister’s boyfriend “accidentally” let it slip it was my birthday and because of that, I sat throughout the evening, embarrassed and hoping that I could escape. Not gonna happen. I had balloons tied to my wrists, had to stand up, was sung “Happy Birthday” and had to eat a brownie with hands behind my back. it was one of those evenings where I wished the ground would swallow me whole. So, answer me this you amazing people, where did the term “want the ground to swallow me whole” comes from? And when was the last time you wanted this to happen to you?

aired 28th May 2009

Connor from Scotland: I just wanted to say thanks for the advice you gave me in episode 95. I took your advice but unfortunately my ex doesn’t have a sister, so this morning I asked out her cousin. We’re going to see a movie at the weekend; what movies (that are at the cinema right now) are good for guys and girls to watch and have you ever been on a date to the movies? If so how did it go? Please dont do what every other twat I’ve asked so far has done and recommend Angels and Demons. That falls under the category of one of those movies you don’t need to watch to know that it’s shit.

Alastair, concerned in London: I recently listened with interest to the multiple egg references in episodes 94 and 95: quiche, how you like your eggs in the morning, good/bad egg etc. This is because I am allergic to eggs, and they make me violently sick if I have the misfortune of ingesting them in any form. As it’s not just chicken eggs that have this affect on me but seemingly any variety (fish etc) answer me this: When the time comes, will I be able to father children with my future wife, or will my army of wriggly man tadpoles run crying at the sight of an ovum?

Brendan: in light of recent MPs’ expenses, would AMT lay bare some of the expenses they have claimed in pursuit of the podcast?

Mark from Nottingham: why is any room for put aside for guests, VIPs or in some way designated as being special, often referred to as “The Green Room”? This seems to have nothing to do with the interior design or the purpose for which it is used. As far as I can tell it’s a room for Z-list celebrities to get sloshed on free booze! Is there a historical reason why they are called “The Green Room”? Where was the first ever “Green Room”? And have you ever been in one?

James from Bamford: where does the saying “My giddy aunt” come from?

Eleanor from St Albans: have any of you ever tried Scottish dancing? I’m going to my cousin’s wedding, and am going to have to do it.

Rebecca from London: why are peacock feathers brought into the house considered bad luck?

Nelson from Liverpool: why is it that the word gay began to be used as a word for homosexuals? Why not another word?

Andy from Boston: I was on a train back from New York last week and hot towels were handed out before our meal was served. A good number of travellers used the towels to not only wipe their hands, but their faces, neck, behind the ears, etc. One dude even wiped down his table *after* giving himself a full wash. (Think about that for a moment – talk about spreading germs, not to mention swine flu, etc. Gnarly.)
Answer me this: Why do people feel the need to use the hot towels given before a meal to wash all of their exposed body parts? I mean, if you had that much funk on you that a hand towel was a welcome solution, shouldn’t you just use the lav? Do these same people do this in restaurants as well?
What would Olly or Martin do? (WWOMD?)

Lucas from Berlin: you know if you smoke a bit of pot, and then you’re well hungry, why are you well hungry? I’ve always spent all my money on the pot, so can’t afford anything to eat!

aired 21st May 2009

Albert (most people call me Seagull, and I don’t know why): you complete bastards, where have you been all my life !?! I am a 41 and 3/4 year old, who has just bought an ITouch as part of his mid-life crisis, to feel young, and have discovered the joys of your Podcast. You answer all the the questions I have wanted to know since I was an awkward teenager, and am now beginning to feel whole in my life!!
Do you think it is wise, or cool, to wear a stupid looking yellow tie on a major news channel (just saw Olly on Sky News!!)?

Pete from Somerset: why is it rude to put your elbows on the dinner table?

Roger from Berkhamstead: why was I the only person I saw in a week in China with a beard? I have been told that Chinese men can’t grow beards, but paintings and statues show wise men of old with long beards.
Do you know how the Chinese feel about beards generally?

James from Glasgow: what is a shebang? and why is it so important to have the whole of it?

Tom from London: why are sesame seeds added to burger buns? They add no taste and merely prevent people with certain allergies from enjoying a nice burger! Is there a reason for this or is there just an evil billionaire living in a volcano somewhere who owns a burger-bun monopoly and wants to fuck up the world in his own little way?

Andy: why do burgers come in packs of four, whereas burger buns come in packs of six?

Laurence from York: why do news anchors feel the urge to stand outside a school when something happens? Just stay in the studio – it’s warmer.

Rhys from Mirfield: where does pin the tail on the donkey come from? Who thought it would be a good idea for children to pretend to reattach an appendage to an animal and why choose a donkey of all things?

George in Aberdeenshire: does the arrow on the symbol for ‘male’ ♂ represent a man’s wang, and does the cross on the ‘female’ symbol ♀ represent a lady’s party zone?

Adam from South-West London: after being bored out of my mind on a long stretch of jury service, I’ve been wondering: why do judges wear those ridiculous wigs?

Rory in Aberdeen: why is the traditional image of a heart the way it is, when a heart actually looks like an extremely ugly blob?

Nina and Naomi from Brittany: have you ever won any prizes, aside from the Sony nomination? I can imagine Helen winning a spelling bee or something, and Martin some science thing; I can’t imagine Olly winning anything, sorry!

Johnnie: my girlfriend is just about reaching her sixth anniversary of moving to England from France. Before she left, a colleague gave her three pieces of advice for living in England:
* go on holiday during Wimbledon fortnight; it always rains
* Make sure to watch the best programme on TV: Top Gear
* Never try to start a conversation on a train
I’ve a feeling there is probably better advice that she could have been given. My question is, what three pieces of advice would you give to someone coming to live in England for the first time?

aired 14th May 2009

Janna from Somerset: have you been to the V&A and eaten the quiche in the restaurant? It might look a bit expensive but it is unbelievably delicious. I have to find an excuse to go there every time I go to London. Try it and see if you can tell me what makes it so amazing as I have tried cooking quiche with a load of different recipes and I can get nothing close, please help me with your cooking skills as I actually live in Somerset and it’s a bit far to pop out for lunch!

Philip from London: I was reading about some political scandal the other day. What was the first scandal after Watergate to be suffixed with ‘gate’, and what if there’s a scandal about water?

Stephen in Dublin: I recently started yoga, following nagging to “try it you might like it”. I am as atypical a practitioner as is possible. I am male (as opposed to female) a rabid meater (as opposed to a vegan who thinks that carrots also have rights), heartless bank employee (as opposed to a registered hug provider), skin/slap head (as opposed to someone who believes that animals should be able to nest in your hair), I (despite myself) actually enjoy it. Answer me this: what was the last thing you enjoyed, that you didn’t think you think you would/logically shouldn’t have? e.g. book, cd, concert, activity

Jack from Leeds: do sniffer dogs get addicted to cocaine?

Rebecca from London: where does the saying ‘painting the town red’ come from?

Sarah: will the couple in the BT advert ever make up?

Henry from Bath: There is a guy in my school who gets pissed every week, he has his own facebook group dedicated to his antics with over 100 members. So please answer me this: how long can a 17-year-old’s liver last if every week he gets smashed and passes out/other stuff, before his liver implodes/he dies? Or do you think that becoming a (minor) weblebrity can only be a good thing?

Tim from Watford: why do chefs wear those big weird hats?

Ian from Maidstone: my question relates to the phrase, “you’re a good egg”. I’ve been told that it’s considered racist to say this, because ‘egg’ is short for ‘egg and spoon’, which is rhyming slang for… well, for an unpleasant racist term. That can’t be right, can it?

Connor, 14, from Scotland: I was going out with a girl in the year above me at school for almost 4 months until she dumped me at the end of February. It did bother me but I dealt with it pretty quickly, I was still talking to her on MSN now and then and I saw her at school sometimes.
Everything was going fine until she started going out with my brother. He’s 2 years older than me (one year older than my ex) and we get along okay most of the time but this is really starting to piss me off. I know it’s been 2 months since I broke up with her but this is the first proper boyfriend she’s had since then, why did it have to be my brother? I don’t know who im more mad at, my ex for being such a slutty bitch or my brother for being such a selfish bastard.
Answer me this: should I tell them how pissed off I am or just put up with it in the hope that they’ll eventually break up? And if you think I should talk to them, how do I tell them I want them to break up without making myself seem selfish? I’m over the relationship with her but I still find this just too weird.

aired 7th May 2009

Anonymous: how do you like your eggs in the morning? I like mine with a kiss.

Simon: I’m growing lots of vegetables in my garden. If you were to be likened to a vegetable what would you like to be? Personally I’d like to think I’m sweetcorn – sweet, corny, tall with a big head!

Dave from York: I’ve just got over a bout of chickenpox, which completely screwed up a week and a half of my Easter holiday, so Helen, Olly and Martin, answer me this: What is the most embarrassing, painful, and/or inconvenient illness you’ve ever had? (No STDs, thank you Olly.)

Lyndal from Adelaide: what is the point of all these celebrities bringing out books? Miley Cyrus is only 12 or something – what has she got to write about?

Dale in Northwood: why are Hot Dogs called Hot Dogs?

Emily from Essex: What are prawn crackers made of?

Rory from Aberdeen: What are your views on cannibalism?

Si from Bournemouth: did Hitler really have one ball?

Oli in Warwick: I recently thought of a genius idea to make a wallet out of Pokemon cards! I thought it looked awesome and really original. However, my mates just took the piss out of it. Is it sad to make a wallet out of Pokemon cards?

Lottie from Oxford: my mother’s boyfriend is away a lot and is always on the phone to her. I often answer the phone to him, and I sound a lot like my mum, so he’ll say “Hello gorgeous” and then it’s awkward. So how can I pick up the phone and immediately show I’m not my mum?

Emma from Nottingham: the other day I was watching The Apprentice and I noticed that instead of holding their mobile phones normally and speaking into the bottom part of the phone whilst listening to the top, the apprentices all held their phones flat in front of them and spoke VERY LOUDLY into the bottom of the phone. This seems very strange to me, so Helen and Olly answer me this: is everyone on The Apprentice so stupid that they don’t know how to use a phone properly, and if so is it not a little worrying that they supposedly represent the best businessmen and women in England today, or is it that I am behind the times and everyone uses their phones like this these days and I should stop complaining and join in?

Chris from Bolton: what is the most interesting/expensive/different thing you have ever held in your hands?
I say this because recently (well about 5 months ago) I had the pleasure of meeting citizen of Bolton and Olympic Gold and Silver Medal-winning cyclist Jason Kenny and I was able to hold his medals (it was at a function, he wasn’t just carrying them around with him in the street). They were surprisingly heavy but very intricately decorated.

aired 30th April 2009

Sharon from Glasgow: Helen answer me this; can I put you down for a reference? You have good telephone manner and I imagine you would be good at bullshitting people into giving me a job. All you have to do is go with whatever job(s) I lie and say you’ve been my boss at and remember how awesome and amazing I am etc.

Chris from Ormskirk: I am concerned about health and safety issues so Answer Me This: do you carry out a risk assessment prior to carrying out the recording of your podcast?
Is it true that chocolate is a substitute for sex? That’s what my wife tells me when she’s shoving a flake up her snatch.

Simon, 13, Wimbledon: I just went on a school ski trip and everyone got so shocked when the teachers had some wine to drink. There were three bottles for eight of them which is about as much my parents drink on a Saturday. Why was everyone so shocked? Teachers are human, aren’t they?

Sam from Salisbury: why does my orthodontist thing it is necessary to put elastic bands on my braces?

Georgina from Surrey: why was I subjected to watching Loose Women at the dentist? Surely dental TV should make you feel better about being there!

Lina from Nebraska: my husband is currently deployed, so while he’s gone I will be spending a great deal of my summer visiting friends and family. My first big trip is in a few weeks. I will be visiting a friend in San Francisco. He has told me he’s going to take me dancing to all the gay clubs and he said all of his friends will probably want to dance with me. He also said that he and all of his friends dance dirty. Now I love dancing and I don’t get to do it often because I’m married and my husband does not like to dance. So answer me this: is it ok to dance dirty with a gay guy even though I’m married? In my opinion, it would basically be like dancing with a straight girl.

Ed from Dorset: why is “the dog’s bollocks” used as a positive description? To me dogs’ bollocks aren’t all that great, am I missing something? Are canine testicles really pretty amazing on closer inspection?

Billy in Croydon: why is it that the numberplate on the front of a vehicle is white and at the back it’s yellow?

Red Dog: My neighbor has a parrot that is driving me crazy. It can’t hold a decent conversation and just sits there doing an inane “here pooch!” kind of whistle. Every 5 seconds. What is the most humane way to kill a parrot. I was thinking a cat or a falcon, or maybe just strangle it and leave a suicide note in its cage?
PS: I like all other pets, just not parrots. Or hamsters.

Stephanie from America: at a recent dinner conversation, my mom suggested to me that I quit using my ChapStick cold turkey. (Just in case you don’t have ChapStick in Britain, ChapStick is a lip balm that is absolutely SWEEPING the nation over here…there are entire websites dedicated to ChapStick addicts like myself haha.)
So Helen and Olly, answer me this: where does the term “quitting cold turkey” come from?
Was someone so addicted to cold turkey that someone suggested to them that they ‘quit cold turkey’?

Jawad from Streatham: I’m a 19-year-old boy and I’m about to have another sibling in the house…my mum is pregnant. I wanted to know what would be a good gift to give my parents?

Lorenzo in Glasgow: I went to a Chinese restaurant 3 years ago and broke open a fortune cookie that prophesied vast riches and uncountable luxuries! So answer me this, where did the idea of a fortune cookie originate, what’s the weirdest one you’ve seen and just for me, IS THERE A FUCKING TIME LIMIT ON THEM?

aired 23rd April 2009

Neil from Chester: why, when I know my girlfriend is always going to be late whenever we go for a drink, do I still always turn up early?

Nikesh: in the film Lethal Weapon, Murtaugh complains to Riggs about being too old for this shit. So what shit are you too old for? I’m too old to have a Che poster above my bed.

Tobias from Hoxton: my sister recently bought a horse. I don’t like my sister. Is it true that you can turn horses into glue? If so, what is the procedure? And how do you condense a whole horse into a tub of glue?
Ps. My girlfriend is making me cook her lobster. Do lobster scream/squeal/cry/anything remotely heartbreaking when you throw them into a boiling pot of water? I need to be prepared.

Niels from South Africa: who do you think is the greatest Jew in history?

J-Dawg in Stroud: who would win at an arm wrestle between Martin the physicist and Olly the English graduate? I doubt there’d be much in it!

Cammie from Leith: I was revising today and my dad caught me playing Playstation. He told me to get my thumb out of my arse and get studying. Where does this expression come from? I very rarely have my thumb up my arse!

Lottie in Oxford: Where does the phrase ‘wet behind the ears’ come from? I have just recently got a job in a book shop and I am new to the wacky ways and goings of the people there. They call me a ‘wet behind the ears newbie’. So I am curious to know where this saying comes from.

Matt from Toronto: is the term “school” really that specific a term in the vernacular in England? I am from Canada, and my girlfriend is from the Isle of Wight. In Canada, “school” is a passing, catch-all term for any form of education. On one of my many visits to England while my girlfriend was finishing uni, she was mortified to find I had been in pubs and talking to pensioners about how excited I was for my girlfriend “to finish school”, or how nice it will be when my girlfriend is “out of school”…We do have an age gap, I am in early thirties, she in early twenties–but she bluntly told me that people would think I was talking about a twelve year old. Would they really have?
Come to think of it, one woman did raise an eyebrow.
Anyhow, I now know to say “uni”…I won’t bother telling you how my girlfriend felt about my mother discussing her big “fanny”, which means “bottom” over here.
What North American vernaculars have proven confusing for you?

Laurence from York: would you rather your dad died or your knob got chopped off?
How do you tell your teacher they have massive pit-stains? I know one of my teachers listens to this podcast, so it’s not Dave.

Dave from York: I am a secondary school teacher (I teach French and German, in case you’re interested), and have rather foolishly made a sportsman’s bet with a pupil of mine that I can get a question read out on your podcast before he can. So please, save my career and reputation within the school by reading my question out!
Is it inappropriate for me, as a teacher, to be recommending your (occasionally potty-mouthed) podcast to my pupils? I haven’t recommended it to all my pupils, just some year 11s who I thought would probably like it. I just worry slightly, having already made the recommendation to several kids, that a prudish parent may find it whilst innocently looking(/spying) through their child’s iPod, and point the finger in my direction when they hear Helen and/or Olly drop the c-bomb, polluting their “innocent” child’s mind with filthy language.
Please read this before you read a question from Laurence in York, or I’ll never hear the fucking end of it.

Max in Thame: why do ghosts say ‘whoooo’? – the obvious answer is that it’s spooky, but surely that’s only because it’s now associated with ghosts. I reckon if you remove the association it just sounds a bit sarcastic. So why?

aired 16th April 2009

Ian from Bedfordshire: why is it that oilseed rape has such a horrible name?

Sarah from Gaytown: Holy BatBalls, you guys!
Last night I was out and I saw one of my teachers, who is married to another one of my teachers, holding hands and laughing with a young girl who was NOT my teacher.
He saw me, I saw him see me, he let go of her hand, it was all very awkward.
I have to see him every day, and I have no idea how I’m supposed to act!
So what do you think?
I know I’m going to look back at this and think it’s really funny – because it kind of is.

Aichy from Hampshire: have you ever been to Disneyland?
What sort of important stuff have you lost?

Kieren: where does the phrase “egg on your face” come from?

Graham from Canada: why do some barber shops have those red/white/blue stripes? Why red/white/blue? What’s their origin?

Becky the Manx ice-cream monster: Why is blue thought of as a boy colour? Did men of the past always wear it or something? And did women always wear pink?

John in Edinburgh: where does the olden time euphemism ‘a bit of how’s your father’ come from? Surely your father is one of the last people you should be thinking of before, during or after getting jiggy-wid-it. Is it related to modern people yelling ‘who’s the Daddy?’

Mike from Bath: if someone told you what happened in a later episode of 24 or Dexter or something like that, you’d be really hacked off, right? So why do people read those magazines that describe soap storylines weeks in advance? The best theory I’ve heard is so that people know when to tune in, but if they’re that bloody tedious surely there’s no reason to watch them in the first place!

Nick from Hackney: why does my willy always have a sun tan? It’s very rarely outside and I’m a very pale person, yet my cock is looks as tho it should belong to Spaniard (which Spaniard i don’t know). Is it taking secret trips to the Costa del Cock, or even to tanning booths in Billericay while I’m sleeping? Is it as my Grandmother always warned me “Going to Fall off!”? Or is there some perfectly benign answer that i should know already?

George from Portsmouth: we just stole a balloon. Should we feel bad?

Keith, now of Bradford, originally from Staffordshire: Olly, answer me this:
1. If you had to; Ester Rantzen or Cilla Black?
2. Is it wrong to think about your mates mum? I used to fancy her when I was 15, but now I’m 27, I still feel strong urges to “pop in”.
3. Why don’t women understand offside? And have you ever tried explaining rugby offside?!?! Don’t even go there….
Helen, answer me this:
1. Kerplunk or Jenga for pub-based action games?
2. Apparently it’s wrong to wear black and brown together? Discuss.
3. Why does dirty food, like a proper sweaty kebab, taste so good after a bellyful of beer?

aired 9th April 2009

Luke from Cambridge: did you commit or succumb to any good April Fooling this year?

Jem from Essex: I’ve recently joined your Facebook Fanclub.
This is probably the first such club I’ve joined since I was about ten and sent 50p in stamps to the Beano to join the Dennis the Menace Fan Club. As this was a PROPER fan club, with a membership card, badge and introductory letter featuring secret club codes and the like, it made me wonder…
Helen and Olly, answer me this: did you belong to any fan clubs in your youth? And if so, which ones?

Gareth from Glasgow: where does the word ‘jackpot’ come from, to mean a large sum of money?

Lorna from London: what are star signs, who came up with the animal things, and can they actually tell your future in any way?

Caroline from Bognor Regis/Cape Town: which is easier, being a boy or a girl?

Joseph from Michigan: recently, a new pizza place opened in my town. They sent out fliers containing their menu, containing mostly typical pies, but a few speciality pizzas caught my eye.
Chicken Cordon Bleu, which has ham, chicken, Swiss cheese and Alfredo sauce. Look, I like chicken cordon bleu, but a pizza based around it sounds dodgy. Another is Mac ‘N Cheese. A pizza. With macaroni and cheese.
I am both horrified and intrigued by these pizzas.
So answer me this: what is the strangest pizza you’ve ever had?
(For the record, the strangest I’ve ever had was a Reuben pizza: Russian dressing instead of sauce, sauerkraut, corned beef, and Swiss cheese. It was the stuff of gastronomical nightmares.)

Tom: I recently had an important meeting with a Distinguished Gentlemen in a cafe, and I noticed he had split cappuccino down his jumper. Should I have told him before he went to his next meeting?

Laurence from York: why do ears ring when you’ve been listening to rock music?
Why do they say ‘ice-cold soft drinks’, when surely if they were as cold as ice, they would be ice?
Why bother with a silent ‘k’ in ‘knee’ and ‘knife’?

aired 2nd April 2009

Ashley from London: where was the first Garden Centre?

Adam: have any of you ever had dogs? I’m thinking of getting one.

Fran from Suffolk: I LOVE Evanescence and a am a massive fan of them. I like their music and think Amy Lee incredibly talented. My mates say I’m stupid to like them when they have never heard or listened to them. This really bugs me and if I say, ‘Just let me like that music I like,’ they say that they won’t cos the bands I like are shit. Please help!

Tom from Southport: what jobs can you get that specifically require a degree in English?

Chris from Ormskirk: is it acceptable to give your mother a vibrator as a Mother’s Day present? I was only trying to cheer her up.

Luke from Cambridge: if the three of you were stranded on a sinking boat and there’s only room on a lifeboat for one of you, which one would you save?

Chelsea from Wisconsin: what is the origin of the jack in the box?

Stu in Cambridge: why is there a worm in bottles of Tequila? Does it serve a purpose, or is it just there for kicks?

Jack from Gloucester: I have worked in the same office for about 2 years now and I have come to realise that I really fancy my boss, and get strong indications that she feels the same. I know in the cold light of day work relationships are meant to be wrong, but are they ALWAYS a complete no-go? Surely if we are adult and professional there is no reason you can’t get it on with your boss? Or is this craziness? Are we destined to carry on fancying each other with nothing ever happening?

Chris from Reading: where on earth does the phrase “at loggerheads” come from?
Why is it people say “cheese” when a photo is taken, and where does it come from?

Michael in Hertfordshire: over the last week or so me and my girlfriend have been asking each other a lot of fun and personal questions, such as ‘When did you first start to like me?’ and ‘What do you look most for in a guy?
But we have been doing it constantly for the last week now and I’m running out of questions, but don’t want to run out before her. So Helen and Olly answer me this, what interesting questions can I ask her, so that I can find out more about her in depth and also not run out?

aired 26th March 2009

Graham from Stoke-on-Trent: since my wife of 28 years left me for another woman three years ago, I have had a nagging question and I wondered if you could shed any light on the matter. When two large ladies are in the throes of passion and giving, shall we say, oral attention to each other’s ladyparts, is this known as an 88, rather than the more traditional 69? I just need to know and I can’t find the answer anywhere.

Dan from Brighton: do mermaids smell of fish?

Sharon in Glasgow: I have just discovered Google Street View. I have never been to London so I had a look around the areas I frequently hear about so I can get a visual image of what it looks like. Thinking of you guys I had a look around Crystal Palace, may I say you live in a very nice area.
Helen and Olly answer me this: is this a fantastic new technology or is it just creepy?
Having a look around the famous Camden, I found this.
It made me laugh, but what do you think?

Stephen in Huddersfield: I run a little restaurant in Huddersfield, and generally my customers are smashing people. However sometimes they are mean-spirited bad-tempered wankers, with no idea of how to behave in public. So answer me this: is the customer always right? Because I think they’re often wronger than Hitler.

Sarah: where did vampires come from?

Izzi: where did the phrase bloody Nora come from. I’m pretty sure that it doesn’t come from Nora Batty.

Alan from Glasgow: my surname is ‘Digweed’. Have you ever heard of a worse surname than that?

Martin from Glasgow: why have I just peed in the bathroom sink?

Mike from Belfast: since Martin the Sound Man tore me apart for my silly little Eskimo balls question, I’ve been attending therapy to get in touch with my inner child. What’s the most childish impulse your inner child causes, especially as you’re all old and withered inside? Especially Martin.

Lucy from Brighton: why is it that when animals are killed and put onto a plate some of them change their name, ie. Cows turn into ‘Beef’, Sheep turns into ‘Mutton’, Pig turns into Pork, Deer turns into ‘Venison’, etc, but Lamb stays as Lamb, and Chicken stays as Chicken? This is perplexing me and even though I’m a vegetarian I must know the answer!!

aired 19th March 2009

Dom from Southend: what is Twitter? Why does it exist? Why do people need to know every little detail about my life? Why is this glorified form of stalking ok? Why is it addictive?

Jack from Wiltshire: why is it that food on television ads (ie the Weetabix minis/Aldi’s fruit and veg etc) falls from the sky and bounces around in super-dramatic slow motion? When I buy broccoli from Aldi (which I often do, as I am that poor), it doesn’t graciously drop from the air and pirouette on the chopping board for me. I have tried many times dropping it from heights, but it never falls as tastefully as it does on the ads, so why can’t they just fuck off and show us how we want to see it: motionless, on a plate, ready for eating?

Jonathon, 13, from Bath: I made a song for my Mum’s birthday, it went like this:
Mumma mia, what a birthday song,
My, My, how original,
Mumma Mia, Only twenty-one,
My, My, what perfect flattery,
Yes, really you are ancient,
Grey, with a metal hip joint,
Why, Why, do you have a dodgy knee,
Mumma mia, now i have to go,
My, My, I hope that cane is just for show.

Does this make me weird, and did you do anything similar when you were younger?

Matthew Seymour from Colchester: does anywhere sell toy hammocks?

Andrew from Southampton: why do we give teddy bears as cute to to children? Bears are vicious in real life and would probably rip a child in half!

Laura from Ireland: what was the worst food you had to resort to as a student? I’m presuming it was something beige-coloured as most student foods are.

Henry: I am a 16-year-old boy, trying to get a job, I have tried filling out loads of application forms for places in bath where I live (and sending them in). But have still not been able to get a job, you might say that this is because I am useless, but I did get to the interview stage for a job at Waitrose in November last year, but then I didn’t get the job. And have since tried Tesco, M & S, Sainsbury’s, O2, Orange, Carphone Warehouse, Co-op, WHSmiths, Starbucks, Costa.
How can I get a job when I have no previous experience, and I can only work part time? Also what were your guys first jobs?

Tom in Sheffield: how do I dance at a party without looking like a twat? I’m 14, and in a pickle…

Alan from Scotland: in Dirty Dancing, why does Patrick Swayze say ‘Nobody puts Baby in the corner’ rather than ‘Nobody puts Frances in the corner’?

aired 12th March 2009

Chuckie: my friend Tristan got the first question of the new series and won’t shut up about it. How can I get him to stop gloating?

Yasmeen: I live in Camden and for a few months I have been noticing an ad campaign splashed across buses called “Be Cervix Savvy” with a picture of an attractive man.
I looked up the website:
Please have a look at the video on the first page.
Why oh why oh why have they chosen these men to promote smear tests?

Lina from Bellevue, Nebraska: I have a co worker who I know for a fact is gay. Everyone at my job knows he’s gay,too. But he still insists on pretending that he is not. He pretends to have girlfriends and has even forgotten the name he used in the middle of a story about “her”. One minute she’s Jessica and the next she’s Jennifer. You can tell that this is stressful for him, pretending to be something he is not. So, answer me this: should I just pull him aside and tell him that we all know he’s gay so he can go ahead and stop pretending he likes girls or should I just leave well enough alone and play along until he is ready to tell everyone on his own.

Kate: I have been wrestling for the answer to this question for sometime now and really hope you can help.
I am a lesbian and last October my wonderful girlfriend and I had our Civil Partnership ceremony which was all lovely and blah blah blah. Anyway, since then we haven’t known what to call ourselves. Are we married? But that is sooo straight and technically we are not. Are we Civil Partnered? But that is wanky. What the chuffing hell are we? Also, what do we call ourselves? Do I introduce Sharon as my Civil Partner, to show she is more than my girlfriend? That’s wanky too. Say life partner and that’s even worse! Wife is straight and I know another couple that call each other wifey so that just sticks in my throat.

Amelia from London: what’s your favourite tv show of all time?

Ruth from London: why are the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles named after Renaissance artists?

Mike from Belfast: if testicles operate better at low temperatures, are Eskimos very fertile? I would find this ironic, as their population numbers are dwindling.

Ryan from Kilburn: where does the word scapegoat come from?

Paddy from Leeds: how can you be disgusted but not gusted?

Martz from Southampton: I noticed, and I was quite pleased, that the new president Barack Obama is left-handed and, as a fellow southpaw it got me thinking… Has there been a disproportionate number of lefties vs righties that have become great leaders and statesmen compared to the population as a whole?

Rachel from Loughborough: why do men always say that women look better without makeup, even though they look terrible?

Polly the Parrot: why is a gangplank called a gangplank? They’re not a fucking gang – they’re a crew!

Brad from Huddersfield: after winning your lovely bag in the answer me this competition, myself and Josh share the bag monthly.
This month was my turn to use the bag, everything was fine and all in all it’s a great bag.
However after spying on a few friends over Facebook, I found to my horror some fucker has started a ‘why don’t these geezers get a new bag’ group, in which myself, Josh and a flakey boy seen sometimes wandering around the college carrying his books are targeted.
Which brings me to my question: could you round up a few answer me this listeners or every fucker under the sun to join the group and post comments along the tune of ‘those bags rock and I love flakey boy’?

aired 5th March 2009

Tristan from Ramsgate: is bacon, pancakes and maple syrup, really a good idea? It tastes great but, can you eat it would feeling guilty?

Liz from Cardiff: I was chatting casually to my parents this evening about bizarre opera plots. My dad, astonishingly, told me that, in the 1920s and 30s there was this thing called Theatre of Cruelty, where they got prisoners who had been sentenced to death to take part in their plays, and they’d shoot them dead on stage.” He then went on to recall one stage direction that went something like: “The soldier brings down the axe and it splits open the victim’s head – brains spill out onto the stage and into the front row”.

Thomas from London: I am a man, 31, and recently split up with my girlfriend. We have a young son. Am I ever going to be able to convince a girl to have sex with me again? Please give me a tactic to convince a girl to have sex with me.

Jack from Leeds: why do people say “Happy As A Clam”? Surely clams have nothing to be happy about!

Adam from Wigan: on your telephone keypad, why does the no.1 have no letters on, then 7 and 9 have four characters each?

Clementine from Cambridge: WHY do British people picture French people with GARLIC AROUND THEIR NECKS?? I’m French, and I agree with most stereotypes (cheese, frogs, etc) but the GARLIC?? We French people don’t eat half as much garlic as YOU British garlic-eaters – you can even buy garlic bread in supermarkets on this side of the Channel!! And the French definitely don’t eat as much garlic as the Spanish or the Italian. So where does this stupid stereotype come from???

Mike from Belfast: I am a photographer and particularly like taking candid shots of people, especially young women. How can I take secret shots in public without them knowing?

Fran: I’m 21 and am friends with a single man who is pushing 50. Lately our correspondence has been fairly flirty and things got a bit more serious this morning when a £100 lingerie voucher came through my door. He wrote on the card that there’s no expectation of anything but he wants me to feel sexy next time we go for dinner. I think I’d quite like to have sex with him (dry spell), and I like being bought things (povvo student) but I feel bad for accepting expensive dinners and gifts and stuff. We’ve never even snogged. So, answer me this, is it wrong to accept gifts? And, does me accepting a lingerie voucher imply that I’m agreeing to sleep with him?

Chelsea from Wisconsin: what is the oldest gadget you all own?
Where did the tradition of clinking glasses come from?
Can you fill a hot tub with pudding?
What is your biggest fear?

aired 29th January 2009

Andy from Essex: which Mr Man or Little Miss do you think you are?

Eliot from Wrexham: why did repetitive ‘dance’ music take off?

Amelia: what is the best way to react to a bad present, in a way that won’t hurt the person’s feelings?

George from Aberdeenshire: is having a disease/condition named after you (eg Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s) an insult or an honour?

Michael, 16, Hertfordshire: my mate thinks that I am being controlled by my girlfriend
so I did something really stupid that she didn’t want me to do
and now she thinks that I’m a massive twat
so answer me this: how do you win back a girl?

Amy from Maidenhead: I’ve just spent the last day of 2008 watching programmes about serial killers. Does this point to a serial-killing 2009? Should I be locked up?

Charlotte from Macclesfield: I personally stick my tongue into cadbury creme eggs, remove (but still eat) all of the filling, then bite & chew the chocolate casing. How do you eat yours?

James: where did the phrase “by the skin of your teeth” come from because everytime i hear this it makes me shiver and want to vomit!

Chippy: which sad bastard listens to the director’s commentary on the extras bit of a DVD?

Roddy from Peebles: my English teacher gave me an essay back to redraft with the comment “Good (relaxed) writing style. Try and include the meaning of life/The purpose of human existence to add depth.” WHAT?!
Is this woman insane or does she genuinely expect me to know the answer to both of these seemingly unanswerable questions?

Frank from Boston: why is it that British actors can do convincing American accents, but Americans can’t do British ones?

Lana: Do you remember at school, folding a piece of paper so it makes a kind of pyramid? You got a friend to choose a number and you moved your fingers in and out the amount of times they chose then lifted a flap revealing that they stink of piss or something else humorous that you wrote under the numbers in advance. Well why is it that everyone I asked made these origami thingies yet not one person has ever bothered to give this paper contraption a name and it is only known by “ oh yeah that that thing when you go like that “, (they then move their finger in and out). Why? Is it just laziness?

Magnus from Estonia: if you ever need to take a holiday, can I suggest you get “Celebrity Lesbian” Sue Perkins and “Guy Secretan” Stephen Mangan to take over – their voices are almost indistinguishable from yours. My friend Ed could take over from The Sand Man although he’d have to put on a bit of a Northern accent.

aired 22nd January 2009

James from Gloucestershire: I thought I owed you an update on the older neighbour cum-in-her-bucket situation! I was right, she does want to fuck me which I thought was golden apart from she sent me some saucy photos via text which I can send to martin if he fancies a free wank? Anyway, in the photos she does not look hot at all! Clearly the wrapping is better than the filling. The worst thing is I don’t want to dick her anymore cos it IS a bit weird. But she says I should come round to her house for a “chat” the next time her husband’s out Please arm me with 6 months’-worth of excuses to get out of tapping her wizard’s sleeve, until I can fuck off to uni and leave her weird ass behind!

Pete from Wiltshire: what is your favorite medieval weapon and why? And can you tell me what the one with the spiky ball on the end is?

Graham from Canada: does coconut milk curdle?

Stuart: It was announced this week that Will Young is going to appear on Question Time. If you were given the opportunity to appear on the programme, who would you like to appear on Question Time as your fellow panellists? If you were in the audience what question would you like to ask Will Young? If you were to appear on a panel show, which one would you like to appear on? I have always been a fan of Just a Minute.

Mike from Birkenhead: I’m a fight attendant, and am currently in Chicago. Why are passengers so stupid?

Ryano: what family activities were you dragged kicking and screaming into? Mine had to be visiting my Nan with the ornaments as we all had to sit still on the couch for fear of breakages; leaving was like breaking up for the school holidays.

Josh from London: do you happen to know what that little pocket inside the larger pocket on jeans is for? It’s pointless. A friend of mine suggested it could be for change, but considering I can’t get change out after I’ve put it in, I don’t quite buy this.

Tim from Watford: Why do pigeons bob their heads?

Alex: why do people go grey (In their hair, not in general) in their old age? Are humans the only creatures that go grey, and if so, why is this?

Kyle from Bexhill: why do I find it so compelling to sing in the shower?

Lew from the Czech Republic: Helen, if you were a fictional nurse, which one would you like to be? Barbara Windsor, Hattie Jacques, Chrissie Williams, Nurse Ratchet or some other? And Olly, which doctor would you like to be? Kenneth Williams, Jim Dale or Christopher Timothy?

Chris: why do cats lick themselves and we don’t?

Henry in Derby: do cats have periods?

Sarah from Gaytown: what do you guys do for fun?

aired 15th January 2009

Wade in Mansfield: I Just saw a TV advert claiming that Coco Pops are delicious in hot milk. Naturally I ran to my kitchen, heated up some milk and poured it onto some Coco Pops as soon as I could! I took a big mouthful, then felt myself wretch. They taste fucking grim. Answer me this: why does the box say that they are delicious in hot milk, when actually I’d rather have jizzed in the bowl, and eaten it with my feet?

Max from Norfolk: my question to you is about love. For around 2 weeks now I have started a relationship with the girl of my dreams. She is the prettiest girl in the school year, so sweet, just lovely.
A few episodes back, you were discussing about sensitive guys and masculine guys and how we’re too open and bla bla bla. Well, I happen to be one of those sensitive guys. I believe it’s because I am more mature and open with my feelings. If I can tell somebody what I am feeling, it makes me more comfortable.
I was talking to her on msn and I said to her something along the lines of:
“When we were in the city (Norwich) today, it made me realise how much I love you, I never wanna be apart from you.”
The response I got was:
“haha how corny.”
Helen And Olly And Martin
Answer Me This:
What can I say to my girlfriend that expresses the same love and emotion, but isn’t so damn corny?

Wayne from Blaine, Maine: how come you British people get to say all these great words, like ‘bollocks’, ‘fortnight’, ‘brilliant’, ‘mate’, ‘wanker’, ‘bonnet’, ‘tosser’, ‘beastly’, ‘sod’, ‘bugger’, ‘quid’ and ‘todger’, but if we Americans try to do that we sound like total idiots?

Peter from Chicago: is it possible to have pizzas delivered in the UK?

Andy from Edinburgh: I have recently heard a rumour from school about a girl who has left now. No one knows if this is true but apparently in her Chemistry class she put a test tube up her private zone and it broke and smashed and the school nurse had to extract the glass! Thing is I don’t believe a word of it. So Helen and Olly, answer me this: what are the most ridiculous rumours or stories you have heard in your life?

Louis from Croydon: why is the term ‘blowjob’ not in any way indicative of the actual action required to do it properly?

Martine from Tunbridge Wells: what is the origin of the Phrase “Willy Nilly”?

Chris from Ormskirk: what do hippos eat? They always look obese but you never see them eating anything.

Dave from Coventry: why do some people (mainly middle aged men) feel the need to wear their bluetooth earpiece ALL the time, for example in a supermarket or whilst having a meal out with their family? I think it’s because they’re either very rude or are just pretending that they actually know other people.

Chelsea from Wisconsin: Martin, what is your favorite thing about Helen? Helen, what’s your least favorite thing about Martin?
Whose idea was it to put candles on a birthday cake?

Gareth from Glasgow: I heard that scientists have created a lightbulb that lasts forever, but are hiding it for the sake of the lightbulb industry. Is this possible?

Paul from Stockport: I turn 30 in 5 months. Possibly convinced by the constant stream of gimmick-based books and tv shows (hello Dave Gorman) I feel I should make a list of “things to do” before I reach this significant milestone on the march towards my inevitable death. I realise I have left this a little late but Answer Me This: what things must I ABSOLUTELY do before I’m 30?

aired 8th January 2009

David from Stanmore: Olly, was it you I saw walking across Highbury Fields on December 18th?

Paul from Southend: why is it complimentary to describe a woman as a bombshell, but insulting to describe her as a battleaxe? Why are bombs sexy, yet axes aren’t?

‘Cuthbert’ from Japan: I’ve been drinking red wine in a vague attempt to keep warm, because the heater in my flat is broken. What can I do to stay warm until the little Japanese heater man comes to fix my heater?

Matt from Barnehurst: is it true that Romans used to throw up in a special room during meal times so they eat more, or is this just a myth?
Also why do cartoons always show people drunk by making them hiccup? I’ve been drunk loads of times and never hiccupped at all!

Krabbers: at what point did dodgy builders become known as cowboys and why? I’ve never seen a plumber in a Stetson.

Chris from Ormskirk: why don’t they make westerns anymore?

Francis from Northern Ireland: I discovered this by accident, you cannot create a folder called “Con” on a Windows computer. If you don’t believe me try it. Why is this?

Mike from Merseyside: what does Kumbiyah actually mean?

Jack from Leeds: why do toasters need a setting that burns anything to a horrible crisp?

Dan from Kent: is it ok to use my physically disabled mother-in-law as an excuse to get me out of invites for family occasions, appointments etc…? I have been doing this a lot recently but now I feel a bit guilty. I normally say something like “I can’t come as I have to take my mother-in-law to hospital…” The response is normally “oh dear, that’s ok, I hope your mother-in-law gets better soon.” Have you ever used someone else’s misfortune to benefit yourself?

Lola from Ealing: where does the expression ‘under the weather’ come from?

Phil: I have recently started downloading classic novels in audiobook format on iTunes. Is it cheating to buy these audiobooks and claim I have read these masterpieces?


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