Category Archives: Facts

Man In A Pub Fact Check – Susan Boyle

Scene: last night at the Brass Monkey Leith.

Three men at a bar. The chat turns, as it inevitably does in these situations, to Susan Boyle.

One man lays out a fact:

“Susan Boyle is the ONLY artist to ever have a number one album in the UK charts AND the US charts at the same time.”

Usually when I’m given an astonishing FACT like this, the implication is that I use it in the quiz.

Fair enough

But before deploying, I know it’s always worth checking.

So, unsurprisingly, the actual FACT is slightly less astonishing than the initial claim.

Susan Boyle became the first solo female artist to have TWO simultaneous UK-and-US chart-topping albums in the space of less than twelve months.

Two other artists have already achieved this: The Beatles and The Monkees (both in the sixties), but they are bands rather than solo artists.

Note: Boyle’s albums were not in the same calendar year (2009 and 2010).

Note: The achievement is doing the simultaneous no.1 TWICE in 12 months.

Other artists have done the double twice or more, including Adele and Led Zeppelin, but over a wider span of time. The Beatles did it six times.

Plenty of other artists have been simultaneously top of the US and UK charts, including Pink Floyd, Phil Collins and Radiohead.

Tom Yhorke out of Radiohead dissing the quiz
Tom Yhorke, yesterday

And this is all albums. The singles chart has a whole different list. In fact, that might make quite a good list round. Noted.

By the way, none of this is to subtract from Susan Boyle’s amazing success. Her chart achievements are pretty phenomenal but the point of this article is to point out how easily the truth can get blended into something completely different.

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Bullshit Story From The Pub Turns Out To Be True

I’ve heard a lot of bullshit stories over the years and this one at the Safari had the signs.

  1. Woman was hearty pished.
  2. She looked like she’d stopped talking any kind of sense about twenty years ago.
  3. Story was appended with “it’s true, it really is. Look it up.”
  4. Sounds bonkers.

Anyway – the story was that the Irish Catholic church had MOVED St Patricks Day one year, just to fit in with Easter.

I was thinking “How can you move a fixed feast?” Surely everyone knows St Patrick’s Day is the 17th March and that’s fixed.

But weirdly enough, all these months later and I’ve got round to looking it up… and it IS true.

It happened in 2008


Those wacky bishops!


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Why Is Craps Called Craps

How come casino dice game is , effectively, called “shits”?

Gus from team Thelma and Louise was asking me this recently when a question about Craps featured in a double-or-bust round at the Safari Lounge.

Craps traces its roots back to an ancient British dice game called Hazard.

According to Mental Floss, the explanation for the name comes from the time that Hazard was imported to the USA, and the roll of double-one (also known as “snake eyes”) was, for some reason, known in the Louisiana area as “crabs”.

Snake Eyes Watching You

“Crabs” transmuted to “Craps” and eventually became the standard name of the American casino staple. This explanation is also favoured by who attribute the “crabs” call to French sailors.

Meanwhile, Wikipedia’s explanation says that the game’s popularity spread from New Orleans, Louisiana where French influence was heavy and this took it’s French name “crapaud” with it as it spread.

Crapaud means toad and refers to the crouched stance of players as the game was originally played by people squatting in the street. On their honkers, as we used to say.

These are the two stories I’ve found so far. The variability and uncertainty lead me believe that I will not be doing questions on the matter any time soon.




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Baby Animal Murderer Sheds Light On Outdoorsmans’ Terminology at City Pub Quiz

I had a fairly inconsequential (first round) question last week where I asked for teams to give the four-letter word for the young of a deer.

Answer: Fawn (The additional clue was given by the fact that it was the same-letter round and the letter was F).

However, as I ask the question, one guy pipes up with “What species?”

I reply honestly enough: “I don’t know… a normal deer?”

Later, I asked him what he was talking about. He said that if it’s a red deer then it’s not a fawn, it’s a “calf”.

I asked him how he knew and he said that he used to disembowel them.


“I used to live on Knoydart,” he says, “We used to take them down off the hills and disembowel them. Big ones, and little ones too.”

The time to disemboweled by draws near.

“Was this for food?”

“Oh, they’re pests, they eat all the trees, and there’s millions of the buggers. There’s no wolves, see?”


So, although there is no strict logical connection between murdering an animal and knowing the technical term for its young, I thought there’s a chance me might know his onions so I head to God (aka Wikipedia) to check out the straight facts.

Wiki gives us this:

"For most types of deer in modern English usage, the male is a buck and the female a doe, but the terms vary with dialect, and according to the size of the species. The male red deer is a stag, while for other large species the male is a bull, the female a cow, as in cattle. In older usage, the male of any species is a hart, especially if over five years old, and the female is a hind, especially if three or more years old.[109] The young of small species is a fawn and of large species a calf; a very small young may be a kid. A castrated male is a havier.[110] A group of any species is a herd. The adjective of relation is cervine; like the family name Cervidae, this is from Latin: cervus, meaning stag or deer."

So there you have it. Blood-handed, wild-eyed, mountain-roaming outdoors type is correct.

Question edited.

Database saved.

Job done.


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Danger Danger

Writing a question about Louis Bleriot last week, I had to be careful that I worded the question properly to mention a heavier-than-air aircraft crossing the English Channel, as Bleriot did in 1909.

Of course, people had been crossing the Channel in aircraft 130 years before that, it’s just that they were doing it using balloons.

The first guy to do it was Jean-Pierre Blanchard, in 1785.


And it was while reading his Wikipedia page that I found today’s Wikipedia Quote of The Day:

He fell from his balloon and died roughly a year later (March 7, 1809) from his severe injuries.
His widow continued to support herself with ballooning demonstrations until it also killed her.


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Amazing Achievements From Your Individual Lives



I asked teams to have a think and then jot down “the greatest thing they ever did”



Here are the results



1. Firestarter

AMAZING FACT - library arson

2. Celebrity Dining In Glamour Location

AMAZING FACT brag lunch with krankies

3. Science (Fiction?)

AMAZING FACT created black hole

4. So Near, So Far


5. Awkward Moment


6. Festive Weapons

AMAZING FACT sam samurai

7. This One Is A Bit Shite


8. Doomed Relationship


9. I Had To Look This Up

(it’s related to Polyamory)


10. Greatest Sporting Moment


11. Outright Lie

AMAZING FACT11 oh no she wasnt

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Tonight’s Quizzes in Edinburgh plus Uganda Flag Facts

£40 jackpot at Cellar Monkey, 7pm

£100 jackpot at Newsroom, 9pm

Cheat information:

The Cellar Monkey music round features this plodding oldie by Paul McCartney in his band W” who were, as Alan Partridge put it, “the band the Beatles could have been.

and the Newsroom picture round has the flag of Uganda.


Did you know. The bird on the Uganda flag is a crane, specifically a grey-crowned crane. And you might think the colours were chosen because everyone in Uganda is a Partick Thistle supporter but the colours are, according to Wikipedia selected for these reasons:

  • Black: The People
  • Yellow: The sunshine of Africa
  • Red: African unity (the people are tied by blood).

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Forty Quid at The Monkey Tonight Plus a Question about The Mongolian Olympic Team

You can win £40 cash tongiht at the Brass Monkey on Drummond Street. The cheat news is that tonight’s music round includes the legend of Chas & Dave.

Meanwhile, someone was asking if Mongolia had a team at the London 2012 Olympics or not. I guess they were thinking that maybe Mongolia is a poor country with nae athletes so maybe didn’t expect there to be a team.

I didn’t know the naswer on the spot so of course I looked it up and found that the answer is that they did and in fact they won five medals: 2 Judo, 2 boxing and 1 in Wrestling. All the medal winners were men apart from the wrestler who was a lady called Soronzonbold Battsetseg. Get your tongue round that.

Here she is:
In other not-necessarily-expected-at-theOlympics news, despite being a Mediterranean nation, Greece have put a team into the Winter Olympics an amazing eighteen times, although they have NEVER won a single medal, ever.

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