Ask Me Another

Sundays, 11 a.m.

NPR's Ask Me Another is a lively hour of puzzles, word games, and trivia played in front of (and with) a live audience. Ask Me Another's entertaining melange of brainteasers and fun is a descendant of Weekend Edition Sunday's Puzzle Segment with Will Shortz, but infused with the vibrancy and quick wit of Wait, Wait...Don't Tell Me

Listeners can play along, testing their knowledge of history, geography, literature, grammar, spelling, pop culture and even mathematics along with the competitors called up to the stage. 

Yes, we do math on the radio. But it's our distinct brand. Try this on your loved ones: Total number of Brontë Sisters, plus total number of Marx Brothers? Or how about the total of Dalmatians, plus all those Luftballoons, divided by Ali Baba's thieves? 

Ask Me Another host, noted comedian and storyteller Ophira Eisenberg, guides listeners with her witty banter aided by the comedic riffs and songs of house musician Jonathan Coulton. Each episode features an interview with a VIP (that's Very Important Puzzlers -- noteable actors, comedians, and authors whose identities are revealed via puzzle clues throughout the show), who then takes a turn in the contestant's chair facing trivia games written especially for him or her. 

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Ask Me Another
9:10 am
Thu December 5, 2013

Gone To The Dogs

This game is rather simple: each answer contains the name of a dog breed. For example, the Simon & Garfunkel song that begins, "I am just a poor boy though my story's seldom told," is "The Boxer." Of course, as house musician Jonathan Coulton will tell you, a boxer is a breed of dog, as well as a person who boxes. The song is not, however, about a person who puts things in boxes.

Ask Me Another
4:06 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

I'm No Doctor

Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Now we're going to crown this week's grand champion. Let's bring back from Breaking It Down, Avidan Ackerson. From Generically Speaking, Erin Barker. From Algebraic Music, Diane Firstman. From Real Housewives, John Rennie. And from Hollywood Formulas Chris Kairalla.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: I want to ask our puzzle guru John Chaneski to take us out and crown a winner.

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Ask Me Another
4:06 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Steven Strogatz: The Joy Of 'X'

"I started making up questions for myself that I didn't know the answer to, just for the fun of getting back into that euphoric feeling of being puzzled and wanting to solve it." — Steven Strogatz, on how his habits changed after solving a challenging word problem in grade school
Greg Kessler World Science Festival

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Ask Me Another
4:06 pm
Wed November 27, 2013

Hollywood Formulas

If there's actually a secret Hollywood movie formula, we want to see the proof. In a game that will take you right back to your beloved high school algebra and geometry classes, host Ophira Eisenberg asks contestants to combine the titles of well-known movies with mathematical terms. For example, "Rectangled" combines the polygon "rectangle" with the title of the film Tangled.

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Ask Me Another
9:43 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Sympathy For The Tasmanian Devil

Originally published on Thu November 21, 2013 8:43 am

Mick Jagger was reportedly inspired to write The Rolling Stones' hit song "Sympathy for the Devil" after reading Mikhaíl Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita. We were inspired to re-write "Sympathy for the Devil" after watching Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes. As such, house musician Jonathan Coulton's musical clues in this game are about various Looney Tunes characters, from Tweety to Elmer Fudd.

Ask Me Another
8:43 am
Thu November 21, 2013

Killer Apps

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 11:14 am

Puzzle guru Will Hines leads this final round, in which every correct answer is a word, phrase or proper noun that contains the letters "a-p-p" in order. For example, if he said, "It's what you tear off your birthday presents," you would say, "wrapping paper." Word nerds everywhere who rule this game, we applaud you.

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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Ask Me Another
8:43 am
Thu November 21, 2013

R.L. Stine: What's Scarier?

Author R.L. Stine tries to guess whether Ask Me Another listeners find "ventriloquist dolls" or "a swarm of bees" scarier.
Lam Thuy Vo NPR

Originally published on Wed December 18, 2013 9:50 am

You'd think a guy who writes scary books for a living would know a thing or two about what makes our hearts race and our palms sweat. We put the best-selling horror author of the Goosebumps and Fear Street series to the test in this Ask Me Another Challenge based on an audience poll. Did Stine know what scares our listeners more: ghosts, or being alone for the rest of your life?

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Ask Me Another
9:13 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Waterlogged

Originally published on Tue November 19, 2013 12:40 pm

You're going to need a bigger boat for this final round led by puzzle guru John Chaneski. Every answer is a word, phrase or proper noun that contains the name of a body of water or waterway. For example, the actress that starred in the John Waters movie Hairspray, before becoming a TV talk show host, is Ricki Lake.

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Ask Me Another
9:13 am
Thu November 14, 2013

Knock On Woody

Actor Justin Long takes his turn in the puzzle hot seat for a game about the director Woody Allen.
Josh Rogosin NPR

Originally published on Fri November 15, 2013 11:58 am

Actor Justin Long told us he admires the work of Woody Allen, but we wanted to see just how much he knows about the man born Allen Stewart Konigsberg. In this Ask Me Another Challenge, host Ophira Eisenberg quizzes Long on all things Woody, from the films he's directed to the instrument he plays. (Hint: It's a woodwind.)

Ask Me Another
9:13 am
Thu November 14, 2013

The Disney Wrongbook

The song "Can You Feel The Love Tonight," from The Lion King may be about Simba and Nala's feelings for each other. But when house musician Jonathan Coulton gets his hands on it, he just might turn it into a tribute to The Price is Right. In this game, Coulton performs renditions of Disney tunes with the lyrics rewritten to be about very non-Disney things.

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