QI (K series)

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QI Series K
QI - Series K.jpg
QI Series K, promotional picture.
Country of origin United Kingdom
No. of episodes 16
Broadcast
Original channel BBC Two
Original run 6 September 2013 – 17 January 2014
Series chronology
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The eleventh series of QI, the BBC comedy panel game television show hosted by Stephen Fry, started on 6 September 2013. As each series of QI is based around a letter of the alphabet, all episodes in the series had themes beginning with the letter "k". The series was recorded at The London Studios in April and May 2013, and was aired on BBC Two; it started on 6 September 2013 and ended on 17 January 2014.[1]

Episodes[edit]

Guests making their first appearance in this series are Noel Fielding, Colin Lane, Graham Linehan, Tim Minchin, Trevor Noah, Brendan O'Carroll, Richard Osman, Sara Pascoe, Katherine Ryan, Janet Street-Porter, Isy Suttie, Josh Widdicombe and Victoria Wood. Frequent guests Rich Hall, Dara O Briain, Clive Anderson and Sean Lock however don't make any appearances in this series.

Episode 1 "Knees & Knockers"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 7 September 2013
Recording date
  • 14 May 2013
Panellists
Topics
  • Forfeits on QI are simply heralded by a kind of siren (Forfeit: a klaxon). Klaxon is a brand name, belonging to Lovell-McConnell Manufacturing, and they have a very specific sound. They were the first electric device ever to be fitted to an automobile.
  • The United States did not accept the automobile very easily. The Farmers Anti-Automobile Association from Pennsylvania drafted a list of essential requirements for cars, including a rocket to be fired out per mile, and a blanket to cover the vehicle when horses approached as such painted so it blended in with the environment. If horses were unwilling to pass the car, the FAAA also required the car to be taken apart and hidden.
  • There is no evidence that a vehicle horn increases safety amongst road users. In Nazi Germany, people who sounded their horns were punished by having yellow dots placed on their car.
  • The panelists are asked to identify obscure K body parts:
  • A doctor might hit your knee with a hammer to test your reflex action. Nerves that trigger reflexes simply go to the spinal cord, without communicating with the brain. The test is designed to measure the strength of the twitch: too much or too little may indicate all sorts of physical maladies.
  • A knocker-up's knocker-up would wake up those whose job it was to wake up people so they could get to work on time, before the advent of alarm clocks. These people would stay up all night to wake up the sleeping knocker-ups, amongst other people who worked at night. Some were quite well-known, such as Caroline Jane Cousins who also used a lantern in the Winter and Mary Smith who would shoot peas from a pea shooter into windows.
  • A red kite is orange (Forfeit: Red). They were named before English had a word for the colour, although they had a word for the fruit. The robin redbreast, the red deer and the red squirrel are also named as such because of this problem; it wasn't until the 16th century that orange as a colour came into use; the word came from the fruit.
  • A robin is associated with Christmas because people who delivered Christmas cards wore bright red uniforms and were known as redbreasts or robins.
  • In Mediæval Britain, there was a law that everyone who saw a red kite had to kill it, so they very nearly went to extinction. Fortunately, they have been reintroduced very successfully.
  • No one is sure how the monkey wrench got its name, but it is generally believed that its shape reminded people of the jaws of a monkey. The Unbelievable Truth, hosted by Mitchell, stated that it is named after it's inventor, Charles Moncky, but this is not true (Forfeit: Charles Moncky). Similarly, the radio show corrected a mistake made on QI about René Descartes' supposed belief that monkeys could speak but didn't so they wouldn't be put to work, which is also, in fact, false (Descartes reported that he'd heard this belief). Fry stated that Mitchell got -50 for the mistake about the monkey wrench, although earlier in the show he also mentioned that the scorer on QI, Murray, is actually a fan of his work.
XL Extras

Episode 2 "Kit and Kaboodle"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 13 September 2013
Recording date
  • 29 May 2013
Panellists
Topics
General Ignorance
  • A Roman soldier's salary was simply money (Forfeit: Salt). It is true that the world "salary" derives from the Latin for "salt" (salarium), but they were never paid with in. They would use their salary to buy salt, as well as their uniform, sword and all their other equipment since these were not provided.
  • British wine comes from grape concentrate that comes from abroad. This means that English wine gets a bad reputation, as English wine is made from English vineyards but people think it is going to be the same as British wine. There are over 400 vineyards in Great Britain now, with global warming causing that number to increase. Wine production was high in Britain during the Medieval Warm Period.
  • All the panelists attempt to break a wood ruler with a simple karate chop, simply by placing a piece of paper partway over it. The air pressure over the paper allows it to occur. Fry then attempts to break three bricks on top of each other with a karate chop, but only manages to break the bottom two. However, with any set up of three bricks he successfully manages to only break the middle one. He then reveals that he used dummy bricks, although he does then explains that professional karate is genuine, simply using physics as well as a large amount of focus.
XL Extras
  • Some people would distract smokers from a meeting by inserting a long stick into their cigars preventing the ash from falling, so they would just stare at their cigars in amazement at the lack of ash falling without paying attention to what they were saying. Winston Churchill and Clarence Darrow would supposedly use this to their advantage.
  • Some features that are really undesirable in a submarine would be found on the British K-class submarines, also known as the Kalamity Class because they were so notoriously poor. Eighteen were built, six of which were sunk in accidents and only one which engaged an enemy vessel, but the torpedo it fired didn't go off. The main problem was that it was so slow it couldn't keep up in convoys. It was powered by a steam engine, meaning it needed funnels. When they tried to manoeuver, seawater poured down the funnels putting the boilers out. They were also unnecessarily large, and could only dive to two hundred feet meaning they'd have their tails poking out.
  • The thing that comes flat-packed and takes four months to assemble was a hospital (Forfeit: Anything from IKEA). During the Crimean War, Florence Nightingale, being furious at the conditions that injured soldiers were in at hostpitals, demanded the British Army build a proper one. Isambard Kingdom Brunel therefore designed a flat-packed hospital within six days.
  • Brunel, when he was 36, nearly choked on a half sovereign whilst performing a party trick for his children. The coin stayed in his throat to point where he required a tracheotomy. He ended up having to design his own rack so he could be upside down while someone hit him very hard on the back until it came out.
  • Flat-packed furniture was first used by IKEA (the first retailer to sell such items) in 1956. The company was founded by Ingvar Kamprad, although Gillis Lundgren first thought of the idea when he took apart a table to fit it in a car. The largest IKEA is in Sydney.

Episode 3 "K-Folk"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 20 September 2013
Recording date
  • 30 April 2013
Panellists
Topics
  • The meerkat crossed the road after first sending out youngsters to test it. They have a social hierarchy whereby leaders and adults are considered more important than young ones. Alpha females also kill each other's children, so they are far removed from the human perception of them as cute and friendly animals that's arisen from the Compare the Meerkat advertising campaign and the television programme Meerkat Manor. Unfortunately, due the recent popularity of the animal, they have been sold as pets and abandoned due to their aggressive and unhygienic nature.
  • Fry asks Davies "Why will you never eat my noodles?". In Korea, "When will you eat noodles?" is a phrase that means "When will you get married?" because marriage always leads to a party in which noodles will be served.
  • Other Korean phrases are:
    • "The other man's rice cake always looks bigger" is an equivalent to "the grass is always greener on the other side"
    • "If there are too many ferrymen on a boat, it will sail up a mountain" is an equivalent to "too many cooks spoil the broth"
    • "Pummeling a dead monk" is an equivalent to "flogging a dead horse"
    • "He worked as if he were tending the grave of his wife's uncle" means that the person is acting carelessly, because a more distant family member is considered less of one's responsibility than someone close. Ryan says that a Canadian equivalent would be "shagging the dog (or sheep)".
    • "He disappeared like a fart through hemp pyjamas" means that a person did so ungracefully.
  • The people on the island of St Kilda ate gannets and puffins for breakfast. "St Kilda" is the most remote island of the Hebrides, and is actually named from the Old Norse word "Skildir", meaning shields. Only until 1930 did the last natives leave the island voluntarily, and found jobs in forestry despite never having seen a tree before. It could also get so windy that it could make inhabitants deaf for a period.
  • A Kūlgrinda are a cunning trick in the Baltic that involves placing stepping stones underwater, or putting them on ice so the path would be hidden when the ice melted. The kūlgrinda in the Sietuva swamp, created by Ludwik Krzywicki went up the sides of his horses at the deepest point.
  • The thing that there is to say about Long-Necked Karen is that they wear a lot of rings. The Karen people live primarily in the Karen state in Burma and are famous for the neck rings worn by the women. However, X-rays have shown that their neck is not longer than usual but their collarbone is moving down. They are supposed to wear them until marriage, until many close to wear them afterwards, and is considered a sign of beauty traditionally as well as a protective measure against tigers. Many Karen live in Thailand having fled Burma and people pay to see them. A neighbouring tribe also put rings on their legs and arms.
  • The best place to keep a whole load of rubbish from the 1980s has proven incredibly difficult to find. The Khian Sea waste disposal incident involved a cargo ship from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania trying to offload its cargo of 15,000 tonnes of non-toxic ash. They went to many countries in the Atlantic and the Caribbean, all of which refused. They tried many more countries, even going as far as Sri Lanka and the Philippines and reclassifying the cargo as "Topsoil fertiliser", but only managing to remove 4,000 tonnes of it in Haiti until they were rumbled. They then tried Singapore and the ship was found to be empty. The captain and the ship executives admitted they dumped the ash at sea and were arrested. However, they were then asked to go back to Haiti and reclaim the ash they dumped there. It wasn't until 2002 that the ash was finally disposed of, at a landfill just 120 miles away from where they started in Pennsylvania.
  • The nearest Third World country to the United Kingdom is Ireland (Forfeit: France). The original definition of "Third World" by Alfred Sauvy was a state not aligned to either the capitalist NATO or the communist Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. It was only until recently that it referred to a country in poverty; the correct term for countries in that sphere is "developing". Fourth World refers to dispossessed people, such as Kurds or Romanies.
  • The Paris–Dakar Rally is held in South America (Forfeit: Starts in Paris and ends in Dakar). Before 2007, it did start in France and end in Senegal but does that no longer due to threats from Al-Qaeda. The Mongol Rally begins at the Goodwood Circuit in England and ends in Ulan Bator, although the route in between is entirely up to the contestants. The Blind Man's Car Rally in India involves sighted drivers being directed by a blind navigator using a map in Braille.
  • Knick-Knacks: Fry blows up custard powder by blowing it to a flame. Custard powder is flammable, but it cannot be lit unless it has been separated.
XL Extras

Episode 4 "Knits & Knots"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 27 September 2013
Recording date
  • 30 April 2013
Panellists
Topics
XL Extras

Episode 5 "Kings"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 4 October 2013
Recording date
  • 22 April 2013
Panellists
Topics
XL Extras

Episode 6 "Killers"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 11 October 2013
Recording date
  • 21 May 2013
Panellists
Topics
  • The world's second-best hunters are killer whales. Killer whales are misnamed; their name derives from the Spanish name asesina ballenas, which actually means "whale killer". They aren't whales, they are dolphins that kill whales. Like all dolphins, they are very intelligent that have impressive hunting techniques: if a seal is on an ice floe that is too big to simply tip over, they charge forward in a line to create a wave that will knock it over. In addition, they are known to vomit in water, attracting herring gulls that come to eat the vomit, that they will then catch. However, despite their intelligent hunting, they are referred to as the "second best hunters" because unlike humans, they aren't so proficient to wipe out entire species.
  • A bottle of whiskey can save your life if you have some form of trauma, as ethanol in your system can help you survive. A chef in New Zealand called Duthie went on a vodka binge and literally went blind (most likely because he was on diabetic medication which would have turned into formaldehyde). The hospital, not having any ethanol, used Johnnie Walker Black Label instead and placed on a drip, causing his sight to return five days later.
  • People with serious injuries are more likely to survive if they are drunk: this have been observed with soldiers and people in car accidents, and is known as the rag doll effect. Lee Friedman from the University of Chicago spent fourteen years examining this and found that, with the exception of burns, death rates fell as blood alcohol levels rose and, amongst the severely drunk, mortality rates fell by nearly 50% with gunshot and stab victims receiving the greatest benefit, although drunk drivers are two-to-four times more likely to die in a car crash. It is thought to occur partly because people who are drunk are less likely to brace or suffer from shock, but drunkenness does increase the likelihood of someone being in a dangerous situations.
  • Silver bullets are used for killing werewolves and vampires (the latter allegedly because of the story of Judas Iscariot becoming a vampire and the thirty pieces of silver burning him), and square bullets are used for killing Islamic Turks. The puckle gun was invented James Puckle in 1718, and his idea was that round bullets against Christians and square bullets against Muslims, mostly Ottoman Turks. However, the square bullets were useless because they cannot be rifled, and thus were totally inaccurate. It was not the first machine gun but it was three times faster to fire and load than the muskets of the time.
  • The Zulus invented the first bulletproof shield in a way, as he discovered that dipping a leather shield in water before battle would harden the leather so it became bulletproof.
  • The curriculum at the British Hate Training Academy involved being put in a room and shown atrocities such as rotting corpses and starving people, watching sheep being killed and soldiers being smeared with their blood. There were hate schools during the Second World War for British soldiers designed to make them hate the enemy. However, there was an outrage when the public found out: the Bishop of St Albans who said the hate schools were "doing the devil's work" and Bernard Paget said hate was "foreign to British temperament". After the war it was estimated that just 15-20% of anyone in any of the armed forces ever fired their gun, and those that did usually try to miss.
  • A thousand bananas, half a litre of wine, 1.4 cigarettes and two days in New York are all equally dangerous. Ronald A. Howard, a professor at Stanford University developed the micromort, which corresponds to one in a million chance of death. For example, a million outings on a hanglider results in eight deaths then the chances of "death by hanglider" is eight micromorts. The normal background risk of death by simply living in the UK is 41.6 micromorts, and all the examples listed raise the risk by one micromort. Living with someone who smokes and forty tablespoons of peanut butter also raise the risk by one micromort.
  • The panel are shown pictures of some killers and asked what they kill:
  • The worst thing a swan can do is chase someone around (Forfeit: Break your arm). There are no recorded cases in history of swans breaking people's arms; they have hollow bones which will probably receive more harm than the humans'.
  • Knick-Knacks: Fry demonstrates a chain reaction, using mousetraps holding ping pong balls in place of atoms: when he drops another ball onto a mousetrap, it fires its ball which then touches another mousetrap, and so proceeds to continue the reaction.
XL Extras
  • Fry asks Davies, as another actor, why they are so grotesquely overpaid. The answer is because it is the editor who controls most of what the audience perceives in an actor's eyes. In 1919, Lev Kuleshov performed what became known as the Kuleshov Experiment where he filmed actors looking at different things, and noticed that audiences read into actors different emotions depending on what the actor is looking at. Miloš Forman who famously shout "Stop acting!" to actors during filming, and Humphrey Bogart received praise for one scene when he is looking at carnage and supposedly disgusted by the horror of it all, despite the fact that his emotions were actually filmed much later from a balcony and the director said "Look bored."
  • Fry asks Davies "be honest, have you ever enjoyed a shower in chocolate sauce?" Everyone is almost certain he has (Forfeit: No), along with many other people, because it is often used as substitute blood in films; Bosco Chocolate Syrup was famously used for the shower scene in Psycho. One of the reasons it is considered the greatest scenes in cinema history, is because it used 77 different camera angles and 50 cuts, despite only lasting three minutes.
  • The British Hate Training Academy was later stopped, not because of the outrage, but because they simply didn't work; the only thing it did was depress soldiers. The German SS soldiers, on the other hand, were given puppies to raise during training, and made to kill them once they graduated in order to desensitise them to the idea of killing.
  • Scuba diving adds five micromorts to someone's risk of dying, taking heroin adds thirty, spending a night in hospital adds seventy-five and childbirth adds eighty. Yasuhiro Kubo skydives initially without a parachute, and then meets another skydiver who gives him a parachute on the way down. Because he has not died yet, the micromort measurement for doing what he does isn't known.
  • Killer robots, such as drones, are becoming increasingly used and there is a very large campaign to stop their use and development. Professor Noel Sharkey of the University of Sheffield, who appeared the popular TV series Robot Wars, is one of the leaders of the campaign. Military robots are, at the moment, not covered by the Geneva Convention, and the US army at the moment uses video games very regularly, as it was found that gamers are 50% times better army recruits.
  • Great tits eat caterpillars in particular, but have been observed to eat roosting bats in Hungary where caterpillars are rare.

Episode 7 "Knowledge"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 18 October 2013
Recording date
  • 13 May 2013
Panellists
Topics
  • Fry asks a question that has continually reappeared throughout QI ever since its first series (originally from the episode "Astronomy"): "How many moons does the Earth have?". Throughout the history of the show, the answers given have ranged from one, two, and five. However, as of current estimates, the answer is about eighteen thousand (Forfeit: Three, One, Six, Two). The reason for the changes is that QI is constantly acting on latest scientific information as it comes out, and, as regularly occurs, "facts" are overturned and rendered out-of-date extremely quickly as more research is conducted. Students at universities today are taught that most of what they learn throughout their courses will be rendered out-of-date within a few years. This is known as the "half-life of facts", which is to say half of what one learns will eventually be found to be false (without the student knowing which half). Fry then adds that 7% of everything said throughout the K series will be untrue within a years' time. A chart is then shown displaying the rate of decay of "facts" on QI: there is an exponential decline of the truth of the episodes from about 10% by the G series to over 60% by the A series. Fry then adds that because of this phenomenon, Davies and the regular guests on the episodes must be owed plenty of points, since a proportion of the things they have said over the episodes which have led to deducted points must have been since revised as being correct (if the idea is taken a face value). Therefore, in view of this, the QI elves calculated that Carr is owed 43.58 points, Brand is owed 84.73, the Audience is owed 23.24, Davies is owed 737.66, and Linehan (who is on his first appearance) is owed nothing. The panellists, and the Audience, therefore have these owed points added to their scores.
  • Certain "facts" that were given on episodes of QI that have since been revised include:
    • The idea that nobody knows how to tell the age of a lobster (from the I series), as scientists from Canada have since discovered their age can be determined by dissecting their eyestalks and counting the rings.
    • The idea that giraffes' necks have evolved for fighting (from the G series), which has since been rejected by many zoologists.
    • The "fact" that the most legs found on a millipede is 710 (from the A series), as one has since been found with 750, and it is impossible to tell if one with many more has lived at some point.
  • The inventor of the thermometer spend over thirty years measuring the weight of himself, the food he ingested, and his excreta (Forfeit: Temperature). His name was Sanctorius Sanctorius, from Padua, and he did this because he was baffled by the fact that despite the food he ate weighed more than his excreta, he did not gain any weight; he simply did not know that food was assisting in powering his body. He hypothesised that the food that was not excreted in urine and faeces came out of one's skin, and thus thought it was dangerous to cover much of one's skin but of course this hypothesis has since been rejected. Sanctorius co-invented the thermometer with the more famous scientists from Padua, Galileo Galilei. Faeces is 70% liquid, and 30% is dry weight.
  • The thing that you can find out by hiding under a student's bed is what students say when they think they won't be overheard. This was an experiment performed in the 1930s, and today would be considered highly unethical (as it was performed without, amongst other things, consent or a right to withdraw). They discovered that 40% of their conversations were devoted to themselves. Other unethical experiments include:
    • A personal space invasion test conducted in men's restrooms in 1976. Someone hid a camera to determine how far apart men liked to be at public toilets.
    • In 1942, psychologist Lawrence LeShan used sleep-learning to try and stop boys from nail biting. He recorded the phrase "My fingernails are terribly bitter" on a phonograph and played in 300 times a night in the boys' room. One day did appear to respond positively, but after five weeks the phonograph broke. Therefore, to keep the experiment running, he stood outside where the boys slept and repeated the phrase himself. In the end, the boys stopped biting their nails and LeShan declared it a success, but it is generally assumed now that the boys never slept, being so startled by LeShan, and simply stopped biting their nails to make him go away.
  • The Romans told their Keith from their Kevins with help of a servant. Romans often forget each other's names, and thus the servant was paid to remember the names of various acquaintances and whisper the names into their employers ear. This person was called a nomenclator.
  • The best way to avoid talking to one's mother-in-law is to use one of the avoidance languages used by many Australian Aboriginal and Austronesian languages. The language is designed specifically by a man for talking to his mother-in-law, as the mother of one's wife is considered to command great respect. Therefore, there are certain words which do not exist in such language and often cover taboo subjects, and it is often considered polite to avoid looking at her. In Japan, there is a similar language used when talking to the royal family.
  • The panel are shown a picture of a stork and are asked what it brought to German city of Klütz. The answer is that the stalk, which was called a Pfeilstorch, brought with it an arrow in its neck, which was immediately recognised as not being German or even European: it was African. Thus this was, in 1822, the first time that people realised that birds, during Winter, migrated. Before this, they assumed that birds did all kinds of things such as go underwater, transformed into other animals, and sorts of other things. Samuel Johnson wrote "swallows certainly sleep in the Winter. A number of them conglobulate together by flying around and round and then all in a heap throw themselves underwater and lie on the bed of the river".
  • The panel are told that if they can add up some numbers, they will be given their weight in points. However, the numbers are shown extremely quickly in a two-second burst. It is called Flash Anzan, and is possible to do, as the world record holder for the Mental Calculation World Cup, Alberto Coto, correctly added up fifteen three-digit-numbers shown in just 1.7 seconds. Japanese people are particularly good at Flash Anzan, partly because their language allows for much easier addition, as they use far fewer syllables with their numbers, and saying the numbers together automatically adds them up linguistically, but also because of the effectiveness, and the prevalence, of the Japanese and Chinese abacus: respectively the soroban and the suanpan. In the end, they will calculate the answer without having any memory of the numbers they added up. Interestingly, they can also use the abacus while having a conversation with someone, because it activates a different part of the brain.
  • The final scores are given out, including the bonus points they were given at the start of the show. If these points were to be removed, the winner would be Brand with 1 point, and following would be the Audience with 0, Carr with -10, Linehan with -19, and Davies with -48.
XL Extras
  • Not much is known of Scotland's Mr Smellie, as he came from one of the most persecuted sects of Protestantism, and therefore no any documents regarding his life or family have ever been recovered. However, it is known that he was paid £200 for being the first chief editor of the Encyclopædia Britannica. Another one of its editors was an Andrew Bell was just four and a half feet tall and had a very big nose. If anyone joked about his nose, he'd rush off and come back wearing a bigger one made of papier-mâché. The First Edition took three years to write, and cost £12 for three volumes (although the first volume just covered A to B). Some of its entries include:
  • A man called Harvey Einbinder so hated the Encyclopædia Britannica, he wrote a book called The Myth of the Britannica, published in 1964, that listed all the things he thought were wrong in it. It was 390 pages long.
  • Humans know when they have had enough to eat purely based on memory, as the brain is reminded based on past experiences when someone has had enough food (such as based on times when someone has felt bloated). This causes problems for people who suffer from amnesia, as they can forget when they have had a meal and thus can have three or four in a single evening, and can be confused when they feel satiated. This can be tested by fitting a mechanism to a bowl of thick soup, which can drain the bowl ahead of time or refill it.
  • Butterflies migrate along with birds, but they cannot be seen doing so because they fly a kilometre up in the air.

Episode 8 "Keys"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 25 October 2013
Recording date
  • 23 April 2013
Panellists
Topics
  • If someone were to give you a key to a city, there is little you could physically do with it. It is a myth that freeman of cities can drive sheep across bridges or bear their sword, and both are in fact illegal in certain countries (although Stephen Fry did drive sheep across a bridge after he was granted a key to the City of London) (Forfeit: Drive sheep across the bridge). In the case of London, a key is not even given, simply a piece of parchment stating the honour. The idea behind the key is that the beneficiary is allowed to trade without having to pay a toll at the bridge, although in current times it is simply a symbolic honour. The only real tangible benefit of having the key is that if one is poor, then they are given access to some educational and charitable funds. Dick Wittington left money in trust for water troughs and children's education, a charity which is still going. Fry noted that the post of Lord Mayor of London, which had been around since the 12th century, had been unchanged for 800 years, but the Sheriff had been around 500 years beforehand (although today the post has little political effect and is more simply a part of English tradition).
  • The City of Detroit gave a key to Saddam Hussein in 1980 when he was fighting alongside the US in the Iran–Iraq War. The City of Toronto has given a key to the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and Mickey Mouse, and the City of Corona has given a key to a cat called Scarlett's Magic since it was listed in the Guinness World Records for being the tallest cat in the world. Cher sold her key to the City of Adelaide on eBay, getting US$95,900 for it in 2012. There was a severe backlash on Twitter as a result of this, with Cher responding by saying "I'm upset 2 & trying 2get2 bottom! I think my office f***** up?"
  • There is no need to worry about keeping The Open Organisation Of Lockpickers (TOOOL) out of one's home because they are an extremely ethical group. They are a Dutch organisation of "recreational lockpickers" who attempt to increase home security by showing how forced entry can be achieved. The main rule of the organisation is that members should never pick locks that do not belong to them.
  • The key part of an arch because all the stones (most commonly voussoir) are equally important, although the keystone is the last piece to go in (Forfeit: Keystone). In Roman times, the architect would be told to stand under the arch when the support scaffolding was taken away to prove he had faith in his work.
  • The keys on a QWERTY keyboard were arranged to prevent typewriters from jamming. Thus the QWERTY arrangement actually allows for smoother typing since all the letters used most commonly in English together are spaced further apart (Forfeit: To slow typists down).
  • The thing that starts with K and can be killed by curiosity is a kea (Forfeit: A kitten). There was a bounty placed on them because they used to ride on the backs of sheep and peck constantly to reduce the sheep of fat, and so many hunters went out to kill them. However, living in New Zealand; a country with no mammals except bats; they were very curious and thus remarkably easy to hunt. Hunters would frequently kill them simply by standing near a rock where a kea could see them, then hide behind the rock and wait for the kea to come towards them (as they would always wonder where the hunter had gone), before hitting them on the head with a club. If the kea was with another kea, the technique would work even better since the partner of the one that died would always follow it, wondering where the other had gone.
  • The panel are shown a picture of a woman and are asked what she is doing. In fact, she is using a piano teaching machine, patented by Dr. Kurt Johnen in 1929, which measured muscle tension through pneumatic cuffs above the upper arms, breathing rate through a hose in the mouth, strength of touch through another hose and a pneumatic belt measuring change in the circumference of the chest. Other machines designed for the same purpose included the chiroplast invented by John Bernard Logier which trapped the users' arms forcing them to play using only wrist and finger movement, the dactylion which strengthens the users' fingers through springs (Robert Schumann supposedly used the dactylion and said that it merely hurt his fingers, although others attribute the pain to syphilis), and the chirogymnaste which was a tiny finger gym.
  • Pianos have been constantly reinvented throughout history: there was also a bed piano, which could provide entertainment to those who were bed-ridden, and recently left-handed pianos have been made with higher notes on the opposite side. Transposing pianos can transpose the key using a single lever; Irving Berlin used one because he only composed in F-sharp, being unable to read sheet music.
  • The "man who knew everything" thought cats were good for building into a piano. Athanasius Kircher was a German Jesuit who was very intelligent for his time: he was lowered into Mount Vesuvius, thought the Black Plague was caused by microbes, falsely claimed to have interpreted Egyptian hieroglyphics, thought magnetism and love were of the same branches of attraction, denied the possibility of flying tortoises, and invented the megaphone alongside the Katzenklavier. Cats were arranged to the pitch of their cry, and fixed on a line were in a position whereby hammers would hit the tails of the cats, hitting progressively harder according to how hard the keys were hit. It is doubtful one was actually built, but he definitely wrote out plans for one.
General Ignorance
  • Winston Churchill wrote a number of novels throughout the early 20th century, but none about World War II (Forfeit: The Second World War). The Prime Minister of that name did write The Second World War, and the history is largely responsible for his winning of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953, but he wrote under the name Winston S. Churchill due to the fact that there was a very successful American novelist at the time called Winston Churchill, and so out of respect to him the British Churchill decided to write with his middle name. The two agreed to this arrangement through a correspondence in which they joked about the commonality of their names.
  • The truly grim reading matter banned in Germany after the war were the works of The Brothers Grimm, as many thought that their fairytales had contributed to the rise of many aspects of Nazism. T.J. Leonard said that the stories had helped teach German children "all the varieties of barbarousness" including "light flanneling". One of the stories was called How Children Played Butcher with One Another, removed from the second edition, and the original ending of The Frog Prince has the princess, rather than kissing the frog, hurling the frog against a wall to turn him into a prince. The last story in the Grimm Brothers collection features a poor boy who goes out into a forest, and in the snow finds a tiny key and next to it an iron box. "The boy inserts the key, opens the box, and finds..." and the story ends. The point of it is to allow the reader to imagine for themselves what is inside.
XL Extras
  • The key part that bigots played in the Second World War was the organisation of the Normandy landings. BIGOT stood for "British invasion of German occupied territory", and the BIGOT list was a list of people who knew about the Operation Overlord. The plans for the counter-attack were so secret that anyone on the list was forbidden from leaving the country (with the except of the Prime Minister Winston Churchill). There was a rehearsal for the invasion in 1944 in which ten people on the BIGOT list were killed accidentally, leading to the invasion to be put on hold so they could account for all the bodies. They were desperate not to let the secret get out partly because they were trying to convince the Nazis that they were going to counter-attack closer to Belgium, using tricks such as the Zigzag Man and Operation Mincemeat (which convinced the Germans they were going to attack Greece when in fact they were attacking Sicily in 1943).
  • In Britain, the current order of secrecy for documents is "Unclassified", "Protect", "Restricted", "Confidential", "Secret" and then "Top Secret" (although it used to be "Most Secret"). There are conspiracy theorists who believed there are 38 levels of secrecy above "Top Secret", with the next level being "Cosmic" (the President of the United States supposedly does not have Cosmic Clearance). "CANUKUS' Eyes Only" means it can only be shared between Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom, while "AUSCANNZUKUS' Eyes Only" means it can only be shared between Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand (The "Five Eyes").
  • Alfred C. Hobbs was a famous American lockpicker who came down from the Great Exhibition and met the British equivalent Jeremiah Chubb. Chubb presented to him his Chubb detector lock which was his most powerful: if anyone attempted to pick it then all the tumblers would fall down and the key would not even work. Hobbs, however, managed to pick it in seven minutes, horrifying Chubb who had secured the Bank of England. Thus all Chubb's locks were replaced with Hobbs'.
  • The word "typewriter" is, coincidentally, the longest word that can be typed on the QWERTY line.
  • Likewise with the kea, the kakapo has no sense of fear since the only thing likely to predate on it was eagles, that it easily escaped from by being nocturnal. It also has a remarkable lek mating ritual called the "bowl and track" whereby the bird would create an enormous track, which it would work tirelessly to keep immaculate, and then make an extremely loud booming sound. If a female approached and, by chance, a leaf had fallen on the track, the male would face immediate rejection. Sometimes years would pass before a male got a chance to mate.
  • Franz Liszt had such large hands and thus hit the piano so hard that he continuously broke them (in those days pianos were made of wood). Therefore, he had one specially made for him with iron frames.
  • Philip II of Spain had a cat piano that was played by a bear, while Louis XI of France had a "pig organ" made for him. There are numerous descriptions of "pig pianos" throughout history.
General Ignorance

Episode 9 "Kinetic"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 1 November 2013
Recording date
  • 14 May 2013
Panellists
Topics
  • Davies' buzzer plays the song Saturday Night at the Movies by The Drifters, which is appropriate to the theme of the episode as "cinema" (originally spelled "kinema") and "kinetic" both come from the Ancient Greek "κίνημα" meaning "movement".
  • If one places a broom on the side of their hands and then move their hands together, the broom will simply balance on top of the hands as they will naturally move towards the center of gravity. This is because the resistance caused by the weight of the brush will cause one hand to move at a slower speed. Fry also states that it is easy to balance the broom with the brush facing upwards, but nearly impossible to balance it with the handle facing upwards and the brush balanced on the palm. Davies, however, disproves this be successfully doing both, leading to Fry ripping up his question card. The center of gravity was supposedly discovered by Archimedes.
  • If the Earth suddenly stopped spinning, half of it would be plunged into eternal darkness, causing mass extinctions, famine, and a massive population crisis as those that are left on the dark side would be rushing to emigrate to the side in light. However, in terms of inertia, all that could happen would be everything would fall over and scrape along the ground at 100 miles per hour (Forfeit: We'd all fall off). The Earth spins at 1,000 miles per hour at the equator which is 17 times slower than it would need to if people were to fly off it.
  • The thing that travels the wrong way along a motorway at 12 miles per hour is a traffic wave (Forfeit: A mobility scooter). A simple occurrence such as a pigeon landing on the road can cause a massive sudden traffic jam due to the fact that one car slowing down and suddenly speeding up again can create a ripple effect, causing more cars to suddenly slow down until they eventually jam up. This happens quite frequently and can severely frustrate motorists. China is notorious for having colossal traffic jams, including one notable incident in 2010, which formed mostly on China National Highway 110 and G6 Beijing–Lhasa Expressway, and was over 80 miles long and moved on average one kilometre every day. There are now quite profitable services in China that involve people arriving on motorcycles to look after the driver's car while the motorcycle can take the driver to their destination.
  • A mosquito in heavy rain can brush the raindrops aside and have even been known to ride on them, leaping off just before they burst on the ground. This is useful to the insect, as an average raindrop is over fifty times heavier than they are. There is now a subspecies of mosquito that lives only on the London Underground, biting rats, dogs and humans, and is called Culex pipiens molestus.
  • The angle that the rain is falling from and the speed of the wind will largely determine whether running or walking will prevent someone from getting wetter. Professor Franco Bocci wrote an academic paper published in the European Journal of Physics stating "If the rain is falling straight down or is blown towards you by the wind, one should run as fast as they can. If the wind is behind then one should try to match the speed of the wind. If the wind is coming from the side, then fat people should run as fast as they can whereas very thin people might be better off walking". The mathematics behind it is purported to be extremely complex.
  • Fry asks the question: "Do you remember when snails were faster?". The answer is yes, because it has been discovered that snails, through generations, are growing gradually slower. Scientists in Chile did some experiments on some common garden snails and measured their metabolism through the amount of carbon dioxide they emitted at rest. They then released them into the wild, and found that those that has higher metabolic rates died sooner than those that had slower metabolisms, giving the latter more time to breed. Thus nature has appeared to select for the snails that are slower.
  • Europe's biggest swingers are Estonians (Forfeit: Germans). They have a national pastime called Kiiking which involves standing on a metal swing and using just their body achieve a full 360 degree loop. The swing arms are adjusted telescopically, making the swing longer and more difficult to rotate. Therefore, participants in the sport are eliminated similar to in the high jump until there is one person left, who is declared the winner. Estonia, Finland and Hungary are interesting in that their national languages share a common family that no other national language does in the Uralic family.
  • The world's highest waterfall (or the world's longest drop) is underwater, between Greenland and Iceland, and has no name (Forfeit: Angel Falls). It counts as a waterfall since it is a current of cold water flowing downwards, and carries at least 175 million cubic feet of cold water per second, which at peak flow is 2,000 times that carried by Niagara Falls.
  • The world's biggest river is an atmospheric river in the sky (Forfeit: Underwater, Amazon, Nile). They are vast rivers of water vapour that carry water around the world and appear at different places at different times. They can be 2,000 kilometres long, but a just a few kilometres wide, covering less than 10% of the globe. However, just four or five of them contain 90% of all the world's water vapour at a time.
  • The world's biggest river that isn't in the sky is four kilometres under the Amazon Rainforest, and called the Rio Hamza. It was only discovered in 2011 from data collected from 241 abandoned deep wells, and was found to run approximately the same length as the Amazon River but is four times wider (between 200 to 400 kilometres wide). It appears to be a slowly flowing aquifer but it does flow horizontally.
  • The world's biggest animal that, has ever existed on Earth, is the blue whale.
  • Knick-Knacks: Fry shows how the Shard can be demolished a feather using the domino effect. Each "domino" is 150% larger than the one before it, creating an exponential increase of mass that falls across a system, that could knocking the building down. Theoretically, the Shard could be reduced to rubble with a feather and 24 such dominos.
XL Extras

Episode 10 "Keeps"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 8 November 2013
Recording date
  • 23 April 2013
Panellists
Topics
XL Extras

Episode 11 "Kinky"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 29 November 2013
Recording date
  • 21 May 2013
Panellists
Topics
  • The world's best kissers, according to a competition, are the French. The contest was held just after the First World War in Biarritz, and André Brulé won the contest over eighty participants who came from as far away as Russia and the United States. American kisses were described as "flaccid", Russians as "eruptive", Italians as "burning", English as "tepid", Spanish as "vampiric", and although the winner was a Frenchman, French kisses were described as "chaste". Only men were permitted in the competition, as it was organised and run by women, and the point of the kisses was that they were non-mutual displays of affection and elegance. Brule's winning kiss was supposedly similar to the one performed in the famous V-J Day in Times Square photograph. The two kissers thought to be in the photograph, Greta Friedman and George Mendonça, were reunited in 2012, although during the actual event Friedman, who was horrified as she had never met Mendonça, slapped him afterwards.
  • The most shocking kiss of all time comes from the Venus Electrificata. As with all substances and phenomena, electricity was experimented with by people in all sorts of strange ways when it first became popular. The Venus Electrificata involve a woman who was not earthed, but had a current passing through her body, kissing a man who was earthed so that the man would get a tingling feeling when he kissed the woman. Stephen Gray had an amazing "orphan boy" which involved a boy being hung from wires and had a current passed through that would make objects attracted to him. This became so popular kits were sold. Also, Johann Ritter, who discovered ultraviolet light, attached a voltaic pile to his groin. He described the sensation: "His organ began in a state of medium swelling. [He] wrapped it in a piece of cloth moistened with lukewarm milk. Then delicately [he] touched the wire from the positive pole to the cloth and the other hand, closing the circuit. A shock jolted him, followed by a pleasant tingling. The swelling continued. Warmth spread from his groin and then finally, consummation". Activities such as this continue to the present: in 2005, a boy was taken to hospital with two neodymium magnets trapped in the fold of his penis. He claimed his trousers had fallen down when he was playing with them and they got stuck together. Magnets can be demagnetised by heating or hammering apart, but the method finally used was: "shearing the, away from each other, moving them perpendicular to the force of attraction".
  • The panel are shown a short film of two kissing fish fighting. The combat they perform, while never leading to the direct death of either combatant, can sometimes cause death by exhaustion. Siamese fighting fish also participate in combat, sometimes as in arenas similar to cock fighting. They have an organ similar to lungs in their bodies enabling them to breathe air. Humans could breathe underwater if enough supersaturated water with oxygen is created.
  • Koinophilia makes ordinary people seem attractive. It was discovered when people found that merged images of two people that are not particularly attractive are more likely to be appealing. Francis Galton repeatedly merged images of criminals to find the "typical criminal face" but was astonished to find that as he continued merging, he found the faces to be more pleasant.
  • Fry presents a large hollow tube made from gourd that is closed at one end, resembling a long, thick, hollow tail, and asks what is kept in it. It is called a koteka, from Papua New Guinea, and the answer is that a penis is kept in it. A large one does not appear to be indicative of status, since they can be thick or thin, and are worn by the Lani, the Mee, the Amungme, the Kombai, the Yali and the Moni tribes. The government tried to make them illegal and sent them clothing, but because many of these people had been naked for so long they all got rashes from the clothes. Nowadays, they tend to continue to live naked apart from shorts on the heads.
  • A bunch of choirboys tried to drive Adolf Hitler mad with pornography. A group called the "Choir Boys" were from Washington D.C. joined with another called the "Cowboys", behind enemy lines, to plan a dropping of explicit sexual material over Berghof and Berchtesgarden. However, both the US Army Air Forces and the British refused to do it, with one British officer saying he would "rather lose the war than take part". The Germans and Japanese nevertheless did something similar. The Bouncing bombs was a similar idea, with Winston Churchill choosing the precise date, in May 1943, when the dams were at full height and he was in Washington D.C. so he could announce it. His scientific advisor, Lord Cherwell reportedly asked him, "What if it doesn't work?" to which Churchill replied, "Then no-one will ever hear anything about it". Leaflet dropping was also popular in World War II, and was the first thing that indicated Denmark had been invaded.
  • The foodstuff that would give you the same number of calories as the average sex session is one egg white or a very small meringue. According to David B. Allison, a biostatistician of the University of Alabama, an average session of sexual intercourse lasts only six minutes and uses only twenty calories. However, a 2008 survey by Durex (who obviously would have a conflict of interest) claimed that the average Briton enjoys 22.5 minutes of foreplay, but another survey from Men's Health at around the same time claimed that British men only last 18.64 minutes from foreplay to climax.
  • Knick-Knacks: Fry makes a dildo using a small pile of white crystalline matter and a bottle of sodium acetate, which is used to flavour salt and vinegar crisps. The liquid is so unstable that if shaking it will cause it to crystallise. Fry slowly pours a constant stream of the liquid onto the matter and makes a long crystal-like phallic tower, not particularly poisonous or dangerous in any way. The process is described by QI's science elves as "exothermic nucleation".
XL Extras

Episode 12 "Knights and Knaves"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 6 December 2013
Recording date
  • 20 May 2013
Panellists
Topics
  • No one knows why the Black Prince was so-called (Forfeit: Black armour). His mother, Philippa of Hainault, was possibly of Moorish descent, meaning he may have been dark-skinned, or it may have been a reference to his sins. While he was known as the "master of chivalry", he almost destroyed the entire population of Limoges and Caen.
  • The first rule of Knight Club is that kissing is forbidden (Forfeit: You don't talk about Knight Club). They were formed after the First Crusade in Jerusalem, and became very powerful as the law of Jerusalem didn't apply to them. However, there were many other rules, such as oaths of abstinence, although they were allowed to marry but were not allowed to wear the uniform if they dead, could not hunt except for lions, no telling tales, one squire per person, and no "lockable purses". There are conspiracy theorists who believe that the Knights Templar still exist, but they folded up in 1314 due to a scandal involving supposed kissing of one another "on the mouth, on the navel, the bare belly, and the anus or the backbone". The Temple Church in London was founded by the Knights Templar and has the bodies of its members buried there. The priest of the Temple Church has the unique title of "Reverend and Valiant Master of the Temple".
  • The panel are shown a picture of a knight and asked "what makes you think that this knight is a total bastard?" The indication lies on his escutcheon, as he has a Bend Sinister across the Royal Arms of England, which means that not only is he is a bastard but that he is a FitzRoy, a bastard son of a King of England. Charles II was particularly well known for his illegitimacy, bearing five FitzRoys from his mistress Barbara Palmer. Other additions to a coat of arms to display dishonour, known as "abatements" or "stains", include:
    • A Point champaine tenné, three tenné spikes at the bottom of the escutcheon, given to one who had killed a prisoner who has demanded quarter or mercy.
    • A Delf tenné, a large tenné square in the center, given to one who has revoked a challenge.
    • A Gusset sanguine sinister, a sanguine parallelogram-like section on the sinister side, indicating drunkenness.
    • A Gusset sanguine dexter, a sanguine parallelogram-like section on the dexter side, indicating adultery.
    • Both Gusset sanguine, for a drunken adulterer.
  • Members of the clergy cannot have a helmet on their coat of arms because it is related to the military, and also cannot have a stripe down their trousers because it is military insignia. Instead of helmets the clergy have a galero, which is black for priests, red for cardinals, and pointy with three tiaras for the Pope.
  • The maximum number of knights one can have on a chessboard so that they are unable to take another one is thirty-two, because knights, due to their L-shape movement, always land on a square of the opposite colour of the one they start on. Therefore, one can simply fill up all the black or white squares with knights and none of them can be taken. There is a version of chess called Fairy chess where there are compounded pieces that do extra things.
  • A knight cannot be buried anywhere (Forfeit: In the ground), since knights are revoked from their title when they die. There was a large group of people who were saying that Jimmy Savile should have his knighthood taken away due to the sexual abuse scandal, but that could only be done if it had been given back to him posthumously. Clergymen cannot be called "Sir" unless they're knighted before they're ordained, as it is a military title.
  • The best way to stop a car from being stolen is to install a lock or have a worthless car that no one would steal. Car alarms don't work in this regard, as they never alert people; a survey found that if a car alarm went off, 1% of people would call the police, while 60% of people would call to complain about the noise. Car theft is an almost exclusively male activity.
  • Stockholm syndrome involves someone who has been kidnapped developed an affection for their kidnapper, as is named after the situation that occurred around the Norrmalmstorg robbery in 1973 where the victims, after the incident, defended their kidnappers. Patty Hearst also succumbed to this after she had been taken by the Symbionese Liberation Army. However, it is extremely rare and most people who have been kidnapped have feelings of complete hatred and hostility towards their kidnappers. There is a suggestion that Stockholm syndrome may simply be a psychological effect in which humans simply make the best of the situation they are in, and possibly see everything from the kidnappers' point of view to maintain sanity.
  • Julius Caesar was kidnapped by pirates for ransom, and said while he was there that when he was rescued he would return and crucify them all. They originally thought he was joking, but he later did return and indeed crucified them to death.
  • There are few good reasons to fake one's own kidnapping, although it has been done. An American man did it to design an excuse for why he hadn't called his girlfriend for two weeks. The police realised this because the duct tape he had wrapped around his wrists had the spool of it connected. Jennifer Wilbanks of Duluth, Georgia also faked her own kidnapping to get out of attending her own wedding, as did Josefa Sánchez Vargas who convinced her husband to pay over £500,000 for the release of her children in a fake kidnapping six times over five years. There are some people who pay to be kidnapped to in order to experience it. There is a French company that for €900 offers a basic kidnapping, such as being shoved into a car, held down and blindfolded, then for extra money car chases and other things.
General Ignorance
  • The length of time one should wait before reporting a missing person depends on the case (Forfeit: 24 hours). If a child is involved, then one should report it immediately, whereas if it is an adult the police will decide when to investigate.
  • The Parliament of the United Kingdom paid Sir Peter Viggers several things to put in his garden (Forfeit: A duck house), but some of it was turned down. However, Sir Peter did put in a claim for £32,000 for gardening expenses and £500 for 28 tonnes of manure. The duck house cost Sir Peter £1,645, and was reported to be "Never liked by the ducks and is now in storage".
XL Extras

Episode 13 "Kitchen Sink"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 13 December 2013
Recording date
  • 29 May 2013
Panellists
Topics
XL Extras
  • Biltong is usually sold from an ostrich and dik-dik, but also other animals such as horse, beef, impala, wildebeest, eland, giraffe or kangaroo. In 2013 a survey revealed that two-thirds of biltong was incorrectly labelled, meaning that people wanting to buy horse biltong got beef instead.
  • Other strangely-named dishes:
  • Other odd cutlery that the panelists were given:
    • Davies also has a pair of strangely-shaped tongs used for eating snails. The tongs hold the snail while a fork is used for getting the flesh out.
    • Wood also has a spoon with a large bend in the stem, used for honey. The dent exists so the spoon can rest easily on the side of a bowl preventing the table from getting sticky.
  • One would not except many attachments on a Swiss student knife, as it only has two. Pocket knives were originally imported from Germany in the 1890s, but then Karl Elsener won the contact to make them locally. As all members of the Swiss army had to have one, and every man in Switzerland was in the army at some point, Swiss army knives became incredibly successful. Originally, Swiss army knives were black with a wooden handle and included a screwdriver so soldiers could dismantle their guns. There were also farmer's knives and officer's knives. 65 million are made every year. There are also Norfolk knives which are large, and with a polished metal handle and an enormous amount of attachments.
  • There is also a Swiss army fragrance, with the "Class" male version described as "a fresh, aromatic fragrance for man that stands for refinement and vision. It has notes of yuzu, geranium and lavender. It radiates a disarming masculinity". There is also a version for women, described as for "straightforward, uncomplicated women who enjoy asserting their femininity alongside their athleticism". It contains notes of Paraguay tea, cedar and hay.
  • John Gorrie, a pioneer of refrigeration, believed that heat caused illnesses, so he would lower huge bags of ice over patients to try and cure them. Gorrie then invented a refrigeration machine for this purpose, which outraged exporters of ice that they tried to claim that ice made through refigeration "didn't work", and that naturally frozen ice was "pure" and "better for health". The campaign worked and Gorrie died in poverty.
  • One could get money out of the King of Scotland by having good table manners. David I would give a tax rebate to those who impressed him with their etiquette during mealtimes, according to William of Malmesbury. On the other extreme, Queen Victoria, who was very overweight, weighing 12 stone despite being only 4'11" high and had a fifty-inch waist, was always served first and began eating without waiting for everyone else to be served. She also ate very quickly, consuming a fourteen-course meal in half an hour, and once she finished everyone else had their food taken away; Lord Hartington was heard to shout "Bring that back!" to someone as he was so annoyed that his food was being taken away despite only beginning his meal. Victoria's doctors, worried about her obesity, gave her Benger's Food, a type of thick, milky gruel normally given to invalids and the elderly to help her lose weight, but she simply ate it in addition to her normal diet.
  • The traditional ingredients of kedgeree are rice and eggs (Forfeit: haddock). It is recent for fish to be an essential part of the dish, which simply means "a mix-up", as the Hobson-Jobson Dictionary of Anglo-Indian Words says, "In England, we find the word is often applied to a mess of re-cooked fish served for breakfast but this is inaccurate. Fish is frequently eaten with kedgeree but is not part of it."
  • In 1784 there was a Kettle War between the Dutch Republic and the Habsburg Monarchy within the Holy Roman Empire, which is situated generally around modern Austria. Only one shot was fired on the Habsburg flagship, with the Dutch firing at a soup kettle. The bullet ricocheted off the kettle and the Habsburgs immediately surrendered.

Episode 14 "Kris Kringle" (Christmas Special)[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 24 December 2013 (XL edition)
  • 29 December 2013 (Standard edition)
Recording date
  • 7 May 2013
Panellists

Episode 15 "Kitsch"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 10 January 2014
Recording date
  • 29 April 2013
Panellists
Topics
XL Extras

Episode 16 "Kaleidoscope"[edit]

Broadcast date
  • 17 January 2014
Recording date
  • 28 May 2013
Panellists
Topics
  • Relatives are meant to smell very distinctive, especially in animals, to prevent inbreeding. While humans spent a very long time with their relatives and can recognise them easily, other animals such as the mouse lemur is raised exclusively by the mother and thus recognises the father by smell. Butterflies have very good senses of smell, but if inbred have very few sex hormones. There does appear to be a connection between smell and sexual activity in humans, as anosmic men have fewer sexual partners.
  • The spider went to the bathroom for sex. Contrary to popular belief, and the nursery rhyme Itsy Bitsy Spider, spiders do not climb drain pipes but fall into baths from above. Male house spiders have a biological urge to mate, normally around Autumn, which is when they commonly come into houses. Sexual cannibalism is prevalent amongst house spiders, the most famous examples appearing in redbacks and black widows. Male redbacks have been known to almost literally jump into the mouth of females after copulation. The British house spider however waits for the male to die before eating him.
  • Knick-Knacks: Fry demonstrates the properties of the tippe top, which, when spun on its spherical side, which eventually turn upside-down so it will spin on its stem side and in doing so change the direction of its rotation. Lord Kelvin first discovered this property in the 1890s with mathematician and friend Hugh Blackburn; they noticed it in a shell they discovered on a beach. Fry then presents a rattleback which is a long, thin object that is shaped so that it only spins anti-clockwise: when spun anti-clockwise, it will spin at speed without any resistance, but when spun clockwise, it will almost instantly reverse the spin's direction.
  • The world's scariest spice is cinnamon. In the 17th century, spice was the most precious and valuable commodity in the world, salesmen of spices used to tell stories about how hard it obtain their goods. They claimed that it came from the cinnamon bird, which used twigs of cinnamon to make their nests with. According to the myth, in order to get the cinnamon, the spice traders would leave bits of slaughtered giant oxen around and the bird would fly down to get the ox meat, then fly back up to the nest with the meat, causing the nest to then become so heavy that it would fall down to the ground and allow the salesmen to steal the spice. In reality, cinnamon is bark from trees such as the Cinnamomum verum. During this time, because controlling the spice trade was so profitable, the British, the Dutch and the Portuguese went to war to control monopolise it. The Banda island of Run was swapped for Manhattan between the Dutch and the British during the Spice Wars, because Run had so much nutmeg on it. Nutmeg was used to preserve meat and at the time was considered a cure for bubonic plague. Nutmeg and mace, interestingly, both come from the same tree.
  • The pungency of peppers is measured on the Scoville scale. A jalapeño, for example, is 5,000 Scoville units, while the hottest pepper, the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, is 2 million units. There are, nevertheless, other poisonous peppers that are even hotter than that. (Note: After this episode was recorded, the Guinness World Records rated the Carolina Reaper as being even more spicy, with a maximum Scoville level of around 2.2 million). The hottest curry ever eaten was consumed by radiologist Dr. Ian Rothwell. To prepare it the chef had to wear goggles and a mask, and upon eating Dr Rothwell reported that it produces crying, shaking and vomiting. The restaurant owner claimed that Dr Rothwell was hallucinating and that he took a ten minute walk down the street, weeping. He did, however, eventually finish it, an hour later after beginning.
  • The Olympic sports that women should not compete in is kayaking. In the Inuktitut language the word "kayak" means "a man's boat". Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympic movement, said that the Olympics should be about "male athleticism, applauded by women".
  • The advantage of having an arm surgically attached to one's face is that you one can grow their nose back in a kind of skin graft. It was a 17th-century procedure performed by Gasparo Tagliacozzi, who developed the surgery for people who lost their noses, usually to syphilis. One nobleman, however, decided he did not want a cut made in his own arm so he a servant's arm cut instead, forcing the servant to constantly follow him. However, the servant died, of uncertain causes, and the nose was rejected.
  • In 2012 a paper entitled "Gynecomastia in German Soldiers - Etiology and Pathology", looked at the number of breast reductions amongst male members of the German army. The problem is that the ceremonial buffeting of rifles against one's chest results in male soldiers developing enlarged breasts; from 2006 to 2012 212 German soldiers have had this procedure.
General Ignorance
XL Extras

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Coming Soon: Series K". BBC. Retrieved 2013-08-25.