Ask Me Another Again Later

Mar 16, 2018
Originally published on August 10, 2018 9:32 am

In a brand-new segment, host Ophira Eisenberg and house musician Jonathan Coulton test their trivia acumen against their toughest competitor yet: a Magic 8-Ball. Ophira, Jonathan, and the 8-Ball each answer a series of yes-or-no questions. Who will come out on top? Sources say "listen."

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While Rebekah (ph) and Danielle (ph) get ready for the final round, it's time for us to play a game. This is called Ask Me Another Again Later. Puzzle guru Art Chung, explain how this works.

ART CHUNG: Ophira, I'm going to ask you and Jonathan questions with a definitive yes-or-no answer. You'll each talk it out and give me your answer. Then we'll ask a magic eight ball what it thinks.


CHUNG: We'll see who gets the most correct answers.


CHUNG: Here's your first question. Froot Loops cereal comes in the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. However, are all Froot Loops the same flavor? Ophira.

EISENBERG: First of all, I've never had Froot Loops. I grew up in a family where we weren't allowed to have sugar.

JONATHAN COULTON: Oh, no sugar cereals.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) No sugar cereals. Like, Raisin Bran, we were like, oh, my God.

COULTON: Nature's candy, raisins.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) But I'm going to say they're all a hundred percent sugar. Like, how could they be that different in taste? I mean, flavors? Like, what are we talking about? What's blue, blueberry? Come on, now. They're the same. What - what's - what are the other ones? Green - what's green, mint?

COULTON: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: Zucchini? What's it supposed to be?


COULTON: Yeah. Zucchini. Blueberry.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Yeah? What's the...

COULTON: Acai berry.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Acai berry. Lemon, yum, yum, yum.

COULTON: Mango. I - (laughter) you know, it's funny. I feel like I probably several times in my life have tasted individual Froot Loops to see if they had a different flavor because this is a question that has occurred to me before in the past.

CHUNG: At certain key times, yeah.

EISENBERG: Course it has.

COULTON: So I'm sure that I have run this experiment several times. But I don't think I have ever written down or remembered the results.


EISENBERG: You don't have a cereal Excel spreadsheet?

COULTON: Not anymore. I lost it. I lost it in a fire. As I remember right now, in my mind's mouth, the flavor...


COULTON: ...Of a Froot Loop, it is a general fake fruitiness. I - but I'm going to say they're all the same flavor.

CHUNG: OK. So just to sum up, Ophira, are all Froot Loops the same flavor?

EISENBERG: Yes, they are all the same flavor.

CHUNG: Jonathan?

COULTON: Yeah. I say yes.

CHUNG: All right. Let's see what the magic eight ball says.


CHUNG: As I see it, yes.


CHUNG: And the real answer is yes. They're all the same flavor.


CHUNG: The platypus is a very strange animal. It's a mammal, but it lays eggs. It's a - like a duck and a beaver and an otter all in one. And only one sex of platypus is venomous. Is the female platypus the one that's venomous? Jonathan, you're first.

COULTON: Well, knowing what I do about evolutionary biology...


EISENBERG: (Laughter) From that Google search in your life.

COULTON: (Laughter) Yes. On the one hand, the male is traditionally the sex that goes out and fights. Do platypuses fight? I don't even know.


COULTON: But then also, there's the thing where sometimes the female has a sort of protective measure. So I would say - I'm going to say, yes, that it is the female under the assumption that the - there isn't a lot of fighting in platypus land. And mostly it is a defense mechanism that has evolved to protect the platypus eggs. I just grossed myself out playing - saying platypus eggs.

CHUNG: (Laughter) Ophira?

EISENBERG: All right. Well, you know what? Just for fun, I would say female because if I were part duck, beaver and otter - maybe I kind of am - I would be poisonous, right? I would be like...

COULTON: Why not? Throw it in.

EISENBERG: Yeah, exactly. All the things that people want, I'm going to need poison. But to be different, I'm going to be like, you know what? I think the male would probably be so threatened by the entire platypi world, (laughter) I'm going to say no. I think the male platypus is the venomous one.

CHUNG: Right. Let's see what the magic eight ball thinks.


CHUNG: Signs point to yes. So Jonathan said yes. The magic eight ball said yes. Ophira said no. The answer is no. The male platypus is venomous.


CHUNG: That's right. Apparently the platypus is one of very few venomous mammals. And venom is delivered by spurs on the male platypus' hind limbs.

COULTON: This animal gets more and more disgusting the more and more I learn about it.

EISENBERG: I know. The tiny baby ones on YouTube, though. Oh, they're so cute.

COULTON: Are they cute?


CHUNG: All right, here's your next question. Do the French consume per capita more butter than Americans? Ophira, you're up.

EISENBERG: I - aren't Americans, like, 10 percent corn and soy or something like that? Like, aren't we mostly corn and soy?

COULTON: (Laughter) Our bodies?


COULTON: Yeah (laughter).

EISENBERG: At this point. And just based on that, yeah, I think we - all of our cooking and the stuff that we eat is actually not using butter. I think there is a return, perhaps, to thinking about stuff, but we will use every other cheaper source of fat and oil. But the French, they're crazy about butter. So I believe that, yeah, the French consume per capita more butter than Americans. Yes.

CHUNG: Yes. Jonathan?

COULTON: Yeah. I mean, you know, you think of your - you think of a Parisian...


COULTON: ...Wandering out into the streets of Paris, going to the markets and just picking up what's fresh and local, the local bakery and the local buttery.

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Yeah.

COULTON: You bring your loaf of bread home and your butter home and you just eat bread and butter all night long...

EISENBERG: That's right.

COULTON: ...Drink red wine. Yeah, I think you're probably right. I think probably there's less processed food in France. And so if you're - all of the all the margarines that are happening, here most of them are not happening in France, and instead they're replaced with butter - probably more butter in cooking. So, yeah, I'm going to say, bien sur...


COULTON: ...Which means yes.

CHUNG: All right. Magic eight ball says...


CHUNG: My sources say no. Disagreeing.


COULTON: Can we ask what its sources are?


CHUNG: The correct answer is, yes, the French consume more butter than Americans.



CHUNG: Turns out the French consume about 18 pounds of butter per person annually. Americans consume less than 6 pounds. So there you go.

COULTON: Wow. A lot of butter.

CHUNG: A lot of butter. That's the end of the game. And the winner is Ophira.

(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.