Lateral with Tom Scott

Comedy panel game podcast about weird questions with wonderful answers, hosted by Tom Scott.

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Episode 23: Naval gazing

Published 17th March, 2023

'Karen Puzzles' Kavett, Rebecca 'Dr Becky' Smethurst and Stuart 'Ashens' Ashen face questions about medical methods, musical murders, and McDonald's marketing.

HOST: Tom Scott. QUESTION PRODUCER: David Bodycombe. EDITED BY: Julie Hassett at The Podcast Studios, Dublin. MUSIC: Karl-Ola Kjellholm ('Private Detective'/'Agrumes', courtesy of ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS: Eglė Vaškevičiūtė, Felix, Oliver Forrest, Soos. FORMAT: Pad 26 Limited/Labyrinth Games Ltd. EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: David Bodycombe and Tom Scott.


Transcription by Caption+

Tom:In the Māori language of New Zealand, which country is known as Wīwī? The answer to that at the end of the show. I'm Tom Scott, and this is Lateral.

This week's show introduction was written by artificial intelligence. So our three guests are a chicken, a turkey, and a duck. That's not a joke. It was literally written by AI.

Our guests are actually Karen from Karen Puzzles. Hello!
Karen:Hello. Am I the chicken, the duck? What was the other one?
Tom:Or a turkey. I think it's entirely up to you which one you wanna be there.
Karen:Oh, I'll be the duck.
Tom:Next up from the YouTube channel, Dr. Becky, it is Dr. Becky!
Tom:Thank you very much for stepping back into the arena. And finally, from the channel Ashens, Stuart Ashen.
Stuart:Hello there. Thank you for having me back, Tom.
Tom:There is a famous quote from Winston Churchill: "A riddle wrapped in a mystery, wrapped in an enigma." Which is often misinterpreted as describing Russia in 1939. He was of course, talking about the questions on this show. So let's see how much blood, toil, tears, and sweat our players need to answer this. We start with this:

In the British Armed Forces, the Royal Air Force and Army both salute with the palm facing forward. Why do members of the Royal Navy salute so their hand is horizontal with the floor?

I'll say that one more time.

In the British Armed Forces, the Royal Air Force and Army both salute with the palm facing forward. Why do members of the Royal Navy salute so their hand is horizontal with the floor?
Stuart:Is it 'cause it's more aerodynamic and there's lots of wind on boats?
Tom:(laughs) Oh, I love that. I absolutely love... I feel like big airfields would also have a lot of... But I love the idea there's just so much drag caused to the boat that it slows the whole thing down. "Bye."
Stuart:The admirals will sometimes have a spoiler fitted to the back of their hand.
SFX:(group laughing)
Karen:I was gonna say that when your hand is horizontal, it looks a little more like a boat.
Tom:Oh, so it can skim through the water. So if you're actually in the water at the time, but still... If you're being dragged behind the boat, but still... Sorry, what I need to do is stop answering questions like this in my authoritative fact voice, because sometimes people believe me. To be clear, you do not need to salute someone when you're being dragged behind the boat. It's not for aerodynamics, but that would be brilliant. Thank you, Karen.
Becky:Because that was gonna be my next question, was: When do the Navy salute, versus the Air Force or the Army? Do the Navy still salute to superior officers, or do they just salute to royalty or... Is there...
Stuart:I think it's about the same, isn't it?
Becky:You know, 'cause if royalty's wandering around on the deck of a ship... they can't stop doing their tasks or something, or...
Tom:It's kind of both of those things. (stammers) It's certainly, you are already approaching the right area with that one. You're not quite there, but you're close.
Stuart:So it's when they salute. Not hat-related, is it? 'Cause it's quite near your head.
Tom:I mean, the salute is the same between all the branches of the military. They are saluting for the same reason. And to roughly the same kind of higher ranks. Nobility if they happen to visit the ship. But there's something about the Navy that makes that different.
Becky:Is it that the Navy think they're better than everybody else?
SFX:(guys laughing uproariously)
Stuart:Curse you arrogant naval types with your side salutes! Thinking you're better than us!
Becky:And then the Army or the Air Force, not just anyone.
Tom:I feel like that's a thing I've heard about the Marines. But also, I don't know if that's actually... I feel like I'm not gonna... I'm gonna hedge that bet a lot, because I don't want the Marines coming after me.
Stuart:(laughs) Fair.
Becky:Yeah, those berets are scary.
Tom:Don't insult the Marines!
Stuart:(laughs uproariously)
Tom:You're just getting me into more trouble here.
Stuart:Rubbish Navy Seals as well. I hate all of them. Grrr, yes.
Tom:There is a very practical reason for this.
Becky:And this is the Royal Navy, right? Not like a different country's navy?
Tom:I'd never actually noticed this until it was pointed out to me.
Becky:Why would you...
Stuart:Yeah, I'm trying to...
Becky:We're nogging.
Tom:You're just kind of holding up your hands and trying to salute and figure out what what configuration.
Becky:Is it something to do with the fact that their hands would've been calloused from ropes? So they weren't allowed to show that to royalty or something?
Stuart:That's interesting.
Tom:Oh, you're very close with that. It was to save embarrassment. Particularly for the junior ranks. It's not callouses from rope, but you are very, very close.
Stuart:Is it dirty hands from the ropes or something?
Karen:Were their hands getting all pruny from being... They're not in the water, are they?
Becky:(giggling) Pruny!
Karen:Are they?
Stuart:(laughs) Not unless it's got horribly wrong.
Tom:I was gonna say.
Becky:They're all wrinkly.
Tom:If you're in the ocean, there is something wrong with your boat! But again, very, very close. You're nearly there with dirty, Stuart. That is... There's something about that. There's a nickname for sailors in the British Navy.
Tom:Tar. You're absolutely right.

They're called tars because their hands were often covered in tar from the deck. So it doesn't happen much in modern times, but their hands were often so sticky and covered with tar that for practical and embarrassment reasons, you would salute with your palm down.
Becky:My brain went to... Oh, does that mean less tar drips off your hand? But I think everybody would still end up with just gloops falling, wouldn't you?
SFX:(group laughing)
Tom:Yes, the Royal Navy salutes palm downwards, so they don't show their tar-dirtied hands to their superior officers.

Right, each of our guests has brought a question of their own along. None of the rest of us know the question. None of the rest of us know the answer unless we happen to guess it immediately. We're gonna start this time with Karen. What have you got for us?
Karen:A cellist is killed when she is due to travel to an orchestra rehearsal. She is found at 20 yards from her house, with her cello and bow on her right-hand side. She's wearing a white blouse, black mini-skirt, and a three-quarters length coat with a red brooch on it. The coat contains an iPhone, house keys, and a debit card. Why is this scene suspicious?
Tom:She's dead.
Tom:Okay. There was a lot of information in that question. Could you give us that one more time?
Karen:I would also like to clarify that this is not a true story. So you would not have heard about this in the newspaper. This is just a riddle.
Karen:A cellist is killed when she is due to travel to an orchestra rehearsal. She is found 20 yards from her house, with her cello and bow on her right-hand side. She is wearing a white blouse, black mini-skirt, and a three-quarters length coat with a red brooch on it. The coat contains an iPhone, house keys, and a debit card. Why is this scene suspicious?
Tom:Is this one of those questions where 90% of the information in that question is irrelevant, and we have to find one cello-based inconsistency in there?
Becky:Yeah, my brain immediately went to: Cello on the right-hand side. Don't they hold it on the left? But then why wouldn't she—
Tom:Yeah, wouldn't the cello and bow be on different sides?
Becky:But why wouldn't the bow be in the case with the cello? Why would the bow be out?
Becky:Maybe she was brandishing it at an attacker like an épée.
SFX:(guys laughing)
Stuart:Cello as a shield.
Tom:Cello sword fighting! Actually, that— If that doesn't exist, 2CELLOS will be doing that on YouTube at some point, just...
Becky:With tubaists in the background kinda going like (bwoomph) so that every time it sounds like a lightsaber.
SFX:(guys laughing)
Stuart:Sound like lightsabers, yeah.
Tom:Get stabbed by the cello, go: (imitates sad trombone)
SFX:(others laughing)
Tom:I dunno what musical instrument that was I just mimed, but somehow I mimed it that as you let go of it, it makes a lower note. I don't think there's a single instrument in the world that does that.
SFX:(others laughing)
Becky:But trombone does. You let go and it went (imitates warble)
Tom:(laughs) Just a steadily depleting trombone.
Becky:Yeah. Also, this is so off topic. We need to get back on this woman who's been found. Is it one of those weird riddles? I remember a riddle that my dad always used to say, where it was like, there's a plane crash, and it crashes on the border. Like, where did they bury the survivors? And you're like, you don't bury survivors, right? Is it like this woman has been found, but she's not the cellist who was killed? Or something?
Karen:No, this woman was the person who was killed.
Becky:Oh, was it suspicious because she was wearing a black mini-skirt? And with cellists, you open your legs to play it?
Karen:Ding, ding, ding. You got it.
Tom:Oh wow! Out of nowhere!
Karen:That's the only thing. A cellist wouldn't wear a miniskirt if they were gonna perform.
SFX:(others laughing)
Tom:Yeah, of course. So it was, there was one cello-based inconsistency in the question, and you got it.
Becky:It literally triggered that exact thing in my brain, Tom. I was like, yeah, what is so inconsistent about that scene? I was like, the clothes she's wearing!
Karen:So the answer is just that a cellist wouldn't wear a miniskirt if they were on their way to perform.
Tom:Next question is from me. Here we go.

In 2018, what did a Californian branch of McDonald's do to display their support for International Women's Day?

I'll give that one more time.

In 2018, what did a Californian branch of McDonald's do to display their support for International Women's Day?
Becky:Rhonda McDonald, the clown?
SFX:(guys laughing)
Tom:I saw a thing. It's somewhere on the Internet Archive. Someone has uploaded the brand manual for Ronald McDonald from like the '70s or '80s, whenever the character was invented. And it looks like one of those fake, like weird dystopian horror movie, like unsettling character designs, because that's what all of those were based on. It says something like, "Here's all the good things that people associate with clowns."
Becky:(snickers) Nothing.
Stuart:Short list.
Tom:Just doesn't read right in the 21st century. Just really, really doesn't.
Becky:Also, I think I know the answer to this one, so I am going to sit back.
Tom:Alright. Alright, Stuart, Karen, this is up to you two.
Stuart:That's difficult 'cause I don't have a clue. So...
Karen:Okay, I had a first thought that might be extremely objectifying towards women. But since I'm a woman, maybe I'm allowed to say it. Did they put a little dot in each of the arches in the M to make them look like boobs?
SFX:(cascading group cackling)
Stuart:If they didn't, they missed a trick. That's astonishing.
Tom:So, at the risk of giving a clue that's way, way, way too early in this... You are vaguely along the right lines. It was a visual change. It was not that specific visual change.
Tom:Kinda wish it had been.
Becky:I'm completely wrong then, 'Cause my guess was that...
Becky:You know how there's the gender pay gap of a dollar to 70 cents in the US or something? I thought for every woman that came in, they charged the 70% of the cost of the burger or something.
Tom:No, unfortunately not. So the good news is you're back in the question. The bad news is we do slightly mock you for the overconfidence there.
Becky:Yeah, although, to be fair, that's what McDonald's should have done.
SFX:(both laughing)
Becky:Rather than making boobs out of golden arches.
Stuart:Did they just put a bra on the end? That'd be amazing.
Tom:Oh my god! I sort of regret asking this question now. 'Cause it's way less potentially controversial than any of those.
Becky:Hang on, if it was a visual change, was my original guess of Rhonda McDonald right?
Tom:No, no. It was a much more—
Becky:A wig on Ronald McDonald.
Karen:Wait, hang on, hang on. I just had an idea. Did they flip the M around... to make it a W for women?
Tom:Yes, they did. That's exactly right.
Stuart:Ohoho! (applauds) Well done.
Tom:Yep. A branch in Lynwood, California turned the golden arches upside down, which must have been a hell of a thing to do. Because they're probably not designed to go that way, to make a W. They also did it in the logo, profile pictures, social media accounts, everything like that. But one specific branch actually flipped the golden arches upside down.
Becky:Classic... performative with no real impact.
SFX:(both giggling)
Karen:Yeah, I'm sure that really helped women everywhere.
Becky:Yeah. We finally felt represented in the McDonald's logo!
Tom:For this entire day, all the burgers will be made of female cows.
SFX:(group laughing)
Stuart:Aren't all cows female?
Becky:Heifers and bulls, right? Cow is the animal, and heifers and bulls.
Becky:But all meat—
Tom:Oh, I've been pedanted. I've been pedanted.
Becky:Most meat that you eat is male though, right? Because the females are kept for dairy industry.
Becky:So to make the burgers out of female cows would've been stupid.
Tom:I just got comprehensively out-pedanted on a terrible joke, sorry. That is what this show's about. I'm not really complaining. Just, well done.
Becky:Oh, you've finally met your match.
Stuart:Oh, I thought it was bulls and cows. I just didn't know.
Tom:So, yes, in 2018, a Californian branch of McDonald's flipped their M upside down as a publicity stunt for International Women's Day.

Our next question is from Becky. Take it away.
Becky:First of all, I wanna preface this with, this has actually happened to me, so... I was very weirded out with this question.

Enid takes a vitamin pill and a painkiller once a day. She has two of each type left. However, she spills all four tablets on the floor, and they look identical. How can she take her meds now without getting some more meds?

So, that again.

Enid takes a vitamin pill and a painkiller once a day. She has two of each type left. However, she spills all four tablets on the floor, and they look identical. How can she take her meds now without getting more meds?
Tom:I'm glad you said look identical because immediately my brain went, "Oh, that's fine. You can just type the codes onto them— into the internet, and you get pill identifiers... for various purposes." Not that I'd know anything about that.
Karen:I mean, you could take one and see if your pain goes away, and then you would know if it was a painkiller. But then you have three left.
Karen:And two of them are vitamins, and one is another painkiller.
Becky:Then how would you know which one is the vitamin?
Karen:Yeah, I mean, that's the rest of the question. I mean, I guess there's no way to take a vitamin and know if you're healthier.
Tom:Yeah, sorry. My brain went, "Oh, yeah, that's obvious." No, that doesn't help at all. You've still got three mystery pills left there. That convinced me that was the answer for a moment there, Karen. Sorry.
Stuart:So they look identical. They don't make a sound. Do they smell or taste different?
Tom:Lick the pills! That's gonna get taken out of context.
Tom:Oh, I hate questions like this, where there's gotta be a logical... This feels like one of those maths puzzles where it's like there's a hundred prisoners, and you do this and...
Becky:Well, like the classic game show one with the doors that everyone gets the statistics wrong on.
Tom:Yes, yeah.
Stuart:Oh, the Monty Hall problem?
Tom:Monty Hall problem, yeah.
Becky:Yeah, Monty Hall problem. But it's not like that.
Stuart:Oh, that's something.
Tom:And the pills are completely randomised at this point. She's not dropped one of those weekly pill organisers or something. There's nothing in the question you've conveniently forgotten to tell us. Alright.
Becky:No, there's four random pills on the floor. She doesn't know which one's which. There's a method that she can use that doesn't require her to tell the pills apart.
Tom:And she's got to avoid taking two painkillers one day and two vitamins the other.
Tom:Oh, this is— I'm gonna kick myself when we get this.
Becky:You are.
Karen:I mean, could she take a pill every 12 hours, and then maybe it wouldn't matter as much which one is which? 'Cause... But I guess then she could still take two in a row, two painkillers in a row.
Becky:I mean, it's not life threatening apparently. So she could, but there is a way that she can take the right amount of medication that she needs to.
Tom:This is infuriating. I'm just juggling pills in my head.
Becky:They are chalk type tablets, it says here. So I presume they're not... you know, the tubes.
Tom:Oh! She can dissolve them. She can put all four pills into water. And then drink half the water. If they're chalk type pills. I mean, I dunno if that affects the medication, but if you dissolve or just crush them together. Crush them together.
Tom:There we go!
Becky:So she could crush them.
Stuart:Well done.
Becky:She also doesn't have to be that destructive.
Becky:So crushing them is one way, but there's another less destructive way that she could do it.
Tom:Oh, cut them in half.
Becky:Cut them in half, exactly.
Tom:Cut each pill in half.
Becky:Each pill in half.
Tom:Yep, because then you are taking exactly one pill. That— I was right. I was gonna kick myself. That's infuriating!
Becky:I knew you would. Yep, so if she just cuts every single pill in half and has a half of every single pill, she will have one painkiller and one vitamin tablet, and have one painkiller and one vitamin tablet left for the next day.
Tom:I hate that question! Congratulations to whoever wrote that question. I hate it. Did you say you'd literally done this?
Becky:Yeah, I've literally done this, where there's like some— And I can't remember what it was, but it was something that looked like a little... Like The Pill, like a birth control pill. And it fell on the floor and I was like... "Which one is it?"
Tom:The next question's from me, and thank you to Oliver Forrest for sending this in.

Why does the field of the California Golden Bears American football team have one more line next to each end zone, compared to any other college football field in the USA?

I'll give you that one more time.

Why does the field of the California Golden Bears American football team have one more line next to each end zone, compared to any other college football field in the USA?
Becky:In which direction? Beyond the end zone, further past it, or on the field of play?
Tom:It's a very, very good question, that is, and I'm gonna just not answer that immediately.
SFX:(guests laughing)
Becky:Okay? Or is it tram lines or it's just two lines? Because it's a really tall stadium, and they can't see thin lines from the very top of the ground, so they made it thicker?
Karen:I can't believe there's an American question, and it's about football, which I know literally nothing about.
Tom:Yeah, sorry. It's an American football question going to two British people and someone American who knows nothing about sport. I don't think you need to know much about sport to answer this question.
Becky:Yeah, I've been to two NFL games in London. I consider myself slightly qualified to answer this question.
Karen:I mean, is it specific that it's in California, or is it just the fact that it's one team that is doing this?
Tom:Oh, I think you are onto the right lines with California there, no pun intended.
Becky:I was gonna say something like, it was the first football stadium, and they hadn't quite figured out the dimensions yet. But California probably wouldn't be the first, 'cause it was like the last state that they got to almost. Also, can I just say the fact that college football is a thing at all, and that like tens of thousands of people go watch uni kids just running around a field is madness to me.
Tom:Yeah, it's really weird. I've been to LSU's stadium. It's bigger than Wembley. And full...
Tom:Every week there's a game. It's just really weird as a concept.
Becky:People who played football at uni... You know, football–football... You know, they'd just be so hungover from the previous night. You've just watched 22 hungover lads just run around a pitch.
Tom:Oh yeah, I remember the athletic union at my old university. Like, they were good. They competed. And that was not an important part of their lives compared to the university part. I think that's also a sport difference thing, because you can scout soccer players at age, I don't know, like early teens, maybe eight, ten, something. You can tell someone's got talent that early. Whereas for, I think for NFL, you gotta wait until someone is in their late teens before you can go, okay, they're definitely gonna be a good player. So I think it might be, it's partly just that America is a bit weird. But I think that's also one of the reasons.
Becky:You've now got me wondering how that correlates with rugby as well.
Becky:Well anyway, California, so it's specific something to do in California.
Tom:Yeah, and you don't need to know about sport.
Karen:Alright, well, I've drawn a little diagram. I don't think this is gonna help at all.
Becky:Is it because it's very bright sunlight in California, so you wouldn't, there's too much reflection or too little ref— one line or... No. I'm still on, they're making the line thicker, and it's probably not that. Like this is my original question. How far beyond the line is this new line?
Tom:It's... (sigh) It's not to do with the sport. And it's not—
Becky:Oh, is it the California coastline? Down the edge of it or something?
Tom:Sorry, I thought you meant literally that either the stadium was overhanging the coastline there for a moment.
Becky:No, no, no, no! If they—
Tom:Artist representation.
Stuart:Element of danger?
Tom:(laughs) If you step over this line and jump too hard, you might fall through. There's cliffs below. You know, we don't...
Becky:No, no, no. I thought it was decorative. Like it's kind of a California represent. Here's the outline of California... line.
Tom:Unfortunately not. You are actually a little bit closer than you might otherwise be there. It's certainly to do with something Californian and something geographic.
Becky:Oh, is it the San Andreas fault line?
Tom:Oh... yes. Yes it is. Well...
Tom:It's the Hayward fault line, which is part of that whole network. You're right. They have just drawn the fault line onto the pitch. It's not a straight line. It's actually two parts of the same zigzag fault that goes through. But they just decided to add it as an additional line onto the field.
Stuart:Of course they did. Good for them.
Tom:Yeah, they've spent millions making the stadium and the campus safe because they built it on an active fault line. Which, as building decisions go, is very Californian.
Karen:Well, now I've got a fun new piece of California trivia for all of my friends.
Tom:Yeah, oh, I'll give you another one. The stadium's built in two halves, so that if the fault moves, it won't fall apart.
Becky:That's amazing.
Stuart:Just build it up the road, lads. Come on.
Tom:Anything can happen. But yes, the additional line on the California Golden Bears field is the Hayward. So part of the San Andreas Fault.
Becky:There is an earthquake testing lab at San Diego University, that when I visited, they were using, so it was like a shake plate that would shake the whole ground. And I was like, "Oh god! Oh, it's an earthquake!" And people were like, "Oh, it's fine, don't worry. This earthquake testing." And I was like, "But how do you know that it's part of the testing and not a real earthquake?"
Karen:One of my main uses for Twitter is just to find out if there was actually an earthquake or if it was just like a heavy truck going by.
Tom:There's a famous story about a professor who was on the phone to someone. This is like 1970s, '80s. On the phone to someone at another California university. Suddenly heard the person they were on the phone to go, "Earthquake" and put the phone down. At which point he paused, walked up, went into the next room, and said... "I think we're due an earthquake about now." Because he knew how long the waves would take to transit between that university and timed it just so he'd go in as the shaking started. It's probably apocryphal. I just really like the story.
Becky:They now think he's a god. He got tenure.
Stuart:"I curse this place to an earthquake! Can I have a 10% pay raise, please?"
Tom:Our last question comes from Stuart. When you're ready.
Stuart:Right. This listener question was sent in by Soos. Soos.

In the game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players can summon other characters to assist in a fight. Which character cannot be summoned when the battle takes place in the Wii Fit Studio?

I'll run that through again.
Tom:Oh, please do.
Stuart:In the game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate players can summon other characters to assist in a fight. Which character cannot be summoned when the battle takes place in the Wii Fit Studio?
Tom:My lack of video game knowledge keeps being shown up in quizzes like this. This will have gone out by the time this airs. I was on the alumni version of University Challenge this year. Which, lovely, great. You've done that as well, right Becky?
Becky:I've done it as well. It's so much fun. I got a Frozen question in two seconds, and that's my proudest moment in life.
Tom:Yeah. (laughs) I got a sorting question in two— like computer sorts in two seconds. Great. But there was also a question about video games, and it was, which Nintendo console came out in 2002, in short. And all of our team just looked at each other and went... "Nope." I'm like, it's the one after the N64. It's the one before the Wii. I can't remember the name of it. And I know damn well that everyone will be screaming that at me, because of course I should know! Nothing.

And I know Super Smash Bros. is a fighting game. We had a question on it. Oh god, I need to know Nintendo characters now!
Stuart:Yeah, it's mostly Nintendo characters, yeah.
Karen:Yeah, I was about to say. I think I know about five Mario characters, so.
Becky:Toad, Yoshi, Bowser, Peach. Saving them all now.
Stuart:Not all the characters in the game are necessarily from Nintendo developed properties.
Becky:Oh. So any—
Stuart:So that's made it worse for you!
Tom:(laughs) So we need to name a video game character that would not be in...
Tom:So... Wii Fit was the game where it was just a fitness studio that used the Wii Tracker, right?
Stuart:Exactly, yep, yep, the...
Tom:So we need someone who would not turn up in a gymnasium, I guess?
Stuart:Yes, yeah. It's a gymnasium, yeah.
Becky:Yeah, well, so either— I thought sort of somebody wasn't fit, but then also some, like a character that can't leave water or air or something like that?
Becky:Like they can't be inside?
Tom:Or if it was like the only indoor stage.
Stuart:No, I believe there's more than one indoor stage. This is the only one a certain character can't be summoned to.
Tom:I'm just running through any Nintendo characters I know now.
Becky:But it's not Super Mario. Is Sonic... Nintendo?
Stuart:Oh. Just heard a thousand fanboys die there.
Becky:Yeah, don't worry. I would—
Stuart:Although saying that, technically Nintendo now do actually distribute Sega's games, so.
Tom:Okay. Oh god, you've asked a video game question to three people who don't know video games, Stuart.
Becky:it's fine, I once called Patrick Stewart 'Magneto'. And... yeah.
SFX:(group laughing)
Stuart:Everybody knows he was Yoda, come on.
Tom:Yeah, with, with... No, carry on. I was just gonna keep that shtick going, but it's just gonna annoy more and more people as we go on.
Stuart:Perhaps think more about the location. Think more about the location at first, rather than a specific character.
Tom:It's a fitness studio. It's a gymnasium. It's something like that.
Becky:It is, yeah.
Tom:So is it someone who's got an allergy to like fitness?
Karen:Could it be like a baby or someone who can't walk, or someone who can't move on their own? Is it like—
Becky:You wanna fight a baby?
Karen:A character that's like...
SFX:(group laughing)
Karen:Yeah, now that I say that.
Tom:No, but I would put it past Smash Bros. to let you do that.
Stuart:I mean, what do they have in a gym? What are some common fixtures in a gym?
Tom:Treadmills, weights.
Becky:I dunno. I haven't seen any inside of a gym.
Stuart:Me neither. But I've got the answer.
Becky:Oh, what kind of gym?
Karen:Yeah, like a school gymnasium, or like a workout gym, or like a sports gym?
Becky:Like a gymnastics gym where you've got like horses and you know.
Stuart:Yes, more of a— Well, specifically a sort of keep-fit gym with all the standards and...
Becky:So treadmills and...
Stuart:Things you would do. Everything you would do in Wii Fit, basically.
Tom:Is it just a character who is extremely unfit?
Stuart:No, nothing to do with that.
Becky:Was that on the right lines with like they can't be inside or...?
Tom:Oh my god, is this a Pokémon joke?
Stuart:No, no.
Stuart:Nothing Pokémon related at all.
Tom:I know Pokémon has gymnasiums or gyms is where they fight, and I was like, is that... No, okay.
Becky:Ash finally won the other day. Oh, I was so excited.
SFX:(group laughing)
Stuart:Must've taken him 20 years, but he worked up to it.
Becky:He's done the rest. 25 or something.
Tom:Also this can't be a main character, right? 'Cause it's someone you summon.
Stuart:Correct. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Tom:So it's not gonna be one of the actual fighting characters. It's gonna be like a support character who—
Stuart:Oh, I can't remember how Smash Bros. works like that, but that's not super relevant, so.
Tom:Okay. Sorry. Super Relevant Brothers.
Stuart:(laughs uproariously)
Stuart:So this, when we're talking about gym fixtures, think about the walls of the gym.
Tom:Oh god, none of us have been in a gym for a while. You're asking us a fitness and video games question to a bunch of nerds, Stuart!
Karen:Wait, mirrors? Oh my god, is it a vampire? Is it a vampire? Because there are mirrors?
Stuart:Yes. Yes it is. In fact, I think I'm gonna give you that.
Tom:We're not gonna name any Nintendo vampires.
Stuart:No, not a Nintendo vampire. Technically a Konami vampire. No, nobody's gonna, nope. You are correct with vampire.

Basically the character Alucard, isn't it? Who is Dracula's son. First appeared in Castlevania III: Dracula's Curse in 1992. Facts. But he's the hero of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, which is the big one. And he cannot be summoned to the Wii Fit Studio, because they have mirrors and...

I don't know why he won't go in. Perhaps he just hates not seeing his own reflection.
Tom:I'll bet it's because the developers couldn't be bothered to code an exception for him appearing in the mirror.
Stuart:This is distinctly possible, 'cause I believe there is a stage where you see his reflection in the floor. So, you could be onto something there.
Becky:You see, Twilight has just erased all traditional vampire lore for me that I'm like, I don't even think about the fact they wouldn't be seen in mirrors. I just thought they'd sparkle, you know?
Stuart:Oh no. No sparkly, bless him.

Would anybody like to guess, 'cause this is one of my favourite things. Would anybody like to guess what Alucard's actual first name is? Because Alucard is like an alias he uses. His real surname is Țepeș, as Vlad Dracul, but his first name is?
Stuart:You're not far off. You're genuinely not far off.
Stuart:Begins with A.
Stuart:Oh, so close!
Stuart:Oh, nearly! A-D—
Tom:Adrian. There we go.
Stuart:Yes! His real name is Adrian Țepeș.
Becky:How is "Jeff" close to "Adrian"?
Stuart:Because it was very prosaic. He didn't come in with a vampire name.
Tom:It's semantically close, you know?
Stuart:Yeah. But his middle name is Fahrenheit. So his full name is Adrian Fahrenheit Țepeș.
SFX:(group giggling)
Stuart:Which never fails to make me laugh. Oh, bless.

So in the game Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, you cannot summon Alucard to the Wii Fit Studio, because he doesn't like the mirrors.
Tom:One last order of business then. At the start of the show, I asked a question that was sent in by Felix. Thank you very much.

In the Māori language of New Zealand, what country is known as Wīwī?

Does anyone wanna take a shot from the panel?
Tom:Yes, absolutely right.
Becky:I hadn't thought about that!
Tom:It's... yep, you're absolutely right.
Stuart:Oh god!
Tom:The Māori took Wīwī from the French "Yes, yes" as the name for France. Congratulations, you just
Tom:got that immediately.
Stuart:Thank you, I think, yes.
Tom:So with that, thank you very much to... Let's start with Stuart. What have you got going on?
Stuart:Well, if you wanna find my stuff, just Google Ashens, A-S-H-E-N-S, and you will find everything I do in some way, shape, or form.
Tom:Thank you very much to Dr. Becky. Tell us what's going on with you.
Becky:You'll find me on YouTube. Dr. Becky is my channel, where every week I post a video about space, which is really fun. And then I also have a book called A Brief History of Black Holes that is out now, If you wanna check that out.
Tom:And Karen.
Karen:And you can find me on YouTube and other social media sites as Karen Puzzles. And I also just released my own puzzle in partnership with Ravensburger. It is called Puzzles on Puzzles, and you can get it on Amazon.
Tom:Thank you very much to all of you for joining us. If you wanna know more about the show, or you wanna submit an idea for a question, then our website is You can find us at @lateralcast pretty much everywhere, and there are video highlights every week at

Thank you very much to Karen.
Karen:Thank you. It was so fun!
Tom:To Stuart.
Stuart:Thank you.
Tom:And to Becky.
Becky:Thank you, bye!
Tom:I'm Tom Scott, and this has been Lateral.
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