Lateral with Tom Scott

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

Previous EpisodeIndexNext Episode

Episode 46: Mr. Kill Gun Die

Published 25th August, 2023

Anna Ploszajski, Scott Manley and Bill Sunderland face questions about stately stands, letter lists and silver streaks.

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


Transcription by Caption+

Tom:Where would you see the letters C, D, E, F, L, O, P, T, and Z ...hopefully?

The answer to that at the end of the show. My name's Tom Scott, and this is Lateral.

Our guests today have been selected by a short list of attributes we like to call the four Cs: Cleverness, competence, charisma, and caffeine. So with that, we'll have some stimulating conversation with Bill Sunderland returning as one of our regulars, one half of Escape This Podcast. How are you doing?
Bill:I'm doing well. I'm excited to do another one. I return so often because it's so much fun to play this game.
Tom:(laughs) We always love having you back. How are things going?
Bill:They're going well. Lots of podcast stuff is going well. I'm— It's late. It's very late, Tom. It's very late, and I'm tired. So if you're listening at home and you think, "Oh, this guy doesn't know anything." I know everything two hours ago. It's slowly disappearing.
Tom:We have three guests across three very different time zones right now. It is something close to midnight for Bill, and it is somewhere close to 3 pm for Anna Ploszajski. Welcome back to the show. I have you still listed as materials scientist and storyteller.
Anna:Yeah, absolutely. That hasn't changed. Hello from London, everybody.
Tom:(laughs) To be fair, we're recording this about 10 minutes after finishing the last time you were on, so...
Anna:(laughs) Yeah, haven't moved. Yeah, I'm a materials scientist and storyteller, so my work is all about trying to find fun and interesting narratives, different ways of telling scientific stories to engage lots of different audiences with ideas in science and engineering.
Tom:And how was it last time? Because it was your first time on the show, the last time you were here.
Anna:It was. You know what, it actually really reminds me of back in the day when I was a lab scientist, because there's very much an element of just spitballing ideas, saying the first thing that comes into your head. Could it be related to this? Who knows, let's find out. (chuckles)
Tom:And also joining us very early in the morning after getting up to watch a rocket launch, Scott Manley.
Scott:Hello again!
Scott:Yes. Delighted to be here one more time. Hopefully with a little more success this time. It is early for me.
Tom:Oh, I think it went well last time. I mean, the last time I saw you, it was while the SpaceX... I can't remember which rocket it was. It was going up for the first time, and I was in the same room as you as it actually took off from the pad.
Scott:Yeah, we were watching on an iPad, and yeah, I remarked... a statement for the ages, let's say, which we will not repeat here.
Tom:(chuckles) It was quite profane.
Scott:Yeah! It was amazing though to watch that in the company of such distinguished guests, let's say.
Tom:(laughs) And also me. There were ten people there.
Scott:(laughs) Yes, but they were all at so many followers on the internet, so it was like the entire internet was watching with me.
Tom:As you said something we are not gonna repeat on this podcast.
Scott:You can look, google 'Scott Manley Starship', and they'll probably find it somewhere. And yes, Tom is in the backdrop.
Tom:As regular listeners will know, getting the right answers to our devious questions is as simple as finding a needle in a haystack at night, while using boxing gloves, during a hurricane. So with good luck to our guests, we start with this:

A listener question sent in by Áron.

In late 1943, Danish fishermen started sprinkling the decks of their ships with a mixture of dried rabbit blood and cocaine. Why?

One more time.

In late 1943, Danish fishermen started sprinkling the decks of their ships with a mixture of dried rabbit blood and cocaine. Why?
Bill:Well look, this was 1943. So something was definitely happening.
Anna:Something was definitely happening. We know this.
SFX:(group giggling)
Tom:Oh, that's a callback to the last episode, yeah. We are definitely in a historical period here where something was happening.
Scott:It was obviously to attract German U-boats out the water, right?
Scott:Because, you know, the Nazi forces were famous for their drug consumption.
Anna:Well, I think luring something from the depths might not be the worst idea that we've had so far.
Bill:They were trying to recruit the Kraken to fight the Nazis!
Scott:That would be amazing.
Anna:The Crack-en, yeah.
Bill:(laughs heartily)
Tom:Oh! That...
SFX:(Tom, Bill, and Anna laugh)
Tom:Sorry. We don't have immediate puns very often on this podcast. I'm genuinely impressed.
Anna:(laughs heartily)
Scott:It's not the Kraken. It's something worse. They were trying to get seagulls.
Anna:They are very scary, to be fair.
Scott:Oh yes. Rats with wings. Oh yeah.
Tom:I know there was that Cocaine Bear film. I've got 'Cocaine Seagull' in my head now, and I don't know quite what that would involve.
Bill:It's coming 2025.
Scott:How does a thing with a beak snort coke?
Tom:(chuckles) With great difficulty.
Anna:It would have to have full contact.
Tom:But we're all imagining, I think, slightly different arrangements of beak and table here.
Anna:Agreed. (laughs) Okay, 1943, Denmark. Fishing—
Bill:Rabbit droppings and cocaine on the deck.
Tom:Rabbit blood and cocaine.
Bill:Oh, I'm so sorry. Well then, oh, then I've got it, easy.
Anna:Completely different.
Bill:Rabbit blood and cocaine.
Anna:Would it be to do with the colour of the rabbit blood? Were the ships too— Were the ships light-coloured in the water, so they could be seen and maybe bombed?
Scott:And the only thing they could find was rabbit blood.
Anna:(laughs) Yeah. Famously, no paint in Denmark.
Scott:Sorry, all the black paint's been taken for the war effort.
Anna:I mean, maybe.
Scott:Were they doing the Norse thing, and they were using rowboats? And so they needed to, you know, give them some energy and so this... The cocaine there and the blood, it would be like... Viking blood and cocaine in close proximity makes you row harder.
Bill:I don't know. I don't know how many longboats were involved in 1943's warfare.
Scott:In World War II?
Tom:I'm not sure these are row boats either. These are fishermen.
Bill:Yeah, are they— Fishermen, that's right. They're also fishing.
Bill:I got so obsessed with the fact that there was a war on, I forgot that these people were fishing. Alright. So you're fishing. Does— Is there something— Do you— Is there something that you can attract? Some kind of fish that you can attract with... rabbit blood and cocaine?
Scott:Or when you take the fish and you put them on the deck, does it wake them up and make it easier for you to see the ones that you want to toss out or something? Or does it knock sharks out, so you can beat them and... Yeah.
Anna:Well, cocaine would make the sharks even more vicious, you would think.
Scott:Not necessarily.
Anna:It's not a sedative though, is it?
Scott:I think we've gotta be careful about ascribing our human reactions to narcotics to, you know, different species. Especially something as old as sharks.
Tom:You are... not along the right lines... but...
Bill:(laughs) I hope not!
Tom:There's certainly animals involved in this.
Scott:Well... Yeah, rabbits!
Tom:And yes, the historical events going on at the time are very relevant. This is a World War II story.
Anna:Good, okay, so... What side is Denmark on?
Tom:That's a very important question here.
Scott:Weren't they occupied by the Nazis?
Bill:So, you're Denmark, you're occupied by the Nazis.
Scott:So they would get boarded by the British and then—
Tom:Oh, not by the British.
Bill:When the Nazis board the boat, they'll slip on the blood, and then they'll accidentally snort the cocaine when they land. And then, what are they gonna do?
Tom:The very first part of that sentence, Bill, "When the Nazis board the boat," correct. Everything after that, wild flight of fantasy.
Bill:I dunno. Well look, I've set it up. One of you two can knock it down. I've got the Nazis on the boat. You've gotta find out what to do with them.
Anna:Right, the Nazis are on the boat. What do they want? They want to commandeer the boat? Does it make it really smelly? So they don't want the— So they won't commander the boats? Or...
Tom:(strained grunt)
Bill:Does it cover the— Do all the sea— Were we right with seagulls? The seagulls are like, "Blood and cocaine. I'm here, it's a party." And they land on the boat. And then Nazis hate— Fun fact, Nazis hate seagulls. That's how we won the war.
SFX:(Scott and Anna laugh)
Anna:Nazis want the boat or the fish? No, Nazis want the boat.
Bill:We're all just watching Tom's eyes as we say things Nazis want, and see what he nods or shakes his head at.
Tom:The other clue there was animals. You successfully went down that aisle. What animals might the Nazis have brought with them onto the boat?
Bill:(gasp) Dogs?
Tom:Why then?
Bill:Nazis hate seagulls, love dogs.
Scott:Yeah. Even Hitler loved dogs.
Bill:Does it just confuse the dogs? The dogs, they sniff. They go, "Blood? Let me sniff that." Now they're sniffing, cocaine everywhere.
Scott:So wait, wait! They were trying to take people out of Germany to safe spaces, right?
Bill:That's it!
Scott:They were trying, right? And they had to stop the dogs finding the people.
Bill:And the dogs won't be able to smell anything when they got blood and cocaine in their nose.
Scott:Yeah, they'd just start frothing at the nose and...
Tom:They were evacuating Jewish people out of Denmark, across the Øresund Strait to Sweden. The Nazis would board the boat looking for stowaways with sniffer dogs. So they sprinkled blood from rabbits and cocaine on the deck to confuse the dogs.

Our first guest question, this show then, comes from Anna. Whenever you're ready.
Anna:Okey dokie. This listener question has been sent in by Oliver Forrest, which is his second question on the podcast. Congratulations. Here we go.

In an episode of the medical drama ER, a patient called Mrs. Gardasco accidentally overdoses on her tuberculosis medication by taking 10 pills more than prescribed over 24 hours. How?

I'll say that again.

In an episode of the medical drama ER, a patient called Mrs. Gardasco accidentally overdoses on her tuberculosis medication by taking 10 pills more than prescribed over 24 hours. How?
Scott:Were they suppositories? (cracks up)
Bill:Not relevant to the question. Scott just finds this very funny.
SFX:(Scott and Bill wheezing)
Bill:That's all he needs.
Tom:That's it, Scott's gone. Scott's just collapsed into laughter there at the idea of someone taking 10 more suppositories than necessary.
Bill:Taking one, that's hilarious. 10? Oh my god!
SFX:(guys wheezing)
Tom:I dunno why, we've not had someone completely collapse laughing on the show before, but it's really, really tickled Scott, this has.
Bill:It wasn't even somebody else's joke.
Bill:Alright, so we're taking pills. We're taking pills here. I don't know how we're taking them. Some form, but the pills are being taken.
Bill:10 more in a day.
Tom:Also this is ER, which I keep— every time I hear that, I hear it as a Yorkshire person saying, "Here you are." "'Ere y'are."
Bill:So, okay. Surely, we— it's like, is it details to how something is prescribed? Like, "take once daily" somehow is read wrong as, "Take this 10 times, better keep taking it, never stop." Is there a way it can be written that makes this happen?
Anna:You're along the right lines there.
Scott:Did she have short-term memory loss?
Scott:Okay, so prescription is perhaps wrong.
Tom:Or ambiguous. I think Bill's along the right lines there. It's an ambiguously phrased prescription or something like that?
Anna:No, the prescription is correct.
Scott:Okay, so 10 times more.
Anna:10 pills more.
Bill:It's my favourite song from Les Mis.
Tom:(laughs)I was gonna...
Scott:So now it could be that she needs 2, and therefore is taking 5 times as much medication. So it'd be like, you know... Every 4 hours, right? Take every 4 hours. Except somehow that got— Oh, take every 24 hours. But in fact, the prescription said take every 4 hours.
Bill:Someone scratched out the 2.
Anna:It's no, it's not to do with the frequency.
Bill:So... It's a pill, so it's not gonna be like she was meant to take a 10th of a pill, and she took a full one. It's 10 whole pills extra.
Tom:And it's not like pills come in packs of 11. So she can't have tried— kind of misread it as 'take one', and she takes the full pack each time.
Scott:Right, but it could be a pack of 12. And she was supposed to take 2, and took 12.
Tom:Okay, yeah.
Bill:Could be. You didn't— Now, we didn't get her first name. Is her first name "Plus Ten Pills"? Is her name like Mrs. Plus Ten Pills Gabrioni or whatever, whichever the surname was?
Anna:You're on the right lines. The wording of the packet or the prescription... is something to do with it.
Bill:Yeah, it's correct but misinterpretable?
Tom:Take two... daily. Take twelve... There's 12 hours in the clock. Was she meant to take 2, and then... Ah, it's gonna be some horrible pun concocted by the writers that makes it ambiguous either way, that wouldn't occur in reality. And I cannot solve it, and it's really annoying me.
Scott:Yeah, because writers are writers.
Scott:"Oh, we like a good pun in our show."
Anna:Yeah, so Bill, you were right when the prescription, the correct prescription should have been "take once a day".
Bill:Okay, once a day. Now, I don't know, I'm— I have no frame of reference for this, so someone's gonna have to tell me if this could ever be true. Do you think... 11 pills weighs one ounce? It's like, "Take an ounce a day." She's like, "A freaking ounce of pills a day." And piles 'em all up and downs it.
Anna:You're thinking in the right way, but it's not to do with ounces.
Bill:Take once per day.
Scott:Take one dozen per day.
Anna:How might she have misinterpreted the instructions?
Bill:Take once... per day. And she said, "No, how dare you lie to me." And took 10 just outta spite.
Tom:There were 11 in the packet and... and she interpreted "take once a day" to mean that you take the entire bottle? 'Cause American pills still come in bottles. That surprised me. If you're in Europe, you cannot buy—
Scott:It depends.
Tom:I went to get allergy meds, and you can just get 365 pills in one single bottle. You can just get massive jars of painkillers, and those have not been legal in Europe for a long time.
Scott:Yeah, but you can also get a thing, a blister pack of allergy meds very specifically, so...
Tom:Yeah. Also I feel like I should explain it. Like they— It's quite a bleak reason, but they're not legal over here because banning those big kind of easy-to-open jars has reduced the suicide rate. Because if you don't have the ability to have 100 pills without popping 'em out of a blister pack, you are less likely to... you know?
Anna:Okay, let's get back to the question. So, the problem is that this patient has misinterpreted what the packet says. She was supposed to take one. Instead, she took eleven.
Tom:Is it a misprint, and the number '1' has been doubled up?
Bill:But it seems like the packet is correct, and she is wrong. Was she— Did she have double vision?
Anna:No, the packet is— She doesn't have double vision, and the packet is correct.
Bill:"Take once a day."
Tom:I feel like we're missing something obvious here.
Bill:She has tuberculosis. Is that relevant? Do we need to add some tuberculosis?
Anna:No, the TV— The TB isn't relevant. It's actually something to do with her, herself. The name Mrs. Gardasco might be a clue.
Bill:Mrs. Gardasco. Is that a nationality that is relevant linguistically?
Bill:Gardasco, is that an Italian name?
Tom:Oh, isn't—
Bill:Onze— Onze—
Tom:'Onche', or something like that is 11 in another language.
Bill:In all those Romance languages. They're all the same!
Tom:It's one of those languages, I dunno which one.
Anna:Keep guessing, keep guessing.
Bill:French, Italian, Spanish.
Anna:Yes. (laughs)
Anna:So the Spanish word for 11 is onceon-say, which is spelled the same as 'once', O-N-C-E. So when it said—
Bill:Someone found that out, they were so happy.
SFX:(Tom and Anna laugh)
Bill:"Yes, this is an episode!"
Anna:When it said "Take once per day"...
Bill:Onceonz per day.
Anna:When it said "Take once per day," she read that as "Take 11 per day."
Bill:That's so good.
Tom:Next question's from me.

In the banqueting room of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England, there is a wooden stand near the fireplace. It has an oval panel, roughly one foot in width on top of a three-foot vertical post and base. What's it for?

So one more time.

In the banqueting room of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, England, there is a wooden stand near a fireplace. It has an oval panel, roughly one foot in width on top of a three-foot vertical post and base. What's it for?
Scott:Your coffee, obviously.
Bill:To put— To rest it while you watch the fire.
Bill:Done, next.
Tom:Perhaps I should clarify. A one foot vertical oval panel on top of a three-foot base.
Bill:Ooh. You know what? I wasn't picturing like you could put a coffee on it, but I was definitely picturing it at 45 degrees to the ground. So I'm glad we can add a 45. And we can have a vertical oval on a stick.
Scott:It's for trick shots, obviously. Bouncing ping-pong balls into the fireplace.
Bill:We are at a fireplace, very explicitly.
Anna:But wood, famously, quite... flammable.
Bill:(chuckles) Also true.
Scott:Do we heat something on it from the fire?
Bill:Oh, ooh, ooh! Do you know what you could put on a little... You know what? Look at this guy. Look at me. See, see, I got like a face? It's like a face shaped thing. You know what I would wear if I was someone going to Brighton Pavilion? I'd put my bloody wig on it. I'd take my beautiful wig. I've come in from the rain, 'cause it's England. It's definitely raining.

And I walk into Brighton Pavilion, and I think, "Oh my. Oh, it's pouring out there. My wig is terribly damp."

"Oh, just put it on the wig stand by the fire. And then come join us for a banquet."

Wig off, on the stand, dry wig, and I get to eat some food.
Tom:Everyone's looking at me, I was wondering. Either the character work was gonna continue, or if someone else was gonna come in and riff off that, but no.
Anna:No, I was waiting for you to confirm whether it was correct. Wig stand?
Scott:Yeah, obviously.
Bill:Wig stand, wig stand, wig stand!
Tom:You have identified the basics of this, but it's not a wig stand. And it's not to dry something. But—
Bill:(laughs) So I worked out nothing!
Tom:'Cause you came in, and you pointed at your face, at your oval face. And said...
Bill:An oval face.
Tom:Something like, "Look at this bloody guy." I can't remember what it was. It was something like that.
Bill:That sounds like me.
Tom:That's along the right sort of lines.
Scott:Okay, so obviously it's where you dry your space masks, when you're doing like Victorian Mission: Impossible. Right, you know, you've made your mask, done the thing. You gotta dry it by the fire, and then you're ready to go. (click) Right, now I can perform my heist using dimensional portals or whatever, right?
Bill:That's it. Everyone get gateways off my website.
Anna:Is it so that you can approach the fire... and be close to the fire, but that your face doesn't get too hot?
Bill:(gasp) It doesn't melt your makeup.
Tom:Yes. And that's the last bit, Bill. Correct.
Bill:There you go.
Tom:Victorian makeup back then, you— If it got too warm, your face would sort of start to melt. So this is absolutely right, Anna. So Victorian ladies could get close to the fire and not have their face start to melt.
Anna:Wow, I had no idea. (laughs)
Bill:Oh, when you were saying that, I was like, that's the most— Hey Anna, that's the craziest idea anyone's ever had. And you were completely right.
Anna:I mean, we've all been there with our face melting, right? So...
Bill:Oh yeah, all the time. I sit by the fire, face falls off.
Tom:The question source here is actually from the kids' tour of Brighton Pavilion. They don't mention this to the adults. It's not an important thing on that. But somewhere on the kids' tour, they mention that yes, that screen is there to stop Victorian ladies' makeup melting off.

Bill, over to you for the next question.
Bill:Okay, here we go.

In 2006, David Fearn changed his name by deed poll. His new middle names now included 'Kill', 'Die', and 'Gun'. The registrar was amused but not concerned. Why?

And I'll give it to you one more time.

In 2006, David Fearn changed his name by deed poll. His new middle names now included 'Kill', 'Die', and 'Gun'. The registrar was amused, but not concerned. Why?
Scott:Was he German?
Anna:Was his original surname Fern, did you say, or...
Bill:So I— You're gonna have to forgive whatever pronunciation I have. F-E-A-R-N. Fearn? feernFearn?fern
Anna:Oh yeah, Fearn. No, no, I heard you correctly. I wasn't sure if it was Bern with a B.
Bill:It was not.
Anna:I think, Scott, you're onto something there. Did you say it was German?
Scott:Well, I don't know. 'Die' is like 'the', or something like that?
Bill:The, but, the.
Scott:Kill The Bern. Kill The Gun.
Bill:No, the... No other languages here. It's the word 'Kill', the word 'Die', the word 'Gun'.
Scott:Is it 'Die', D-I-E, or 'Di', D-I?
Scott:Gun and... G-U-N, or -N-N?
Bill:'Gun', G-U-N.
Tom:There's a long history of people changing their name for stunts in Britain. I'm pretty sure someone at my old university once changed their name to... In my head it's like Wheatabix the cereal. It was some brand name or something like that in order to win a competition and some money. And that made the papers. But I can't... think that you'd want 'Kill', 'Die', and 'Gun' in there.
Scott:I mean, this was about the time when you would have GoldenPalace doing all those stupid stunts to advertise their gambling thing.
Tom:Oh yeah, didn't someone get a tattoo on their forehead? Yeah.
Scott:Yeah. What happened to them?
Anna:If I was working in the office where people come to change their names, I would've seen so many stupider ideas for name changes than 'Kill', 'Die', and 'Gun', that I wouldn't be that concerned about this one.
Scott:Yeah, I think there's other names involved. Those are just three that have been specifically chosen to make it seem like a conundrum, when in fact, if we knew them all, it would be really obvious. I think that's where we're going.
Anna:Oh, like "I'm going to kill and make die... this person with a gun."
Bill:That's way, that's more concerning! That's way more concerning than the words 'Kill', 'Die', and 'Gun'! That's a plan!
Anna:But this is it. (laughs) I'm trying to find a reason to be concerned about just like an idiot trying to change their name.
Scott:Right, and are the words in that particular order?
Tom:'Cause he could have picked one word from every letter of the alphabet, and just given himself 26 middle names. I don't know if there's a maximum length you can have. I mean there is in databases, but...
Scott:There's a maximum in the passports and things like that.
Scott:Discovered that with my son.
Bill:I will say... The name is incredibly long.
Tom:Ah, I thought it might be, alright.
Scott:Was it the lyrics to some song?
Bill:It wasn't the lyrics to a song, but you're not on the wrong track. That's not the wrong flavour of incorrect response.
Tom:Alright, I'll stop trying to anagram 'Kill', 'Die', and 'Gun', and 'David Fearn' now, to try and see if I can find something in there.
Bill:Save your anagramming for later.
Anna:So a quote, then? A quote from a famous— A favourite quote?
Scott:Or a whole bunch of Bond titles.
Bill:A whole bunch of Bond titles? Like what?
Tom:Like A View to a Kill, Die Another Day, and The Man With the Golden Gun.
Bill:That is... exactly what's going on here. You've hit the nail on the head.
Tom:Well done, Scott.
Bill:Good catch of those.
Anna:Very good.
Bill:How— Now, I will say it's 2006. His name is every— His middle name... is every single James Bond film in order. That's his middle name. What do you think the rest of his name is? It's not David Fearn anymore.
Scott:"Bond. James Bond." (wheezes)
Bill:The full name was:

James Dr. No From Russia with Love Goldfinger Thunderball You Only Live Twice On Her Majesty's Secret Service Diamonds Are Forever Live And Let Die The Man With The Golden Gun The Spy Who Loved Me Moonraker For Your Eyes Only Octopussy A View To A Kill The Living Daylights Licence To Kill Goldeneye Tomorrow Never Dies The World Is Not Enough Die Another Day Casino Royale... Bond.
Scott:But it doesn't include Never Say Never Again.
Bill:No, he's a purist.
Scott:Which was the not-Bond movie. And it doesn't include the original Casino Royale. So just... so we know where we are on the last—
Tom:And it does unfortunately include Die Another Day, which is awful.
Bill:(laughs) This man is a Broccoli Bond only. That's all he cares about.
Anna:Some people have too much time in their hands, don't they really?
Tom:(laughs) Yeah!

Alright, good luck with this one.

In Formula 1, the Mercedes team is known as the 'Silver Arrows', due to a mistake made with their 1934 car. What was the problem and solution?

So one more time.

In Formula 1, the Mercedes team is known as the 'Silver Arrows' due to a mistake made with their 1934 car. What was the problem and solution?
Scott:It wasn't painted, so it was silver. And they painted it.
Bill:No, I've got this one right away. You ready for this? I know it. Here it is. Here's the answer.
Anna:Go on.
Bill:I know the problem. They've got the car. It's on the track. They're ready to take it out. Weirdly, back then, they always used to race at night. They don't do it anymore, and here's why.

A vampire comes right in. He steals the car.

Wait, no. A werewolf comes right in. He jumps in the car, he's off. Like, "The werewolf took the car! What are we gonna do?"

Don't worry, silver arrow, the werewolf's natural enemy. Can't deal with silver. Shoot it through the chest. Werewolf dies. They clean out the car. They race again in the morning. They get the Silver Arrow name.

Sorry to ruin another question, Tom, but I got it.
Scott:Yeah, maybe Jack Churchill was involved in that.
Bill:Jack Churchill, he came—
Tom:Here's the thing. One of you two is along the right lines. It's either Scott, that it's something to do with the paint... Or Bill, that it's a werewolf. Anna, I'm gonna let you just kind of pick between those two.
Anna:(cackles) I'll bring this home.
Bill:I think you've gotta start naming some other cryptids.
Anna:(laughs) So I'm gonna go with Scott's original thought process.
Bill:I don't know why.
Anna:And I'm wondering whether it's something— (laughs) I wonder if it's something to do with the shape of the Mercedes logo.
Tom:It is more to do with the paint, or lack thereof.
Tom:I think you're very close there, Scott, very early.
Anna:The paint or lack thereof? Well, are the cars made of aluminium, so they're silver-coloured?
Bill:What is a Formula 1 car made of?
Scott:Well, these days it's all carbon fibre, but they used to be, you know...
Scott:A pressed metal. Or actually in that era, it would've probably been hand-bent, you know, materials. They wouldn't have had the big machine presses they have today. But aluminium, yeah, if it's unpainted, it looks pretty silver. And there's quite a few aircraft that are known by silver whatever, because they're unpainted.
Bill:Okay, but if that's the problem that they didn't paint it, we're also looking for a solution. How do you solve that? Drive it into some paint?
Scott:(snickers) Yeah. Or maybe because it was unpainted, it had more drag due to riveting or something, and they needed to paint over it?
Tom:Sorry, I hate to interrupt the creative process here, but I just wanna drill down on, "Drive it into some paint"?
Bill:I don't understand your problem, Tom. You're driving, you're not gonna stop to paint the car. So you set up a big thing of, a waterfall of paint in the middle of the track. They go through, they come out. Problem solved. Now it's a painted car. I don't understand why you have a problem with this.
Tom:The lack of paint wasn't the problem.
Bill:Oh, okay.
Anna:I wonder whether the paint did some kind of chemical reaction with the car? 'Cause there's all sorts of stuff in paint.
Bill:You're a materials scientist. What are all the things in paint? Is that your job? No, I don't think so. (giggles)
Anna:(chuckles snidely) So maybe it caused some kind of corrosion, or... The lack of paint would cause corrosion if it... you know, became rusty maybe.
Bill:Although, if the lack of paint isn't the problem, is the lack of paint the solution?
Anna:Oh, I see, yeah.
Scott:But maybe the arrow is a impression to do with them going fast in a straight line and then going straight.
Scott:When they're supposed to turn.
Bill:(laughs) Yeah.
Bill:The problem was there was a bend in the road.
Anna:The problem was no steering wheel.
SFX:(group laughing)
Tom:In this case, we are just talking about silver. 'Arrows' was just a poetic term that came with it, but the 'silver' comes from the lack of paint. So what did that solve?
Bill:Yeah, what problems do you solve?
Scott:Well, I mean, you know, you make your thing lighter, because you're not carrying the weight of the paint. Right?
Scott:But I thought that was the problem. It was called the Silver Arrow because it didn't have paint, and it turned out that it made it faster.
Tom:It wasn't so much that it made it faster. It may have done, 'cause it would've been a little bit lighter. But also this is on the Nürburgring back in 1934, so weight was not so much
Bill:Oh, well...
Tom:a problem as the fact that you have to get 'round 13 kilometres of terrifying curves. There was one specific problem here that meant it was outside the rules before they took the paint off.
Scott:It was overweight.
Tom:It was overweight. The car was too heavy. It was one kilogram over the weight limit allowed. So, they sanded off the paint. There was a naked aluminium body underneath there, and that was silver, and since then, Mercedes has always been the Silver Arrows.
Bill:There you go.
Scott:We do that in spaceflight all the time.
Bill:Sand down the rocket on the pad.
Tom:Isn't that what one of the SpaceX ones did? They are just like—
Scott:Well, yeah, but the Space Shuttle, the original fuel tank was painted white, and then they got rid of that, and it saved almost a ton of paint.
Scott:And that meant a ton of extra stuff to orbit.
Tom:Isn't one of the SpaceX ones just bare metal or stainless steel or something like that?
Scott:Yeah, the Starship is mostly bare metal. Most, bare stainless steel.
Tom:I guess when you're sending that much up into orbit that fast, a little bit of weight from the metal is worth the cost saving? I don't know how—
Scott:I think it just all burns off. That's the thing.
Tom:Scott, time for your question. What have you brought?

Fed up with being the victim of petty crime, why did Mrs. Cooper reach for some canvas, a reel of thread and a packet of fishhooks?

And again.
Bill:(wheezes) Okay.
Scott:Fed up with being the victim of petty crime, why did Mrs. Cooper reach for some canvas, a reel of thread and a packet of fishhooks?
Tom:Home Alone. This is— I don't know who she is, but this is the British reboot of Home Alone that actually ends up really gruesome.
Anna:Yeah, yeah.
Bill:Fishhooks are a lot— well, I wanna say worse, but Home Alone had a lot of melting people's flesh on a burning hot door handle, dropping an iron on someone, setting people on fire. It was pretty gruesome. Fishhooks are par for the course.
Tom:There's a YouTube channel I know called Corridor Crew, who do visual effects, and while I would—
Tom:They have edited Home Alone to be R-rated and gruesomely violent by just making the injuries... make sense in reality.
Bill:You don't have to change the traps.
Tom:I couldn't watch that. I genuine— I don't like gore at the best of times. And they really did work on the scene where he stands on the nail. They really, they worked on that.
Bill:They really hammered it home.
Anna:Love it. There's something to do with petty crime here, isn't there? What sort of crimes was she fed up with? Being stolen from?
Bill:She was free fallin'. That's my only Tom Petty song.
Tom:Art forgery. She's got canvas and thread, and she's doing art forgery. I dunno where I was going with that.
Bill:No. Canvas and thread. That's trying to catch an art thief. You put a, you put the thing on a little fish hook, you bait it with a priceless Reubens, and you wait for them to come by and then you get 'em! You pull 'em back up, you catch 'em in the canvas. Is that it, Scott? Have we solved it? Was she fishing for art thieves?
Scott:Not art thieves, no.
Anna:Is it...
SFX:(Scott and Bill laugh)
Anna:Is it painting canvas, or just canvas material?
Scott:It's just canvas.
Bill:Just canvas.
Anna:I mean, thread and hooks is fishing for stuff, right?
Bill:Yeah, it feels like it's gonna be very painful. I think Tom and I had the same look on our face of just like, "Ooh, fish hooks. Oh... oh no. Mrs. Cooper." What's a fun—
Tom:This is a shot in the dark outta nowhere. And if it's right, I'll actually be quite sad, 'cause I feel like I would've brought this question to a close very early.
Bill:Then don't tell him.
Tom:But there's something in my head about protecting... food from bears in national parks. If you've got your picnic basket, and you are camping overnight, you get... But you'd need a rope. But you sling it in a canvas bag, and you pull it up over a tree branch. But I don't think you'd use fish hooks and thread for that.
Bill:The fish hooks are so when the bear tries to grab it, he goes, "Raah!" You know?
Scott:To be clear, she was concerned about crime.
Bill:Yeah, bear crime is a big problem. Have you not seen Cocaine Bear?
Tom:Petty theft.
Bill:Petty theft. That's the pettiest theft of all when a bear does it.
Tom:There's a documentary about it. The bear's got a green hat and a tie on, and a little friend called Boo-Boo.
Tom:That reference won't land for anyone under the age of 30.
Bill:Tom, everybody knows Yogi Bear.
Tom:Do they, do they?
Bill:Yeah, he was that baseballer with all the aphorisms.
Anna:I'm wondering... 'cause to be fed up of petty crime, that means that a crime keeps occurring to her until one day she snaps, and she buys a load of fishhooks and twine. So could it be, yeah, we've mentioned theft, but I wonder what else is classed as petty crime? Vandalism, maybe?
Bill:Yeah, vandalism. Libel. (snickers)
Scott:Yeah, you— What other kind of petty crime is there, other than art theft and vandalism?
Bill:Oh, like gr— well, vandalism like graffiti was, is a fair thing. People keep painting your... painting something on her house. So she builds an entire fake wall out of canvas and then pulls it up. Puts it back down again when they come.
Scott:Okay, it's not vandalism.
SFX:(both wheezing)
Anna:Trespassing? Was she annoyed that people kept coming through her... grounds, garden, house?
Tom:Oh, I mean, possibly, but I have to be that nerd who says that trespassing is not a crime in England.
Bill:We have the right to ramble!
Tom:No, we don't have that either. That's Scotland, but it's a long—
Anna:No, that's Scotland.
Tom:It's a civil thing. But is it shoplifting? No, it's still theft, isn't it?
Scott:No, no, no, no. I just said that art theft is not petty crime.
Bill:Oh, art theft, okay. So it could just be theft-theft.
Anna:Oh, fine.
Bill:Okay, so theft is a fairly petty crime. Or, depending on how much you steal. What do you save with canvas, hooks, and string? What do you stop people stealing?
Tom:You build an enormous barrier that stops people.
Anna:Well, what was her aim? Was her aim to stop people thieving, or was it to catch the thieves in the act?
Bill:Yeah, is it a—
Anna:Or to push fishhooks through their eyes as a punishment?
Tom:(sputters) Specific on the eyes there, Anna!
Bill:Hey, that's how you do it.
Bill:Yeah, she changed her name to Mrs. I'm Going To Stick Fish Hooks Through The Eyes Of This Man Cooper.
Tom:It's the origin of Jigsaw.
Bill:Ah, is it Jigsaw?
Scott:Well, look, the hooks were supposed to be a nasty surprise for someone, right? They were sort of, not in the eyes surprise. No, it's just surprise, right?
Bill:Did anybody else have... when you were growing up in your local stores, did you ever have Lucky Dips? As a kid, you could pay and just rummage in the thing and take an unmarked package and be like, that's yours.
Tom:No, but...
Tom:I was thinking of Halloween candy in the US. People who just take the entire Halloween candy bucket or a hunter thing thrown. But I don't think you'd wanna do that with kids (chuckles) reaching into the bucket and getting surprise fishhooks. That doesn't feel like...
Bill:No, no, if they grab just one, that's fine. If they try and take the whole bowl, it's rigged to the wire, drops the canvas net with all the fishhooks, catches the kid...
Tom:No, no, no!
Scott:Instant horrifying Halloween costume.
Bill:You're right, Tom. This is a good plan. I agree with your plan, Tom. Your kid catching trap that you've designed and patented I think is a great idea.
SFX:(Tom and Scott laugh)
Scott:"Real blood."
Tom:We've taken some dark turns on this episode, haven't we?
Scott:Yeah. You're so close! Just...
Bill:Okay. It's a trap.
Scott:Sort of missing the link to petty crime.
Bill:Is it so petty that this is something that she has sewn in to the containers of 100 dollars bills in her Monopoly set? It's like, "You keep taking from the bank, you'll get a hook in the hand! Or my name's not Mrs. I'm Gonna Hook Your Hand Cooper!"
Scott:I think real money was involved.
Bill:Real money.
Scott:I mean, not real money, but not fake money.
Bill:Things with real value, perhaps.
Bill:You're a thief. You're trying to steal. Mrs. Cooper doesn't want you to steal. What does she do?
Scott:So I'm gonna say yes, the orientation of the fishhooks is really important to what she did.
Bill:Orientation of the fish hooks.
Scott:Think about that, and you were so close with the Halloween bowl.
Tom:Wait, were the fishhooks intended for the criminal? Or to just attach something? Did she have a costume or something like that?
Scott:They were supposed to be a nasty surprise. As I said, not through the eyes, but a surprise for somebody involved in the petty crime.
Anna:Ooh, ooh! Did people keep stealing stuff out of her pockets? And so she sewed a fake pocket into her coat. And put a load of fishhooks in it, so that when someone put their hand in and took it out again, then they'd get like a bleeding hand?
Scott:That is pretty much it. But it was worse than a bleeding hand. They would pull their hand out, and it would be stuck down in her dress by fish hooks.
Bill:And she'd run to the police! And they couldn't get away!
Scott:Yeah, literally would say, "I am going to the police station, and you are going with me."
Bill:Good on you, Mrs. Cooper.
Tom:Oh, wow! I'm not sure "good on you"'s quite right for that, but...
Bill:Hey, I'm— I support Mrs. Cooper. I don't like people stealing from old women. She's 82 years old, Tom.
Tom:Where did that come from? That wasn't—
Bill:She's 82 and they just keep taking her medication. She's got all that tuberculosis medication. She keeps taking too much of it, but they sent her home with the right amount. She's on her way, and they try and steal it. And you want the thieves to succeed, Tom?
Tom:I'm just not sure that massively being spiked with fishhooks is a proportionate response for that.
Bill:That's fair, maybe not. Is it necessarily a punishment?
Scott:It was a different time.
Tom:When was this?
Bill:It was 1943. Stuff was happening, Tom.
Scott:Apparently invention ran in the family— Or I wouldn't say ran in the family, but it was a family business. 'Cause her husband was Peter Cooper, who actually built and designed one of the first steam locomotives in the US.
Scott:So, innovation on every level.
Bill:And his grandson was DB Cooper, who stole a million dollars and jumped out of a plane.
Tom:In my head, this was like 2005 or something, somewhere in a quiet village in Britain. And the context was very different.

One final thing then, folks. At the start of the show, I asked

where you'd see the letters C, D, E, F, L, O, P, T, and Z, hopefully?
Scott:In the alphabet.
Tom:Mmmmm. I mean, if they're not there, something's gone wrong with the entire world. So possibly not quite that far.
Bill:Alright, we got 'flop'. We got 'cadets'. 'Cadets flop.' Without an A, and with a Z.
Tom:You'll see 'em probably every couple of years or so. Well, you used to. These days, there's something more modern.
Bill:Oh my god, in a census. Oh, these are weird letters. I'm looking at my keyboard, trying to keep track of the letters.
Tom:Eh, the letters themselves don't matter too much, but they'd all be in different font sizes.
Bill:Oh, is it on an eye chart?
Tom:It's the old Snellen eye test chart, yes. And these—
Scott:Oh, yeah, hey.
Bill:I once went to the optometrist with my glasses off, and the entire eye chart was just one gigantic letter E. And I went, "I have no idea what you're showing me."
Tom:Yeah, these days, they tend to use computer screens and change up the letters each time so you can't remember them. But, that is the classic eye test chart. It is those letters.

With that, thank you very much to all our players. Let's find out what's going on in your lives. Scott, let's start with you.
Scott:Hey, yeah, you can find me on YouTube. I will probably be making videos about poop in space or nuclear weapons. Possibly both at the same time. Yeah, just look for Scott Manley.
Anna:You can find me online. Google Anna Ploszajski. Just give it a crack, and it'll probably autocorrect to that, particularly if you type 'materials science' next to it. I've got a book, which is called Handmade: A Scientist's Search for Meaning through Making.
Tom:And Bill.
Bill:You can listen to the podcasts I make, Escape This Podcast, Solve This Murder. Another fun project I'm involved with is streaming live, actual plays of tabletop role-playing games over on the Twitch channel, Level 1 Geek. I have a lot of fun over there. We're probably in the midst or wrapping up by the time this comes out, a campaign where we all play various gods in a modern LA setting. I'm the God of Awards, and also a Scottish firefighter. It's a very strange situation.
Tom:And if you wanna find out more about this show, you can do that at There are video highlights every week at, and we are at @lateralcast pretty much everywhere.

With that, thank you very much to Anna Ploszajski.
Tom:To Bill Sunderland.
Bill:Thank you for having me.
Tom:And to Scott Manley.
Scott:Thanks for having me. Fly safe.
Tom:I've been Tom Scott, and that's been Lateral.
Previous EpisodeIndexNext Episode