Lateral with Tom Scott

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

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Episode 78: Sneaky statutory statues

Published 5th April, 2024

Ruth Amos & Shawn Brown from 'Kids Invent Stuff' and Daniel Peake face questions about play programmes, dreary drives and captured caps.

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: Noa, Christopher & Deborah Henney-Turner, Max Kief, Sara. FORMAT: Pad 26 Limited/Labyrinth Games Ltd. EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: David Bodycombe and Tom Scott.


Transcription by Caption+

Tom:In 2011, which organisation ran a full-page advert in Playbill programmes, headlined, "Our version is sliiiightly different"?

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

In a world that's constantly changing, how can we stay grounded? My advice is always touch a metal doorknob. Joining me today are three very down-to-earth individuals. We start with:

a puzzle editor from The Telegraph, Dan Peake. Welcome back to the show.
Daniel:Hey, thank you very much for having me again.
Tom:Welcome back. How was it last time?
Daniel:Aside from forgetting important words at important times. I got very excited when I realised an answer and then didn't know any of the words to tell you. (stammers) Really good fun.

Your questions are tricky. You did tricky questions.
Tom:(laughs) Well, you write puzzles and clues and such for a living. Is this the sort of thing you write? What are you working on at the minute?
Daniel:I'm more general knowledge. I do— I write the pub quiz for The Telegraph. I do a lot of general knowledge crosswords.

A couple of my colleagues, they tend to do the cryptic crosswords and that sort of thing. I do check them as well, but I'm slightly more, you know, straight down the line. So I'm... Lateral thinking is always that one step removed, and I love that I get to exercise my brain muscle like that for a change.
Tom:Good luck to you.

We have three returning players on the show, and the other two... really do know each other quite well.

We will start with one half of Kids Invent Stuff, Ruth Amos, how are you doing?
Ruth:Hey, I'm good, thank you. Thanks for having us back.
Tom:Always a joy to have you. How was it for you last time on the show?
Ruth:Oh, I loved it. I loved it, and...

Although I did have a lot of people who were kind of telling me they got the answer straight away, and how did I not get them fast enough?

So yeah, there was that. Yeah.
Tom:Oh, everyone claims that, and yet! (laughs)

What they don't know is if more than one person immediately knows the answer, we do just throw the question out. So I feel like they get a higher hit rate there.

Also joining us, the other half of Kids Invent Stuff, Shawn Brown, welcome back.
Shawn:Hello, thank you for having us back.
Tom:I realise I should ask you at some point to plug Kids Invent Stuff. What are you working on at the minute?
Shawn:So yes, we build primary school kids' inventions on our YouTube channel. They draw them, send them to us every month. We pick one, and we build one.

But our most recent project is we do a thing called YouTube Makers Secret Santa, where a whole load of YouTube makers from around the world make gifts for each other. And yeah, we've been in the thick of getting our gift ready to send as a surprise to somebody. So that's yeah, that's our fun YouTube endeavour at the moment.
Tom:Well, good luck to all three of you. As usual, our questions have been carefully assembled by throwing a magnetic poetry set at the fridge door. So let's see if we've gotten lucky again with our first puzzle:

This question was sent in by Christopher and Deborah Henney-Turner. Thank you very much.

Some have claimed that Sylvester saved his companion's life by swearing. How?

I'll say that one more time.

Some have claimed that Sylvester saved his companion's life by swearing. How?
Daniel:I guess we should try and work out who this Sylvester is. That would probably be helpful.
Daniel:I know how this show works now.
SFX:(Tom and Shawn laugh)
Shawn:Reverse engineer.
Daniel:So what swear words do we know?
SFX:(Tom and Shawn laugh)
Ruth:What are we allowed to say on the podcast? 'Cause we're not allowed to say anything on our channel, so...
Tom:I previously had one question which had an unavoidable bleeped swear in the answer. And joyfully, this is similar, but it will be bleeped.
Ruth:Oh, so we could just swear? We can just swear?
Shawn:Just non-stop.
Ruth:Non-stop, and you'd bleep it?
Tom:I'd rather you didn't. It means more work for our team. But in theory, sure.

We also just had Stuart Goldsmith on the show an episode ago. And I once saw him doing warm-up for a studio audience. And he found one of the kids in the audience, and in front of the parent just asked them, "What's the rudest word you know?" Which is just brilliant crowd work.
Daniel:And what did he say?
Tom:I cannot repeat that right now.
Daniel:So, a good kid then?
Tom:Yeah, absolutely.
Daniel:Sylvester. The first Sylvester that I can think of is Sylvester the cat.
Shawn:Hmm. Yeah, I was— I went there, and then I went Sylvester Stallone.
Ruth:Yeah, I went Sylvester Stallone.
Daniel:Okay, yeah.
Ruth:Yeah, I went Sylvest— I can't speak, Sylvester Stallone.
Daniel:So who would his companion be?
Ruth:If it is a cat, and the cat talks...
SFX:(Ruth and Tom laugh)
Ruth:I've not actually ever seen Sylvester the cat. I'm gonna—
Tom:Oh, really? That's a—
Daniel:The one with little Tweety Pie, always trying to eat the little bird?
Ruth:Oh, yes, I have seen that. Okay, yeah, yeah, yeah. Tweety Pie, seen that one, yeah.
Tom:I know the Looney Tunes are steadily becoming less relevant over time, but I think Sylvester's still well enough known there.

It's not that Sylvester. You have all missed one Sylvester.
Shawn:Another famous Sylvester. Notorious for use of swear words.
Tom:(snickers) Oh, no, not really, but... There is a subset of our audience that's screaming the answer here based on a couple of keywords.
Shawn:Doesn't that apply to every question, though?
SFX:(Tom and Daniel laugh)
Shawn:In this game?
Tom:More so than this, and they will be insufferable about it. Or, as Sylvester would say, in-thh-ufferable.
Ruth:You are about to get us in trouble on the social media, aren't you, Tom? Because this is what happened last time, is you gave us one that a subsection of your audience knew very well, and... I just was full of people telling me that I should've got it quicker.

Is he— Is it like Sylvester who's a wizard or something?
Tom:Not a wizard, no.
Tom:Although, mm... Vaguely, yes. The word 'companion' is also doing quite a lot of hard work.
Daniel:Oh, Sylvester McCoy.
Tom:There we go.
Daniel:Who played a Doctor in Doctor Who. And Doctors have companions.
Ruth:Oh! You've got us in so much trouble, Tom.
SFX:(guys laughing)
Ruth:People on the internet hate us!
Tom:Don't pin this on me! Do not pin this one on me!
Daniel:Okay, so, how do you save your life by swearing?
Ruth:Oh, is there a swear word that sounds like the word duck?
Tom:(laughs) I mean, yes. I'm not sure where you're going with that.
Ruth:No, I know, but I don't want to say it. I don't want to give you more work to do. So, did someone shout that word, and they thought it was 'duck', and they ducked, and it saved their life?
Tom:That's a lovely guess. It's not, though.
Ruth:It should be the answer. Anyone that writes for Doctor Who, if you'd like to add that in, I think that'll go down really well.
Tom:Oh, if any Doctor Who writers are listening to this, please just add some swearing in there. Just really...
Shawn:For future questions.
Tom:Yeah, yeah.
Daniel:Who was Sylvester McCoy's companion? Was it Ace?
Tom:It was, yes. This is Sophie Aldred's Ace.
Ruth:So was this— Did this happen on set?
Ruth:So something happened on set. He swore. And she would have died, if not? Or herself. How severe is the injury?
Daniel:Ooh. You know how directors say "cut" when they want to end a scene? Are we going towards there? Did someone think they heard "cut", so they stopped acting?
Tom:Oh, no. That's a very different swear word. And it's not that one.
Ruth:Oh, okay.
Daniel:Right, good.
Tom:But, but, but, but, but... What would swearing imply? What would it tell to people around him? If he'd behaved normally, what might have happened?
Daniel:I guess if you're acting, and the Doctor's a quite quirky character, you wouldn't necessarily know that he was in pain, or you were in pain, or something had gone wrong. So did he actually have to break character, and this was the way to do it?
Tom:That is exactly right. It was so people knew he wasn't acting. So what's going on around him? Why do people say he might've saved a life here?
Daniel:Did he step on some Lego?
SFX:(group laughing)
Ruth:Was there something like... I don't know, some explosion, like rubble falling or something like that?
Tom:Yeah, you know what? You're close enough, I'm going to give it to you.

There was a stunt going on with a glass tank that's filling up with water. And he'd noticed that the outside of the tank was starting to buckle. The companion is trapped inside there, apparently. He's noticing something's going wrong, and his exact words were:

"(bleep), get her out!"

The intention being that... Yeah, it's really clear. The Doctor does not drop swearing into his lines, even if he's improvising.

So, the clue was to the production team: No, this is not the Doctor. This is Sylvester saying, "Get her out of there, it's gonna buckle."

Some of the production team later said that actually, she wasn't in that much danger. She'd have been fine. Who was?
Ruth:The Doctor.
Daniel:Always. The Doctor is always in peril.
SFX:(others laughing)
Ruth:Or the crew. The crew. Whoever was in the water.
Daniel:If it's water.
Ruth:Yeah, water, electricity.
Ruth:They don't do well. We've learnt that.
Tom:The rest of the crew on the studio floor were probably in more danger than the actress was at that point.
Ruth:Still can't be pleasant.
Tom:So, some Doctor Who fans say that Sylvester McCoy saved his companion's life, saved Sophie Aldred's life, by swearing and cluing everyone in... that that's not acting. That tank is actually buckling.

Each of our guests, as ever, has brought a question with them. I don't know the questions. I definitely don't know the answers.

And we'll start today with Ruth.
Ruth:Ooh, exciting. I get to go first. Fab, okay.
Tom:And I will say that our two people from Kids Invent Stuff are in different locations right now. They cannot see each other's stuff.
Ruth:Yeah, I haven't seen any of the questions that have been sent in to Shawn and vice versa. (inhales sharply) Okay, so...

The company Aquamazing manufactures a roughly rectangular novelty item with an intricate brown pattern. How could it potentially answer a question that has been bugging audiences for over 25 years?

The company Aquamazing—

I hope I'm saying that right, but... Aqua— Yeah, think of 'Aqua' and 'Amazing'.

...manufactures a roughly rectangular novelty item with an intricate brown pattern. How could it potentially answer a question that's been bugging audiences for over 25 years?
Tom:I just realised that 25 years ago is nearly the year 2000. Not quite, but I didn't like doing that maths and figuring out that 25 years ago nearly starts with a '2'.
Ruth:Anyone feeling old? 25 years ago is like the '80s, right? (giggles)
Tom:Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Tom:Aquamazing... This isn't strictly relevant, but it's just stuck in my head on portmanteau words like that, that in Canada, all the packaging on the side of products has to be in both English and French.

And... Cheese-tastic... got translated to French as Fromidable. Which is beautiful!
Daniel:(laughs heartily)
Ruth:Oh, that's amazing.
Tom:Someone made a translation that is a portmanteau that's better than the original. That's so rare!
Daniel:And as a portmanteau goes, Aquamazing is not that aquamazing.
Tom:No. (laughs) Which is a shame, because in French, Eaumazing would be brilliant.
Daniel:So it feels like water is somehow involved. Aqua... feels like, or... Unless it's someone who's a big fan of the colour blue.
Tom:Roughly rectangular, brown, with a pattern on it.
Shawn:The first thing I thought of was chocolate. Which has nothing to do with water. I was like, novelty item? Chocolate's pretty novelty. Brown pattern, I'm thinking, you know, dairy milk.
Shawn:But the only— The only problem or thing that kind of frustrated people, that I think of chocolate, is the thing where you cut it and remove a piece, but then you can put it perfectly back together.
Shawn:But that's a very niche thing to develop a product for.
Daniel:Someone's been practicing.
SFX:(group snickering)
Tom:I was thinking bath bombs for some reason.

Those things made of citric acid and... whatever, bicarbonate of soda. I think you drop in a bath and put... fizz and colours and things. I was thinking roughly rectangular, brown, and aqua. Like, something you drop in a bath.
Daniel:I don't want a brown bath, Tom.
Tom:I realised the minute I opened my mouth for that, that actually brown is not a colour I want with that.
Daniel:No! No! (wheezes) Oh, dear.
Shawn:Maybe Aquamazing have branched out. They started off doing water-based solutions, and now they're, you know, they're kind of— They've kind of cast the net wider. Maybe it's we're being lulled by the name.
Ruth:I can confirm— No, it is a water-based thing. The 'Aqua-Amazing' leads you on the right track. It's not trying to trick you.
Shawn:Okay. 'Cause, you know, Apple don't sell apples.
Tom:(laughs) Okay, some kind of pool equipment. Floaty thing. Something that goes in... goes in a swimming pool. But again, roughly rectangular and brown?
Daniel:And also, that's been bugging audiences. What, are we in a theatre setting?
Tom:Oh yeah, audiences!
Daniel:This is what I do on this show. I just say, "What?" And eventually, the clues you give to me finally give me the answer. But at the moment, I'm fully in 'what' territory.
Ruth:Would you like a clue? No?
Daniel:No, no, no. We will get this!
Tom:(laughs uproariously)
Ruth:I see.
Tom:No, we won't. I'll happily take the hint, Dan.
SFX:(Daniel and Shawn laugh)
Daniel:Yeah, fair enough.
Ruth:Okay, I'm trying to think of— Because I feel like some of these clues, you'll just get it, so... One of its four sides... four sides is jagged and irregular.
Daniel:So, 'cause I was thinking rectangular, are we dealing with something like a note? Like a 20 pound note?
Tom:Oh, you're right. I will get that immediately off that clue.
Tom:Ohh. This is a company... that sells pool floats... in a very specific shape, isn't it? And it's a shape that we've all seen somewhere.
Ruth:It's a very specific shape. It is, yes. And it answers people's questions that they've had for a long time.
Tom:Yeah, I'll let others put it together if you haven't.
Daniel:Well, I don't know what the questions it answers is, but I think I know what shape it must now be. No, I don't know. I've got an idea.
Ruth:I can give you another clue that will probably help you in the right direction.
Daniel:Well, here's what I'm possibly thinking in terms of shape. Is it in the shape of a shark fin?
Tom:Oh, wrong movie. Definitely the wrong movie.
Daniel:Okay. 'Cause I had the jagged edge. I was wondering if that was like the teeth, like...

No, a fin does not have teeth, hang on. I'm getting my shark anatomy mixed up here.

I never want to see any part of a shark.
Tom:You're looking for something flat and brown that maybe looks a little bit wooden.
Shawn:Is it— Is this to do with Titanic?
Tom:Yes, it is. It's gotta be. Surely, Ruth.
Ruth:Yes, it is.
SFX:(both laughing)
Daniel:There was enough room? Is that where we're going?
Ruth:Yes, that is where we're going. That is exactly where we're going. So, the answer is, it was created to see if both Rose and Jack could fit on the Titanic door. So it's a novelty—
Tom:Can they?
Ruth:Well, so this is it, okay?

Much debate has raged over whether Jack could've fit on the door while Rose floats. 'Cause she's on it, isn't she, and he's in the water?
Daniel:Yeah, yeah.
Ruth:So much so that in 2023, director James Cameron recreated the scene with two actors in a pool. It seemed that they couldn't both fit on the door without partially sinking into the frozen waters.

And that is what Kate Winslet has previously said, that yes, he could have fitted on the door, but it would not have stayed afloat.

So I don't know if this product actually solves that problem or not because it's a very floaty product, but...
Tom:I feel like James Cameron should've put just a note to them. It's not like they could have that in dialogue, but they should've tried it for a moment. They should have figured... (grumbles)
Ruth:If it was a YouTube video, there'd literally be text on the screen at that point, right?
Tom:(laughs heartily) A little asterisk.
Ruth:'Cause you know they're the comments you're gonna get. Yeah, yeah.
Daniel:Little fact-checked movies in real time.
Ruth:Or you wouldn't because you'd know that's what the comments were going to be, and it would create interaction. So, you know, you could look at it both ways.
Ruth:So, Aquamazing manufactured a blow-up door to see if both Rose and Jack could fit on the Titanic door.
Tom:This question comes from Max Kief. Thank you very much, Max.

On the 26th of November 2003, after his last flight on a particular aircraft, why was flight engineer Trevor Norcott unable to take his cap home, even if he wanted to?

One more time.

On the 26th of November 2003, after his last flight on a particular aircraft, why was flight engineer Trevor Norcott unable to take his cap home, even if he wanted to?
Daniel:These beheading accidents are nasty, you know.
Daniel:I'm assuming his head was firmly attached to his neck at the end of the flight.
Tom:Yes. We occasionally do have dark questions on here. This is not one of the dark questions.
Daniel:This is not one of them.
Ruth:Now, I don't know that much about... flying rituals or traditions, but I have seen there is— and I don't know if it's just an American tradition where when you do your first solo flight, they cut your shirt or your top or something?
Tom:That was actually a question on a previous episode of Lateral that as we record this, has not aired yet. Congratulations!
SFX:(Daniel and Shawn laugh)
Ruth:Wow! Oh, thank you! I should've been on that one.
Tom:You would be excellent at that question. Yep, brilliant. Unfortunately, not the answer to this one.
Ruth:Oh, I just wondered if it was something similar. Is there a tradition on your last flight that you feed your— I mean, you wouldn't feed it into parts of the engine that would... Because all I can think of is bird strike, but with your hat, and I'm like, I'm sure that's not good for the aircraft.
Tom:You are not a million miles away, but you're also definitely not next door to it either.
Ruth:Okay, okay.
Daniel:What was the year again, Tom?
Daniel:Is that around the time Concorde stopped?
Tom:It was around the time Concorde stopped.
Shawn:Mm, interesting.
Daniel:I think the last Concorde flight was an internal flight to either the UK, and it landed at Bristol; or it was to somewhere like Lyon in France, where they've got a big museum there, where a lot of Concorde was developed. So it'll be eith— to one of those two places, but that does not help. While he could—
Tom:It doesn't, but it is the flight to Bristol Airport, yes.
Daniel:Yeah... Because they've got a big Concorde museum there.
Daniel:Never been to Bristol for a while. Never went. Meant to. Fun story.
Tom:The thing is, if you'd been to the museum, you actually might know the answer to this one.
Ruth:Is his hat in the museum? Is his hat in the museum?
Tom:His hat is in the museum, yes.
Ruth:Did he— Is that why he can't take it home? Because someone stole it and put it in the museum?
Ruth:Very British thing to do. We're very good at that.
Daniel:Like the British Museum, yeah.
SFX:(Tom and Shawn laugh)
Tom:Yeah, okay, that's... "We've taken your cap. It's our cap now."
Daniel:So he was a pilot on the last Concorde flight then.
Tom:He was the flight engineer, yes.
Daniel:Flight engineer. So not the pilot then.
Daniel:What, I don't know what a flight engineer is, it turns out.
Tom:I believe Concorde is one of the old-school aeroplanes that needs to have someone monitoring all the dials and things while pilot and co-pilot actually fly. Basically, systems engineer.
Ruth:But so, so his hat... is around, because it's in the museum, but he can't take it home?
Tom:He couldn't take it home at the end of the flight, no.
Daniel:Had there been a problem on the flight?
Tom:No, all went normal.
Daniel:"No, no, no blinky light. Just putting my hat on it. No blinky light."
Tom:(laughs heartily) How much do you know about Concorde? How it flies, how it works? Talk through what happens with a Concorde flight.
Daniel:Pilot says go. Plane goes up.
Tom:I feel like this might be one for the engineers in the room.
Daniel:(laughs) That is not me.
Shawn:I mean, it go— The forces the whole plane encounters are off the scale. It burns a heck of a lot more fuel.

Which was actually mentioned in the news this week in relation to the COP and various... groups who are trying to encourage the consumption of oil products. And the idea was yeah, supersonic, encouraging supersonic flights might be a way to do that.

But in the relation, I can't relate— work out how any of the specifics relating...
Ruth:All the specifics about how it flies, it worries me if someone needs, involves their hat, because now I'm like, unless you... I don't know, I can't even think of a way of— It's not the sort of thing you chuck out of a window out of Concorde. Do you know what I mean? That's not usually how it's done.
Tom:No, but you might put it somewhere.
Ruth:(gasp) On the nose! No, no.
Tom:Oh wow.
SFX:(Daniel and Shawn laugh)
Daniel:I was like, no!
Tom:No, no, no.
Daniel:I mean, I would pay for that flight.
Daniel:"Sorry, yeah, can't go. The hat's not on the nose."
Ruth:Wing walking, but on Concorde.
Tom:It would be amazing... But no. We've talked about, it used a lot of fuel. What other engineering challenges are there with travelling that speed? It was known—
Daniel:It was known for expanding and contracting quite a bit, wasn't it?
Tom:Yes. Why?
Daniel:Because... It was going so fast that the friction of the plane sort of— It literally expanded. And so therefore, it was a good few inches... bigger in the sky than it was at rest.
Ruth:Is that big enough to get your hat in somewhere?
Ruth:His hat got stuck in Concorde!
Tom:I will give you that. He deliberately placed his hat on what he knew was going to be the final flight in one of the expansion joints in the cabin.
Tom:So what happened to it?
Ruth:And it exploded as it contracted. No. (cracks up)
Daniel:It became a flat cap.
Tom:Heyyy! It became known as the cap in the gap.
Ruth:And can you see any of the cap? Is there part of it coming out of that gap?
Tom:He just kind of tucked it in. It's a very small expansion joint. So as Concorde comes into land, what happens?
Shawn:Oh, it cools down. And it, yeah. Everything tightens up. It closes the gap.
Tom:And the cap gets... they thought, permanently stuck in there, because Concorde was never going to take off again. At some point, the cap came loose. And it's now in the airport museum. You can see it.

But yes, this is the cap in the gap, which was placed there because flight engineer Trevor Norcott thought, "That's not coming out of there."

Dan, over to you for the next one.
Daniel:Are we fans of the year 388 BC, everybody?
Ruth:Oh, it's one of my favourites.
Shawn:Huge fans.
Daniel:I know, right? So you'll have no trouble with this.

In 388 BC, the boxer Eupolus of Thessaly defeated three opponents at the ancient Olympics. Funded by the men involved, several bronze statues of Zeus were erected, with inscriptions detailing the events. Why did the four men prefer not to have the statues around?

So, in 388 BC, the boxer Eupolus of Thessaly defeated three opponents at the Ancient Olympics. Funded by the men involved, several bronze statues of Zeus were erected with inscriptions detailing the events. Why did the four men prefer not to have the statues around?
Ruth:Because they were ugly.
Shawn:So it was— So the statues were commemorating their loss? Or the other guy's win? Is that what you were saying?

Because you were sort of saying that the people who were involved funded the statues. So, they were the people who lost, presumably?
Shawn:Did they do the— Were they statues of Zeus in their likeness?
Daniel:I mean, Zeus took many forms.
Tom:(snickers) Yes.
Daniel:So he could've been in any— I mean, he could have been a swan in this. I don't know.
Shawn:(snickers) Okay.
Daniel:The statues no longer exist. So we don't know what they looked like, but we do know what the statues were for.
Ruth:So, can we lay out the story? So, essentially, he— There was a fight.
Ruth:Three people lost? Did I get that right?
Ruth:And who paid for the statues?
Daniel:All four of them.
Ruth:Did they pay for the statues before the fight?
Tom:It's a commemoration, alright. What was Zeus the god of? Zeus was the leader/father of the gods, right? Top of the pantheon.
Tom:Was Zeus the equivalent of... Thor? I can't remember how the— or god of thunder?
Daniel:Odin is the supreme Norse god.
Tom:Right. Never mind.
Daniel:But focusing on Zeus is a little bit of a red herring here.
Shawn:But it's not about how they look, the statues?
Daniel:No, I'd argue that it's not.
Ruth:It's about what was said?
Tom:If this turns out to be a pun in ancient Greek...
Tom:None of us have the classics knowledge for that.
Shawn:Did they describe the fight as 'aquamazing'?
SFX:(group laughing)
Shawn:And they were like, "What? Nah, terrible."
Tom:There's a great translation of that into ancient Greek. It fits perfectly. I just don't know how to pronounce it.
Daniel:Interestingly, Shawn... No.
Tom:(chortles dejectedly)
Tom:Just for a second, Dan! Just for a second. You sold that so well.
Shawn:Hooked me in. (giggles) Well played.
Ruth:Is it to do with the writing? Is there an issue with the writing of it, or is it the statue side of it?
Daniel:Oh yeah. You'd said "commemorate." What do you mean—
Ruth:Yeah, did someone die?
Daniel:No one died.
Ruth:Did someone lose their body parts? Were there particular things lost in the fight, and the men didn't feel like men anymore?
SFX:(guys laughing)
Tom:Oh wow, that's...
Ruth:I've written my whole story in my head.
Daniel:So you're thinking of commemoration, and commemoration tends to be like, "Oh, this is a really good thing that's happened" ...and celebrating something. This is not that.
Tom:Is it a warning? "Don't get in the boxing ring with this jackass. He'll knock your limbs off."
Daniel:Oh, Eupolus, oof. It's not a statue of celebration.
Ruth:Is it like Zeus stood on all three of the men that lost?
SFX:(guys laughing)
Daniel:No, but I will say that the authorities were very happy. The authorities wanted these statues put up. The authorities thought it was a good idea.
Ruth:Oh, are they wanted? Like a wanted poster in ancient times.
Daniel:Oh, I'd love that. I'd love that to be the equivalent of wanted. You're sort— Sort of is going to be my answer there.
Tom:Oh, wow, okay. I was going to say it was just a general warning against boxing. Don't do this. Boxing is illegal in these Olympics.

And part of the event is... evading the Greek police? I don't know where I was going with that.
Daniel:So, the word 'warning' is good here, but it's not a warning against boxing.
Shawn:It would be a warning against angering the gods.
Daniel:Oh, that's good, but it's not right.
Tom:Alright, Roy Walker(!)
Daniel:So... You have assumed... that everything that happened in the ring... should have happened in the ring.
Daniel:You have assumed something about the fighting.
Ruth:Oh, that it was fair? So the fight— Was the fighting not fair?
Tom:Did someone cheat? Did someone keep fighting after they were down or outside the ring? Or they just never got to the ring because he just punched them outside it.
SFX:(Daniel and Shawn laugh)
Tom:And the statues of Zeus are a warning against cheating in the Olympics.
Daniel:You're very close. Keep following that thought.
Tom:Hold on. This question is phrased very carefully, right? The boxer defeated three opponents. It did not say he defeated them in a boxing ring, at boxing.
Tom:Is this some other sport? Some other event? Something else— Oh my—! Was it a statue competition? Was it a competition in the ancient Olympics to create the best statue of Zeus?
Daniel:That's so good, but no.
SFX:(group groaning)
Tom:I thought I'd got that!
Shawn:That was good.
Daniel:We're definitely dealing with boxing, and you— In a way, you're overcomplicating it. You... The fight we were saying was not fair. You were wondering Tom, if one of them potentially cheated. Just follow that thread.
Tom:One of them had just hidden a bronze statue of Zeus in his boxing glove and was just using it as a weapon.
Daniel:Not quite. I'd have loved to have seen that. But not one of them had cheated.
Ruth:All of them cheated. Was it like a fix?
Daniel:All of them had cheated. All four. So he defeated them... but he had bribed the other three to win.
Tom:A match fixing thing!
Daniel:It's match fixing in the ancient Olympics in 388 BC. So, if that's the case, why did they pay for the statues?
Tom:A punishment?
Daniel:Exactly. The authorities fined all four of them.
Daniel:That is why they didn't want the statues, because the statues were commemorating the cheating.

And essentially the inscriptions on the statue— The statues were of Zeus. That's because he was the supreme Greek god, and so the statues were just for him. But it was the inscriptions which were saying things like "Victory is to be gained not by money, but by, you know, actually being good at things."

"Fleetiness of foot and strength of body."

General punishment details were on one of the other statue inscriptions.
Daniel:"Don't give money to gain an Olympic victory" was one of the others. So what we're dealing with is human nature...
Daniel:and people wanting to win by paying money... in 388 BC.
Ruth:I mean, it's a great story, but I liked Tom's better. So if we could just rewrite it, that'd be great.
Tom:Our next question was sent in by Sara from Canberra. Thank you, Sara.

Caitlin lives in the town of Mungindi in Queensland, Australia. She recalls a time when she had to drive for a four-hour road trip to do her food shopping, yet her nearest supermarket is only five minutes away. Why?

And I'll say that again.

Caitlin lives in the town of Mungindi in Queensland, Australia. She recalls a time when she had to drive for a four-hour road trip to do her food shopping, yet her nearest supermarket is only five minutes away. Why?
Shawn:She was a vegan, but her supermarket only sold beef.
SFX:(Tom and Daniel laugh)
Tom:Honestly, it's Australia. The all-beef supermarket does not sound completely outside my list of stereotypes.
Shawn:Beef and kangaroo.
Shawn:I mean, was it closed? The nearest one was five minutes away, but it happened to be shut that day?
Ruth:Yeah, only opened on special holidays.
Tom:It was open. It was open.
Ruth:Did it not stock the correct items needed?
Tom:Perfectly normal supermarket.
Ruth:Was there some sort of... She wasn't able to use that supermarket?
Tom:Yes. Yeah. That one, despite being open and five minutes away, is... not for her.
Daniel:I'm going to assume there's some blockage in between her and the supermarket, sort of... There is no physical way to get there.

I think that is the only reason why you would go for four hours rather than a five minute drive.
Ruth:Or there's a canyon or something in the way.
Daniel:Ooh, I don't know the geography of Australia, but—
Ruth:No, I know nothing. (laughs) I know nothing about Australia. I'm just thinking in my head.
Daniel:Is this a one-off? Because you said, "Ooh, I remember a time when..."
Tom:That is doing quite a lot of heavy lifting in this question.
Daniel:(giggles deviously) Okay.
Ruth:Is there now a bridge or a road that's been built? Was it like...
Tom:No, it was just a normal town. Although the geography does make a difference here.
Daniel:I'm thinking floods. If it's in the northern part of Australia, they get cyclones every now and then. So is it something to do with flooding that has caused inaccessibility, something like that?
Tom:It's... not. You are looking for a specific time period here.
Shawn:Is it to do with... kind of borders, or a particular— a divide?
Shawn:Is it... Is it some kind of segregation or just some kind of separation between two districts or regions?
Tom:Yes, definitely.
Ruth:I've recently watched Ten Pound Pom. Is it to do with the fact that she was from Britain or somewhere and they didn't like... The original Australians didn't like that?
Tom:Shawn is much closer.
Daniel:Now you've said road trip, I'm hoping— That's immediately put me in the mind of cars. Are we dealing with actual cars here, or are we dealing with wagons?
Tom:Oh, actual cars.
Daniel:Actual cars?
Tom:Actual cars. Yeah.
Ruth:Was there some illness? Was there like, I don't know. I'm thinking about COVID, so... She couldn't go five minutes there because... COVID was rife.
Tom:Put that together with what Shawn said. I think Dan's actually just got this by the look on his face.
Daniel:Nope, that's just a look on my face.
SFX:(group laughing)
Tom:Ruth, Shawn, between you, you've basically got it.
Shawn:So it's some kind of quarantine... between.... particularly states, or different regions.
Tom:Yeah, I'm gonna give that to you. Mungindi is on the border between Queensland and New South Wales. So what happened during COVID, particularly in Australia?
Shawn:So they had to have testing, didn't they? They were quite hot on their testing.
Tom:Australia went a lot further than that.
Ruth:Yeah, they had some really severe lockdowns, didn't they?
Tom:And they differed by state.
Tom:So there was a hard border between Queensland and New South Wales, and even if there was no other town for four hours... you could not cross the border to get to the supermarket on the other side of town.
Tom:Shawn, the next question is yours. Take it away.
Shawn:Okay, so this is a question that was— has been sent in by Noah. And the question is:

In 2007, three young Chinese women were prevented from leaving South Korea, even though they had all the correct documentation and had not done anything wrong. Why was that?

And in 2007, three young Chinese women were prevented from leaving South Korea, even though they had all the correct documentation, and they had not done anything wrong. Why was that?
Tom:Okay, it's not COVID. It's 2007, it's not COVID.
SFX:(Tom and Shawn chuckle)
Daniel:Complex bungee cords. They tried.
SFX:(Tom and Shawn laugh)
Daniel:Kept being pinged back.
Shawn:I like the practical, physical... It's not the correct answer, but I like it.
Daniel:Is it not?
SFX:(group laughing)
Shawn:It's not, sadly.
Ruth:Did they think they were spies?
Tom:Yeah, but you'd kick them out if that was the case, surely.
Daniel:After an interrogation or two.
Tom:Oh, true. But they hadn't done anything wrong. Maybe they were suspected of doing something wrong? But even then, I feel like the question is like, no, this is a weirder reason.
Daniel:Am I right in thinking there's no border... shared between South Korea and China? So it would have to be—
Tom:No, there's not. North Korea is in the way.
Daniel:Yeah. The clue's in south and north there, really, isn't it?
Tom:(belly laughs)
Daniel:So, this is probably going to have to be taking part at an airport or something like that, because how are they—
Tom:Airport or ferry port, I'd guess, yeah.
Ruth:Does it say where it's taking place, Shawn?
Shawn:No, not specifically.
Shawn:But they had the... Yeah, they had the right to travel on the route that they wanted. If that's any—
Ruth:Did they ever get to travel on the route they wanted?
Shawn:Yes. Eventually.
Daniel:I guess it could also be trains as well, when thinking about it.
Ruth:Were they carrying illegal things? Like that border control program.
Tom:Oh, yeah. (snickers) But we know they haven't done anything wrong, and that would be on arrival.
Ruth:They've always packed food. They've always packed food. They know not to bring food in.
Ruth:If they're too young to travel on their own, they might have documentation that allows them to leave, but they might not have an adult that is allowed to leave with them.
Daniel:Maybe their mother was taken ill or something, so isn't around to... to be able to shepherd them onto the train or plane or something like that. That could be a thing.
Ruth:Oh, I can just see them now.
Daniel:I know.
Ruth:Stood there waiting.
Tom:I'm just hearing—

I know that it says they were Chinese, and this is in South Korea. But in my head, they're K-pop stars, and the crowd is just stopping them physically leaving because they are such fans of them and do not want them to go.

But I think I've got the countries the wrong way 'round for that.
Shawn:K-pop is not relevant to the question. I'll clarify that.
Tom:K-pop is never relevant to the question. We should do something about that.
Ruth:You should have a whole episode that's just K-pop themed.
Tom:(laughs) We haven't done themed episodes yet. It'll happen at some point.
Shawn:The women have chosen to go to South Korea for a specific reason.
Ruth:To get pregnant! I don't know, I'm trying to think—
SFX:(Tom and Ruth laugh)
Tom:You don't need to go to South Korea for that.
Ruth:For medical things. I don't know. I'm trying to think, why do people travel? For some— Oh, for some ridiculous trial, drugs trial or something, or medical intervention.
Shawn:You weren't far away.
Tom:If you are flying... then one of the things you can't do in the 24–48 hours before that is scuba dive. Or do something like that because the pressure difference is too great, and you could end up with an injury.

I suspect not many people go to South Korea for scuba diving, but could it be... some medical thing that they've done that means they can't get on the plane, that it's for their own safety rather than something they've done?
Shawn:So you, Ruth and Tom, you're both warm with this idea of sort of a medical aspect. But they weren't divers, Tom.
Tom:But is it for their own safety? Like this is...
Tom:Oh, okay.
Ruth:Safety of others on the plane. Have they done something or been exposed to something?
Shawn:Not quite, not quite, but your train of thought is heading in the right direction, I believe.
Tom:I think we're gonna need another hint here, Shawn.
Shawn:Actually, this does clarify the earlier question. Airport staff – so we are in an airport – were unable to carry out one very specific stage of their job.
Ruth:Were they wearing something they shouldn't have been wearing?
Ruth:Or that allowed— that meant they couldn't get frisked or in that weird machine?
Daniel:Had they left their hat in a f— in a Concorde?
Tom:(laughs) No, they couldn't prove their identity for some reason. They couldn't tell—
Ruth:(gasp) Their faces! They had facelifts!
Daniel:Well, I was going for fingers, but faces is better.
Shawn:Absolutely spot on.
Tom:They'd gone to South Korea for plastic surgery. The faces had changed so much that airport staff didn't think they were the same people?
Ruth:No, Tom, I need to explain to you about plastic surgery. It takes a long time to recover, they'll be bandaged. You won't know what your new face looks like.
Daniel:(laughs heartily) This isn't Face Off.
Tom:I don't know how this works! As you can tell from my face!
Shawn:(chuckles) You've absolutely smashed it, yeah. So they had recently had cosmetic surgery, and their faces were so swollen and covered in bandages, they could not be identified.
Daniel:Yeah, they could be anyone. Yeah, yeah.
Tom:(chuckles faintly)
Shawn:So they could leave eventually.
SFX:(Tom and Shawn chuckle)
Shawn:So yes, they had flown to South Korea to take advantage of the country's burgeoning plastic surgery industry.

So their faces were swollen, and they were covered in bandages. And the border agents found it difficult to verify the identities of the three women.

And in 2009, a very similar situation occurred when 23 Chinese women tried to fly home after... operations that changed their appearances.

And it's estimated that 20% of Korean women under 50 have had some kind of cosmetic surgery.
Ruth:That feels like a Tom Scott video. Oh no, you don't do those anymore.
Tom:No, it doesn't feel like one of mine there.

Mind you, I've had cosmetic surgery. I've got scar reduction just here because I got a nasty hit many years ago.

You know, here's how long it's been. I pointed to the wrong side of my face there.
Ruth:It was very good scar reduction, to the point where you can't remember what side of your face you got damaged.
Shawn:Was it more than 25 years? Was it maybe around the year 2000?
Tom:Which means there is just the audience question from the start of the show:

In 2011, which organisation ran a full-page advert in Playbill programmes headlined "Our version is sliiiightly different"?

And there are four Is in that 'slightly'. That's not actually a key part of the question. I just thought— I wasn't just emphasising that. It is 'sliiiightly', and not 'slightly'.
Daniel:Playbill is theatres and stuff like that, is it?
Daniel:(rasps idly) So I'm assuming it's something that's a tweak on something else. Oh, hang on. Okay, I've got an idea.
Tom:Not quite.
Daniel:'Cause it's like The Wizard of Oz, but it's different?
Tom:But you're definitely along the right lines. If you have a think about—
Ruth:So it's like a film that's a different... in the... Broadway version? The West End version? The theatre version?
Tom:The Broadway adaptation of this is... (laughs) very different from the original. I'd go so far to say, honestly, they just have the same name.
Daniel:Of, like— oh.

I'd like to see what they do to Sesame Street!
SFX:(Tom and Shawn laugh)
Tom:That's called Avenue Q, and...
Daniel:Oh yes! (laughs)
SFX:(group laughing)
Tom:It's done quite well.
Daniel:Yes, yes. Book of Mormon...
Tom:Book of Mormon.
Daniel:Book of Mormon?
Tom:Yes. So who was taking out the advert?
Daniel:Oh, the Mormons!
Tom:(laughs) The actual Mormons, yes.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints actually took out an advert in Playbill for the Book of Mormon because they put customised versions out as the programmes, saying that their version was slightly different.
Daniel:Oh, that's lovely.
Ruth:Doesn't surprise me though, but yes.
Tom:With that, thank you very much to all of our players for battling through those questions.

What's going on in your lives? Where can people find you? We will start with...

Oh it's gonna be one of you. Ruth, Shawn, who wants to take it?
Shawn:Go for it, Ruth.
Ruth:So yeah, you can find us building kids' invention ideas over on Kids Invent Stuff.
Tom:Shawn, what sort of ideas?
Shawn:Ooh, we've built things like giant, carrot-shaped electric cars that fire seeds, the world's first sneeze activated flamethrower, and a seven-year-old's idea for a giant rocket that hangs over the breakfast table that dispenses jam onto your toast.
Tom:Incredible. And Dan, where can people find you if they want to see your puzzles?
Daniel:I can't follow that!
SFX:(group laughing)
Daniel:I do nothing as interesting as that. But you can find me on Twitch, I'm QuizzyDan, and I do various quizzes, games, and puzzles a few evenings a week. I do a few streams.
Tom:And if you want to know more about this show, you can do that at, where you can also send in your own ideas for questions. We are at several times a week, and at @lateralcast basically everywhere.

Thank you very much to all of our players. Thank you to Dan Peake.
Daniel:Thank you very much.
Tom:Ruth Amos.
Ruth:Thanks for having me.
Tom:And Shawn Brown.
Shawn:Thanks for having me too.
Tom:I've been Tom Scott, and that's been Lateral.
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