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How Did You Know Dawn Lester and Patrick Mooney?

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I'm happy to announce a winner to our last How Did You Know? 5-day trivia hunt. Please meet Dawn Lester and Patrick Mooney from St. Louis., who now have $100 to spend in our store and will be entered into the drawing to win the HD Flip cam. They blazed through the final puzzle and got all the answers within 18 minutes of the gun! Considering how involved the final challenge was, that's pretty darn fast.

Dozens of you got all the answers correct, and I'll be sure to post the top 10 in the order we received them over on our Facebook page soon, as well as the Flip cam winner.

Meantime, our random winner this month is Sejal Vyas, who was one of the few people who saw the toy soldiers appearing and disappearing in the Sister Salad video for Catch-22. Of course, you didn't need to find all the clues to move ahead, but it was interesting to see who came up with what. For instance, very few people noticed the calendar set to July 4th in the Oliver Stone clue. Also, Lizz changed the color of her headband frequently, from red, to white, to blue, and so on. Furthermore, she covered up the word 'stone' on the Harry Potter book cover every time the large rock/stone dissappered. And I don't think anyone caught Alexandra's missing earring, which she 'Lost'! Anyway, thanks again to Sister Salad for all the hard work in the details.
See everyone back for another HDYK on the 25th of August, when Dawn and Patrick will be looking to defend the title. Meantime, let's meet our winners and review their answers:

[caption id="attachment_30647" align="alignleft" width="480" caption="Dawn Lester and Patrick Mooney"][/caption]

Dawn: I'm a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, with a bachelor's in biology (and a minor in Latin), and a master's in teaching. Currently I teach math and science at an alternative high school in St. Louis. In my spare time I like to sing, and watch reality television, and do puzzles, especially logic puzzles. I also go to trivia nights with my friends. Trivia nights are a St. Louis thing; they're like bar trivia, only there's an entrance fee and the games are 100 questions long.

Patrick: I'm a high school math teacher (also a masters of teaching and a bachelor's in math from Wash. U.) and choreographer, the oldest of 5 siblings. I write trivia nights so I have a large amount of knowledge of lots of different subjects. I love doing puzzles, writing puzzles. They make a very useful tool in the classroom, to help students increase their mathematical ability. We divide the puzzles pretty evenly except for Camouflage which I am much, much better at. I think Will Shortz is the bomb.

Final Answer

74

(Joseph Stalin was 74 years old when he died.)

Day 1

In the background of the video there is a chalkboard with different numbers. I noticed right away since it seemed like there was an edit cut after every sentence, so I was looking for things to jump around. The numbers are 4, 8, 15, 16, and 42, from "Lost". Since I'm one of the people who played the lottery with those numbers after they aired, I would recognize those numbers anywhere :) The missing number is of course is 23.

The four TV shows mashed up are "Happy Days", "Laverne and Shirley", "Mork and Mindy", and "Joanie Loves Chachi". I knew the first two, and googled "shazbot" to find "Mork and Mindy". The shows are all connected to "Happy Days" somehow; "Laverne and Shirley" and "Joanie Loves Chachi" are spin-offs, and the character of Mork was introduced on "Happy Days". Once I figured out they were all related to "Happy Days" I went to YouTube to listen to theme songs until I found "Joanie Loves Chachi" (also to confirm the other three). So the password is "chachi".

When I saw the photo I wondered about the connection between those shows and human pyramids on water skis, but I had a hunch which I took to imdb.com to confirm. Henry Winkler has appeared in every show, and he has also "jumped the shark", literally. On water skis.

Day 2

After yesterday's video I was on the lookout for random things in the background, so I spotted the stone that kept appearing and disappearing. I was watching the Harry Potter book, too, and the word "stone" on the cover was taped over and uncovered. So I got Oliver Stone from that. I had to watch a second time for a clue to the movie, and I noticed Lizz's headband had changed colors. It starts out red, then becomes white, and then blue. So from that I got "Born on the Fourth of July". (Or you could have done like Patrick did and saw the daily calendar that said "JULY 4" in big black letters. I like to make things difficult, apparently.)

The circle code threw me for a minute, even though I figured it was an a=1, b=2 type of code, because I wasn't sure where to start or how to tell "1,12" from "11,2". Eventually I just started near the top and tested things. The first name I got was Stephen (actually I got "Tephen" but that was enough to tell me I needed to move back one). I guessed this was the Baldwin brothers and that helped me get Alec, William, and Daniel.

I went to imdb.com and found that Alec Baldwin was not in "Born on the Fourth of July".

Day 3

As the video goes on there's a rose in the background that appears and disappears, along with Alexandra's baseball cap. I put those two together and came up with Pete Rose, and then googled him to find his nickname of "Charlie Hustle". Patrick informs me the journalist he shares names with is Charlie Pete Rose, Jr.

Your example really helped for the next puzzle. "Joltin' Joe" is a nickname of Joe DiMaggio, so I figured all the other names were baseball players' nicknames. Unfortunately they're not all baseball player nicknames, they're from different sports. Thank goodness for Wikipedia (List of sportspeople by nickname and List of baseball player nicknames). From the top:

K<ING<JA<ME<S = King James = LeBron James (basketball)
T<HEB<IGH<UR<T = The Big Hurt = Frank Thomas (baseball)
T<HEM<AI<LMA<N = The Mailman = Karl Malone (basketball)
M<ROC<TO<BE<R = Mr. October = Reggie Jackson (baseball)
T<HE<AN<SWE<R = The Answer = Allen Iverson (basketball)
S<WE<ET<NES<S = Sweetness = Walter Peyton (football)
T<HEG<OLD<EN<BEA<R = The Golden Bear = Jack Nicklaus (golf)
B<ROA<DW<AY<JO<E = Broadway Joe = Joe Namath (football)
T<HER<EF<RIG<ER<ATO<R = The Refrigerator = William Perry (football)

So the password is "Joe Namath".

Joe Namath advertised Beauty Mist pantyhose (made by Hanes) in 1973.

Day 4

In the background of the video, the novel Catch-22 by Joseph Heller flips around, upside down and backwards. I think one of the Nerdfighters quoted it. The main character's name is Yossarian.

First I saw the symbol Prince had been going by, and then I saw the map of Arizona with Phoenix marked. I realized that the pictures must all be Harry Potter book titles. From the upper right: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (the guy surrounded by bars like a cage), Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix (map of Arizona with Phoenix marked), Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire (the two faces make a goblet), Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone (the weight of 6.35 kg which equals one stone), Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets (the silver man with the red chest markings is a comic book character named Chamber), Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince (Prince symbol). The lower left is the Sorcerer's Stone.

I had Patrick help me with Camoflauge. All the novels are from the 1960's. We used the Wikipedia page for help
1. Franny and Zoey - J.D. Salinger
2. Airport - Arthur Hailey
3. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
4. Portnoy's Complaint - Philip Roth
5. The Godfather - Mario Puzo
6. The Chosen - Chaim Potok
7. Valley of the Dolls - Jacqueline Susann

Day 5

Latitude: Two of the shows ("Happy Days" and "Laverne and Shirley") are set in Milwaukee, which is area code 414. LeBron James was born in Akron, OH which is 330; that gives a latitude of 41 degrees, 43 minutes, 30 seconds.

Longitude: A is 54 (the movie is "Car 54, Where Are You?" with Daniel). B is 8 ("8 Seconds", with Stephen). C is 2 ("2 Bits", with Alec). D is 3 ("Three of Hearts", with William). E is 3 (3 Baldwins were in the movie "Born on the Fourth of July"). Thanks to imdb.com for that. So the equation is (54 * 8) + [2 * (3 + 3)] = 444

The book is Airport, and the plane is a Boeing 707. Add 20 to get 727; longitude is 44 degrees, 47 minutes, 27 seconds.

The city is T'bilisi which is the capital of Georgia. Removing "age" leaves you with Gori, which is where Stalin was born. He was 74 when he died (Thanks Wikipedia)!

I just have to say, I really enjoyed this round of HDYK? I never felt that anything was too hard or impossible without prior knowledge. And I very much liked the videos.

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Hate Waiting at Baggage Claim? Here's How to Make Sure Your Suitcase Arrives First
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Air travel involves plenty of waiting, from standing in long security lines to preparing for takeoff. And even after you land, your trip is stalled until you locate your luggage on the carousel. Luckily for impatient fliers, there are several ways to game the system and ensure a speedy suitcase delivery once you step off the plane, according to Travel + Leisure.

To score true VIP luggage treatment, ask the representative behind the check-in counter if they can attach a “fragile” sticker to your bag. Suitcases with these kinds of labels are often loaded last and unloaded first. (Plus, they receive the type of kid-glove treatment that ultimately helps them last longer.)

Keep in mind, however, that you’ll need a new tag each time you fly. If it looks old, or was issued by a different airline, the crew might not pay attention to it, according to Condé Nast Traveler. Also, consider upping your suitcase game, as quality, hard-shell bags look like they contain delicate or important items. Their appearance—along with the fragile sticker—will inspire baggage handlers to give them special treatment.

Another trick that can shave a few minutes off your wait time is making sure you're the last person to check in, instead of rushing to be first. If you can't resist getting to the airport early, try asking if you can check it at the gate. This could make your bag one of the last on the plane, and thus one of the first taken out. This method isn't surefire, however, as loading and unloading systems vary among flights.

And if all else fails, Thrillist advises that you try upgrading your flight. Some airlines give priority to bags that belong to elite travelers and business class, meaning they’ll be stored separately from other luggage and come out first. Good luck! No matter what happens, at least you can't have it worse than the lady who had to wait 20 years for her bag to show up.

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

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25 Things You Might Not Know About Home Alone
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20th Century Fox

On November 16, 1990, what appeared to be a fun-filled little family yarn about a kid left to his own devices at Christmastime and forced to fend off a couple of bungling burglars, became an instant classic. Today, no holiday movie marathon is complete without a viewing of Home Alone, the movie that turned Macaulay Culkin into one of the biggest kid stars of all time. And while you may be able to recite its dialogue line for line, here are 25 things you might not know about the John Hughes-penned picture. So settle in and enjoy, ya filthy animals. 

1. WITHOUT UNCLE BUCK, THERE’D BE NO HOME ALONE.

The idea for Home Alone occurred to John Hughes during the making of Uncle Buck, which also starred Macaulay Culkin. Always game to play the precocious one, there’s a scene in which Culkin’s character interrogates a potential babysitter through a mail slot. In Home Alone, Culkin has a similar confrontation with Daniel Stern, this time via a doggie door.

2. THE ROLE OF KEVIN WAS WRITTEN SPECIFICALLY FOR MACAULAY CULKIN.

But that didn't stop director Chris Columbus from auditioning more than 100 other rascally pre-teens for the part. Which really was all for naught, as Culkin nailed the role.

3. MACAULAY WASN’T THE ONLY CULKIN TO APPEAR IN THE FILM.


20th Century Fox

Macaulay;'s younger brother Kieran also landed a part as Kevin’s bed-wetting cousin, Fuller. Though the film marked Kieran’s acting debut, he has since gone on to build an impressive career for himself in movies like The Cider House Rules, Igby Goes Down, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

4. CASTING CULKIN TAUGHT CHRIS COLUMBUS A VERY IMPORTANT LESSON.

Since Home Alone, Columbus (who also wrote the scripts for Gremlins and The Goonies) has gone on to become one of Hollywood’s premier family-friendly moviemakers as the director of Home Alone 2, Mrs. Doubtfire, and two movies in the Harry Potter franchise. But one lesson he learned from Home Alone is that when you agree to work with a kid actor, you’re also agreeing to work with his or her family.

“I was much younger and I was really too naive to think about the family environment as well,” Columbus told The Guardian in 2013. “We didn't know that much about the family at the beginning; as we were shooting, we learned a little more. The stories are hair-raising. I was casting a kid who truly had a troubled family life.” In 1995, Culkin’s parents, who were never married, engaged in a very public—and nasty—legal battle over his fortune. 

5. THE FILM IS A GUINNESS WORLD RECORD HOLDER.

In its opening weekend, Home Alone topped the box office, making $17,081,997 in 1202 theaters. The movie maintained its number one spot for a full 12 weeks and remained in the top 10 until June of the following year. It became the highest grossing film of 1990 and earned a Guinness World Record as the highest-grossing live-action comedy ever domestically.

6. THE MOVIE’S UNPRECEDENTED SUCCESS LED TO ITS TITLE BECOMING A VERB.


20th Century Fox

In his book The Big Picture: Who Killed Hollywood? And Other Essays, two-time Oscar-winning screenwriter William Goldman admitted that the unexpected success of Home Alone contributed a new phrase to the Hollywood lexicon: to be Home Aloned, meaning that other films suffered at the box office because of Home Alone’s long and successful run. “More than one executive said to me, ‘My picture did 40, but it would have done 50 if it hadn’t been Home Aloned,’” wrote Goldman.

7. IT SPAWNED MORE THAN A SEQUEL.

While all of the main, original cast members reprised their roles for Home Alone 2: Lost In New York (with Columbus again directing a script by Hughes), the success of the original led to a full-on franchise, complete with four sequels, three video games, two board games, a novelization, and other kid-friendly merchandise (including the Talkboy). 

8. POLAND LOVES THE MCCALLISTERS.

Showings of Home Alone have become a Christmas tradition in Poland, where the film has aired on national television since the early 1990s. And its popularity has only increased. In 2011 more than five million people tuned in to watch it, making it the most watched show to air during the season. 

9. THE MCCALLISTER HOME HAS BECOME A MAJOR TOURIST ATTRACTION.


A Syn via Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Located at 671 Lincoln Avenue in Winnetka, Illinois, the kitchen, main staircase, and ground-floor landing seen in the film were all shot in this five-bedroom residence. (The dining room and all other first-floor rooms, with the exception of the kitchen, were shot on a soundstage.) In 2012, John and Cynthia Abendshien, who owned the home when it was used as one of the film’s locations, sold the property for $1.585 million.

10. KEVIN’S TREE HOUSE WAS NOT PART OF THE DEAL.

Kevin’s backyard tree house was not originally part of the property. It was constructed specifically for the movie and demolished once filming ended. 

11. ALL OF THE FILM WAS SHOT IN THE CHICAGO AREA.

Though the main plot point is that that McCallister family is in Paris while Kevin’s back home in Illinois, the production was shot entirely within the Chicago area. The scenes supposedly set at Paris-Orly Airport were shot at O’Hare International Airport. And those luxurious business class seats they’re taking to Paris? Those were built on the basketball court of a local high school—the same school where the scene in which Kevin is running through a flooded basement was filmed (the “basement” in question was actually the school’s swimming pool). 

12. ROBERT DE NIRO TURNED DOWN THE ROLE OF HARRY LIME.


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As did Jon Lovitz. Then Joe Pesci swept in and made the part his own. Bonus fun fact: The character is a slight homage to Orson Welles. (It was the name of Welles’ character in Carol Reed’s The Third Man.) 

13. JOE PESCI GOT ALL METHOD ON MACAULAY CULKIN.

In order to get the most authentic performance possible, Joe Pesci did his best to avoid Macaulay Culkin on the set so that the young actor would indeed be afraid of him. And no one would blame the young actor for being a bit petrified, as he still bears the physical scar from one accidental altercation. “In the first Home Alone, they hung me up on a coat hook, and Pesci says, ‘I’m gonna bite all your fingers off, one at a time,’” Culkin recalled to Rule Forty Two. “And during one of the rehearsals, he bit me, and it broke the skin.” 

14. PESCI WASN’T USED TO THE WHOLE “FAMILY-FRIENDLY” THING.

Considering that Pesci’s best known for playing the heavy in movies like Raging Bull, Goodfellas, and Casino, it’s understandable that he wasn’t quite used to the whole family-friendly atmosphere on the set of Home Alone—and dropped a few f-bombs as a result of that. Columbus tried to curb Pesci’s four-letter-word tendency by suggesting he use the word “fridge” instead. 

15. DANIEL STERN HAD A FOUR-LETTER WORD SLIP-UP, TOO.


20th Century Fox

And it wasn’t cut out of the film. He utters the word “s***” when attempting to retrieve his shoe through the doggie door (look for it at the 55:27 mark on the DVD). 

16. IN REAL LIFE, HARRY AND MARV MAY NOT HAVE SURVIVED KEVIN’S ATTACK.

BB gun shots to the forehead and groin? A steaming hot iron and can of paint to the face? A flaming blowtorch to the scalp? The Wet Bandits endure an awful lot of violence at the hands of a single eight-year-old. So much so that neither one of them should have been walking—let alone conscious—by the end of the night. In 2012, Dr. Ryan St. Clair diagnosed the likely outcome of their injuries at The Week. While a read-through of the entire article is well worth your time, here are a few of the highlights: That iron should have caused a “blowout fracture,” leading to “serious disfigurement and debilitating double vision if not repaired properly.” And the blowtorch? According to Dr. St. Clair, “The skin and bone tissue on Harry's skull will be so damaged and rotted that his skull bone is essentially dying and will likely require a transplant.” 

17. THE ORNAMENTS THAT MARV STEPS ON WOULD CAUSE THE LEAST AMOUNT OF DAMAGE.

"Walking on ornaments seems pretty insignificant compared to everything else we've seen so far,” said Dr. St. Clair. “If I was Marv, I'd be more concerned about my facial fractures.” Fortunately, the "glass" ornaments in question were actually made of candy. (But just to be on the safe side, Stern wore rubber feet for his barefoot scenes.)

18. THE TARANTULA ON STERN’S FACE? YEP, THAT WAS REAL.


20th Century Fox

At one point, Kevin places a tarantula on Marv’s face. And it was indeed a real spider (Daniel Stern agreed to let it happen—but he’d only allow for one take). What wasn’t real? That blood-curdling scream. In order to not frighten the spider, Stern had to mime the scream and have the sound dubbed in later.

19. JOHN CANDY WRAPPED IN ONE DAY.

But what a long day it was: Twenty-three hours to be exact. Candy was a regular in many of John Hughes’ movies, and Gus Polinski—the polka-playing nice guy he plays in Home Alone—was inspired by his character in Planes, Trains & Automobiles. 

20. KEVIN’S OLDER SISTER IS A JUDO CHAMP.

Two years after appearing in Home Alone, Hillary Wolf—who played Kevin’s older sister Megan—landed the lead in Joan Micklin Silver’s Big Girls Don’t Cry… They Get Even. She also appeared in Home Alone 2, but hasn’t been seen on the big screen since. But there’s a good reason for her absence: In 1996 and 2000, she was a member of the Summer Olympic Judo team for the U.S. 

21. DON’T BOTHER TRYING TO FIND ANGELS WITH FILTHY SOULS.

The Jimmy Cagney-like gangster movie that Kevin channels as his inspiration throughout Home Alone? Don’t bother searching for it on eBay. It’s not real. Nor is its sequel, Angels With Even Filthier Souls, which is featured in Home Alone 2. 

22. OLD MAN MARLEY WASN'T IN THE ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY.

Kevin’s allegedly scary neighbor, who eventually teaches him the importance of family, wasn’t a character in the original script. He was added at the suggestion of Columbus, who thought the film could do with a stronger dose of sentimentality.

23. THE LYRIC OPERA OF CHICAGO BENEFITED FROM THE MOVIE’S SNOWFALL.

When filming of Home Alone wrapped, the production donated some of the artificial snow they had created (the stuff made from wax and plastic) to the Lyric Opera of Chicago. It has since been used in a number of their productions.

24. MARV WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE GOTTEN A SPINOFF.

Greg Beeman’s 1995 film Bushwhacked, which stars Daniel Stern as a delivery guy on the run after being framed for murder, was originally intended to be a spinoff of Home Alone. The storyline would have been essentially the same: after giving up a life of crime, Marv would have been framed for the same murder.

25. IF YOU BELIEVE THAT ELVIS IS STILL ALIVE, THEN YOU MIGHT BELIEVE THAT HE IS IN HOME ALONE.

No hit movie would be complete without a great little conspiracy theory. And in the case of Home Alone, it’s that Elvis Presley—who (allegedly?) died in 1977—makes a cameo in the film. Yes, that’s right. The King is alive and well. And making a living as a Hollywood extra.

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