How Did You Know Margaret Cunniff and Leah Alpert?

We had a lot of fun giving away daily neatorama prizes this month! We hope you enjoyed the new aspect of the game. We're taking all your feedback into consideration for the next hunt, so thanks for being active on the Facebook page. Head over there to find out if you're a random winner, as we'll be pulling those later today. Meantime, congrats to our first place winners, two Freshman from MIT who got all the correct answers in first. Let's meet them now...

For the final challenge, we were both on our computers next to each other with our solutions printed out. I mainly wrote the email and found the blog post, and Margaret got most of the clues and told me them. When we realized we posted first on the blog, we screamed for a while and then realized there was a whole room of people watching TV in the lounge next door :)


I'm a freshman at MIT from Needham, Massachusetts. Margaret and I are roommates, and she's the one who introduced me to mental_floss. We began puzzle-solving together at MIT's annual Mystery Hunt in January this year. We've been doing HDYK together for the last few months and we're excited that we won just in time for summer! At MIT, I'm majoring in Computer Science. I love painting, ice hockey, softball, crossword puzzles, and ice cream.


I'm a freshman at MIT studying Brain and Cognitive Sciences. I enjoy horseback riding, bands that play their own instruments, Arrested Development, being a subpar ice hockey goalie, and making self-deprecating comments. I work for The Tech, MIT's newspaper, which has improved my skills at finding obscure information online.

Final Answer


Day 1

Level 1:

The people are (clockwise from top):

* Charlie Brown
* Jack Black
* Seth Green
* Ben Affleck
* Betty White

They all have colors as their last names except Ben Affleck. We recognized all of the people and looked up Ben Affleck's younger brother's name to get the answer.

Answer: Casey

Level 2:

To solve this, we found a graphic with pictures and labels of flags of the world. We started with the Colombian flag because we figured the uneven stripe distribution would be distinct. As we identified colors, we were able to recognize more flags. We looked for flags that could fit with the puzzle and were able to identify all of them.


1. White
2. Blue
3. Red
4. Black
5. Yellow
6. Green

Flags (from left to right):

* Russia
* Estonia
* Poland
* Ukraine
* Bulgaria
* Lithuania
* Indonesia
* Colombia
* Austria
* Netherlands (also the flag of Luxembourg)

Answer: The first letters of the country names spell REPUBLICAN.

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Level 3:

When we first approached this problem, we started by trying to fit squares into the corners because there were fewer options for which one could go in the corners. However, we realized this didn't help us figure out where the rest of the boxes went. We decided to start with the middle square. Once we placed a middle square, this restricted where all of the other squares went, so it was relatively easy to figure out if that middle square would lead to a solution. Our fourth try worked and led to the solution.Your browser may not support display of this image.

Answer: The color of the specified square was red.

Level 4:

We copied the two graphics into Photoshop and overlaid them to easily see which color each letter went with. From there, we were able to unscramble the words.

Orange: Surfer

Yellow: Bullet

Green: Lining

Blue: Dollar

Purple: Screen

Day 2

Level 1:

These are the letters and numbers on a car's automatic transmission.

P "“ R "“ N "“ D "“ 2 "“ L

Answer: ND

Level 2:

The movies are:

* Cars
* Austin Powers in Goldmember
* Greased Lightning
* Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo
* Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

We recognized Cars and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. We recognized the car from Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo as the Love Bug, and we looked up all of the movie posters in that series to see which movie it was. To get Goldmember, we looked up "Danger is my middle name" and recognized the Austin Powers logo in the bottom right corner, which pointed us to the Austin Powers series. Based on the text in the upper right, we figured out that the movie is Goldmember. We were able to find Greased Lightning from a clue on the facebook page that said it "cleans where others can't."

Answer: Austin Powers in Goldmember is the only movie that is not about cars, and the character's first name is Austin.

Level 3:

The books are:

1. Mansfield Park
2. Pride and Prejudice
3. Emma
4. Persuasion
5. Sense and Sensibility

We got these by recognizing Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility. Once we had those two, we looked up the names of other Jane Austen books and found that all of the hidden books were by Jane Austen.

Day 3

Level 1:

Words (clockwise from between 1 and 2):

* Grand Slam
* Racket
* Birdie
* Pin
* Strike

The sports are:

1. Baseball/softball
2. Tennis
3. Badminton
4. Golf
5. Bowling

We started with the three letter word because we figured there were fewer options. The three letter sports words we thought of were net, bat, and pin. When we tried "pin", we filled in as many letters as we knew and were able to think of "strike" next. As we got more words, we filled in the rest of the letters and were able to figure out the words based on the letters we knew and possible sport associations.

Answer: The 8 ball represents M

Level 2:

1. Squash (Squash)
2. Rugby (Rug + Bee)
3. Ice Hockey (Eye + Sock + Key)
4. Bocce (Baa + Cheeto "“ Toe)
5. Cricket (Crib "“ (Bicycle "“ Icicle) + Kit)

First we got squash. Next, we were able to recognize Rugby from Rug and Bee. We love ice hockey, so that one came to mind soon after. The next two took longer, but once we remembered the name "Cheeto" we got Bocce. Cricket was the last to fall into place. We knew that it must be bicycle "“ icicle, but we didn't know how a car fit in until our friend told us that it was the car from Knight Rider, which is named Kit.

Day 4


1. Prokofiev
2. Bernstein
3. Montagues

We knew "We Didn't Start the Fire" was on the album Storm Front by Billy Joel, which was the first of the album covers. Since the lyrics of that song are primarily an extensive list of people and events, we decided to cross reference the lyrics of the song with people involved in the "Romeo and Juliet" ballet. We found out that Sergei Prokofiev composed the "Romeo and Juliet" that was conducted by Riccardo Muti. This gave us link 1. We also knew that "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" by R.E.M. is on the album Document, which was another of the album covers. We knew the lyrics to that song similarly had multiple references to historical people. We looked at lyrics of the song and found that it mentions Leonard Bernstein, who composed the music for "West Side Story". For the final link, we knew that "West Side Story" is an adaptation of "Romeo and Juliet". The equivalent of the Jets from "West Side Story" are the Montagues from "Romeo and Juliet", giving us the final link.

Day 5



How Did You Know Jimmy Luth?

We had a lot of fun giving away daily neatorama prizes this month! We hope you continue to enjoy this new aspect of the game. Thanks for being active on the Facebook page. Head over there to find out if you're a random winner, as we just announced that. Meantime, congrats to our first place winner and new (and former) champion, Jimmy Luth!

Apparently June is my month for winning HDYK (Past winner, June&August 2010 - An honor retained at the top of personal google searches). It must have been in the answers because I was not first to post the final answer and I had a 10 minute delay in start as I thought I had until Tuesday before I saw the facebook post (Everyone should join the HDYK facebook page). I am thrilled to win a month that included references to some of my favorite things in Modern Family, classic cartoons, and Angry Birds along with new ways to submit and a user submitted puzzle. Seriously, you should do that again, I would love to create a puzzle as much as I do to solve them. I attached a photo of me and family (Laurie, Annabelle-5, and Rebecca-2) at the Georgia Aquarium this summer as the sprinkle picture wasn't the best turnout. Thanks again to MF, Neatorama, and the facebook hinters - especially Sharon who helped me get my last missing answer.

Final Answer

Q: According to Urban Dictionary, what is the definition of a Twaggie? A: A traditional tag in the Twittersphere as exemplified by the Web comic Twaggies

Day 1

HDYK: Started counting coins and using the cipher (your favorite tool) to see if it spelled anything.

Chrono Trigger
HDYK: No idea, searched Dactyl's Nest to find the game for the DS.

Mighty Eagle
HDYK: He is purchased separately in the game
Question: In what country is Rovio (makers of Angry Birds) based?

Day 2

Modern Family
HDYK: Created cipher style setup in Excel and tried some different ideas to see what would create two words. Sadly found it was the answer which I suspected but apparently wasn't solving correctly.

8 Out of 10 Cats
Cash in the Attic
Black Books
The Big Breakfast
HDYK: Googled some clue words, figured out a Channel 4 connection and searched out shows. Nice hint with "programmes"

7F7F7F, FFFF00, 00FFFF, 00FF00, FF00FF, FF0000
Gray, Yellow, Cyan, Green, Magenta, Red
HDYK: Googled the sequences. Figured it was a color thing used for screen images. Took some googling to find it is the order of the SMPTE color bars for a test pattern. Blue is the last one.
What are the three primary colors of light that are used to produce the picture you see on most television sets?
Red, Green, Blue

Day 3

Lightning McQueen - Cars
Mystery Van - Scooby Doo
Flintmobile - Flinstones
Space Car - Jetsons
The Mach 5 - Speed Racer
Speed Buggy - Speed Buggy
Answer: Wilson (Owen Wilson)
HDYK: Recognized most right away and googled to confirm the actual car name

Comparing against:
Headlight fixed; Removed some top teeth; Piece on top is missing; Gas cap removed;
HDYK: Used a gif maker and an original to ensure no strange small changes like the last time.

The car in Back to the Future was the DeLorean. The actor is Christopher Lloyd
HDYK: took the quiz, googling some answers to confirm I was correct.
Question: What was the full name of the character Mr. Lloyd played on Taxi?
Reverend Jim Ignatowski

Day 4

Cincinnati Reds - Reds + ox = Red Sox - Boston Red Sox
HDYK: A wiki review of each sports teams and dropping the letters as instructed to see what works.

D4L2 - Nice work Greg. Don't be afraid to do this again MF - I promise to submit next time.
METS - D. The guys on this team are actually one-thousand aliens.
ROYALS - E. The guys on this team would rather be playing polo - the sport of kings.
DODGERS - A. The guys on this team are hard to catch.
MARINERS - C. The guys on this team are out to sea.
ATHLETICS - B. The guys on this team are in good shape.
HDYK: Knew some right away but had to second guess and fill in to figure out each clue. The aliens was the toughest one.

HEIROWN - Kevin Costner is not in this movie.
HDYK: Recognized most of the movies and connected a Costner/baseballl theme.
Question: What pitcher for the Minnesota Twins threw the first no-hitter of the 2011 MLB season?
Francisco Liriano

Day 5

RGB = RBG = 7-2-4
Lighting is number 95

Question: According to Urban Dictionary, what is the definition of a Twaggie?

A traditional tag in the Twittersphere as exemplified by the Web comic Twaggies

neatorama presents: HDYK? - {day 5}

It's an all-new 5-day trivia hunt!

Co-puzzle Master Josh Halbur and I are happy to bring you the next How Did You Know? sponsored by our friends over at

Here's how it works: Starting today, and every day the rest of this week, we'll be presenting two challenges at noon ET. They'll be very similar to the kinds of puzzles you've come to expect from me and Josh, and, yes, they will feed into the Day 5 puzzle, as normal. Each evening, at 8pm ET, we'll be putting up a third challenge loosely based on the day's previous two challenges. You won't need to solve the first two to solve the third, but knowing the day's theme might help you be the first to crack Level 3. Also: note that you'll have to solve Level 3--the bonus--to compete on Day 5

>> Prizes! Each day, one person will win one item from the neatoshop worth $25 or less. Shipping is on the house but the item you pick must be in stock. Oh, and no credit if you don't use up the full $25. To be eligible for the prize, you need to leave the correct answer to Level 3 on the correct neatorama page before 10pm ET. You also need to tell us in that comment what you want if you're selected at random.

>> So what's in it for the person/team who finishes first with all the correct answers? Bragging rights, as always, with your photo/bio posted on our site. But also the chance to win the Day 5 neatorama prize, and, as has been tradition here for the last 28 months of HDYK?, your pick of any one of the amazing t-shirts from our store.

As always, if you're not a Fan of our Facebook page, be sure to add us so we can keep you updated, and you can get in on some additional nifty clues throughout the week. If you're new to our five-day hunt, you can read up on our new Rules page here. Oh, and the previous days' challenges can be found here if you missed it. Okay, ready to get your Hunt on? Click on through.


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