Ask Me Another
9:13 am
Fri July 12, 2013

Ants Marching

Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 8:48 am

No summer is complete without a picnic, just as no picnic is completed without a few little annoyances: sunburn, spilled wine or ants. Ants! (Shakes fist.) This game, led by house musician Jonathan Coulton, imagines some heightened picnic scenarios, all of which are clues to words that end with the letters "-ant."

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Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Welcome back to Ask Me Another, NPR and WNYC's hour of trivia, puzzles, and word games. I'm Ophira Eisenberg.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Let's say hello to our next two contestants: Brian Gillis and Mark Goldstein.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Welcome to Ask Me Another. Brian, you are getting your PhD right now.

BRIAN GILLIS: I'm trying.

EISENBERG: How's it going?

GILLIS: I'm trying.

EISENBERG: What are you getting your PhD in?

GILLIS: In English Literature, American Literature.

EISENBERG: Well, look at that.

GILLIS: I really wanted that first game.

EISENBERG: You really wanted the first game?

GILLIS: Yes.

EISENBERG: Because you're like I know this all?

GILLIS: Mm-hmm.

EISENBERG: Yeah. That's why we didn't put you in it.

(LAUGHTER)

GILLIS: Fair enough.

EISENBERG: Mark, what do you do for a living?

MARK GOLDSTEIN: Computers is the short answer.

EISENBERG: Computers. I love that. I used to say that to people at parties just to confuse them.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Our next game is called Ants Marching. Jonathan.

JONATHAN COULTON: This game was inspired by our six legged friends who terrorize picnics by carrying off everything in sight. I'm talking about ants. So contestants, the answer to each clue is a noun that ends in the letters A-N-T. Will Shortz, will you give us an example?

WILL SHORTZ: Yes. If I said first they came for our flaky French breakfast rolls and we said nothing the answer would be croissant. As you know, croissant ends in A-N-T.

COULTON: That's right. So contestants, roll your socks over your pants because the answer is swarming. Ring in when you know the ant-swer.

(SOUNDBITE OF GROANS)

COULTON: Make that funnier in the edit, please.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Impossible.

COULTON: Here's your first question. The ants left us the hummus but it looks like we won't be having any baba ghanoush because they took this vegetable.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Brian.

GILLIS: The eggplant?

COULTON: You got it.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: What haven't they taken yet? Let's see. The diapers are still here. We have the bottle. We have the stroller. Oh, my god!

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Mark?

GOLDSTEIN: The infant?

COULTON: That's right.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Very big ants.

EISENBERG: Disturbing question. Disturbing question.

COULTON: It's a little disturbing. Now that they've taken this, we have no way to scrub off all of our dead skin.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Brian?

GILLIS: Our exfoliants?

COULTON: That's right. The key ingredient at any picnic. My poor mother - her big, puffy hairstyle may have made her look like Jackie Kennedy, but that's no reason they should've taken it.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Brian?

GILLIS: Her bouffant?

COULTON: Her bouffant. Yes. It's not surprising that this game bird was the first thing to go, considering it was right there on display under glass.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Brian.

GILLIS: The pheasant?

COULTON: Yes, the pheasant. I don't even know what that dish is. Why is it under glass?

EISENBERG: Well, that's how you store it.

COULTON: OK.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: This is your last question. I kind of feel bad for inviting Wolverine to the picnic now that the ants took him away as well as Cyclops and Storm.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Mark.

GOLDSTEIN: The mutants?

COULTON: That's right. Mutant.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Will, how'd we do in that game?

SHORTZ: Oh, there's a clear winner this time. Brian is our champion.

EISENBERG: Well done, Brian. Thank you so much, Mark. Brian, you'll be moving on to our final round.

(APPLAUSE)

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.