A Guide to QI. Series I, Episode 3 'Imbroglio'

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The research for this episode of QI was, due to some of the subjects, somewhat simpler than the previous two.  The definition of Irony is simple enough to research - you just need to check any reference book - the same is true for 'What is an interrobang' and 'Which of these 'French' phrases is not used in France'.

When we knew that we'd finally got Frank Skinner on QI, we saw it as an excellent chance to include some George Formby-ana.  Frank famously includes some banjolele in his live act - of which this is (a sadly out of date and NSFW) example:

and he's actually recently recorded a documentary about Formby for BBC Four which you can read a little about on georgeformby.co.uk here:


Should you want to know more about our 'ironic' stories:

John Kendrick who was killed by his own salute can be found here:

Clement Valendingham, who shot himself in court is here:

and the convicted killer who was electricuted on his toilet is here:

The idea to include the Brazil Nut Effect in our "Nobody Knows" section came after reading this article from Stanford University:

They say:
A recent study by Ulrich et al. found that a transition from reverse Brazil nut effect to Brazil nut effect could be induced simply by waiting long enough. That is, they found that after 25 hours of continuous shaking, or aging, a sharp transition occurred for unchanged driving conditions.
The wonder of children at the segregation of the nuts in the mixed nuts box is not so misplaced nor so easily explained after all.
If you're of a more scientific bent, you might want to check out the paper itself:
Ulrich, S et al (2007). 'Influence of friction on granular segregation', Physical Review E 76(4)

New Scientist looked at the subject of Mobile Phone 'bars' here:


and 'inflatable anchors' are proposed here:


With Frank on the show, we couldn't resist asking about the "three lions" of Richard the Lionheart.  It's a sneaky one really, because while they are 'lions' in an animal sense, they were known heraldically as 'leopards'.  A full explanation of the difference can be found in 'English Heraldry' by Charles Boutrell which can be read in Google Books, here.

Sometimes we get questions for QI from our talkboards at qi.com/talk - as was the case with the Boa Constrictor question.  You can see the full discussion here:


Many thanks to mollwollfumble, and all of our forumites, for their Quite Interestingness, which often makes our job an awful lot easier.

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SF possibly does not have a sweet tooth, but when he mentioned the famous purple wrapped chocolate in connection with Brazil nuts, he should have realised that if a chocolate is shaped like a brazil nut it would not in fact have room for both nut and the toffee/chocolate filling. So he might be interested to know that the Quality Street classic contains a HAZEL NUT!

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by eggshaped published on September 26, 2011 10:37 AM.

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