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Fiver, 4, 3, 2, 1

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Behn
273226.  Fri Feb 08, 2008 6:48 am Reply with quote

Apologies if this is elsewhere (but I searched and couldn't find anything)

I've been watching the amazing 'Trinity and Beyond - The Atomic Bomb Movie' and was reminded of a fact that I once got told...

When counting down a bomb test, the commander (or whoever is in charge of the countdown) should say "Fiver" instead of the number 5 - the reason being that phonetically there is little difference between the word 'Fire' and the number 'five', so by adding an extra syllable there is no chance of the firing technician mistaking the countdown for a command.

Not sure if this is true, but there is documentary footage (that doesn't sound dubbed) in Trinity and Beyond showing a countdown with fiver in it, and it's sure to make a half decent General Ignorance question.

 
Sebastian flyte
273252.  Fri Feb 08, 2008 7:10 am Reply with quote

I'm not sure if it is to do with sounding like fire but it does make sense, because for 9 you say 'niner' too although the two things could be completely unrelated.

 
Sebastian flyte
273265.  Fri Feb 08, 2008 7:18 am Reply with quote

Just asked my own fleshed google that is my Father to count to nine in Nato thingy.

Wun
Too
Tree (those Irish lads are spot on then) ;)
Fow-er
Fife
Six
Sev-en
Ait
Nin-er

It could be that it is Fiver now my Dad is a bit old and of course this could be down to his Eton pronunciations. 'Taste' for 'toast' and all that.

 
ElizabethSterling
273269.  Fri Feb 08, 2008 7:19 am Reply with quote

I've seen this before and it seems different organisations have a similar idea about the number 'five' but a different way of getting around it. The first time I saw it was on an episode of Scrapheap challenge where some munitions expert, (from the British army or somesuch.) gave a countdown that simply went from six to four with a lengthy pause.

 
Lumpo31
273270.  Fri Feb 08, 2008 7:21 am Reply with quote

Sebastian flyte wrote:
Just asked my own fleshed google that is my Father to count to nine in Nato thingy.

Wun
Too
Tree (those Irish lads are spot on then) ;)
Fow-er
Fife
Six
Sev-en
Ait
Nin-er

It could be that it is Fiver now my Dad is a bit old and of course this could be down to his Eton pronunciations. 'Taste' for 'toast' and all that.

Your Dad is "Elvis" on Steve Wright's (BBC Radio2, weekdays, 2-5pm) "Ask Elvis" section, and I claim my fiver!

 
Sebastian flyte
273276.  Fri Feb 08, 2008 7:26 am Reply with quote

Lumpo31 wrote:

Your Dad is "Elvis" on Steve Wright's (BBC Radio2, weekdays, 2-5pm) "Ask Elvis" section, and I claim my fiver!


Sadly, no. :)

 
Flash
273279.  Fri Feb 08, 2008 7:27 am Reply with quote

post 199246

 
suze
273291.  Fri Feb 08, 2008 7:33 am Reply with quote

I've seen them count on The Bill, and they do say "fife" and "niner". A bit of Googling suggests that it is indeed standard practice in military and similar environments (EDIT - Flash's link above appeared while I was writing, but it's not always practical to omit the number entirely). Back in Canada, I once heard a police officer use "cinq" instead of "five" when reading a license plate (mine) over the radio - this may have been for the same reason, or it may just have been that he chose to use French for that second.

German does something similar as well - 2 changes to "zwo" when it's
important that confusion should not arise between "zwei" and "drei".

 
mckeonj
273437.  Fri Feb 08, 2008 9:31 am Reply with quote

It's a bit tricky counting down in binary, with 'one' and 'zero'.
Works better in a sort of Morse code - dah=1, dit=0.

 

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