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Arts & Culture

Any Questions #219

It's a birthday dirge today as resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel and WAMC's Ian Pickus switch seats.

Last week's challenge
Start with the phrase STRIKE OUT. Change one letter to an M, and you can rearrange the result to spell a four-letter word for something that flies and a five-letter word for an event during which it might be hard to fly that thing. What are the words?
Answer: If you change the U to an M, you can spell KITE and STORM.

On-air questions: Well, Mike: this is it, the last day of my 20s. If I get home from the studio OK, tomorrow I will begin a new decade. Big birthdays like this are a good time to take stock and look forward. But many famous people whose accomplishments long outlasted their lives never got past 29. They are the subject of this week’s show.

1. The youngest of four sisters, Anne wrote the novels Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall before succumbing to tuberculosis at 29 in 1849. But her gravestone mistakenly listed her age as 28 until it was fixed in 2013. What last name is on that gravestone?
2. Sticking with literature: which English romantic poet whose famous lines include "Fear not for the future, weep not for the past" died a month shy of his 30th birthday while sailing off Italy, leaving his wife Mary to make ends meet for a time translating the poems of Lord Byron?  
3. Ronnie Van Zant, killed in a plane crash with several fellow musicians in 1977, was a founder and singer of which Southern rock group, famed for songs like “Free Bird” and “Sweet Home Alabama” ?    
4. Also portrayed on screen by John Hurt and Ian McShane, which playwright — a contemporary of Shakespeare’s who wrote Doctor Faustus and The Jew Of Malta — was portrayed by Rupert Everett in 1998’s Shakespeare in Love?    
5. And finally: the subject of the forthcoming biopic I Saw The Light, which stars Tom Hiddleston in the title role, which country singer who released 41 records died of heart failure brought on by pill and alcohol at age 29 in 1953?

Extra credit
1. So many rock stars — including Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse and Janis Joplin — have died at what age that its members make up a “club”?  
2. What author and poet who died of suicide a few months after turning 30 is best remembered for a novel that shares its name with a piece of lab equipment used to create a vacuum?

This week's challenge
Start with the phrase GETTING OLDER. Rearrange the letters and you can spell the names of two animals (7,5). As a hint, one is a type of horse and the other is a sea creature.

On-air questions

1. Brontë (her novels were originally published under the name Acton Bell).
2. Percy Shelley  
3. Lynyrd Skynard (the band’s name is a play on that of a phys ed teacher at their Jacksonville high school)
4. Christopher Marlowe, who died at 29 after being stabbed in the eye under circumstances that remain murky to this day
5. Hank Williams

Extra credit
1. 27
2. Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

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