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Any Questions #228

WAMC's Ian Pickus and resident quizzer Mike Nothnagel turn it down to zero.

Last week's challenge
Start with the phrase ROSE WATER. Add a letter, and you can rearrange the result to spell the common name (five letters, five letters) of a U.S. landmark. What is it?
Answer: If you add an S, you can spell SEARS TOWER.

On-air questions: January 8, 1835 marks the first (and possibly the only) day in U.S. history that the country had no national debt. When our nation was founded, we had accumulated some $75 million in debt, which fluctuated before maxing out at $127 million after the War of 1812. We began 1835 with a debt of just over $33,000, and a week later, we had paid it off. Records are incomplete, so we don't know exactly how long we were debt-free. In any case, we commemorate our ability to pay our bills with a quiz this week about the number zero.

1. Private Zero, a farm boy who literally interprets commands given by his superiors and usually finds a way to screw things up, is under the command of Sergeant Snorkel in what long-running comic strip?
2. Perhaps most famous for his roles in Broadway productions of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Fiddler on the Roof, actor Zero Mostel also did a sizable amount of movie and television work, including a 1961 telecast of what play, in which Mostel portrayed Estragon opposite Burgess Meredith in the role of Vladimir?
3. Equivalent to approximately -460 degrees Fahrenheit (or -273 degrees Celsius), the temperature known as "absolute zero," not technically the lowest temperature possible because complicated science reasons, is so called because it is defined as zero degrees on what temperature scale?
4. Less Than Zero, named after a 1977 Elvis Costello song, is the debut novel by the author of the 2010 book Imperial Bedrooms, the sequel to Less Than Zero. What author, perhaps most famous for his 1991 novel American Psycho, wrote Less Than Zero?
5. While most of the numbers on a roulette wheel are either red or black, the zero (and the double zero on American-style wheels) are designated what color?

Extra credit
1. Featuring the hits "I'm Still Standing" and "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues", the 1983 album Too Low For Zero was the 17th album by what singer/songwriter?
2. First distributed in 2007 by an anti-corruption group, zero-rupee notes are designed to look like real currency and are given to government officials looking for bribes. This practice originated in what country?

This week's challenge
Start with the words SCRATCH and LOVE. Change one letter to an A (not the one that's already there) and you can rearrange the result to spell the two-word name (five letters, six letters) for things a choir director uses. What are they?

On-air questions

1. Beetle Bailey
2. Waiting for Godot
3. Kelvin
4. Bret Easton Ellis
5. Green

Extra credit
1. Elton John
2. India

A lifelong resident of the Capital Region, Ian joined WAMC in late 2008 and became news director in 2013. He began working on Morning Edition and has produced The Capitol Connection, Congressional Corner, and several other WAMC programs. Ian can also be heard as the host of the WAMC News Podcast and on The Roundtable and various newscasts. Ian holds a BA in English and journalism and an MA in English, both from the University at Albany, where he has taught journalism since 2013.
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