Mental Floss

$50 Challenge Winner!

Andréa Fernandes

On January 25, we announced a $50 challenge. We made up a 10-question challenge based on information in the January/Febuary 2009 issue of mental_floss magazine; the goal was to be the first reader to submit the correct (as found in the magazine) answers for all 10 questions.

The Winner

"Ben Linus" got all 10 correct answers to us at 1:43 p.m., a mere 13 minutes after the challenge was posted! Congratulations! (We'll be in touch via e-mail about your prize.)

Check out the winning answers, and some inventive guesses, after the jump.

The Answers

1. The death of what actor caused "worldwide hysteria" and "several suicides," as well as attracting a line of mourners that stretched for 11 blocks?
A. Rudolph Valentino (page 70)
Inventive guess: Heath Ledger

2. "Girls don't dream about the circus"¦ they dream dirty dreams," according to what choreographer?
A. Agness de Mille (page 27)

3. Of the many animal-inspired dances, which one was so scandalous it landed an "unfortunate young lady in New Jersey" a jail term?
A. The Turkey Trot (page 19)

4. "Welcome to the Jungle" roared over the loudspeakers to blast what dictator out of hiding?
A. Manuel Noriega (page 15)

5. In the treaty between Cuba and America enabling American military use of Guantanamo Bay, what little detail in the fine print prevents Cuba from evicting us?
A. The agreement can only be terminated through mutual consent from both countries (page 46)

6. Hails of arrows have prevented documentary crews, governments, fishermen, and rescue crews from getting anywhere near what unexplored territory?
A. North Sentinel Island, in the Bay of Bengal, which is technically part of India (page 42)

7. According to Andy Davis, mental_floss has come pretty far since its beginnings at Duke. Just how far, geographically speaking, has it gone?
A. Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan, which one entrant pointed out is approximately 7100 miles (page 9)
Popular guesses: 544 miles (the distance from Duke to the m_f address in Novelty, OH); 529 miles (the distance from Duke to the m_f address in Birmingham, AL)
Inventive guesses: 400 miles; 886 miles (the distance from Duke to Mount Morris, IL); 399 miles ("as the crow flies" from Duke to the OH m_ office)

8. What previous economic crisis was referred to as the "Great Epizootic"?
A. The panic of 1873 / equine influenza (page 36)

9. Which sport was designed for "businessmen who found the new game of basketball too vigorous"?
A. Volleyball (page 70)

10. Five years after a study by RAND into the effectiveness of free health care, what percentage of medical plans had deductibles?
A. More than 90 percent (page 54)
Popular guess: 30 percent

And if you STILL don't have a copy of that issue, you can purchase it here.