Ask Me Another
9:24 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Indigenous Diligence

Originally published on Thu May 21, 2015 9:33 am

If Neapolitans are people from Naples, where do Sconnies come from? This game, led by house musician Jonathan Coulton, is all about demonyms — words that describe a person who hails from a particular geographic location.

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Transcript

OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

I see our next two contestants are on the stage. Please welcome Natasha Leyk and Hallie Stiller.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Welcome to you both. Hallie, is your name a family name? How did you get your name?

HALLIE STILLER: Well, I was actually named after my grandfather Henry but I think my parents thought Henrietta would be a little cruel, so.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: If you're named Henrietta and you are listening, it's fine. You're going to be just fine.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Just be happy you didn't have Hallie parents. So they changed it. They're like Henry, Hallie.

STILLER: Well, they just used the first initial, basically.

EISENBERG: Oh, yeah.

STILLER: Yeah. They just, like, you know, we'll take that and go. Wherever we want to go.

EISENBERG: They're very creative. Take that and go. Natasha, how about you?

NATASHA LEYK: Well, if you believe my mother's story, however apocryphal it may be, she picked my name out of the romance novel she was reading when she was in labor.

EISENBERG: Your mother was reading romance novels in labor. That's an interesting choice.

LEYK: Yeah. Well, they induced her at like six in the morning and I was born at, like, 9:00 p.m. so she had some downtime, apparently.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: And you don't know the name of this romance novel?

LEYK: I do not. She borrowed it from a nurse.

(LAUGHTER)

LEYK: But whenever I would complain about being named Natasha because it's not exactly a common name, she would just be like, well, I could've named you after the evil twin sister Ursula.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: That is amazing. I did not expect that as a story. But that was a great reason to have a name Natasha. You'll understand why in a minute. This game is called Indigenous Diligence which sounds like we're talking about the origin of hard work but really it's a geeky word game. Jonathan.

JONATHAN COULTON: Yes, it is. This game is about demonyms, which are words that describe a person who hails from a particular geographic location like a city, state, or country. So we will give you a demonym and you have to give us the place. Puzzle guru Art Chung, how about an example?

ART CHUNG: If we said once a year in New York the bariquas from this U.S. territory throw a parade, you would say Puerto Rico.

COULTON: You would, wouldn't you? Of course you would.

EISENBERG: I would.

COULTON: I would.

EISENBERG: Yeah, sure.

COULTON: Yeah. Because it's the right answer. That's why I'd say it.

EISENBERG: That's right.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: And just to let you know, sometimes we're asking for a city, sometimes a state or a country and we will tell you in the question what we're looking for. Are you ready?

LEYK: Yep.

COULTON: Here we go. Neapolitans from this Italian city allegedly love three flavored ice cream.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Hallie.

STILLER: Naples?

COULTON: That's right.

EISENBERG: Exactly. Well done.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Have you ever been to Naples, either of you? The east part of town is all strawberry. It's very weird.

(LAUGHTER)

STILLER: What's the center?

COULTON: It's vanilla. Vanilla in the middle.

EISENBERG: Vanilla in the middle.

COULTON: Kiwis are flightless birds or people from this country who ironically must fly in order to leave their island nation.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Natasha.

LEYK: New Zealand.

COULTON: You got it.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: It's a little cheesy - pause - but folks from this U.S. state are sometimes called Sconis.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Hallie.

STILLER: Wisconsin.

COULTON: That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Known for combining beach volleyball with soccer, and mostly for looking better than you, residents of this South American city are called cariocas.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Hallie.

STILLER: Rio de Janeiro?

COULTON: Yes.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Was it the sport or the envy that tipped you off?

STILLER: Actually, it's an old Astaire-Rogers movie and they had a danced called The Carioca.

COULTON: Oh, well, there you go.

EISENBERG: Oh. Wow. You're using different knowledge bases than we were counting on.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Is that allowed? Art, is that allowed in this game?

CHUNG: Totally allowed.

COULTON: Yeah, OK. Probably as nerdy as he or she sounds, a Cantebridgian is a native of what studious U.S. town?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Natasha.

LEYK: Cambridge?

COULTON: You got it.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: That's a highfaluting name.

COULTON: It's a highfaluting name for a highfalutin Ivy League college in a highfaluting town.

EISENBERG: Which one did you go to, again?

COULTON: I went to Yale so I never...

EISENBERG: Oh, yeah. That's right.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Yupers are the super duper citizens of the northern part of what state?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Hallie.

STILLER: Michigan.

COULTON: That's right.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: That's U.P., Upper Peninsula. That's what it is. Yupers.

EISENBERG: Yupers. That sounds like Google's failed competition.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Like a search engine of the '90s.

COULTON: Right. I don't use Google, I use Yupers.

EISENBERG: Yupers.

COULTON: They're going to last a long time. Though it seems unlikely that you would run into them, aliens from what planet would technically be referred to as Jovians?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Natasha.

LEYK: Jupiter.

COULTON: That's right.

EISENBERG: Mm-hmm.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: They're a gas.

COULTON: They're aghast.

EISENBERG: Jovians.

COULTON: It's a planet made of gas, everybody.

EISENBERG: That's right. Yep. Ha ha.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Though not all bajans are bearded, this Caribbean island they come from does mean Bearded Ones.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Hallie.

STILLER: Bahamas?

COULTON: Ooh, no. I'm sorry. Natasha, do you know what it is?

LEYK: Barbados?

COULTON: It is Barbados. That's right.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: All right. This is your last question. Who's your daddy? Kidding.

(LAUGHTER)

COULTON: Me, obviously. Here's the real question. What state are Hoosiers from?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

COULTON: Hallie.

STILLER: Indiana.

COULTON: Yes. Indiana.

(APPLAUSE)

COULTON: Art, who was the winner of this game?

CHUNG: It came down to the last question but Hallie was our winner.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Congratulations, Hallie. You'll be moving on to our Ask Me One More final round.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

EISENBERG: Coming up, we'll ask our VIP Jonathan Adler about being a potter and to describe the color cham-beige. So don't go anywhere. I'm Ophira Eisenberg and this is NPR's ASK ME ANOTHER.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.