Element In The Room

Jul 28, 2017
Originally published on September 29, 2017 11:11 am

Dust off that old laminated periodic table in your closet, because we've got a chemistry game! We've replaced two-letter terms with the name of an element with the same chemical symbol.

Heard On Janeane Garofalo & Lili Taylor: Returning To 'Marvin's Room'

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OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:

Hey, Cecil.

CECIL BALDWIN: Hi, Ophira.

EISENBERG: So today, our special guests star in the revival of a Broadway play from the 1990s, so 1990s trivia speed round. This surrealistic murder mystery had America asking, who killed Laura Palmer?

BALDWIN: "Twin Peaks."

EISENBERG: Yes. This conspiracy minded drama featured two FBI agents looking for the truth they knew was out there.

BALDWIN: "The X-Files."

EISENBERG: Of course. And this HBO series featured four strong female leads, amazing outfits and lots of graphic sex.

BALDWIN: "Game Of Thrones."

(LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: I'm totally an Arya, by the way.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BALDWIN: From NPR and WNYC, coming to you from The Bell House in beautiful Brooklyn, N.Y., it's NPR's hour of puzzles, word games and trivia, ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm puzzle guru Cecil Baldwin, here with guest musician Julian Velard. Now, here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Thank you, Cecil. We have a great show for you. Four brilliant contestants are backstage auditioning for season two of "Candy Crush" the television show, but they're here to play our nerdy games. And only one of them will be our big winner. And our special guests are Lili Taylor and Janeane Garofalo, who star in the Broadway play "Marvin's Room." It is a brilliant play that was first staged in the 1990s. So really, it's another '90s reboot. Just for the record, here are some things I do not want brought back from the '90s - rattails...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: ...Chain wallets and swing dancing.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Here's what I hope does come back - "Buffy The Vampire Slayer"...

(CHEERING)

EISENBERG: ...Mixtapes...

(CHEERING)

EISENBERG: ...And joy.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: Our first game is about pop culture and chemistry, and it doesn't reference "Breaking Bad" at all.

BALDWIN: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: Let's meet our first two contestants. Leigh Latimer on buzzer number one.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

LEIGH LATIMER: Hello.

EISENBERG: You're about to start business school, and you recently started powerlifting. Welcome.

LATIMER: Thank you.

EISENBERG: Your opponent is Greg Burnham on buzzer number two.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: You teach computers to read at an artificial intelligence research lab.

GREG BURNHAM: Yup.

EISENBERG: Welcome.

BURNHAM: Thank you.

EISENBERG: OK, Leigh and Greg, the first of you who wins two of our games will move on to the final round at the end of the show. So let's start with a trivia game called The Element In the Room. In this game, we've replaced two-letter terms with the chemical elements they represent on the periodic table. So let's go to our puzzle guru, Cecil Baldwin, for an example.

BALDWIN: So if I said, although he hasn't released a metal album, you might know rapper Clifford Joseph Harris Jr. better by his stage name titanium, you would answer TI because TI is the stage name and the symbol for titanium.

EISENBERG: OK, so you just need to tell us the original two letters we swapped out for the element. Here's your first one. You don't have to be Russian to enjoy classics like "You Can't Touch This" by Moscovian Hammer.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Greg.

BURNHAM: MC.

EISENBERG: Yeah, that's right. Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: I think his half-life expired in 1995.

(LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: Somebody call the radium. This college dorm is radioactive.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

BALDWIN: Greg.

BURNHAM: RA.

BALDWIN: Correct.

EISENBERG: Yeah.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Were you trying to think of, like, who at a college dorm is the person that looks over the dorm, or were you just working on radium?

EISENBERG: Yeah, it was much, like, at a dumber level than that.

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: You can listen to bands like Poison or Biohazard on your portable cadmium player.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Greg.

BURNHAM: CD.

EISENBERG: Yeah, that's right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: For people that don't know, a CD is a...

(LAUGHTER)

EISENBERG: ...MP3 in solid form.

BALDWIN: But you can hold it.

EISENBERG: That's right.

BALDWIN: OK, forget Maybach and Maserati. Heads will turn when you pull up in Chrysler's flashy platinum cruiser.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

BALDWIN: Greg.

BURNHAM: PT.

BALDWIN: Correct.

EISENBERG: Yes, that's right.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: You can hear this show, Top 40 hits and synthetic actinides on americium fermium radio.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Leigh.

LATIMER: FM. Nope.

(LAUGHTER)

LATIMER: I'll just, just...

EISENBERG: Amercium fermium radio.

LATIMER: AM (laughter).

EISENBERG: Leigh, I heard you say AM and FM, so that is the correct answer. Well done.

(LAUGHTER)

BALDWIN: Plutonium, what's that awful smell?

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

BALDWIN: Greg.

BURNHAM: PU.

BALDWIN: Correct.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: This is your last clue. English majors and chemists can both identify with the "Avenue Q" song "What Do You Do With A Barium In English (ph)?"

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

EISENBERG: Greg.

BURNHAM: BA.

EISENBERG: That's right, yes.

(APPLAUSE)

EISENBERG: Puzzle guru Cecil Baldwin, how did our contestants do?

BALDWIN: Greg, well done. You're one step closer to the final round.

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