Panel Round Two More questions for the panel: Your dog has been fetching it for decades, but it wasn't invented until 1999; The King and his Steinway Oinker.
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Panel Round Two

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Panel Round Two

Panel Round Two

Panel Round Two

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More questions for the panel: Your dog has been fetching it for decades, but it wasn't invented until 1999; The King and his Steinway Oinker.

CARL KASELL, Host:

From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Tom Bodett, Mo Rocca and Paula Poundstone. And here's your host, at the Cal Performances in Zellerbach Hall in Berkeley, California, Peter Sagal.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

PETER SAGAL, Host:

Thank you, Carl. Thank you everybody. Coming up, on this technology-themed show, Carl puts on his fedora, gets his bullwhip and digs into the Listener Limerick Challenge. If you'd like to play, give us a call at 1-888-Wait-Wait, that's 1-888-924-8924.

Right now, Panel, some questions for you. And all of your questions right now are about strange but brilliant inventions. Mo, sometimes a patent is richly deserved, when an inventor breaks new ground and improves the lives of millions. Other times, well listen to this excerpt from a patent application in 1999.

KASELL: An apparatus for use as a toy by an animal, for example a dog, to either fetch, carry or chew that resembles a branch in appearance.

SAGAL: What was this so-called inventor trying to patent in 1999?

MO ROCCA: It's for a dog.

SAGAL: It's for a dog.

ROCCA: And it resembles a branch but it's actually used for fetching?

SAGAL: Yeah, the sort of thing that looks like a small branch that a dog might fetch.

ROCCA: Like a bone, like a fake bone.

SAGAL: Not a bone.

ROCCA: Wait, is the dog fetching this thing or is the dog using this to fetch?

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Is that Mo or is that your iPhone app because it sounds like Mo, because it's very good.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: I only wish that the audience at home could see Peter's face.

ROCCA: I don't understand. Is the thing, is the dog...

POUNDSTONE: It looks like a branch and you might throw it for a dog.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

TOM BODETT: As in go fetch the...

POUNDSTONE: It's made of wood.

ROCCA: Oh, it's a branch.

POUNDSTONE: Yes.

ROCCA: It's a stick.

SAGAL: It's a stick.

POUNDSTONE: Yes.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: He filed...

POUNDSTONE: Yeah, because it's so silly that you wouldn't have guessed it.

ROCCA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

SAGAL: You might think that in your youth you used a similar device when you played with your dog but you couldn't have because Ross Eugene Long III didn't invent the stick as a dog toy until 1999.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: You might be surprised that nobody thought of that sooner, but you may be more surprised to learn that the patent was granted.

POUNDSTONE: No.

SAGAL: By the U.S. Patent Office in 2002, at which time, Long, on a roll, also applied for a trademark on the phrase, "Go get it, boy."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: His next big idea, a granular mineral substance used to cover the ground. He calls it dirt.

ROCCA: Oh, so it actually was a stick.

SAGAL: Well it's a stick. But what's interesting is it's a stick, it's like a toy that looks like a stick but it's made of wood.

ROCCA: Right.

SAGAL: So it's a wooden shaped thing that looks like a stick.

ROCCA: Yeah, yeah, yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ROCCA: Wow, geez, that's really trippy.

SAGAL: It is.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: So often you look at a thing and it says patent pending. And yet, the stick patent...

SAGAL: Was granted.

POUNDSTONE: Was granted.

SAGAL: Yes.

POUNDSTONE: No, not even waiting on that baby, they got right to that.

SAGAL: Yeah, the next time you throw the stick, you owe the guy 20 bucks.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Tom, Louis the Eleventh, King of France, was also an innovative musician, as shown by his greatest invention, what?

BODETT: The mogue. No, the - Louis the Eleventh, you don't hear a lot about the Eleventh.

SAGAL: No, you don't, and it's a shame.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BODETT: The Eleventh Louis.

SAGAL: Because this guy, just for this, not just...

BODETT: Not Louie Louie.

SAGAL: No, no.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BODETT: I mean it goes back a ways.

SAGAL: Yeah.

BODETT: I don't know when the Eleventh was, probably before the Sixteenth.

SAGAL: Right.

BODETT: I'm...

SAGAL: I would say. Let me check. He was exactly five Louis before Louis the Sixteenth.

ROCCA: You know you skip Louis the Thirteenth.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

BODETT: So an instrument.

SAGAL: It was an instrument. It was an instrument that used a really novel technology.

BODETT: Wind powered organ. Louis the Eleventh, a kazoo.

SAGAL: No.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ROCCA: I thought it was.

BODETT: Oh thanks, Mo.

ROCCA: Sorry, I...

BODETT: Mo set me up for this.

ROCCA: I wanted it to be the answer.

BODETT: No, it's not the - I mean is there any more of a hint you can give me without just giving me the answer please.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: I'll try to replicate its effect.

SAGAL: (Singing) Oink, oink, oink, oink, oink. Oink.

BODETT: A pig.

SAGAL: A pig organ.

BODETT: A pig organ.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)

SAGAL: Pigs squeal, of course. But different pigs, as I'm sure you all know, squeal in different notes. So the king had arranged an array of carefully selected swine. They were placed in stalls. And a mechanism connected to a keyboard, so the pressing of a key caused the correct pig to be poked.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: A poking the pig, thus sound its note. He used it to perform Mozart's lesser known masterpiece "Eine Kleine Schweinemusik."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

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