BILL KURTIS: From NPR WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We're playing this week with Adam Felber, Roy Blount Jr. and Helen Hong. And here again is your host at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.
PETER SAGAL, HOST:
Thank you, Bill.
SAGAL: In just a minute, Bill reminds you that in the game of Limericks, you rhyme or you die.
SAGAL: If you'd like to play, give us a call at 1-888-WAIT-WAIT. That's 1-888-924-8924. Right now, panel, answer some more questions from this week's news.
Adam, Aer Lingus, the Irish airline, has offered a new perk for upscale passengers for only four times the normal ticket price. They guarantee you a seat with what perk?
ADAM FELBER: A quiet seatmate.
SAGAL: Even better.
FELBER: No seatmate.
SAGAL: Exactly right.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
SAGAL: For only four times the normal price of a ticket.
FELBER: But wait a minute.
SAGAL: Hang on.
SAGAL: Hang on. Hang on. Let me explain.
FELBER: Hold on a second.
SAGAL: Let me explain. So four times the price, you get a seat guaranteed. You get an aisle or a window seat and guaranteed no one in the middle seat. Now Aer Lingus, of course, is the only airline with its own definition in the Urban Dictionary. But they're trying...
FELBER: Not their fault.
SAGAL: Not their fault. But they're trying to compete with all the other airlines doing short hops all over Europe. So they've offered this thing - four times the price, you get nobody in the middle seat next to you.
FELBER: Oh, I'm going to make a killing because I'm going to offer the same thing for a little over half price...
FELBER: ...Of what they're offering.
SAGAL: It's perfect for anyone who likes to spread out in privacy and also anyone who's too dumb to realize that for only twice the price of a standard ticket, you can buy the seat next to you.
ROY BLOUNT JR: That's very cunning of Lingus, I think.
KURTIS: Thank you.
SAGAL: Thank you very much.
SAGAL: Adam, linguists have traced the evolution of modern languages back to prehistoric times. And it turns out there's one word that hasn't changed at all in 8,000 years. So if you were able to go back in time and meet somebody who spoke the Proto-Indo-European language, you could happily talk to each other about what? One word.
FELBER: Guys named John.
SAGAL: Very, very, very few words have survived the millennia without being changed in some way to different languages. This one, of course, has. But you would have to mime the bagel and cream cheese.
BLOUNT JR: Really?
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HELEN HONG: What?
SAGAL: Lox has meant salmon...
BLOUNT JR: Is that right?
SAGAL: ...For - smoked salmon for 8,000 years.
SAGAL: It's the one word has not - 8,000 years ago, they - when they were look - pointing to salmon, they'd say lox. And now, this was...
FELBER: How do we know this?
HONG: The first deli...
HONG: ...Eight thousand years ago.
HONG: They were like, you want lox or not?
FELBER: Right. They found the menu from the first deli.
FELBER: And it was completely unintelligible.
HONG: It was in hieroglyphs. And then it said lox.
SAGAL: Yeah, pretty much.
SAGAL: Now, this was before cream cheese and capers. But they had invent - they had the bagels at that time. But it was before the invention of the wheel. So the bagels were all square.
SAGAL: Now, we know this because, like I said, the word is the same in all languages that have descended from this Proto-Indo-European language from which most of our language has come. So if the theory about lox is right, that means that Jews existed back then. So we can assume Proto-Indo-European was mostly used to complain.
SAGAL: You invented fire. Did you have to make it so hot?
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