Bluff The Listener Our panelists tell us three stories of an old man's solution to a young man's problem.
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Bluff The Listener

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Bluff The Listener

Bluff The Listener

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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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 Mo Rocca, Amy Dickinson and Brian Babylon. And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.


Thank you, Carl.


SAGAL: Thank you everybody. Right now, it is time for the WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-Wait-Wait to play our game on the air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!


SAGAL: Hello, who's this?

COLBERT: Camillia Colbert from Lake City, Florida.

SAGAL: Well how are you, Camillia?

COLBERT: Hey, I'm super.

SAGAL: You sound it.

MO ROCCA: I love that name.


SAGAL: Oh, it's a lovely name.

ROCCA: It's the state flower of Alabama.

SAGAL: The camellia?


SAGAL: You are the happiest person I've talked to for - what do you do there in Lake City?

COLBERT: I'm in sales.

SAGAL: Oh wow.

DICKINSON: I am buying.

ROCCA: I'll buy.

SAGAL: Well, that's great. I'd buy anything. What do you sell? I'll buy it.

COLBERT: Uh-oh. I work for a tobacco company.

SAGAL: Oh my.


ROCCA: Well tobacco is a flower, isn't it?


SAGAL: Well that explains a lot, actually. Camillia, welcome to the show.

COLBERT: Thank you.

SAGAL: You're going to play our game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is Camillia's topic?

KASELL: Grandpa knows best.

SAGAL: In today's modern world, it seems there's a technological fix for everything. When your iPod dies, you get a new one at the Apple store. When you get lost, you turn on your GPS. But sometimes, nothing works as well as good old-fashioned know-how. When you run out of glue, why, go get a horse and boil it.


SAGAL: Our panelists are going to tell you about three old-fashioned solutions to modern problems, but only one of them is being used right now. Ready to play?


SAGAL: First, let's hear from Brian Babylon.

BRIAN BABYLON: It's an age old problem on college campuses. How do you make that 9 a.m. class when your head is pounding from slamming all those jell-o shots the night before?


BABYLON: At the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, they found an age old solution, leeches.


BABYLON: First used by the hard-partying boys at Delta Epsilon, the blood- sucking parasites now seen hanging from the faces of students all over campus.


BABYLON: Premed student Beatrice Johnson told the student paper, "The leeches secret a chemical that's a lot like aspirin. Plus, they suck just enough blood to relieve some of the pressure. Those medieval doctors knew what they were doing and they knew how to party."


BABYLON: Far from being disgusting, now the leeches are start being seen as a status symbol around campuses. A very hot party is often praised as being a three-leecher.



SAGAL: Leeches being used to relieve hangovers at the University of North Carolina. Your next story of someone using the wisdom of the aged comes from Amy Dickinson.

DICKINSON: Everyone agrees that the students at Shaw High School in upstate New York have awesome school spirit. But that spirit started to fade after the 2009 football season, when the team lost all but one game. So, what to do? Start an awesome flag squad.


DICKINSON: And it turns out that flags were just what the football team needed. Game after game, the Purple Lions showed an almost magical ability to outsmart their opponents. Local sportswriter David Hill videotaped the flag squad's routine and unlocked the secret to the team's winning season. Semaphore, the ancient art of communication used between ships at sea. While fans in the stands thrilled to the sight of the girls dancing to Lady Gaga, it turns out the flag squad was telegraphing the opposing team's plays right back to their home team.


DICKINSON: The cheating scheme was the brainchild of Clara Gallagher, a junior whose father had been in the Navy. "We were trying to figure out how to help the team the most because, well, they're, like, really bad."


DICKINSON: "And I thought, hey, why not flag signals? I mean, it worked at the Battle of Trafalgar," she told the paper. As a result, the team's winning season has been nullified and the flag squad has been demoted to play in the pep band.


SAGAL: Semaphore being used to help a football team win in upstate New York. Your last story of something old fixing something new comes from Mo Rocca.

ROCCA: Remember when young fellas wore their pants around the waist?


ROCCA: Those were the days. Today's nogoodnik whippersnapping hoodlums barely keep their pants on, the waistline hanging somewhere below the butt. Saggy pants have become a national nuisance, which is why some states have even tried to ban them. But now come Subspenders, the innovative urban fashion accessory designed for people who wear their pants just north of the knees.


ROCCA: Black, with shiny metal, Subspenders extend from a person's actual waist and attach to the pants, however far down they may hang.


ROCCA: Of course, actual suspenders do the trick if they're long enough. Rumor has it that behind that desk all those years, Larry King was exploding downstairs.


SAGAL: All right.


SAGAL: Here are your choices. Was it, from Brian Babylon, that leeches are being used to help cure hangovers in college campuses? From Amy Dickinson, that semaphore was used to help a football team win? Or from Mo Rocca that suspenders, now known as Subspenders, are helping urban youth keep their pants from falling completely off? Which of these is the real story of old technology helping with a new problem?

COLBERT: I'm torn between Amy and Mo.

SAGAL: Tricky.

COLBERT: And I think I'm going to go with Amy.

SAGAL: You're going to choose Amy?

COLBERT: I'm going to go for it. I'm going to go with the flag team.

SAGAL: You're going to go with the flag team. All right, well we actually spoke to the person who came up with this idea.

ANDREW LEWIS: It's a simple horizontal belt that attaches around the user's waist and from that belt, all four vertical suspender straps.


SAGAL: That was Andrew Lewis. He is the inventor of Subspenders.

DICKINSON: But that's like a garter.

SAGAL: Sadly, as you have no doubt figured out, Mo Rocca had the real story about the Subspenders. You didn't win our prize, but you did earn a point for Amy for her brilliant idea of semaphoring cheerleaders. So thank you, Camillia, so much for playing our game.

COLBERT: Thank you, guys.

DICKINSON: Thanks, Camillia.


SAGAL: Bye-bye.

COLBERT: Bye-bye.

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