Bluff The Listener Our panelists tell us three stories of someone trying to take credit.
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Bluff The Listener

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Bluff The Listener

Bluff The Listener

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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 Paula Poundstone, Charlie Pierce and Roxanne Roberts. And here again is your host, at the Chase Bank Auditorium in downtown Chicago, Peter Sagal.

PETER SAGAL, Host:

Thank you, Carl.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Thank you everybody. Right now, it's 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!

SARAH: Hi, this is Sarah from Raleigh, North Carolina.

SAGAL: Hey, how are things in Raleigh?

SARAH: It's really great here.

SAGAL: You know, we've had a lot of people calling from North Carolina today and they're just going on about how great it is.

SARAH: It is. It really, really is. We're lucky.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Frankly, Sarah, it's a little wearing on us here.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SARAH: I'm from Michigan, if that makes any difference.

SAGAL: All right, well...

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: There you go. Sarah, welcome to the show. You're going to play the game in which you have to tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is Sarah's topic?

KASELL: You'd be nowhere without me.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Behind every great personal success, there's somebody else trying to take credit for it and demanding a cut. This week, our panelists are going to tell you three stories about people staking somewhat dubious claims on someone else's brilliant accomplishment. Choose that true story; you will win Carl's voice on your home answering machine or voicemail. You ready to play, Sarah?

SARAH: I'm ready.

SAGAL: Let's hear first from Roxanne Roberts.

SARAH: Okay.

ROXANNE ROBERTS: Some relationships turn into happily ever after and some turn into best-selling albums. British singer Adele has just released her second chart-topping CD, and her ex-boyfriend wants a cut of the royalties. All those miserable breakup songs wouldn't have happened without him.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ROBERTS: He was such a lying, cheating bad boy that he inspired virtually all of her hits, and he believes he should get some of the profits. "For about a week he was calling and was dealing serious about it," the 23-year-old singer, who refused to name the cad, told Britain's Sun newspaper. "Finally I said, well you made my life hell, so I lived it and now I deserve it."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

ROBERTS: Anyway, he's not getting a dime and Adele is one of the richest women in Britain under 30.

SAGAL: There you go.

SARAH: Okay.

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Adele's bad boyfriend calling up and demanding a cut of her proceeds for inspiring her songs of anger and heartbreak. Your next story of someone trying to claim credit comes from Charlie Pierce.

CHARLIE PIERCE: There's an old pirate saying that dead men tell no tales. But dead men do have relatives who talk to lawyers.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

PIERCE: Two years ago, a consortium of treasure hunters excavated a pit outside Fort Lauderdale and discovered the long-lost treasure of Mad Billy Wyler, a famous pirate of the 17th century. The treasure was valued at sixteen million in gold and artifacts. The consortium was quite open about its use of a psychic in its researches and on the subject's reliance on a "spirit guide" named Maximilian to help them discover the treasure. This week, Martin Smithic (ph), the descendent of one Maximilian Smithic, a member of the Wyler crew, served the consortium seeking two million dollars as compensation for his dead relative's work on the case.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

PIERCE: Smithic, who can document his ancestor's ties to Wyler, because the two pirates were arrested and hanged together in 1697, said there is no reason why my ancestor should have worked for free just because he's dead. That's just, well, intellectual piracy.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

PIERCE: A lawyer for the consortium dismissed the action as a nuisance complaint and said that this suit, yes, wait for it, did not have a ghost of a chance.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: A man suing some treasure hunters, saying his dead ancestor was the ghost that helped them find the treasure. And lastly, your story of somebody saying, "I did that, it was me" comes from Paula Poundstone.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: It is a dog eat dog world out there. Deluxe Doggie Steps inventor Ray Nugent is being sued by his former wife, Beatrice George, who claims to have been the inspiration for the popular deceptively simple "as seen on TV" product.

It's three carpeted steps, but they've made millions for Nugent, which has his ex-wife bearing her teeth. "The whole thing was because of me," says George, "I overfed the dog. We had Butchie Boy at the time. He was a beautiful basset hound. He loved to snuggle on the couch, but they're not climbers and he couldn't get up. I used to beg Ray to help him up, but he was just too damned lazy."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: "His idea was just a plank leaning up on the couch. Poor Butchie Boy slipped off and hit his chin a dozen times."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: "I rushed him to the vet over and over. I kept saying Ray, he needs traction. That's how he thought of the carpet."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: "I think she has a fairly strong case," says attorney Hugh McGinnis. "The dog was quite fat, and Butchie Boy's vet does have a record of treating chin lacerations a number of times."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: "She's nuts," claims Mr. Nugent. "Listen, I wanted the dog up on the couch just to keep her away from me. I suppose you could call that inspiration, but I'm not giving her a penny. She's a whackjob. I thought of the carpeted stairs when stapling Beatrice's wedding dress to the plank didn't work for traction."

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

POUNDSTONE: The trial date has yet to be determined, the world must wait.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: All right, so here are your three choices. From Roxanne Roberts, a story of how the miserable ex-boyfriend of the British singer Adele wants a share of her profits because, well, he inspired her misery. From Charlie Pierce, how the descendent of someone who, as a ghost, might have helped some treasure hunters find their treasure. He wants a cut. Or from Paula Poundstone, a woman who nagged her husband into coming up with a profitable invention wants a share of that. Which of these is the real story of a dubious claim of credit?

SARAH: That's hard.

SAGAL: It is.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

SARAH: I really think it might be Charlie's story.

SAGAL: You're going to go with Charlie's story of the gentleman who says his ancestor appeared as a ghost and helped some treasure hunters find their pirate treasure. All right.

SARAH: Yeah.

SAGAL: Okay. We spoke to someone who knew about this real claim.

BRIDGET DALY: Adele's ex-boyfriend comes out of the woodwork. He keeps calling her, saying that he deserves some money for being such an inspiration for the new album.

SAGAL: That was Bridget Daly of Clever Music, discussing the Adele story. So sorry, Sarah, but you did not get it right. You did, however, win a point for Charlie.

PIERCE: Arrgh.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

(SOUNDBITE OF APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: Sarah, thank you so much for playing.

SARAH: Thank you.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

SARAH: Bye.

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