OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:
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Our next game is about Sherlock Holmes and urban legends. Did you know that Sherlock Holmes never said, elementary, my dear Watson? The real quote is, Watson, I am so high right now.
EISENBERG: Let's meet our contestants. First up, Amanda Gilligan on buzzer number one.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
EISENBERG: You're a third-grade teacher in Waterbury, Conn. Welcome.
AMANDA GILLIGAN: Thank you.
EISENBERG: Your opponent is Kristy Champignon on buzzer number two.
(SOUNDBITE OF BELL)
EISENBERG: You work in psychiatric services for adolescents in New Jersey. And the kids know you as the puzzle lady. Welcome.
KRISTY CHAMPIGNON: Great to be here.
EISENBERG: Remember, Amanda and Kristy, the first of you who wins two of our games will go on to our final round. Let's go to your first game.
Amanda, what's a urban legend that you could get behind?
GILLIGAN: Well, again, as a third-grade teacher, I hear them all. I have the kids coming in every day and trying to convince the class that if they drink Pop Rocks - eat Pop Rocks and drink Coke that, you know, their stomach will explode. And I have to discuss the physics of it and explain, you know, that's not possible. Or they watch a horror movie and come in, and they try to convince the kids that Bloody Mary does exist. And I spend more of my time debunking the myths with third graders than anything else.
EISENBERG: OK. So you don't believe in any of them?
GILLIGAN: I don't know, maybe the Loch Ness monster. You know, I grew up around the water. That could...
GILLIGAN: ...Very possibly.
EISENBERG: I love that you're telling - right. You're like, no, Pop Rocks. That's crazy. But, you know, maybe a sea monster.
GILLIGAN: Possibly. Mermaids, I could definitely get behind, too.
EISENBERG: Mermaids. OK.
How about you, Kristy? What's an urban legend you could get behind?
CHAMPIGNON: One that my family says all the time because we go to the beach pretty often is that if a seagull poops on you, that means you're lucky - so - and especially when you're on the Jersey Shore. They're like, oh, you should go to Atlantic City now. You're so lucky. And I just think it's a really nice way of people saying, I'm sorry a bird just pooped on you.
EISENBERG: That is the most optimistic read of an urban legend I've ever heard. I appreciate that. So you get to play one of our favorite games. It's called This, That or the Other. We're going to give you the name. You tell us which of three categories it belongs to.
Jonathan Coulton, what are today's categories?
JONATHAN COULTON: Today's categories are spooky urban legends, nicknames of old-timey Hall of Fame baseball players or a phrase following the adventure of in the title of a Sherlock Holmes story.
EISENBERG: We're going to alternate back and forth, so no need to ring in. Here we go.
Amanda, the creeping man.
GILLIGAN: I'd say that's Sherlock Holmes.
EISENBERG: I would say that is correct.
EISENBERG: Terrible name for a ballplayer.
COULTON: Kristy, the Mechanical Man.
CHAMPIGNON: I'd say a baseball player.
COULTON: It is a baseball player. You're correct.
EISENBERG: Amanda, the Phantom Coachman.
GILLIGAN: Urban legend, I think.
EISENBERG: Yes, that's an urban legend.
EISENBERG: It's an old legend about a woman who has a dream about a phantom coachman who says there's room for one more. Never go in anything that someone says there's room for one more.
COULTON: This one's for you, Kristy - the Sussex vampire.
CHAMPIGNON: Oh - Sherlock Holmes?
COULTON: Yeah. Sherlock Holmes is correct.
EISENBERG: Another odd nickname for a baseball player.
COULTON: It'd be a very strange technique for a baseball player. Why do they call him the Sussex - oh, I see.
EISENBERG: Amanda, the Squire of Kennett Square.
GILLIGAN: Sounds British, so I will go Sherlock Holmes.
EISENBERG: Interesting. I am sorry that is incorrect.
Kristy, can you steal?
CHAMPIGNON: Urban legend?
EISENBERG: I'm sorry that is incorrect.
GILLIGAN: Baseball player.
EISENBERG: Yeah, Herb Pennock was a pitcher and teammate of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig from Kennett Square, Pa. Kennett Square is also known as the mushroom capital of the world.
COULTON: It's good to know. Kristy, Little Napoleon.
CHAMPIGNON: Baseball player.
COULTON: Yes, it is a baseball player.
EISENBERG: That is redundant, we can agree. Right?
COULTON: Yes, yes. That's right.
EISENBERG: These are your last clues. Amanda, the Hook.
GILLIGAN: I'll go with urban legend on that one.
EISENBERG: Yeah, that's an urban legend. Yes...
EISENBERG: ...Famous urban legend.
COULTON: Kristy, the devil's foot.
CHAMPIGNON: I'm going to go Sherlock Holmes.
COULTON: Yeah, you're right. Sherlock Holmes.
EISENBERG: It's - Sherlock deduces that four people have been driven to insanity and death by a poison called the devil's foot root.
COULTON: The devil's foot root?
EISENBERG: Yeah. You take it out of the - and it's stinky or something.
EISENBERG: Smells like the devil's foot.
COULTON: Smells like the devil's foot in here.
EISENBERG: That's right.
COULTON: Speaking of which, puzzle guru Greg Pliska...
COULTON: ...How did our contestants do?
GREG PLISKA: Kristy, you've won the first round. Congratulations.
EISENBERG: You can solve the case of the best contestant we haven't met yet. Go to amatickets.org and take our contestant quiz. Coming up - can you believe we've played 1,000 games on ASK ME ANOTHER? That's right. That is one game for every 43 quadrillion possible configurations of a Rubik's Cube. I'm Ophira Eisenberg, and this is ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR.
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