Scientific Rhyme-a-rific In this game, we satisfy the science nerds and the word nerds with some clues to rhyming pairs of words.

Scientific Rhyme-a-rific

  • Download
  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: (Singing) Going to take a lot to drag me away from you; there's nothing that a hundred men or more could ever do. I bless the rains down in Africa; going to take some time to do the things we never had.



Jonathan Coulton.


EISENBERG: For this next game, please welcome Brian Durkin and Tom Carter.


EISENBERG: Now, Brian, I usually do not indulge people in their proposal stories on this show, but I - you have a good one and if you can keep it short, I really would love you to share it.

BRIAN DURKIN: Sure, so I proposed in Paris, France, and it was going to happen at the Eiffel Tower, but there were some complications. I didn't realize the security there was so intense with, like, fatigues and, like, AK-47s and metal detectors. So it was kind of tough to get the ring through, but...

EISENBERG: (Laughter) And how did it work out?

DURKIN: We broke up, so...

EISENBERG: I didn't know that's how the ending went. All right. Tom, are you married?

TOM CARTER: I am. My wife Karen (ph) is here with me tonight.

EISENBERG: And how did you meet your wife?

CARTER: We met at work. We smiled at each other a lot in the elevator and the hallways.


CARTER: But I had to do a little bit of background research first and find some folks who knew something about her, got the information and then ambushed her at the copy machine.


EISENBERG: Congratulations, and I hope things are OK for you, Brian.

DURKIN: Yeah, things are good.

EISENBERG: Things worked out. All right.

DURKIN: Yeah, I get around.



EISENBERG: Clearly, you're both good at chemistry, but let's see how you do with physics - Jonathan.

COULTON: Yes, this game is called Scientific Rhyme-a-rific. In this game, a scientific concept will be described in each clue, as well as some other considerably less scientific term that rhymes with it. And you will have to give us the two-word rhyming answer - a little complicated. Puzzle guru Art Chung, can you give us an example?

ART CHUNG, BYLINE: The physicists thought they had achieved a reaction in which atomic nuclei form a heavier nucleus with the release of energy. But it was just a mirage or a trick, so the answer to that clue is fusion illusion.

COULTON: So - all right, settle down, everybody. It's not that big a deal. I appreciate you trying to add a little drama into the show.


COULTON: So each clue we'll be cluing two different words - a two-word phrase is what we're looking for. The first word will always be the scientific term. The winner will go on to the final round at the end of the show. Are you ready?

CARTER: Ready.

COULTON: OK, here we go. This is the partially digested food that gets regurgitated by celestial bodies with icy tales orbiting the sun.



DURKIN: Vomit comet.

COULTON: Yes, except...

DURKIN: Comet vomit.

COULTON: Yes, that's right.



COULTON: When the astronauts returned from outer space and again felt the force that attracts a body toward the center of the Earth, they celebrated with a wild party full of moral wickedness.


CARTER: Gravity...


CARTER: Sorry - gravity depravity.

COULTON: You are correct.


COULTON: This extreme pressure or tension was exerted on the subway train that only made select stops.



CARTER: Compression expression.

COULTON: That's a good guess. That's not what we're looking for. Do you know the answer, Brian?

DURKIN: Compress express.


COULTON: Puzzle guru Art Chung, I don't know why - compress.

CHUNG: I don't...

COULTON: That's kind of a scientific term.

CHUNG: That is a scientific term - not the term we're looking for. We were looking for stress express.

COULTON: Mean old puzzle guru Art Chung says no.


COULTON: The getaway driver was trying to control her vehicle against a twisting force that tends to cause rotation when she arrived at the point where two roads diverged. Will she take the one less traveled by? That's just me wondering. I don't know.



CARTER: A torque fork.

COULTON: That's right.


COULTON: You guys both began to sweat somewhere in the middle of that pause. Inhaling this hot, ionized gas often found in flat-screen TVs can lead to a chronic respiratory condition that causes wheezing and coughing.



CARTER: Plasma asthma.

COULTON: You are right.



COULTON: This is your last clue. Wow, that object supplying electrical power to your smartphone is truly amazing, she said, in a fit of insincere praise.



CARTER: Battery flattery.

COULTON: That's right.


COULTON: Art Chung, how did our contestants do?

CHUNG: Looks like Tom did his homework 'cause he's moving on to our final round at the end of the show.


EISENBERG: Coming up, we'll beam our VIP Patrick Stewart into the puzzle hot seat and engage his Shakespearean brain. It will feel like we're all at the Globe Theatre. This is ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR.

Copyright © 2015 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.