Dude Stole My Invention We were inspired by true stories of men who took credit for a woman's invention or discovery, and wrote those accounts as if they appeared in a crime blotter.

Dude Stole My Invention

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JONATHAN COULTON: From NPR and WNYC, coming to you from The Bell House in beautiful Brooklyn, N.Y., it's NPR's hour of puzzles, word games and trivia, ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Now, here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.


Thank you, Jonathan. We have a great show for you. Four brilliant contestants are backstage memorizing irrational numbers waiting to play our nerdy games. But only one will become our big winner. And our special guest are comics Cameron Esposito and Craig Robinson. Now, Cameron and I both hate it when people refer to female comics as comediennes, right? Not only because it's outdated, it's totally insulting. We don't need a special word just because we're women that tell jokes. You know what else I don't like being called? I don't like being called a funny gal, a mouthy broad, a joking Jezebel, a girl Seinfeld, lady C.K., shoulder pant and skinny tie. I don't like wacky womb. I don't like chatty vulva. I don't like Dame Miller. I'm not into ha-ha-harlot (ph) or chuckle slut.

EISENBERG: It's comic, OK? That's the only word you need to use - comic. And if you'd like to book me for your show, please go to my website, humorousuterus.biz (ph).

EISENBERG: Let's get things started with our first two contestants. First up, Jamie Schraff. You worked in marketing for an insurance company. But you say it's nothing like "Death Of A Salesman."

JAMIE SCHRAFF: No, you know, we're really trying to break that stereotype or idea...

EISENBERG: (Laughter) Stereotype especially.

SCHRAFF: ...As we try to recruit millennials who don't want to die selling insurance.

COULTON: (Laughter).

EISENBERG: So what makes your insurance job not suicidal?

SCHRAFF: You know what's so cool? We launched a sabbatical program, so we get 30 paid days off to pursue a passion.


SCHRAFF: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Every 10 years, you get to do that.

EISENBERG: Your opponent is Evan Hammond. And you are currently a project manager for an artist. I don't really understand what that job is, Evan. How would you describe it?

EVAN HAMMOND: Barely glorified secretary.

EISENBERG: OK, got it. Yeah, it's like an assistant, but your client happens to be all artists.

HAMMOND: No, just one.

EISENBERG: Just one artist.

HAMMOND: That's enough, trust me.

EISENBERG: Now, Jamie and Evan, the first of you who win two of our games is going to move on to the final round at the end of the show. So we're going to go to your first challenge. Jamie, have you ever taken credit for something that wasn't yours?

SCHRAFF: Yes, nobly I will say.

SCHRAFF: My girlfriend was quite ill, and we were in an elevator together. There was a smell, and it didn't come from me, but I took credit for it because, you know, she was not at her best. And I was trying to help a sister out.

EISENBERG: I did not expect the positive story to come from that question. Yes, you were but a saint. How about you, Evan? Have you ever taken credit for something that wasn't yours?

HAMMOND: Yeah, I...

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

HAMMOND: ...With enthusiasm - no. I - we had a bum roommate, and I wanted to convince all my friends that I was a trickster and helped to get her out. So even though she had a real leak in her roof in her ceiling in her bedroom, I told friends that I was throwing ice cubes on the floor to convince her to get out.

EISENBERG: OK, so you took credit for a leak.

EISENBERG: All right. Well, this is a trivia game called Dude Stole My Invention. So you know the old saying - behind every successful man, there is a woman who actually did the work but doesn't get any of the credit. So in this game, we're inspired by true stories of men who took credit for women's inventions or discoveries and wrote these accounts as if they appeared in a crime blotter. OK.

COULTON: This game was actually my idea, so...

COULTON: It's a long, slow burn on that one.

EISENBERG: The greatest, the greatest.

COULTON: Just buzz in to guess the invention or discovery that we're talking about, and the winner will be one step closer to the final round at the end of the show. All right, here we go.

EISENBERG: Charles Darrow skulked past go and collected millions in royalties for this board game that was actually designed by a Quaker named Elizabeth Magie.


SCHRAFF: Monopoly.

EISENBERG: Exactly, Monopoly, you're right.

EISENBERG: Magie's version was called The Landlord's Game, and it was actually designed as a teaching tool to show how big business is bad.

SCHRAFF: That was a good idea.

EISENBERG: Yeah. That explains why that game - have you ever had fun playing that game?

SCHRAFF: No, always angry.

EISENBERG: No, no, exactly, exactly, no one ever leaves like, wow, after playing Monopoly, we made out.

COULTON: That's not a great date game.

EISENBERG: No, it's terrible.

COULTON: Officials have learned that photo 51, the key to this discovery, wasn't actually taken by science duo Watson and Crick. Rather it was taken by Rosalind Franklin. The letters A, C, T and G were strewn all over the crime scene.



COULTON: DNA - You got it.

EISENBERG: It's 1917, and a man named John R. Oishei says he's designed something to make driving in the rain safer. One problem - Mary Anderson already invented this more than a decade earlier, but her patent lapsed because no one would buy it from her.


SCHRAFF: Windshield wipers.

EISENBERG: You are correct, exactly.

COULTON: Police are investigating one Charles Annan last seen stealing the design for a machine made by Margaret Knight that manufactures these flat-bottomed objects that you'll find at the grocery store checkout.


SCHRAFF: Ooh. That was an early buzz.

COULTON: Oh, that was - that was the end of the question.

SCHRAFF: (Laughter) Flat items at checkout.

COULTON: Flat-bottomed objects - you make the rockin' world go round.

SCHRAFF: That sounds like a Queen song...


SCHRAFF: ...But I think it's the basket.

COULTON: That's an excellent guess. It is not the basket.


COULTON: I'm sorry. Evan, do you know what the answer is?

HAMMOND: Bag - like, bagging stations.

COULTON: I'm sorry. It is not bagging stations.

COULTON: What we were looking for is paper bags.

EISENBERG: Paper bags, yeah.

SCHRAFF: Curses.

COULTON: Everybody's vaguely disappointed. I understand.


EISENBERG: All right. This is your last clue - a domestic dispute was called in from an art studio. Officials found Margaret Keane arguing with her husband, who said he was the artist behind her paintings featuring this exaggerated anatomical feature.



EISENBERG: Yes, big eyes, exactly.

EISENBERG: All right. Puzzle guru Greg Pliska, how did our contestants do?

GREG PLISKA: We have a tie.


PLISKA: So I have a tie-breaker question for you. Buzz in after I'm finished and give us the correct answer, and you'll be our winner. All right, here's your question. Cecilia Payne's research established that stars are made of helium and what other element that's number one on the periodic table?


HAMMOND: Hydrogen.

PLISKA: Hydrogen is correct.

PLISKA: Congratulations, Evan. Well done. You're one step closer to moving on to our final round.

























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