Truefalseology Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist actors Skylar Astin and John Clarence Stewart are ready to hit the books in a game where they must determine real or fake niche areas of study.


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JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: This is ASK ME ANOTHER, NPR's hour of puzzles, word games and nearly impossible bonus point opportunities. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.


Thanks, Jonathan. We're playing games with actors Skylar Astin and John Clarence Stewart from the show "Zoe's Extraordinary Playlist." All right, are you ready for another one?


JOHN CLARENCE STEWART: Let's go. What you got?

EISENBERG: All right, so here's what's going to happen. We're going to tell you about a niche area of study. And you're just going to tell us if it's real, like something people actually study and try to specialize in, or if it's something we made up. So basically, this is real or fake...


EISENBERG: ...Niche area of study. OK, Skylar, cryptozoology - that is the search for legendary creatures like Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster. Is that real or fake? Is that a real or fake area of study?

ASTIN: Let's say it is a real thing.

EISENBERG: Yeah. That's right. It's a real area of study - Loch Ness monsters, obviously fake.

ASTIN: Right.

EISENBERG: Bigfoot, obviously real.



ASTIN: And there you are.


EISENBERG: Pretty sure, pretty sure.

COULTON: Yeah. All right, John - the study of latrinalia, otherwise known as bathroom graffiti.


COULTON: You're correct. That is real. And there have been - there are records of people graffitiing bathroom areas since the first century A.D.

EISENBERG: First century A.D. (laughter).


EISENBERG: What was that graffiti?


EISENBERG: For a good time, send a pigeon to Pliny the Elder.


STEWART: Oh, man.

EISENBERG: All right, Skylar - slobotony (ph), which is...


EISENBERG: ...The study of messes.

ASTIN: Now, all right. See; you see how I play these games. It's pattern-based, not any, like, hunch.

COULTON: You're playing (unintelligible).

ASTIN: It's like...

COULTON: I like it.


ASTIN: We're due for a false. This one sounds so what it is. You know what I mean? So...

EISENBERG: On the nose.

ASTIN: And I feel like NPR's a little smarter than that, I've gathered now from solely this conversation.

EISENBERG: (Laughter).

ASTIN: So I'm going to say false.

EISENBERG: You are correct. That is totally false. We just made that up.

ASTIN: Come on - too easy.

COULTON: All right, John, last one.

STEWART: Hit me. Go ahead.

COULTON: Zymurgy, the study of beer and wine fermentation. Zymurgy - real or fake?

STEWART: I'm going to say yeah.

COULTON: Yeah, that is real. That is a real thing. Sometimes some beer enthusiasts are using the term zythology, which is the beer equivalent of enology, the study of wine. But...

EISENBERG: It's also easier to say when you're slurring.



STEWART: Zythology.

COULTON: It might just be they're all drunk and they all say it differently because they can't remember what it really is.

EISENBERG: Zythology.

STEWART: Zythology.

COULTON: Yes. I'm a zymologist (ph). Get out of here.

ASTIN: I was with Hank last night, and he kept saying he was a zythologist.


ASTIN: Beer - they always say beer before liquor is zoothology (ph). Liquor before before is zythology.


STEWART: Oh, man.

EISENBERG: So - OK, so after two games, I think we can agree that you guys won just ultimately.


EISENBERG: Ultimately, you won...

ASTIN: I mean, yeah.

EISENBERG: ...Like, all around and were amazing. So thank you so much. Thank you so much. Skylar Astin and John Clarence Stewart star in the musical comedy "Zoe's Extraordinary Playlist," which is now in its second season on NBC and Peacock. Thank you so much for joining us.

ASTIN: So fun - thank you so much for having us.

STEWART: Thank you for having us.


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