WIUM Tristates Public Radio

It's Elementary

Aug 14, 2014
Originally published on May 7, 2015 1:29 pm

We hope you're "in your element" for this quiz, because every answer contains the name of an element from the periodic table.

Heard in Episode 324: His Dark Material

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


Our next contestant is on the line. Hi, you're on ASK ME ANOTHER.

JENNI JOCHMAN: Hi, this is Jenni Jochman in Orlando, Florida.

EISENBERG: Hello, Jenni from Orlando. How's Orlando today?




EISENBERG: Is that what you say every day when someone says that to you?


EISENBERG: Speaking of hot, you work in a crime lab. That's pretty sexy. Is it as sexy as I see it on "CSI"?

JOCHMAN: You know, I wish it was. I don't know about anybody else, but I like spouting off witty one-liners.

EISENBERG: What made you get into forensic science?

JOCHMAN: I watched a lot of "Blue's Clues" when I was a kid.


EISENBERG: And what are you actually doing in the crime lab? Are you, like, looking at things through microscopes? Are there, like, you know, severed...?

JOCHMAN: That actually.

EISENBERG: A lot of that?

JOCHMAN: Looking at things through microscopes.

EISENBERG: Yeah, are there any, like, limbs hanging around?

JOCHMAN: No, no, no, no, no.

EISENBERG: No limbs. So I assume that you learn a lot of chemistry though when you take forensic science or watch "Blue's Clues." Is that right?



JOCHMAN: Yes, that's true.

EISENBERG: Great because give this game is called "It's Elementary." That doesn't mean it's easy. This game features questions in which each answer incorporates an element from the periodic table.




EISENBERG: It is made for you.

JOCHMAN: Of course.

EISENBERG: So we're going to give you a clue to the element and then a more helpful clue to the full answer. For example, you'll find a noble gas used in advertising signs in an adjective that describes a newborn's first months of life. And the answer is neonatal. Neon is within neonatal.


EISENBERG: Yeah, you seem fine. Audience scared. You'll find a lustrous silvery white metal inside a cable network for children.

JOCHMAN: Nickelodeon.



EISENBERG: You'll find this metallic element that gives Mars its red color in an Alanis Morissette song of dubious correctness.

JOCHMAN: That would be "Ironic."

EISENBERG: Yeah, exactly. The true - the song's about iron.


EISENBERG: You'll find a malleable metal with the chemical symbol Sn inside a famous Hollywood German Shepherd.

JOCHMAN: Would that be - wait a second - tin something - Rin Tin Tin?


JOCHMAN: Is he a German Shepherd?

EISENBERG: Yeah. Rin Tin Tin, yeah.

JOCHMAN: I thought it was like a mongoose or something.

JOHN CHANESKI: That's a double. You get double for that.

EISENBERG: Did you say you thought that was a mongoose or something?

JONATHAN COULTON: Oh, that's Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.


JOCHMAN: Oh, OK. I got them confused. I'm sorry.

COULTON: Not on the periodic table.


EISENBERG: Ricky. Ricky's not an element?

COULTON: Yeah, Ricky. Element number 72. Ricky.

EISENBERG: Ricky, he was just this guy. This is your last question. You'll find the foundation of all organic compounds in a pasta dish made with eggs, cheese and bacon.

JOCHMAN: That would be carbonara.

EISENBERG: Carbonara, exactly.


EISENBERG: Jenni, this was too easy for you. Or maybe it was just the perfect puzzle. It doesn't matter, you won because you got every single question right.


EISENBERG: And we are going to send out a special ASK ME ANOTHER prize all the way to Orlando just for you.

JOCHMAN: Awesome, thank you.

EISENBERG: Thanks so much for playing. How hard is it to get on ASK ME ANOTHER? It's elementary, my dear Watson. And we are looking for some worthy contestants, both on the phone and right here on stage. So if you have what it takes, prove it. Take our contestant quiz, just send us an e-mail at askmeanother@npr.org.


COULTON: (Singing) Iron is a metal, you see it every day. Oxygen eventually will make it rust away. Carbon in its ordinary form is coal. Crush it together and diamonds are born. Come on, come on and meet the elements. May I introduce you to our friends the elements, like a box of paints that are mixed to make every shade. They either combine to make a chemical compound or stand alone as they are. Combined to make a chemical compound or stand alone as they are.


EISENBERG: Jonathan Coulton. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.