Another mystery has been cleared up, or perhaps redefined, by Mark Henderson. The question was why people hang up just as you arrive at the phone, dripping water from the bath. Mr Henderson explains that we have confused cause and effect. It is not the arrival at the phone that causes the caller to hang up, but the hanging up which causes the arrival at the phone. However long you wait, the person you are ringing will arrive, dripping, just as you hang up. It is a corollary to Sod's Law.
Our final answer explains why we say Oxford Street, stressing the first word, but Park Lane, stressing the second: 'It is good old British snobbery', writes Geoffrey Langley. 'In the great suburban housing booms of the late Twenties and Thirties, people wanted to move away from streets, where 'common' people lived, and into Avenues, Parks, Crescents and Walks, where they didn't. Hence, 'We live in Rosemary Crescent, not in a common old street like you.'
This week has produced a bumper crop of questions:
What does the 'D' stand for in ID card? (Fabian Acker).
Why do people who come up to you in the street and ask for the time say 'Have you the right time?' (Rick Karmon).
And why, when answering, do people reply 'I don't think I do', when they mean 'I think I don't'? (George White).
Why is it that whatever the colour of your clothing, the fluff in your navel is always grey? (Peter Mair).
On a mathematical note, Dr S Roy points out that yesterday's date, 31/3/93, works as a multiplication sum: 31 x 3 = 93. Which year, he asks, contained the highest number of such dates?
And finally, why is there always a single wet black leather glove on the railings by a bus stop? (Philip Mehl).Reuse content