Silly Questions: A game of two halves

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The Independent Culture
'WHEN the stars collide with the glossy smooth surface of the northern hemisphere,' writes J Clements poetically, in reply to our query concerning the potential inswinging effects of scuffed planets. 'They will slide smoothly downwards and end up stuck and dangling on the roughened southern hemisphere, thus creating the world's largest Christmas decoration.'

Robert Ward, writing somewhat incongruously from Hertfordshire on the notepaper of Le Padovanelle Ristorante in Padova, believes that the reverse swing of gnarled cricket balls may also explain why dropped toast always lands on the marmalade side.

Len Clarke dispenses with any preliminary study of toast and cricket balls: 'A planet Earth whose top half is smooth and bottom half is rough wouldn't behave like a googly unless the solar system had an atmosphere. What would happen, owing to the drag of our own atmosphere on the rougher lower bit, is that the Earth would unscrew itself into two halves.' But he expresses confidence in the Government's ability to screw it up again.

On the subject of why humans don't hibernate, Henning Capon writes from Oslo, by way of Leeds, to point out that if humans hibernated, cats would starve. Humans are prevented from hibernating by pheromones emitted by cats.

Which leaves the question of why senior executives have illegible signatures. Nicholas Gough, signing with a flourish and no 'i' evident in Nicholas, though its dot sits proudly in a loop embellishing the 'N', says that graphologically speaking, flourishes and embellishments show insecurity. An illegible signature indicates an up-front, down-to-earth and secure character, but only if the rest of the handwriting is illegible. Otherwise it's just a sign of wanting to appear elusive and mysterious.

Julian (in block capitals) Blake (very legible), suggests that in certain cases (or possibly caves, it's hard to read the writing) illegible signatories are trying to conceal their identities.

This week's star question comes from Stuart Cockerill, who wants to know: 'By what name will ex-king Constantine of Greece's son be known when he doesn't accede to the throne?' This fits very well next to R Bannerman's problem: 'My first wife's second husband was clearly my husband-in-law. He then divorced her, making him my ex- husband-in-law. But what relation am I to his new wife?'

Finally: What is the difference between 'delete where applicable' and 'delete where inapplicable'?

(H Carroll).

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