Numbers: The anaesthetist

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The Independent Online
Today is the 2nd of November.

Two is the number of fingers required for a rude gesture; also:

Gentlemen of Verona;

Heads that are better than one;

Left feet for clumsiness;

Short planks needed to measure stupidity;

Sides to every question (according to Protagoras);

Wrongs that don't make a right;

Bushels in a kilderkin;

Kilderkins in a barrel;

Barrels in a hogshead;

Hogsheads in a pipe;

Pipes in a tun. (But some of these measures are imprecise.)

Literarily, two is the number of Cities in Charles Dickens's Tale and Years Before the Mast for Richard Henry Dana.

Illiterarily, we must remember Sam Goldwyn's: "In two words: Im-possible."

Back on the fluid measures, there are (according to some sources) two gills in a chopin, two chopins in a pint, two pints in a quart, two quarts in a pottle, two pottles in a gallon and two gallons in a peck.

Finally, we remind you that 22 is the number of times the average American opens his fridge each day, and 222 was the number of offences punishable by death in Great Britain in 1819.

Competition: More "26 L of the A" (Letters of the Alphabet) teasers:

2 F T (and T F T)

3 M (G S and B)

10 P B

15 L (T S A O P)

21 P to W at T T

The first three correct answers opened on 17 October will each win a Chambers Dictionary. Entries to: Pastimes, the Independent, 1 Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5DL.

19 October answers: 6 Faces of a Cube; 6 Balls in an Over; 7 Sides on a Twenty Pence Coin; 7 Up; 8 White Pawns in a Chess Set.

Winners: Peter Jack, Angela Morrow, Fred Gordon.

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