In a brand-new segment, host Ophira Eisenberg and house musician Jonathan Coulton test their trivia acumen against their toughest competitor yet: a Magic 8-Ball. Ophira, Jonathan, and the 8-Ball each answer a series of yes-or-no questions. Who will come out on top? Sources say "listen."
OPHIRA EISENBERG, HOST:
While Rebekah (ph) and Danielle (ph) get ready for the final round, it's time for us to play a game. This is called Ask Me Another Again Later. Puzzle guru Art Chung, explain how this works.
ART CHUNG: Ophira, I'm going to ask you and Jonathan questions with a definitive yes-or-no answer. You'll each talk it out and give me your answer. Then we'll ask a magic eight ball what it thinks.
CHUNG: We'll see who gets the most correct answers.
CHUNG: Here's your first question. Froot Loops cereal comes in the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. However, are all Froot Loops the same flavor? Ophira.
EISENBERG: First of all, I've never had Froot Loops. I grew up in a family where we weren't allowed to have sugar.
JONATHAN COULTON: Oh, no sugar cereals.
EISENBERG: (Laughter) No sugar cereals. Like, Raisin Bran, we were like, oh, my God.
COULTON: Nature's candy, raisins.
EISENBERG: (Laughter) But I'm going to say they're all a hundred percent sugar. Like, how could they be that different in taste? I mean, flavors? Like, what are we talking about? What's blue, blueberry? Come on, now. They're the same. What - what's - what are the other ones? Green - what's green, mint?
EISENBERG: Zucchini? What's it supposed to be?
COULTON: Yeah. Zucchini. Blueberry.
EISENBERG: (Laughter) Yeah? What's the...
COULTON: Acai berry.
EISENBERG: (Laughter) Acai berry. Lemon, yum, yum, yum.
COULTON: Mango. I - (laughter) you know, it's funny. I feel like I probably several times in my life have tasted individual Froot Loops to see if they had a different flavor because this is a question that has occurred to me before in the past.
CHUNG: At certain key times, yeah.
EISENBERG: Course it has.
COULTON: So I'm sure that I have run this experiment several times. But I don't think I have ever written down or remembered the results.
EISENBERG: You don't have a cereal Excel spreadsheet?
COULTON: Not anymore. I lost it. I lost it in a fire. As I remember right now, in my mind's mouth, the flavor...
COULTON: ...Of a Froot Loop, it is a general fake fruitiness. I - but I'm going to say they're all the same flavor.
CHUNG: OK. So just to sum up, Ophira, are all Froot Loops the same flavor?
EISENBERG: Yes, they are all the same flavor.
COULTON: Yeah. I say yes.
CHUNG: All right. Let's see what the magic eight ball says.
(SOUNDBITE OF MAGIC EIGHT BALL RATTLING, LAUGHTER)
CHUNG: As I see it, yes.
CHUNG: And the real answer is yes. They're all the same flavor.
CHUNG: The platypus is a very strange animal. It's a mammal, but it lays eggs. It's a - like a duck and a beaver and an otter all in one. And only one sex of platypus is venomous. Is the female platypus the one that's venomous? Jonathan, you're first.
COULTON: Well, knowing what I do about evolutionary biology...
EISENBERG: (Laughter) From that Google search in your life.
COULTON: (Laughter) Yes. On the one hand, the male is traditionally the sex that goes out and fights. Do platypuses fight? I don't even know.
COULTON: But then also, there's the thing where sometimes the female has a sort of protective measure. So I would say - I'm going to say, yes, that it is the female under the assumption that the - there isn't a lot of fighting in platypus land. And mostly it is a defense mechanism that has evolved to protect the platypus eggs. I just grossed myself out playing - saying platypus eggs.
CHUNG: (Laughter) Ophira?
EISENBERG: All right. Well, you know what? Just for fun, I would say female because if I were part duck, beaver and otter - maybe I kind of am - I would be poisonous, right? I would be like...
COULTON: Why not? Throw it in.
EISENBERG: Yeah, exactly. All the things that people want, I'm going to need poison. But to be different, I'm going to be like, you know what? I think the male would probably be so threatened by the entire platypi world, (laughter) I'm going to say no. I think the male platypus is the venomous one.
CHUNG: Right. Let's see what the magic eight ball thinks.
(SOUNDBITE OF MAGIC EIGHT BALL RATTLING)
CHUNG: Signs point to yes. So Jonathan said yes. The magic eight ball said yes. Ophira said no. The answer is no. The male platypus is venomous.
CHUNG: That's right. Apparently the platypus is one of very few venomous mammals. And venom is delivered by spurs on the male platypus' hind limbs.
COULTON: This animal gets more and more disgusting the more and more I learn about it.
EISENBERG: I know. The tiny baby ones on YouTube, though. Oh, they're so cute.
COULTON: Are they cute?
CHUNG: All right, here's your next question. Do the French consume per capita more butter than Americans? Ophira, you're up.
EISENBERG: I - aren't Americans, like, 10 percent corn and soy or something like that? Like, aren't we mostly corn and soy?
COULTON: (Laughter) Our bodies?
COULTON: Yeah (laughter).
EISENBERG: At this point. And just based on that, yeah, I think we - all of our cooking and the stuff that we eat is actually not using butter. I think there is a return, perhaps, to thinking about stuff, but we will use every other cheaper source of fat and oil. But the French, they're crazy about butter. So I believe that, yeah, the French consume per capita more butter than Americans. Yes.
CHUNG: Yes. Jonathan?
COULTON: Yeah. I mean, you know, you think of your - you think of a Parisian...
COULTON: ...Wandering out into the streets of Paris, going to the markets and just picking up what's fresh and local, the local bakery and the local buttery.
EISENBERG: (Laughter) Yeah.
COULTON: You bring your loaf of bread home and your butter home and you just eat bread and butter all night long...
EISENBERG: That's right.
COULTON: ...Drink red wine. Yeah, I think you're probably right. I think probably there's less processed food in France. And so if you're - all of the all the margarines that are happening, here most of them are not happening in France, and instead they're replaced with butter - probably more butter in cooking. So, yeah, I'm going to say, bien sur...
COULTON: ...Which means yes.
CHUNG: All right. Magic eight ball says...
(SOUNDBITE OF MAGIC EIGHT BALL RATTLING)
CHUNG: My sources say no. Disagreeing.
COULTON: Can we ask what its sources are?
CHUNG: The correct answer is, yes, the French consume more butter than Americans.
CHUNG: Turns out the French consume about 18 pounds of butter per person annually. Americans consume less than 6 pounds. So there you go.
COULTON: Wow. A lot of butter.
CHUNG: A lot of butter. That's the end of the game. And the winner is Ophira.
(APPLAUSE) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.