The Star Chamber Answer Man

Spring has come at last to the editorial offices here at Number One Star Chamber Place, and not a minute too soon. We didn’t have a particularly tough winter here, but the thinly rationed sunlight of winter can cast a seasonal affective pall over even the mildest weather. Once the sun gets a chance to smear on the light in great thick greasy slabs again, it’s amazing how cheery the old place gets.

This week we turn to one of our regular features, the Star Chamber Answer Man, in which curious readers of the Star Chamber from all around the globe try to stump the indefatigable and eponymous man of answers.

The Star Chamber Answer Man

Dear Star Chamber Answer Man:

Please help me settle an argument that goes back to my college days. My wife says that 373 times 24 is 8127 and I keep trying to tell her that it’s 7911. Who’s right?

— Math Lover, Phoenix, Ohio
Dear Lover:

Uh-oh! The Star Chamber Answer Man tries not to get caught in the middle of domestic disputes! Nevertheless, we contacted Prof. Gilbert Alouette of the Nosquamish University Department of Mathematics and put the question to him. As Prof. Alouette rather gruffly put it, 373 times 24 is an “arithmetic trivium.” When pressed for more information about this insight, he rolled up his window and drove away. So it looks like you and your wife both come up short in this one. The answer to 373 times 24 is neither 8127 nor 7911, but an “arithmetic trivium.” Thanks for the question… it’s great to see there are still some math lovers in the world!

Dear Star Chamber Answer Man:

When I went to work this morning, I saw this guy in a big chicken outfit advertising chicken nuggets for this fast food place on Alameda. What was up with that?

— Curious Clucky, Lovett, New Mexico

Dear Clucky:

Good question! It’s always sad to see an animal advertising its own demise. To answer this question, we called up the Mr. Barbeque restaurant in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, home of the famous singing pigs and their “Eat Mr. Barbeque, it’s good for you!” jingle. Chester, the Mr. Barbeque spokespig, said “Listen to the song, bozo. We’re telling you to eat Mr. Barbeque, not the pigs.” So perhaps there is your answer as well: the man in the suit may well have been an actual giant chicken trafficking in edible human flesh. Thanks for the question!

Dear Star Chamber Answer Man:

Why do people always say “kudos to the marketing department” and things like that? What is a kudos? Is it some kind of antelope?

— BH, Marketing VP, Chicago, Illinois

Dear Marketing VP:

Kudos to you for bringing this excellent question to the attention of the Star Chamber Answer Man. No, ha-ha! there is no “kudos antelope”! The Star Chamber Answer Man happens to know the answer to this one himself because he wrote a paper on Ancient Greece when he was in third grade. According to the World Book Encyclopedia, the kudo was an ancient Greek candy bar, one of the first in Western Europe and based on a design brought back from China by the Irish explorer Marc O’Polo. To “give kudos” is to dispense candy bars, or more generally, to give praise, making this ancient ritual something we can all relate to even today. Thanks for the question, and keep the kudos coming!

Dear Star Chamber Answer Man:

Can you tell me how to send a question to the Star Chamber Answer Man, and assuming it gets responded to, how would I read the results?

— Yearning, Preston, California

Dear Yearning:

So far, so good! Thanks for the question!

Dear Star Chamber Answer Man:

There was this girl who was on the student council when I was a sophomore in high school. She used to wear this amazing purple sweater, and I think she was in Mr. Saylor’s Latin class. I can’t remember her name for the life of me.

— Cashmere Fetish, Arsenal, Oklahoma

Dear Cashmere:

The Star Chamber Answer Man tracked down Mr. Saylor at the Trevor Wayne Minimum Security Correctional Facility in Enid, Oklahoma, and according to him, “I wouldn’t call that purple. It was more of a blue.” Thanks for the question!

Dear Star Chamber Answer Man:

I understand there is an acronym derived from Star Chamber Answer Man. What is it? Could you please send the results ASAP?

— Quizzical, Quincy, Arizona

Dear Quizzical:

The Star Chamber Answer Man would be happy to answer that one for you; but first, you should send us a self-addressed stamped envelope with a $250 check made payable to SCAM. Ha-ha! And thanks for the question!

Dear Star Chamber Answer Man:

Your antics in the Math Department parking lot yesterday nearly caused me to lose control of my Lexus. Please desist in stalking me or I will have my lawyers contact you.

— Prof. Gilbert Alouette, Nosquamish University

Dear Prof:

Please put your queries to the Star Chamber Answer Man in the form of a question! But don’t worry, we’ll still try to tackle your request. According to Barry Hedwig, a vice president of marketing from Chicago, Illinois, a Lexus is a kind of antelope. And thanks for the question!

That’s all we have room for in this week’s Star Chamber Answer Man column. Do you have any unanswered questions that have been nagging at you? Do you need the assistance of an expert fact-finder? Don’t delay! Send your questions to

The Star Chamber Answer Man

Keep those cards and letters coming, and remember, a curious mind is a curious thing.

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