By Gareth Edwards

Monday, 28 February 2011

Crows, plum sauce and the moon

More answers to your questions about every why, how, what, whence, wheretofore and whithersoever in the Universe.

When will all grocery stores agree on where, generally, to put the plum sauce?
In 1891 Huey L Dewey, younger brother of Melvil Dewey (of the Dewey Decimal System) devised his revolutionary method for supermarket product arranging, and all the major chains still follow this system. Under Dewey’s system fruit and vegetables go near the door so you can carry them as far as possible squashed under other things, cereals go next to the biscuits, and small chocolate things and magazines you don’t recognize the name of go next to the till. Hence foods from Asia go together, except for rice which goes with pasta, and lentils which go with health food, and organic things from Asia that nevertheless aren’t healthy which go with other organic things, unless they could be used in a barbecue, when they go in Seasonal Goods, or are yellow and/or begin with “p” in which case they go in the baking aisle. You’ll by now see a pattern emerging, and I hope it will be obvious that plum sauce in any supermarket operating under the Dewey system would be equidistant between fruit, pet supplies and treacle.

Where do we go from here?
Way over there, right at the end where it’s quiet. But you’ll have to carry all the towels and the picnic and the inflatables because I’ve got the beach umbrella.

Why is the moon wrong? (it often comes out in the early evening)
The moon isn’t ever wrong, but it is sometimes quite sarcastic. On a bright clear day when you look up and see the faint outline of the moon it is effectively saying “Oh, yeah, ‘cos day is just like so brilliant.” And then if it had hands it would do that sign that means "Whatevers."

Why do birds suddenly appear?
The technique for making birds suddenly appear was devised by Alfred Hitchcock who needed a way to make a large number of spooky birds appear en masse on a perch in the time it took to cut away to a frightened lady.  In the end he devised the following method: a large number of crows had lengths of elastic tied to their feet, then the other end was tied to a school climbing frame or similar. The crows were then tempted to roost there by being shown a short film about shiny keys and road-kill squirrels.  Then when Hitchock wanted to go for a take he would shout “Boo”. The crows would then fly away allowing him a couple of seconds to film the empty perch and then the scared lady (still alarmed by the director’s “boo”). By now the crows would have reached the zenith of their elasticity and been twanged suddenly back on to the branch in time to appear on camera looking extremely cross.

How many constellations aren’t there?
I’m afraid the answer to this is none. They all are.

Hopefully that’s liquidized at least some of the great challenges facing those who thirst after knowledge. It's possible that there might still be a bit of the Universe that remains unexplained, so do keep the questions coming.


  1. Outstanding Mr Edwards. Outstanding. Quite outstanding. Thank you

  2. Why do trolls spend so much time hanging around bridges?

  3. Excellent answers. The only one I am not convinced by is the second one, whose answer is clearly "down to the lake, I fear" as any fule kno.

    On the vexed troll issue above, surely (a) because they are grumpy and (b) because they live there?

  4. Yes, but what came first? Are they exiled to bridges because of the grumpiness? Does spending so much time idling around bridges make them grumpy? I have a lot of unresolved troll-related questions....

  5. Where the devil are my slippers?

  6. Cannibal hippos or plain bacon hips?