Baby, I'm Iambic

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Baby, Im Iambic

Published: Fri 23 Sep 2016, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Fri 23 Sep 2016, 2:00 AM

I get a lot of flak from the lit club lovers for running masses of physics stroke math
probs (and they've even time travelled to actually quote this time's 'Endgames' as
two more examples). Therefore, we'll give them something now that's super artsy yet antsy. Enjoy!
There's a certain Shakespearean play where a particular line begins with the word "my". Going upwards, if you check the first letters of the first words of the preceding four lines they spell out the word "w-a-n-t". Similarly, going downwards, the first letters of the first words of the succeeding four lines spell out the word "b-a-b-y". In sum, WANT MY BABY. It's as if the bard was sending a hidden message to some lady he fancied. Question: In which play is it?
Too complicated? Or not? Complicated, I guess; so here's a hint: I just gave it. But you still have to find out where in that play the lines occur. (Okay, okay, Act I; Scene 1. But which play?)
(The problem was: "A stone thrown in a lake produces round concentric waves. What form will the waves take if a stone is thrown in a flowing river?" - MS)
Even in fast flowing water, the waves produced by a stone are circular. Let us treat the motions of the particles of the waves as a combination of two movements: (i) Radial - from the centre of oscillations and (ii) Translational - downstream. Now, in still water, the waves will be circular. If the water is moving, the motion is only translational. So what will happen to the circular waves? They will only undergo a downstream movement without any distortion, meaning: they will remain circular while moving downstream.
- S Navin,
(The second problem was: "Everyone knows manhole covers are round so that when they are taken out for whatever reason they don't fall into the manhole. So why are manholes in industrial boilers elliptical?" - MS)
Manholes in industrial boilers are elliptical in shape so that the pressure from the boiler can help hold the cover against the gasket and the manhole. If they were round, then they would not fit through the hole and if they were square, they would tend to crack at the corners. Also, humans (when viewed from above) have an elliptical shape. Thus, it is for the same reason that manholes are elliptical in shape, to allow humans to enter and inspect them.
- Priyanka Awatramani,
They are elliptical because the cross-section of a person is almost elliptical. Most manhole covers these days are 12"x16". This opening is significantly smaller than a 16" round hole. A smaller opening means smaller surface area of the backing plate, which in turn means the smaller plate will have less overall force acting upon it.
- Saifuddin S F Khomosi,
Before a boiler is made cylindrical, its surface is a flat rectangular piece of metal in which a circular hole is cut. When the sheet is formed into a cylinder, the hole becomes distorted into an elliptical shape.
- Dhruv Narayan,
(The third one was: "If someone can solve the following anagram, they definitely deserve a pat: "BET THINGS RATTLE MORE IN ROAD". Hint: India's recent Olympic outing! - MS)
Solution to the anagram puzzle: GIRLS DO BETTER THAN MEN AT RIO.
- Ramakrishna Bhogadi,
The answer to your anagram riddle is: GIRLS ARE BETTER THAN MEN AT RIO.
- Shobha Hebbar,
(Why an extra letter, SH? - MS)

1. Why is it that tea leaves at the bottom of a glass or cup (which means that they're heavier than water) don't move towards the walls under the influence of centrifugal force when stirred but assemble at the centre of the bottom?
2. If you're allowed to climb either one or two steps at a time, what are the total number of ways you can ascend a flight of 14 steps?

(Mukul can be reached at

By Mukul Sharma

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