Cryptic Computing (Quiz Round)


In my previous life I was a software development manager and every now and then, myself and the Dev team (many of whom have now also left) get together for a catch-up, a few beers, meals out and the occasional quiz.

As nominated quiz master the other night, I gave some thought as to a quiz round specifically targeted to test the wits of IT nerds such as ourselves…

So what to include?

Well, we’re all coders so I originally thought about some sort of SQL or other programming puzzle, but as a few of our non-IT partners (including my own) were due to attend I decided to spare them the trauma.

Looking for questions they might also know the answers to is how the Cryptic Computing round was born. The answers are pulled from anything and everything to do with computing, including the internet, software, jargon and more.

And most of them are commonly known and used, with just a few more specific computing ones thrown in…

Test Yourself

I’ve included the questions I used below, along with the answers further down – no peeking!!.

Being an IT geek will definitely be an advantage, but everyone should be able to get some of them. Although, if you live over the pond from the UK, a couple may cause you problems as they’re British specific.


The Questions

  1. Waterway becomes major literature distributor
  2. The male sheep stood for something, but what?
  3. Assistance from office furniture
  4. Harry Potter helps user through the process
  5. Sounds like microwave oven timer sound effect fights whoopee equivalent for 2nd place
  6. Asked what could he see, Satan replied…
  7. Penguin does for free, what others charge for
  8. Flying trapeze artist spends a lot of time reading
  9. Bed making step is a big improvement on the abacus
  10. Unexpected charge on adornment for driveways
  11. The repeated steps were bigger than expected
  12. That is to say, in other words, used for browsing
  13. Arthur thought a character set was the stencils you got from the stationers
  14. Wise counsel was given as to the safety of the user’s data
  15. Classic British motorbike brings PCs to a protected standstill
  16. Bus station achieves an exceeding low IQ
  17. Cubed parliamentarians lead to demise of high street music purveyors
  18. Misleading suggestion that edited images will be sold
  19. The 11th letter contains 24 more of these than most people think
  20. Shop selling cash gives financial advice

Answers Below

Purely to break the page up a bit and create some space to make peeking at the answers more difficult, below is a photo of yours truly with questions in hand…

And if you’re thinking I look a little “worse for wear“, it’s because I am!

So, wondering how you’ve done?

You’ll kick yourself I’m sure for any that you’ve missed.

Well take heart, my old team didn’t do too brilliantly either, with the highest score being just 12. Although in their defence, I think alcohol may have played some part.

The Answers

  1. Amazon
  2. Random Access Memory
  3. Help Desk
  4. Wizard
  5. Bing
  6. ICL (or Syntax)
  7. Linux
  8. Acrobat
  9. Spreadsheet
  10. Bill Gates
  11. Macro (or Infinite Loop)
  12. IE
  13. ASCII
  14. Oracle
  15. Norton
  16. Dumb Terminal
  17. MP3s
  18. Photoshop
  19. Bytes
  20. Money Supermarket

And if you need some explanations…

2. A male sheep is a ram. 5. In the UK, Bing and Yahoo (whoopee is an exclamation similar to yahoo) are currently fighting for 2nd place behind Google. 6. “I see Hell”, although “Sin Tax” as supplied by one of the team is also good! 7. Linux is a free alternative operating system to Windows and Unix, the logo for which is a penguin. 10. Charges are referred to as “the bill” on this side of the pond. 12. Look up the definition of i.e. 13. Ref: Arthur Askey. 15. A reference to Norton Anti-Virus now famed for slowing PCs to a crawl. 17. MP is the title for a British member of parliament. 20. Ref:

Copyright Free

Please feel free to use these as you’re own, but if you do publish them anywhere, please include an acknowledgement and a link back to this blog page.

Finally, hope you enjoyed them. Why not post how well you did below?


Top 16 I.T. Geek T-Shirt Slogans


Okay, okay, it was only supposed to be 10, but I couldn’t decide which ones I liked best and then I got carried away.

Why make the list? Well, I thought after my earlier less than exciting post on t-shirts, that I ought to try again with something more interesting.


True, the subject I’ve chosen is probably only interesting to software developers like myself and other I.T. nerds, but hey, who cares?

The Top 16

From not quite the best to the absolute bestest, here are my top 16 computing geek slogans for printed t-shirts:

16) I am not a geek
I’m a level 9 warlord
15) If that doesn’t fix it, …
…let me know and I’ll come back with a chain saw.
14) <body>
Hello World!
13) Just f**kin’ Google it!
12) Cannot find REALITY.SYS. Universe halted.
11) For when life gets tough there’s always… CTRL ALT DEL
10) Error: Keyboard not attached. Press F1 to Continue.
9)   BREAKFAST.COM Halted…
Cereal Port Not Responding
8)   ASCII stupid question, get a stupid ANSII…
7)   Available for beta testing
6)   All wiyht. Rho sritched mg kegtops awound?
5)   There’s no place like
4)   C:\DOS
3)   If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance
Baffle them with Bu11$h1t.
2)  There are only 10 types of people in the world.
Those who can read binary and those who can’t.

And my personal favourite, because it is my own creation (see One for my fellow nerds!):

FROM all_users
FROM  uk_flora
WHERE genus = ‘Narcissus’ );

0 row(s) returned

Got Anything Better?

If you’ve got anything better, why not submit it below? All comments welcome.

Not An I.T. Nerd?

Any (or all) jokes you don’t understand? Ask below and I’ll try to put it into “user speak”.

Why being a Web Developer is interesting…


Okay, it’s an established fact and one that my fellow I.T. nerds (or geeks if that’s your preference) are more than aware of. Computing, being a software developer, hardware techie or anything remotely related to the world of I.T. is dull as dishwater as far the rest of society is concerned.

Every I.T. professional will tell you that when at a party or gathering of any kind with friends, family or strangers, they’ve learned from bitter experience not to talk about what they do, let alone try to explain it to anyone.

The truth is nobody cares or is the faintest bit interested. You can see their eyes glaze over and their anxious glances over to the other side of the room where another group is having a much more interesting conversation. Probably about football or shopping as the classic line from Trainspotting goes.

So why is being a Web Developer interesting?

Well I suppose I ought to be truthful and say that for some people it won’t be. There is a section of society that doesn’t really have any thirst for knowledge of anything beyond the most recent infantile incumbents of Big Brother, the laughable wannabees on X Factor or the latest tragedy to beset Albert Square.

So what is this knowledge that is so interesting? Well, as established above, it isn’t website development itself, but rather anything and everything else.

When creating a website for a customer, the conscientious web developer (aka me) will take the time to get to know and understand something of the customer’s business to ensure that the site delivers as expected, is found on Google for the appropriate terms and makes sense to visitors.

In this way, being a web developer is interesting, because for every job you do, you learn a little bit more about how the world works.

So what have I learnt?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve produced websites for a plumber, a portrait photographer, a house removals company, a qualified Sky installer and someone who makes wedding cakes, but with the exception of moving house (which I’ve done once for myself, twice for my mother and several times for friends), I wouldn’t now class myself as being skilled in any of said fields.

I’ve overtightened valves when removing a radiator, would be terrified of being responsible for someone’s precious memories, I don’t enjoy walking on sloped roofs and my culinary skills stretch as far as putting a pizza on the top shelf for 10 minutes.

It’s the snippets of information or new facts that you pick up that make it fun. For example, before doing a website for a company that does shot blasting I had no idea what it was. In fact, even after the customer had explained it I wasn’t sure. Good old Google to the rescue once again…

Curious? Take a look at the following Google results:

One of the most interesting pieces of work I’ve done to date was a Search Engine Optimisation (aka SEO or getting a website to appear on the front page of Google in lay terms) job for an on-line shop that sells thermometers.

For a start, who’d have thought there were so many types of thermometer? I learnt the correct temperature for cooked chicken and where to stick the thermometer in to measure it, what a reference thermometer is, how an infrared thermometer works, the required temperature for making jam, the legal required temperature for a workplace, how a thermometer is useful when trying for a baby and much more.

Why haven’t I included details of all that I’ve learned here? But then what would I talk to you about if I met you at a party?

In conclusion…

I’m not sure how useful all of this is, but if like me you enjoy learning new things, web development is officially interesting. And who knows, some of it might just pop up in a pub quiz some time in the future…

How much should a web page cost?

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In my current role as a self-employed website developer for small to medium businesses, I pride myself on being reasonably priced. I’m happy to make enough money to provide me with a decent income, but without ripping the customer off.

Now, I’m  not talking about a whole website here, just adding an individual web page with up to a side of A4 of text and 2-3 photos to an existing site.

Sounds simple doesn’t it? Copy and paste some text, resize the images, place and label them appropriately, add links to the new page elsewhere on the site, add suitable page labelling and titles and publish it. All done in less than an hour. Total = 1 hour.

But what if?

But what if the customer is not very good at writing content and you end up having to edit it to make it suitable or even write it from scratch? Total = 2 hours.

And what if you don’t know anything about the subject matter and need to do some research via Google and Wikipedia? Total = 3 hours.

Or the photos they supply are exceptionally poor and need serious editing / tidying up? Total = 4 hours.

And excessive emails are required to chase up content or approval for it? Total = 4.5 hours.

Plus maybe a site visit might be necessary to agree final content? Total = 5.5 hours.

Then add-on the time for creating and sending an invoice. Total = 6 hours.

However, what if they don’t pay up and you end up chasing the payment with emails, phone calls and / or a site visit. Total = 7 hours.

And finally, bank the cheque, transfer monies out of the business account and do your books for the tax man. Total = 7.5 hours.

Too cheap?

Now, it’s not often that all the above factors come in to play, but at the proposed new minimum wage, that equals:

7.5 hours x £5.93 = £44.48

which is more than I’m charging! And that’s before the tax man takes his cut.

So if you’re in Blackpool or the surrounding area and you’re looking for reasonably priced website design, give me a call, but make sure you do it quick, because I might just be putting my prices up.

One for my fellow nerds!

1 Comment

Another quick work related post of something from yester-year. A slightly edited version of some SQL I wrote one day when I was extremely annoyed about a particular user.

The original contained more in the where clause that identified the person in question, obviously removed for publishing purposes.


FROM all_users
                      FROM  uk_flora
                      WHERE genus = ‘Narcissus’ );

0 row(s) returned


Bozz, ©Copyright ‘03

Although they say plagarism is the sincerest form of flattery, please don’t get this printed onto a t-shirt before I have! Or at least put a credit to me on the bottom…

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