Tuesday, Oct 04, 2022

Problematics between the Beatles lines

On the 50th anniversary of the Shea Stadium concert, find out how well you remember your Beatles verses.

Problematics, Beatles, Beatles anniversary, Kabir Firaque The Beatles on arrival in the US in 1964. History at the Shea Stadium would come the following year. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Independence Day can crop up in all sorts of delightful ways. Take Sachin Tendulkar’s tally of 15,921 Test runs, for example. That includes 74 in his final innings. Subtract to get 15,847; hyphenate to get 15-8-47. Now if he had scored a duck in that last innings…

Bahrain too celebrates its independence from British rule on August 15, Wikipedia tells us. Bollywood launched Gabbar Singh on this very date, possibly by design, and we celebrated his 40th anniversary last week. Now here’s a 50th anniversary to reflect on.

On August 15, 1965, the stadium concert was born. And how. The Beatles pulled 55,000 fans to New York’s Shea Stadium, until then the biggest turnout to any concert anywhere. Many of them hysterical, all of them screaming, they made so much noise that the Beatles couldn’t hear themselves perform. If you haven’t seen the video, get hold of it. It was the kind of atmosphere that calls for a set of anniversary puzzles.

Puzzle#24A: Google is allowed.

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(i) Which Beatles song is also the name of a fashion brand?

(ii) Which Bond girl in ‘Quantum of Solace’ shares her name (the character, not the actress) with part of a Beatles song title?

(iii) This woman keeps something in a container near the door and puts it on when she goes to the window. Who, what?

(iv) In the attire of Loretta’s mother, what is high and what is low?


(v) “I Wanna Hold your Hand,” one song says, but another says he doesn’t want to do that. What would he rather do?

(vi) Translate into Beatles verse: “Madam, you have so many children that we wonder how you survive.”

(vii) What colour is the vessel the Beatles live in?


(viii) From which US city does a Beatle catch a return flight to the Soviet Union?

(ix) Apart from ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’, the lyrics of which other Beatles song include the phrase “Lucy in the Sky”?

(x) Among the words “Om”, “Jai”, “Rama”, “Krishna”, “Brahma”, “Vishnu” and “Maheshwara”, which one is common to a Beatles group song and a George Harrison solo?

(xi) With what weapon does a medical student commit three murders in one song?

(xii) Who demands a 19:1 split of your earnings?

What you wrote

Nineteen readers have written back on last week’s set of Gabbar Singh puzzles. Fourteen of them have handled Gabbar correctly while four of the rest have the consolation of solving the anagram. Let’s begin with a first-timer.


Dear Kabir, thanks for publishing this puzzle. In #23A(i), there is an equal possibility of each of the chambers being under the hammer. Since there are 6 chambers out of which 3 are empty, the probability is 3/6, or 1/2.

In #23A(ii), given that the first guy survives, it is clear that the hammer hit one of the 3 consecutive empty chambers. The second person will survive if the 1st or 2nd chamber was hit on the previous shot, because the next chamber will also be empty. So the probability is 2/3.


In #23A(iii), after the second person survives, it is clear that the second shot hit the second or the third empty chamber. So the sample space is 2 here and the third guy will survive only if the first shot hit the first empty chamber; only then will the third chamber also be empty. Therefore the probability is 1/2.

— Susan Kundu (New Delhi)

Right, Susan. For the benefit of those who got it wrong or didn’t try, here is a pictorial representation.



The puzzle had a second part, which some readers misunderstood. After Gabbar fired thrice in the air from random chambers, the idea was to calculate the probabilities given that the previous victim(s) had survived. Some readers accounted for this conditionality; others missed it. Because of the unintended ambiguity, both (1/2, 2/5, 1/4) and (1/2, 1/5, 1/20) are correct. Here is how.

Dear Kabir, in the second part of the puzzle, there are random empty sockets in the revolver. So in Puzzle#23A(iv), probability of survival of first man = 3/6 =1/2. Now in #23A(v), out of 5 slots, 3 are full and 2 are empty, so probability of survival = 2/5. Now for #23A(vi), if both have survived, then only one empty slot is left, hence the probability of Kaalia’s survival will be 1/4.

Those were the probabilities after we knew that the previous event happened. Before the start of the event, probabilities would be (v) for both 1st and 2nd to survive= 1/2 × 2/5 =1/5; (vi) for all three to survive = 1/5 × 1/4 = 1/20.

— Rajat Gupta (IIT Roorkee alumnus)


Dear Kabir, ENOUGH OF BADMAN = OF HUMAN BONDAGE. There have been two or three movies I guess adapted from this novel. Very interesting questions I must say.

— Anirudha Hulsurkar (IIT Roorkee)

Solved all puzzles: Pankaj Pandey (Aalborg, Denmark), Ankit Srivastava (BuyT.in), Sameer Patole, Neha Awasthi (Goettingen, Germany), Chandeep Kaur (New Delhi), Phani Bhushan Tholeti (Synaptics, Hyderabad), M Natrajan (IIM Calcutta alumnus), Sampath Kumar V (IIM Kozhikode alumnus), Sanjay Gupta (New Delhi), Rajat Gupta (email above), Anirudha Hulsurkar (email above)

Solved Gabbar puzzles: Amit Bajpayee (Kuala Lumpur), K Sridhar (MSD Pharmaceuticals, Mumbai), Susan Kundu (email above)

Solved anagram: Pranjit Handique, Farhan Jafri (SCMHRD Pune; he also got the second part of Gabbar right), Vivek Jalan (Customate Solutions), Sathya Prakash (New Jersey).

Crossword without clues


Puzzle#24B: The crossword has all 29 full-fledged Indian states, plus DELHI. Spell them according to these guidelines.


• UTTAR PRADESH and MADHYA PRADESH are spelt in full

• Compound words are spelt continuously, e.g. no space between TAMIL and NADU

• In JAMMU & KASHMIR, give one square to the ampersand

• CHHATTISGARH includes double-H and double-T

• ODISHA, not Orissa

• 18 Down and 19 Across are interchangeable

Please mail your replies to: kabir.firaque@expressindia.com

First published on: 19-08-2015 at 01:46:08 pm
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