12 January 2020

QI is like TYWKIWDBI on steroids - updated

Selections from an article in The Telegraph, the content of which is in turn selected from a new book - 1,339 QI Facts to Make Your Jaw Drop - the contents of which is in turn selected from the massive archives of the QI Universe:
All the mountains on Saturn’s moon Titan are named after peaks in The Lord of the Rings.

Agatha Christie was a keen surfer.

Lord Kitchener had four spaniels called Shot, Bang, Miss and Damn.

At any one time, 45 million people in the world are drunk.

The Beatles classic Yesterday was originally entitled “Scrambled Eggs”.

Since 1990, more people have been killed by sandcastles than by sharks.

Wordsworth had no sense of smell.

Your eyebrows renew themselves every 64 days.

If Jane Austen hadn’t broken off her engagement, she would have been known as Mrs Harris Bigg-Wither.

Sgiomlaireachd (pronounced “scum-leerie”) is a Scots Gaelic word meaning “the kind of friend who only drops in at mealtimes”.

There is one Kalashnikov assault rifle in circulation for every 70 people on Earth.

There is only one sneeze in the Bible. [error - see Comment below]

The only member of ZZ Top who doesn’t have a beard is drummer Frank Beard.

Silent letters in words such as “knife” and “psychic” are called aphthongs.

Splenda was an insecticide that became a sweetener when a lab assistant misheard an instruction to “test it” as “taste it”.
For more, see the book - and the program (which sadly doesn't air in this country).  I believe I recall one of the QI elves visiting this blog some years ago.  Still here??

Reposted from 2013 to add a couple more facts from the book, with links to sources:

The 1339 fact book has since been supplemented by several additional publications, all of which have been compiled into a seven-volume boxed set of 10,000 facts.


  1. QI is like TYWKIWDBI on steroids

    Then I don't need to read any further. I'm sold on this product.

  2. It's available for those who have the internet, and know how to work it. I suspect all the photos used on the show would have to clear rights to be shown here. Very funny, and one gets to love a whole bunch of new comedians, who come on as panelists. Bill Bailey (who did a documentary about Alfred Russel Wallace) and David Mitchell (who has a lovely little podcast) especially.

    But 'facts' on the show need to be taken carefully, many are researched by journalists, who sometimes miss the point in the service of the joke. Which is fine, and I love the show nevertheless.

  3. Eyebrows renew themselves every 64 days - until you turn 60 and most of the hairs stop growing but you get those three that just grow and grow and grow

  4. I'm a huge fan of QI. But then I'm English, and we pretty much -all- love it here. The vast majority of episodes are viewable on youtube, for those of you who can't get UK TV.

    And Alan goes.... ;)


  5. Just got done running through the whole series. I think what got me started was seeing Fry's opinion of the Davinci Code. Google for that video.

    "They say of the acropolis where the parthenon is..." google that video too

    then stay on youtube until you've seen the entire series. xl episodes when they have them.

    1. Oh, lord, I'm in hysterics just remembering the parthenon!! Top show. Shout out to the elves from Australia!

    2. Here you go...


  6. QI is my favorite show. I watch bootlegs on YouTube. And yes, they say of the acropolis, where the Parthenon is....

  7. A keyword search on BibleGateway.com reveals two sneezes - 2 Kings 4:35 and Job 41:18.

    1. I would argue that there are (at least) EIGHT sneezes in the Bible. For the boy in 2 Kings sneezed seven times.

    2. The word "millions" is mentioned once in the Bible. And the seemingly "unBiblical" word "stuff" is mentioned 16 times.

    3. 16 "stuffs" = New English Bible?

  8. Hello TYWKIWDBI, QI's head elf here. We love your site too, so it's a great honour for you to blog about our new book. Thank you.

    Good spot by Anonymous about the sneezes; we missed the Job quote because it's a 'sneezings' in the King James Version and so didn't show up in our search. Damn. It will be changed in new editions of '1339 QI Facts to Make Your Jaw Drop', so if you have a copy with that fact in it, then you have a first edition!

    1. I expect to be receiving "1339 facts" as a Christmas present, and will plan to review it here thereafter. :.)

    2. Hello again, don't know if you'll get this, but I wondered if you'd be interested in QI's new(ish) podcast 'No Such Thing As A Fish'. If so, here's a link: qi.com/podcast. Still loving your blog. Eggshaped.

    3. I read every comment on this blog - even on old posts. Thanx for the heads-up on the podcast, which I didn't know existed. I've downloaded 8&9 to iTunes and then burned them onto a CD, which I'll listen to next time I'm in the car. I'm looking forward to the experience, tho I have to admit from the titles I'm worried that they'll be too clever by half. We'll see.

      And I do plan to revisit 1339 with another blogpost later this summer.

  9. FWIW, I just ordered 5 copies of 1339 to sort out all my friends-not-relations Chrimbo presents. At £5 each incl postage, it's hard to see any of that filtering down to the Elves, poor wee starvlings.

  10. The Gaelic word isn't actually pronounced like that. Sgiomlaireachd is pronounced scum-lar-awchd (with the "ch" like the "ch" in Loch)

    From a Scottish-Gaelic speaker! :D

  11. Some of the episodes are now available on Amazon Prime Video if you also subscribe to the Britbox channel. The best laughs ever, when I needed them most. Will go hunt down the books right now, although I fear they will be slightly less funny without the amazing interactions by the real live panelists.

  12. https://www.youtube.com/user/TheQIElves/videos QI: Quite Interesting



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