After holding out for over a year,
I've finally added a page dedicated to the Ultimate Answer,
and all the unlikely observations and silly theories that surround it
From: Sam NelsonPioyuTuyoiP wrote:
Date: 31 October 1998
> Ahhh, another fan of "The Jabberwocky" rears his ugly head (I mean that
> in the nicest possible way, you understand). Heheheh.
Jabberwocky fans never rear our heads. We come whiffling through the tulgey wood with eyes aflame!
BTW There's a cool 42 hidden in "Alice in Wonderland." No, not the "oldest rule in the book." That's only there to let you know that 42 is the answer to this hidden puzzle earlier in the book.
When Alice has fallen down the rabbit hole, she wonders if she's swapped places with someone called Mabel. To discover her true identity, she recites the 4 times table:
"But if I'm not the same, the next question is, 'Who in the world am I?' Ah, that's the great puzzle!... and I'm sure I can't be Mabel, for I know all sorts of things, and she, oh! she knows such a very little!... I'll try all the things I used to know. Let me see: four times five is twelve, and four times six is thirteen, and four times seven is -- oh dear! I shall never get to twenty at that rate!"
As you've probably worked out already:
4 x 5 = 12 in base 18
4 x 6 = 13 in base 21
4 x 7 = 14 in base 24
ie the factor and the answer go up by one each time while the base goes up by three.
And the reason Alice shall never get to 20 because:
4 x 12 = 19 in base 39
4 x 13 = 1A in base 42
From: Sam NelsonForty-two in Roman numerals is XLII. The only word in my dictionary to begin with any combination of those letters is "Lixiviate".1
Date: 20 October 1998
Lixiviate means to mix something in liquid. It can't be just a coincidence that shortly before the Earth was demolished, many people were starting to believe that no-one should have left the oceans in the first place.2
The oceans were also the home of Earth's most intelligent indigenous life-form.3 Because of their great intelligence, it is the dolphins who would have discovered the question, not the humans.
Unfortunately, they left the planet at the last minute, pausing only to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner". If we could find out where they went, it would help us find the answer.
According to Zaphod, there is a connection between Zarquon and some singing fish.4 Perhaps the dolphins are with Zarquon. If so, they could have told him the question.
The universe will end if ever the question becomes known. And the universe did end when Zarquon asked "How are we doing for time?" So that must be *the* question. It's just lost something in translation.5
From: Modern AnimationWe've all heard of the magic square, right? a 3x3 grid of numbers, and any way you add them, they add up to the same thing. wow. okay.
Date: 27 March 1999
I was just reading about a magic CUBE, and was astonished!
"This 3 by 3 magic cube is an arrangement of the first 27 natural numbers so that the sum of each row or column of three numbers is... Forty-Two!"
first level 10 26 6 24 1 17 8 15 19 second level 23 3 16 7 14 21 12 25 5 bottom level 9 13 20 11 27 4 22 2 18
just thought you all might be interested.
From: IxHi there,
Date: 7 June 1999
I've collected all 42nd quattrains from Nostradamus' predictions,
maybe you can do something with in correlation to the H2G2.
Century 1 - Quattrain 42
The tenth of the Calends of April of Gothic count
revived again by wicked folk:
the fire put out, diabolic assembly
searching for the bones of the Demon of Psellus.
Century 2 - Quattrain 42
Cock, dogs and cats will be satiated with blood
and from the wound of the tyrant found dead,
at the bed of another legs and arms broken,
he who was not afraid to die a cruel death.
Century 3 - Quattrain 42
The child will be born with two teeth in his mouth,
Stones will fall during the rain in Tuscany:
A few years after there will be neither wheat nor barley,
To satiate those who will faint from hunger.
Century 4 - Quattrain 42
Geneva and Langres through those of Chartres and Dôle
And through Grenoble captive at Montélimar
Seyssel, Lausanne, through fraudulent deceit,
They will betray them for sixty marks of gold.
Century 5 - Quattrain 42
Mars raised to his highest belfry
Will cause the Savoyards to withdraw from France:
The Lombard people will cause very great terror
To those of the Eagle included under the Balance.
Century 6 - Quattrain 42
To Ogmios will be left the realm
Of the great "Selin," who will in fact do more:
Throughout Italy will he extend his banner,
He will be ruled by a prudent deformed one.
Century 7 - Quattrain 42
Two newly arrived have seized the poison,
to pour it in the kitchen of the great Prince.
By the scullion both are caught in the act,
taken he who thought to trouble the elder with death.
Century 8 - Quattrain 42
Through avarice, through force and violence
the chief of Orléans will come to vex his supporters.
Near St. Memire, assault and resistance.
Dead in his tent they will say he is asleep inside.
Century 9 - Quattrain 42
From Barcelona, from Genoa and Venice,
From Sicily pestilence Monaco joined:
They will take their aim against the Barbarian fleet,
Barbarian driven 'way back as far as Tunis.
Century 10 - Quattrain 42
The humane realm of Anglican offspring,
It will cause its realm to hold to peace and union:
War half-captive in its enclosure,
For long will it cause them to maintain peace.
From: Cerine HillCerine wrote:
Date: 31 May 2000
>> Actually, I almost wish he'd picked 43. But that's just because I have
>> a really silly theory about what the question is, and it would be
>> slightly less silly if the answer were 43.
> so what is your theorie? I'd really like to know ;-)
My theory is that Shakespeare was right when he said "To be or not to be? That is the question."
Deep Thought, being a computer, naturally thought in binary, so its programmers naturally thought in hex. But they would have made sure that all numbers were converted to nice, user-friendly decimal before being output. So what the programmers would read as 2B, Deep Thought would output as 43. Of course, Deep Thought came up with 42, so either the Answer is really "not to be" (which would be very depressing) or Deep Thought had a version of the Pentium bug and all those little arithmatic errors accumulated over 7.5 million years so the Answer was off by one.
[Teh proposed this theory some time before Cerine, but sadly his post got lost in the mists of time.6 However, his version can be summarised as "I reckon Deep Thought's Least Significant Bit got bored after seven and a half million years and popped out for a beer."]
1) This is obviously significant because: LI-(XI+VI)+"ATE" = 51-(11+6)+8 = 42
Is that really just a coincidence...?
2) This is obviously even more significant when you remember who played the man returning to the ocean in the TV version.
3) Mice don't count because they're not indigenous to Earth. They're not even indigenous to this dimension, and you can't get more digenous than that if you tried.
4) Yes, I know dolphins aren't really fish, but would Zaphod care? Arthur wasn't really a monkey, but that didn't stop Zaphod calling him one.
5) This must be the saddest theory ever. Unless *you* can come up with an even sadder one?
6) Translated, this means "I can't find in on Deja anymore"