Sunday, November 1, 2015



Why is money in a pot, such as in a poker game, called “the kitty”?

Despite the pic above, it has nothing to do with cats.

The word comes from the Middle English word “kitte”, meaning wooden tub. Hence putting money into the kitte was putting money into the pot.

Why is having something that can supply a victory when used or revealed known as having an “ace in the hole”?

There are various games of poker. In one variant, Texas Hold’em, the most popular poker game, two cards are dealt face down to each player and are kept hidden to the end. Those cards are called the “hole” or “pocket” cards. Five cards are dealt into the centre, all face down. Three cards are turned over, then another and then the fifth card. Betting takes place between the cards being turned over. The best card hand using the two hole cards and three of the five cards in the centre wins the pot.

The best card to have in the hole is the Ace, the highest card, hence the Ace in the hole.

Ace in the Hole is also the title of a 1951 movie starring Kirk Douglas. He is a despicable reporter who delays the rescue of a trapped mine worker to capitalise on the exclusive reporting rights.

Why is poker called poker?

The most plausible theory is that it came from the name of a French card game, “Poque”, that resembled Poker. The other is that it comes from German card game that is similar to Poker called “Pochspiel”, which in turn got its name from the German word “pochen” (which is also where the French “Poque” got its name). “Pochen” at the time meant “to brag or bluff”. 

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

“Why is a raven like a writing-desk? Have you guessed the riddle yet?” the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.

“No, I give it up,” Alice replied: “What’s the answer?”

“I haven’t the slightest idea,” said the Hatter.

- Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

The above question is posed to Alice at the Mad Hatter's tea party but an answer is not provided.  This caused much conjecture and attempted answers.

In an introduction to a later edition of the book, Lewis Carroll addressed the issue, saying “Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat; and it is never put with the wrong end in front!” In the original preface, “never” was spelled “nevar,” which is “raven” backward. Carroll's pun was unfortunately lost to the red pen of a proofreader, confusing the issue of the riddle even further.


Some people have suggested that a raven is like a writing desk because Poe wrote on both.


Why is Woolworths in Australia called that if it has no connection with the overseas Woolworths?

Woolworths Limited is a major Australian company with extensive retail interests throughout Australia and New Zealand. 

  • is the largest retail company in Australia and New Zealand by market capitalisation and sales;
  • the largest food retailer in Australia and the second largest in New Zealand;
  • the largest takeaway liquor retailer in Australia;
  • the largest hotel and gaming poker machine operator in Australia; and was the 19th largest retailer in the world in 2008. 
Despite similar names, Woolworths Limited has no affiliation with the F.W. Woolworth Company in the United States, the Woolworths Group of UK or the South African chain of retail stores,Woolworths Holdings Limited.

Woolworths opened its first store, the Woolworths Stupendous Bargain Basement, in the old Imperial Arcade Pitt Street, Sydney, where Westfield Centrepoint now stands, on 5 December 1924. Its nominal capital was just £25,000 and although 15,000 shares were offered to the public, only 11,707 shares were subscribed for by 29 people, including the five founders – Percy Christmas, Stanley Chatterton, Cecil Scott Waine, George Creed and Ernest Williams. One of the foundation investors was Preston Lanchester Gowing, the then chairman ofGowings. 

The name on the draft prospectus drawn up by Cecil Scott Waine was "Wallworths Bazaar" – a play on the F.W. Woolworth name (the owner of the Woolworth's chain in the United States and United Kingdom). However, according to Ernest Robert Williams, Percy Christmas dared him to register the name Woolworths instead, which he succeeded in doing after finding out the name was available for use in New South Wales. Accordingly, Woolworths Ltd in Australia has no connection with the F.W. Woolworth Company in the United States, nor the Woolworths Group of UK.

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