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Vitamin Q: the book!

~ Wednesday, November 24, 2004

33 things containing both Q and Z:

1 Qazvin – city in Northern Iran
2 The Equalizer – US TV show starring Edward Woodward
3 bezique – a card game
4 Quezon City – Filipino city, named after President Manuel Quezon
5 Suzi Quatro – US singer and actress
6 queez-maddam – Walter Scott's spelling of the name for a French pear
7 Sqezy – brand of washing-up liquid
8 quinze – another card game
9 tzaddiq – a Hasidic leader
10 Captain Quazar – 1990s computer game
11 José Maria Eça de Quieroz – 19th century Portuguese novelist
12 Louis Quatorze – French monarch
13 Quitz – N American 'stop smoking' organisation
14 Quiz Show – 1994 film starring Robert Redford
15 quantization - expression in accordance with the quantum theory
16 quetzal – Central American bird / Guatemalan currency
17 Snoozer Quinn – jazz singer and guitarist
18 quartzite – metamorphic rock formed from quartz grains
19 Quanzhou – Chinese city
20 Quetzalcoatl - 'Feathered Serpent', Toltec god of civilization
21 Queen Elizabeth Islands – Canadian island group
22 Corazon Aquino – Filipino politician
23 Mohammed Zia ul-Haq – former leader of Pakistan
24 Quezaltenango – Guatemalan city
25 Diego Velasquez – Spanish master painter
26 Squeeze – long-running UK pop group
27 Johaan Joachim Quantz – German composer
28 Balam Quitze – man created from maize in Mayan mythology
29 Quaze – US rap producer
30 Qizi Iron Cake – type of Chinese tea
31 quoz! - an exclamation briefly faddish in early 19th century London*
32 Quitzow - family of robber barons in 15th century Germany
33 Az Zaqaziq – Egyptian city (two Zs, two Qs!)

*In an 1841 book, Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, Charles Mackay wrote about the strange phenomenon of buzz phrases which would strike up and become maddeningly popular for a while in London. Apart from the unexplained shouts of quoz!, these include the following:

1 What a shocking bad hat!
2 Hookey Walker! or Walker!
3 There he goes with his eye out!
4 Has your mother sold her mangle?
5 Flare up!
6 Does your mother know you're out?
7 Who are you?
8 Cherry ripe!
9 The sea! The sea!

*Neil Gaiman has pointed out another of these catchphrases - 'Tuppence more and up goes the donkey'. This saying derives from groups of strolling acrobats who would form a human pyramid and promise to hoist up the poor donkey which carried their props. This saying probably derives from slightly later than Mackay's book, which records pre-Victorian strangeness. But here is an acrobat's testimony to the origin of the phrase:

'I have been an equilibrist for eight years now, playing in the open air or in-doors. I am a slack wire dancer as well. As an equilibrist I balance poles and an 18-foot deal plank on my chin. Formerly I balanced a donkey on the top of a ladder. It's dreadfully hard work; it pulls you all to pieces. Over 30 years of age you feel it more and more. The donkey was strapped tight to the ladder; there was no training needed for the donkey; any young donkey would do. It was frightening at first generally, but got accustomed to it after a time - use is a great thing. The papers attacked the performance and I was taken to Union-hall for balancing by donkey in the streets. I was fined 7s. 6d., and they kept the donkey in default. I never let the donkey fall, and always put it down gently, for I have the use of my hands in that feat. I was the original of the saying, sir. Twopence more, and up goes the donkey. It's a saying still, and a part of the language now.'

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