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Bluff The Listener


From NPR and WBEZ-Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!, the NPR News quiz. I'm Carl Kasell. We're playing this week with Roy Blount, Jr., Paula Poundstone and Mo Rocca. And here again is your host, at Carnegie Hall in New York City, Peter Sagal.



Thank you everybody. Thank you so much. Right now, it's time for the WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME! Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-Wait-Wait to play our game on air. Hi, you're on WAIT WAIT...DON'T TELL ME!

MEG: Hi, this is Meg from Santa Cruz.

SAGAL: Oh, Santa Cruz, California?

MEG: That's right.

SAGAL: That's a great place. What do you do there?

MEG: I am a graduate student at the U.C.

SAGAL: The U.C. Santa Cruz, which is a fabulous campus lurking there in the redwoods.

MEG: It's beautiful.

SAGAL: It's so beautiful, how do you ever convince yourself to go inside and study?

MEG: Well, as a graduate student, I don't think I have a choice.

SAGAL: Really? What do they do to you if you don't?

MEG: They might kick me out.

SAGAL: Oh, that would be bad. Then you can just be in the trees all day.


MEG: Good point. Some students do.

SAGAL: Yeah. Well, welcome to the show, Meg. You're going to play the game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Carl, what is Meg's topic?

KASELL: Bam, pow, whack.



SAGAL: That was vivid.

KASELL: Thank you.

SAGAL: That was good. Superheroes live admirable lives: writing wrongs, saving distressed damsels. But that's on screen. In the real world, they could be subject to the same slings and arrows as the rest of us. Each of our panelists are going to tell you three stories of superheroes facing enemies in real life, only one of which is true. Pick the real one and you'll win our prize, Carl's message on your home answering. Ready to play?

MEG: Yes.

SAGAL: All right, first let's hear from Paula Poundstone.

PAULA POUNDSTONE: Spiderman may not be the heroic arachnid we once believed. On a recent night at Tossed, the cutting-edge restaurant where salad is art, Tobey Maguire was spotted amidst New York City's finest diners. Just as he was enjoying nature's bounty, a spider crawled out from the shadowy shelter of his wicker breadbasket. Angus Eddie Burn [phonetic] was at the next table. "The guy flipped out," says Eddie Burn. "He was up on his chair screaming. I don't want to say like a girl, because my wife will hit me, but it was a high keening noise, certainly like a female bird anyway, or a chimp, maybe a female chimp like when they're scared, like when they feel threatened."


POUNDSTONE: When the waiter tried to calm him down, he kept shouting, "I was bitten by a spider once."


POUNDSTONE: And the waiter said, "What are you talking about? You played Spiderman. That was a movie. What's the matter with you? You're paying for this meal, buddy."


POUNDSTONE: "I think he thought the guy was trying to get out of paying, but I'm telling you, the guy was really scared. He was flapping his napkin and pointing at it with his breadstick. He wouldn't even give me an autograph." Mr. Maguire could not be reached for comment.



SAGAL: Tobey Maguire, Spiderman in the movies, scared by a spider. Your next story of a superhero not doing so super comes from Roy Blount, Jr.

ROY BLOUNT JR.: When the NYU research biologist Razar Lopet(ph) was a boy in Sri Lanka, he loved the Mighty Mouse cartoon. It's no coincidence that Lopet has now genetically engineered a heartier lab rat, named Mighty Mouse. He can't fly, punch out cats or sing, "here I come to save the day," but Lopet's Mighty Mouse is much bigger and more muscular than ordinary white mice, has already exceeded their life expectancy and is still going strong. The problem is he comes on too strong. "He means well," Lopet told USA Today this week, "But he's like Lenny in 'Of Mice and Men,' doesn't know his own strength. And I might say that he is extremely, even for his size, well endowed."


BLOUNT JR.: On TV, Mighty Mouse kept saving his steady girlfriend Pearl Pureheart. My Mighty Mouse makes female mice run for their lives.


BLOUNT JR.: "I could clone him, of course, but I keep hoping he'll reproduce naturally. He clearly hopes so too."


BLOUNT JR.: "But he sort of pounces. It's sad."


SAGAL: An attempt to create Mighty Mouse ends up with a rodent that doesn't know its own strength. Your last story of super powers not helpings comes from Mo Rocca.

MO ROCCA: Batman could vanquish the Joker, the Riddler, even Poison Ivy, but he may have met his match in the villain known as "Frivolous Lawsuit."


ROCCA: "Dark Knight" producers and director Christopher Nolan are being sued by the mayor of the village of Batman, Turkey, seeking royalties from the 2008 blockbuster. "There is only one Batman in the world," says Batman Mayor Kalkan, whose name sounds more like a Star Trek villain.


ROCCA: It may all sound like a load of Istanbul...


ROCCA: But holy Bataturk, this guy is not backing down. He blames the wrongful use of the name Batman for distress and a spike of violence. Presumably, Batman could have prevented this had he been in Turkey and not on a press tour.


SAGAL: All right.


SAGAL: Here then are your choices. From Paula Poundstone: "Spiderman" star Tobey Maguire being freaked out by a real spider. From Roy Blount, Jr.: an attempt to create a Mighty Mouse in the lab goes somewhat awry. Or from Mo Rocca: the town of Batman, Turkey claiming that they, not the caped crusader, are the only real Batman and they deserve damages. Which of these is the real story about a superhero in extremis?

MEG: Well, I'm pretty afraid of spiders, so I'm going to go with Tobey Maguire being afraid of spiders.

SAGAL: You're going to choose Tobey Maguire, star of "Spiderman" freaking out because of a spider in a restaurant?

MEG: Yeah.

SAGAL: All right, that's your choice. Well, we actually spoke to a reporter who covered this surprising story.

DAVE MCNARY: The mayor of Batman said that he was going to sue Warner Brothers and Christopher Nolan because they had used the Batman name without permission.

SAGAL: That was Dave McNary. He's a writer for Variety. He covered the Batman lawsuit filed by the mayor of Batman, Turkey. I'm sorry, but obviously, Mo, believe it or not, for once had the right answer.


SAGAL: So you didn't win.



ROCCA: I just think it's bat-bleep-crazy.

SAGAL: It is, it is, it is. Anyway, you did not win our prize, but you earned a point for Paula for her - I agree with you - strangely credible story of Tobey Maguire being actually scared of spiders. Thanks so much for playing, Meg.

MEG: Thank you.

SAGAL: Bye-bye.

MEG: Bye. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.