Going Underground

Oct 11, 2019
Originally published on October 11, 2019 11:55 am

If you can't go over it, you play a game about guessing what's under it. Contestants play a game about some underground spots.

Heard on Kristin Chenoweth: No Rest For The Wicked.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.


Our next game is about things buried deep below street level like tunnels, mole people and my emotions. Let's meet our contestants. First up, Gloria Alvarez, you teach creative writing. And your first game is about things underground. So what is hiding in your basement?

GLORIA ALVAREZ: Well, it has to be a metaphorical basement because we don't have basements...

EISENBERG: That's right.

ALVAREZ: ...In Houston. But I would say it's probably my husband's rocks.

EISENBERG: His rocks?

ALVAREZ: His rocks.


EISENBERG: He collects rocks?

ALVAREZ: He's a geologist.

EISENBERG: He's a geologist. OK.


ALVAREZ: He's collected rocks for 40 years.

EISENBERG: Yeah. Well, that makes perfect sense. Thank goodness.


EISENBERG: Gloria, when you ring in, we'll hear this.


EISENBERG: Your opponent is Nathan Crowell. You're a retired electrical contract salesman. What is hiding in your basement?

NATHAN CROWELL: All the books my wife thinks I've gotten rid of.


EISENBERG: Geology books? Are they mostly geology books?

CROWELL: There aren't very many geology books...


CROWELL: ...In there.


CROWELL: Couple of novels, yeah.

EISENBERG: A couple of novels - Nathan, when you ring in, we'll hear this.


EISENBERG: Remember. Gloria and Nathan, whoever has more points after two games will go to our final round. Let's go to your first game. This trivia game is called Going Underground. There are more than six miles of underground tunnels in downtown Houston, full of shops and restaurants and opportunities...


EISENBERG: ...To avoid the sun. So this quiz is about other interesting things below street level. Jonathan and I will deliver the clues as if we were hipsters talking about underground bands.


EISENBERG: Here we go. I prefer the acoustic version of the city like when it was made out of wood, like, before it all burned down, and they went electric and built a new, modern city on top of the old one and sold out to Starbucks.



CROWELL: Seattle.

EISENBERG: Yeah, right.


EISENBERG: You're right. You're right.

JONATHAN COULTON, BYLINE: I once went backpacking in this European country that has enough bunkers for every citizen to hunker down with their Emmentaler cheese, Toblerone and army knives. The only negative was that the shop signs are in Helvetica, and everyone's moved on to Avenir by now.


COULTON: Gloria.

ALVAREZ: Switzerland.

COULTON: Yeah, that's correct.


EISENBERG: There we go. This underground venue near Geneva is so hot Stephen Hawking warned that what happens there could destroy the universe. That's where I discovered this great, new particle - the Higgs boson. You probably haven't heard of it.



ALVAREZ: The CERN - the big place where you go around and around...

EISENBERG: Yeah, we can take that. Yeah...


EISENBERG: We can take that. That's right - the Large Hadron Collider.




COULTON: You're very basic, so your favorite part of this place is probably Cinderella's Castle. But I prefer the utilidors and the underground tunnel network where I smoked a joint with Donald Duck.


COULTON: Nathan.

CROWELL: Disneyland.

COULTON: I'm sorry. We cannot accept Disneyland. Gloria, do you know the answer?

ALVAREZ: Walt Disney World.

COULTON: Yeah. Disney World is correct.


COULTON: Also, in Disneyland, it's Sleeping Beauty's Castle.

EISENBERG: Oh, yeah.

COULTON: It's not Cinderella's Castle.

EISENBERG: That's right.

COULTON: They're two very different castles.


EISENBERG: Yeah (laughter).

COULTON: You probably haven't heard of mega sloths, but they're this obscure prehistoric animal that threw these amazing underground raves in the early Pliocene epic. They dug huge tunnels under this, the biggest country in South America. I love a DIY venue.


COULTON: Nathan.

CROWELL: Brazil.

COULTON: Brazil is correct.


EISENBERG: Mega sloths...

COULTON: Mega sloths.

EISENBERG: ...The laziest monster...


EISENBERG: ...Of all time. This is your last clue. I miss the underground D.C. punk rock scene. But at least they still have the underground train that connects Russell, Dirksen, Rayburn and Hart for the corrupt politicians in this branch of federal government.



CROWELL: The Pentagon.

EISENBERG: No, can't take that, sorry. Gloria, can you steal?

ALVAREZ: That would be Congress...


ALVAREZ: ...The legislative branch.

EISENBERG: Sure. We'll just take Congress.


EISENBERG: OK. Great game, and Gloria is in the lead.


EISENBERG: If your underground bunker includes a reading nook, you should be on our show. Go to amatickets.org and find out how to be a contestant. Coming up, Kristin Chenoweth returns...


EISENBERG: And we'll play a music parody about famous hair. It reminds me of the time that I got a haircut at a beauty school. How did it go? Well, I'll tell you, all of my hairs were cut, and all of them a little different.


EISENBERG: I'm Ophira Eisenberg, and this is ASK ME ANOTHER from NPR.

(CHEERING) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.