B.O.O.K. Cupid

Jan 13, 2017
Originally published on March 6, 2017 12:05 pm

What famous literary characters would be down to "Netflix and chill"? We found the online dating profiles of some of fiction's biggest leading men and women; contestants must guess what book they're from.

Heard on Cat Cora: Her Kitchen Rules

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JONATHAN COULTON: From NPR and WNYC, coming to you from The Bell House in beautiful Brooklyn, N.Y., it's NPR's hour of puzzles, word games and trivia, ASK ME ANOTHER. I'm Jonathan Coulton. Now here's your host, Ophira Eisenberg.



Thank you, Jonathan. We've cooked up a great show for you today as our special guest is Chef Cat Cora. And she's not only the first female Iron Chef, but she co-hosts the new cooking competition show "My Kitchen Rules." And the show features celebrity pairs being judged on their dinner party fare. Now, I know the key to throwing a successful dinner party is, of course, division of labor.

And I have to admit, I am the chef in my relationship. I create the menu, I devise the courses and then I hand my husband the phone and the delivery tip.


EISENBERG: Our first two contestants will play a game where "Fahrenheit 451" meets Tinder. Let's meet them. First up, Virginia Pasley on buzzer number one.


EISENBERG: You're a writer and editor who was taught English in the Ukraine.




EISENBERG: Hi. OK, and your opponent is Dyan Flores on buzzer number two.


EISENBERG: You're a script reader for the Manhattan Theatre Company. Welcome.


EISENBERG: Virginia and Dyan, the first of you who wins two of our games will move on to the Final Round at the end of the show. So let's get to that first game. Virginia, what literary character would you like to go on a date with?

PASLEY: I would probably have to say Mr. Darcy.

EISENBERG: Yeah. People are like oohing (ph) and ahhing (ph) in agreement. I mean, I think there's some obvious reasons to that. But do you want to give any specific reason why that would work for you?

PASLEY: Well, I like to think I could, you know, handle him.




EISENBERG: That's - right? - rein him in when needed.

PASLEY: Yeah, yeah.

EISENBERG: How about you, Dyan, what literary character would you like to go on a date with?

FLORES: There's this character named Joe Willard from a series of young adult books that I read by Maud Hart Lovelace. And they took place in the early 1900s. And he had a pompadour and he was very proud. And that spoke to me as a 12-year-old.


EISENBERG: The pompadour or the proud?


EISENBERG: Yeah, yeah, right. Can you imagine a pompadour but a low-self-esteem pompadour?


EISENBERG: That's a hard thing to pull off.

COULTON: A shrinking pompadour.

EISENBERG: Big hair...


EISENBERG: ...Totally self-deprecating all the time.

COULTON: Doesn't work.

EISENBERG: No it does not. OK, let's start with a trivia game called B.O.O.K. Cupid. In this game, Jonathan and I will read online dating profiles of some thirsty literary characters who are looking for love.

COULTON: And all you have to do is identify the book the character comes from. And if you know the character's name, that's great and we're all very proud of you, but we don't actually want that. So just the book. Buzz in to answer, and the winner will be one step closer to the Final Round at the end of the show. Here we go.

EISENBERG: Full disclosure, I just went through a pretty bad affair. Never get involved with a preacher in Puritan New England. Dating isn't easy when you have a big letter A on your clothes.


EISENBERG: Virginia.

PASLEY: "The Scarlet Letter."

EISENBERG: That is correct, yeah.


EISENBERG: Sounds a little Nathaniel Hawthorny (ph).


COULTON: It does quite a bit, actually. I'm a single father trying to raise my son and get back out there, but it's tough in a post-apocalyptic hellscape where the sun doesn't shine, plants don't grow and humanity has been reduced to terrifying savagery. Also, I want to keep this anonymous, so I hope you're ok with never learning my name.

EISENBERG: Is that taken from your current OkCupid?

COULTON: That's actually...


COULTON: It's a weird coincidence, yeah.


COULTON: Virginia.

PASLEY: I know it was a movie with Will Smith, right? Didn't it get turned into a movie?

COULTON: I can't...

GREG PLISKA: Is that your answer?



COULTON: I have to say that is incorrect.

PASLEY: Oh, never mind. (Laughter) I have no idea.

COULTON: Dyan, do you know the answer?

FLORES: "I Am Legend?"

PLISKA: That was a movie with Will Smith.


COULTON: That is what Virginia was talking about.

PLISKA: That, however, is not the answer to this question.


EISENBERG: Yes, puzzle guru Greg Pliska was concerned that that might be the movie and book that people might think of.

PLISKA: I did - yes. No, the correct answer to this question was Cormac McCarthy's book "The Road."

COULTON: Kind of a letdown. I apologize, everybody.


EISENBERG: Here's your next one. Are you sick of reliable narrators? Do you want someone who's impulsive and likes to drink? Maybe someone who fantasizes about a woman she sees every day on her commute to London and then maybe it turns out she killed that woman? But who knows? We've all been there.



FLORES: "Murder On The Orient Express."

EISENBERG: A classic. We were going a little further into now. Say...


EISENBERG: Can you steal, Virginia?

PASLEY: I'll try. "Girl On The Train."

EISENBERG: That is correct. Well done.


EISENBERG: "Girl On The Train," which is the sequel, of course, to "Snakes On A Plane."


COULTON: I'm sick and tired of all the M-er effing (ph) girls. Six things I can't live without - designer suits, business cards, reservations at Dorsia, my Huey Lewis records, a rain poncho and an axe.



FLORES: "American Psycho?"

COULTON: You've got it.


EISENBERG: As an FBI agent, I enjoy logic games and slowly piecing together cases. Turnoffs include moths, homemade pits in your basement, flesh sewing and cannibalism.



FLORES: "Silence Of The Lambs?"

EISENBERG: Yes, that's correct.


COULTON: This is your last clue.

EISENBERG: I'm a Victorian outcast seeking a kindred spirit to connect with. I'll take personality over looks or not being kind of a jerk or not hiding your mentally ill wife in the attic.


EISENBERG: Virginia.

PASLEY: "Jane Eyre."

EISENBERG: You got it, yeah.


EISENBERG: All right, puzzle guru Greg Pliska, how did our contestants do?

PLISKA: Well, Ophira, it was a very close match, but Virginia is the winner of our first game.

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