Minnesotans We Have Known

Jun 6, 2013
Originally published on March 6, 2014 12:01 pm

Very Important Puzzler Lizz Winstead, a Minneapolis native, proves her fierce hometown pride in an Ask Me Another Challenge about famous people from her home state.

Plus, Jonathan Coulton covers the song "Kiss," by one of Minnesota's finest: Prince.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.


So, Lizz, now it's time to put you in the puzzle hot seat. You hail from the great state of Minnesota.


EISENBERG: As do a lot of famous folk, and that's the subject of this game. Minnesotans we have known. These are all questions about famous people that hail from the North Star State. If you get enough right, Amy Pfeffer of Bellefonte, Pennsylvania is going to win an ASK ME ANOTHER Rubik's Cube. That's right; the stakes are high.


EISENBERG: My co-puzzler Jonathan Coulton will help me with this next game. Lizz Winstead, are you ready?

WINSTEAD: As ready as I will ever be.

EISENBERG: Let's do it.


EISENBERG: As a boy growing up in St. Paul, this man loved drawing pictures of his dog Spike, who ate weird things like tacks and razor blades. One of these drawings appeared in the newspaper cartoon "Ripley's Believe It or Not." Later, he would grow up to draw one of the most popular comic strips of all time.

WINSTEAD: Charles Schulz.

EISENBERG: That is correct.


JONATHAN COULTON: In 2010, this singer released the song "Purple and Gold," after watching his beloved Minnesota Vikings beat the Dallas Cowboys. Not coincidentally, he loves the color purple and has a lot of gold records.

WINSTEAD: That would be the Prince.

COULTON: You are right. You are right.


EISENBERG: Although this actress was born in Olmstead County, she was named for a city in the county next door. You could be sure Johnny Depp remembers her. He tattooed her name on his right arm while they were dating.

WINSTEAD: Winona Ryder.

EISENBERG: That is correct.


EISENBERG: And after they broke up, do you know what he changed to the tattoo to?

WINSTEAD: Fergus Falls.


WINSTEAD: Another town in Minnesota.

EISENBERG: Another town. It said "Winona forever" and he changed it to "wino forever."


COULTON: Your friend Bob Mould, who wrote the theme to "The Daily Show" was in one of the biggest bands to emerge from the Minneapolis punk rock scene, Husker Du. The band's name came from a popular Danish board game. So the question is...

WINSTEAD: Do you remember.

COULTON: Yes. That is the answer to the question what does Husker Du mean in Danish. Well done.

WINSTEAD: Do you remember.


EISENBERG: A Danish memory game that sounds oh, so fun.

WINSTEAD: Husker Du.


WINSTEAD: If you pronounced all the umlauts, you would say Husker Du. It doesn't sound that punk rock.

EISENBERG: In 1978, this playwright moved from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to St. Paul to take a job writing scripts for the science museum. Later, he became a part time cook for the little brothers of the poor, but he kept writing. And in 1985, his play "Fences" won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award, and you know this.

WINSTEAD: And I've waited on him and he gave me free tickets for "Jitney." And the answer is August Wilson.



EISENBERG: Were those tickets the tip or was there a tip as well?

WINSTEAD: There was also a tip.

COULTON: All right, here is a musical clue.


COULTON: Closing time. One last call for alcohol, so finish your whiskey or beer. Closing time. You don't have to go home but you can't stay here.

That 1998 song was the biggest hit of what Minneapolis band?

WINSTEAD: Semisonic.

COULTON: You're right.



WINSTEAD: Dan Wilson, who also - can I give you a little trivia on Dan Wilson?

COULTON: Yeah, please.

WINSTEAD: Also wrote the hit Adele song, the one that's really sad. Yes, that one.

COULTON: She has terrible diction. You're right.



COULTON: It's awful.

WINSTEAD: People never mention that. They're always talking about her hair and her outfits. But man, Adele, speak up. Dan Wilson, I can understand every word that guy says. Give it to Adele; she screws it all up.

EISENBERG: Finally, this actor attended Southwest High School, your alma mater, graduating in 1944. He starred on the television series "Mission Impossible" in the 60s, hosted A&E series biography in the 90s but comedy fans might know him best for playing Captain Clarence Over in the film "Airplane," where he uttered the immortal line, "Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?"


WINSTEAD: Yes, his brother, James Arness also attended Minneapolis Southwest High School. And the answer to your question is Peter Graves.

EISENBERG: That is correct.


EISENBERG: Lizz, you did it. Amy is going to win an ASK ME ANOTHER Rubik's Cube.


EISENBERG: You're going to win an ASK ME ANOTHER Rubik's Cube. Thank you so much. You were the most amazing VIP. You know everything about your home state.

WINSTEAD: I love my home. There's a lot of Minnesota pride.


EISENBERG: Lizz Winstead, everybody.

WINSTEAD: Thanks you guys.

EISENBERG: Coulton, how about a song?

COULTON: How about one. Here's one from Minnesota native, the Prince.


COULTON: Don't have to be beautiful to turn me on. Just need your body, baby, from dusk 'til dawn. Don't need experience to turn me out. Just leave it all up to me, going to show you what it's all about. Don't have to be rich to be my girl. You don't have to be cruel to rule my world. No particular sign I'm more compatible with. I just want your extra time and your kiss.


EISENBERG: Jonathan Coulton.

COULTON: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.