Q: What does the game hopscotch have to do with Scotland? -- E.W., Ches tertown, Md.
A: Other than the fact that it's played there, hopscotch has nothing to do with Scotland.
There are several explanations for the name -- here's one: In the 17th century, the game was called "scotch-hoppers." It was played then, as now, on squares cut or marked on the ground. The name comes from Old French "escocher," meaning "to cut or mark." It was later Anglicized to "scotch."
While I have your attention, have you ever wondered what butterscotch has to do with butter and scotch? While some say the buttery confection may have originally been made in Scotland, others say it's because it has to be cut before hardening.
Q: Did the U.S. really mint a coin with the motto "Mind your business"? -- K.J., Philadelphia
A: In 1787, the first official penny was minted in the United States. The obverse of the copper coin featured a rising sun over a sundial with the word "Fugio" (Latin for "I fly") and the phrase "Mind your business." The reverse of the coin contained thirteen linked circles with "We are one" and "United States." The coin, called the Fugio Cent, was designed by Benjamin Franklin.
Q: In the program of a play I attended recently, credit was given to a nameless character as the "harridan." In the play, she was an elderly woman with a sharp tongue, always in a bad mood and always interfering in other people's business. She was used as comic relief. What is a harridan? -- S.J., Santa Rosa, Calif.
A: Your explanation was perfect. The word is believed to come from the French word "haridelle," which describes an old horse or woman. The word harridan has been around since the 1700s.
Q: Who is the Everest of Mount Everest? -- T.D., Ephrata, Pa.
A: Sir George Everest (1790-1866) was a British surveyor. He was the head of the Great Trigonometrical Survey of India and later the Surveyor General in India during the early 19th century.
Everest was relentless in his pursuit of accuracy and often modified or created new equipment to help complete the surveying of the subcontinent. It was his methods that led his successor, Andrew Waugh, to determine the world's highest peak, then called Peak XV. Waugh pushed to change the name to honor Everest, an honor Everest himself did not support.
Q: When I go to the eye doctor, I'm tested for color blindness. The test is a series of patterns made up of different color and different size circles. Within the maze is a number that you attempt to read. What is the name of the test? -- M.D.A., Nichols, N.Y.
A: The Ishihara Color Test was named after its designer, Dr. Shinobu Ishihara (1879-1963), a professor at the University of Tokyo. The full test is made up of 38 plates and was first published in 1917.
Q: Of the four Beatles, Ringo Starr was the only one to take a stage name. How did he come up with it? -- V.G.H., Lake Jack son, Texas
A: Ringo's birth name is Richard Starkey; he was born in Liverpool, England, on July 7, 1940. At age 17 he joined the Eddie Clayton Skiffle Band. Starr became a Beatle on Aug. 18, 1962.
Starr was given the nickname "Ringo" because of the rings he wore. "Starr" was a shortened version of Starkey.
Q: Cat Stevens was one of my favorite singers of the 1970s. What was his given name? I know he became a Muslim and took on a new name. What is that? -- R.W., Hamilton, Ala.
A: Steven Demetre Georgiou was born July 21, 1948, to a Swedish mother and a Greek father in London. When he signed a record contract, he signed under the name "Cat Stevens," since his girlfriend at the time told him he had eyes like a cat.
In December 1977, he converted to Islam. He adopted the name Yusuf Islam two years later.
Q: What was the name of the island in the movie Jurassic Park? -- A.S., Jonesboro, La.
A: The fictional island on which Jurassic Park is located is Isla Nublar. According to Michael Crichton's novel, the island spans 22 square miles. It is located 120 miles off the coast of Costa Rica.
Q: I was in an interna tional grocery store and saw a package of Bombay duck. What is it? -- Y.C., Prince Frederick, Md.
A: Despite its name, it's not duck but a fish, which is usually dried and salted. It is usually eaten in India. Often, cooks use it for flavoring, though it's also a snack food. No one knows how it got its name.
Q: In the early days of golf, the player would build a small mound of dirt or sand to elevate the golf ball. Who invented the golf tee? When? -- K.L., Brookfield, Conn.
A: In 1899, dentist Dr. George Franklin Grant received a patent for the tee.
Q: In the TV series "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis," what did the "G" of Maynard G. Krebbs stand for?
A: In one episode, he was asked this question; Maynard stated that the "G" stood for Walter. His explanation was that his mother "didn't spell too good." Another source claims that he was named for his Aunt Walter, and that the "G" is silent. Maynard G. Krebbs was played by Bob Denver (1935-2005).
Q: I've heard of soap made of mother's breast milk and that it is commercially available. Who makes it? Do you have a recipe?
A: I think you are referring to Dawnella Sutton of Freedom, Maine, the creator and operator of Mothers Moon handcrafted all-natural soaps. In Dawnella's own words:
"The first batch of soap I ever made was in honor of my son's first birthday, as I wanted to give my friends who came to his celebration something special they could take home with them. The soap was made from my own breast milk ... Everyone liked it so much, I started making other soaps for other occasions, adding herbs and oils and making different blends."
You can find a recipe by searching on freedompondmoonworks.com.
Q: Did Roy Rogers' horse, Trigger, ever have a different name? -- R.S., Dublin, Calif.
A: When he was born in 1932, the golden palomino was christened Golden Cloud. In 1938, Roy Rogers was looking for a horse for an upcoming film. After a brief ride, he knew the horse was the one for him. Besides getting a new owner, Golden Cloud also got a new name, Trigger. Trigger died in 1965 at age 33.
Q: When did Babe Ruth get his first major league home run? -- R.T., Peoria, Ill.
A: On May 6, 1915, wearing a Boston Red Sox uniform, "The Sultan of Swat" knocked his first of 714 round-trippers out of the stadium. The opposing team? The New York Yankees.
Q: Without looking, can you name the southernmost U.S. state capital? -- M.A., West Palm Beach, Fla.
A: Without looking, I would say Honolulu. After looking, I would say, "Yup."
Send your questions to Mr. Know-It-All at AskMrKIA@gmail.com or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.