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August 23, 2006

Puzzle #1

Posted by John Baez

Since this is quite a serious blog as blogs go, I thought I’d leaven it with a little bit of fun. Eventually, if it becomes sufficiently fun, I won’t have to do anything else except read and post to this blog - except work now and then.

Some of you have seen my puzzles and already know the answers - but others of you probably haven’t. So, I’ll start with the old ones, and eventually move on to some new ones.

If you ever get completely frustrated, you can find answers for these puzzles on my website. But, it might be more fun to guess the answers here. Indeed, I’m hoping these puzzles can start some interesting conversations, because they touch upon all sorts of mysterious and funny aspects of our world… and my answers may not be right.


What was Uncle Sam’s last name?

Posted at August 23, 2006 4:28 PM UTC

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4 Comments & 0 Trackbacks

Re: Puzzle #1

Sam America related to Captain America

Posted by: Spatulated on August 23, 2006 6:38 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Puzzle #1

Uncle Sam WILSON

Posted by: Quasar9 on August 27, 2006 1:01 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Puzzle #1


Q: What was Uncle Sam’s last name?

A: Wilson. In the War of 1812, Sam Wilson was a meat contractor for the U.S. army. Soldiers who knew him would see the containers of meat he provided and say, “that’s from Uncle Sam!” The phrase caught on.

Source: National Public Radio, “Morning Edition”, November 11, 1998.

Posted by: John Baez on August 27, 2006 9:03 AM | Permalink | Reply to this

Re: Puzzle #1

Well, i am certainly not an expert, but according to wikipedia this definition was the one adopted by the 87th us Congress in 1961.

Here is the relevant section of the Wikipedia “Uncle Sam” entry:

Origin of the Name

Common folklore holds origins trace back to soldiers stationed in upstate New York, who would receive barrels of meat stamped with the initials U.S. The soldiers jokingly referred to it as the initials of the troops’ meat supplier, “Uncle” Samuel Wilson, of Troy, New York. The 87th United States Congress adopted the following resolution on September 15, 1961: “Resolved by the Senate and the House of Representatives that the Congress salutes Uncle Sam Wilson of Troy, New York, as the progenitor of America’s National symbol of Uncle Sam.” A monument marks his birthplace in Arlington, Massachusetts.

Another theory suggests that Uncle Sam was a creation by Irish immigrants to the US who used the Gaelic acronym, SAM, or Stáit Aontaithe Mheiriceá, which is the translation for United States of America, as a nickname for their new host country. Unfortunately, however, the precise origin of the term may never be proven.

Posted by: ericv on October 25, 2006 2:01 PM | Permalink | Reply to this

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