Here’s a harder quiz

In the last quiz we had on the blog, we offered a signed copy of Freakonomics to the first person to correctly identify the person who was identified at a charity event as the “the most trusted man in America.” It turned out to be way too easy (Walter Cronkite), generating a lot of complaints from blog readers.

So here is another quiz — this one much harder than the first. You will have to think differently to get this one.

Before a recent lecture, I got to shake hands with one of the most famous and beloved nearly-octogenarians in the world.

First one to guess his identity wins a signed copy of the book. More clues to follow if people don’t guess the right answer.

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COMMENTS: 160


  1. DidntYouHear says:

    Is it Queen Elizabeth II?

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  2. DidntYouHear says:

    Is it Queen Elizabeth II?

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  3. abraxas says:

    Maya Angelou

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  4. abraxas says:

    Maya Angelou

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  5. jfrdir says:

    Joe Paterno

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  6. jfrdir says:

    Joe Paterno

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  7. firearcade says:

    i think it is Warren Buffett

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  8. firearcade says:

    i think it is Warren Buffett

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  9. saulweiner says:

    One of the soldiers who survived the June 1944 landing on the beaches of Normandy during World War 2?

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  10. saulweiner says:

    One of the soldiers who survived the June 1944 landing on the beaches of Normandy during World War 2?

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  11. olian says:

    Muhammad Ali

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  12. olian says:

    Muhammad Ali

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  13. wbecker says:

    Pope Benedict XVI

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  14. wbecker says:

    Pope Benedict XVI

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  15. firearcade says:

    Clint Eastwood

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  16. firearcade says:

    Clint Eastwood

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  17. fsmontenegro says:

    Sean Connery

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  18. fsmontenegro says:

    Sean Connery

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  19. brianchurchhowe says:

    Nelson Mandela

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  20. brianchurchhowe says:

    Nelson Mandela

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  21. bmborges says:

    Desmond Tutu

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  22. bmborges says:

    Desmond Tutu

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  23. msabuwala says:

    Nelson Mandela

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  24. msabuwala says:

    Nelson Mandela

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  25. NousDefions says:

    Sidney Poitier

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  26. NousDefions says:

    Sidney Poitier

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  27. gemini666 says:

    Jimmy Carter

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  28. gemini666 says:

    Jimmy Carter

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  29. firearcade says:

    Mickey Mouse?

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  30. firearcade says:

    Mickey Mouse?

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  31. brianchurchhowe says:

    D’oh.. Can I change my guess to John Nash?

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  32. brianchurchhowe says:

    D’oh.. Can I change my guess to John Nash?

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  33. ithacajosh says:

    Barbara Walters

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  34. ithacajosh says:

    Barbara Walters

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  35. Gaijin51 says:

    Firearcade beat me to it.

    Mickey Mouse was created in 1928, which would make him a “nearly-octogenerian,” and the adjectives “famous” and “beloved” certainly apply.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mickey_Mouse

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  36. Gaijin51 says:

    Firearcade beat me to it.

    Mickey Mouse was created in 1928, which would make him a “nearly-octogenerian,” and the adjectives “famous” and “beloved” certainly apply.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mickey_Mouse

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  37. FHOOK says:

    Vin Scully

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  38. FHOOK says:

    Vin Scully

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  39. zimmerdale says:

    Fidel Castro. No that’s probably a bad guess.

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  40. zimmerdale says:

    Fidel Castro. No that’s probably a bad guess.

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  41. coachbulldog says:

    Alan Greenspan

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  42. coachbulldog says:

    Alan Greenspan

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  43. firearcade says:

    Dick Clark

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  44. firearcade says:

    Dick Clark

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  45. firearcade says:

    Neil Armstrong

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  46. firearcade says:

    Neil Armstrong

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  47. firearcade says:

    Larry King

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  48. firearcade says:

    Larry King

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  49. brianchurchhowe says:

    Sidney Poitier?

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  50. brianchurchhowe says:

    Sidney Poitier?

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  51. Niall says:

    Elie Weisel

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  52. Niall says:

    Elie Weisel

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  53. brianchurchhowe says:

    Ok, for real this time: Buzz Aldrin, who was in Chicago this weekend christening a new exhibit at the Planetarium. Final answer.

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  54. brianchurchhowe says:

    Ok, for real this time: Buzz Aldrin, who was in Chicago this weekend christening a new exhibit at the Planetarium. Final answer.

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  55. zimmerdale says:

    Harry Belafonte

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  56. zimmerdale says:

    Harry Belafonte

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  57. zimmerdale says:

    Actually, I think I agree with #17: Mickey Mouse.

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  58. zimmerdale says:

    Actually, I think I agree with #17: Mickey Mouse.

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  59. Grick says:

    Paul Volcker

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  60. Grick says:

    Paul Volcker

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  61. Ryan Fox says:

    Larry Smith. Well, he’s well-known and beloved on the University of Waterloo’s campus, and he’s an economist…

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  62. Ryan Fox says:

    Larry Smith. Well, he’s well-known and beloved on the University of Waterloo’s campus, and he’s an economist…

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  63. If the lecture wasn’t too recent, I’d say it was YOGI BERRA.

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  64. If the lecture wasn’t too recent, I’d say it was YOGI BERRA.

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  65. thebar says:

    George Soros

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  66. thebar says:

    George Soros

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  67. havoclad says:

    James Randi

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  68. havoclad says:

    James Randi

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  69. krached says:

    Daniel Schoor

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  70. krached says:

    Daniel Schoor

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  71. Craig says:

    Michael Mouse

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  72. Craig says:

    Michael Mouse

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  73. psteinx says:

    Arnold Palmer

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  74. psteinx says:

    Arnold Palmer

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  75. vijay says:

    Dalai Lama

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  76. vijay says:

    Dalai Lama

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  77. mgroves says:

    Mickey Mouse doesn’t have hands and can’t write books…

    What about Bob Newhart?

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  78. mgroves says:

    Mickey Mouse doesn’t have hands and can’t write books…

    What about Bob Newhart?

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  79. mare says:

    The Dalai Lama.

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  80. mare says:

    The Dalai Lama.

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  81. Gaijin51 says:

    47: I think he means Freakonomics, not a book by the person whose hand he shook. And, you obviously have never been to Disneyland. I have, and I can assure that Mickey does indeed have hands.

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  82. Gaijin51 says:

    47: I think he means Freakonomics, not a book by the person whose hand he shook. And, you obviously have never been to Disneyland. I have, and I can assure that Mickey does indeed have hands.

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  83. Dr. Funk says:

    Walter Cronkite

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  84. Dr. Funk says:

    Walter Cronkite

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  85. sunilbajpai says:

    Roger Moore, the beloved Bond?

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  86. sunilbajpai says:

    Roger Moore, the beloved Bond?

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  87. Gaijin51 says:

    Google is a really neat tool for those interested in trivial questions about the English language. For example, did you know that the word “octogenarian” is used more than twice as frequently as “septuagenarian” and more than 7 times more frequently than “nonagenarian.” “centenarian” is slightly more frequent than “septuagenarian”
    Hit counts:
    octogenarian 781,000
    centenarian 351,000
    septuagenarian 293,000
    nonagenarian 107,000

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  88. Gaijin51 says:

    Google is a really neat tool for those interested in trivial questions about the English language. For example, did you know that the word “octogenarian” is used more than twice as frequently as “septuagenarian” and more than 7 times more frequently than “nonagenarian.” “centenarian” is slightly more frequent than “septuagenarian”
    Hit counts:
    octogenarian 781,000
    centenarian 351,000
    septuagenarian 293,000
    nonagenarian 107,000

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  89. gohabs says:

    Doyle Brunson

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  90. gohabs says:

    Doyle Brunson

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  91. familycircus says:

    Jimmy Carter

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  92. familycircus says:

    Jimmy Carter

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  93. BRKelley says:

    Paul Newman?

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  94. BRKelley says:

    Paul Newman?

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  95. craiginmn says:

    Johnny Carson.

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  96. craiginmn says:

    Johnny Carson.

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  97. greenbirds says:

    If it’s not Mickey, it could also be Winnie the Pooh

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  98. greenbirds says:

    If it’s not Mickey, it could also be Winnie the Pooh

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  99. wdbarth says:

    Bob Barker

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  100. wdbarth says:

    Bob Barker

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  101. biesanz says:

    I’d guess either Mandela or the Dalai Lama. A lot of the other guesses either have more detractors, or seem unlikely to want to hear an economics lecture….

    I’ve got the book already, love it!

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  102. biesanz says:

    I’d guess either Mandela or the Dalai Lama. A lot of the other guesses either have more detractors, or seem unlikely to want to hear an economics lecture….

    I’ve got the book already, love it!

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  103. jdgaynor says:

    Bob Fosey?

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  104. jdgaynor says:

    Bob Fosey?

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  105. kevinjbowman says:

    Coretta Scott King

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  106. kevinjbowman says:

    Coretta Scott King

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  107. prosa says:

    “Nearly octogenarian” implies that the subject is close to 80 years old. It’s reasonable to say that he or she is 78 or 79 years old; any younger than that and the “nearly” would be inaccurate. This should help narrow things down a bit.

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  108. prosa says:

    “Nearly octogenarian” implies that the subject is close to 80 years old. It’s reasonable to say that he or she is 78 or 79 years old; any younger than that and the “nearly” would be inaccurate. This should help narrow things down a bit.

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  109. greenbirds says:

    I would guess Shirley Temple, although I’m worried there’s a twist to this quiz.

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  110. greenbirds says:

    I would guess Shirley Temple, although I’m worried there’s a twist to this quiz.

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  111. greenbirds says:

    Just to note, I’m surprised nobody has mentioned Chomsky, who is pretty popular around the world…

    …to be clear, my main guess is still Shirley Temple.

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  112. greenbirds says:

    Just to note, I’m surprised nobody has mentioned Chomsky, who is pretty popular around the world…

    …to be clear, my main guess is still Shirley Temple.

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  113. Texas says:

    Jerry Stiller

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  114. Texas says:

    Jerry Stiller

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  115. sphaeron says:

    Chuck Berry?

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  116. sphaeron says:

    Chuck Berry?

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  117. greenbirds says:

    “First one to guess his identity… ”

    I guess that might have given away the subject’s gender.

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  118. greenbirds says:

    “First one to guess his identity… ”

    I guess that might have given away the subject’s gender.

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  119. sphaeron says:

    or Peter Falk?

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  120. sphaeron says:

    or Peter Falk?

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  121. heatherlyn says:

    I was going to say Jack LaLanne, but he’s too old. Dang it.

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  122. heatherlyn says:

    I was going to say Jack LaLanne, but he’s too old. Dang it.

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  123. brianchurchhowe says:

    Assuming that it’s a real person, and isn’t a sort of trick question ala Mickey Mouse, our person would have to be:

    – a man (“his identity”)
    – recently in Chicago (“before a lecture”)
    – born between 1927 and 1930 (giving some leeway on the “nearly” octogenarian)
    – famous
    – beloved (an interesting choice of words, is going to eliminate most political or controversial candidates, and makes me think of actors or people with more of a cultural influence).

    Buzz Aldrin is the only one I’ve seen that meets all 5 of those criteria. Although Wikipedia (and Aldrin’s own web page) claims Aldrin was born in 1930, a Chicago Sun-Times article incorrectly lists him as 78 (http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/127571,CST-NWS-astro08.article). He was in Chicago last week. He was also known as one of the more intellectual astronauts– he got a doctorate in Aeronautics from MIT– and wouldn’t be too out of place at an Econ lecture.

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  124. brianchurchhowe says:

    Assuming that it’s a real person, and isn’t a sort of trick question ala Mickey Mouse, our person would have to be:

    – a man (“his identity”)
    – recently in Chicago (“before a lecture”)
    – born between 1927 and 1930 (giving some leeway on the “nearly” octogenarian)
    – famous
    – beloved (an interesting choice of words, is going to eliminate most political or controversial candidates, and makes me think of actors or people with more of a cultural influence).

    Buzz Aldrin is the only one I’ve seen that meets all 5 of those criteria. Although Wikipedia (and Aldrin’s own web page) claims Aldrin was born in 1930, a Chicago Sun-Times article incorrectly lists him as 78 (http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/127571,CST-NWS-astro08.article). He was in Chicago last week. He was also known as one of the more intellectual astronauts– he got a doctorate in Aeronautics from MIT– and wouldn’t be too out of place at an Econ lecture.

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  125. Paddy says:

    Elvis Presley

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  126. Paddy says:

    Elvis Presley

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  127. prosa says:

    brianchurchhowe -
    Buzz Aldrin is a good possibility. I must point out, however, that the presence of the Famous Nearly Octogenarian (FNO) in Chicago is not a given. Prof. Levitt said that the encounter occurred before *a* lecture, not necessarily one of his own academic lectures. It could have been a lecture given by the FNO, in Chicago or elsewhere, which Prof. Levitt happened to attend. Indeed, the lecture could have been given by some third party, in any location, with both Prof. Levitt and the FNO being in attendance.

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  128. prosa says:

    brianchurchhowe -
    Buzz Aldrin is a good possibility. I must point out, however, that the presence of the Famous Nearly Octogenarian (FNO) in Chicago is not a given. Prof. Levitt said that the encounter occurred before *a* lecture, not necessarily one of his own academic lectures. It could have been a lecture given by the FNO, in Chicago or elsewhere, which Prof. Levitt happened to attend. Indeed, the lecture could have been given by some third party, in any location, with both Prof. Levitt and the FNO being in attendance.

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  129. skishoo2 says:

    Union Station’s clock.

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  130. skishoo2 says:

    Union Station’s clock.

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  131. brianchurchhowe says:

    Prosa– That’s a good point, I’d say the presence of the candidate in Chicago is a good bonus, but not really a necessary condition.

    With that in mind, has anyone mentioned the possibility of Dick Clark? He’s unique among the guesses so far in that his age (basically the only solid info Prof. Levitt provided) is usually one of his most talked about characteristics. Mr. Clark will be 77 this month (too young?)

    According to Google, he’s been in NYC and Philly lately auctioning off some memorabilia, so I’d ruled him out– but given prosa’s point, maybe that was premature….

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  132. brianchurchhowe says:

    Prosa– That’s a good point, I’d say the presence of the candidate in Chicago is a good bonus, but not really a necessary condition.

    With that in mind, has anyone mentioned the possibility of Dick Clark? He’s unique among the guesses so far in that his age (basically the only solid info Prof. Levitt provided) is usually one of his most talked about characteristics. Mr. Clark will be 77 this month (too young?)

    According to Google, he’s been in NYC and Philly lately auctioning off some memorabilia, so I’d ruled him out– but given prosa’s point, maybe that was premature….

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  133. Four says:

    Andy Rooney.

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  134. Four says:

    Andy Rooney.

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  135. Arun says:

    I think its William Shatner

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  136. Arun says:

    I think its William Shatner

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  137. Rockseat says:

    Got it! It’s Danny Bonaducci (sp.)

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  138. Rockseat says:

    Got it! It’s Danny Bonaducci (sp.)

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  139. andredes3 says:

    I am going to have say Elie Wiesel.

    The candidate has to be both famous (not infamous) AND beloved worldwide. I believe Wiesel has a low degree of “partisanism.” He is also an active speaker, making an appearance on any University campus more likely.

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  140. andredes3 says:

    I am going to have say Elie Wiesel.

    The candidate has to be both famous (not infamous) AND beloved worldwide. I believe Wiesel has a low degree of “partisanism.” He is also an active speaker, making an appearance on any University campus more likely.

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  141. stevenasmith98 says:

    William Shatner

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  142. stevenasmith98 says:

    William Shatner

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  143. johndaly says:

    William Shatner

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  144. johndaly says:

    William Shatner

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  145. Ajcorrado says:

    Must be Shatner

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  146. Ajcorrado says:

    Must be Shatner

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