Credit: Illustration by Katy Caldwell. Led Zeppelin: Ian Dickson / Redferns / Retna Ltd.

Okay, my preciousssseses… (hint!)

So what do “Don’t Stand So Close to Me” by the Police, “Killing an Arab” by the Cure, “Paranoid Android” by Radiohead, “Ramble On” by Led Zeppelin, and “Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum have in common? Only 27 of the hundreds of you who read the item knew that each of these songs took some inspiration from a famous work of literature. So, bravo! I thought it was kind of a hard question going in, and it’s not like the songs were straight off today’s charts, so I’m glad you all stepped up to the plate with some old-fashioned PopWatch know-how.

However… here’s where we separate the PopMenandWomen from the PopBoysandGirls.

Of that 27, only 13 of you (that is, less than half) could correctly identify said works of literature.

Favorite Children
Connie L. Chilton
Martha Culver
David L. Eckles, Ph.D.
Paolo Guttadauro
David Lankford
Tommy Marx
Simon Morley
Paul Secrest
Howard Sheltraw
Jenn Stephens
Tex Tourais
Mary Wilson
Patrick A. Yearout

They knew that:

“Don’t Stand So Close to Me” by the Police references Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita (“Just like the old man in that book by Nabokov”).

“Killing an Arab” by theCure references Albert Camus’ The Stranger (“I’m the stranger… killing an Arab”).

The title “Paranoid Android” by Radiohead is a reference to the character Marvin the Paranoid Android in Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

“Ramble On” by Led Zeppelin references J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series (‘Twas in the darkest depths of Mordor”).

“Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum references Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (“Later as the miller told his tale”).

(See the list of the other 14 — a.k.a. the J.V. smarty-pants — after the jump.)

This week’s victory lap is qualified. The remaining 14 turned in incomplete or just incorrect accounts of the songs’ references. Some ofyou may have thought that the question was so easy that the correctanswer was understood. (My favorite shorthand email said, “The Stranger, Lolita, etc.” — as if to imply that “etc.” in this case stood for “Lord of the Rings, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and The Canterbury Tales.” What a handy Latin term!) Others may have been trying to fake their way into the winner’s circle or were just lazy.

For whatever reason, like the owner of a new puppy, I’m putting onmy most stern face and jabbing an accusatory finger. “No-no couch.” Orrather: “Bad PopWatchers; bad, bad.” You should know by now that Irequire specific, complete answers. Otherwise, you’ll never learn. Ionly want what’s best for you all. So when wiseacre David Carruth sendsme an email that says only “duh,” well, he won’t be invited to sit atthe cool kids’ table any time soon, will he? He totally has cooties.

But you almost got it right, so you deserve some recognition, much like those fifth-place potato-sack-race ribbons I have at home (it was a VERY DEMANDING field that year!).

Demented and Sad, But Social
Philip Bowen
Brandon Catanzariti
John Gleeson
Ben Gruber
Angelina Lopez-Frank
Cara McNamee
Jeff Middents
Laura Miello
Michael Reaves
Allan Ross
Kate Royce
Ron Rucker
Wallace David Sears
Jack Volpi

(Your mother and I still love you.)

Come back Wednesday for a special Thanksgiving-weekend HeadScratcher. (Hmmm, how many movies with the word “turkey” in the title are there?)