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Bluff The Listener

BILL KURTIS: From NPR and WBEZ Chicago, this is WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME, the NPR news quiz. I'm Bill Kurtis. We're playing this week with Eugene Cordero, Peter Grosz and Maeve Higgins. And here again is your host, reminding CNN he's available if they suddenly find themselves with an opening for some reason.


KURTIS: It's Peter Sagal.



Thank you, Bill. Right now, it's time for the WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME Bluff the Listener game. Call 1-888-WAIT-WAIT to play our game on the air. Hi, you are on WAIT WAIT... DON'T TELL ME.

MARSHALL HONAKER: Hi, this is Marshall Honaker from Dallas, Texas.

SAGAL: Hey, Marshall. How are things in Dallas?

HONAKER: You know, so far, so good. All things considered, everything's going pretty well.

SAGAL: Yeah, that's, I think, the right attitude to have. What do you do there?

HONAKER: So, usually, I would be finishing up my master's degree down in College Station. But with the pandemic, the university decided to move all of the classes online.

SAGAL: So you're an Aggie?

HONAKER: (Laughter) That's right. I am an Aggie.

SAGAL: I don't know much about Texas A&M other than that you're called Aggies. Does Texas A&M have, like, a reputation? Is it, like, a party school? Or what...

HONAKER: You know, that is a fantastic question.

SAGAL: (Laughter).

HONAKER: I don't know. It's a little bit difficult to put into words.

SAGAL: So a reputation for articulateness, obviously.

HONAKER: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Well, Marshall, it's great to have you with us. You're going to play the game in which you must try to tell truth from fiction. Bill, what is Marshall's topic?

KURTIS: Blind Date Bombshell.

SAGAL: Blind dates are full of surprises. Maybe he loves quoting "Family Guy." Maybe they love quoting QAnon. Maybe it's your wife who also likes pina coladas. This week, we heard about a real blind date shocker. Our panelists are going to tell you about it. Pick the one who's telling the truth, you win our prize - the right to never go on a blind date again. Ready to play?

HONAKER: I'm ready if you are.

SAGAL: All right. First up, let's hear from Peter Grosz.

PETER GROSZ: Blind dates raise a lot of questions. Will I be compatible with this strange person? Will I find them attractive? Will they come alone? Are they going to bring three vanloads of people? A man in Zhejiang province in China this week was shocked when he walked into a restaurant to beat his blind date and saw that the woman was rolling with a formidable squad. Not a sibling, not a small group of besties, no. She brought 23 of her relatives. Going Dutch is when you split the bill. And, apparently, going Chinese is when you bring 4 1/2 basketball teams' worth of family members. Before the date, the man agreed to pay, assuming that the evening would be a romantic dinner for two and not a test of her potential mate's generosity. And that makes sense. What better way to test someone's goodwill than by bringing a cast and a half of "Hamilton" to dinner?


GROSZ: The man reacted the way many of us would by leaving the restaurant right before the check arrived. Who could blame him after her relatives racked up a bill that came to 19,800 yuan, which, at about 6.6 yuan to the dollar, is almost $3,000. The woman agreed to pay for her family's food and said she learned her lesson, promising that on her next date, she'll only bring 22 people.

SAGAL: From Peter Grosz, hey, it's 23 and me, said a woman on a blind date in China. Your next story of an astonishing blind date comes from Eugene Cordero.

EUGENE CORDERO: Tina De La Cruz of Auburn Hills, Mich., showed up for her blind date last Tuesday afternoon and quickly realized that she and the fella had so much more in common. They were both tall. They both wore Nikes. And there were both in a car accident earlier that day. More specifically, they were in the same car accident - more specifically, the accident which he had caused and fled from after giving her a bunch of fake information. You must be Ted, she said, not Bob Boberson, which you told me you were earlier. And let me guess, you don't live at 123 Boberson Street in Bobtown, Bobbissippi. He confessed, and they spent the rest of the date eating dinner and exchanging insurance information. There wasn't the usual first date awkward silences, he said, because she had a lot to say about, you know, suing me. There probably won't be a second date anyway but definitely not after this, she said. I guess I will see him again in court.

SAGAL: Two people meet cute after meeting in a crash. Your last story of a shocking blind date comes from Maeve Higgins.

MAEVE HIGGINS: Incredible blind date story from Vermont this week, where finding love is difficult because only 28 people live in the entire state. That was the challenge faced by Middlebury woman Cecilia Dry (ph) earlier this year. Quote, "I knew I didn't want to be alone for the most romantic holiday of the year, Halloween."

CORDERO: (Laughter).

HIGGINS: She asked her friend, a local farmer, to set up a blind date for her, and that is how she met Jack. Their first meeting was safely outside. They met at a pumpkin patch, and they went onto an orchard to pick apples. Cecilia was smitten. Quote, "he was so friendly with his big crooked smile and those shining eyes. We had a wonderful time." She did notice that Jack kept dropping apples on the ground and thought it was because his arms were thin and weak. Cecilia reached for his hand and found it to be bony and crispy. Searching in her purse for hand cream, Jack stopped her. Sweetheart, he said, you never asked me my surname. It's O'Lantern.

GROSZ: (Laughter).

HIGGINS: The reason my arms are weak is because they are twigs. And the reason my hands are crispy is because they are leaves. I'm not just Jack O'Lantern. I'm a jack-o'-lantern.

CORDERO: (Laughter).

HIGGINS: The date began at a pumpkin patch because that's where Jack grew up and still lives today. What may sound like a scary blind date to some actually ended up happily. Cecilia and Jack kept dating even after he revealed that he would be unemployed on November 1 and that his brain had been scooped out by a child and replaced with a candle. Their love keeps proving the old saying that a good gourd is hard to find. In fact, they're about to be married. Quote, "I'm not mad that my special guy turned out to be made out of sticks with a rotting pumpkin head because, to be honest, and if you look at the shape of my body, you can probably tell that I myself am not just a bride. I'm a butternut squash."


SAGAL: All right then. From Peter Grosz, the story of how a woman brought her 23 relatives along on a blind date when the gentleman said he'd pay; from Eugene Cordero, two people who met on the evening that they had met before in a hit-and-run traffic accident; and for Maeve, a charming story of love between gourds that will certainly be a television special by this time next year. Which of these is the real story of an interesting blind date we found in the news?

HONAKER: I would really love for it to be Maeve's story 'cause I think that's hilarious. But I think I'm going to have to go with the woman who brought 20-something family members to a first date.

SAGAL: All right. You've chosen Peter's story of the woman who brought along her entire extended family on a blind date. Well, to bring you the correct answer, we spoke to someone familiar with the real date.

BELA GANDHI: A first date should be short and sweet, not inviting 22 of your family members out and running up the $4,000 bill.


SAGAL: That was Bela Gandhi.


SAGAL: She's the founder of Smart Dating Academy and an expert on not bringing 23 family members on a blind date. Congratulations, Marshall. You got it right. Peter was telling the truth. Of course, you earned a point for him. And you've won our prize, the voice of anyone you might choose, which you can bring anywhere you like because we're not going to pay, either.

HONAKER: (Laughter).

SAGAL: Congratulations.

HONAKER: Yeah. Thank you so much.

SAGAL: Thanks for playing with us today, and take care.

HONAKER: Likewise. Take care.


UNIDENTIFIED SINGER: (Singing) Blind date, blind date. I’ll never go on one again, you can bet. Blind date, blind date. I’d rather play Russian roulette. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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