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Headscratchers: Unseen Academicals
  • Why is the statue of Alberto Malich still up in UU in Making Money? I thought Albert blew up up in Reaper Man?
    • That happened in Mort, not Reaper Man
    • They made a new one. He's the University's founder, Ridcully wouldn't listen to the Bursar's "muck about statues coming alive" and it's expected.
      • Having said that, after Malich's second disappearance it was suggested that the Statue WOULD be made, only it would be locked away in a dungeon, which was then to be bricked up forever, to make sure that no one ever 'offended' it. Given Ridcully's attitude towards opening locked doors and messing around with what he finds beyond (as in Hogfather, with traumatic consequences) it seems reasonable that it was later unearthed and put onto display, to the horror of the surviving staff members.
      • I'm not sure who Malich is but it isn't uncommon for exploding stuff to later reappear. Cue 'Bloody Stupid Johnson' stories.
      • Remove the last letter from Alberto's name and think of Death.
      • Terry Pratchett is widely read and aware of Roundworld tropes he can work into Discworld as references and sly allusions - he'd be aware, for instance, that the University of Rejkjavik in Iceland was legendarily founded by an actual wizard, whose statue proudly stands at the main gates. With an example like that to refer to, do you think he'd refrain from incorporating it into the Discworld?

  • The main plot is Vetinari and the wizards transforming street football (or foot-the-ball) into football as we would recognise it: two goals, a proper ball instead of a lump of wood wrapped in cloth, a referee... except that was already how the game was being played back in Jingo, which is set years earlier.
    • Actually, Jingo was probably the closer one to American Football, UA was definitely soccer (they're not allowed to touch the ball with their hands).
    • History Monks. Stop complaining, they gave it their best shot.
    • That was Carrot. He follows rules (he's probably the only person in the last hundred years or more to actually pay attention to the AMCW handbook, let alone memorize it). Street "football" is basically just a huge fight with a ball somewhere in the middle, and the wizards and Vetinari were trying to set up a league that plays by proper rules (if not "the" proper rules). Also, it's been a while since I read Jingo, but wasn't Carrot's ball a lump of wood wrapped in leather? Or a ball made entirely of leather? Something solid, anyway.
      • It was an inflated pig's bladder, if I recall correctly.
      • Probably, although it was referred to as a football.
      • The ball shall be called the ball.
    • Besides, the "score" in Carrot's football game on the battlefield has Ankh-Morpork ahead by two hacked shins and a broken nose, and Carrot remarks that he has had to send off several dozen people. Even if carrot is trying to play "rule" football, everyone else seems to be playing "street" football.
    • Unseen Academicals did mention that football had once been a (somewhat) more orderly sport, back when UU's team was still playing it regularly. The brutal "street football" that's seen at the beginning of UA was what this sport degenerated into, after the city's authorities stopped paying it any attention. Carrot, not having grown up in Anhk-Morpork, probably consulted the same old rulebooks as the UU faculty, when he came up with the idea of "community football" for the city's street gangs.
    • Actually, the goals in Jingo were never specified, and were thus presumably just the posts/piles mentioned in the early sections of the book (a street-football match at the beginning of Jingo cetainly uses this setup).
    • The rules of football and rugby are a relatively recent invention, previously English ball game rules were "Get this object to the other village and try not to die". UA may be a parallel of rulemaking and standardisation of sports.

  • We have the Department of Post-Mortem Communications, no? So why does no one suggest to Nutt that it might be wise to adopt a new name for the species? If only to be shot down by the observation that other people won't change the name, because tearing people's heads off is not quite as impressive as turning them into frogs.
    • They try that; it just doesn't work, because it's a different situation. The Post Mortem Communications thing works because everyone's in on it; anyone who knows about it knows it's really necromancy, but they also know Hix is a decent sort really and that calling it something polite helps encourage a more polite kind of necromancy. But calling Nutt "a kind of goblin" only works until someone like Ottomy uses the word "Orc". (Of course, after that they realise he's a decent sort too, so it doesn't matter any more.)
    • It doesn't help that goblins themselves are considered vermin.

  • Does anyone have any idea what was with that thing through the end of the book'? Spoilering in case it's spoilery, I don't think it is but since I don't think I get it, better safe than sorry: Where it has the blank pages with "You think this is over?" in the middle, several times, and then the last page is something along the lines of "Okay, now it's over." I assumed it was something like the Summoning Dark in The Fifth Elephant, Painting the Medium and all, and it was The Shove, or whatever the tin can was (the spirit of football?) talking, but... it's left totally unexplained, almost like a weak joke that decided to go into Breaking the Fourth Wall just for the heck of it. Maybe it was supposed to be a note to readers that this is the last "real" Discworld book (The Tiffany Aching books either not counting, or the plans for I Shall Wear Midnight being foregone), but that... doesn't sound right. Was it some theme I completely missed, like an expansion on Glenda's repeated mention of fairy tales, that went Meta? Did anyone get that?
    • Probably more of a cultural reference issue, but spoilered link just in case: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/They_think_it%27s_all_over
    • Presumably they're meant to indicate that everything following these are epilogues.
      • No, the spoilered link explains it all, a reference to the 1966 World Cup final where England won and the commentator said the lines that 99% of British people know (mainly because the English won't damn well shut up about it), but most likely hardly anyone outside the British Isles knows, leading to this confusion.
      • Having lived in the Sceptered Isles back in the 1990s, I recall a late-night TV sport show called "They Think It's All Over" which used these lines for the intro and end of each episode. (Spoilers are really not needed, but I'll go along with the crowd on this one.)

  • Why is the Librarian holding a volleyball on the cover of Unseen Academicals?
    • If you're talking about the Paul Kidby illustration on the cover of the UK edition, it's a 1960s-style leather football, as seen at the start of this video.
    • I stand corrected. Even so, the ball that goes gloing is meant to be a modern soccer ball. Nutt describes it as "a truncated icosahedron, made by stitching together a number of pentagons and hexagons".
      • A pentagon is merely a two-dimensional shape with five sides. The sides don't have to be the same length, the angles of the corners don't have to be identical. The ball on the cover is made up of pentagons and hexagons stitched together.
    • One of the cover artists, I believe Paul Kidby, is known for putting unique interpretations in his cover art. For example, on the cover of The Color of Magic, Twoflower literally has four eyes, instead of glasses. So it probably has little to do with the actual book...
      • That would be Josh Kirby, not Paul Kidby, who drew the cover of The Color of Magic (and all Discworld books up to Thief of Time). Kidby is more faithful to the books.

  • It's mentioned in Unseen Academicals that the Evil Empire's late Emperor was a "sorcerer". Is this meant to imply he was a sourcerer, like Coin? On the one hand, it'd explain how he could so easily impose his authority on vampires and other powerful creatures, but on the other, it begs the question of why he isn't still around, as sourcerers evidently only leave the world because they have a conscience and don't want to break it.
    • Without the U, sorcerer is just another word for wizard. I believe some other characters are referred to as sorcerers without being Sourcerers.
    • Where's it say that? Sourcerers are just as mortal as anyone else. Sneak up on one with a half-brick in a sock and you just might get lucky.

      That said, he probably wasn't a sourcerer like Coin, since a sourcerer wouldn't have needed an army in the first place, or have needed Igors to make Orcs. He could've just waved a hand and bent the world to his will.
      • Admitidly theres nothing in cannon to suport this, but perhaps he was just a figurehead? it would make sense for anyone wanting to have the power without the inevitably short life expectancy to set somome else up as the leader while directing things from behind the scenes- but so as not to leave any evindence around that might point back to your involvment (especially if it all goes pear shaped) you'll need a convienient alibi as to how your army is getting made- so you find a wizard who's good at looking scary and doing what he's told and tell everyone he's an all powerfull sorcerer. As the last troper pointed out there are logic holes in this (why couldnt he just warp the world and all) but are you honestly going to question a guy who supposedly can blast you to pieces just by thinking about it?
      • Perhaps he was a sourcerer, but (unlike Coin) he knew about the Dungeon Dimensions, so preferred to use non-magical methods when they'd do the job?
    • The Emperor supposedly ruled for centuries, so maybe he was a vampire who also knew wizard magic?

  • What exactly happened to Andy at the end? I got the "never have to pay for a drink" reference, but nothing else. Guess I just wasn't paying attention.
    • Pepe slashed Andy's forehead. The blood ran into Andy's eyes, so Andy couldn't see. Then Pepe gave him something, which, being unable to see it, Andy tried to wipe up the blood with. It turned out to be a slice of lemon. Ouch. So Andy has a nasty scar in an obvious location. I guess if you have a nasty scar like that, either people will buy you drinks out of pity or bartenders will fear you and not be too picky about you paying your tab.
    • Unless I'm mistaken, the "never have to pay for a drink" line is a reference to earlier in the book, when it was said about someone who had lost an eye. I wouldn't be surprised if that's what Pepe did to Andy.
      • I read it as Pepe blinding Andy, and the lemon just Pepe being a dick.
      • Pepe specifically tells Andy "you'll be able to see by the time you wipe the blood out of your eyes". I don't think he was blinded, just given a brutal scar. As a warning.
      • You don't need two eyes to see.
      • No, but you do need two or more to have 'eyes' rather than 'eye'.
      • Not to mention he gave a denizen of The Shades a scar. That will certainly ruin Andy's reputation...
      • True, you need to have two eyes to have 'eyes'. You don't necessarily need to have two working eyes, however: a sliced cornea is entirely possible, and would better convince Andy to stay away because he can't afford to lose the other one.
      • Pepe sliced him vertically across both eyelids, leaving the eyes alone (Pepe isn't evil, just a complete bastard). So Andy will still have his eyesight, along with horrendous scars. The "paying for a drink" remark was a Call Back to something earlier in the book, as another troper noted above; I think that Trev Likely had an internal monologue about someone losing an eye in the Shove, being left with an impressive scar and, on the bright side, never had to buy another drink (presumably because the bartender was afraid to ask him to pay up).

  • In the Science of Discworld books, it was mentioned that every UU faculty member gets one bucket of coal per day per post held, with the bledlows insisting that they use all that coal every single day, regardless of whether their office and quarters need to be heated that much (or at all) on that day. This caused a great deal of trouble for Rincewind, who at last count was holding down 19 posts and as a result was roasted in the summers trying to get rid of 19 buckets of coal every day. Yet Ponder is now holding down virtually every administrative post in the University, and there is no mention of him having this problem. Did the Archchancellor change the rules in some way without telling us? If not, what is Ponder doing with all that coal?
    • Possibly administrative positions don't count as "faculty", and are expected to sort out their own coal supply problems.
    • Even if that isn't the case, Ponder runs the books. Who's going to know?
    • Maybe he uses it to fuel Hex.
      • Hex has been generating more power than it could possibly use, ever since they split the thaum in The Science Of Discworld. Getting rid of the excess energy is what Roundworld was created for.
    • It is mentioned that Rincewind can refuse to accept the coal (although that results in no coal again ever), and Ponder is the type to haughtily order the bledlows to take the coal away without thinking too much about what happens next (Rincewind is the sort to find out what happens next because he is always looking for the trap). Ponder is probably due an interesting winter.
    • Ponder is sensible enough that he'd think to sell the extra coal. Rincewind is too wary of leaving the UU campus to do such a thing, even if he thought of it.

  • Don't get me wrong, but what exactly is it about Nutt that makes him get an entry for Awesome By Analysis? Wouldn't that require him not to be a Sue/Stu and be/get actually awesome. YMMV of course
    • So, basically, you, personally, didn't like the character, so you don't think he should be under a trope with "awesome" in its name.

      First off, if we're going to have a serious discussion on the character, let's just throw all the Sue/Stu talk out the window, because that's a term that comes with far too many loaded connotations.

      As for the Awesomeness by Analysis entry, it says that it's simply someone who gets really good at something just by studying it and observing it. You know, exactly what Nutt does re:football. And everything else he does.
      • No need to attack my choice of words. As for serious discussion, I'm all for it. I just tried to say that Nutt had no flaws in my eyes, as everything that seemed like one felt a bit forced or was easily undone. As for the entry, YMMV, as said. To me it felt less like "he has the skills to put what he sees and reads to good use" but more like "It needed an explanation different from 'It's quantums'". Don't really know how to explain what bugs me about the character and that specific entry so much.
      • Awesomeness by Analysis isn't "he has the skills to put what he sees and reads to good use" it's "seeing and reading gives him the skills". It does sound kind of like you're complaining that Nutt seems to be able to do anything with no real difficulty - which is fair enough - and therefore objecting him to being listed in a trope about ... being able to do anything with no real difficulty...

  • Wouldn't the whole thing about -They have to play football every 20 years- already be void? After all, CoM is further back and I don't remember the book giving an explanation on this.
    • Lots of things have happened in the timeframe of the books that we don't get told about. The faculty don't recall the last time they played, but this only means they haven't done so since before Moving Pictures, when Ponder was a student and Ridcully had just been appointed Archchancellor (after a long period away from the University). The rest of the faculty I wouldn't rely on to remember anything except how long it's been since their last meal.
      • I thought about this since I wrote the initial headscratcher...Now I wonder: Is UA set in the same Leg of the Trousers of Time as, let's say, The Last Continent?
      • History Monks. Stop complaining, they gave it their best shot. Everyone remembers the BIG game, so that had to happen, no one remembers the other games so they probably got nicked to patch up somewhen else.
      • And yes, it has to be canon with The Last Continent at least, since Fourecks is mentioned at least twice, one such mention referencing Archchancellor Bill Rincewind by name.
    • The fact that Vetinari was expecting Ridcully's visit suggests that the matter arose just short of the 20-year deadline. Presumably he's been keeping track of the Bigger bequest's requirements, even if the wizards lost track, and would've nudged Ponder toward the correct page in the Book of Traditions if Pedestriana hadn't beaten him to it.

  • The football comes from the Cabinet of Curiosities, which can produce anything that fits in one of its drawers and isn't organic or pink. (The bacon sandwich is cited as an exception, albeit one Ponder can't explain.) The football is a rubber bladder covered in leather patches. Rubber and leather are both organic. At this point, shouldn't Ponder be removing "inorganic" from his list of properties?
    • Something that is bothersome. I worry the whole -organic and pink- was just so the -it was not built by a girl- joke could be made in MM.
    • The Cabinet can produce organic things, they just have to be returned to it after a specific time limit. It's only pink things that it can't provide at all.
      • The original ball probably isn't organic. Nutt and Trev take it to a dwarf craftsman, who notes that he could probably do better than organic materials (like an inflated bladder) for the copy they're making, but he's pressed for time. Ponder takes the original back to the Cabinet.
    • It's not organic or pink, it's alive or pink things that the Cabinet can't store.

  • A sidenote: How exactly do the wizards manage to have 9 square meals a day? Granted, time-space aren't constant at the UU (in some parts of it at least), but I think we can say even before UA, back when the number of mealtimes was 4-6, a meal took up to 2 hours. Means in UA the wizards might spent up to 18 hours eating (each) with no pause in between. As said, even thought time-space can be a mess at some places on the campus, it isn't in general. So...how exactly do they manage 9 meals a day with all the things happening apart from eating? If I remember correctly the council is expected to be present at the meals.
    • I'm not sure they have 9 individual meals. It might be that they eat the equivalent to 9 meals a day over the course of their actual 4-5 "meals". Or they're measuring less by meals and more by occasional breaks in eating.
      • Have to give the book another look soon anyway, will check what it states. Though I do think it was 9 individual ones as there were some remarks about how the achievements for the (magical) world of some former Archchancellors were inventing, for example, the second breakfast.
      • Over on the L-Space Wiki (to which I contribute and edit) the speculation is (backed by observational evidence) that wizards are offered a meal ina set pattern corresponding to either monastic prayer times, or the sounding of Bells aboard a ship. http://wiki.lspace.org/wiki/Unseen_University_Mealtimes
    • In The Science of Discworld 3, several of these meals are named: Dinner, Second Dinner, Midnight Snack, Somnambulistic Nibbles, Early Breakfast and Second Breakfast. Presumably there's a couple of Lunches and a Tea (or vice versa) to round off the rest of the day. Not every wizard necessarily has to attend them all; it's implied that everyone but Ridcully and the Librarian sleeps through Early Breakfast, for example.
    • Nobody is forced to be present for every meal - look at wizards like Ponder, who manage to stay normally slim - but the dining times are there and on offer.
      • (Hi there, dude. It's me, the (more) crazy one.) That might be one answer, but it still baffles me what actual reason there is to have 9 meals instead of, well, stretching the availability time of 4 or 5. At my brother's university you can get breakfast from 6 am to 11:30 pm.
      • A lot of reclusive wizards who hadn't seen the light of day for years got drafted into the Roundworld-saving mission in The Science of Discworld III. It's possible that, now that they've been reminded what sort of banquets they've been missing out on, more of them are coming to the Great Hall for mealtimes and it's necessary to re-stock the dining tables nine times a day just to keep up with demand.
      • "Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so."

  • The enigma of the Arch-chancellor's Hat. Last seen in sourcery on the head of Abrim the mad mage, who while wearing it comes second in a magical battle and is blasted to smithereens, along with the Hat, after which no more is said of it in Sourcery. How, then, is it available in Unseen Academicals to be the prize in a bet between Ridcully and "Henry"? How did it get back from Klatch - or indeed survive when so many wizards died in the Mage War?
    • Narrativium-induced reparing-mistakes on the timelines after the events of Thief Of Time ...?
    • Notice how this Archchancellor's hat doesn't talk. It's The Archchancellor's hat in the same way that the Stanley Cup that the Bruins got this year is The Stanley Cup...despite the fact the original cup is, in fact, in retirement at the hall of fame in Toronto.

      Think back to The Fifth Elephant, I think it was. The Low King mentions that he has his grandfather's axe...only the handle's had to be replaced once or twice, and the blade's had to be remade a couple times. Its component parts are not, in fact, the originals, but as a whole it's still his grandfather's axe.
      • Didn't Ridcully mention somewhere in the text that the hat 'Henry's after' is grumbling too much for his taste?
      • Perhaps, like the cricket trophy annually contested by England and Australia, it literally is The Ashes - of the Hat, and not the cricket stumps? This would fit the theme of UA and all the obscure British sporting allusions...
    • Coin probably put the Hat back in its hatbox and intact when he undid much of the damage caused by his brief reign at UU.
      • It's actually mentioned in Lords and Ladies that when Ridcully had his own unique hat (i.e. the one with a liquor bottle and a fold-out tent in it) made, it "put a stop" to the problem of the hereditary Archchancellor's Hat getting ideas of its own. As Ridcully wasn't at UU during Sourcery, when the Hat first revealed it could talk, and the only wizards who aren't ashamed to discuss those events are the Librarian (who spent that novel hiding out with his books and unaware what was going on) and Rincewind (whom Ridcully hadn't met as of L&L), it's unlikely that he would have known it was a potential problem unless the Hat, itself, told him.

  • If there are over 200 football rules on the Disc compared to the 17 we have on Roundworld (printed on about 125-200 pages and up, mind you), why is there none yet concerning penalty kicks, linesmen etc? What DO these rules concern?
    • Going by earlier books (Like Jingo, where they count the score based on fouls rather than goals), it's likely that at this point, a certain amount of violence on the field is expected and allowed, and you just keep playing rather than stop to do penalty kicks.
      • Yes, but those 200+ rules are those they found in the urn. Therefore they are the rules of football before it became what it is at the beginning of the book. It's just weird.
    • While it is strange there wouldn't be some of the basic rules in place, the rules which are in place are probably along the same lines as the rules for Quidditch in the Harry Potter universe, albeit fewer magic related ones- basically, there is a need to expressly forbid specific forms of violence as otherwise, people will do them (have done them), because there Ain't No Rule. Imagine if football rules included things like no stabbing or shooting other players or wearing brass knuckles on the field. The number of rules would pile up quickly.
      • I think that's actually IN the FIFA-Rules. Will have to check.
      • Checked. It's rule number 4.
    • Those are the rules for football as it was previously played at UU. As in, the place where the porters go through obnoxious rituals about lost keys every morning just because it's always been done. Most of those excess "rules" are probably there to ensure that the ref bows twice towards the Tower of Art before wiping the ball clean, in remembrance of Archchancellar Whatchamacallit, or whatever.
    • That would explain why they almost totally ignored most of them when writing the new rules.

  • In the end of Unseen Academicals when Glenda and the orc go to the palace, Lady Margolotta apparently advised Drumknott to station guards with crossbows in the hall to shoot the two. And she seems rather offended when Vetinari tells his secretary to 'stand them (the guards) down'. Now, we learned that the orc is pretty much nigh-immortal and that the bolts therefore would only harm/kill Glenda, very likely sending him in a near impossible to stop bersekerrage and rampage. Margolotta's ought to be fully aware of that. What the hell was that woman thinking/planning?
    • Nutt's "little brother" might be able to bring him back from apparent death, but that doesn't stop the apparent death in the first place—recall it took several hours the first time for him to recover, and that was from a blow to the head—crossbow bolts would likely "kill" him just as easily. In the meantime, there's almost certainly a way to make sure he stays "dead" once he's out cold. If the "little brother" is a physical piece of his physiology, it can be located and removed.

      Recall what orcs apparently served the losing side of some sorceror war, so they can be beaten in combat.
      • But we never learn what it took to take them down completely. And, as said, it might be viewed as a bit weird that Margolotta advised Drumknott to prepare a way of dealing with the two she should have known could easily have ...very negative consequences.
      • You're right. We don't learn what it takes to bring down an orc. Lady Magolotta, who's helped raise Nutt, probably did. Just because we don't know something doesn't mean the characters don't know it. In fact, it's usually quite the opposite.
      • I am fully aware of that. But as said, the text suggests she advised to arm the guards with crossbows and she seemed offended when Vetinari ordered to stand them down. I am not saying that it DOES mean anything, just that it COULD.
      • I'm not sure what you're saying is wrong here. She thought Nutt was a threat and wanted him killed, and Vetinari overruled her—she's offended because he went against her advice, and doing so exposed that she wanted Nutt killed.
      • We might never know whether she wanted him killed or to go into bersekrmode and rampage through the city. Not until someone asks Pterry.
      • Pretty certain it has to be the former. Lady Margolotta has no reason seen, said, implied, or even inferrable from what we've seen that suggests she'd want the latter.
      • And it's not even that she wanted him killed, she just wanted to be ready to kill him if needed. Vetinari was, as always, clever enough to know it wouldn't be.
      • She probably never intended for them to shoot Nutt himself, but rather, to threaten Glenda if Nutt became aggressive. Margolotta knows Nutt and his social insecurities well enough to deduce that any young woman willingly seen in his company is bound to be his Love Interest, for whose sake he'd back off.
    • As Margolotta would have known about the Little Brother, there's no saying that 'killing' Nutt wouldn't be part of a hugely elaborate Batman Gambit she never gets to put into action. It could even be a publicity stunt for something-or-other. She's that sort of character.
    • Even Nutt's "little brother" probably can't revive him if he's riddled with crossbow bolts unless somebody pulls them out first.

  • WhatHappenedToTheMouse: Adrian Turnipseed...Where did he go after the scene he was in? The text makes it clear he didn't talk to Ponder.
    • He went back to Brazeneck, where the thing with the chicken happened, if I remember correctly.
      • Thing is, it is never said. Only the former Dean actively goes back to Brazeneck. There's no mention of what Adrian was doing in all the time. He appears, speaks one line, flees the scene not to get into the line of fire and...vanishes.
      • Adrian only came over as part of the Dean's group. Of course he went back with the Dean. How is that not clear? Not every single detail has to be explicitly stated.
      • Thing is, it's an old rule of good writing not to bring up characters for absolutely no purpose.
      • He was brought up as the one running the copy of Hex, you know the one who messed up and allowed the chicken incident. Thus he was brought up as the Ponder of the new universities faculty.(just not a very good one)
      • That I got, I am not daft. My thought more went into the direction of, why did he vanish from the story after the scene he was in? Shouldn't there at least have been a talk or quarrel between him and Ponder? For good measures? It just feels odd that there's no interaction between those two. Left alone no information as to why Adrian left exactly.
      • Adrian probably couldn't risk talking to Ponder because of the harsh feelings between their respective bosses. If ex-Dean Henry caught him chatting with one of Ridcully's loyal followers — and one who'd flatly turned down a job offer from Brazeneck, yet — then he'd probably have gotten in trouble for "fraternizing with the enemy".
      • Who says Ponder and Adrian would want to speak to one another? For all we know, they parted on bad terms, same as the Dean and Ridcully. In which case, not talking would be their Genre Savvy way of averting another potentially-cataclysmic argument between wizards who irritate one another.

  • If Ponder is doing the Bursar's job now, what happened to the Bursar?
    • He snapped, I'd say. The book says he can't do math anymore.
    • Actually, it says that he "regards the decimal point as a nuisance." This may mean that, like Detritus in the Pork Futures Warehouse, he has gained the ability to do math so advanced that it renders him completely useless for mere arithmetic.

  • Some might hate me for this, but there's a sentence about half-way through the book that states -[...]UU's first football match in decades began-. This brings up the following question: Didn't they fulfil the bequest's conditions right there? We never get an information about the bequest's conditions state they have to play a full match (if that were the case they would not fulfil it anyway in the end). Only that they need to enter a team in the game of foot-the-ball . Didn't they actualy just do that right there?
    • Technically, yes, they'd saved the meals budget when they entered their first proper (non-practice) game. But by the time they actually had to win one, Ridcully's pride was at stake because of all the dissing by ex-Dean Henry, as was Vetinari's reputation for infallibility. Nor could the UAs stomach the thought of wizards being publicly trounced by non-wizards.
      • Point taken, though one then could still argue that Vetinari lost his reputation when he initially forbid foot-the-ball for being too brutal but left the fans unristricted. Even with the new rules, they will remain as brutal as before, jumping each others throats for the colours they wear, etc. Not to mention the former Dean as referee and then NOT have him try to undermine the UU and Vetinari and thereby Ankh-Morpork as total? But that's another question...
      • They explained why the ex-Dean would be an impartial judge: his personal desire to see UU lose was balanced by his professional distaste for seeing wizards beaten by non-wizards.
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