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How Pete Buttigieg Crushed It On NPR’s ‘Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!’ Dwight Adams, Indy Star

NPR’s “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!” offers a slightly twisted take on popular culture and current events.

In the Chicago-based weekly radio show, panelists are scored on answers to questions about the lighter news of the week.

The game-show format also has a segment called “Not My Job,” where a celebrity guest is quizzed on a topic likely to stump him or her. Past celebrity guests on “Not My Job” included former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who was asked about the history of Hugh Hefner and “Playboy” magazine, and author Salman Rushdie, who was quizzed about Pez candy.

Well … on Feb. 10, the show went on location to the Morris Performing Arts Center in South Bend, Ind., and the celebrity guest was Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Buttigieg, the progressive mayor of South Bend who opened up in a newspaper essay a few years ago about his sexuality, was asked questions by host Peter Sagal about North Bend, Wash. (Fun fact: North Bend was the setting for David Lynch’s 1990s-era horror-drama series “Twin Peaks.”)

Here’s how it went.

Question No. 1: In 2013, the North Bend Fire Department made the news due to which of these?

A. They attempted a rescue of a cat in a tree, but the cat was actually a rabid raccoon and eight firefighters had to be vaccinated.

B. A reporter discovered that the fire station’s beloved Dalmatian is actually a white greyhound with a skin condition.

C. They pumped jet fuel, instead of water, onto a training fire, causing a gigantic fireball.

Buttigieg’s answer: “You know we have an outstanding fire training center here in South Bend (applause and laughter from the audience). … and I could see how if you didn’t, there might be issues about which fluid goes into which pump, so I’m going to go with C.”

His answer was correct!

Question No. 2: During the filming of the original “Twin Peaks,” one of the producers got a call telling him:

A. The National Apple Growers Association was offering a cool million to switch agent Cooper’s favorite kind of pie.

B. Jerry Falwell announced that the title “Twin Peaks” was too salacious for today’s youth.

C. Soviet Premier Mikhhail Gorbachev had to know who the murderer was right away?

Buttigieg’s answer: Gorbachev.

Right again!

Question No. 3: North Bend is home to Nintendo’s main factory and distribution center. Nintendo director Shigeru Miyamoto has been seen in the town engaging in his favorite hobby. What is it?

A. Leaping on mushrooms, hoping that one day he’ll be launched into the air.

B. Pulling out a tape measure and measuring everything he comes across.

C. Finding kids playing a Nintendo DS, taking it and immediately beating their high score.

Buttigieg: Tape measure.

Right for a third time!

(Apparently, Miyamoto is obsessed with guessing something’s size and then taking out his tape measure to double-check. He does this for fun.)

It was a perfect score for the mayor. One can’t help but wonder how his counterpart in the Pacific Northwest would do with a quiz about South Bend.