Number crunch

20th October 2000 at 01:00
SPEAKING of the United States, a recent caller to Richard and Judy's This Morning on ITV would have picked up pound;1,000 for answering "correctly" that the USA has 52 states, had Jerry Springer (who just happened to be in the studio) not pointed out that there were only 50 - the number of stars on the flag.

It appears to be a common misconception, as the US embassy fields hundreds of calls a week from pub quiz entrant and the like insisting there are 51 or 52 states. Apparently the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have caused the confusion. They may also have confused a director of education in the north of England and two senior geography teachers who gave the same wrong answer to one TES reader who saw the programme. Cheques made out to cash should ensure the three gentlemen's identities are not revealed next week.

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