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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries
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The actuarial books and films quiz

Name the origins of the following riveting excerpts:
Book 1
He ravished the wife of Attitianus, an actuary, or army
agent.
Film 1
‘Come on, you never read an actuarial table in your
life. I’ve got ten volumes on suicide alone. Suicide by
race, by colour, by occupation, by sex, by seasons of
the year, by time of day. Suicide, how committed: by
poisons, by fire-arms, by drowning, by leaps. Suicide
by poison, sub-divided by types of poison, such as corrosive,
irritant, systemic, gaseous, narcotic, alkaloid,
protein, and so forth. Suicide by leaps, subdivided by
leaps from high places, under wheels of trains, under
wheels of trucks, under the feet of horses, from
steamboats. But, Mr Norton, of all the cases on record
there’s not one single case of suicide by leap from the
rear end of a moving train. And do you know how fast
the train was going at the point where the body was
found? Fifteen miles an hour. No soap, Mr Norton.’
Book 2
The problem was, she knew nobody. But then her
gaze fell upon a bald head with a few long, ginger
hairs combed pathetically across a freckled crown,
and she realised that wasn’t entirely true. She knew
Cordingley.
Dear old, dull old Donald Cordingley, the winner
in a crowded field of the Dullest Man in Bletchley
contest. Ineligible for military service due to a funnel
chest. By profession: actuary. Ten years’ service with
the Scottish Widows Assurance Society in the City of
London, until a lucky third place in the Daily Telegraph
crossword competition won him a seat in the
Hut 6 Machine Room.
Film 2
‘Look, Baxter. I’m not stupid. I know everything that
goes on in this building. In every department, every
floor, every day of the year.’
‘You do?’
‘In 1957 we had an employee here, name of Fowler.
He was very popular too it turned out he was running
a bookie joint in the actuarial department. Tying
up our switchboard using our IBM machines to figure
the odds. So the day before the Kentucky Derby I
called in the Vice Squad and we raided the 13th floor.’
Book 3
It is lamentable to think of; but this restraint was the
result of no arithmetical process, was self-imposed in
defiance of all calculation, and went dead against any
table of probabilities that any Actuary would have
drawn up from the premises. The girl believed that
her father had not deserted her; she lived in the hope
that he would come back, and in the faith that he
would be made the happier by her remaining where
she was.
Film 3
‘You make me a policy that, when it don’t work, I get
a payment I’ll write out a cheque now.’
‘I don’t know if the acactuary gauges on this we
can make you a policy but we gotta guarantee that
you’re in good health now.’
‘That’s simple, you know,’ I said, ‘leave her with me
if it stands up, you know I’m in good health to begin
with, right.’
Book 4
‘I hear, Mr Sampson,’ he resumed presently, for our
friend had a new cook, and dinner was not so
punctual as usual, ‘that your profession has recently
suffered a great loss.’
‘In money?’ said I.
He laughed at my ready association of loss with
money, and replied, ‘No, in talent and vigour.’
Not at once following out his allusion, I considered
for a moment. ‘HAS it sustained a loss of that kind?’
said I. ‘I was not aware of it.’
‘Understand me, Mr Sampson. I don’t imagine that
you have retired. It is not so bad as that. But Mr
Meltham ‘
‘O, to be sure!’ said I. ‘Yes! Mr Meltham, the young
actuary of the “Inestimable”.’
‘Just so,’ he returned in a consoling way.
‘He is a great loss. He was at once the most
profound, the most original, and the most energetic
man I have ever known connected with Life
Assurance.’
Answers will be given in the next issue. Correct responses
received by the end of July may win a cigar, a swizzle stick,
or a snuff box, at the editors’ discretion.

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