Help, this is driving me mad!

The Pragmatic Programmers have just started publishing an online magazine: PragPub. Among other things, it contains a quiz which in this issue tests your knowledge of programming languages.

I consider myself a bit of a languages geek, so I thought that I’d have no trouble with it. But it’s driving me mad!

The quiz consists of little snippets of code in different languages. The first letters of each language then spell out the name of another language.

I can get 5 of the 6, but one of them has me completely stumped. Even though I’m 99% sure what letter it’s name must start with.

Warning: Spoilers follow!

I’ll not reproduce all the different snippets here, but most of them are easily identified. But the second has me completely stumped. Here it is:

<Any T, Any U> T first((T,U) tuple) {
  (T t, U u) = tuple;
  return t;

Whatever language this is, it’s name (I’m pretty sure) starts with “N”, because the other snippets are in Simula, Occam, BCPL, Oberon and LOLCODE, giving S?OBOL. So I’m pretty sure that the answer to the quiz is SNOBOL (there is also, apparently, a dialect of COBOL called SCOBOL, but I doubt that this is the answer they’re looking for).

And I can’t think of any language which starts with an N that even resembles the code snippet.


6 Responses to “Help, this is driving me mad!”

  1. 1 Vyacheslav Egorov July 4, 2009 at 9:43 pm

    I just googled for “Any T, Any U” and the first result contains the answer: this language is called Nice.

  2. 2 paul July 4, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    Damn! I googled for “<Any T, Any U>” (with the angle brackets) and came up with nothing. I guess that the angle brackets screwed it 😦

    Now I feel stupid.


    • 3 paul July 4, 2009 at 10:02 pm

      Actually, now I’m really confused. I just tried googling for “Any T, Any U” and I don’t get any mention of Nice at all. Top hit is “Kano Tanyu (Japanese painter) — Britannica Online Encyclopedia”. No idea why you’re getting different results from me?!

  3. 5 Vyacheslav Egorov July 5, 2009 at 6:06 am

    Did you googled for “Any T, Any U” (with quotes) or for Any T, Any U (without quotes)?

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