Original title of a short stories collection by Utatane Hiroyuki, partially (AFAIK) published in the US under the title "Countdown - Sex Bombs". For the US edition someone redrew the parts that Utatane had left blank because of Japanese censoring.

There are 11 stories:

SEEK
color, 4 pages
Baajin Roudo (Virgin Road)
b/w, 20 pages: just before the marriage ceremony, a bride-to-be receives a visit from an old-time friend
Suttoamarikurabiru
b/w, 20 pages: a teacher pays a visit to one of her girl students; mother later joins in
N'est-ce pas?
b/w, 16 pages: a schoolgirl is made fun of by her friends because she wears male clothes
Samishiiyanotsugumi
b/w, 22 pages: a dominant young woman, her father and an adopted step-brother
1/2 (half) Step Dance!
b/w, 10 pages: a girl makes her boyfriend wear female clothes to a dancing
Blue
b/w, 12 pages: two young girls discover the joys of life
Ad Libitum
bw/, 16 pages: a piano teacher and her student
yuuwakunitsuite
b/w, 8 pages: a young girl and her little cousin (this story is also included in Temptation)
ryuuhou
b/w, 10 pages: a virgin "sacrified" to a dragon
bourenboushounen
b/w, 24 pages: two girls try to save the town
Following, 17 pages of notes, drawings and illustrations.

Price: 800 yen

Oh, I put the first pronunciation I found for each kanji, so if someone knows more Japanese than I do (pretty easy, actually) and can help me, please do!

A countdown is a method of ensuring that a complex sequence of events leading up to a single goal is achieved properly. Examples include the detonation of an atomic bomb; however, only in testing, really, when the event is rigidly controlled. Other familiar examples include space launches, such as the Space Shuttle Terminal Count phase; these have been used since the dawn of rocket launches to ensure all systems are operating and personnel are safe.

Typically, a countdown is expressed in negative numbers from the desired event (launch, detonation, what-have-you). This is usually referred to as Time T, so events in the countdown occur at T minus (time). For space launches, the end of the countdown (liftoff) signals the beginning of the mission clock, which is expressed as T plus time.

My two brothers and I have all appeared on Countdown, the Channel 4 tea time quiz show, and bizarrely all of us have had naughty words of one kind or another appearing in our games. Bruno extracted the eight-letter word ORGASMED from the letters ADIRGOMES; Carol Vorderman, usually a model of restraint, responded to this with 'Yes! YES! It is allowed.' This performance made it into several of the tabloids, with a picture of Carol pulling her orgasm face and the words spelt out behind her:


                 I
             O R G A S M E D

With the Radio 1 breakfast show also mentioning it, Bruno's notoriety was secured. 'Orgasmed' is arguably the rudest word ever to be broadcast on Countdown; 'dick' and 'poof' have also appeared in the past, though, while an episode in which both contestants and Dictionary Corner got 'wankers' never made it onto tea-time television.

The stage was set for a run of unusually rude words; the next day the letters for the Conundrum were PERTBUTUC - I don't know how they got away with that - and Bruno got hoarier; the day after that (in the game between my two brothers) one of the letters games included the letters FART, in that order, but with another letter before it.

Later, when I appeared myself, the word FART turned up right at the start of one of my letters games - apparently, my family has some kind of a gift for this.

'That is staying in,' says Carol.
'Fifteen years we've been waiting for that,' says Richard Whiteley, and I believe him.

On the strength of the word fart I made it into Channel 4's Top TV Moments of 2001. I expect the clip - and probably Bruno's, too - will keep turning up from time to time for the rest of our lives...

View YouTube clip of the word appearing, until it gets taken down again...

Introduction

Countdown was the first proper programme shown on Channel 4 on its launch day in the UK on November 2, 1982 (after a short "Hi, welcome to Channel 4" introductory bit). It was originally commissioned for just seven weeks. However, it has stood the test of time. It celebrated its 1000th edition on July 2nd 1990, its 2000th edition on May 23rd 1997, and its 3000th edition on April 27th 2001.

Contestants

Contestants have ranged in years from 8 (James Squires) to 87 (Bertha Bourne). Arguably the best ever player is Harvey Freeman who won the "Supreme Champion" show in 1997, in which former champions were invited back to compete against each other.

Hosts

The show has always been hosted primarily by Richard Whiteley, with the assistance of various ladies to handle the letters and numbers. Carol Vorderman was originally only there to work out the numbers results, now she is the sole co-host. There are also two regular guests - one from the Oxford English Dictionary to help look up words, and another celebrity to keep things moving along.

The show

Until 2001 the show was half an hour long with the grand finals 45 minutes long. All episodes are now 45 minutes long.

Each 15 minute segment consists of the following.

  • Introduction to the players (first segment only).
  • 3 letters games.
  • 1 numbers game.
  • A Conundrum (not in the first segment).

Letters

The contestants take turns to pick 9 letters, asking for a vowel or a consonant. Usually they'll pick 3 or 4 vowels, although this may vary depending on what letters come up. The contestants then have 30 seconds (timed by a big clock on the wall) to make the longest word possible (with certain restrictions - eg no proper nouns, but plurals are allowed as long as the letters are present).

Once complete, both players present their answers, and they are checked to ensure the words exist. The player with the longer word gets points equal to the length of the word. If both players have a word of the same length, they both get that number of points. A 9 letter word scores double.

Numbers

The contestants take turns to pick 6 numbers, which are arranged face down on a desk. They key thing is that the top row contains 25, 50, 75 and 100, with the other rows containing numbers between 1 and 10. Sometimes players will specify exactly where to take them from, more often it will simply be "1 large and 5 small" or "2 large and 4 small". Fun can be had with 0 or 4 large numbers!

Then, Carol presses the button that makes CECIL (Countdown Electronic Computer in Leeds - a random number generator) pick a number between 100 and 999. The players have 30 seconds to make that number from the 6 provided, using each number no more than once (although they don't have to use all 6 numbers), and the four standard mathematical signs (+, -, *, /). Spot on scores 10, within 5 scores 7 and within 10 scores 5. Only the closest gets any points unless, again, both players get the same. The players have to talk Carol through their workings which she checks on a large board. Often she can find a solution, even if the players can't. (But not always!)

Conundrum

Sometimes the decider, sometimes irrelevant if one player is more than 10 points ahead. Richard presses a button and a 9 letter conundrum (anagram) turns round and the 30 second clock start. Players are on the buzzer. If a player buzzes in and gets it wrong, the other player has the rest of the 30 seconds to try to get it. 10 points to the winner.

RIP Richard Whiteley

Richard Whiteley died on June 26th 2005, a few days after having heart surgery, having hosted Countdown for 23 years.

According to spiregrain, Noel Edmunds and Des Lynam are in the running to replace him.

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