Daily Mail

Spot the ball we lost in ’66

- Compiled by Charles Legge

QUESTION What became of the famous orange football used in the 1966 World Cup final?

You might expect that after scoring a hat-trick in England’s 4-2 victory over West Germany in the 1966 World Cup final, Geoff Hurst would have been given the match ball.

However, it was taken by German forward Helmut Haller. He claimed it was German tradition for the first goalscorer of the game to keep the match ball. He carried it under his arm when he went up to receive his runners-up medal.

It remained in his home in Augsburg for three decades until a British newspaper campaign to return the ball to England before the 1996 Euros.

Haller was paid £80,000 for the ball. uri Geller signed the ball to ‘energise’ it and help the England team to success in the tournament — they lost in the semi-final.

The balls used in the 1966 World Cup came in three colours: white, yellow and orange. The one used in the final was a leather Slazenger Challenge. Hand sewn and composed of 25 rectangula­r panels, it was inflated by a Latex rubber bladder.

It featured in a 1966 World Cup exhibition last year, alongside Geoff Hurst and Wolfgang Weber’s shirts from the final, a winner’s medal and the substitute Jules Rimet trophy.

Alan Troughton, Salford, Gtr Manchester.

QUESTION What is the Mexican dish caca de luna (faeces of the moon)?

CACA de luna is the Mexican name for Enteridium lycoperdon, a slime mould with the common name false puffball.

While it is not generally considered edible, fruiting bodies are eaten by rural communitie­s in the Veracruz region of Mexico. The dish has been given its unappetisi­ng name as it’s said to resemble part excrement, part moonscape.

Slime moulds are odd organisms. Despite their fungus-like appearance, they are eukaryotes (organisms whose cells contain a nucleus) that are not fungi, animals or plants.

Despite being studied by mycologist­s — fungi experts — they do not conform to two of fungi’s defining characteri­stics: having chitin (which is also found in insect skeletons) in their cell walls and not being able to move during any stage of their life cycle.

Slime moulds move, feed and dispel undigested organic matter.

When mature, Enteridium lycoperdon will form a fruiting body (reproducti­ve structures that resemble a puffball) and produce spores. This dramatic change can happen in just a few hours.

The process is not fully understood, although it can be triggered by the exhaustion of food supplies and changes in temperatur­e, moisture and pH.

Villagers mix these fruiting bodies with salt and epazote, a pungent herb known as Mexican tea, and wrap them in a maize leaf. After being heated in hot ashes for half an hour, the texture becomes viscous, with an elastic consistenc­y that is similar to mozzarella.

K. R. Lewis, Norwich, Norfolk.

QUESTION When we did something daft, my gran would say we were ‘Doolally tap’. Where does this come from?

DEoLALI in India was a British Army transit camp in Maharashtr­a, 100 miles from Bombay.

Establishe­d in 1861, it was in use throughout the time of the British Raj as a base for newly arrived soldiers and those waiting for a troopship to take them home.

Ships left Bombay only between November and March, so a time-expired soldier might have a tedious wait.

A mixture of boredom, venereal disease, heat, mosquitoes, fever, malaria and sand fleas contribute­d to their miserable time. ‘Doolally’, the soldiers’ name for the camp, became a slang term associated with madness.

Tap is a Hindustani word for fever, often ascribed to malaria. In Sanskrit, tapa means heat or torment. It can be translated as camp fever.

Pte Frank Richards explained the effects in old Soldier Sahib in 1936: ‘The timeexpire­d men at Deolali had no arms or equipment; they showed kit now and again and occasional­ly went on a route march, but time hung heavily on their hands and in some cases men who had been exemplary soldiers got into serious trouble and were awarded terms of imprisonme­nt before they were sent home.

‘others contracted venereal disease and had to go to hospital. The well-known saying among soldiers when speaking of a man who does queer things, “oh, he’s got the Doo-lally tap,” originated, I think, in the peculiar way men behaved owing to the boredom of that camp.’

Don Campion, Cannock, Staffs.

QUESTION Do the days draw in more quickly in the autumn than they lengthen in spring?

FuRTHER to the previous answer stating that this is an illusion due to the effect of bad weather, there is another factor to take into account.

Solar time and clock time drift with respect to each other throughout the year. In February, when the days draw out, the clocks are a quarter of an hour ahead of the sun. In November, when the evenings draw in, the clocks are a quarter of an hour behind the sun.

Sunrises and sunsets are symmetrica­l with solar noon, not clock noon. As a consequenc­e, the earliest sunset in December is more than two weeks ahead of the solstice. In June, the latest sunset is a week after the solstice.

This could add to the feeling that the nights draw in more quickly than they draw out.

Phil Alexander, Farnboroug­h, Hants.

IS THERE a question to which you want to know the answer? Or do you know the answer to a question here? Write to: Charles Legge, Answers To Correspond­ents, Daily Mail, 2 Derry Street, London W8 5TT; or email charles.legge@dailymail.co.uk. A selection is published, but we’re unable to enter into individual correspond­ence.

 ?? Picture: ALAMY ?? The football that didn’t come home: England’s Nobby Stiles during the 1966 World Cup final
Picture: ALAMY The football that didn’t come home: England’s Nobby Stiles during the 1966 World Cup final

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