Page 76. " dartoid muscles "

In humans, the dartos is the tissue just behind the scrotum.  As Ford is not human, there is no guessing what entangling his dartoid muscles would involve.

Page 78. " a tiny ribbon of ticker tape "
mini computer
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alikemini computer - Credit: Toresbe

Early mini-computers in the 1970s used ticker tape read-outs.  This is an oddly archaic computer for such a futuristic spaceship to have, but it works to great comic effect, in keeping with the general suspicion and distrust of computers Adams expresses thoughout this series of books.


Page 82. " an Ilford-based gnat knew about life in Peking "

Ilford is a town in north-west Greater London.  Peking is the capital city of China, known in recent decades as Beijing. Their relative positions can be seen on the map below:

Ilford (left) and Peking (right)
Public DomainIlford (left) and Peking (right)

Page 86. " We're in the Horsehead Nebula "
horsehead nebula
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alikehorsehead nebula - Credit: ESO

The Horsehead Nebula is a dark nebula: an interstellar cloud that blocks out the light of stars. It is 1500 hundred light years away from Earth in the constellation Orion.


Page 88. " to boldly split in finitives that no man had split before "

A split infinitive is a phrase where an adverb is inserted into the infinitive form of a verb, between "to" and the verb. While technically grammatically incorrect, it is commonly used for emphasis. 

The most famous example of a split infinitive, and the one alluded to here, is "to boldly go", from the introductory narration to Star Trek:


Page 90. " Bit like Atlantis "

Atlantis is a mythical island, which is said to have sunk beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean around 12,000 years ago.

Page 92. " What the photon is it? "

A photon is the basic unit of light but, in this context, it's used as an expletive.

Page 96. " When you walk through the storm "

Eddie is singing 'You'll Never Walk Alone' from the 1945 Rogers and Hammerstein Musical 'Carousel'.

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