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Posers and puzzlers; Just ask.

QCan you tell me where the saying "Put a beggar on horseback and they will ride to hell" originates from? - John Clarke, Motherwell.

A The earliest written record of the phrase being used is Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy of 1621, in the form "Set a beggar on horseback, and he will ride a gallop".

Widely regarded as an old Irish proverb, the exact origin of the hell-bound version is unknown although the saying means that if you give someone an unfair advantage, they will misuse it.

Later versions were shortened to " set a beggar on horseback" to signify someone who is corrupted by new- found wealth.

Q Do you have any information on the actress Mary Tamm who appeared with Jon Voight in The Odessa File? - J. McNaught, East Kilbride.

A Yorkshire-born Mary Tamm played Voight's girlfriend Sigi in the 1974 film about a journalist who uncovers an underground Nazi organisation known as Odessa.

Her biggest part before that was playing Polly Ogden in several episodes of Coronation Street.

She went on to have roles in a number of film and television productions including The Likely Lads, Return of The Saint and Doctor Who, where she played a Time Lady opposite Tom Baker.

She also took on the part of Penny Crosbie in Brookside for three years.

Mary, now 58, has been busy with TV work ever since, with recent appearances in Heartbeat, Holby City and Wire In The Blood. She played a Tory MP in a film called Doghouse released earlier this year and continues to make appearances at Doctor Who conventions.

QMy brother reckons Halo 3 is the biggest-selling video game of all-time but I'm not so sure. Can you help settle this argument? - Craig Sellers, via email.

ADespite chalking up pounds 130million worth of sales in its first day and shifting 8.1 million copies to date, Halo 3's success is a mere blip in the ocean compared to Nintendo's pizza-eating plumber Mario.

Super Mario Brothers has sold a total of 40 million copies worldwide.

The Mario franchise, which began with an appearance in the 1982 arcade game Donkey Kong, has sold more than 201 million copies.

Halo 3 creators Bungie took great pride in declaring Halo 3's launch as the "biggest in entertainment history"

It took in more cash in one day than Spiderman 3 managed in its first weekend. However, Mario remains the undisputed champion of the digital heavyweights..

If there is a question nagging you, write to Just Ask, Sunday Mail, One Central Quay, Glasgow, G3 8DA, or send an email to Sorry, we cannot send personal replies..


Class act: Mary Tamm
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 24, 2009
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