42 © Lincolnian via Flickr

Towel Day: 42 Occurrences of The Number 42 in Pop Culture

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42 © Lincolnian via Flickr
42 © Lincolnian via Flickr

Any good geek knows that the answer to the great question of life, the universe and everything is 42. But were you aware just how often that number has crept up in pop culture? From apartment numbers to Hurley numbers, dates to car registrations, the number 42 is everywhere when you start looking hard enough. Here are 42 examples of the number turning up in pop culture.

1. The first reference that Douglas Adams made to 42 was during a sketch called “The Hole in the Wall Club” in which Griff Rhys Jones mentions the 42nd meeting of the Crawley and District Paranoid Society.

2. In Star Trek, the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) has 42 decks.

3. In The X-Files, Agent Mulder lives at apartment 42.

4.In Caprica the license plate of Starbuck’s truck is “FB 42 E3.

5. In Spore, the Staff of Life is limited to 42 uses.

6. In Lost, 42 is one of the Hurley Numbers.

7. An episode of Doctor Who is named 42; this episode is set in real time and the title is therefore a double shout out as 42 is 24 backwards in homage to the real time TV show.

8. In Fable II, an ancient artifact says “now just think of the number 42.”

9. In Destroy All Humans players visit a parody of Area 51 called Area 42.

10. In The X-Files, Agent Mulder admits to having seen the Ed Wood movie Plan 9 From Outer Space 42 times.

11. Miles Morales becomes Spider-Man after being bitten by a genetically altered spider with the number 42 marked in red on its abdomen.

12. Asteroid 2001 DA42 has been given the permanent name 25924 Douglasadams.

13. Dr House has said that his favourite number is 42.

14. In The Cable Guy, Steven lives at apartment 42.

15. Douglas Adams appears at the beginning of Monty Python’s Flying Circus sketch 42.

16. On the Darwin Award forums, users require 42 posts to escape “newbie” status.

17. In The Simpsons, Professor Frink invents a super sour lemon ball called the 77X42.

18. In Stargate Universe, Dr Nicholas Rush write the number 46 on a whiteboard during a dream, Dr Daniel Jackson sees it and says “Well, it’s not the ultimate answer to life, the universe and everything.”

19. Caprica begins in YR42.

20. In an episode of NCIS, the address “4242 Adams Blvd” is used.

21. In Universal Sandbox, typing 42 without anything selected gives the achievement “The Answer”.

22. In Fruit Ninja, a final score of 42 unlocks the Mr Sparkle Blade.

23. In The Avengers, the dossier for the Tesseract has the number 042.

24. In Borderlands, Tannis requires 42 parts to complete her Infinite Improbability Drive.

25. In the Caprica episode Retribution, Hippolyta plants a bomb at Gate 42.

26. In Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Buzz’s star cruiser number is 42.

27. If you assign letters a value from 1 – 26 (where A = 1, B = 2 etc,) then the letters XKCD equal 42.

28. In The Avengers, the Quinjet that carries Steve Rogers to the Helicarrier has the number 42.

29. In My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Twilight Sparkle’s racing number is 42. The points on the stars that make up her cutie mark also add up to 42.

30. In Once Upon a Time, Astrid tells Leroy she only managed to sell 42 candles last year.

31. In Finding Nemo, the address of the dentist is “42 Wallaby Way, Sydney, Australia”.

32. In Fringe, Olivia lives at apartment 2A which is hexadecimal for 42.

33. In Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends, Adam wears a shirt with the number 42 on it.

34. In the first episode of ReBoot, the number 42 can be seen on the deck.

35. In the Marvel Universe, “Number 42” is a special prison designed by Reed Richards, Hank Pym and Tony Stark.

36. In The X-Files, the timestamp at the beginning of a scene is frequently XX:42 minutes.

37. In Stargate Atlantis, Rodney McKay’s password ends 42.

38. When FOX built the fake “I’m no scar” website for Arrested Development, the visitor counter was fixed at 42.

39. In Battle Royale, the number of students forced to fight is 42.

40. In Earthworm Jim 2, 42 is the answer to a question during The Villi people level.

41. In the movie I, Robot the first clearly seen robot has 42 printed on its forehead.

42. In Star Trek, the number 47 occurs as an in-joke, Executive Producer Rick Berman is quoted as saying “47 is 42, corrected for inflation”.

Have you spotted the number 42 hiding in even more places? Tell us where you’ve spotted it.

This article originally appeared on GeekMom in May 2012.

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1 thought on “Towel Day: 42 Occurrences of The Number 42 in Pop Culture

  1. I remember X-Files being full of HHGG references. I’m sure someone has made a list somewhere!

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