Agatha Christie’s miss Marple first appeared in The Thirteen Problems, a short story collection of 1927.

The paradoxical novel Catch-22 was originally going to be Catch-18, until Joseph Heller learned of a clash with Leon Uris’s recently published Mila 18, a tale of resistance in Nazi Germany.

The film The Magnificent Seven (1960) is based directly on the Japanese classic Seven Samurai released 6 years earlier and set in 1586.

The release of the film 10 Rillington Place in 1971, based on the book of 1961 by Ludovic Kennedy, was influential in the abolition of the death penalty in Britain. It tells of how Timothy Evans is wrongly hanged for the murders committed by Reginald Christie at this address.
Marylin Monroe’s most famous movie scene takes place as she stand over a New York subway vent in The Seven Year Itch.

The first footballer to be literally worth his weight in gold was ‘Jackie’ Sewell bought by Sheffield United from Notts County in 1951 for £34,500. That money would have purchased 78 kg (172 lb) of gold.

Dimples on a golf ball control its dynamics. They number between 252 and 500 per ball.

A perfect way to complete a game of darts is with just 9 darts to score 501. The last dart must be a double

The longest ever tennis match, in which John Isner (USA) defeated Nicholas Mahut (France), lasted 11 hours 5 minutes. The score was 6-4,3-6,6-7,7-6,70-68.

Being ‘behind the 8 ball’ expresses a difficult situation based on the game on pool in which potting the 8 after the previous 1-7 balls, is the key to winning.

Sudoku is not some ancient Japanese puzzle but was invented in modern form in the late 1970s by a retired US architect Haward Garns. Its first newspaper appearance was in 1979. The Times ran its first on 2 November 2004 – it became an instant hit.