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Learning dice games means learning to bluff

Q: I’m reading a novel that mentions “liar’s dice.” I’m not sure if it’s a game or part of a game. Can you help me out? — A.R., Reading, Pa.

A: Liar’s dice is a dice game for two or more players with several variations. The game is said to be based on draw poker, in which you bet and bluff, trying to make your opponent(s) place bids in your favor. Although I have never played the game, I’m told it is easy to learn — though learning the art of deception might be a bit more challenging. The roots of the game are in 16th-century South America. The Spanish learned it and took it back to Europe.

Q: I’ve been watching reruns of “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” lately. I’m always struck by the opening scene, where Mary throws her hat in the air, and an older woman with a scarf around her head watches her with a puzzled look. Is there a story there? — K.M., Torrance, Calif.

A: This unwitting extra was Hazel Frederick, a lifelong Minnesota resident who happened to be out shopping one day in 1969 when the sequence was shot. A neighbor alerted Frederick that she was part of the show. The word spread quickly to her family. She watched herself during the third episode.

Frederick remained anonymous until 1996, when Moore was back in Minnesota for a book signing. She invited Frederick to join her on stage and introduced her as “my co-star.” Frederick died in 1999 at age 91.

Q: Was singer James Taylor ever married to Carole King? — S.C., Cumberland, Md.

A: In 1972, James Taylor married fellow singer/songwriter Carly Simon. The couple divorced 11 years later. In 1985, he married Kathryn Walker.

Carole King has been married four times, but never to Taylor. King and Taylor have worked together frequently, even releasing the album “Live at the Troubadour” in 2010.

Q: Can you tell me if the old TV shows “Brooklyn Bridge” and “Doctor Doctor” are available on DVD? — C.D., Carriere, Miss.

A: “Brooklyn Bridge” aired from 1991 to 1993. It is about a Jewish-American family living in Brooklyn in the mid-1950s. The series was to be released on DVD in 2010, but that never happened.

“Doctor Doctor” was another short-lived series that aired from 1989 to 1991. It is available on DVD.

Q: You wrote recently about the Target TV commercial in which people, dressed in brightly colored outfits, jump out of a hot air balloon. What is the name of the song, and who sings it? — B.M., York, Pa.

A: The song in the Target commercial is “Alouette.” It is performed by the Delta Rhythm Boys.

Q: Can you find out what happened in the season finale of “NCIS”? — E.B., Fort Smith, Ark.

A: The episode is called “Till Death Do Us Part.” There is a car parked outside NCIS loaded with explosives. Gibbs goes to Abby in the lab and throws himself over her just as the bomb goes off. McGee, who is upstairs, is exposed to the explosion as the windows shatter. Tony and Ziva are thrown to the floor together in the elevator. Ducky is walking along a beach alone, and he gets a phone call, telling him of the incident. “Dear God, how many?” he asks. He says he’ll be there right away. “It’s imperative that no one touch any of the deceased ... ” He has trouble speaking — he is having a heart attack. He falls to his knees and collapses in the surf. What happens next? We’ll have to wait until September to find out.

Send your questions to Mr. Know-It-All at or c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.

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