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Last Updated: Monday, 10 March 2008, 12:38 GMT
The meaning of 42, according to you
Simon Jones as Arthur Dent
The secret of 42 was never revealed
Following our piece speculating what Douglas Adams meant when he revealed the meaning of life to be 42 in the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (see link, below), here is a selection of your suggestions.

If I recall correctly the "Infinite Improbability Drive" was prototyped in a nice, hot cup of tea. Arthur Dent, the last surviving fragment of the Earth project to calculate the answer to life, the universe, and everything, also exhibited a taste for tea. Coincidence? I haven't got the faintest idea if this is the rationale that Douglas Adams had for computing the number 42. But the ideal way to enjoy a cuppa is when you have someone else for company. That's tea for two, and two for tea. Or as Deep Thought may have put it: "For tea, two."
Ian Mitchell, Barnard Castle, UK

Listen to how the number sounds. For-ti-too. The meaning of life and everything is Fortitude.
Zaphod, Earth

Matthew 1:17: "All the generations, then, from Abraham until David were 14 generations, and from David until the deportation to Babylon 14 generations, and from the deportation to Babylon until the Christ 14 generations." All things lead to the Christ. An obvious answer to life, the universe, and everything.
KaTie, Watford

There you all go again, the answer is simple, look at the number of whiskers on a mouse.
Churchill Hornstein

I don't know where I heard it, but I was under the impression that Douglas Adams came up with the answer 42 because a pint of beer in his local pub cost 42p at the time. And let's face it, a good pint is the answer to most problems.
Martin, Skerries, Ireland

We are at sixes and sevens about trying to understand life, the universe and everything, meaning we are in a state of total confusion or disarray. The product of six multiplied by seven is 42. So 42 is a summary statement that we will always be confused about the big question.
Tim Lee, Hertfordshire, UK

If you take A as one, B as two, C as three, and so on, then add up D Adams it comes to 42. Also, if you want wine gums (as I often do) in our canteen you press 42 to get them. If, as Adams suggested, the entirety of the universe can be extrapolated from fairy cake, perhaps wine gums can provide a more teleological counterpoint.
Nicky Westwood, Birmingham, UK

There you all go again, the answer is simple. Look at the number of whiskers on a mouse.
Churchill Hornstein, Wilmington, Ursa Minor

The question to the answer to the question of life, the universe and everything is given at the end of the second HH's book, "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe". Arthur Dent pulls the letters out of his scrabble bag, thinking because he was part of the computer program called "The Earth" until its last moments, the question will be in his subconscious. The letters spell: "What do you get when you multiply six by nine". Obviously this is 54 not 42, but the point is that Arthur is not descended from the ape-like beings which were intended to populate the Earth and provide the question to the answer, but from the survivors of the crashed Golgafrinchan spaceship he arrived on. So the joke is that the universe was created to solve a simple maths problem and human existence is completely pointless since we couldn't even get that right. You may now call me a nerd.
DA, Betelgeuse

When learning my times tables I found that the answer to six times seven and also seven times six was particularly difficult. Perhaps Douglas Adams remembered having the same problem?
D Knowles, Lancashire, England

Douglas Adams
It's 30 years since the HH Guide made its debut on BBC radio
The answer to the meaning of life came from supercomputer Deep Thought.
The machine took 7.5 million years to come up with the answer
Adams never revealed the meaning of 42

I do recall several years ago an interview with the great man himself. If memory serves he said the answer to the "ultimate question" would be something with no meaning. He, with several friends, sat down and said all the numbers from one to 100 and decided that 42 sounded the funniest.
Neil Wesson, Brough, East Yorkshire

In Hebrew letters also represent numbers. The number 42 is written by the Hebrew letters for L and B, which spell "LEB" in Hebrew, which is also pronounced "LEV". This means heart and joy. Age 42 is when folks are considered mature enough to study Kabbalah.
Eli Rogosa, Israel

Lewis Carroll used the number in two other works, in "The Hunting of the Snark", where 42 boxes get left behind on the shore, and in a poem where he exclaims at such a thing being done to him - "a man of 42". It's probably pure coincidence that in the binary system of numbers, the first six digits alternating between one and zero make up 42, thus: 101010 = 32 + 8 + 2 = 42.
Adrian Stapley

Douglas Adams would probably have been about 24 when he started writing Hitchhiker. A very significant number for him at the time. Then the passengers of the B Ark messed it up.
Stuart Arnold, Munich

My dad once told me Douglas Adams was a massive geek and huge Apple Mac fan. The number 42 in machine code for the Apple Mac that he used means "multiply". So the computer in the story came up with that. Go forth and all that.
Angie, Sheffield, UK

The number 42 is six multiplied by seven. The sign of the devil is 666 and 777 was the sign of god. The meaning of life the universe and everything is the two first numbers multiplied together.
Amanda H, Surbiton, Surrey

By using the number 42 Adams was making a beautifully simple statement of interconnectivity. The numbers four and two have both a relationship with each other and with the larger 42. Similarly, life, the universe and everything all share interconnectivity. Everything in the Universe is essentially made up of stuff - matter or anti-matter. One cannot exist without the other. Therefore the answer to life is balance and interconnectivity. Denying this interconnectivity makes no difference because the balance exists whether we acknowledge it or not. This premise is both beautifully and infuriatingly simple. The number 42 is merely an equally simple but beautiful illustration. And Adams conveyed this in a classic, entertaining tale filled with comedy - what a guy.
Byron, Staffs

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