As the book's title suggests, Adams, like most authors, was not afraid to borrow, and there are revealing similarities between Welsh's Hitch-hiker's Guide to Europe and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. One of these provides perhaps the most intriguing explanation for "Why 42?". As you may remember Adams had Deep Thought perform a little expectation management and say: "You're really not going to like it" before revealing the Ultimate Answer.
Curiously, Hitch-hiker's Guide to Europe had told of visitors to the UK searching for family roots finding "the answer a little disappointing" – after travelling around the world in search of "the solution to the most puzzling question of all". A coincidence, perhaps . . . but this coincidence is on page 42.
Coincidence or not, knowing the origin of "42" takes nothing away from the genius of Adams' work. Read more from the book at The Guardian. Link -via TYWKIWDBI