Tough Trivia, 6/1/21

Welcome back from the long weekend. I hope you had a good time. Today’s Arts question is also a bit of history: Gilbert and Sullivan are one of the most famous duos of theatrical creators. Dramatist W.S. Gilbert (1836–1911) wrote the libretti, and composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900) wrote the music. Together, they created enduring entertainment that to this day is the inspiration of theatrical companies still performing their works, fan clubs and societies worldwide, and even the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival. But how many of their collaborations can you name? Bonus points for listing them in chronological order.


640px-Nasa-logoFriday’s question was: Acronymia. Acronyms are useful things. They make it much easier to say, for instance, SHIELD, rather than Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division (though that’s a poor example, because I hate with a passion the contrived acronyms, most often used for government programs, that just happen to form words). At any rate, good acronyms are time-saving linguistic constructions, though often—through continual use—we come to forget what the letters in the acronym stand for (or that it was an acronym at all). Thus, your Tough Trivia question for today is to come up with the words from which these acronyms were formed.

The answers are:

ZIP Code: Zone Improvement Plan
NASA: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
scuba: self-contained underwater breathing apparatus
UNESCO: United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization
AIDS: acquired immuno-deficiency syndrome
JPEG: Joint Photographic Experts Group
laser: light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation
radar: radio detection and ranging
ATM: automated teller machine
PIN: personal identification number (so you don’t need to call it a PIN Number!)
AM and PM: ante meridiem and post meridiem


Ian’s Tough Trivia is a daily feature of this blog (Monday’s category is History; Tuesday is Arts; Wednesday is Science; Thursday is Entertainment; and Friday is Grab Bag). Each day, I post a tough question, as well as the answer to the previous day’s question. Simply comment on this post with your answer. I’ll approve the comments after the next question is posted. Sure, you can probably find the answers by searching the web, but what’s the fun in that?

And if you’ve got a favorite trivia question—or even just a topic for which you’d like to see a question—let me know! Reader participation is warmly encouraged.

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