Tough Trivia, 7/8/21

The word game of Scrabble was created in the 1930s and 1940s, with the distribution and point values of the letter tiles determined by frequency analysis. Thus, the highest-scoring letters were those which were exceedingly difficult to use. In later years, however, with the growth of Scrabble tournaments, and the expansions of acceptable words beyond “a standard English dictionary,” those difficult-to-use letters became much easier to use, but their values were not adjusted. Today’s question: for how many of the 26 English letters do you know the Scrabble point values?


John Jay, painted by Gilbert Stuart in 1794.

Yesterday’s question was: The US Constitution set up the government with three co-equal branches: the Legislative, the Executive, and the Judicial. The leader of the Executive branch is the President. The leaders of the Legislative branch are the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate. The leader of the Judicial is the Chief Justice. Over the years, we’ve had 45 presidents and 52 speakers, but only a scant 17 chief justices. How many of those chief justices can you name?

The answers:
1. John Jay (served from October 1789 until he resigned in June 1795)
2. John Rutledge (his nomination was not approved by the Senate, so he served only from August to December of 1795)
3. Oliver Ellsworth (March 1796–December 1800 [resigned])
4. John Marshall (February 1801–July 1835 [died in office])
5. Roger B. Taney (March 1836–October 1864 [died])
6. Salmon P. Chase (December 1864–May 1873 [died])
7. Morrison Waite (March 1874–March 1888 [died])
8. Melville Fuller (October 1888–July 1910 [died])
9. Edward Douglass White (December 1910–May 1921 [died])
10. William Howard Taft (July 1921–February 1930 [retired])
11. Charles Evans Hughes (February 1930–June 1941 [retired])
12. Harlan F. Stone (July 1941–April 1946 [died])
13. Fred M. Vinson (June 1946–September 1953 [died])
14. Earl Warren (October 1953–June 1969 [retired])
15. Warren E. Burger (June 1969–September 1986 [retired])
16. William Rehnquist (September 1986–September 2005 [died])
17. John Roberts (September 2005– )


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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