Tough Trivia, 7/9/21

On the 500th anniversary of the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans, Jimmy Kennedy and Nat Simon wrote “Istanbul (Not Constantinople),” which was released by The Four Lads in 1953. That gives away one of the answers, but today’s question regards old names of world cities. How many of the current city names do you recall? (Some other time, we’ll do US cities.): Ikosium, Stuart, Bytown, Lutetia, Batavia, Edo, Leningrad, Byzantium, Londinium.

***

logo_scrabbleYesterday’s question was: 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?

The answers:
10 points: Q and Z
8 points: J and X
5 points: K
4 points: F, H, V, W, and Y
3 points: B, C, M, and P
2 points: D and G
1 point: A, E, I, L, N, O, R, S, T, and U

***

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.

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?

***

800px-Gilbert_Stuart,_John_Jay,_1794,_NGA_75023
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.

Tough Trivia, 7/7/21

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?

***

MetalTypeZoomInYesterday’s question was a two-fer: An isogram is a word in which none of the letters appears more than once. It appears that the longest possible isogram in the English language has 17 letters. Do you know this word? And do you know a longer isogram? (The longest theoretically possible isogram is, of course, 26 letters long.)

What is the shortest word in the English language that uses all five vowels?

The answers:

Subdermatoglyphic — an underlying skin matrix that determines the pattern of arches, whorls, and ridges that make up our fingerprints.
Eunoia — a feeling of good will, especially one that exists between a speaker and an audience.

***

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.

Tough Trivia, 7/6/21

Two questions today, because they’re kind of brief:

An isogram is a word in which none of the letters appears more than once. It appears that the longest possible isogram in the English language has 17 letters. Do you know this word? And do you know a longer isogram? (The longest theoretically possible isogram is, of course, 26 letters long.)

What is the shortest word in the English language that uses all five vowels?

***

Enterprise_NX-01Friday’s question was: The Star Trek series featured a veritable fleet of starships named Enterprise. Let’s pare it back a little, and just focus on the television shows and movies. On screen, how many captains of the starship Enterprise can you name? (People actually assigned as captain, not just “Mr. Scott, take the conn while I beam down to this planet to romance the alien of the week.”) Bonus points if you remember the actors who played them.

The answers:

NX-01 (during the Star Trek years 2151–2161): Jonathan Archer (played by Scott Bakula) [in the series Star Trek Enterprise (aired 2001–2005)]

USS_Enterprise_(NCC-1701),_ENT1231NCC-1701 (2245–2285): Christopher Pike (Jeffrey Hunter in the unaired pilot, and Sean Kenney in “The Menagerie”); James Tiberius Kirk (William Shatner) [Star Trek the Original Series (1966–1969)]; Willard Decker (Stephen Collins), Admiral James Kirk (William Shatner) [Star Trek the Motion Picture (1979)]; Spock (Leonard Nimoy) [Star Trek II: the Wrath of Khan (1982)]; commandeered and commanded by, and then destroyed by, Admiral James Kirk (William Shatner) [Star Trek III: the Search for Spock (1984)]

NCC-1701-A (2286–2293): demoted Captain James Kirk (William Shatner) [Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home (1986), Star Trek V: the Final Frontier (1989), and Star Trek VI: the Undiscovered Country (1991)]

NCC-1701-B (2293-2329): John Harriman (Alan Ruck) [Star Trek: Generations (1994)]

Enterprise_ForwardNCC-1701-C (2332-2344): Rachel Garrett (Tricia O’Neil) [Star Trek the Next Generation episode “Yesterday’s Enterprise” (1990)]

NCC-1701-D (2363-2371): Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) [Star Trek the Next Generation (1987–1994) and Star Trek Generations (1994)]; Edward Jellico (Ronny Cox) [Star Trek the Next Generation episode “Chain of Command” (1992)]; Admiral William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) [Star Trek the Next Generation episode “All Good Things…” (1994)]

NCC-1701-E (2372– ) Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) [Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)]

The series were rebooted with the Kelvin Timeline in the 2009 film:

NCC-1701: Christopher Pike (Bruce Greenwood) [Star Trek (2009)]; James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) [Star Trek (2009), Star Trek Into Darkness (2013), and Star Trek Beyond (2016)]

Further modifications came about with the series Star Trek Discovery:

NCC-1701: Christopher Pike (Anson Mount) [Star Trek Discovery, second season (2019)]

***

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.

Tough Trivia, 7/2/21

The Star Trek series featured a veritable fleet of starships named Enterprise. Let’s pare it back a little, and just focus on the television shows and movies. On screen, how many captains of the starship Enterprise can you name? (People actually assigned as captain, not just “Mr. Scott, take the conn while I beam down to this planet to romance the alien of the week.”) Bonus points if you remember the actors who played them.

[Note: Tough Trivia is going to take off Monday, July 5, for the holiday (even though the actual day is the 4th).]

***

188px-National_Football_League_logo.svgYesterday’s question was: Watching National League Football is one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the United States, so this may be a fairly easy question: how many of the 32 teams can you name? Bonus points if you can put them in the proper conference (I’m not asking about divisions within the conferences).

The answers:

American Football Conference

  • East Division: Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets.
  • North Division: Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers.
  • South Division: Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans.
  • West Division: Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers.

National Football Conference

  • East Division: Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, Washington Football Team.
  • North Division: Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings.
  • South Division: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
  • West Division: Arizona Cardinals, Los Angeles Rams, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks.

***

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.

Tough Trivia, 7/1/21

Watching National League Football is one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the United States, so this may be a fairly easy question: how many of the 32 teams can you name? Bonus points if you can put them in the proper conference (I’m not asking about divisions within the conferences).

***

IMG_8240Yesterday’s question was: The atmosphere, the air around us, this stuff we breathe without thinking about it (well, except when we’re experiencing a heat wave). But, do you recall what it is you’re actually breathing? Which elements make up the “air” of Earth’s atmosphere that we breathe? Bonus points if you can arrange in order of percentage of each in the air (I’m not asking for the actual percentages).

The answer: The major constituents of dry air, by volume, are:
Nitrogen — 78.084%
Oxygen — 20.946%
Argon — 0.9340%
Carbon dioxide — 0.0415%
Neon — 0.0018%
Helium — 0.0005%
Methane — 0.0002%
Krypton — 0.0001%
The amount of water vapor in the atmosphere varies significantly by place, ranging from 0 to 3% of the volume of air. It makes up about 0.25% of the atmosphere by mass.

***

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.

Sunny/rainy day of almost familiarity

I had a very good day of familiar-yet-strangeness. Familiar, because the things I did today are all things I used to do with some regularity with people with whom I used to interact frequently. But strange because I haven’t done those things or seen those people in a year and a half.

I woke up early, packed the car, left fairly early, dealt with typical New York City traffic, crossed under the East River (Battery Tunnel) and Hudson River (Lincoln Tunnel), and eventually made my way to the Albany area, for lunch and a couple of nice hours with Joe Berlant, talking books and mutual acquaintances and conventions.

Then I got back in the car, crossed the Hudson River again (this time into Renssalaer), drove into central Massachusetts, and had another great couple of hours with Allen Steele, talking mutual acquaintances, history, and plans. Oh, and books: the one that is currently in the pipeline at Fantastic Books (which doesn’t yet have a cover), and the next one I’ll probably publish (which has a cover, but doesn’t yet have the contents). Pet the dog—a LOT—had dinner while watching the deluge, and then left as the rain was letting up.

So I drove with the trailing edge of the rainstorm for two hours—along twisty, turny, narrow Route 2—to my sister’s house, and now I’m here, and the rain has gone, and I’m TIRED.

Tough Trivia, 6/30/21

The atmosphere, the air around us, this stuff we breathe without thinking about it (well, except when we’re experiencing a heat wave). But, do you recall what it is you’re actually breathing? Which elements make up the “air” of Earth’s atmosphere that we breathe? Bonus points if you can arrange in order of percentage of each in the air (I’m not asking for the actual percentages).

***

MarylandSymphonyMainImage
The Maryland Symphony Orchestra

Yesterday’s question: We normally think of an orchestra as just “a lot of musicians playing a lot of instruments.” But there are some norms to the make-ups of orchestras. Classical orchestras were pretty much standardized in the first half of the 1800s, generally due to Beethoven’s writing. In more recent times, orchestras have changed to include more modern instruments, and sometimes electronic instruments. But can you name all of the instruments in a classical orchestra? As a hint, they were divided into four main sections: Brass, Percussion (including keyboards), Strings, and Woodwinds.

The answers:

Brass: alto trombone, bass trombone, natural horns (valveless), natural trumpets (valveless), tenor trombone. (French horns and trumpets were not added until the Late Romantic period.)

Percussion: harpsichord or pipe organ (gradually phased out in the late 18th century), timpani.

Strings: cello, double bass, viola, violin.

Woodwinds: basset horn, bassoon, clarinet, contrabassoon, flute, oboe, piccolo.

***

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.

Tough Trivia, 6/29/21

We normally think of an orchestra as just “a lot of musicians playing a lot of instruments.” But there are some norms to the make-ups of orchestras. Classical orchestras were pretty much standardized in the first half of the 1800s, generally due to Beethoven’s writing. In more recent times, orchestras have changed to include more modern instruments, and sometimes electronic instruments. But can you name all of the instruments in a classical orchestra? As a hint, they were divided into four main sections: Brass, Percussion (including keyboards), Strings, and Woodwinds.

***

1280px-Map_of_USA_with_state_and_territory_names_2Yesterday’s question was:

Everyone remembers the last two, and most people remember the first ten or so, at least in some kind of order. But all of them—and especially those in the middle—that’s the hard part. So, can you list the states of the United States in the order in which they joined the Union/adopted the Constitution?

Okay, that may be too tough, so here’s the easier one, but it’s two: Name the longest span of time between successive state admissions to the union. And name the only two states to be admitted on the same day.

The easier answers first:

Longest gaps of time between admissions of new states:
46 years, 11 months: Arizona (#48; February 14, 1912) and Alaska (#49; January 3, 1959)
14 years, 10 months: Missouri (#24; August 10, 1821) and Arkansas (#25; June 15, 1836)

Only states admitted on the same date:
North Dakota and South Dakota (#39 and #40) on November 2, 1889

And the full answer:

1. Delaware (ratified the Constitution on December 7, 1787)
2. Pennsylvania (December 12, 1787)
3. New Jersey (December 18, 1787)
4. Georgia (January 2, 1788)
5. Connecticut (January 9, 1788)
6. Massachusetts (February 6, 1788)
7. Maryland (April 28, 1788)
8. South Carolina (May 23, 1788)
9. New Hampshire (June 21, 1788)
10. Virginia (June 25, 1788)
11. New York (July 26, 1788)
12. North Carolina (November 21, 1789)
13. Rhode Island (May 29, 1790)
14. Vermont (admitted March 4, 1791)
15. Kentucky (June 1, 1792)
16. Tennessee (June 1, 1796)
17. Ohio (March 1, 1803)
18. Louisiana (April 30, 1812)
19. Indiana (December 11, 1816)
20. Mississippi (December 10, 1817)
21. Illinois (December 3, 1818)
22. Alabama (December 14, 1819)
23. Maine (March 15, 1820)
24. Missouri (August 10, 1821)
25. Arkansas (June 15, 1836)
26. Michigan (January 26, 1837)
27. Florida (March 3, 1845)
28. Texas (December 29, 1845)
29. Iowa (December 28, 1846)
30. Wisconsin (May 29, 1848)
31. California (September 9, 1850)
32. Minnesota (May 11, 1858)
33. Oregon (February 14, 1859)
34. Kansas (January 29, 1861)
35. West Virginia (June 20, 1863)
36. Nevada (October 31, 1864)
37. Nebraska (March 1, 1867)
38. Colorado (August 1, 1876)
39. North Dakota (November 2, 1889)
40. South Dakota (November 2, 1889)
41. Montana (November 8, 1889)
42. Washington (November 11, 1889)
43. Idaho (July 3, 1890)
44. Wyoming (July 10, 1890)
45. Utah (January 4, 1896)
46. Oklahoma (November 16, 1907)
47. New Mexico (January 6, 1912)
48. Arizona (February 14, 1912)
49. Alaska (January 3, 1959)
50. Hawaii (August 21, 1959)

***

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.

 

Tough Trivia, 6/28/21

Everyone remembers the last two, and most people remember the first ten or so, at least in some kind of order. But all of them—and especially those in the middle—that’s the hard part. So, can you list the states of the United States in the order in which they joined the Union/adopted the Constitution?

Okay, that may be too tough, so here’s the easier one, but it’s two: Name the longest span of time between successive state admissions to the union. And name the only two states to be admitted on the same day.

***

FellowshipFriday’s question was: J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings several decades before Peter Jackson turned it into a blockbuster movie trilogy. When he did, he made several changes, deletions, expansions, and so forth. But one thing he didn’t change were the identities of the title characters in the first volume. Can you name the members of The Fellowship of the Ring, and their races? Bonus points if you know what names “J.R.R.” stood for.

The answer:

Frodo Baggins, the Ringbearer (hobbit)
Samwise Gamgee, his gardener (hobbit)
Meriadoc “Merry” Brandybuck (hobbit)
Peregrin “Pippin” Took (hobbit)
Gandalf, who started the journey as the Gray, and ended as the White (wizard)
Legolas, son of King Thranduil, of the Woodland Realm (elf)
Gimli, son of Gloin (dwarf)
Aragorn, son of Arathorn II, sometimes known as Strider, the uncrowned King of Gondor (man)
Boromir, son of Denethor II, the Steward of Gondor (man)

The author of the series was John Ronald Reuel Tolkien (1892–1973).

***

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.