Tough Trivia, 5/17/21

New week, new questions (and answers). Today’s Tough Trivia question is a History question: Lanes, roads, streets, avenues, boulevards, turnpikes, highways: the American road system is one of the iconic representations of the country. But it wasn’t always so; they were a creation of the automobile, which itself is barely more than a century old. Before the coming of our modern interstate highway system (about which there will be a question in the future), the two most famous roadways were the Lincoln Highway and Route 66. The Lincoln Highway was conceived in 1912, and formally dedicated on October 31, 1913. Route 66—also known as the Will Rogers Highway—was one of the original highways in the US Highway System. It was established on November 11, 1926, with road signs erected in 1927. Which states were crossed by the Lincoln Highway, and which by Route 66? (Bonus points if you know which states hosted both highways.) Further bonus if you know which of the two was longer (and can guess how many miles they covered).

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Friday’s question was: As a writer, I’ve been having a disagreement with one of my editors about punctuation. I disagree—emphatically—with his blind adherence to the AP’s drive toward punctuational minimalism. To my mind, the AP is trying to kill the comma for the sake of saving precious column inches in newspapers, but doing so is removing a feature of the written word that adds nuance and meaning. For example, I see a significant difference when the comma is removed from the sentence “We laughed, and were friends for three years.” The editor I’m dealing with says the comma should not be there, but I think removing the comma means we laughed for three years, while using the comma means we laughed briefly, and that laughter made us friends.

Be that as it may, your Tough Trivia question for today is: name the 15 generally accepted punctuation marks in the English language (assuming you’re not the AP or my editor).

The answer is: 

apostrophe ‘ ’
braces { }
brackets [ ]
colon :
comma ,
ellpisis …
em dash —
en dash –
exclamation point !
hyphen –
parantheses ( )
period .
question mark ?
quotation mark “ ”
semicolon ;

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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, 5/14/21

As a writer, I’ve been having a disagreement with one of my editors about punctuation. I disagree—emphatically—with his blind adherence to the AP’s drive toward punctuational minimalism. To my mind, the AP is trying to kill the comma for the sake of saving precious column inches in newspapers, but doing so is removing a feature of the written word that adds nuance and meaning. For example, I see a significant difference when the comma is removed from the sentence “We laughed, and were friends for three years.” The editor I’m dealing with says the comma should not be there, but I think removing the comma means we laughed for three years, while using the comma means we laughed briefly, and that laughter made us friends.

Be that as it may, your Tough Trivia question for today is: name the 15 generally accepted punctuation marks in the English language (assuming you’re not the AP or my editor).

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South_Park_main_charactersYesterday’s question was: Trey Parker and Matt Stone are a creative duo known for several long-running comic projects. Two of their best-known award-winners—in widely divergent media—were both subjects of concern due to religious protests. Can you name them?

The answer is:

The animated television series South Park debuted in 1997. More than 300 episodes have been broadcast to date, and the series has garnered five Primetime Emmy Awards. Isaac Hayes, who played the character Chef, left the show in protest of a 2005 episode denouncing Scientology.

The_Book_of_Mormon_posterThe Book of Mormon is a musical comedy satirizing its eponymous religion. It debuted on Broadway, in the Eugene O’Neill Theatre, on March 24, 2011. It won nine Tony Awards and one Grammy, spawned several national tours and a London production, and only stopped running when the Covid pandemic shut down all Broadway productions.

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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.

The anti-ellipsis?

Having a texting conversation with a new friend, and one of the topics is grammar and punctuation (don’t laugh; some of us find it interesting). I gave a brief disquisition on the ellipsis. The next day (after thinking about it), she said “The ellipsis seems to be about leaving: leaving things off, leaving things out… Is there a mark about coming back?” I didn’t have an answer for that. Do you?