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?

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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– )

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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, 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?

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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.

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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, 5/4/21

Today’s Tough Trivia question is: Boeing makes a huge number of the passenger airplanes upon which we fly. They’re iconic for their model numbers: the 707, 727, 737, 747, 757, 767, 777, and 787. (Nobody remembers the 717.) In which decade did each of those model numbers enter commercial service? Bonus question: one 747 holds the record for carrying the most people on a single flight. How many people was it?

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Yesterday’s question was: Two men named John Marshall Harlan served on the Supreme Court. How were they related, and who appointed them?

The answer is:

800px-JudgeJMHarlan
John Marshall Harlan

John Marshall Harlan was born June 1, 1833, in Frankfort, Kentucky. His father, James Harlan, represented Kentucky in the House of Representatives (1835–39), and then served as Kentucky’s Secretary of State (1840–44) and Kentucky’s Attorney General (1851–19). John was named for Chief Justice John Marshall, and attended law school at Transylvania University. He was admitted to the Kentucky Bar in 1853. He was appointed adjutant general of Kentucky (1851–59), and elected county judge for Franklin County in 1858. He worked against secession, and then served in the Kentucky militia as a colonel in the first years of the Civil War. He resigned his commission when his father died in 1863. Later that year, he was elected Attorney General of Kentucky, and served for four years. After losing his bid for re-election, he worked as a lawyer while remaining active in politics. When David Davis resigned from the Supreme Court to join the Senate, President Rutherford Hayes appointed Harlan, and he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on November 29, 1877. Harlan was the lone dissenting vote in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), which established the doctrine of “separate but equal.” He served until his death on October 14, 1911.

John_Marshall_Harlan_II_official
John Marshall Harlan II

John Marshall Harlan’s youngest son (he had six children), John Maynard Harlan, was a lawyer and alderman in Chicago. John Maynard’s only son (of four children), John Marshall Harlan II, was born in Chicago on May 20, 1899. He graduated from Princeton University, and won a Rhodes Scholarship. Later, he attended New York Law School, and was admitted to the New York Bar in 1925. From 1925 to 1927, he served as Assistant US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and then moved into private practice. During World War II, he was a colonel in the US Army Air Force, serving as chief of the Operational Analysis Section of the Eighth Air Force in England. He was awarded the US Legion of Merit and the Croix de guerre from both France and Belgium. After the war, he returned to private practice. In 1951, he moved into the public sector, serving as Chief Counsel to the New York State Crime Commission. In January 1954, President Dwight Eisenhower appointed Harlan to the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and in March 1955, Eisenhower appointed him to the Supreme Court (he was the first Rhodes Scholar to sit on the Supreme Court). Throughout his adulthood, John II carried his grandfather’s gold watch, and when he joined the Supreme Court, he used the same furniture which had previously been in his grandfather’s chambers. He retired from the Court on September 23, 1971, and died of spinal cancer three months later, on December 29.

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Ian’s Tough Trivia is a daily feature of this blog. Each day, I post a tough question, as well as the answer to the previous day’s question. At some point, I’ll offer a prize for whoever has the most correct answers, and another for whoever participates most often (I’ll take into account people coming in after the start: regular participation starting later is just as good as regular participation starting earlier). There may also be a prize for the funniest or most amusing wrong answer. 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?

Financial support in the form of tips is very much appreciated: paypal.me/ianrandalstrock

Tough Trivia, 5/3/21

Today’s Tough Trivia question is: Two men named John Marshall Harlan served on the Supreme Court. How were they related, and who appointed them?

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nobelprizeFriday’s question was: In which categories are Nobel Prizes awarded? And when was each first awarded? Bonus if you can name the people (not groups or organizations) who won more than one.

The answer is:

Swedish chemist Alfred Bernhard Nobel (1833–1896) is known for inventing dynamite, and for endowing the Nobel Prizes in his will. The first Nobel Prizes were awarded in 1901, in the fields of Chemistry, Literature, Peace, Physics, and Physiology or Medicine. In 1969, a sixth category was added: Economics. The “prize” consists of a gold medal, a diploma, and a monetary award (currently worth about $1.1 million).

Four people have each won two prizes:

  • Marie Curie, Polish-born French physicist and chemist (1867–1934), won the Physics prize in 1903 and the Chemistry prize in 1911.
  • Linus Pauling, US chemist (1901–1994), won the Chemistry prize in 1954 and the Peace Prize in 1962.
  • John Bardeen, US physicist (1908–1991), won the Physics prize in 1956 and 1972.
  • Frederick Sanger, British biochemist (1918–2013) won the Chemistry prize in 1958 and 1980.

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Ian’s Tough Trivia is a daily feature of this blog. Each day, I post a tough question, as well as the answer to the previous day’s question. At some point, I’ll offer a prize for whoever has the most correct answers, and another for whoever participates most often (I’ll take into account people coming in after the start: regular participation starting later is just as good as regular participation starting earlier). There may also be a prize for the funniest or most amusing wrong answer. 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?

Financial support in the form of tips is very much appreciated: paypal.me/ianrandalstrock

Tough Trivia, 4/28/21

Today’s Tough Trivia question: Ignoring the conspiracy theorists and science deniers, we know that twelve people have so far walked on Earth’s Moon. How many of them can you name? (Bonus: which of the Apollo missions did not land on the Moon?)

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Yesterday’s question was: In this history of the Supreme Court, only one person has resigned from the Court, and then later been reappointed to it. Who was it, and why did he resign the first time?

The answer is:

Chief_Justice_Charles_Evans_Hughes
Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes.

Charles Evans Hughes, Sr. Born April 11, 1862, he was a lawyer, and the governor of New York (1907–1910). In 1910, President Taft appointed Hughes to the Supreme Court (he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate). In 1916, trying to reunify the Republican Party after the Theodore Roosevelt–William Howard Taft schism (which split the party and gave the presidential election of 1912 to Woodrow Wilson), party leaders asked Hughes to accept the nomination for president, and on June 10, 1916, he resigned from the court to campaign for the presidency (he is the only member of the Supreme Court to become a presidential candidate).

Hughes lost the election of 1916 in a fairly close vote, 49.2% to 46.1% (in the electoral college, the vote was 277 for Wilson, and 254 for Hughes). And then he went back to practicing law. In March 1921, new President Warren Harding appointed Hughes the 44th Secretary of State (he served for four years), and then once again returned to his old law firm.

On February 3, 1930, with Chief Justice Taft gravely ill, President Hoover nominated Hughes to be the next Chief Justice. The Senate confirmed Hughes by a vote of 52–26, and he took his oath of office on February 24, 1930. (Hughes’ son, Charles Jr., resigned as Solicitor General when his father became Chief Justice.)

On June 30, 1941, Hughes retired from the Supreme Court for the second time. He died on August 27, 1948.

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Ian’s Tough Trivia is a daily feature of this blog. Each day, I post a tough question, as well as the answer to the previous day’s question. At some point, I’ll offer a prize for whoever has the most correct answers, and another for whoever participates most often (I’ll take into account people coming in after the start: regular participation starting later is just as good as regular participation starting earlier). There may also be a prize for the funniest or most amusing wrong answer. 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?

Financial support in the form of tips is very much appreciated: paypal.me/ianrandalstrock

Tough Trivia, 4/27/21

Today’s Tough Trivia question: In this history of the Supreme Court, only one person has resigned from the Court, and then later been reappointed to it. Who was it, and why did he resign the first time?

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1024px-USS_Nimitz_(CVN-68)
USS Nimitz in 2009.

Yesterday’s question was: There are 24 active aircraft carriers in the world (of the horizontal take-off and landing type, not counting those which are strictly vertical take-off, or helicopter carriers). Five countries have one (France, India, Russia, Spain, and Thailand [though the fighter wing was retired from service in 2006]), four countries have two (Australia [though they don’t have any carrier-based fixed-wing aircraft], China, Italy, and the UK), and the United States has eleven. Name the active US aircraft carriers… in the order they were commissioned.

The answer is:

CVN-68, USS Nimitz (named for Admiral Chester W. Nimitz), commissioned in 1975.
CVN-69, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, commissioned in 1977.
CVN-70, USS Carl Vinson (named for the US Representative [represented Georgia, 1914–1965] and chairman of the House Armed Services Committee [1955–1965]), commissioned in 1982.

1280px-USS_Gerald_R._Ford_(CVN-78)_underway_on_8_April_2017
USS Gerald R. Ford in 2017.

CVN-71, USS Theodore Roosevelt, commissioned in 1986.
CVN-72, USS Abraham Lincoln, commissioned in 1989.
CVN-73, USS George Washington, commissioned in 1992.
CVN-74, USS John C. Stennis (named for the US Senator [represented Mississippi, 1947–1989] and chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee [1969–1981]), commissioned in 1995.
CVN-75, USS Harry S Truman, commissioned in 1998.
CVN-76, USS Ronald Reagan, commissioned in 2003.
CVN-77, USS George H.W. Bush, commissioned in 2009.
CVN-78, USS Gerald R. Ford, commissioned in 2017.

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Ian’s Tough Trivia is a daily feature of this blog. Each day, I post a tough question, as well as the answer to the previous day’s question. At some point, I’ll offer a prize for whoever has the most correct answers, and another for whoever participates most often (I’ll take into account people coming in after the start: regular participation starting later is just as good as regular participation starting earlier). There may also be a prize for the funniest or most amusing wrong answer. 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?

Financial support in the form of tips is very much appreciated: paypal.me/ianrandalstrock