ask me another

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006
I was organizing a bookshelf and found a fun book my mother gave me as a gift a few years ago. It's called Ask Me Another: The Question Book and is made up entirely of general knowledge quizzes. The best part is that it was published in 1927! It's like old school Jeopardy and trivial pursuit, but without buzzers, dice or questions about Melrose Place. What was common knowledge then may not be of any relevance today, but it's still interesting to see what WAS general knowledge 80 years ago.

Here's a bit from the author's forward (why aren't forwards this fun anymore?): "The sole purpose of this book is to provide entertainment by giving an opportunity to test one's knowledge in competition with others. Most of us take our mental equipment rather for granted. Usually our friends have somewhat the same range of interests as ourselves, and, in the ordinary course of events, no chance occurs to find out how broad our knowledge really is. Here, one can match up against worthy competition and experience the thrill which comes of improving one's score by finally dragging forth a reluctant and protesting bit of information from some deep recess of the mind where it has lain hidden until a frantic search at last reveals its hiding-place."

... and so on. There are over fifty general quizzes (each consisting of 50 questions), plus some specialty subject quizzes and a "super quiz" in the back. Scores of various famous personages are put at the top of each quiz so you can see how you measure up, I suppose. In General Quiz Number Three, Dorothy Parker beat the socks off of Davis Cup winner William T. Tilden II!

For fun and possibly making yourself the scourge of the Thanksgiving table, here are some questions (chosen at random by me) from General Quizzes Number One and Two.

1. What style of writing did the early Babylonians use?
2. What is a centaur?
3. What product is advertised by the slogan: "Four out of five get it before they are forty"?
4. Who is the best known Indiana poet?
5. Who wrote The Legend of Sleepy Hollow?
6. What was the "Tweed Ring"?
7. What British music-hall comedian has since become most prominent in American moving pictures?
8. Who wrote Lorna Doone?
9. What is a paynim?
10. Who is generally credited with having introduced tobacco into Europe?
11. Name three well-known German composers whose last names begin with the letter "B."
12. Name the most commonly used make of tractor.
13. What is the longest river in Europe?
14. Who was Solon?
15. For whom was the month of August named?
16. What phantom ship may be seen off the Cape of Good Hope in stormy weather?
17. What is a bittern?
18. For what words to the initials "e.g." stand for?
19. What is the Latin derivation of the word Fascism?
20. What promontory near Spain belongs to England?
6 comments on "ask me another"
  1. Well, my response is as "real" as can be...I wish the quiz did have a Melrose Place question...that way i would get one correct and the book would be from the future. That would be pretty nifty, eh? Gobble gobble...

  2. For you, BBD --

    21. In what season did Heather Locklear join the cast of Melrose Place?

    As for the other questions... I only know a few of them, and would guess on a few more, and then would just be making wild-ass guesses on the rest... like the best known Indiana poet!

  3. What a fun book! Is the tweed ring anything like the Bermuda triangle? Because that's how I like to think of it - someplace where you could be caught unaware and eaten by a giant tweed monster. Or maybe the tweed ring is just the area within a mysterious circumference where tweedy items go inexplicably missing. Sheesh. Now I'm completely confused! Stupid test!

  4. I would say the end of seasom 1 or season 2...I am not sure, but I do know that season 1 was totally lame

  5. The tweed ring is like stonehenge -- you step inside the circle and your underpants become VERY ITCHY. Just like at stonehenge!!! Those whimsical, so cruel...

    okay, I am going to guess and then I'll look it up -- I think the Tweed Ring is probably related to some sort of Robber Baron corruption. I'm picturing one of those old timey political cartoons with some GIANT dude dressed like the monopoly man stepping on the little people, or eating the state house or something. Let me now consult the answer key and see if it's bermuda triangle, itchy underpants, or the monopoly man... (you know it has to be ONE of those)
    ...and the monopoly man wins! The answer was "The inside political organization of Tammany Hall, headed by William Marcy Tweed (1823-1878), which took millions of dollars in graft from New York City during the eighteen sixties.

    BBD -- I think (if the show about the genius of Aaron Spelling that I was watching/article I was reading is to be believed, and why should I doubt it) she joined the cast at the end of season one and proceeded to Rock Their World and to make the show less boring. I never watched 90210 OR Melrose Place,If you can believe it. I KNOW!! In my defense, I think I did not get fox when they first came on. (they came on fox, right?)

  6. Yes, MP was on Fox, and I did NOT watch 90210. Well, I did watch when miss Emma Caulfield was on it, but that was entirely accidental. I think I must love her. Gobble gobble


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