This year, some of my co-workers and I have been participating in a daily trivia game. Someone bought a page-a-day calendar that features Trivial Pursuit questions, and every afternoon, we ask that day's question and award bragging rights to the winner. And sometimes, when this is not enough to satisfy our hunger for trivia, someone prepares a special Friday Trivia Quiz. This week, it was my turn.
The people at my office, I should note, all have different areas of expertise. Some of the guys have an awe-inspiring knowledge of sports trivia. One girl knows everything there is to know about Russia. And I am the resident theater and literature expert, so I prepared a quiz heavy on those subjects. I wondered if I was making my co-workers go too far out of their comfort zones; nevertheless, I realized that the only way to write a good quiz was to choose subjects that made sense to me. For instance, I know so little about sports that I have no way to judge whether a sports trivia question is easy or hard, obscure or common knowledge. Whereas I am able to judge the difficulty level of the questions on this quiz. The musical theater questions, for example, require a good general knowledge of who wrote some of Broadway's biggest hit songs. But if I were making a quiz for an audience of theater geeks, I could also have chosen songs and lyricists who were way more obscure.
Even so, I really stretched my co-workers' brains... they all agreed that this was a hard, hard quiz! Want to see how you stack up? Here are the questions that I e-mailed to my co-workers yesterday. I'm going to post the correct answers to the quiz in the comments section, so write down your responses on a piece of paper and click over there when you're done. Feel free to post your score, as well--and to let me know what you thought of the quiz!
Who wrote the following lines? Choose from: Samuel Beckett, Arthur Miller, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, Tennessee Williams. (Yes, there are four quotes and five potential authors. This is to make it harder!)
1. "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."
2. "Attention must be paid."
3. "Nothing is funnier than unhappiness."
4."We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."
Who wrote the following lyrics? Choose from: Ira Gershwin, Oscar Hammerstein, Alan Jay Lerner, Frank Loesser, Cole Porter.
5. "I got rhythm / I got music / I got my man / Who could ask for anything more?"
6. "Birds do it / Bees do it / Even educated fleas do it / Let's do it / Let's fall in love"
7. "Some enchanted evening / You may see a stranger / You may see a stranger / Across a crowded room"
8. "Stick with me, baby, I'm the fellow you came in with / Luck, be a lady tonight"
9. In 1968, the Best Actress nominees were Katharine Hepburn, Patricia Neal, Vanessa Redgrave, Barbra Streisand, and Joanne Woodward. The votes ended in a tie. Hepburn was one of the winners; who was the other?
10. How many women have ever been nominated for Best Director?
11. Woody Allen, Federico Fellini, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick. Only one of these men ever won an Oscar for Best Director. Who?
12. What actor appeared in only five films before his early death--but all of them were nominated for Best Picture?
GEOGRAPHY IN HISTORY
13. What 1883 event affected weather patterns worldwide?
14. Napoleon was born on an island, exiled to (and escaped from) a second island, and died on a third island. Name the islands.
15. What does "Fifty-Four Forty or Fight" refer to?
16. What city on the Baltic Sea was attacked by the Germans to begin World War II? Extra credit: Give both the German and Polish names of this city.
17. What poet was described as "mad, bad, and dangerous to know"?
18. What American author married his 13-year-old cousin?
19. What writer's published diary reveals that she had an affair with her own father?
20. What American writer stabbed his wife with a penknife, nearly killing her?
COMPOSERS & ROYALTY
21. King Ludwig of Bavaria was obsessed with the music of what composer?
22. Emperor Joseph accused what composer's music of having "too many notes"?
23. What German composer wrote several pieces of music in honor of the British royal family?
24. What composer's music became associated with the movement to get Victor Emmanuel crowned king of Italy?