Friday, July 20, 2007

The toenails never grow at all?

I've been trying to write a trivia week, and I've come to appreciate just how hard it is. Twenty-two questions (twenty, if you go with a "Six Degrees" halftime question), they have to be unambiguous, they have to be hard enough to make people think, but not so hard that no one in the restaurant will know them. I can see how the guess-the-number questions creep in so often.
This week, I'm afraid the creators fell down on the "unambiguous" part. While the Cajuns did indeed come from the Acadia region of what is now Canada, they are mainly of French descent, and were expelled from the region a good eighty years before Canada became a country (thanks Wikipedia!), so to say that they emigrated from Canada (and not France) is not entirely correct. The big controversy, though, was over the following question: "Name one of the two man-made structures visible from space." Nearly everyone submitted The Great Wall of China, and was surprised to find out that it was wrong! The correct answers given were the Pyramids of Giza and the Hoover Dam. The only place I can find this as an answer is here, but the Great Wall has been confirmed as visible, as has the Three Gorges Dam. The problem, as several articles mention, is defining "from space." If you're just in low earth orbit, you can see lots of man-made structures (I can't find the Hoover Dam in these photos of Lake Mead, but that sure looks like an airport in the lower left corner). If you're out near the moon (it was claimed that the Great Wall can be seen from the moon), you can't see anything man-made. So, not the best question.

Here are my other misses. I just found out I got number 5 right, so I continue to be unhappy. I'll post the final question as a puzzle.

1. What is the full name (first and last) of the principal on "Saved By The Bell?"
2. What is the only planet in our solar system to rotate clockwise?
3. How many verses in "The Star-Spangled Banner?"
4. Connect Christopher Walken to Jeremy Piven in two degrees.
5. What is the oldest soft drink in America?
6. Which grows faster, the floor of the Atlantic Ocean, or your toenails?
7. What was the name of the dog on "Fraggle Rock?"

2 comments:

Laney said...

1. Mr. Belding. Does "Mister" count as a first name?
2. Uranus
6. My guess would be the floor of the Atlantic
7. Why did I watch Saved by the Bell but not Fraggle Rock? The Fraggles must have been on cable.

J. Bowman said...

1. No, "Mister" does not count. Mr. Belding's first name was Richard.
2. Venus, although the question should properly have said, "Which planet has a retrograde rotation?" After all, whether something rotates clockwise or counterclockwise depends on which direction you're viewing it from.
3. Three. I had this, but second-guessed myself.
4. The one I almost had, but I didn't know the middle actor's name: Piven was in Judgment Night with Peter Greene, who was in Pulp Fiction with Walken. Easier: Piven was in Old School with Vince Vaughn (or Will Ferrell), who was in Wedding Crashers with Walken.
5. The answer given was Dr. Pepper, which was produced in 1884. However, Both Vernor's Ginger Ale (my answer) and Hires Root Beer were produced in 1866, and both claim to be the oldest soft drink in the U.S.. Hires is even produced by the Dr. Pepper/Seven-Up Corporation, so they would certainly never claim Dr. Pepper was the oldest. I don't know how the question-maker came up with that answer.
6. The Atlantic Ocean. If only I had listened to Rosencrantz.
7. Sprocket. And yes, the Fraggles were on HBO.