Trivia Bits – Week of May 15

May 15, 2017  
Filed under Crossword


In poetry, an anapest is a group of three syllables: two unstressed and one stressed. A poem written in anapestic tetrameter has four anapests in each line. (The prefix tetra means four.) It all sounds very fancy, until you realize that much of the poetry you loved best as a kid — and possibly still do! — was written in anapestic tetrameter. That includes most of Dr. Seuss as well as Clement Clark Moore’s “A Visit From St. Nicholas.” Read them aloud and you’ll see.

With a median age of about 15, the African nation of Niger has the youngest population of any country in the world. Uganda is a close second, and eight more African nations round out the top 10. By comparison, the world median age is around 30. The United States comes in with 40; Germany and Japan are nearly 47. Monaco has the world’s highest median age at an estimated 52.4.

In 1849, landscape artist James F. Wilkins made a 151-day journey from Missouri to California, keeping a diary and sketching throughout the trip. His route took him through southern Idaho past spectacular granite formations that were landmarks for westward bound emigrants. In his diary, Wilkins called the area “City of Rocks,” and the name stuck. Since 1988, it’s officially been known as City of Rocks National Reserve, part of the National Park System.

The oldest surviving globe of the world is the 1492 “Erdapfel” (earth apple), attributed to German merchant/geographer Martin Behaim. A close second is the Laon Globe made in France and dated 1493. They’re not the first globes ever made. In fact, Columbus probably brought a globe with him when he set sail for India in 1492. (Not that it did him much good.) What makes the Erdapfel and Laon Globe unusual, however, is that they were made before Columbus returned from his voyage. Thus they don’t depict the Americas.

The blackbird singing on the Beatles’ 1968 song “Blackbird” really is a blackbird. Paul McCartney recorded the song solo, playing an acoustic guitar. He wanted the recording to sound as if he were playing outdoors. So sound engineer Geoff Emerick added the birdsong from an Abbey Road Studios sound effects collection. The bird had been recorded by another sound engineer in his backyard a few years earlier.

Trench coats come to us from World War I, where they were worn by officers in the battle trenches. Their characteristic features had practical purposes: Epaulets displayed the officer’s rank; a back placket allowed water to run off the garment; front flaps provided cushioning against the butt of a rifle; gear was clipped to D rings on the belt. Resistant to “wind, wet and mud,” some trench coats also had a detachable fleece lining that could be used as an emergency blanket.


1. Dr. Seuss’s Thidwick was what type of creature?
A) Cat
B) Elephant
C) Lidwick
D) Moose

2. Dayton, Ohio, is named for Jonathan Dayton, who holds what distinction?
A) Aviation pioneer
B) Youngest Civil War general
C) First governor of Ohio
D) Youngest signer of the U.S. Constitution

3. Who carved the presidential portraits on Mount Rushmore?
A) Gutzon and Lincoln Borglum
B) Daniel Chester French
C) Henry Augustus Lukeman
D) John and Washington Roebling

4. What imaginary line runs through India, China, Mexico and the Bahamas at approximately 23.5 degrees north latitude?
A) Equator
B) International Date Line
C) Tropic of Cancer
D) Tropic of Capricorn

5. Suggested by reader Bob Sluis: What was Johnny Cash putting together in his 1976 song “One Piece at a Time”?
A) His broken heart
B) A Cadillac
C) A perfect woman
D) A railroad track

6. Which fictional detective is involved in the case of the Maltese Falcon?
A) Sherlock Holmes
B) Philip Marlowe
C) Hercule Poirot
D) Sam Spade


1) Thidwick was the “big-hearted moose” in a Dr. Seuss story.
2) Dayton, Ohio, is named for Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey, youngest signer of the U.S. Constitution.
3) Father and son Gutzon and Lincoln Borglum carved the images of the presidents in Mount Rushmore.
4) The Tropic of Cancer runs around the globe at approximately 23.5 degrees north latitude.
5) Johnny Cash was putting together a Cadillac in his 1976 song “One Piece at a Time.”
6) Dashiell Hammett’s detective Sam Spade is involved in the case of the Maltese Falcon.



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