Ken Jennings's Trivia Almanac

BOOK: Ken Jennings's Trivia Almanac
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CONTENTS

TITLE PAGE

DEDICATION

INTRODUCTION

JANUARY

JANUARY 1

JANUARY 2

JANUARY 3

JANUARY 4

JANUARY 5

JANUARY 6

JANUARY 7

JANUARY 8

JANUARY 9

JANUARY 10

JANUARY 11

JANUARY 12

JANUARY 13

JANUARY 14

JANUARY 15

JANUARY 16

JANUARY 17

JANUARY 18

JANUARY 19

JANUARY 20

JANUARY 21

JANUARY 22

JANUARY 23

JANUARY 24

JANUARY 25

JANUARY 26

JANUARY 27

JANUARY 28

JANUARY 29

JANUARY 30

JANUARY 31

January Answers

FEBRUARY

FEBRUARY 1

FEBRUARY 2

FEBRUARY 3

FEBRUARY 4

FEBRUARY 5

FEBRUARY 6

FEBRUARY 7

FEBRUARY 8

FEBRUARY 9

FEBRUARY 10

FEBRUARY 11

FEBRUARY 12

FEBRUARY 13

FEBRUARY 14

FEBRUARY 15

FEBRUARY 16

FEBRUARY 17

FEBRUARY 18

FEBRUARY 19

FEBRUARY 20

FEBRUARY 21

FEBRUARY 22

FEBRUARY 23

FEBRUARY 24

FEBRUARY 25

FEBRUARY 26

FEBRUARY 27

FEBRUARY 28

FEBRUARY 29

February Answers

MARCH

MARCH 1

MARCH 2

MARCH 3

MARCH 4

MARCH 5

MARCH 6

MARCH 7

MARCH 8

MARCH 9

MARCH 10

MARCH 11

MARCH 12

MARCH 13

MARCH 14

MARCH 15

MARCH 16

MARCH 17

MARCH 18

MARCH 19

MARCH 20

MARCH 21

MARCH 22

MARCH 23

MARCH 24

MARCH 25

MARCH 26

MARCH 27

MARCH 28

MARCH 29

MARCH 30

MARCH 31

March Answers

APRIL

APRIL 1

APRIL 2

APRIL 3

APRIL 4

APRIL 5

APRIL 6

APRIL 7

APRIL 8

APRIL 9

APRIL 10

APRIL 11

APRIL 12

APRIL 13

APRIL 14

APRIL 15

APRIL 16

APRIL 17

APRIL 18

APRIL 19

APRIL 20

APRIL 21

APRIL 22

APRIL 23

APRIL 24

APRIL 25

APRIL 26

APRIL 27

APRIL 28

APRIL 29

APRIL 30

April Answers

MAY

MAY 1

MAY 2

MAY 3

MAY 4

MAY 5

MAY 6

MAY 7

MAY 8

MAY 9

MAY 10

MAY 11

MAY 12

MAY 13

MAY 14

MAY 15

MAY 16

MAY 17

MAY 18

MAY 19

MAY 20

MAY 21

MAY 22

MAY 23

MAY 24

MAY 25

MAY 26

MAY 27

MAY 28

MAY 29

MAY 30

MAY 31

May Answers

JUNE

JUNE 1

JUNE 2

JUNE 3

JUNE 4

JUNE 5

JUNE 6

JUNE 7

JUNE 8

JUNE 9

JUNE 10

JUNE 11

JUNE 12

JUNE 13

JUNE 14

JUNE 15

JUNE 16

JUNE 17

JUNE 18

JUNE 19

JUNE 20

JUNE 21

JUNE 22

JUNE 23

JUNE 24

JUNE 25

JUNE 26

JUNE 27

JUNE 28

JUNE 29

JUNE 30

June Answers

JULY

JULY 1

JULY 2

JULY 3

JULY 4

JULY 5

JULY 6

JULY 7

JULY 8

JULY 9

JULY 10

JULY 11

JULY 12

JULY 13

JULY 14

JULY 15

JULY 16

JULY 17

JULY 18

JULY 19

JULY 20

JULY 21

JULY 22

JULY 23

JULY 24

JULY 25

JULY 26

JULY 27

JULY 28

JULY 29

JULY 30

JULY 31

July Answers

AUGUST

AUGUST 1

AUGUST 2

AUGUST 3

AUGUST 4

AUGUST 5

AUGUST 6

AUGUST 7

AUGUST 8

AUGUST 9

AUGUST 10

AUGUST 11

AUGUST 12

AUGUST 13

AUGUST 14

AUGUST 15

AUGUST 16

AUGUST 17

AUGUST 18

AUGUST 19

AUGUST 20

AUGUST 21

AUGUST 22

AUGUST 23

AUGUST 24

AUGUST 25

AUGUST 26

AUGUST 27

AUGUST 28

AUGUST 29

AUGUST 30

AUGUST 31

August Answers

SEPTEMBER

SEPTEMBER 1

SEPTEMBER 2

SEPTEMBER 3

SEPTEMBER 4

SEPTEMBER 5

SEPTEMBER 6

SEPTEMBER 7

SEPTEMBER 8

SEPTEMBER 9

SEPTEMBER 10

SEPTEMBER 11

SEPTEMBER 12

SEPTEMBER 13

SEPTEMBER 14

SEPTEMBER 15

SEPTEMBER 16

SEPTEMBER 17

SEPTEMBER 18

SEPTEMBER 19

SEPTEMBER 20

SEPTEMBER 21

SEPTEMBER 22

SEPTEMBER 23

SEPTEMBER 24

SEPTEMBER 25

SEPTEMBER 26

SEPTEMBER 27

SEPTEMBER 28

SEPTEMBER 29

SEPTEMBER 30

September Answers

OCTOBER

OCTOBER 1

OCTOBER 2

OCTOBER 3

OCTOBER 4

OCTOBER 5

OCTOBER 6

OCTOBER 7

OCTOBER 8

OCTOBER 9

OCTOBER 10

OCTOBER 11

OCTOBER 12

OCTOBER 13

OCTOBER 14

OCTOBER 15

OCTOBER 16

OCTOBER 17

OCTOBER 18

OCTOBER 19

OCTOBER 20

OCTOBER 21

OCTOBER 22

OCTOBER 23

OCTOBER 24

OCTOBER 25

OCTOBER 26

OCTOBER 27

OCTOBER 28

OCTOBER 29

OCTOBER 30

OCTOBER 31

October Answers

NOVEMBER

NOVEMBER 1

NOVEMBER 2

NOVEMBER 3

NOVEMBER 4

NOVEMBER 5

NOVEMBER 6

NOVEMBER 7

NOVEMBER 8

NOVEMBER 9

NOVEMBER 10

NOVEMBER 11

NOVEMBER 12

NOVEMBER 13

NOVEMBER 14

NOVEMBER 15

NOVEMBER 16

NOVEMBER 17

NOVEMBER 18

NOVEMBER 19

NOVEMBER 20

NOVEMBER 21

NOVEMBER 22

NOVEMBER 23

NOVEMBER 24

NOVEMBER 25

NOVEMBER 26

NOVEMBER 27

NOVEMBER 28

NOVEMBER 29

NOVEMBER 30

November Answers

DECEMBER

DECEMBER 1

DECEMBER 2

DECEMBER 3

DECEMBER 4

DECEMBER 5

DECEMBER 6

DECEMBER 7

DECEMBER 8

DECEMBER 9

DECEMBER 10

DECEMBER 11

DECEMBER 12

DECEMBER 13

DECEMBER 14

DECEMBER 15

DECEMBER 16

DECEMBER 17

DECEMBER 18

DECEMBER 19

DECEMBER 20

DECEMBER 21

DECEMBER 22

DECEMBER 23

DECEMBER 24

DECEMBER 25

DECEMBER 26

DECEMBER 27

DECEMBER 28

DECEMBER 29

DECEMBER 30

DECEMBER 31

December Answers

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

ALSO BY KEN JENNINGS

COPYRIGHT

T
O
M
INDY AND
W
IKIPEDIA,
who are both nearly always right

Introduction

I
T SEEMED LIKE IT WAS GOING TO BE SO EASY.

I spent most of 2005 submerged in the world of trivia nuts, writing my book
Brainiac.
I was (and still am) writing a weekly “Tuesday Trivia” e-mail quiz for visitors to my website. As a result, I was seeing trivia everywhere I looked. While driving by the Olive Garden restaurant by the mall: hmm, the Olive Garden logo is a fruit that’s not an olive. While looking at a fistful of change at the grocery store: hmm, two different state quarters have George Washington on their “tails” side as well as on the “heads.” While my wife was in labor: hmm, childbirth contractions are measured in units named for the capital of Uruguay. “Um, sorry, honey, my mind was elsewhere. Go ahead and push now.”

I needed to get all this trivia out of my system, cleanse myself of all the clutter. The book you now hold in your hands would, I thought, be my trivia enema. (In fact,
Ken Jennings’s Trivia Enema
was its original working title, before wiser heads prevailed.)

I pictured a 365-day trivia almanac, stuffed to the gills with odd historical facts from every day of the year, each tied to a related trivia quiz. What could be easier, in a world packed with exotic little factoids? It would be like gaily skipping through an alpine meadow, picking whatever wildflowers of trivia happened to catch my eye. A fact here, a question there, and pretty soon I’d have a book, right?

As it turned out, a better title for the book might have been
Ken Jennings’s Trivia Aversion Therapy.
Math was never my strong suit in school, but it turns out that twenty or thirty trivia questions for each day of the calendar year runs to about nine thousand questions in total.

Nine
thousand.
That’s two whole boxes of Trivial Pursuit. That’s most of a season of
Jeopardy!
As far as I can tell, this is the biggest single assembly of trivia questions ever published in this country, in
any
form. And writing nine thousand trivia questions comes with challenges beyond mere volume, it turns out. In case you have professional curiosity, or just want to feel my pain (
Ken Jennings’s Trivia Pity Party!
) here are a few of the difficulties inherent in writing an über-trivia book of this scale.

         

O
VER EASY OR HARD-BOILED?
My favorite trivia questions aren’t simple fact retrieval. They involve a little bit of
work
—forehead furrowing, lip chewing, tossing the question around with friends and family—before the sudden flash of insight that produces the answer. “Who’s the only U.S. president with a four-syllable surname?” is probably not the kind of question you can answer off the top of your head, but it’s not annoyingly esoteric either. But a book of nine thousand brain-straining questions like that might be, well, a little exhausting. So I’ve sprinkled in some of the easy, quick-response kind of questions (“What country’s national carrier is Qantas Airways?”) as well as—I’ll admit—a few maddeningly abstruse ones that just happen to have interesting answers (“Dolbear’s Law relates air temperature to the speed of what?”). So don’t flip to the answer section too quickly—given a moment’s thought, you may surprise yourself with how much you actually know.

         

T
HE GENERATION GAP.
A 15-year-old trivia buff and a 65-year-old trivia buff are going to have different ideas of what pop culture and what once-current events constitute fair game for quizzing. To someone of exactly the right age, the sentence “Bill Laimbeer played one of the Sleestaks on
Land of the Lost
” will elicit a smile of happy recognition. To anyone else, it will only elicit a puzzled “Bill Laim-who played one of the what-staks on
Land of the
what now?” I’ve tried to avoid the hopeless minutiae of
any
generation, even—as tempting as it seemed—my own Gen-X childhood. But rest assured that, no matter what your age, you’ll probably feel too old for some of the questions herein and too young for others.

         

E
QUAL TIME.
Quiz show and board game questions are produced by staffs of dozens of diverse writers, but this book all poured out of one head: mine. So I’m terrified that the questions will reflect my own personal preferences and prejudices. Are there too few NASCAR questions? Too much breakfast cereal? What if there’s twice as much Beatles as Elvis or more
CSI: NY
than
CSI: Miami
? What if there are two questions on the Sino-Japanese War and only one on the Russo-Japanese War? Aaaargh!

         

HAKUNA ERRATA.
Finally, there’s accuracy. I’ve been over this book with a fine-toothed comb, and so have many other trivia gurus of my acquaintance, but I know from experience that we couldn’t have caught every possible error in a book this size. Trivia is an odd field: the very best finds are the odd and nearly unbelievable facts, and those are also the ones most likely to

have been misreported or exaggerated or, sometimes, simply made up. Also, times change—this book may have been current when I finished it in the summer of 2007, but I can’t vouch for all its facts if you’re reading it in some remainder bin of the far-flung future of 2009 or beyond. If you spot goofs or have other comments or questions, drop me a line via Ken-Jennings.com so we can fix ’em in any future editions.

I hope you enjoy this endlessly overstuffed clown car of trivia (
Ken Jennings’s Trivia Clown Car
?). Trivia, I’ve always thought, has the wonderful side effect of making knowledge seem fun, or even sexy. It can bring back fond memories, or spark new interests, or inspire marvel at the wonderful strangeness of the world around us. Maybe some of the facts in the nine-thousand-odd questions that follow will do something like that for you. But even if these quizzes just provide a momentary rainy day diversion—well, there’s nothing trivial about that, either.

You know, I just searched the manuscript one final time for the letters “TK” (a publishing-speak placeholder abbreviation for “To Come”) and immediately got back a great list of legitimate trivia answers with the letters “tk” in them: Dick Butkus, OutKast, Kamchatka, the Atkins Diet, Latka Gravas. And my first thought, even after eight grueling months of question writing, was, “Wow, what a great idea for a quiz! I wonder if I can squeeze it in somewhere.”

So much for getting the trivia jones out of my system. Maybe there’s still more TK.

BOOK: Ken Jennings's Trivia Almanac
11.46Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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