My Week Off – Trivia Substitute


Hi everyone! I had a wedding to attend this weekend, so last week I decided not to write a puzzle for this Sunday. I give myself a break every 2-3 months or so, and I thought I’d use one this weekend. That paid off handsomely.

I couldn’t arrange to get a new installment of the X-word Files ready (please bite potential interviewees!), so instead, I’d thought I’d let you play some trivia.

The questions below come from two main sources: a trivia night I hosted at a residence hall on USC’s campus, and questions about universities the Gamecocks play that are sent in a weekly newsletter on campus.

The trivia night was played in rounds, with two category questions in each round. There was eight questions about USC, but those have been skipped. Pictures were a part of the trivia night, and those pictures have been provided for you. Click on any picture for a better look.

The newsletter questions usually focus on the school and the city/state where they are located, except for Georgia, which is just about the schools. Sports biased on many questions, so this is where you can improve if you’re a poor sports player.

No prizes here, just questions. There is a PDF at the bottom of the page so you can see how you did.

There will be a new crossword next week.


=TRIVIA NIGHT, September 17th, 2015=


1. If you know one thing about Albert Einstein, it’s that he developed the theory of relativity, which is represented by the equation E=mc2. What the letter “c” represent in that equation?

2. If the periodic table added the element “Volkswagonium”, it would probably be represented the symbol “Vw”, which has the property of being a two-letter symbol whose two letters are consecutive letters. Name any one of the three actual elements that have this property.


1. The two bestselling albums of Bruce Springsteen, which have collectively went 21 times platinum, both begin with what word?

2. The recently-released song “What Do You Mean?”, which will be a part of the artist’s upcoming fourth album, is the current Billboard #1 hit as well as the first Billboard #1 hit for what artist?


1. The central figure of this painting is the Captain Frans Banning Cocq, and the nickname of this painting comes from the dark varnish surrounding it. One point for the name of the Dutch painter who created it, and one point for the name associated with this painting.

2. The music about to be played is the allegro section of a section of music that is a part of a larger suite of four violin concerti. One point for naming the Italian composer who created the set, and one point for naming the movement (not the name of the entire suite) the song comes from. [I actually played the song for teams to recognize. The movement I played is from the first of the four violin concerti. By context clues, you ought to be able to identify the music in question]


1. Clayton Kershaw, Yasiel Puig, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, and Zack Greinke are all members of what California-based sports team? Include both location name and team name, like “Detroit Red Wings”.

2. Identify the university whose football stadium is partially shown here.
Sports Literature

1. John Steinbeck’s novel “The Grapes of Wrath” begins in which US state?

2. Artist Gustave Dore created a set of 38 illustrations depicting a famous poem by a well-known British poet. Shown here are two illustrations of that set. Name the poet whose work is displayed here.


1. In reality, this building is Pasadena City Hall, but is certainly more famous for its use for exterior shots for a television show that is set in which US state?
TV2. First awarded in 1974, Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Series has saluted the best of non-animated kids shows. Name two of the three shows that have been nominated the most for the award.


1. On April 12, 1963, Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested and jailed, along with civil rights activists Ralph Abernathy and Fred Shuttlesworth, in what Southern city?

2. The time of fifth-century Athens, also known as the “Golden Age of Athens” is largely attributed and associated with what leader, a noted statesman, orator, and general?


1. Alphabet Inc. is a holding company that was created in 2015, and will serve as the umbrella company for what major tech company, which was founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin?

2. What corporation headquartered in Maplewood, Minnesota and whose products include everything from car-care products to Scotch Tape to Post-it Notes has the ticker symbol MMM at the New York Stock Exchange?


1. Celebrated by the blowing of the shofar and translating to “head of the year”, what holiday serves as the Jewish New Year?

2. Which book of the Bible has the most chapters, with 150?


1. Originally from the Spanish region of Andalusia, what soup features a tomato base, is made from raw vegetables including garlic and cucumber, and is served cold?

2. Besides cucumber, what fruit or vegetable is found in a California sushi roll?


1. What color is best associated with a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes?

2. What clothes item, first introduced by fashion designer Sonja de Lennart in 1948, rose to popularity in the late 50s / early 60s after actresses like Grace Kelly were seen wearing the clothes item on its namesake island while vacationing?


1. The titles of the highest grossing film of the year 1993 and the highest grossing film of the year 2015 both begin with what word?

2. This image is a screenshot of what influential 1967 film?

1. Name the thoroughfare pictured here.
Geog2. The second most populated island in the world, what island is home to the city of Tokyo?


1. Name the object depicted here.
GAmes2. In the board game Clue, name the colors of the pieces that represent women. List only the colors, not the names of the women (e.g. if Lady Tangerine was a character from Clue, write down “orange”)


-University of Kentucky: The school and the state

1. What three-word term is the name of the fan base for all University of Kentucky athletic programs?

2. What university famously beat the Kentucky Wildcats in an Elite Eight basketball game 104-103 in 1992, which ended with a buzzer beater shot by Christian Laettner?

3. What current Senate Majority Leader is an alumnus of the University of Kentucky College of Law?

4. The University of Kentucky is considered the “daughter institution” to a school once known as “Kentucky University”, but changed its name in 1908 to a rather spooky name. What is the current name of that school, a cross-town rival to UK?

5. What was the occupation of John T. Scopes, who majored in law and minored in geology as part of the Class of 1924 at UK, and who became nationally known in 1925?

6. The Order of the Palmetto is the highest civilian honor awarded by our state. What is the equivalent of this award for the state of Kentucky? The honor shares its name with a military rank, and the most notable person to ever receive this award for Kentucky often went by this name, despite never serving in the military.

7. As opposed to using the word “state”, the states of Kentucky, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia feature what 12-letter word in their official state names?

8. Who is the most recent winner of the Kentucky Derby?

9. Eliza and her son cross the Ohio River on an ice floe, escaping Kentucky, at the beginning of what 1852 novel?

10. What National Park found near Brownsville, Kentucky is home to the longest cave system known in the world?

-University of Georgia: Just the school

1. Founded in 1785, the University of Georgia is one of three schools that claim the title “Oldest Public University in the United States”. Name either school that also claims this title. Note: USC is not one of them.

2. “Mine eyes have seen the glory of the NCAA / They’re investigating Georgia players to see how much their paid / After counting all the cars, and the loans alumni made / They outpaid the NBA” is a stanza from what song written by rival Georgia Tech, to which they call Georgia “the cesspool of the South”?

3. UGA is the proud owner of three international residential centers for students to use when studying outside of the United States. One is found in Oxford University, one is found in Cortona, Italy, and the third is found in what country, whose capital is San Jose?

4. What iconic feature of Sanford Stadium, the home of Georgia football, had to be removed temporarily while the field was being used for soccer during the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta?

5. Georgia-native Ryan Seacrest attended UGA for basically a year before he left to pursue a Hollywood career. While his American Idol gig is almost over, Seacrest is still the host of what radio program, which first came on the airwaves in 1970?

6. Although he was both a Governor of Georgia, as well as serving in the US House of Representatives, what political office was Class of 1832 graduate Alexander H. Stephens best associated with? Stephens is also the only person in history to have ever held this position.

7. What Georgia Bulldog who received the 1982 Heisman Trophy famously began his post-collegiate career playing the now-defunct United States Football League (USFL)?

8. An air-conditioned dog house can be found on the football field during games as the rest area for what dog, the live mascot for the University of Georgia?

9. While Hootie & the Blowfish formed at USC in 1986, what rock band, with lead singer Michael Stipe, formed at the University of Georgia in 1980, and produced their first hit “Radio Free Europe” in 1981?

10. What winner of the 2012 and 2014 Masters Tournament in Augusta once played on the golf team at UGA?

-University of Central Florida: The school and the home city of Orlando

1. The University of Central Florida boasts having the most undergraduate enrolled for the entire US (at 51,269), but it has the second-highest enrollment for total enrollment (59,770, compared to USC’s 32,848). What university found in the city of Tempe has the highest total enrollment?

2. Surely the greatest UCF Knight to ever play football is what quarterback, who in 2004, while playing for the Minnesota Vikings, set the NFL single-season record for most total yardage by a QB at 5,123 (which has since been broken)?

3. What comedian and TV host who is a part of the UCF Class of 1996 has said “Your GPAs don’t matter, I went to UCF, my head writer went to Harvard and guess who tells him what the **** to do”?

4. The official university magazine for UCF is named after what mythological creature, which is also found in the school’s logo, which apparently “symbolizes the university’s vision of limitless possibilities”?

5. The UCF Knights were an inaugural member of the SSC from 1975 to 1984, an athletic conference that serves Division II teams (UCF has moved up to Division I FBS since then). Since all schools that play in the SSC are in Florida, it seems appropriate that the “SS” in SSC stand for what two words?

6. Orlando is the county seat of what Florida county?

7. Which Magic Kingdom attraction first opened in 1971 with 36 “participants”, and today features 43 “participants” (the most recent addition being added in 2009)?

8. Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando once featured a mighty “geyser” outside of its iconic building that spewed what substance? Sadly, the geyser has been removed because it apparently doesn’t fit with the “Blue Man Group” studio which has now taken over the Nickelodeon Studios building of the 90s.

9. What’s the official name of the giant geodesic ball that is found at EPCOT?

10. The mailing address for Walt Disney World Resort is technically not Orlando, but rather a city named for what lake, that comes from the Spanish for “good view”? Comically, the 2010 census shows that the population of this city was 10.

-University of Missouri: The school and the state

1. A 1911 game between Mizzou and the University of Kansas is considered the first occurrence of what kind of annual event in college football history? The Gamecocks will celebrate this kind of occurrence on October 17th, against Vanderbilt.

2. Remarkably, Mizzou is a member of the SEC East, like the Gamecocks. Of the seven members of the SEC West, Mizzou is actually more geographically west than five of them, with the exception of two schools. Name either of the two SEC West schools that are actually more geographically west than Mizzou.

3. The official mascot for the University of Missouri is a tiger named after what famous American, who never actually earned a college degree?

4. What celebrity who enrolled at the University of Missouri in 1982 and left the school a mere two weeks before graduation is a three-time Academy Award nominee, whose first nomination was for Best Supporting Actor in the 1995 film “12 Monkeys”?

5. In 1902, the University of Missouri (then known as Missouri University) bestowed an honorary degree to what famous Missourian? In an autobiography, this man wrote “I rejoiced again when Missouri University made me a Doctor of Laws…I not knowing anything about laws except how to evade them and not get caught.”

6. What’s the official state nickname of Missouri, which is said to have come from a quotation by Missouri Congressman Willard Vandiver in 1899?

7. Inside what structure could you find a plaque that featured the mathematical formula “y=-127.7ft x cosh (x/127.7 ft) + 757.7 ft”?

8. What classic 1971 video game begins in Independence, Missouri and ends (assuming you don’t die somewhere in between) at the Columbia River?

9. As opposed to a panhandle, the southeastern part of Missouri is known by what term? The Salento region of Italy is also known as “Italy’s” this.

10. What legendary baseball player and St. Louis native who sadly passed away on September 22nd, described the reason why he no longer went to the St. Louis restaurant Rigazzli’s with “Nobody goes there any more. It’s too crowded.”?



Scholarly Pursuits (#47)

Welcome everyone to Week 47! It’s now time to finally look at the the meta from two weeks ago, so let’s do it!

Also, if you tuned in for the first 30 minutes this blog post went live, sorry for the odd incompletion. Some strange draft of the post went live instead of the full post, but thankfully WordPress had the full version on autosave.

This puzzle was looking for an appropriate six-letter word, and the puzzle didn’t really have any theme answers, except for PNG045one 15-letter entry 40A – [Intersection locations] = STREET CROSSINGS.

The other grid entries didn’t really have many interesting things to say, but hopefully this entry helped lead you where you needed to go, with the synonyms CROSSING/Intersection/”Meeting” being found in the puzzle or its title, the word “street” is where you needed to go.

While the words in the grid didn’t hide that much, there were 12 clues in the puzzle whose first word was a word that can precede “street”.

17A [Easy target for auto insurers] / 1D [Bourbon container] = (S)PORTS CAR / CA(S)K

4A [Elm City collegian] / 7D [Wall sized movie theater name] = YAL(I)E / (I)MAX

16A [“Coronation Ode” composer Edward] / 11D [Main shopping location in ancient Greece] = EL(G)AR / A(G)ORA

68A [Fleet detector] / 54D [Baker supply that comes in squeeze tubes] = SO(N)AR / ICI(N)G

72A [Sesame seed snack] / 59D [Side lot, e.g.] = H(A)LVA / ARE(A)

65A [Back of the $1 bill insignia] / 62D [“E” of BPOE] = GREAT SEA(L) / E(L)KS

These twelve streets intersect at six different letters, and reading these letters from left to right, and top then bottom, you get the word SIGNAL, which is found at street intersections.


So, 15 readers submitted “signal”. Congrats to those who got it, since this certainly was a trickier meta puzzle than usual. This week’s randomly selected winner was Erik Agard. He will join Jon Delfin, John L. Wilson, Jim Quinlan, Eric Maddy, Andy Keller, David Cole, Roger Barkan, and Patricia Miga in a future section of the site. Congrats Erik!

So, a few notes before I’m done with the post here:

-For those who didn’t get this week’s meta, don’t worry. The one that will celebrate the 50th puzzle on this blog will be coming up, and it will be easier.
-Themeless Nine will make its debut in two weeks, since I’m taking next week off. My first cousin is getting married next weekend, so I have zero idea how much time I’ll have, so I’ll be back the next week for a new puzzle. However, I will have some educational stuff next Sunday, so be sure to tune in for that.
-Unfortunately, that educational stuff will not be an “X-word file”. I like having breaks on the blog, and I love that “X-word files” are a great way to use those breaks. However, I’ve been putting out a LOT of feelers for interviews that have gone nowhere. As of this writing, I have tried to arrange interviews regarding ASTA, OMOO, EPEE, ULEE, and ERTE, and the people I’ve emailed did not reply. Don’t worry, I will continue to do this interview session, and I sincerely hope that I’ll be able to interview noted experts on each of those 5 topics (and more!), but I just haven’t been able to get the right people with my recent attempts. But soon, I promise!

Thanks everyone, and enjoy the puzzle.


Just Puttering Around (#46)


Hey everyone, and welcome to Week 46!

Last week was a meta puzzle, and usually, this post would be dedicated to showing its solution. However, I realize that releasing a meta puzzle in the middle of Labor Day Weekend might have been a tough decision, since I know many of you probably read the blog on Sunday promptly, not read it for six days, and then read it again the next Sunday. That is how weekly blogs work.

So, since today is a new Sunday, I’m giving all of you who were enjoying Labor Day Weekend an extension on the meta puzzle.

I will be accepting Week 45 meta answers all the way until Friday at noon, and I will post the solution to the meta on next Sunday’s blogpost.

This week’s puzzle was inspired by my trip to Myrtle Beach, and was a joy to put together. It’s a subject that’s very near to my heart, and I hope you’ll enjoy it. Maybe it’s because I was enjoying the subject of this puzzle so much that I’m having this meta extension.

Enjoy the puzzle everyone, and be sure to send me your meta solution from last week! It’s a five-day workweek this week, so no excuses!


Meta: Meeting of the Minds (#45)

Welcome everyone to Week 45! We are only weeks away from celebrating the one year anniversary of the blog, and we have now finished the ninth complete cycle. Time is certainly a funny thing. But, since this puzzle’s number ends with a 5 or a 0, it’s now time for a meta puzzle!

For this ninth meta of the blog, I’m looking for an appropriate six-letter word. When you think you have it, email me at cking.gow(at) with your answer. I’ll accept answers all the way to noon ET on Saturday. UPDATE: I’ve extended the date until noon Friday, September 18th, due to Labor Day Weekend fun.

The picture used for this blog post is from Monet’s “The Japanese Bridge”, and is a tribute to Merl Reagle, as both Monet and Merl used a lot of green paint.

In BEQ’s recent tribute crossword, he wrote:

“Green paint” is industry shorthand for a crossword answer that while definitely exists in real life, doesn’t feel “conversational enough” to be a truly legit entry in a puzzle. But since Merl’s puzzles were already gonzo, he could get away with it, and those infelicities were filed under “Merl Being Merl.”

I never had the chance to meet Merl Reagle in person, but as with most people in this puzzle community, you certainly felt like you knew him when you were solving his puzzles. He certainly inspired the indie puzzling community, and his inspirations inspired those whose inspirations inspired people like me and many others. Both Matisse and Picasso have described painter Paul Cezanne with the title “the father of us all”, and I can’t think of a better phrase to use to describe Merl. His impact on the crossworld is wide and deep, and we shall all miss him very dearly.

Also, if you haven’t solved both Kevin Der’s and Evan Birnholz’s tribute puzzles to Merl yet, that is something you should do as soon as possible.

Thanks everyone, and enjoy the puzzle. Be sure to email me your answer!