Three ties in a row. That’s nothing to celebrate, really, but this latest tie was 2(2)-2(3), so I’m pleased that I defended perfectly and that my opponent did not.
1. What 1940 animated film was the first commercial film to be exhibited with stereophonic sound (i.e. in stereo)?
A Disney movie, obviously, but which one? I said Dumbo for no particular reason… and then thought — oh, wait a minute! It’s got to be Fantasia! A movie where the music is nearly as important as the animation! Suddenly this became a gimme.
2. A machine called the Thanatron, and a subsequent similarly applied device called the Mercitron, were both used for what purpose?
Thanatron rang a bell, and Mercitron did not, but it was the contrived name of the latter device that gave it to me: Either this thing teaches you how to say “thank you” in French, or it shows you mercy in some way. How might a machine show mercy? After some thought, it made sense that this thing would painlessly kill a suffering patient. I said “euthenasia,” and this was correct.
3. Cheryl’s mind turned like the vanes of a wind-powered turbine, chopping her sparrow-like thoughts into bloody pieces that fell onto a growing pile of forgotten memories. With that opening sentence, Sue Fondrie of Appleton, Wisconsin, in 2011 won a literary contest named after what English novelist and politician?
I know about this contest — it’s a “bad writing” contest inspired by the classic opening line, “It was a dark and stormy night.” But I have no idea who originally wrote that line. Apparently it was Edward George Bulwer-Lytton. Shyeah, right.
4. The 19th c. English painters and writers John Everett Millais, Frederic George Stephens, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and William Michael Rossetti were all members of a group which named itself after what other painter?
I guessed Manet just so as not to leave this blank. Should have said Raphael.
5. What is the current name of the sub-Saharan nation in West Africa which was known in its pre-colonial era, and from its 1960 independence until 1975, as Dahomey?
I was pretty pleased with my guess of Djibouti. Dahomey? Djibouti? Kinda sorta sounds the same if you squint your ears? (Do ears have a parallel to squinting?) Well, it was wrong. What I wanted was Benin.
6. HEAR Music, originally a small CD retailer, was purchased in 1999 by what corporation, where it is now that company’s record label and music brand?
A question I might have answered correctly on some other day, but the answer wasn’t coming to me when I needed it. I went with Amazon, fully aware this was going to be wrong. Starbucks. Oh, right! They sell music now. Darn.