With six days to go, I find myself not mired deep in the relegation zone, but sitting at the very top of it. It is possible that in the next few days I might find my name against a white background instead of, as always, a pink one. I will be very interested to see if I can manage to accomplish this.
Not, in the end, that it will matter: I have decided that this will be my last season of Learned League. It’s been a fun diversion, and I have very much enjoyed hanging out with you folks here. But I know by now that I am never going to make the effort necessary to improve my game, and that means I am destined for eternal Learned League mediocrity. I’d just as soon turn my attention to the things I am theoretically good at. Writing, for example. It’s been a heck of a while since I’ve done that.
But hey, we still have our six days left. Let’s look at Day 19:
1. Pictured here is an example of a form of pottery first developed by what English potter of the 18th c.?
Oh yeah, that picture really helped. Without it, I never would have been able to sort through my mental index of 18th-century potters. I used to collect the trading cards of historic European artisans, you know. I had a complete set of English silversmiths. Oh, what a joyous day it was when I finally found Robert Abercrombie!
Right. So, back in the land of reality, I had no idea what this answer was, and have never heard of Josiah Wedgwood.
Go ahead and admit it if you answered “Harry.”
2. In February, 2012, this U.S. state’s legislature became the first west of the Mississippi River to pass a law legalizing same-sex marriage.
Gimme. Washington. I was a little nervous that I was overlooking something, but I didn’t allow my doubts to drag me away from the right answer.
3. England expects that every man will do his duty is a quote — specifically, a maritime signal — attributed originally to what officer of the British Royal Navy?
I said Admiral Halsey because of the Paul McCartney song. Too bad William Halsey is American. Some help you are, Paul.
Correct answer: Horatio Nelson.
4. Name the man who served as President (from 1989-1998) and Chairman (from 1998-2011) of NBC Sports, having spent the early part of his career working for the network in Late Night Programming.
I was amazed to discover I knew this — Dick Ebersol, an early producer of Saturday Night Live. In my brain, his name is tied directly to Lorne Michaels, who popped up when I read the last three words of the question.
5. In this chart, commonly attributed to the management consulting firm BCG, a bovine term is missing from the red quadrant in the bottom left. What is the term?
Bovine term? I went with “bull” as in “bull market.” Correct answer: Cash cow. Oh, I see how that works now, sure.
6. The 1861 novel The House of the Dead illustrates a story of convicts living in a Siberian prison camp — a circumstance which, eight years earlier, described the author himself. Name the novelist.
Never heard of the book, so basically this boiled down to “Name an old-time Russian author,” and that meant Dostoyevsky, which was correct.