1. Identify the fictional character who has been the subject of an epic poem by Lord Byron, a film starring Errol Flynn, a comedy by Moliere, and an opera buffa by Mozart.
This question had four points of entry, and one of them was theater, and another was movies. Therefore this was a gimme in every possible way, except for the small problem that I didn’t know the answer. I’ve been trying not to get hung up on any particular question but this one sucked me in, because it seemed so, so gettable. I squeezed my brains like a kitchen sponge, trying to come up with something, anything. Whatever it is I wanted, it wasn’t coming to me. I knew I was going wince when I saw the answer, and I was right: Don Juan.
2. Of the 12 other nations on the South American mainland (including one overseas region of France), Brazil borders all of them but two. Name those two.
I said “Chile” with a surprising amount of confidence, given the category. But there wasn’t much hope of naming both countries. I went with Peru. Should have gone with Ecuador.
3. This is the work of what French Primitivist?
I didn’t spend even ten seconds on this one. I put down Miro for no particular reason. Correct answer: Henri Rosseau.
4. The highest possible hand in cribbage consists of three fives and a Jack, with the cut card being a five same-suited to the Jack. How many points is this hand worth?
My wife and I used to play cribbage almost every day, and I also used to play online — anybody remember Sierra Online? It was an early online service specializing in parlor games. I was on there a lot, at one point.
So, sure, I remember cribbage, and I remember the scoring is fairly nuts. Cribbage is like a drinking game that’s tried to go straight. Combinations of cards that add up to 15 are worth two points each. So four 5s and Jack would be worth 16 points. (Trust me.) Then you’ve got a four-of-a-kind. That scores 12 points, bringing us up to 28.
But, aha! Let’s not forget “nobs.” That’s 2 points when the suit of the cut card matches the Jack. You see what I mean about the rules of this game? So now we’re at 30 points, and we’re done.
WHAT? The correct answer is 29?! You what how the COME ON WHAT?!
Oh, crap. “Nobs” is only worth one point. There’s a different cribbage rule called, for unfathomable reasons, “his heels.” THAT is what scores two points — when the cut card is itself a Jack. So I was off by one.
What a stupid game.
5. Ryan Dunn, Chris Pontius, Bam Margera, Brandon DiCamillo, and Raab Himself were all, originally, members of the cast of what television series?
“Raab Himself?” I went with Reno 911, on the basis that the answer was surely an absurd comedy. Right genre, sort of, but wrong show: Jackass.
6. A 1964 album subtitled England’s Newest Hit Makers, which featured the singles ‘Not Fade Away’ and ‘Tell Me’, as well as the Holland/Dozier/Holland classic ‘Can I Get a Witness’, was the U.S. debut release from what rock band?
And we conclude with my one right answer, which was the result of a modestly educated guess. I’ll take it, I guess.
At first, I misunderstood the question, believing this to be an album by an American band, released in England. Two of the songs, after all, are American classics. I knew the Grateful Dead covered Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away,” so that’s what I put in the blank.
Then I finally saw “U.S. debut” and it dawned on me that this was a British band. Oh. Well, didn’t The Rolling Stones also cover “Not Fade Away?” I thought they had, and the timing seemed about right. So I went with it. Yay.