Saturday, February 10, 2007

Trivial Pursuit 25th Anniversary - Random Trivia Questions

You've caused us to strain our brains, argue with our best friends, and travel in circles so much we wanted Depends.
You've made us Roll again more than a hot craps shooter in a gambling den and dance around the center hexagon wishing we could Roll again again.
You've frustrated us with twisted pie slices wedged inextricably and totally guessable answers that we've missed inexplicably.
Yet for all the trials and tribulations you've put us through, Happy 25th Anniversary, Trivial Pursuit®, we still love you!

According to the official web site, after a minor debut in Canada, the "game was first shown in the U.S. at the American International Toy Fair in New York City in February 1982." The following year, Selchow and Righter purchased the U.S. rights, and Trivial Pursuit's wheel-and-spokes gameboard and 6,000 short-answer questions sparked a trivia fad that reversed the damage of the 1950s game show scandals and led a resurgence of trivia on kitchen tables, on television, and in bars.

In Ken Jenning's Futile Pursuit blog entry (June 23, 2006), the Jeopardy! genius examined the sad fate of Joseph A. DeBartolo's 1984 book In Further Pursuit of Trivial Pursuit, which attempted to explain the answers to every question in the original game. DeBartolo's idea was absolutely brilliant, except that he neglected to get permission to borrow all of the questions and answers and even the look-and-feel of the game's blue box and orange lettering. I didn't discover Ken's article until last month, but once I did my fingers raced as fast as they could across my trackpad to Amazon and Froogle, where I happily located a used copy for fifty cents (and seven times that in shipping). Despite its completely different purpose, IFPoTP was the closest thing to my Trivia Why's book series I'd ever heard of. The well-worn copy I received inspired me in an unexpected direction, however, leading to not only this week's themed quiz but also a much grander project.

In Winning at Trivial Pursuit, published in the same year, Jeff Rovin documented a mere eleven errors in the Genus Edition, including only five answers that were just plain incorrect. Meanwhile, DeBartolo complimented, "In very rare instances were there ever inaccuracies", just under sixty by my count after weeding out his wrong and weak objections, including only seventeen bad answers. Even if the actual number is twice that, only half of a percent of the answers are incorrect, so as maligned as Trivial Pursuit has been over the years, Scott Abbott and Chris Haney deserve more praise than they get for the admirably high original accuracy of the first Genus Edition!

I wondered, how well have the original edition's answers held up over a quarter century?!?

During the past month, in addition to reading the two previously mention books and searching the World Wide Web and Usenet news archives, I inspected all 6,000 questions to determine as best I could which answers are still right and which are now wrong. Since life in general and trivia in particular are rarely black-and-white, I further broke down the answers into the following seven groups:

Answer StatusCorrect Answer?Description
OkayYesAnswer was correct in 1982 and is still correct now (typos, spelling errors, and quote paraphrases ignored).
AdjustedYesAnswer is correct, but the question needs a tweak to be completely accurate. In some cases, even though the question is bad, the answer required is clear.
HistoricalYesAnswer isn't arguable but refers in the present tense to something that no longer exists.
PartialMaybeAnswer is one of two or more possible correct answers.
DebatableMaybeAnswer is arguable because it is difficult to determine or the question is vague.
IncorrectNoAnswer was already incorrect in 1982.
ChangedNoAnswer was correct in 1982 but is incorrect now.

Summarized by answer status and category, let's first look at how accurate the answers were in 1982 (technically November 1981, but even the publishers released their 20th Anniversary edition in 2002):

OkayAdjustedHistoricalPartialDebatableIncorrect
Geography980 (98.0%)2 (0.2%)1 (0.1%)5 (0.5%)4 (0.4%)8 (0.8%)
Entertainment988 (98.8%)3 (0.3%)0 (0.0%)7 (0.7%)0 (0.0%)2 (0.2%)
History988 (98.8%)8 (0.8%)0 (0.0%)0 (0.0%)0 (0.0%)4 (0.4%)
Art & Literature989 (98.9%)3 (0.3%)0 (0.0%)5 (0.5%)1 (0.1%)2 (0.2%)
Science & Nature968 (96.8%)9 (0.9%)0 (0.0%)12 (1.2%)4 (0.4%)7 (0.7%)
Sports & Leisure969 (96.9%)8 (0.8%)0 (0.0%)18 (1.8%)0 (0.0%)5 (0.5%)
TOTAL5882 (98.03%)33 (0.55%)1 (0.02%)47 (0.78%)9 (0.15%)28 (0.47%)

For this week's quiz, I selected two questions from each category. Try to guess both the correct original answer (for one point) and the correct current answer (for another point). Note that the phrasing of the original question may not grammatically match the current answer.

Trivial Pursuit 25th Anniversary Questions

  • Q1) What U.S. state has the smallest population?
  • Q2) What continent has the most people per square mile?
  • Q3) What play holds the record for the longest run on Broadway?
  • Q4) What film holds the record for the most Academy Awards won, with 11?
  • Q5) Who is Captain Mark Phillips married to?
  • Q6) What was the largest passenger liner ever built?
  • Q7) What's the world's most-read comic strip?
  • Q8) What's the second-biggest selling magazine in America?
  • Q9) What U.S. state raises the most turkeys?
  • Q10) What country has the third-most satellites in orbit?
  • Q11) What baseball player was walked the most times?
  • Q12) What game is the biggest money-maker for Las Vegas casinos?

Come back tomorrow for the answers and the entire list of Trivia Pursuit Genus Edition updates and corrections.

1 comment:

Trivia Why's Guy said...

Updated statistics for original statuses. See comments on the complete updates and corrections list for details.