Best trivia questions for fun-time discussion

I’m looking for really good trivia questions that can fuel fun-time conversation among friends, say in a bar/pub or over dinner. The kind of question that gets people thinking, guessing and wondering what it can be.

Two favourite examples (answers to be given later if needed):

  1. What is it that only people and armadillos can do?

  2. Who is the only person called Oscar who has won an Oscar?


  • The question should have that quirky/intriguing element that provokes curiosity and that ‘What can it possibly be?’ reaction.

  • I am not looking for ‘lateral thinking’ puzzles (midget in an elevator etc.)

  • No questions about sport.

  • Prefer qs that are not too culturally locked (I’m British, so questions that only someone in America could be expected to know aren’t much help to me.)

  • Extra points for qs where googling doesn’t help much.

This partly overlaps this very enjoyable thread but it partly doesn’t.

Who has won both an Oscar and a Nobel Prize?

Some will suggest Al Gore, but strictly speaking, the Oscar for Best Documentary didn’t go to him.

The right answer is…

George Bernard Shaw (he won a Best Screenplay Oscar for adapting his own play, “Pygmalion”).

Which character in “The Canterbury Tales” was ordered to stop his tale, because his poetry was so awful?

Answer: Geoffrey Chaucer himself

Who distinction was held by Reginald Pole?

Answer: He was the last Roman Catholic to hold the title Archbishop of Canterbury

If the answers don’t have to be true, or at least verifiable/citable, I could pass along quite a few “my old Pappy told me” sorts of things that have worked just fine in gatherings I have been involved in. Eventually somebody will call “bullshit” and we’ll move on to another equally debatable issue or topic. Truth isn’t a major barrier to fun-time discussions where I come from.

A couple that I came up with - the first one is admittedly England-centric. And the second one fails the Google test, but nevertheless is a delightful piece of trivia. I wish I could make a better-worded question out of it.

What is unusual about the names of English towns such as Penzance, Penrith, Skegness, Torquay, Torbay, Birkenhead, maybe Southend?

True or false - the Jacksons’ song “Blame it on the Boogie” was co-written by Michael Jackson?
Answers later.

Get leprosy.

Airplane, treadmill? :slight_smile:

Thanks for all contributions. Keep them coming!

USCDiver, yes, that’s the intended answer. I have heard that it’s not strictly true, and that some other critters have been found that can suffer from leprosy. But as far as I’m concerned, it’s close enough to be true to be worth asking. And it’s just such a weird, fun-sounding question to spring on people!

Zeldar… whatever you’ve got, we want to hear it!

Ximenean the first one is good. (And I don’t know the answer.) I know the ‘twist’ to do with the second one, but it’s hard to find the right phrasing that makes it a good ‘what could the answer be?’ question.

Rexnervous… not really the sort of thing I’m looking for! Good for starting arguments, though.

Okay. I’ll start with just one and see if “Daddy’s answer” is needed.

What are two things a hog won’t eat?

Yeah, it’s more of a “well, bugger me” type of question than a conversation starter. (The answer is that it is kinda true AND false - “Blame it on the Boogie” was co-written by Michael Jackson - Michael George Jackson, better known as Mick, not THE Michael Jackson.)

The answer to the first one is that they are among very few English town names in which the stress is on the final syllable (not counting one syllable names, obviously). Other arguable ones are Solihull and Gravesend, maybe Sheerness and Shoeburyness but I’m not sure how those are pronounced. And that’s about it AFAIK.

I don’t know, maybe that’s the most boring question in the world, but to me it seemed quite surprising.

Which planet is usually closest to Neptune?

The answer is…


Thanks Alive At Both Ends. Would appreciate some clarification regarding that answer!

I’ll add another one just to add to the fun.

Which capital city is half a country?

Here’s one that my wife managed to stump Daddy on: what state is the Statue of Liberty in?

She’s in a state of grace, of course.

This one is is very much in dispute. New Jerseyites regularly claim Liberty Island as their turf (not without some justificiation), but it’s not at ALL clear that they’re right.

This is an interesting case for discussion, but you’ wouldn’t want to use this as a question with a clear right-or-wrong answer.

See Post #5, please.

One of my favorite movie trivia questions is: Who is the only person with credited roles in both the comedy classics Animal House and Caddyshack?

The surprising answer is

Sarah Holcomb.
as Clorette (Pinto’s jail-bait conquest) in Animal House
and Maggie (Danny’s girlfriend) in Caddyshack.

These 2 films comprise exactly half of her entire acting portfolio.

I’d dreaded that. It isn’t easy to explain without a diagram. But I’ll try.

Neptune is much further from the Sun than Mercury is (30 AU as against 0.45 AU) so the distance between the two doesn’t vary much. Draw a circle 30.5 AU radius around Neptune; Mercury will always be inside it.

Every other planet has an orbit which takes it outside that radius for the majority of the time, so for any individual planet it’s true that Mercury is usually closer to Neptune than that planet is.

It follows that in the long run, Mercury is usually the closest planet to Neptune.

Alive At Both Ends - thanks for coming back to clarify. Wow! If that’s really true, it’s an amazing question with an amazing answer! I don’t know enough about the subject to check it, but I know at least two people who are very well-qualified astronomers who will be willing to crunch the numbers for us. Thanks!