I suck at Family Feud, Part Deux

A couple of months ago, I was a contestant on a radio talk show. I played Family Feud, and did extraordinarily badly. The DJ’s proceeded to mock me and my performance for the better part of a week. Last week, they called and invited me back for a second round of humiliation. The original goal was to score 100 in 5 questions, but they decided to give me an extra question to make it easier. How could I refuse? Without further ado, here were the questions:

  1. Name something or someone associated with Princess Diana.

  2. How many times a day do you lock or unlock something?

  3. What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

  4. Name a fictional detective.

  5. Name a sport that isn’t played with a ball.

  6. Other than Richard Karn, name a game show host.

My answers, scores, and comments, where relevant.

  1. Name something or someone associated with Princess Diana.

My Answer: Paradise Island

My Score: 0

Number One answer: Prince Charles

Commentary: Sigh. 100 people surveyed, and nobody but I associated Princess Diana primarily with Wonder Woman? This question was tailor made to trip up comic fans. The DJ’s hadn’t considered that anyone would think the question referred to any person other than the one associated with Prince Charles.

  1. How many times a day do you lock or unlock something?

My Answer:50

My Score:0

Number One answer:10

Commentary: Who are these people? I hit ten before 8:00 in the morning.
Front door. Garage door. Car door (at home). Car (at work). Front gate. Classroom. That’s 12 right there, and it’s still 7:30.

  1. What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

My Answer: Turn off the alarm.

My Score:3

Number One answer: Drink coffee.

Commentary:Where did they find 97 people who wake up with no alarm? Are they freaks, or mutants, or Vulcans or something? And damn, how can drinking coffee even come close to being first? Don’t you have to get out of bed and make a pot of coffee–two steps–before you can drink it?

  1. Name a fictional detective.

My Answer: Batman.

My Score:4

Number One answer: Sherlock Holmes

Commentary: Another question designed to make comic fans look foolish. And come on people who said Batman, where were you on question one?

  1. Name a sport that isn’t played with a ball.

My Answer: Hockey.

My Score: 11

Number One answer: Auto racing

Commentary: I thought for sure I nailed this one. My first thought was swimming, but one dosen’t “play” swimming. Hockey is the only major sport I know of that is played without a ball. Auto racing would never have occurred to me, as it isn’t something one plays. I realize that I’m overanalyzing the wording of the question, but this was my thinking when it was asked.

  1. Other than Richard Karn, name a talk show host.

My Answer: Jeff Probst

My Score: 3

Number One answer: Bob Barker

Commentary: While I understand Bob Barker being number one, I cannot fathom how the host of the most popular game show on primetime tv doesn’t get more than three votes. The DJ’s, one of whom is a big Survivor fan, said they don’t think of Survivor as a game show, but as a reality show. I said that those two things aren’t mutually exclusive, then had to explain what that meant.

My total score: 21. The bit about thinking of Princess Diana as Wonder Woman first has been a great source of amusement for the DJ’s, caused more than a few callers to question my intelligence, and deeply offended one woman.

Well I can see why you came up with your answers but… I gotta agree with the ones you said were the most popular… The idea is to give the first answer that comes to mind, because once you start analyzing anything, you are going to start deviating from the “top of the head” norm. The point is not so much, what is YOUR answer to the question, but what do you think everyone else’s answer would be. I think that was where you tripped up.

Just my 2 cents :slight_smile:

If it’s any consolation, I don’t think I would have done too much better. Here are the first things that popped into my head:

  1. Name something or someone associated with Princess Diana.

Ok, I did automatically think Prince Charles.
2. How many times a day do you lock or unlock something?

My answer was 6. After a quick head count: 1. door (oops forgot that should be twice, unlock to get out and then lock), 2. car (home), 3. car (work), 4. car (work), 5. car (home again), 6. home (again, should have been twice).
3. What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Heh - first thing that came out was “open my eyes”.
4. Name a fictional detective.

:: blush :: First one that I thought was Encyclopedia Brown. No, I am not 12 years old.
5. Name a sport that isn’t played with a ball.

I would have ran out of time before I thought of something here. I finally “said” skiing, even though that’s not technically a sport.
6. Other than Richard Karn, name a game show host.

First person that came to mind was, not surprisingly, Richard Dawson.

That was fun, even if I am an idiot.

Now, I’m a HUGE comic book geek - my first reaction to the word ‘Emerald’ would be ‘Eye’.

But Wonder Woman is not even close to my immediate association with ‘Princess Diana’.

And Batman is, at best, third on my list of fictional detectives. Sam Spade was my immediate answer, Sherlock Holmes, my ‘second thought’ answer, and Batman probably only gets as high as third because you put it there. Miss Marple, Hercule Piorot, Dick Tracy, Charley Chan, and Alanik Ray all come to mind pretty quickly, too (although Alanik Ray, that’s mostly because I’ve been reading a Ravenloft Sourcebook lately).

Also, if you lock and unlock your car door every time you get in and out, and actually lock, rather than latch, your front gate, you’re rather unusual. That removes 4 right there. Most people don’t lock and unlock classrooms, and if they lock or unlock a business, I’d wager at least half the time it’s only one of the two in a given day. That’s down to 6 or 7 for a normal person, assuming they have a garage, 4 or 5 if not. Add 4 more to repeat the garage and front doors, or 2 for just the front doors, 2 more to unlock and lock the car door once more, and you’ve got a range of 8-13 for a day. Very much in line with 10, and a LOT less than 60.

Me, I have 4, at best - front door locked and unlocked once each. But I know I’m unusual in that.

My analysis:

  1. My sense here is that if they meant Wonder Woman, they would have SAID Wonder Woman. They only would have called her Princess Diana if they expected the listener to be a comic book fan, which I don’t think you can really expect.

  2. I like Tengu’s explanation here.

  3. Again, I believe you also did this last time: take the question too literally. To many people, “the first thing you do in the morning” is a major action, not something everyone would do as a matter of course, like “open their eyes” or “get out of bed.” And just to show I’m not picking on you (because I’m not trying to), I also said ‘turn off the alarm.’

  4. For this one, perhaps I’m wrong, but I would think that to most comic book fans, Sherlock Holmes would STILL rank higher than Batman, especially these days; they seem to have deemphasized (tragically, I think) that aspect of his character in the past 15 years or so. Thus, I believe, to rank Batman as #1, you woul dhave to be a fan of Batman from the early Seventies to late Eighties or early Nineties, when they really hit the detective part hardest, and I think that’s a pretty limited audience. Again, remember that most people (the people whom you’re trying to predict from) only know the dark, brooding, and action-oriented parts of Batman, due to the modern comic titles and movies.

  5. I think you’re overanalyzing the use of “play” here (though I too thought “swimming” as my first thought), but you know that. FWIW, even without your analysis, I can safely say that I too wouldn’t have thought of auto racing. (Though this does bring up an interesting question: if you don’t “play” sports like auto racing and swimming, what verb DO you attach to them?)

  6. Again, it’s a matter of perception; think about the programs most people think of as game shows, then compare it to Survivor. Can you see why most people wouldn’t associate the two? Besides, the host of Survivor is MUCH less known than the contestants, as far as the public is concerned, so even if they did think of him, they might not have remembered his name.

But don’t feel too bad; I’d say it’s GOOD that you have a mind that works differently than the majority of the population!

crazy: I did give the answer that popped into my head first. Princess Diana=Wonder Woman to me, that’s my first association. The only question I overanalyzed was the “sport played without a ball”.

Mauvaise: Skiing would have been my second choice. Not to get into a debate, but I would consider competitive skiing a sport, but I’m not sure about auto racing.

Tengu: Though I’m aware of the Diana who married Prince Charles, she’s not someone I’ve had reason to think about in years, and even then, I’d more likely think of her as Lady Di. Other than marrying Prince Charles and dying in a car accident while fleeing reporters, I know next to nothing about her. The private lives of celebrities simply hold no interest for me. Wonder Woman, on the other hand, was long before Lady Di, and still is an immediate, ongoing association for me.

Never heard of Alanik Ray. My second answer would have been Holmes, followed by, in no particular order, Spenser, Andy Sipowicz, Lije Baley, Jim Rockford, and Sam Spade. My conclusion is that this category is too broad.

Hmm. I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t lock their car every time they park somewhere. Locking car doors when driving is a pretty standard safety measure in my family; it minimizes the chance a door coming open in a collision or rollover, slows down potential carjackers, and it takes little to no time or effort, so why not?

The gate I refer to is the teacher’s entrance at the school where I work. We’re required to lock it after entering. The same with our classrooms. For schools located in many neighborhoods, this is a common practice.

When I worked at a retail store, the back room where we clocked in and out, had our breaks, lockers, vending machines, etc., was locked and had to be unlocked every time you wanted to enter. My wife, assistant manager at a fast food place, has to unock and relock a door every time she goes from behind the counter to the dining room or outside.

Our experiences in this area are obviously quite different.

I’m a Legion fan too, but my first reaction would be “Archer”.

I’m really sorry, and I don’t want this to sound like some kind of snarky insult, but I really think you’re very wrong about the overbroad category" thing. I was actually surprised when they had this as a question, because I would have thought that the “Sherlock Holmes” response would’ve recieved something like a 90-95% response rate! In other words, I’m surprised that there were a significant number of responses that were NOT “Sherlock Holmes!”

One thing that’s hard to understand about the general populace is that many, many people out there are not nearly as well read or as broad-minded (in terms of interests, especially pop culture-wise) as you or me. They know what “everyone” knows about (ie, the lowest common denominator), and that’s it. Some figures of actual merit, like Holmes, are lucky enough to become part of that, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people who know who Holmes is has never read his stories.

It’s a tempting assumption to believe that the majority of people know what we know, are interested in what we know, or are broad-minded enough to WANT to know what we know. The sad truth is, there are a lot of people who don’t.

I hope I made myself clear without sounding like a total asshole (and that counts for people who think I’ve lumped them into the above category). If I failed, I’m sorry.

(BTW, just to prove my point with myself, who created Lije Baley?)

I used to watch The Family Feud quite a bit when I lived with my parents, so I understand that the answers should be representative of a more general populace (and an American one, at that). That said, here are my answers to the categories Number Six listed…

1. Name something or someone associated with Princess Diana.

Car crash.

2. How many times a day do you lock or unlock something?

Two. (Thinking, I lock my house when I leave, and I lock my car when I get wherever I’m going. I missed the unlock part. That said, since there’s always someone home here, I usually only end up locking and unlocking the car, so “two” would be it. Of course, I failed to consider the “general populace” thing. :rolleyes: )

3. What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Brush my teeth. (Now, I’d tend to be too analytical with this question, and probably say “stretch”. And, personally, brushing my teeth would be way down the list.)

4. Name a fictional detective.

Sherlock Holmes (I first thought of Poirot, since I’d just read about the death of Peter Ustinov. Then I thought of Jessica Fletcher of Murder, She Wrote, which I’ve never actually watched.)

5. Name a sport that isn’t played with a ball.

Hockey (When I think sport, I think of either team sports, or one-on-one competitions; not a free-for-all like auto racing.)

6. Other than Richard Karn, name a game show host.

Alex Trebek of Jeopardy (After that, I’d either say Wheel of Fortune’s Pat Sejak or Bob Barker. Personally, I can’t stand The Price is Right.)



  1. Clearly you’re right. I’m not trying to convince anyone that my interpretation is right, or even better, just why I interpreted the question as I did.

Nitpick Mode: “Wonder Woman” doesn’t necessarily refer to Princess Diana. Hippolyta and Artemis have both replaced Diana for brief periods of time, and Post-Crisis, Hippolyta became the Golden Age Wonder Woman.

  1. I replied from my personal experience. This was, obviously, a mistake. As was analyzing the question about sports.

  2. Yeah, after the “First thing you do after getting in the car” response, I think they were baiting me with this one. It worked. Heh. I actually do turn off the alarm before I open my eyes. Still, even if I’d interpreted it as first major thing after getting up, I’d have said, “shower”.

  3. And in the sixties also. I was indeed a Batman fan pre-DKR, and though I realize that it’s been a long time since its use, the phrase “World’s Greatest Detective” still comes to mind in association with Batman. I didn’t analyze this one, just went with what came to me first.

  4. In cases like Auto racing, skiing or swimming, the name of the sport is derived from the verb that describes it. Thus, race (or drive), ski, swim. Play is used when the name of the sport isn’t derived from a verb, taking the place of the verb form of the sport’s name. But yeah, I overanalyzed it, though even if I hadn’t, I doubt I’d have improved much.

  5. To me, gameshow=tv show on which people play games for prizes. Survivor fits that definition. Obviously, that is not how most people think of game shows.

So my conclusion is that analyzing the question leads to bad results. Reacting to it out of personal experience (which is really all I had time for in the 30 seconds I got to answer the questions) is a bad strategy.

Leaper: I realize that my answer was a result of my love of comics, and that I am in a small minority in that, which lead to my poor result. And it doesn’t surprise me that Holmes is first; he has a great deal of mindshare in English speaking culture. I would still expect the list to be populated with detectives from popular, current or classic tv shows; these would be what I would expect to be most immediate in most people’s minds. My list even includes two tv detectives.

Lije Baley was created by Isaac Asimov. Not a scifi fan, are you?

Alanik Ray is the Ravenloft (Gothic Horror D&D setting) equivelant to Sherlock Holmes (something that happens a lot in the Ravenloft setting[sup]1[/sup]) - like I said, I’ve been reading Ravenloft stuff lately.

Baley and Sipowicz probably would have come to me with some thought - as well as Briscoe, Logan and Curtis, Columbo (Lt and Mrs), Jessica Fletcher, and MacMillan & Wife. Spenser and Rockford are off my radar.

That said, I agree with Leaper - it’s a broad category, but Holmes is the ‘general knowledge’ answer, Spade, Sipowicz/Briscoe/Logan, Marple/Piorot and Tracy are big ‘genre’ answers. Batman, Bailey, or Ray are ‘fringey’ answers - most people who know them almost definitely know Holmes, and probably know at least a couple of the others, and, unless something specific has prompted it (for example, being in the middle of reading Caves of Steel, or Van Richten’s Guide to the Walking Dead (the latter being why Alanik Ray was so close to the front of my mind)), or the person’s mind works in a very unusual way, they’re going to be, first and foremost, ‘A super hero’, ‘a science fiction character’, and ‘An RPG NPC’ to most people who know them. (Granted, Batman is the only one of that set who’s not relatively obscure - but he’s also the least detectivey of the three.)

Like Leaper said, the key to Family Feud isn’t ‘the answer that’s more correct to you’, it’s ‘the answer most people will come up with first’. Which may not even be the correct answer for them! There are often ‘standard’ answers which contradict the person’s usual preference/use/whatever. For example: The lock and unlock thing - I’d have probably said 10, even though I only have 4 - because I know my own experience is unusually low.

OTOH, I won’t say it’s a bad thing that most people have no particular desire to expand their horizons in the same direction as I did, just as I expect not to be looked down upon because I have no desire whatever to expand my horizons into sports, Survivor, or romance novels.

Speaking of sports, my ‘no ball’ sport answer was also Hockey.

[sup]1[/sup]There are also analogues to Dracula (And a separate Vlad the Impaler), Frankenstein and his monster, Mssrs Jeckel and Hyde, and an evil Pinnochio.

But aren’t the people being surveyed being asked about their personal experience, not to predict the answers others would give? That’s not rhetorical, I really don’t know.

I’ve assumed that the survey was asking for personal responses, like a political poll, and that the contestant’s job is to predict those responses. If the survey is asking the same thing of the people being surveyed as it is of the contestants–to predict popular answers–I’ve been analyzing this all wrong.

They’re not really being asked either. They’re being asked for an answer - their own personal experience, what they think would be othe most popular answer, free association off the top of their head - the surveyors don’t care which it is. They don’t even care, really, if it’s a VALID answer.

And I think I may have misled you through my rewriting of my post - when I mentioned the key thing I was talking as a contestant, not a survey answerer. The meaning, I think, got garbled as I editted.

Yes, as well as comic books and RPGs I’m also a Game Show geek.

  1. Name something or someone associated with Princess Diana.

Elton John

  1. How many times a day do you lock or unlock something?


  1. What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?


  1. Name a fictional detective.


  1. Name a sport that isn’t played with a ball.


  1. Other than Richard Karn, name a game show host.

Monty Hall

I would have had an ungodly amount of locks/unlocks as well. Every time I get up from my XP workstation I have to CTRL-ALT-DEL to lock it, and again to unlock it.

My answers without looking:

  1. Name something or someone associated with Princess Diana. Prince Charles
  2. How many times a day do you lock or unlock something? 10
  3. What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? Turn off alarm
  4. Name a fictional detective. Columbo
  5. Name a sport that isn’t played with a ball. Track
  6. Other than Richard Karn, name a game show host. Alex Trebeck

I also think your answers are hilarious, but with no malice intended. I’m not much of a comic book fan, but I do watch Justice League, and I’ve never noticed them referring to her as a Princess.

For #2, you lock 50 things in a day? Do you work in a bank? Front door (2), car (4), work (2). That’s 8 for me, but I estimated higher. You need to think more in terms of averages than in YOUR particular experiences.

I’m with you on #3.

Holmes is good. Batman isn’t primarily a detective, he’s a (super)hero. How many times has he been hired out? Who does he work for?

#5 “Played with” is a term you should have ignored. Again, you need to focus on the spirit of the question, not the letter of the question.

#6 Survivor just isn’t a gameshow in most people’s minds. Gameshows are shown during daytime TV and before primetime. A lot of “reality” shows are gameshows, but they aren’t considered so by the general public. Again, think generally, not technically.

  1. Name something or someone associated with Princess Diana.
    Prince Charles

  2. How many times a day do you lock or unlock something?
    Probably would have said 12.
    My car is in an attached garage, and I dont lock that door at night.
    So I 1) lock house door 2) lock car door after entering 3)Unlock and lock car door at work 4)unlock, get in, and lock after work, and 5) unlock house door
    also 6+7 Unlock get mail, and lock mail box.

  3. What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
    Turn off alarm

  4. Name a fictional detective.
    have to go with Sherlock Holmes

  5. Name a sport that isn’t played with a ball.
    I would have said hockey also

  6. Other than Richard Karn, name a game show host.
    who is Alex Trebeck