Trivia and word games (and your help is requested)

I’m a big fan of the NPR show Says You! For those who haven’t heard it, it’s done in the form of a quiz show, with two teams of three panelists. It’s rather like Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me; the only thing at stake is bragging rights (and better still, to launch the best puns and quips during the show), and the questions are about wordplay and trivia instead of current events.

And a lot of the questions are sent in by listeners. Some of the categories they’ve used in the past have been Odd Man Out, Definitions and Deriviations, Common Threads, and Tastes Kinda Like Chicken. The form of the questions is often as inspired as the questions themselves. I’ve submitted some in the past, but haven’t had any used on the air yet.

That’s where the help of this friendly and supportive message board comes in. I have some ideas for categories, but haven’t been able to come up with six questions in any of them. I’ll get things started, but if any of you can think of more questions along these lines, I’d love to hear them. And if we have enough, I can even submit them to the show.[sup]*[/sup]


Identify the following world events as they might have been described by the headline writers of the show-business trade paper Variety.

  1. November 3, 1948: DEW COUP, TOO FEW FOR TRU CREW
    (Obviously, I’d love to come up with one that uses lots of words that rhyme with PIX.)

Given the name of a fictional character, give the name of that character’s better-known nemesis.

  1. Charles Dreyfus
  2. Count Rugen
  3. Ralph Wolf
    (I’d like to have some more classic literary nemeses, like if there’s anything in Cervantes or Victor Hugo. Trust me, it’s very hard to stump this panel.)

Identify the source of the following tripartite quotes

  1. Nasty, brutish and short.
  2. Rum, sodomy and the lash.

THE SPICE OF LIFE1. “DEWEY DEFEATS TRUMAN”, the erroneous headline about the 1948 presidential election printed in the Chicago Daily Tribune.
2. The ceremonial opening of the Panama Canal.

NAME THAT NEMESIS1. Better known as Chief Inspector Dreyfus, his nemesis is Jacques Clouseau. (From the Pink Panther movies)
2. Inigo Montoya. (From The Princess Bride)
3. Sam Sheepdog. (From a series of Warner Brothers cartoons, which began with the wolf and sheepdog politely greeting each other and clocking in, and then the sheepdog beating the tar out of the wolf until the end-of-day whistle.)

SOUNDS LIKE A LAW FIRM1. From Thomas Hobbes’ Leviathan, a treatise on the structure of society, in which he describes the natural state of mankind as “No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
2. The actual source seems to be unknown, but it’s most often mis-attributed to Winston Churchill, “Don’t talk to me about naval tradition. It’s nothing but rum, sodomy and the lash.” According to his assistant, Churchill did not actually say this, but wished he had.

And remember, every week, more radios are tuned to Says You! than any other appliance.

*I’ve checked with the mods and gotten their okay for this, but please let me know if it’s all right to use your submissions. The host always gives credit to folks who send in questions, so I haven’t decided how to credit this; The Straight Dope Writing Collective. perhaps.

Robot Arm, you’re onto something here. I wish I had something to contribute, but the old brain cells are in hibernation or something.

I’ll be back later with a contribution. It would stagger me if the Dope didn’t rise to the challenge.

Okay, I’ve got one for “Sounds like a Law Firm”: “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion” – as in, the Democratic Party is the party of… Apparently this was asserted in 1884 by a Republican orator, and it caught on.

In “Name that Nemesis,” the only one who comes to mind is Professor Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes’ enemy.

Come on, Dopers, giddyap!

Thanks, Sal. Are you a listener of the show?

It occured to me after I posted that I shouldn’t have included the answers. Nothing gets the dopers juices flowing like unanswered questions.

So, for anyone just coming to this thread, don’t look at the spoilers. Post your guesses here, or just let us know which ones you got right without looking. It’s hard to come up with these types of questions, and I’d like the thread to live long enough for people to put some thought into new questions.

Professor Moriarty is not bad, but maybe a bit too easy. (There’s also Professor Van Helsing.) I think this sort of trivia category works best if the clue is somewhat obscure, but everyone would recognize the answer. Did Frankenstein (the doctor or the monster) have a nemesis? The Hunchback of Notre Dame? Just list some famous protagonists who nemeses you don’t know, someone here is bound to know their adversary, and given in reverse it’s a great question.

Actually, it’s interesting about Frankenstein, because the monster Frankenstein created was his nemesis. But I don’t think he had an actual name, so tough to get a question out of it.

The originator was Dr. Samuel D. Burchard, a preacher who had both opposed the secession of the Confederate States (rebellion) and been sympathetic to the cause of prohibition of Demon Rum, but was not known to be particularly anti-Catholic. As this page informs us, it’s likely that the inclusion of “Romanism” was more an alliterative flourish than an appeal to preserve Protestant domination of the national religious discourse.

For a twist on the “Sounds Like a Law Firm” category, I’ll nominate the clue “Hottinguer, Hauteval, and Bellamy”. These were the actual surnames of three men better known by a fairly famous designation. To find out the answer, you can click on this link (the URL does precious little to hint at, much less reveal, the answer).

As I recall, Dr Frankenstein referred to the monster with a name, saying “You are my Adam.”

Sounds like a law firm:
Piddle, Twiddle, and Resolve (scroll down)
Hamilton, Joe Frank, and Reynolds (too easy, probably)
Beck, Bogart, and Appice
Sewer, Gas, and Electric
Name that nemesis:

Denis Nayland Smith
Bushwack’r (obscure to the extreme)
Rudolph Ruddigore Rassendale
Marc “Blacky” DuQuesne
Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity (probably would fool a few people who don’t catch on, especially if read aloud).
Carl Hanratty

Name that Nemesis:
Khan Noonien Singh (The answer is the top-billed character)
Vicious (The answer is the character on the top left)
Binky the Clown (Okay, so it’s a bit of a stretch, but if you had to identify a nemesis for the answer character, it’d be Binky the Clown)


Damn, I loved that album. [/ot]

Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s what he was referring to. :rolleyes:

Sorry, I’ve been working on trios all day – nothing good yet.

I read too fast and thought he wanted to see the actual headline. Sorry. :rolleyes:

For Name That Nemesis, how about:

Rene Belloq

Indiana Jones’ nemesis from *Raiders of the Lost Ark

That’s the only one I can think of right now.