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]
THE SPICE OF LIFE
Identify the following world events as they might have been described by the headline writers of the show-business trade paper Variety.
- November 3, 1948: DEW COUP, TOO FEW FOR TRU CREW
- August 16, 1914: DITCH ADMITS, KITSCHY KETCH FITS
(Obviously, I’d love to come up with one that uses lots of words that rhyme with PIX.)
NAME THAT NEMESIS
Given the name of a fictional character, give the name of that character’s better-known nemesis.
- Charles Dreyfus
- Count Rugen
- 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.)
SOUNDS LIKE A LAW FIRM
Identify the source of the following tripartite quotes
- Nasty, brutish and short.
- 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.