Quiz of the Month – October 2014

Cultural Literacy

In their 546 page book The Dictionary of Culturally Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know authors E.D. Hirsch, Jr., Joseph F. Kett, and James Trefil tell us what we need to know to be erudite.  Not many of us would pass the test.  Here are a few questions that just might stump you: Who is the twentieth century Austrian philosopher who explored the relationship of language to thought and knowledge?  What word describes objects that are meant to look costly but are, in fact, in poor taste?  The answers are “Ludwig Wittgenstein” and “kitsch.”

The questions for the October quiz are based on entries in The Dictionary of Culturally Literacy, but they are much simpler to answer than the questions above.  You can find the answers on my Quiz Answers page.

  1. Name the 1930s movie monster that makes his last stand atop the Empire State Building.
  2. Name the French National Anthem.
  3. What is the nickname of the statuette that is presented to winners at the Academy Awards.
  4. Name the well-known actress who starred in numerous musical movies with Fred Astaire.
  5. This Greek statue is one of the most loved possessions of the Louvre though her arms have long been broken off.  Name it.
  6. What three word message (in Latin) did Julius Caesar send to the Roman senate after he successfully conquered some lands in Asia?
  7. Name the cruel and destructive people who sacked Rome in the fifth century.  We remember them in an –ism word.
  8. What was the name of the first permanent English settlement in North America?
  9. Draco, a rule of ancient Athens had some harsh laws.  We remember him through a commonly used English word.  What is it?
  10. These laws prohibit businesses from opening on Sundays or from selling certain items such as liquor.  What are the laws called?
  11. An unexpected winner is often said to be one of these.  What is the term?
  12. Franklin Delano Roosevelt used these homey talks over the radio to reassure the people of the United States during the Great Depression.  What were the talks commonly called?
  13. Theodore Roosevelt was largely responsible for the completion of this vital waterway in the Americas.  What is it called?
  14. “The sum of attitudes, customs, and beliefs that distinguishes one group of people from another.”
  15. These counterculture folks were most prominent in the United States during the 1960s.  What were they called?
  16. What do we call excessive self-love and self-absorption?
  17. This publication by Benjamin Franklin offered proverbial wisdom, and humor.  Name it.
  18. Name the two characters in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking-Glass who has identical speech, attitude and appearance.
  19. This famous play by Tennessee Williams takes place in New Orleans.  Name it.
  20. When Gulliver went to the land of the Houyhnhnms (intelligent horses) he encounter some coarse, filthy brutes who were called what?
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