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April 19, 2016

Results and breakdown: Mystery Quiz #4

Each of the past few Mondays, I’ve posted a new “Mystery Theme” quiz at Alpaca Farm. I figured it might be fun and useful to provide a formal write-up once things have wrapped.

Mystery Quiz #5 is now open; get your responses in by Sunday evening!

wilt alpaca

Mystery Quiz #4 had 129 players, of whom 20 scored a perfect 12/12. KonkelT did the best job of predicting the hardest questions, coming up 7 points shy of a perfect score. Four players tied for second, 3 points behind.

If you want to try the quiz without seeing the answers first, click here. Otherwise, continue scrolling for results and commentary.

Some notes on the lingo:

MCWA = most common wrong answer, which I’ll provide if something exceeds 5% of all responses
BWA(s) = best wrong answer(s)

Let’s start with the question that unlocked the theme.

Q12. Oscar Robertson holds the single-season record (41); Magic Johnson has the most in playoff history (30); Wilt Chamberlain once had an incredible nine-game streak. What is this statistic, which also serves (in a way) as a theme for the other individual answers?


Triple double, in the alternate definition, meant three sets of doubled letters.

Thanks to the two of you who responded “(last week messed around and got a) triple double”, a reference to “Today Was a Good Day” by Ice Cube. I wish I could have given you bonus points.

Now, on to the questions that fit the theme – and they had to fit the theme in order for you to get credit.

Q1. It presented its final report to LBJ on September 24, 1964, ten months after it was established by Executive Order No. 11130. By what name was it most commonly known?


Formally known as The President’s Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, it was nicknamed for its chairman, Chief Justice Earl Warren.

This question required a small amount of math: Ten months before September 1964 was November 1963, a time that should conjure one event in American history above all others.

Q2. Named the Montana state flower in 1895, it has lent its name to a mountain range, a river, and a valley. What is this herb, which some native tribes would eat with sugar to balance its taste?


Rather obscure – “sugar to balance its taste” was a hint here, but I could have made a further reference to the “root” part of its name.

It was on this question that I realized I was going to get a lot of creative (and absurd) guesses with three double letters. To wit:



Q3. “I said, ‘I don’t give a darn’!”
“Oh, that’s our shortstop!”

So ends one version of a comedy routine by whom?


The routine is “Who’s on First?”.

On Mystery Quiz #3, I asked a question about Laurel & Hardy, so it was unsurprising there that Abbott & Costello was a popular wrong response. I was already planning to use this clue, and doing so was a bit of a tongue-in-cheek joke.

Q4. What river is highlighted in dark blue? Its source is located in a National Forest of the same name.





Thanks to the several of you who reminded me that this song existed (sarcasm):

Q5. Oversight and Government Reform, Transportation and Infrastructure, House Administration, Armed Services. These are Congressional examples of what general type of body?


A few people mentioned this was the answer that keyed them in on the theme. That was intentional.

Q6. It’s quitting time! What phrase is spoken immediately after this clip?


I could have made this a little harder, by cutting the clip shorter (leaving out the yeeeeeee) or taking out the first line of the question.

Q7. These states were the 16th and 20th to enter the union; the largest city of one is named for a man from the other. Identify both states.


Andrew Jackson. This is one question that was probably easier once you knew the theme.

Q8. Hank Williams once sang that this “lonesome” bird “sounds too blue to fly.” In fact, some believe that its call, for which it is named, is a harbinger of death. What is it? (I’ll accept responses with or without hyphens.)


Often written as whip-poor-will.

Thanks for the laugh to whoever wrote POO-TEE-WEET, a reference to Slaughter-house Five that my high-school English teacher loved way too much. (And so it goes.)



Q9. What type of tool is pictured here? Be specific.



I was shocked that this had such a high get rate. Guess we’ve got a lot of handy people playing these quizzes!

Q10. There are five known versions of this speech written in the orator’s hand; it was altogether fitting and proper that one was a gift to Senator Edward Everett. What is it?


The italicized part comes from the following:

“It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate – we can not consecrate – we can not hallow – this ground.”

Edward Everett gave a well-received two-hour historical speech ahead of Lincoln’s two-minute dedication.

Q11. Many small businesses use the single-entry version of this system, which records only income and expense accounts. More complex businesses might require the double-entry version, which counts each transaction twice. What is this general term for this process?


This is the only word in the English language that has three consecutive double-letter sets, and since it was likely more than a few players might know this, I decided to keep it until the end.





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