This coming weekend, I’ll participate in The World’s Largest Trivia ContestTM. As per tradition, this week is filled with idle reminiscing about memorable answers in past years. Or rather, in past year. Every one of these answers figured in the 2016 edition of the contest.
Those with long memories know just how dramatically The World’s Largest Trivia ContestTM changed about twenty years ago. Once the internet made its seismic shift from a tool exclusively for the tech-savvy to the depository for seemingly every last bit of information ever, it became far trickier for the writers of our beloved annual trivia tangle to come up with questions that could be happily answered by individuals with unique globs of information in their brain, at least more quickly than someone who knows how to use Google can pull of the same quasi-obscure details. Since the point values for the contest are determined by the number of teams that provide the correct answer, decreasing in value as more get an individual question right, it is rare that a top-of-the-head answer yields a bushel of points.
Last year, a question arrived with some deliberately vague wording (generally speaking, the more specific the details in a question, the easier it is to spin up the answer with mildly artful use of a search engine). It asked teams to identify the name of the actress who made her television debut playing the younger sister of a superhero, appearing in the show with the narrative charge of returning that towering titan home. Around the table, plenty of my teammates immediately knew the question referred to Debra Winger, who played Wonder Girl in three episode of the nineteen-seventies series Wonder Woman. Sure, some of us were mostly aware of this because of a memorable appearance on Late Show with David Letterman, but we still knew.
Identifying Debra Winger didn’t get us a huge amount of points, but it pushed a little higher than we expected given the relative ease with which we arrived at the answer. If it was far from our biggest answer, I remember it as one of the more satisfying from the earlier portion of last year’s contest. It was an nifty reminder of the days when knowing was as important as — more important than, really — having some sharp research skills.
More info about 90FM’s Trivia can be found at its official website or at the radio station’s online home. There’s also a feature documentary about the contest, but it’s fairly hard to come by these days. To see how my team is faring over the weekend, Twitter is probably the best bet.