Is Your General Knowledge as Remarkable As You Think It Is?

Torrance Grey

Image: shutterstock

About This Quiz

Ever hear of the Dunning-Kruger effect? This phenomenon, named for a psychological study and the professor and graduate student who devised it, essentially says that everyone thinks they're above average. We're all above-average drivers, above-average cooks, above-average at math. And a lot of us, let's face it, probably have this feeling about our knowledge base. Hey, we're no dummies; we know a good bit about geography, about science, about history. It's only when we're put to the test that we see where the gaps are. 

In what Latin American country is the capital city of Belmopan? Which musical instrument used to be called a sackbut? How many prefectures does Japan have? Okay, we're not going to ask you questions quite as hard as those, but we've designed a quiz that'll test you on a little bit of everything: movies, history, geography, astronomy and more. Granted, a lot of these facts aren't going to be useful in everyday life. But, hey, we're overdue for a big, prime time quiz show like "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?"  Admit it - it'd be pretty cool to be up there competing your fellow trivia buffs. Or maybe you just want to excel at pub trivia. 

Whichever the case, get ready to put your trivia chops to the test.( And if you're curious, the answers to the questions above are Belize, the trombone, and 47!)


Which of these is NOT a type of wine?

"Reposado" is a grade of tequila, a bit better than the average. The next grade up, and the highest, is "anejo."

Which of these actors was NOT in "The Outsiders"?

Sheen's older brother, Emilio Estevez, played "Two-Bit Matthews" in the beloved teen film, but Sheen did not appear. Cruise, who had one of the smallest roles as Steve Randle, turned out to be the biggest star.

Who was Lizzie Borden accused of murdering?

Borden was accused of murdering her father and stepmother, but not her sister. Borden was acquitted at trial, and went on to become an animal rights activist later in life.

Which of these American presidents used a wheelchair?

Roosevelt was rarely photographed using the chair (which he didn't always need). Advisers feared the nation would lose faith in him if they were reminded that he was disabled.

Lakshmi is a goddess in which religion?

Lakshmi is the goddess of prosperity, generosity and thrift. She is important to the Hindu New Year, Diwali, when Hindus close out accounts for the year and give the house a good cleaning.

Which of these is the most-visited city in South America?

Buenos Aires is on the southern coast of Argentina. People visit to enjoy its architecture, opera and milongas (tango dance clubs).

Which book of the Bible does not mention God?

Esther is an important narrative in Jewish history, the story of the queen who saved her people. It does not, however, refer to God.

Which of these is the official language of Morocco?

Berber is spoken by the indigenous people of Morocco. French is also spoken widely, but does not have the status of an official language.

Which of these countries has English as its official language?

Belize was once an English colony, and the language took such hold there that it remains the official language. But many people speak a Belizean "criollo", or English mixed with Spanish and other words specific to Belizean culture.

Which of these designers shares an astronomer's name?

Oleg Cassini is probably best known for dressing Jackie Kennedy. The astronomer Giovanni Cassini is best known for his discovery of the division in the rings of Saturn, which was named the Cassini Division.

Which planet's moons are named "fear" and "terror"?

"Phobos" means "fear," and "Deimos" means "terror." They were twin brothers in Greek mythology. The names are a natural fit for a planet named for the god of war.

Custer's Last Stand is also known as the Battle of _________.

The Little Bighorn was a river in the Montana Territory. Custer was killed in a battle on its banks, and his troops were defeated by Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho fighters. This was a part of the larger Great Sioux War.

Which of these is the goddess of love and beauty in voodoo?

We're not being disrespectful when we say "voodoo." This is the accepted word for the religion called "vodoun" in French, which is descended from West African religion and is still culturally important in Haiti.

The United States Air Force Academy is located in which state?

Florida actually might have been a better location. Many Air Force servicemen and women go on to work for the space program. Proximity to Cape Canaveral could only help to foster interest.

Sofia is the capital of _____.

Fun fact: Bulgarians shake their heads for "yes" and nod for "no," in contrast to what North Americans and many Europeans do. This may explain why tourism isn't a very big business there - the potential for miscommunication is too great!

Which of these generals went on to be a U.S. president?

Sorry to be sneaky here - there was a President Jackson, and he was a general first, but his name was Andrew. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson was a general in the Civil War, and died of wounds sustained in battle long before he could consider a post-war government career.

Which movie revolved around the identity of Keyser Soze?

This whole movie, while entertaining, was one long shaggy-dog story leading to a hard-to-believe reveal. But we won't spoil it for you if you haven't seen it yet. (Seriously, just see it already!)

What is the real name of Bitcoin creator Satoshi Nakamoto?

To this day, no one knows who the Bitcoin inventor really is. In late 2015, evidence seemed to point to an Australian named Craig Wright, but the story didn't hold up. Analysis of Nakamoto's hours of online activity seem to indicate a home in the Eastern Time Zone of North America, because he was offline in the hours that most people would be sleeping.

A mask of which historical figure is the calling card of the group Anonymous?

Even if you're not familiar with Fawkes, you'll recognize the mask. It's of a man with a smirk and a pencil-thin mustache.

Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos are the three _____ in Greek mythology.

The fantasy novelist Piers Anthony made use of the three Fates in his series "Incarnations of Immortality." In the third book, "With a Tangled Skein," a human woman is called to be the incarnation of Clotho, the youngest Fate. She is later pressed back into service as the middle-aged Lachesis.

The adder is the only venomous snake native to ______.

Though adders are venomous, there have been no fatalities since 1975. Unless you include the fictitious Mrs. Yeobright, who dies of an adder bite in Hardy's "Return of the Native," published in 1878.

Which of these health practices is based on the idea that "like cures like"?

Despite a prevailing belief among its users that homeopathy is a folk medicine from ancient times, homeopathy was developed by one man, Dr. Samuel Hahnemann, about two hundred years ago. Hahnemann believed that a substance which causes the same symptoms as an ailment ultimately cures that ailment. (An elegant idea in theory, but we won't be taking caffeine pills for our insomnia anytime soon!)

The "hooker" and the "lock" are found in which sport?

There are a variety of positions in rugby, which in one version (rugby union) fields 15 players per team. The hooker is responsible for trying to "hook" the ball in the scrum, while the locks are valued for their size - they tackle and are tackled a lot.

How many outs in an inning of baseball?

It's almost reflexive to say "three," isn't it? This is a trick question that turns up on critical thinking tests.

Who painted the triptych "The Garden of Earthly Delights"?

Bosch was a Dutch painter in the 16th century. "The Garden of Earthly Delights" has three panels, showing Eden on the left and hell on the right. The larger center panel shows myriad human beings in various stages of lust, greed and gluttony.

Which band wrote the rock opera "American Idiot"?

The Who is known, of course, for the rock opera "Tommy." But it was Berkeley-based punk band Green Day who wrote "American Idiot."

Which of these actors died of a gunshot wound?

Reeves's death is generally thought to be suicide, though doubts remain, and were explored in the movie "Hollywoodland." Mineo was stabbed to death by a pizza delivery man who'd carried out a series of robberies. Dean, of course, died in a car crash.

"Kind of Blue" is an album by which jazz great?

Davis was a towering figure in jazz. He studied at Juilliard, but was confident enough in his talent to leave before graduation, honing his talent in real-life composing and performing.

Washoe, Ohlone and Chumash are American Indian tribes in which state?

The Chumash lived in the area north of present-day Santa Barbara, the Ohlone in the south Bay area, and the Washoe in north-central California. All these indigenous peoples suffered greatly as a result of European migration, but the tribes are still extant today.

In what part of the world would you find the Maori people?

Fun fact: New Zealand regularly fields excellent rugby teams. Their national team has adopted the "haka," or Maori war dance, as a pre-game ritual.

Darjeeling and Assam are varieties of what?

Both these tea plants are grown in India. Some teas are a blend of the two varieties, to create a compromise between the strong, malty Assam and the sweeter Darjeeling.

Which of these dogs comes from Japan?

"Inu" is the Japanese word for "dog." "Shiba" is the name of a reddish bush in Japan, and might have given its name to the dog because of their similar color.

Seth Grahame-Smith is the author of which recent, very successful book?

Grahame-Smith hit on the idea of putting a horror spin first on classic literature, then on U.S. history. Readers loved it, and both books have been turned into movies.

A punctuation mark that looks like an exclamation point overlaid on a question mark is known as a/an ______.

This is not a standard punctuation mark you're taught to use in schools. Call us old-fashioned, but we prefer the ?! liberally used in the comic books of our youth, usually following the words "What the --".

A "passerine" is a type of _____.

A passerine is a perching bird, with distinct toes. If it has webbed feet, it's not a passerine.

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