A world of trivia.

A world of trivia.

A world of trivia.

What the foreign papers are saying.
July 29 2002 4:19 PM

Fun, Games, and Humiliation

If you're proud of your knowledge of world events, one sure-fire way to bring your ego down to earth is to attempt the quizzes offered by papers around the globe.

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As well as the usual crosswords (quick and cryptic), Australia's Sydney Morning Herald offers a Flash-based trivia quiz, which this week asks such mind-blowingly Aussie-focused questions as: "The simmering row within the Democrats stems from internal party disciplinary action against which senator over whether their comments on the full sale of Telstra contravened party policy?" Thank God it's multiple choice.

In Britain, the Times tests readers' vocabulary with "Word Watching," the latest of which includes the word "boeotian," and a news quiz that asks questions such as, "Who is to be the new artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company?" Among today's questions in the Guardian's "News Quiz" is "What unusual declaration did Tory frontbencher Alan Duncan make?" The possible answers: "He votes Labour. He watches the Teletubbies. He is a tap dancer. He is gay." (You probably don't need to be an expert on English politics to guess the correct answer.)

One of the most entertaining regular contests is the Canadian Globe and Mail's "Challenge," which asks readers to coin neologisms or to repurpose familiar phrases and titles. Last week's task was "to suggest how people preoccupied with professional or other problems might mishear the titles of broadcast love songs," and the winner was "Outraged husband: 'I've Caught You Under My Kin.' " Other highlights include: "Bartender who has run out of liquor: 'I Only Have Ice for You' " and "Air Canada frequent flier: 'Seething on a Jet Plane.' "

June Thomas is managing producer of Slate podcasts.