SF Gate        www.sfgate.com
- Jon Carroll
Friday, December 24, 2004

You might want to save this column for sometime Saturday, when you are sated with carbohydrates and consumer products, and you seek stimulation that does not actually involve exercise. Answers on Monday, so you have plenty of time.

1. A small committee of experts (which is to say: a guy named Harold, Harold's brother Jef, Tracy and me) have determined that there are 13 automobile tunnels in the Bay Area. Can you name them? Parallel bores in one underground system count as one tunnel. For extra credit: Which is the longest tunnel?

2. Name a major sporting event held in two stadiums, both named for African Americans.

3. Identify these items, and arrange them in a logical order: abomasum, omasum, reticulum, rumen.

4. For more than a hundred years, the city of New York celebrated Evacuation Day, Nov. 25, as a holiday. What did it commemorate?

5. Subject: Shakespeare's plays. Question: Who is the earliest British king among his title characters?

6. How many states are there in the United States?

7. What singularly amusing yet real 10-letter word can one type on the keyboard using only the top row of letters?

8. OK, every schoolchild knows this. How is the date of Easter determined?

9. In ballet slang, a "puffer" is a) the costumer who makes sure that the tights fit snugly but not too snugly, b) a very effeminate man playing a very butch role, c) the line at the front of the stage, invisible to audiences, that allows dancers to orient themselves, d) an aging choreographer whose work is largely done by assistants, or e) a particularly strenuous dance.

10. I am thinking of a two-syllable word that is plural. If I add an "s" to the end of the word, it becomes a three-syllable word that is singular. What's the word?

11. The singer Elvis Presley made his first appearance on a television show hosted by whom?

12. Well, here I am in Santa Rosa. Almost directly to the north of me is the town of Mercedes. To the south and a little east is the metropolis of Bahia Blanca. Where am I?

13. Where is the only post office in the United States not required to fly the American flag?

14. What was the first million-selling song?

15. A journal box, a sandbox, a side footboard and a coupler are all parts of what? A keel, a king post, a batten and a hang point are all parts of what? A skip, a cross cut, a winding shaft and a winze are all parts of what?

16. In 1938, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences gave out two special Oscars for "bringing to the screen the spirit and personification of youth." To whom were those Oscars given?

17. You've undoubtedly heard of the Dadaist art movement. From where does the word "dada" come?

This column is dedicated to the late John Steele, a frequent contributor to this quiz and a wise correspondent on other matters. Questions No. 8 and 13 were written before he died and were sent on to me by his widow, Rose. The quizmaster would also like to thank Jef Poskanzer, Harold Poskanzer, Mark Burstein, D. Charles White, Bruce Osterweil and Michael Stone.

Also, of course, to the people who know who they are. Whatever the hell that means.

It's the 23rd Annual Xmas Quiz, a time for introspection, contemplation, cogitation and disputation, plus plain old guesswork.

Please, no taunting -- this gentle, noncompetitive amusement was conjured up without wrath by jcarroll@sfchronicle.com.

Page E - 22
URL: http://sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/12/24/DDGAB9AE9A1.DTL

©2004 San Francisco Chronicle | Feedback | FAQ