A crowd approaching 300 people packed the Amsterdam Bar and Hall in St. Paul this past Saturday, as 45 teams sought some pride, fame, and a pile of cold hard cash. Or, anyway, one of those big checks they give out on TV game shows.
Trivia Mafia's Tournament of Champions welcomed six-member squads from across the metro area. Teams qualified by taking first place on a given night in any of the dozens of barroom trivia contests that outfit runs. Those smaller contests usually reward winners with a bar tab, ranging from around $25 to $75, with runners-up getting smaller prizes.
Saturday's outsized competition came with a correspondingly hefty bounty at stake: The winning team took home $750, which divides to $150 per person, split six ways. In total, this amount is roughly enough to cover the team's Amsterdam tab after five straight hours as a captive, nervous audience of quizzing.
To prevent cheating, cell phone usage is banned, except during occasional breaks, and even a trip to the bathroom, where one might sneakily access one's smartphone (or, in a long-shot, answers that happened to be written on the bathroom walls) means the player must sit out the rest of the round.
The first-place winner was the "Quiztian Fundamentalists," who drove from Rochester to take home the trophy. Here's what the winners look like (when they're put onto a half-darkened stage at Amsterdam and forced to hold up a big check while staring into a projector light).
They collected 333 points out of a possible 360, putting them just five points clear of runners-up "Night Cheese," who got $250 worth of Zipcar memberships and hoodie sweatshirts.
We asked Trivia Mafia masters Chuck Terhark and Sean McPherson to pick the 10 hardest questions asked on Saturday, to see just how smart City Pages' readers are. Below are their submissions for 10 of the trickiest or most obscure bits of knowledge unveiled at the Tournament of Champions. Give them your best shot, then scroll down and click "Show answers" to see how well you did.
If you get all 10 right ... well, you don't get anything right now except some pride. But it ought to inspire you to grab a few of your least stupid friends and hit up the nearest question contest.
1.) The first cartoon using an elephant to depict the Republican Party was published in 1874. What cartoonist, who also created the modern depiction of Santa Claus, created that image?
2.) In what country can you visit the five people who live in Alert, on Ellesmere Island, the world’s northern-most permanently inhabited spot?
3.) Party of Five is to the BoDeans as Dawson’s Creek is to whom?
4.) Two cities served as the capital of the Confederate States of America. Both are state capitals today. Name both cities.
5.) Bhraonáin is the last name of what mononymous singer, born in 1961?
6.) In 2006, Keith Ellison became the first Muslim elected to Congress. He took his oath of office with a copy of the Quran owned by what U.S. president?
7.) What rapper had a hit song in 1994 that sampled Michael McDonald’s “I Keep Forgettin’”?
8.) The Catcher In the Rye got its title from a 1792 poem traditionally sung to the tune of “Auld Lang Syne.” Both that poem and “Auld Lang Syne” were written by what Scottish poet?
9.) Who is the uncredited backup singer in the Carly Simon hit song “You’re So Vain”?
10.) Marie Curie won the first of her two Nobel Prizes with her husband. What was his name?
1.) Thomas Nast
3.) Paula Cole (singer of the theme song)
4.) Richmond, Virginia; Montgomery, Alabama
6.) Thomas Jefferson
7.) Warren G ("Regulate")
8.) Robert Burns
9.) Mick Jagger