Ever spent a lunch hour plowing through Google news, only to realize at the end that you don't remember a single thing you read? Not the name of the radioactive poison that someone slipped into a former KGB agent's Cosmopolitan (polonium-210). Or how many firefighters are suing the city of Minneapolis over sexual harassment claims (three). Or what the word "firecrotch" means (look it up).

The news relies on our amnesia: How else could we be surprised at another market bombing in Mosul, another disgraced suburban gym teacher with feely hands? Truly, with so much information available from so many sources, practically everything is forgettable.

Which makes it all the stranger that we remember those facts that we designate as "trivia." Odd dates and names that we can't manage to clear from our heads with a cache dump. The hometowns of Wisconsin's serial killers. The Pillsbury Doughboy's birth name. The meaning of the word "firecrotch" (we looked it up).

In that spirit, we offer the Mn SAT, a collection of Minnesota questions that are too petty to recall, yet too piquant, too silly, too sticky to shed from our memory bank. There are 82 questions here, and you could probably lead a perfectly rewarding life without knowing the answer to a single one of them.

Still, we vote with whoever it was—Gandhi? Jesus?—who said that useless knowledge is its own reward. In case you don't agree, however, there are bona fide prizes attached to the Mn SATs:

• The first-prize winner will receive a trio of gift cards to local restaurants Bellanotte, Naar, and Amore Victoria (total value over $300).

• The second-prize winner will receive two tickets to the January 26, 2007 game between the Minnesota Wild and the Calgary Flames

• The third-prize winner will receive a copy of a truly trivial work, Eric Dregni's Weird Minnesota


1. Take the interactive quiz at SNAIL-MAIL ENTRIES WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

2. Ballots may be cast online until noon central time next Tuesday, December 12.

3. In case of tie scores, the winner(s) will be chosen by drawing from the pool of tied entries.

by Corey Anderson and CP staff

  1. Match the celebrity with the addiction that prompted him to enter the Hazelden treatment center in Center City: (*This is a facing columns questions)
    Choose your answer:
  2. Who was the grand marshal of the first Aquatennial Torchlight Parade held in 1940?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Gene Autry
    b. Charles A. Lindbergh Jr.
    c. Judy Garland
    d. Henry Fonda
  3. What Twin Cities mayor was publicly lauded for his good sense after police discovered him sleeping off a bender on a major local thoroughfare?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Hubert H. Humphrey
    b. George A. Vavoulis
    c. George Latimer
    d. Norm Coleman
  4. Name the Minnesota media celebrity who said, "I've found an invisible companion to walk with me through the hard times. God."
    Choose your answer:
    a. Diana Pierce
    b. Tom Barnard
    c. Kim Jeffries
    d. Jim Klobuchar
  5. Which was not a scheduled event during the 31st Annual Judy Garland Festival held in Grand Rapids in May 2006?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Andy Hardy Talent Show and Dance
    b. screening of The Wizard of Oz
    c. children's lunch with the Munchkins
    d. Dangers of Prescription Drugs seminar
  6. In a 1946 magazine article, Nation editor Carey McWilliams called Minneapolis the most       city in America.
    Choose your answer:
    a. progressive
    b. underpopulated
    c. anti-Semitic
    d. economically vibrant
  7. What do the first two letters in WCCO stand for?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Western Communication
    b. Washburn Crosby
    c. Wexler Cohen
    d. Webb Cowley
  8. Which genre of music did early WCCO executives promise to eliminate, describing it as "a riot of noise, in which the melody is so trivial as to be practically not there at all, and in which the dissonances are the result of nothing more than the desire to make a racket?"
    Choose your answer:
    a. polka
    b. rock 'n' roll
    c. jazz
    d. ska
  9. Who headlined the first concert at the Depot, precursor to First Avenue, on April 30, 1970?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Willie Murphy
    b. Joe Cocker
    c. Koerner, Ray & Glover
    d. Fairport Convention
  10. Legend has it, "Mr. Jimmy" Hutmaker of Hector, Minnesota, met Mick Jagger in 1964 at Bacon Drug after the Rolling Stones performed at the Excelsior Amusement Park. What pearls of wisdom were uttered by Mr. Hutmaker that supposedly inspired Mr. Jagger?
    Choose your answer:
    a. "Get off my cloud"
    b. "I'm just waitin' on a friend"
    c. "You can't always get what you want"
    d. "Brown sugar, how come you taste so good?"
  11. Which record label never released an album by Hüsker Dü?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Warner Brothers
    b. SST
    c. Reflex
    d. Twin/Tone
  12. Which rock 'n' roller lived for a time at 1925 Colfax Ave. S., directly behind the Lowry Hill Liquor Store?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Paul Westerberg
    b. Courtney Love
    c. Curtiss A
    d. Chris Osgood
  13. At which Minneapolis watering hole can daytime tipplers meet the bartender mom of a current member of Guns N' Roses?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Yukon Club
    b. Uptown Bar
    c. C.C. Club
    d. Poodle Club
  14. KSTP radio host Tom Mischke once pretended to be a black weatherman with what name?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Alan Hail Jr.
    b. Blow Zephyr
    c. Windy Fields
    d. Stormy Greenier
  15. What was the name of the crusading Minneapolis newspaper editor who was shot dead in 1935?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Leonard Johnson
    b. Walter Liggett
    c. Carl Laemmle
    d. Randall Scarsgaard
  16. What band appeared on the cover of the first issue of Sweet Potato, the paper that later became City Pages, in 1979?
    Choose your answer:
    a. The Replacements
    b. The Suicide Commandos
    c. The Cars
    d. The Suburbs
  17. Whom or what was Prince named after?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Prince Albert tobacco
    b. Prince Philip of England
    c. Antoine de St. Exupery's The Little Prince
    d. Prince Rogers Trio
  18. What was the name of the would-be music impresario credited with discovering Prince?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Chris Moon
    b. Alan Leeds
    c. Richard Martin
    d. Ahmet Ertegun
  19. On the drawing boards, the album that became the two-record Sign 'O' the Times started out as a three-record set called what?
    Choose your answer:
    a. The Dawn
    b. Crystal Ball
    c. PerFunktory
    d. The Red Room
  20. Under what alter ego moniker did Prince record a number of 1986 tracks, featuring tweaked-up, high-pitched vocals?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Alexa di Paris
    b. Sonny
    c. Camille
    d. Mr. Black
  21. After signing his Warner Bros. record deal, Prince purchased his first house where?
    Choose your answer:
    a. in Chanhassen, near Lake Riley
    b. in near-north Minneapolis, on Emerson Avenue
    c. in Kenwood, on Irving Avenue
    d. in Edina, on France Avenue
  22. What religion has Prince periodically espoused in the past decade?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Scientology
    b. Christian Science
    c. Jehovah's Witnesses
    d. Buddhism
  23. What then-box office star and brief Prince girlfriend was originally slated to star in Graffiti Bridge?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Sandra Bullock
    b. Molly Ringwald
    c. Kim Basinger
    d. Michelle Pfeiffer
  24. Where was the original late-1980s incarnation of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis's Flyte Tyme Studios?
    Choose your answer:
    a. on Lyndale Avenue in north Minneapolis
    b. on Nicollet Avenue in south Minneapolis
    c. on France Avenue in Edina
    d. on Highway 5 in Chanhassen
  25. Which Prince song, listened to by Karenna Gore, prompted mother Tipper Gore to found the Parents Music Resource Center in 1985?
    Choose your answer:
    a. "Dirty Mind"
    b. "Jack U Off"
    c. "Let's Pretend We're Married"
    d. "Darling Nikki"
  26. What is the origin of Minneapolis underworld kingpin Isadore "Kid Cann" Blumenfeld's nickname?
    Choose your answer:
    a. He always carried a coffee can as a spittoon
    b. He hid in the bathroom every time he heard gunfire
    c. He owned a cannery as a front
    d. He was the son and gangsta disciple of "Man Cann" Blumenfeld
  27. What does the "R.T." in R.T. Rybak stand for?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Robert Thomas
    b. Raymond Thomas
    c. Richard Theodore
    d. Rootin' Tootin'
  28. Congressman Andrew Volstead of Granite Falls was responsible for giving the United States what?
    Choose your answer:
    a. the 18th Amendment that outlawed liquor
    b. the 40-hour work week
    c. the funding to build the Spirit of St. Louis
    d. herpes
  29. In 1952, U of M President J. L. Morrill declared, "We stand in the glare of public censure because of the irresponsibilities of some." To what "great harm and hurt" was he referring?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Civil Rights marches
    b. on-campus drinking and smoking
    c. folk singing in coffeehouses
    d. panty raids
  30. Minneapolis's first skyway, which opened in 1962, linked which two downtown buildings?
    Choose your answer:
    a. The IDS and Midwest Plaza
    b. Lutheran Brotherhood and Centre Village
    c. The Hilton and the Leamington hotels
    d. The Northwest Bank and Cargill buildings
  31. How many hogs are "processed" each hour at the Hormel plant in Austin, Minnesota, in order to make Spam?
    Choose your answer:
    a. 145
    b. 960
    c. 3,550
    d. 18,200
  32. In 1930, a University of Minnesota medical student spent 13 weeks consuming what fast-food product to prove its nutritional value?
    Choose your answer:
    a. McDonald's French fries
    b. White Castle hamburgers
    c. Kentucky Fried Chicken thighs and wings
    d. Dairy Queen banana splits
  33. This is the site of the northernmost Jamaican restaurant in the contiguous United States:
    Choose your answer:
    a. International Falls
    b. Gilbert
    c. Duluth
    d. Bemidji
  34. What is the Pillsbury Doughboy's given name?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Rollie
    b. Poppin' Fresh
    c. Bun Bun
    d. Limp Biscuit
  35. Approximately how many rolls of toilet paper are used during the Minnesota State Fair?
    Choose your answer:
    a. 2,200 rolls
    b. 22,000 rolls
    c. 220,000 rolls
    d. 2.2 million rolls
  36. To which fellow Pulitzer Prize winner did novelist Sinclair Lewis dedicate Babbitt?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Edith Wharton
    b. Ernest Poole
    c. Booth Tarkington
    d. Eugene O'Neill
  37. Which city's public library banned Main Street in the mistaken belief that Sinclair Lewis's fictional Gopher Prairie was based on it?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Sauk Centre
    b. Center City
    c. St. Cloud
    d. Alexandria
  38. Which Little House book written by Laura Ingalls Wilder is set in Walnut Grove, Minnesota?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Little House in the Big Woods
    b. Little House on the Prairie
    c. On the Banks of Plum Creek
    d. By the Shores of Silver Lake
  39. St. Paul-born novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald's father was a:
    Choose your answer:
    a. railroad tycoon
    b. bartender
    c. writer of reference guides
    d. wicker furniture salesman
  40. Which of the following is not a profession attempted by novelist Louise Erdrich following her tenure at Dartmouth College?
    Choose your answer:
    a. waitress
    b. poetry teacher at a prison
    c. art school model
    d. construction-flag signaler
  41. Local author Diablo Cody used what alias during her stint as a stripper:
    Choose your answer:
    a. Busty LaRue
    b. Herbal Essence
    c. Cherish
    d. Temperance
  42. Who played the title role in the Guthrie Theater's 1963 inaugural production of Hamlet?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Richard Jaeckel
    b. Hume Cronyn
    c. George Grizzard
    d. Peter Michael Goetz
  43. Which section of the old Guthrie Theater is a suicidal usher said to haunt?
    Choose your answer:
    a. the women's dressing room
    b. the will-call booth
    c. the storage area beneath the stage
    d. Row 18
  44. Playwright August Wilson said his work was inspired by the "four Bs"—writers Amiri Baraka and Jorge Luis Borges, painter Romare Bearden, and:
    Choose your answer:
    a. writer Arna Bontemps
    b. the blues
    c. composer Johannes Brahms
    d. stepfather David Bedford
  45. Bob Dylan founded numerous bands during his Hibbing High School tenure. Which of the following was not a band formed by the former Robert Zimmerman?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Elston Gunn
    b. The Shadow Blasters
    c. The Satin Tones
    d. The Mood Revue
  46. How much did Hibbing High cost when it was built in 1924?
    Choose your answer:
    a. $90,000
    b. $150,000
    c. $1 million
    d. $4 million
  47. What kind of business did Dylan's father run in Hibbing?
    Choose your answer:
    a. drugstore/soda fountain
    b. movie theater
    c. shoe store
    d. appliance store
  48. Which singer's work did Dylan cover in a high school talent show?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Nat King Cole
    b. Hank Williams
    c. Little Richard
    d. Elvis Presley
  49. Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watch Tower" is about what Minnesota landmark?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Split Rock Lighthouse
    b. The Prospect Park water tower
    c. The Foshay Tower
    d. The Mounds Park searchlight tower
  50. Which of the following people was not born in Hibbing?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Manson prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi
    b. NBA Hall of Famer and Wolves Hall of Shamer Kevin McHale
    c. Former single-season homerun champ Roger Maris
    d. The freewheelin' Bob Dylan
  51. Minnesota Orchestra's musical director Osmo Vänskä began his professional music career playing what instrument?
    Choose your answer:
    a. cello
    b. clarinet
    c. oboe
    d. hurdy gurdy
  52. The first Minnesota woman to serve in the United States House of Representatives, "Coya" Knutson, studied what at the Juilliard School of Music in New York?
    Choose your answer:
    a. opera
    b. viola
    c. piano
    d. Jew's harp
  53. The "Foshay Tower-Washington Memorial March," commissioned by Wilber B. Foshay and composed by John Phillip Sousa, was (until recently) only performed once, at the dedication ceremony for the Foshay Tower. Why?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Foshay paid a one-time use fee
    b. the original music burned up in a fire on the Sousa estate
    c. Foshay's check to Sousa bounced
    d. Sousa was shamed when it was discovered the march was simply "El Capitan" played backward
  54. Which Minnesota-based company is ranked highest in the 2006 edition of the Fortune 500?
    Choose your answer:
    a. UnitedHealth Group
    b. Best Buy
    c. Target
    d. St. Paul Travelers Cos.
  55. Using numbers from 2005, which country provides Minnesota with its largest market for manufactured goods?
    Choose your answer:
    a. China/Hong Kong
    b. Japan
    c. Ireland
    d. Canada
  56. Richard Warren Sears, co-founder of Sears, Roebuck & Company, began his retail career selling watches to station agents along the Minneapolis and St. Louis Railway from what Minnesota town?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Two Harbors
    b. Norwood/Young America
    c. Lanesboro
    d. North Redwood/Redwood Falls
  57. In 1902, George Dayton opened his first department store in downtown Minneapolis. What was its name?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Dayton's
    b. Target
    c. George's Dry Goods
    d. Goodfellows
  58. The first open-heart surgery using the Mayo-Gibbon mechanical pump-oxygenator was conducted in 1955 on a child at which hospital?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Saint Mary's Hospital, Rochester
    b. University of Minnesota Hospitals, Minneapolis
    c. Rochester Methodist Hospital, Rochester
    d. Children's Hospitals and Clinics, St. Paul
  59. Match the Minnesota Viking with his arrest charge: (matching question)
    Choose your answer:
    a. TK
    b. TK
    c. TK
    d. TK
  60. Which player scored the Minnesota Vikings' first regular-season points in September 1961?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Fran Tarkenton
    b. Mike Mercer
    c. Tommy Mason
    d. Jim Marshall
  61. Which two NFL teams called Duluth home in the 1920s?
    Choose your answer:
    a. The Kelley Duluths and the Eskimos
    b. The Kelley Duluths and the Maroons
    c. The Kelley Duluths and the Vikings
    d. The Kelley Duluths and the Blizzards
  62. According to legend, a fortuitous carom off a lily pad helped make golf history for Bobby Jones at this Minneapolis country club in 1930:
    Choose your answer:
    a. Interlachen
    b. Minikahda
    c. Golden Valley C.C.
    d. Theodore Wirth
  63. Name the only two Minnesota North Stars to have their numbers retired:
    Choose your answer:
    a. Mike Modano and Lorne "Gump" Worsley
    b. Bill Masterton and Bill Goldsworthy
    c. Neal Broten and Mike Modano
    d. Bill Masterton and Dino Ciccarelli
  64. Who were the Minnesota Twins' first opponents in the Metrodome in 1982?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Seattle Mariners
    b. Chicago White Sox
    c. Detroit Tigers
    d. Milwaukee Brewers
  65. What is Minnesota's "State Reptile?"
    Choose your answer:
    a. common garter snake
    b. snapping turtle
    c. Blanding's turtle
    d. Carl Pohlad
  66. Match the Minnesota town with the giant animal statue found therein: (matching question)
    Choose your answer:
    a. TK
    b. TK
    c. TK
    d. TK
  67. What was the name of Charles M. Schulz's childhood pet dog?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Spike
    b. Charlie
    c. Buddy
    d. Snoopy, duh!
  68. Which three dates appear on the Minnesota state flag?
    Choose your answer:
    a. 1776, 1783, 1858
    b. 1783, 1849, 1858
    c. 1819, 1858, 1893
    d. 1776, 1858, 1999
  69. Who, in 1838, became the first inhabitant of the future city of St. Paul?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Lucien Galtier
    b. Jean-Baptiste Faribault
    c. Pierre Parrant
    d. Josiah Snelling
  70. Name the largest park in Minneapolis.
    Choose your answer:
    a. Powderhorn Park
    b. Bryn Mawr Park
    c. Theodore Wirth Park
    d. Hiawatha Lake Park
  71. By land area, the largest city in Minnesota is:
    Choose your answer:
    a. Duluth
    b. Hibbing
    c. Minneapolis
    d. Rochester
  72. The two territorial plots that would eventually become Minnesota were acquired by the United States through which two events:
    Choose your answer:
    a. The Missouri Compromise and the Louisiana Purchase
    b. The Gadsden Purchase and the Louisiana Purchase
    c. The Second Treaty of Paris and the Louisiana Purchase
    d. Wrestlemania VIII and a grant from the McKnight Foundation
  73. Where did St. Paul's Cretin Avenue get its name?
    Choose your answer:
    a. The explorer Ferdinand Cretin
    b. This dopey guy who used to live there
    c. The French word for "Christian"
    d. The Croatian word for "river"
  74. The Jeffers Petroglyphs in southwestern Minnesota feature carvings by American Indians dating as far back as 5,000 years. What type of stone was used?
    Choose your answer:
    a. granite
    b. quartzite
    c. limestone
    d. sandstone
  75. Which well-known Minnesota fishing lake was the site of the last armed conflict between Native Americans and the U.S. Military?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Mille Lacs
    b. Leech Lake
    c. Lake Calhoun
    d. Red Lake
  76. What event ignited that conflict?
    Choose your answer:
    a. an effort to force a Native American to testify at a bootlegger's trial in Duluth
    b. a dispute over property lost as a consequence of the federal government's allotment policies
    c. resentment over a smallpox outbreak caused by tainted blankets supplied by the U.S. government
    d. anger over the arrest of a Native American on poaching charges
  77. The muskie's full name, muskellunge, comes from the Ojibwe word maashkinoozhe, meaning:
    Choose your answer:
    a. striped pike
    b. lake warrior
    c. ugly pike
    d. great with lemon and butter
  78. According to folklore, what was the "Ojibwe blackjack" with which Nanabushu struck Paul Bunyan?
    Choose your answer:
    a. diamond willow stick
    b. smoked whitefish
    c. smoked northern pike
    d. petrified bull snake
  79. What was the name given to Babe the Blue Ox's mate?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Betty the Blue Ox
    b. Bessie the Yaller Cow
    c. Gertie the Green Guernsey
    d. Babe never, ever had a girlfriend
  80. The 1960s folk singer Tiny Tim ("Tip-toe Through the Tulips") was buried in Lakewood Cemetery with his ukulele, six tulips, and what?
    Choose your answer:
    a. his only Grammy
    b. an autographed picture of Ethel Merman
    c. a stuffed rabbit
    d. a lock of Judy Garland's hair
  81. Which saint is buried in the reliquary chapel of St. John's Abbey in Collegeville?
    Choose your answer:
    a. St. Peregrine
    b. St. Ulrich of Augsburg
    c. St. Dismas
    d. St. Hubertus
  82. Which one of the following serial killers is not from Wisconsin?
    Choose your answer:
    a. Ed Gein
    b. Jeffrey Dahmer
    c. Aileen Wuornos
    d. Henry Lee Lucas