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Quiz your memory with these questions

If someone asked you the difference between a post card and a postal card, how would you answer? I would have said they are the same, but I would have been wrong. Here is the answer. You buy a post card and then buy a stamp to put on it. A postal card, on the other hand, has postage imprinted upon the card by the postal authority before it is sold.

Postal cards and post cards are one way of communicating. This might be an easy communication question for you—what does SOS, the international distress signal, stand for? Could it be “Save Our Ship? Save our Souls? Or Stop Other Signals?” None of the three. SOS is the Morse code signal of three dits, three dahs. and three dits. It was adopted by International agreement because it is easy to remember.

Leaving communications, let us focus on quotations. With what words would you complete this quote: “Water, water everywhere___drop to drink.” If you answered “not a” as I did, you didn’t win a gold star. The correct words are “nor any.” It came from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” the longest major poem by the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, written in 1797–98 and published in 1798.

All true Sherlock Holmes fans should know this next one. I thought I did. What about “___, my dear Watson.” If you said “Elementary,” your answer was the same as mine. But we are wrong. The brilliant fictional detective, created by Sir Conan Doyle, did not say it that way. The word was spoken in the story, “The Crooked Man,” after Watson cried “Excellent” and Holmes replied simply, “Elementary.”

One more quotation to ponder: “All that glitters is not gold.” It comes from “The Merchant of Venice,” but the word is “glisters,” not “glitters.” I went to my dictionary for that. You could say I was half right, I guess. It means the same thing, glistens.

Every student learns about the terrible Battle of the Little Bighorn where General Custer and his men were wiped out in 1876. Well, that came to mind easily enough, but do you remember who did the deed? It was the Sioux and Cheyenne warriors, led by Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse.

Maybe focusing on the movies might be easy in testing our memories. Remember the film “Casablanca?” How could I forget it? My husband played it again and again, but it turned out I was not as attentive as I should have been to answer this question. In that movie is the familiar phrase, “Play it again, Sam,” spoken by Humphrey Bogart. Sure it was. What? No, it was not Bogart who said that. Ingrid Bergman said it, except leave “again” out of her quote.

If you enjoy testing your memory and ability to retain facts such as those in the above group listed here, I suggest you consult Norman G. Hickman’s “The Quintessential Quiz Book.” It was the inspiration for this column.




Nina Keenam is retired from the newspaper industry.