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Last Build Date: Fri, 08 Dec 2017 00:36:02 +0000


Omnibus, take all of us

Thu, 07 Dec 2017 20:03:12 +0000

I almost managed to vanish from the ol’ blog for an entire calendar year! In part that was because I was working overtime on a book deadline; in part it was just an effect of my unhealthy and all-consuming Twitter addiction, which is not a problem I ever had with blogging. So I didn’t update […]


Wed, 11 Jan 2017 09:53:49 +0000

(W)hy not? I was in Athens in November for the first international Quiz Olympiad. The hotel that hosted the event was just a short walk away from the marble Panathenaic Stadium, built in 330 BC, which has hosted events for the modern Olympic Games twice. A monument out front lists the host cities of every […]

Hits within hits

Sat, 24 Dec 2016 03:10:21 +0000

The final question on my weekly Tuesday Trivia email quiz a couple weeks ago was one of the hardest in the quiz’s ten-year history. Only two respondents guessed the correct answer. The gimmick was: artists who had two well-known songs, one of which contains the full title of the other. The examples on the quiz […]

The worst man in the world

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 18:39:18 +0000

When Time magazine named President-elect (!!!) Donald Trump its “Person of the Year” last week, I tweeted Trump is the only Time Person of the Year who was also Spy magazine's worst person of the year (1995). — Ken Jennings (@KenJennings) December 7, 2016 That’s not a joke, as you might have guessed if you […]

To the fleetest

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 10:00:17 +0000

Jeopardy! plows through two new contestants every weeknight, as implacably as a shark. But that means your odds, as a random American, of getting on the show this year are still no better than 1 in 800,000. Sad! Enter FleetWit! It’s a mobile “brain race” site where players compete in live quizzes testing a mix […]

Where are they now?

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 20:28:27 +0000

Jeopardy! is running a series of stories this season called “the J!Effect,” about how the quiz show has changed lives over its 30-year-plus run. This is very exciting to hear because it means Jeopardy! is embracing the hip millennial-friendly abbreviation “J!” for its brand, replacing its ’90 attempt, “Jep!” But it’s also exciting because it […]

Citius Altius Trivius

Thu, 10 Nov 2016 04:13:28 +0000

I just got back from the first ever Quiz Olympiad, organized by the International Quizzing Association and held in the Olympic cradle of Athens, Greece. It was an historic weekend! Some background: the IQA has been holding these European and international quiz tournaments for many years, but I’ve only attended one: the 2007 European Quiz […]

Carrying the torch

Mon, 31 Oct 2016 16:34:54 +0000

I’m off to Greece this week for the inaugural Quiz Olympiad. (Cue NBC Olympics anthem! But only in your head so we don’t get sued.) Here’s the press release I just got sent about the event. Wish us luck! Team USA competing at Quiz Olympiad, Nov. 3 – 6 in Athens, Greece Author and Jeopardy! […]

To the map we go

Mon, 24 Oct 2016 17:58:05 +0000

In this week’s Maphead piece for Condé Nast Traveler, I write about the weird history of Westwego, Louisiana, which bills itself as the only town in America whose name is a complete sentence. I was unable to find any other burg making a similar claim, so I let it slide. But then, checking out Westwego […]

Captain America

Tue, 11 Oct 2016 23:06:16 +0000

Way back in 2014, when gay marriage was illegal in half the country, True Detective and the iPhone 6 were brand new, and Donald Trump was still just a reality TV punchline, my friend Paul Bailey asked if I might want to represent my country in the first “Quiz Olympiad,” an international quizzing championship scheduled […]