“Bookish” questions on Last Night’s Jeopardy! Online Test


This Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday mark the latest round of the online tryouts for the TV game show, Jeopardy! As a lifelong triviaphile and someone who now and then is blessed with episodes of ’Rainman’ memory, I’ve tried out twice before, making it “all the way” to the contestant pool both times. I was never called up to the show, though (I did the math once and figured the size of their contestant pool might be ten times the number needed, so even if you make it “all the way” in their audition process, it’s still a bit of a lottery).

If you’re interested in taking the test, you still have one night left to try. You have to register first, which takes about 5 minutes. The tests are run at a specific time (it was 8 p.m. eastern for me) so its a good idea to register earlier in the day to make sure you know what time you need to log on. Here’s a link and good luck if you give it a go: http://www.jeopardy.com/onlinetests/adult/

So, someone was kind enough to post the 50 questions (and answers, which I’ll share below) on the show’s online forums last night. As in prior times I’ve taken the test, books and literature comprised a significant percentage of the questions. I’ve bold-faced the ones that had a book or literary component below – quite a few, eh? I scored comparably to the last time, which resulted in an invitation to the in-person phase of the audition, where you have to take another fifty question test, be photographed and interviewed, and play an abbreviated version of the game with two other candidates.

Take a gander at the questions and see how many you know. (I’ll post the answers “below the fold”) Sony Television is very cagey about sharing how many you have to get right to “pass,” but based on prior experience I suspect it’s at least 35 or maybe as many as 40. When you take the test online, you only have 15 seconds to type in your answers. Pressure!

Have you ever tried out for Jeopardy!? What was your experience like? Do you watch the show? How many of the “bookish” questions below did you get?

Below is an image of what the testing screen looks like:


And now the test:

1. Explorers
In 1724 Peter the Great commisioned this Dane to explore the Pacific coast of Siberia

2. TV Dramas
Claire Danes plays the Emmy-winning role of CIA agent Carrie Matheson on this Showtime drama.

3. Fashion
In bridal fashions, blusher, cascade, & birdcage are types of these

4. Bestsellers
The TV series “Under the Dome” is based on a bestseller by this author

5. Bodies of Water
The Gulf of Finland is an arm of this sea

6. “A” in Mythology
In Greek myth, Jason led this famous group of sailors

7. General Science
Nearly all of the Earth’s weather occurs in this layer of the atmosphere below the stratosphere

8. 20th Century Playwrights
“Glengarry Glen Ross” about desperate real estate salesmen, won him a 1984 Pulitzer Prize

9. 10-Letter Words
This “botanical” interchange is where 2 highways meet

10. Memoirs
She wrote the 2009 memoir “Going Rogue: An American Life”

11. Single-Named Performers
Marshall Mathers goes by this stage name

12. Trees
Brought over from Australia to the US, Blue Gum is a common variety of this tree

13. American History
In November 1906 Teddy Roosevelt left the US to personally see the progress on this engineering project

14. Language Lessons
It’s the Spanish word for the midday rest

15. Art
A rich auburn color is named for this Venetian artist, who favored that hair color in his paintings

16. First Names
One of the top 5 for US girls born in 2012, it also belongs to a Jane Austen heroine

17. Books & Authors
He reworked a novel called “Stephen Hero” into “A Portrait of the Artist As a Young Man”

18. Deserts
This desert forms the triangular southern half of Israel

19. Actor-Directors
He wrote & directed 2013’s “Blue Jasmine” but doesn’t star in it

20. Physics
“Planck” down this term for the smallest amount of energy that can be emitted as electromagnetic radiation

21. Architecture
The 3 orders of ancient Greek column were Doric, Ionic & this ornate one named for a city

22. Compound Words
It’s an apartment house owner who overcharges tenants while allowing the property to deteriorate

23. Name the Work
1902: “The horror! The horror!”

24. Entrepreneurs
In the 21st Century he kept dazzling visitors to Vegas with the encore as well as the casino that bears his name

25. Current World Leaders
He served in the KGB from 1975 to 1991

26. The Solar System
Triton is the largest moon of this planet

27. US Presidents
He was President when the 20th Century began

28. Flags
4 white fleurs-de-lis appear on this Canadian province’s flag

29. English Literature
According to a George Eliot title, the Tullivers own a mill on this river

30. Classic Movie Actresses
She played Isla in “Casablanca”

31. Alliteration
Bovine term for a business product that is a dependable source of income

32. Shakespeare’s Women
While sleepwalking she yells, “Out, damned spot! Out, I say!”

33. 4-Letter Capitals
It’s the Capital of Latvia

34. Tech Stuff
In 2013 Susan Bennett was revealed to be the original vocie of this iPhone assistant

35. Colonial America
The Pilgrims formed Plymouth Colony & this religious group founded the Massachusetts Bay Colony

36. Ancient Greeks
At age 70, he was put on trial for “Not believing in the gods the state believes in”

37. Nonfiction
His books included “Diet Revoluion”, “New Diet Revolution” & “Health Revolution

38. Anatomy
The name of this jawbone is from the Latin for “To chew”

39. World Cities
Located at the south end of the Bosporus, it’s the only major city to lie on 2 continents: Asia & Europe

40. American Lit
This author’s “House of the Seven Gables” tells of the cursed Pyncheon family

41. Legal “E”s
Often issued in times of war, this order prohibits ships or goods from leaving a port

42. Bible Books By Story
3 friends are thrown into a fiery furnace in this biblical book

43. College Bowl Games
Since 1975 this New Year’s college bowl game has been played at the Superdome in New Orleans

44. Literary Trilogies
“The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” completed the trilogy about a hacker from this country

45. Health & Medicine
It’s the learnign disability in which sufferers reverse words like “was” & “saw”

46. The French Revolution
During this bloody period of the revolution, at least 17,000 people were executed

47. Politicians
This Senator’s memoir “An American Son” covers his family’s journey from Cuba to Florida

48. The Western Hemisphere
The West Indian island of Aruba is a self-governing part of this European country

49. Such a Character!
Robert Bloch based this motel owner in his novel “Psycho” on convicted Wisconsin killer Ed Gein

50. Double “L” Words
Hairstyle described as “Business in the front, party in the back”

1. Bering
2. Homeland
3. Veils
4. Stephen King
5. Baltic Sea
6. Argonauts
7. Troposphere
8. David Mamet
9. Cloverleaf
10. Sarah Palin
11. Eminem
12. Eucalyptus
13. Panama Canal
14. Siesta
15. Titian
16. Emma
17. James Joyce
18. Negev Desert
19. Woody Allen
20. Quantum
21. Corinthian
22. Slumlord
23. Heart of Darkness
24. Steve Wynn
25. Vladimir Putin
26. Neptune
27. William McKinley
28. Quebec
29. Floss
30. Ingrid Bergman
31. Cash cow
32. Lady Macbeth
33. Riga
34. Siri
35. Puritans
36. Socrates
37. Atkins
38. Mandible
39. Istanbul
40. Nathaniel Hawthorne
41. Embargo
42. Daniel
43. Sugar Bowl* (Question is incorrect as the 2006 Sugar Bowl was played at the Georgia Dome)
44. Sweden
45. Dyslexia
46. Reign of Terror
47. Marco Rubio
48. Netherlands
49. Norman Bates
50. Mullet


  1. Alex said,

    January 9, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Oh how I love quizzes… but I wouldn’t make the cut. I got 23 right, and now many of literature, actually. Good luck with the trials!


    • Alex said,

      January 9, 2014 at 9:57 am

      now = not!


    • Jay said,

      January 9, 2014 at 10:09 am

      Thanks, Alex! One thing I kept forgetting to do was read the category first, which really helps. The questions are coming so fast and furious though it’s easy to do. My nephew, now a law school student and accomplished trivia player got 32, so it’s a pretty tough test, I think.


  2. Dale said,

    January 10, 2014 at 10:00 pm

    Good luck, Jay! I got 10 of the literary questions right. I went back to the other questions and didn’t do so well.


    • Jay said,

      January 11, 2014 at 4:25 pm

      Thanks, Dale! I looked at the fifty questions fr the next day and might’ve scored 1 higher, but that was without the pressure. Last time it was a couple months before they emailed me.


  3. January 11, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    Congrats on making it to the contestant pool twice! Looking at these questions, I’d say that’s quite an accomplishment in and of itself. 🙂

    I’ve never tried out for Jeopardy, but one of my very good friends did, and actually ended up on the show! Her account, if you are interested in reading more about it, can be found here. It all sounds very surreal.


    • Jay said,

      January 11, 2014 at 4:28 pm

      Thanks, Taryn! The first time I was in the contestant pool included the time of Ken Jennings’ reign. I would’ve liked to have had a shot at him. Well, maybe. 🙂

      Thanks for sharing that link too. I enjoyed reading that.



      • January 12, 2014 at 11:55 am

        Imagine going up against Ken Jennings! That would definitely be a story for the grandkids, haha. 🙂

        Glad you liked Sonia’s piece, Jay. I actually happened to catch the episode she was on–not on its first run, but as a repeat at a bar I was at. It is just too weird seeing a friend behind that Jeopardy podium!


        • Jay said,

          January 13, 2014 at 8:16 am

          That would be surreal to see someone you know on the show.

          I remember being very frustrated during Ken Jennings run of victories – many shows “weren’t even close” and I kept thinking, “can’t these people come up with someone who can give him a challenge?!” (Of course, being in the contestant pool at the time, I thought that someone might be me.) 🙂


  4. January 14, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    My delusional days of thinking myself the smartest guy in the room are long gone. I only scored about 25%. Thanks for the exercise.


    • Jay said,

      January 15, 2014 at 8:22 am

      Being in a room full of Jeopardy! hopefuls cured me of that back in 2004 when I first tried out. I remember thinking as we were taking the test “in person” that I was ‘killing it!’ Then, when the test finished and the people working for the show took the tests away to grade, we of course talked among ourselves about “what’d you answer for this? What’d you answer for that.” etc. I quickly learned everyone there was ‘killing it’ too.

      Interesting mix of people too. The majority seemed to be pretty “normal” folks, just very smart. The rest were kind of the stereotypical “nerdy” or “quirky” personality type. A fun experience.


  5. Melissa said,

    January 24, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    I am such a fan of Jeopardy! I’ve never tried out, but I may have to now!


    • Jay said,

      January 26, 2014 at 8:54 am

      I use the potential for a Jeopardy! audition as my excuse to sit at the bar and play the trivia game at Buffalo Wild Wings a couple times a week. How’s that for rationalizing? 🙂


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