Pub Quiz

This quiz is made up of questions that have an obvious at first blush answer that is wrong, i.e., the sort of thing many people would blurt out without thinking. For each question your challenge is to get BOTH this obvious wrong answer and the right answer. For example, the question “Who is buried in Grant’s Tomb?” has an obvious wrong answer (Ulysses S. Grant) and a correct answer (Ulysses S. Grant and his wife Julia). If you guessed them both you would get 2 points, if you got just one you would still earn one point.

Google not and do your best. Please post scores at the end as well as any comments and critiques.

1. Who is Barloff Karloff playing here?


2. What is the world’s largest desert?

3. In Great Britain, who currently holds the title of First Lord of the Treasury?

4. Which state contains the southernmost point in the U.S.?

5. Who is this debonair, leonine voiced actor who rode an upper crust English accent to fame by playing a freelance detective in ten installments of The Falcon movie series in the 1940s?


ANSWERS (10 Points in the maximum possible score)

1. Obvious but wrong answer: Frankenstein
Correct Answer: The Monster (or Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster)

2. Obvious but wrong answer: The Sahara
Correct Answer: Antarctica

3. Obvious but wrong answer: George Osborne
Correct Answer: David Cameron

4. Obvious but wrong answer: Florida
Correct answer: Hawaii.

5. Obvious but wrong answer: George Sanders
Correct answer: Tom Conway

Conway (on the left in the photo below) and Sanders were similar looking and sounding brothers. They flipped a coin to determine who would change his name when they got to Hollywood and Tom lost. George started out starring as The Falcon but yielded the lead to Tom in an early installment, The Falcon’s Brother. George went on to become an Academy Award winning star, but Tom unfortunately went on to drink too much and is largely forgotten today.


Author: Keith Humphreys

Keith Humphreys is the Esther Ting Memorial Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at Kings College London. His research, teaching and writing have focused on addictive disorders, self-help organizations (e.g., breast cancer support groups, Alcoholics Anonymous), evaluation research methods, and public policy related to health care, mental illness, veterans, drugs, crime and correctional systems. Professor Humphreys' over 300 scholarly articles, monographs and books have been cited over thirteen thousand times by scientific colleagues. He is a regular contributor to Washington Post and has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Monthly, San Francisco Chronicle, The Guardian (UK), The Telegraph (UK), Times Higher Education (UK), Crossbow (UK) and other media outlets.

12 thoughts on “Pub Quiz”

  1. I'm feeling pretty good about getting four points. They're the easy ones (1 and 4), but still.

  2. I'm feeling pretty good about getting five points, particularly as I debated whether "in the United States" included territories like Guam, but I guessed right.

  3. 7 points. All but 3 of 4 Englishmen. I understood that "not George Osborne" isn't worth full score for 3 & should have guessed. On five, I had no clue even as to what the obvious but wrong answer might be. I have never heard of either brother or of "The Falcon".

  4. 7/10, wrong on Antarctica, David Cameron and Tom Conway.

    Another favourite trick question I heard was "Who sailed as the naturalist on HMS Beagle's round-the-world voyage?", which I read in a Stephen Jay Gould essay.

    It was not Charles Darwin. Apparently on Royal Navy ships the ship's surgeon doubled as the "official" naturalist during voyages like this. Darwin occupied no official position – the Captain, Fitzroy, feared the loneliness of his job and decided to take along a like-minded individual for companionship. However, the surgeon was annoyed to find the Captain's friend getting the choice specimens, and left the ship at Rio.

      1. Thanks for that, and thanks for the quizzes. I have not been at a pub quiz since being on the champion pub quiz team of Clonmel, South Tipperary, about a quarter century ago.

        1. An honorable title. My team took the cup at the Phoenix Pub in Camberwell, London. The critical question was who had won the last U.S. World Baseball Series. Everyone looked to me as the only American, but I didn't know the answer. I made a blind guess that was by supreme luck the correct one.

  5. Question 1 is trivially obvious: 2 points.

    For question 2, the wrong answer is obvious. I had no idea what the right answer might be, and wildly guessed the Australian desert (Australia being really big): 1 point.

    The right answer to question 3 is obvious to me as a student of English history (as was). For a long time, there was no official position of “Prime Minister”. The head of the government was the treasury minister. I couldn’t think of the wrong answer, but it was a “doh!” moment when I saw it: 1 point.

    Knowing the major trivia fact that Alaska, the second-newest state, is the northernmost, westernmost, and easternmost state generally involves also knowing that Hawaii (the state that the current Kenya-born president pretends to have been born in) is the southernmost, replacing Florida when Hawaii became the newest state: 2 points for question 4.

    On question 5, I knew that George Sanders had appeared in two similar series of British b-pictures as “the Falcon” and “the Saint”, and I could see that the picture was clearly not George Sanders, but I couldn’t think of the other Falcon: 1 point. Other trivia concerning George Sanders: When he committed suicide in 1972, he left a note saying that he was killing himself because he was bored.

    Total: 7 points.

    1. Boffo, you are tied with the best. The Tom Conway question was very hard. If I'd have more time I would have put a clip of him up — it's eerie how much he sounded like George.

  6. 8/10. I had no idea who the actor was, so I just threw out Basil Rathbone because I’d often seen studio shots of him as Holmes–smoking a calabash pipe. I thought that perhaps Rathbone was much older that the pictured actor, but it was all I had. He was older–but only about 12 years.

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