Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Blaugust 11/31: Wednesday-ish Quiz - Prime Considerations

This post is part of Blaugust, the blogging festival might be getting its own convention.

We hope you'll forgive the change in plans, but since it's 11:30 PM and I've just got home, and content doesn't grow on trees, we're going to switch up the schedule a little and run the Leaflocker's first Wednesday Quiz in Exile on Tuesday, and with any luck we'll catch up on the reading project tomorrow.

There was a general feeling amongst the downtrodden masses that are the quiz-takers here at the Leaflocker that last week's quiz on Italian powers throughout history was a little like a hobnail boot stomping on a face forever, so with that in mind, this week should be a little kinder and require a slightly less...focused...approach.

Unfortunately, I'm racing against the clock here, so the quiz answers from last week will be available tomorrow as usual, which means that you still ahve 24 hours to enter and stop John's gloating in his moment of triumph! :)

Onto this week's quiz, then. The rules remain the same as always and our theme for today is:


(1) An Abecedary is a form of primer, or introductory course to a topic, that prior to the invention of the printing press was regularly found in churches and monastaries and are generally regarded to have been used as a teaching tool. Disregarding the religious use for now, what did an Abecedary teach?

(2) The last few years, we've heard a lot about sub-prime lending, the practice of lending to borrowers with a high chance of defaulting on their loans. This is all linked to the somewhat outdated idea of the Prime Rate, which is what, exactly?

(3) In the Star Trek universe, the Prime Directive is the guiding principle of the Federation. What is the Prime Directive?

(4) The 2005 romantic comedy Prime, featuring Merryl Streep, Uma Thurman and some other person who I guess is kind of pretty, is generally considered by critics to have been a bit of a stinker (and reading the plot synopsis I can see why), but it has considerably better Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes ratings (though much lower box-office takings) than the Antonio Banderas film released the same week. Which swashbuckling sequel are we talking about here?

(5) Prior to the Second Vatican Council, when it was mercilessly scrubbed from the books, Prime was one of the canonical hours, but inexplicably, not the first one. It fell before Terce but after which major liturgical hour?


(6) The prime symbol is an important element of the notation used to describe the movements involved in the manipulation of the eternal fad puzzle, the Rubik's cube. In this context, what does the ' mean?

(7) Despite a name that would appear to indicate that it was the first in the series, how many Metroid games were released in Australia prior to Metroid Prime, the best-selling Gamecube title generally considered one of the finest games of all time?

(8) Prime TV is also the name of one of the television networks that services rural and regional Australia. From which of the major national broadcasters does Prime TV source the majority of their content? [For Americans and other aliens, the answer to this question is a number between 7 and 10].

(9) In many countries with Parliamentary systems including our native Australia, the head of government is known as the Prime Minister. Though the term is thought to have originated in France, which Briton is generally considered to have been the first 'Prime Minister', though he always denied holding such a position?

(10) A prime number is a natural number greater than 1 that has no positive divisors other than 1 and itself. But that's too easy for a Leaflocker Quiz question. Instead, can you tell me what the first pair of co-primes are?


(11) It's a generally agreed convention that the Prime Meridian of the world more or less passes through the Royal Observatory, Greenwich, and that the anti-meridian of this line approximates the International Date Line. However, the IDL is a bit wonky. Which island nation, independent from Britain since 1979 and whose inhabitants speak a language known as Gilbertese, is the cause of that odd Soviet-style hammer shape in the IDL on the map?

(12) Primary Beams, the super-powered lasers that burn out their beam projectors in just a single use, were one of the first steps in the absurd line of military developments that characterises the trope-naming intergalactic arms race that features in which classic science fiction series?


(13. Because we couldn't stop on a non-prime.) Great Primer is the antiquated name for the 18-point font size, also known as Bible Text, as it was most prominently used in the printing of bibles and other large-print books, or Double Bourgeois, because the Germans (yes, the Germans) have to be different. Which prominent printer was the first to use Great Primer?
Please leave your answers in the comments. They will be graded this time next week. WE reserve the right to award a bonus for any particularly fine prime questions asked in the comments to which we do not know the answer.

Phew....11:56... Blaugust lives!

Last week's answers:

Ok, this was stupid hard. Sorry. Thanks for trying.

As is right and proper, no-one really knows where the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies fits in. I wanted to include them, but since they're only around in generally unstable areas, I skipped them.

(1) is Italy during WWII, B is Allied territory, A is occupied by the Fascist Germany, and the surprising section in red is the territory held by the Italian monarchy. John gets a point.

(2) is Italy during the 400's AD. A is the Lombards and B is the Byzantines. 

(3) is Italy following the Garibaldi era in the 1860s. The last bulwarks against unification are Venice and the Papal States. 1 each to Mark and John, and 2 to Michael.

(4) is Italy in the 1450's prior to the French and Spaniards moving in. The various areas approximate the reach of he powers of the various city-based states. A is Genoa and B is the kingdom of Naples, at this point controlled by the Aragonese, for some strange reason. One each to John and Michael.

(5) is Italy in the Napoleonic era. A is French controlled, B is Naples (but I'd have paid KotTS here, as it's close), and the section in Blue is the Kingdom of Italy. Two points to John.

Correct order: 2,4,5,3,1 (1 to Mark and John, 3 to Michael).

Bonus: To quote Michael: First into Eritrea! Last outta Libya! Two points, sir. The other players got the right answers to the wrong questions.

And the results:
On 8 points, this week's champion. Michael5000!
With 6 points in second place, just pipped on the bonus question, John!
With 2 points having only guessed "A Venice", but still infinitely ahead of everyone else. Mark!


John said...

1) Guess: Latin.

2) Guess: the rate of return on a mortgage that would make it profitable

3) Not to interfere in the development of less advanced civilisations. Nice work letting all those primitives die of preventable diseases, you jerks.

4) I got nothing, man.

5) A guess wouldn’t even come close. Abstain.

6) Guess: A 90-degree rotation of one face of the cube.

7) Four. Metroid, Metroid II: Return of Samus, Super Metroid, and Metroid Fusion.

8) Guess: Ten. Because they’re kind of sort of the smallest of the commercial networks and are the least likely to have ventured into broadcasting directly.

9) Formally titled Prime Ministers date back to at least the reign of George III, so I’ll take a guess and say Horace Walpole, who I *believe* dates to George I and was pretty much in charge of running the country in his day. I, uh, think. Wikipedia will probably prove me wrong.

10) The dire state of my mathematics is showing - I don’t even know what a co-prime is! I’ll go horribly wrong and say that they’re composite numbers that have no common factors other than one, and consequently say that the first pair of co-primes is 4 and 9, since they’re the squares of the two smallest primes.

11) Probably wrong here, but I’ll say the Federated States of Micronesia.

12) Strictly speaking, Primaries don’t have a known date of first creation - they were originally simply the most powerful beams on a battleship. The overcharged one-shot Primaries that you’re talking about weren’t actually the first step forward, since they date to the start of Grey Lensman, which was the second novel (I am properly ignoring First Lensman and regarding Triplanetary as a largely unrelated story that was shoe-horned into the series for reasons that make no sense). In terms of arms race steps, they were predated by the Boskonian cosmic energy receptors and the Q-helix (not to mention the giant fat cheat, the Lens itself) - though they do have the distinction of being one of only three technological innovations not to be stolen or duplicated in the course of the war (the others being the Z9M9Z command and control vessel and the high-powered Eddorian thought screens that kinda sorta had the potential to make the contest fair for all of five pages).

Oh, and E.E. “Doc” Smith’s Classic LENSMAN series is your answer. Also, fun fact: the “beams” in the Lensman stories aren’t lasers, as the original serials predate laser technology by about twenty years!

Also also: you're the best for asking this question.

13) I’ll be boring and probably wrong and say Gutenberg. I don’t know any other great printers (or at least I don’t know them for being great printers).

John said...

I am kicking myself over 9. And 13 was one of those "goddamn it I knew I'd recognise them when I read their name" ones, too.

UnwiseOwl said...

In my defence, I said "one of the first", and dammit, I knew you'd pick me up on the laser thing.
+1 point for that impromptu display of knowledge above and beyond, though.

AristoWan said...

Great quiz Owl but I wasn't intelligent to answer anything here without a web search.

Except 7) 3 games (also a prime number, goddamit Ted): Metroid 1, Super Metroid, Metroid 2.
Unsure whether to include Fusion though as it was released almost the same time?

John, you are amazing, even when you answer a question wrong.

Michael5000 said...


1. The Alphabet!
2. I believe the Prime Rate is the rate of interest at which a guvment farms money out to banks.
3. The Prime Directive is to make sure that aliens stay miserable and downtrodden by refusing to share the benefits of technology with them. Also, not to interfere with their cultural development.
4. Are we talking about the Antonio Banderas film? 2005, swashbuckling? Is it one a them Pirates of the Caribbean pictures?
5. Can't remember.
6. Dunno
7. Never heard of it.
9. You could probably make a case for John of Gaunt, but let's say, I dunno, Gladstone.
10. 3 and 5, I think.
11. I've never noticed the hammer shape. Is that Micronesia?
12. Erm... Buck Rogers.
13. Oh, well, let's say Gutenburg, since there are really two great printers and you are hinting German.

Am I late?