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EUREKA!

The easiest quiz in the world

/ 08:59 PM December 16, 2013

How long did the Hundred Years’ War last?

In 1066, William the Conqueror became the king of England while holding on to the Duchy of Normandy in France.

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English kings thereafter became rulers of Normandy but they were supposed to be under the rule of the French king.

In 1337, King Edward III of England refused to bow down to King Philip VI of France and a series of conflicts between the two countries started that spanned more than a century.

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No country seemed to have the upper hand until 1429 when Joan of Arc convinced the French Dauphin to let her lead a battle against the English forces, which had held the French city of Orleans for more than a year.

Joan was successful and, though she was later captured and burned at the stake by the English, the tide started to turn against them.

The war officially ended in 1453, with the defeat of the English.  How long did the Hundred Years’ War last?  116 years.

This is one of the questions in the so-called Easiest Quiz in the World found on the Internet now, though I have come across variants of the quiz since the 1970s.

The quiz is highly entertaining and informative. I do not know anybody who gets most of the answers right.

In what month do Russians commemorate the October Revolution?

For several years, in the second decade of the 20th century, Russia had been in dire economic straits, crippled by a huge national debt, mass unemployment and constant labor strikes. By 1917, the country was on the brink of bankruptcy.

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On Oct. 25, 1917, workers seized power in Petrograd and established the first self-proclaimed socialist state in the world. This was the so-called October or Bolshevik Revolution—well, at least by the (older) Julian calendar.

But this date corresponded to Nov. 7 on the (newer) Gregorian calendar used by the rest of the world.  So while the uprising is still called the October Revolution today, it is celebrated in November.

The novelist Tom Clancy even named a Soviet submarine Red October to commemorate the uprising. From 1918 to 1991, Nov. 7 was the official national day of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. It is still a public holiday in countries such as Belarus and Kyrgyzstan.

Where did Panama hats come from?

The wide-brimmed straw hats, woven from the leaves of palm plants, were first made in Ecuador in the 1600s. Like many other South American goods, they were first shipped to Panama before being brought to the United States, Europe, Asia and the rest of the Americas.

The hats soon became known as Panama hats rather than Ecuadorian hats.  California gold rush miners wore them, so did movie stars in the early days of Hollywood. Now Panama hats are worn mostly in tropical climes by beach goers.

Though Panama hats are still made in Ecuador today, only a few master weavers remember the fine art of making the best-quality hats. Moreover, many Panama hats today are actually made in China.

After which animal are the Canary Islands named?

The Canary Islands lie northwest of Africa, near Morocco.  An autonomous territory of Spain, the Canaries are famous for their beaches, volcanoes and mountains. They include the islands of Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, etc.

In Spanish, the Canaries are called Islas Canarias, literally Islands of the Dogs. Some say, in the past, the islands had many dogs.  Others say the dogs were actually monk seals, now extinct.

Still others believe the original island dwellers revered dogs, even mummifying and worshipping them. Perhaps they were influenced by the Egyptian worship of the dog-headed god, Anubis.

Although the Canary Islands were not named after the birds, canary birds are named after the islands.

From which animal does catgut come?

Catgut is a cord made from the fiber in animal guts.  But not the animal you think.  Instead of cats, catgut is made from the intestines of sheep or goats, sometimes horses or donkeys.

Some sources say catgut is a shortcut for the word “cattlegut.”  Others say it was originally called “kitgut.”  “Kit” meant “fiddle,” perhaps because of the shape, but it could also denote “kitten,” thus adding to the confusion.

Still others say string-makers of old did not want to share the secrets of their trade, so they said their string was made from the intestines of cats to keep people away from their business.

What color is a purple finch?

The male purple finch (a type of bird) has a pinkish red head and breast, with brown splashes on the back and white ones on the belly.  The female purple finch has no red color at all but has white stripes near the eyes and dark lines down the throat.

Neither male nor female has the color purple.  But in the past, purple had more shades of red than blue.  Royal purple was called crimson, a good description of the color of the male purple finch.

Which animal’s hairs are camel’s hair brushes made of?

Painters use camel’s hair brushes in their work.  Though camels do shed hair, their hair is too woolly and, therefore, not suited for brush bristles.

Paintbrush bristles are made of the hairs of horses, goats, squirrels, sheep and hogs. Depending on the animal, the bristles differ in texture, absorbency and firmness.

Why are they called camel’s hair?  If you know why, do e-mail.

E-mail the author at bless book@yahoo.com.

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