Trivia: 15th annual contest starts Friday at 37 seconds after 10 p.m.


The Appleton Post-Crescent, January 30, 1980.

1.) In “Star Wars,” C3PO refers to R2D2 by three uncomplimentary names in the first 15 minutes of the movie. What are the names?
2.) What product used as its motto, “When nature forgets”?
3.) What are the exact coordinates of TV’s Gilligan’s Island?

If you had been listening to Lawrence University’s 14th annual Midwest Trivia Contest last year – all 50 hours of it – you’d know. And if you want to try your hand at equally trivial questions this year, tune in to Lawrence’s radio station, WLFM-FM (91.1) at 10:00:37 p.m., Friday.

For 50 hours, non-stop, more than 400 questions will be asked in WLFM’s 15th annual Midwest Trivia Contest. The contest last year attracted 80 teams that took such odd names as Banana Caboose, Info Maniacs, Don’t Stand Behind Me Monday, Syzygy, Nanook of the North, Interoffice Memorandum and Packerland Door.

As trivial questions are asked on WLFM, the teams are given from 3-20 minutes to answer, depending upon the type and difficulty of the question, and are awarded points ranging from 5-100. The maximum time of 20 minutes is allowed for such questions as the total mileage on odometers in cars in the first row of a certain used car lot; and the measurement, in feet and inches, across College Avenue at a certain point.

Questions are drawn from films, television and radio shows and commercials, athletics, music, history, art; literature, geography, current events, and as many other categories as trivia masters can think of to challenge contestants.

WLFM will have six special telephone numbers for players to call in their answers this year, according to Larry Page, Lawrence’s director of broadcasting. The numbers are in sequence from 735-9338 to 735-9343. On-campus contestants can call in on extensions from 602 to 605.

The trivia masters would welcome volunteers to answer telephones in the WLFM studio. Anyone with a desire to help may sign up before 9 p.m. Thursday at WLFM. The entrance is at the rear of the Seeley G. Mudd Library in the 100 block of S. Lawe Street.

Lawrence’s trivia contest was started in the spring of 1966 by James B. de Rosset, who graduated that year with distinction in mathematics. De Rosset is now a financial analyst with McDonald’s International in Oak Brook, Ill.

According to Greg Weber, one of the trivia masters and de Rosset’s brother-in-law, de Rosset started the contest as “an anti-intellectual alternative” to Lawrence’s annual encampment. That was a time in the spring when some students and faculty members left the campus for a weekend to engage in serious discussion of weighty issues.

De Rosset was then a disk jockey on Lawrence’s AM radio station, which covered only the campus, and he thought students who stayed behind deserved a diversion. The contest has expanded each year since then on the university’s 10,500-watt FM station. It now draws teams composed of junior high and high school students, trivia lovers from the area, Lawrence students and alumni, and students from other colleges and universities. One team, consisting of members and former members of Phi Kappa Tau fraternity, will bring back alums this year from North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin and, possibly, Mexico

Because of the informality of the contest, there is no way to determine exactly how many individuals are involved, but the number runs into the hundreds. Additional thousands in WLFM’s 60-mile range tune in for the fun of it.

No pre-registration of teams is necessary, according to Page. “Anyone who answers a question correctly, is automatically entered,” Page said.

The teams with the highest point totals at 37 seconds after midnight Sunday will be given prizes that are consistent with the kind of contest it is. Awards in past years have included a bedpan, a 50-pound block of salt, life-size plastic parrots on a perch, a trophy of a fireman holding a hose, and a 25-pound bag of dog food.

The first question asked this year, by Trivia Contest tradition, will be he final – and 417th – questions asked last year. For 100 points; Twenty miles south of Dublin, Ireland, is a hill called Bray’s Head. On the hill is a cross. What is the inscription on the cross? Tune in 91.1 FM at 37 seconds after 10 p.m. Friday and find out. Or, if you know the answer, call in and join the fun.

The answers to the questions at the beginning of this story, incidently, are;
1.) “An overweight glob, the malfunctioning little twirp, and a nearsighted scrap pile.”
2.) Ex-lax
3.) 140 degrees west longitude and 10 degrees north latitude.