[Danny J. Boggs, a federal circuit judge, administers trivia tests to his prospective clerks. This copy of the 2000 test comes from The New Yorker magazine by way of underneaththeirrobes.blogs.com.]
The following questions are just for me to get some idea of your range of interests and knowledge. There are no particular gradings or cut-offs.
PLEASE ANSWER WITHOUT RESEARCH OR CONSULTATIONS.
1. What does the Herfindahl-Hirschman index measure?
2. Who sprang full grown from the head of Jupiter? Who sprang from the sea foam off Cyprus?
3. Who wrote the "Ode to Joy"?
4. Name one work by Margaret Atwood.
5. For what was Willie Sutton noted?
6. Who is your favorite historical figure (deceased)?
7. Complete the line: "Once upon a midnight dreary ______."
8. How many U.S. states had new all-time high temperatures in the last twenty years?
9. Who or what were "Fat Man" and "Little Boy"?
10. What are the chances of ten straight of the same side coming up in ten consecutive tosses of a fair coin?
11. What country's capital is Kuala Lumpur?
12. Who wrote "Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats"?
13. Freetown is the capital of what country?
14. Name the most populous country in Africa; in South America.
15. What is measured by an anemometer? A sphygmomanometer? A hygrometer?
16. Who gave the famous speech "Ain't I a Woman"?
17. Give the decimal value of the number 212110, which is in base 3.
18. Distinguish Cabeza de Vaca from Vasco da Gama.
19. Name two works of Kipling.
20. Distinguish Roy M. Cohn from Roy G. Biv.
21. Distinguish Rimsky-Korsakov from Kolmogorov-Smirnov.
22. Within a factor of 2, what was the United States population at the time of the Civil War? The total number of military deaths in the Civil War?
23. Why is Eli Whitney famous?
24. What capital of a European country is the farthest north? The farthest south?
25. Name a poem that you can recite by memory.
26. Who killed: Duncan? McKinley? Cock Robin? Ron Goldman? Vaudeville?
27. Who wrote "The Jew of Malta"?
28. Where did Michael Jordan play college basketball?
29. Name three quarks.
30. What countries were headed by: Amin? Kaunda? Nkrumah? Kenyatta?
31. What country had a group of authors known as "The Generation of '98"?
32. Name three members of Washington's first cabinet.
33. How many members are in the U.S. House of Representatives? In what year did it first have this number?
34. Who was Thorstein Veblen?
35. Who was Cinque?
36. Name two Shakespeare plays beginning with "King."
37. Who was Matthew Brady?
38. What work of art has most profoundly affected you?
39. Who was Hector Bywater?
40. Complete the line: "Is this a dagger______?"
41. When was Liberia founded? What was the original name of its capital?
42. Locate: Lake Baikal; the Salton Sea; the Aral Sea; the Sea of Tranquility.
43. Name a work by H. L. Mencken.
44. Who wrote: "Sunset and evening star and one clear call for me"?
45. Who is Eudora Welty?
46. What is the capital of Chile?
47. What was the last city in Spain relinquished by the Moors?
48. In what work do Caliban and Prospero appear?
49. Who were the Burghers of Calais? Who sculpted them?
50. Who was the "Galloping Ghost"?
51. How long does it take for light from the surface of the sun to reach the earth?
52. Who pardoned Debs? Nixon? Mandela?
53. Who was Atahualpa?
54. How did Samson die?
55. When was King Phillip's War?
56. Who is your favorite author? What is your favorite work by that author?
57. Who said "The problem of the 20th century is the problem of the color line"?
58. Name three famous Leopolds.
59. Distinguish chukkers from Chequers from Checkers.
60. Who dragged Hector around the Walls of Troy?
61. Who wrote "We are the hollow men. . ."?
62. Who, what, or where is Vaduz?
63. What is the sum of the interior angles of a pentagon?
64. Who had a famous "Last Theorem"? "Last Tape"? "Last Stand"?
65. Identify Rigoberta Menchú.
66. Whose name is the first line of the following complete poem: "______/slept under the dresser./When that began to pall,/he slept in the hall"?
67. What does the Constitution say about the number of members of the Supreme Court?
68. What state currently has the third most members of Congress?
69. Who wrote "The Ballad of the White Horse"?
70. If the moon were made of green cheese, and if green cheese floats in water, what is the most that the moon could weigh (within a factor of 10)?
Sam Stevens, et. ux, brought suit against their clother for selling defective suits. The suit was resolved by Stevens v. Jones, 71 F. 3d. 362. The district court had granted summery judgement against the Stevens', but on appeal, the Court decided that the plaintiff's claims deserved a trial.
1. industry concentration
2. Minerva; Aphrodite
4. e.g., "The Blind Assassin," "Alias Grace"
5. robbing banks
7. while I pondered, weak and weary
9. the atomic bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, respectively
12. T. S. Eliot
13. Sierra Leone
14. Nigeria; Brazil
15. wind; blood pressure; humidity
16. Sojourner Truth
18. Cabeza de Vaca was a Spanish explorer. Vasco de Gama was a Portuguese explorer.
19. e.g., "The Jungle Book," "Kim," "Gunga Din"
20. Roy M. Cohn was a lawyer who worked on McCarthy's anti-Communist crusade. Roy G. Biv is a mnemonic device for remembering the colors of the rainbow.
21. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov was a Russian composer. Kolmogorov-Smirnov is a statistical test.
22. 32.3 million; 558,052
23. He invented the cotton gin.
24. Reykjavik; Valletta
26. Macbeth; Leon Czolgosz; the Sparrow; unknown; radio, movies, television, stale material
27. Christopher Marlowe
28. University of North Carolina
29. up, down, strange
30. Uganda; Zambia; Ghana; Kenya
32. e.g., John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, Henry Knox, Edmund Randolph, Samuel Osgood
33. 435; 1913
34. American economist and social critic, author of "The Theory of the Leisure Class"
35. Symbionese Liberation Army leader who kidnapped Patty Hearst; also, a slave from Sierra Leone who led the Amistad Rebellion
36. King Lear, King John
37. 19th century American photographer, celebrated for portraits of politicians and photographs of the Civil War
39. a western naval journalist who wrote "The Great Pacific War"
40. which I see before me
41. 1847; Monrovia
42. Siberia; California; Central Asia; the moon
43. e.g., "A Book of Burlesques"; "Damn: A Book of Calumny"; "Happy Days"
45. American short story writer and novelist; won Pulitzer Prize for "The Optimist's Daughter"
48. "The Tempest"
49. six figures representing the city fathers of Calais, who offered themselves as hostages to end Edward III's siege of the city; Rodin
50. Harold "Red" Grange, a football player
51. about 8 minutes
52. President Harding; President Ford; F. W. de Klerk released Mandela
53. Inca Emperor of Peru
54. He pulled down the two supporting pillars of the temple and killed himself.
57. W. E. B. DuBois
58. e.g., Aldo Leopold, King Leopold, Leopold Bloom, Nathan Leopold
59. Chukkers are periods of play in polo; Chequers is the British Prime Minister's official country residence; Checkers was Nixon's dog.
61. T. S. Eliot
62. the capital of Liechtenstein
63. 540 degrees
64. Fermat; Krapp; Custer
65. Guatemalan Indian-rights activist awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1992; wrote "I, Rigoberta Menchú," the accuracy of which was later disputed
66. Edward the Confessor
67. Article III, Section One states that there will be one Supreme Court but does not specify the number of members. The Judiciary Act of 1789 set the number at six.
69. G. K. Chesterton
70. 10 (to the 21st) pounds
Sam Stevens, et ux., brought suit against their clothier for selling defective suits. The suit was resolved by Stevens v. Jones, 71 F.3d 362. The district court had granted summary judgment against the Stevenses, but on appeal, the court decided that the plaintiffs' claims deserved a trial.