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Trivia is type of puzzle, as well as a general puzzle element, in which questions with definitive answers are posed with the intention of being answered by solvers either through research or through prior knowledge of particular facts. While trivia as a concept can be found in many puzzles in various forms, trivia-centric puzzles are usually lists of these questions (sometimes with a slight twist), with the bulk of the puzzle involving the process of answering them and doing something with those answers.
Background[edit | edit source]
Puzzle Application[edit | edit source]
Trivia puzzles may be easily confused with puzzles involving crossword clues in general. The key difference between trivia and crossword clues is that crossword clues tend to trend towards being shorter, and have the option of leaving room for interpretation. Meanwhile, trivia questions/clues have definitive answers, and trend towards giving as much information as is needed to be unambiguous. There is some overlap as crossword clues can still be trivia, such as if a clue asks for the singer of a particular song, but puzzles that are considered 'trivia puzzles' will usually have exclusively trivia rather than a mix.
Trivia in puzzles can either be in the form of statements implying a question (i.e. 'Fruit belonging to the Cydonia genus' for QUINCE), or actively be questions (i.e. 'What fruit belongs to the Cydonia genus?' for QUINCE). This is mostly an aesthetic choice, but may play into a particular theme for the puzzle. For example, a trivia puzzle tying into the show Jeopardy! may choose to present their questions like the show does (as statements). Similarly, the exact method of answer can vary, with the main difference between different methods being the difficulty. The main methods are Straight (question is given, no other information is given), Enumerated (Question and enumeration of answer is given), and Multiple Choice (Question and several possible answers are given).
Trivia puzzles may also choose to present particular twists with their questions to make the process of answering them more difficult. Common twists include:
- Removing information, turning the puzzle into part-trivia, part-Fill-In-The-Blanks
- Replacing key pieces of information with related-but-wrong pieces of information
- Tying questions together so that the answers to some are reliant on the answers to others
Strategy[edit | edit source]
Notable Examples[edit | edit source]
Played Straight[edit | edit source]
- General Knowledge (MITMH 2012) (web) - A straightforward set of trivia questions, helpfully paired with enumerations to make answering them a bit easier. Sure, there's another part that complicates things, but the trivia aspect is still twist-less.
- Love, Actually (MITMH 2022) (web) - While in an odd format borrowed from the Dropout quiz show Um, Actually, this puzzle does deal primarily with straight trivia, with the goal not to answer questions but rather to find a way to correct the statement presented as fact.
Notable Twists[edit | edit source]
- What's Wrong? (MITMH 2007) (web) - While presented as basic trivia, this puzzle is actually about Click to revealincorrect answers given to the provided questions on the quiz show Jeopardy!
- The Sarge Answers to General Ignorance (MITMH 2010) (web) - Another puzzle based on a format from an actual quiz show, this one takes inspiration from British panel show QI. As the title suggests, it follows the kind of trick-question format as the original show, but what this puzzle actually cares about is Click to revealthe wrong answers that are commonly considered correct (such as GENDARMES to the question 'What are the police called in France?').
- Trivial Mathematics (MITMH 2016) (web) - A purely-numerical set of trivia questions, but with the twist that most of them reference the answers to the other questions to replace numbers that would be included in the questions themselves.