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Brain Fun: Vocabulary Competition

Quizmasters Jennifer Dziura and Jonathan Lill were on the show today to give us a taste of a vocabulary tournament they host for adults in New York City. The tournament is part of an event called Chelsea Mind Games.

Mike Pesca and I, "Jeopardy!" veterans both, were the contestants. We played four rounds and enjoyed the thrill of victory (synonyms: conquest, achievement, ascendancy, mastery, success, supremacy) and the agony of defeat (synonyms: drubbing, rout, vanquishment, overthrow, debacle, downfall, labefaction) endured. You can listen to the outcome here . And why not play along at home? Answers appear after the jump.

ROUND ONE

You get 3 difficult words. You get one point for using each word correctly and you can get up to two possible additional points for style. One sentence containing all 3 words, if you can.

1.) mendacious, oligarchy and palliative.

2.) panache, expeditious and yeomanly

ROUND TWO

In the following list of four words, three are eponyms or toponyms, and one is a fake. Identify the fake one to win one point. If you need to know what an eponym is, look it up!

1.) All of these are ice skating jumps: which one is not an eponym?
Triple Lutz
Cherry Flip
Triple Axel
Salchow

2.) These are all types of musical instrument. Which is not an eponym?
Saxophone
Sarousaphone
Flugelhorn
Theremin

ROUND THREE

We give you a definition, you supply the word. You get 4 choices. You win 3 points for picking the right answer. Then you can win additional points for supplying the correct definitions for the incorrect answers. 1 point for each correct definition.

1. Which word means pertaining to flags?
gynecomorphus
ichthyoid
vexillary
boorish

2. Which word means swallowing?
ataraxia
perambulation
deglutition
dulcinea

FINAL ROUND
In the following list of words, each has a synonym that ends in the letters ATE. For example if the word is to destroy, you would say "obliterate" or "annihilate." One point for each correct answer.

imply, suggest
join in
confirm
befuddle
think
worship
lie, tell an untruth
repeat
join together
plead in protest, or simply to protest
show, prove or explain
enroll in university
find your bearings by GPS
to spread as a rumor
disown
pass into or through
move to another country
rejoice
disparage, malign, defame

Answers:

ROUND ONE:

There's no one right answer. To hear Tricia's and Mike's answers listen to the interview! Put your own attempts in the comments section.

ROUND TWO

1.) All of these are ice skating jumps: which one is not an eponym? Triple Lutz, Cherry Flip, Triple Axel, Salchow

Answer: Cherry Flip

2.)These are all types of musical instrument. Which is not an eponym? Saxophone, Sarousaphone, Flugelhorn or Theremin?

Answer: flugelhorn

ROUND THREE

1. Which word means pertaining to flags?
gynecomorphus, ichthyoid, vexillary, boorish

Answer: vexillary
bonus point definitions:
gynecomorphous:having the form, appearance, or attributes of a female
ichthyoid: resembling or characteristic of a fish
boorish: unmannered; crude; insensitive

2. Which word means swallowing?
ataraxia, perambulation, deglutition, dulcinea

Answer: deglutition
bonus definitions:
ataraxia: calmness untroubled by mental or emotional disquiet
perambulation: walking or traveling about
dulcinea: a ladylove; sweetheart

ROUND FOUR

These are some of the answers Mike and Tricia came up with, and some extra examples mentioned by the judges. There are likely to be other acceptable answers to some of these questions. Feel free to put them in the comments section!

imply, suggest — (insinuate)
join in (participate)
confirm (corroborate)
befuddle- (addlepate)
think- (cogitate, ideate)
worship- (adulate, adorate, venerate)
lie, tell an untruth- (prevaricate)
repeat- (iterate or reiterate)
join together — (conjugate)
plead in protest, or simply to protest — (agitate, remonstrate)
show, prove or explain - (demonstrate)
enroll in university — (matriculate)
find your bearings by GPS — (locate, triangulate)
to spread as a rumor — (circulate, disseminate)
disown — (repudiate)
pass into or through- (penetrate)
move to another country- (emigrate)
rejoice - (celebrate, jubilate)
disparage, malign, defame - (derogate, denigrate, calumniate)

Hope you had fun!

Comments

 

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Wow, Mike's grown-up radio voice sounds barely like the BPP Mike voice. That was awesome.

Sent by Sarah Lee | 11:01 AM | 6-19-2008

PART 1
The illusion of democracy is a mendacious palliative to oligarchy.
3+1

Unlike the yeomanly expeditious work of Tricia, Mike showed great panache in completing the exercise.
3+1

PART 2
Cherry flip
1

Flugelhorn
1

PART 3
vexillary
gynemorphus= shaped like a woman?
ichthyoid = resembling a fish
boorish = rude, crude, impolite
3+3

deglutition
ataraxia = ?
perambulation = a walk, a promenade
dulcinea = ones beloved
3+2

PART 4
intimate OK
collaborate 1/2
corroborate OK
obfuscate
cogitate OK
WORSHIP
LIE
duplicate 1/2
coagulate 1/2
PROTEST
demonstrate OK
matriculate OK
orientate OK
disseminate OK
DISOWN
permeate
emigrate
REJOICE
denigrate OK
9

TOTAL = 30

Sent by Marc Naimark | 11:24 AM | 6-19-2008

While Mike Pesca does a yeomanly job and brings a special panache to soloing the show, it would be expeditious of the BPP to find substitutes for missing hosts.

Seriously, the show does flow much better with two hosts. I can think of a few people you have laying around that could step up and probably do a heck of a job. After all, how time consuming can producing and editing be? :-)

Sent by Dave Wiley | 11:33 AM | 6-19-2008

@ Dave

I noticed Mike had been flying solo for the past few days. What happened to Rachel? Did I miss something?

Sent by Joe | 12:05 PM | 6-19-2008

Rachel is on vacation this week, although she IS leaving the show entirely soon, to take a job as White House correspondent for ABC News.

I'll miss her, but not nearly enough to actually watch ABC News. Charlie Gibson gives me a rash.

Sent by Stewart | 12:18 PM | 6-19-2008

@Stewart: "Rachel is on vacation this week, although she IS leaving the show entirely soon, to take a job as White House correspondent for ABC News."

Sad, but true. It's tragic how TV news squanders impressive talent. I'm sure Rachel will do an great job for ABC, and I'm equally sure her reports will be chopped down to 45 seconds and sandwiched between the latest on Paris Hilton and a Viagra commercial. On the other hand she'll probably earn more and won't have to get up at 4am. On the other other hand she'll have to live near Washington DC. Yick.

We'll miss you, Rachel.

Sent by Dave Wiley | 12:58 PM | 6-19-2008

free vocab practice @ freerice.com

Sent by amy | 4:28 PM | 6-19-2008

I think the internet has made me dumb. Or maybe it was children. I used to have a descent vocabulary, but I didn't feel very smart listening to this piece. Enjoyed it, though and am inspired to learn some new words today (and everyday). :)

Sent by Sandy, Honolulu | 2:50 PM | 6-20-2008

@Sandy "I think the internet has made me dumb. Or maybe it was children. I used to have a descent vocabulary"

I think I have a descending vocabulary as well. :-)

Sent by Dave Wiley | 3:25 PM | 6-20-2008