Trivia Answer of the Day — Hit Trip

This coming weekend, I’ll participate in The World’s Largest Trivia ContestTM. As per tradition, this week is filled with idle reminiscing about memorable answers in past years. This time around, I’m going to focus on one of the recurring question topics that’s become a passion for certain members of my team: album art.

hit trip

Officially, The World’s Largest Trivia ContestTM is a weekend event, beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Friday night and lasting until Cinderella’s curfew on Sunday. In practice, the process of furiously trying to answer questions starts almost as soon as the team registers and picks up their copy of the rulebook, dubbed The New Trivia Times. For the serious contenders, this happens on the preceding Monday. Scattered among the thick publication’s pages are decontextualized and entirely unexplained pictures, usually thirty in total. The teams know these images will inspire questions during the fifty-four hours of the contest. What precisely those questions might be remains a mystery until those moments when the on-air announcer instructs, “It is now time to get out your copy of The New Trivia Times.”

Fifteen years ago, in the contest staged in April 2004, one of those pictures was of a songbird seemingly perched in the sound hole of an instrument, likely a guitar. The strings of the instrument were in front of the bird, looking similar to the bars of a cage. Before the weekend came around, my team was able to determine that the image was pulled from the cover of the 1968 Charlie Byrd release Hit Trip. The accompanying question was fairly straightforward, asking for the album’s title. We called in the correct answer and, as I recall, didn’t think much of it.

In a configuration that is the epitome of fairness, 90FM’s Trivia assigns point values to questions on the basis of how many teams answer them correctly. A significant portion of the questions end up in the range of ten to thirty points. Anything above that is coveted, and indeed necessary to push into the upper reaches of the ranking among the hundreds of team playing in the contest. Hit Trip wound up nabbing us 95 points, which was a happy surprise.

In truth, the Hit Trip answer isn’t all that memorable to me, but it has a small but nice significance in my team’s history. It was one of many that year that tilted our way, leading to our first finish among the top ten, the truest measure of accomplishment in 90FM’s Trivia. We already had a well-fortified reputation among other Trivia participants as rambunctious hooligans. Now, we were suddenly seen as a team that could actually compete in this odd endurance test of research and knowledge. A Wisconsin Public Television host best explained the new variant on our reputation: “They’re smart, but they’re drunk.”

More info about 90FM’s Trivia can be found at its official website or at the radio station’s online home. There’s also a feature documentary about the contest, but it’s fairly hard to come by these days. To see how my team is faring over the weekend, Twitter is probably the best bet.

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