24 Trivia Questions Only Geniuses Will Get Right
From tricky riddles to U.S. trivia to mind-boggling math puzzles, see how you fare against these challenging trivia questions.
Trivia question #1:
A. Rhode Island
Answer: B. Maine
Maine shares a border only with New Hampshire (and Canada). Maine also has another distinction as well—it’s the only state with a one-syllable name. Here’s some trivia you never knew about each of the 50 states.
Trivia question #2:
Name the number that is three more than one-fifth of one-tenth of one-half of 5,000.
Answer: C. 53
Work backward! Half of 5,000 is 2,500. One-tenth of that is 250. One-fifth of that is 50. Add three, and you’ve got your answer.
Trivia question #3:
What’s the missing number?
Answer: B. 21
Each number is the previous two numbers added together. The eighth number is the sixth and seventh numbers—8 and 13—added together. If you can figure this out, see if you can solve this tricky math puzzle.
Trivia question #4:
A. Istanbul, Turkey
B. Athens, Greece
D. Damascus, Syria
Answer: D. Damascus, Syria
Evidence of civilization in Damascus dates all the way back to 9000 BC. Do you know what the oldest city in the United States is?
Trivia question #5:
Two people are standing back to back. They each walk away from each other for three feet. Then they both turn left and walk for another four feet, and then stop. Now, how many feet apart are they standing?
Answer: A. 10
If you remember the a2 + b2 = c2 rule from math class, that’s what’ll help you solve this problem. This rule states that if you have a triangle, the sum of the squares of the two shorter sides equals the square of the longest side. And in this problem, the walkers’ paths form parts of triangles. You may want a pencil and paper to “draw out” this problem and visualize the triangles.
Draw two lines labeled “three feet” for the distance they walk away from each other. Then draw two lines labeled “four feet,” going in opposite directions, for the distance they walked after their left turns. Now draw a line connecting the points at the ends of those lines (representing where the people are now). This line represents the distance you’re trying to figure out.
Now, you’ve got two triangles touching at the corners. Two sides of each are 3 feet and 4 feet (the distances each person walked). The unknown sides represent two halves of the distance you’re trying to find. So break out that Pythagorean Theorem: Three is a, 4 is b. 32 + 42 = 9 + 16 = 25 = c2. Take the square root of 25 and you get 5, which is the longest side of these mini-triangles. Five feet is half of the distance between the people. Five times two is ten! Here’s another three-sided puzzler: Try to figure out how many triangles are in this image.
Trivia question #6:
You’re trapped in a room with two doors. Only one door will lead you out of the room safely, but you don’t know which. A guard stands in front of each door. One guard always lies, the other always tells the truth, but you don’t know which is which. You can only ask one guard one question. What question do you ask, and what do you do once the guard has answered?
A. “Which is the safe door?” Go through the door the guard tells you.
B. “Which is the safe door?” Go through the other door.
C. “If I were to ask the other guard which was the safe door, which door would s/he say?” Go through that door.
D. “If I were to ask the other guard which was the safe door, which door would s/he say?” Go through the other door.
Answer: D. “If I were to ask the other guard which was the safe door, which door would s/he say?” Go through the other door.
If you chose the lying guard, the lying guard is telling you the door that the truthful guard would not say is safe. If you chose the truthful guard, the truthful guard is telling you the door that the lying guard would say is safe. Either way, the door the guard responds with is not the safe door. Go through the other door and you’re out! If you got that one right, you might be ready to try to solve 25 of the toughest riddles ever.
Trivia question #7:
Answer: C. Montana
Montana’s motto is “Oro y plata,” which means “Gold and silver.”
Trivia question #8:
The United States animal is a bald eagle… but in this context, “bald” doesn’t mean “hairless.” The “bald” part of the bird’s name comes from an Old English word meaning what?
Answer: D. White
These majestic birds were named for their white feathers… not for their round, smooth heads that kind of make them look bald. Here’s some more fascinating trivia about America.
Trivia question #9:
Lizzie, Isaac, Justine, and Mike each bought a different dessert. One of them bought a cupcake; one bought a doughnut; one bought a brownie; one bought ice cream. One spent $1; one spent $2; one spent $3; and one spent $4. Using the set of clues below, who bought the ice cream?
- CLUE 1: Lizzie spent more money than Justine.
- CLUE 2: Justine bought the brownie.
- CLUE 3: Of the person who spent $1 and the person who spent $4, one of them was Lizzie and the other one bought the doughnut.
- CLUE 4: The person who bought the cupcake, the person who bought the brownie, the person who spent $2, and Isaac are all different people.
Who bought the ice cream?
Answer: D. Mike
- We know (because of Clue 3) that Lizzie spent either $1 or $4. Because of Clue 1, we also know Lizzie spent more money than Justine, which means Lizzie can’t have spent $1 (the lowest amount). So Lizzie spent $4. Because of Clue 3, this means that the person who did spend $1 bought the doughnut.
- Clue 2 says that Justine bought the brownie. Because of Clue 4, we then know that Justine didn’t spend $2, since the $2-spender and the brownie-buyer are not the same person. We also know that Isaac didn’t buy the cupcake (or the brownie) or spend $2.
- Therefore, since we already know Lizzie spent $4, Mike is the only one who could have spent $2.
- Since the $1-spender and the doughnut-buyer are the same person, this has to be Isaac—he’s now the only one who doesn’t have either dessert or money accounted for yet.
- That leaves Justine having spent $3.
- Clue 4 says that the person who spent $2 and the person who bought the cupcake are not the same. Since Mike spent the $2, Lizzie must have bought the cupcake.
- This leaves us with our answer: Mike bought the ice cream!
If you figured that out, reward yourself with your dessert of choice. Oh, and you might be ready to tackle this logic puzzle invented by Albert Einstein himself.
Trivia question #10:
Once you work out the answer, see if you can figure out which letter never appears in any U.S. state name.
BONUS TRIVIA QUESTION: Only one other state name has three consecutive vowels in it at all. Which state is that? (Find out the answer on the next slide.)
Trivia question #11:
If you take away one letter, you’re left with twelve. What is the word?
(ANSWER TO BONUS QUESTION: Louisiana)
“Dozens” is a six-letter word. Take away the “s,” and you have “dozen,” another word for “twelve.” (We never said it was twelve letters!) If you can find the missing word in this logic puzzle, you might be a genius.
Trivia question #12:
…whose first digit is one-fourth of the last digit; the second digit is six times the first digit; and the third digit is the second digit plus three.
Since the second digit is six times the first, the second digit must be 6, because it’s the only number that is still a single digit and is divisible by six. (It couldn’t be 0 either, because the second digit is six times the first digit, which would make the first digit 0, impossible for a four-digit number.) Once you’ve figured that out, you can figure out that the first digit is 1, the last digit is 4, and the third digit is 9.
Trivia question #13:
James’s mom has four children. Their names are April, May, June, and ______?
Don’t let the sequential month names fool you. It’s James’s mother, so James has to be one of the four children. Did we get you with this one?! Want to test your genius even further? Try out this Mensa quiz full of tricky trivia questions that will test your IQ.
Trivia question #14:
Answer: B. Acura
Bond has driven a Bentley, Toyota, and Mercury, as well as an AMC, Ford, Lincoln, Aston Martin, Lotus, and many others, according to carcovers.com. But so far, no Acura.Here are 13 more surprising James Bond facts.
Trivia question #15:
Answer: B. 6
A perfect number is a weird designation. Basically, it means that the number’s positive divisors—for 6, that’s 1, 2, and 3—add up to the number: 1+2+3=6. Perfect numbers are rarer than you might think. The first four are 6, 28, 496, and 8128. Learn these 12 easy math tricks you’ll wish you’d known.
Trivia question #16:
ANSWER: D. 15
King George III, who reigned from 1760 until 1820, had a long and fruitful marriage with his wife, Queen Charlotte (formerly, Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz). All told, they had 15 children, the only legitimate children of King George III; their offspring produced two Kings of England—George IV and William IV. Here are 23 rarely seen royal family photographs from history.
Trivia question #17:
ANSWER: D. 6
While King George III had many legitimate heirs, King George IV left none. Here’s what it took to make Victoria the Queen:
- The death of Princess Charlotte of Wales, the King’s daughter, who had been the heir presumptive. She died in 1817 at the age of 21.
- The next in line for the throne was Prince Frederick, Duke of York, but he died in 1827 with no legitimate children.
- That left the throne to Prince William, Duke of Clarence, who became King William IV in 1831.
- When he died in 1837, he had no legitimate living children because his two legitimate daughters, Princess Charlotte Augusta Louisa of Clarence and Princess Elizabeth of Clarence had died in infancy.
- The death of George IV and William IV’s younger brother, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent. He passed away in 1820 shortly after the birth of his daughter Princess Alexandrina Victoria in 1819.
Trivia question #17:
A. To read or examine something carefully.
B. To read or examine something in a perfunctory manner.
C. To read or examine something in the customarily accepted manner.
D. To read or examine something in a preliminary manner.
Answer: A. To read or examine something carefully.
When someone says they’re going to “peruse” something, it’s often assumed they are going to skim it. In fact, if they mean what they say, their plan is to review the document with care. Check out 70 words (and phrases) you might be using wrong.
Trivia question #18:
A. John Adams
B. John Quincy Adams
C. John Tyler
D. Andrew Johnson
Answer: C. John Tyler
John Tyler fathered 15 children, more than any other U.S. President. He had eight with his first wife. When she passed away, he married his second wife, with whom he had seven children. Don’t fall for these 8 presidential “facts” that just aren’t true.
Trivia question #19:
A. Harry S. Truman
B. Ulysses S. Grant
C. Benjamin Harrison
D. Rutherford B. Hayes
Answer: A. Harry S. Truman
President Harry S. Truman, born in 1884, was the last U.S. President not to have earned a college degree. After graduating from high school in 1901, Truman enrolled in Spalding’s Commercial College to study bookkeeping, shorthand, and typing but never finished. His first foray into politics was as an elected judge, then a senator, and then he was selected to be President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Vice President in 1945. When Roosevelt died after only 88 days into his record fourth term in office, Truman served the rest of the term and then was re-elected and served another term until 1953.
Trivia question #20:
A. Charles Lindbergh
B. William T. Colbert
C. Amelia Earhart
D. Charlie J. Wright
Answer: A. Charles Lindbergh
Charles Lindbergh made the first solo trans-Atlantic flight in 1927. Amelia Earhart was the first female to make that solo trip, which she did in 1932. Check out these 11 fascinating airplane facts.
Trivia question #21:
A. Bessie Coleman
B. Harriet Quimby
B. Raymonde de Laroche
D. Sophie Blanchard
Answer: B. Sophie Blanchard
Sophie Blanchard was also the first woman to pilot a hot-air balloon. She learned how from her husband, who died of a heart attack beside Sophie while she was piloting a balloon. Blanchard herself died in a ballooning accident in 1819, after her balloon caught fire and crashed to the ground. Raymonde de Laroche, the first woman to earn her airplane pilot license, died 100 years later to the month when the plane she was piloting crash-landed at La Crotoy Airfield in France. Don’t miss these other “female firsts” from history.
Trivia question #22:
Answer: B. 1
On January 23, 1959, nine college kids and their 30-something tour-guide set out for a 21-day hiking excursion that would culminate in the thrill of skiing down Mount Otorten in the Ural Mountains of what was then the USSR. Only one of the ten returned, 21-year old, Yuri Yudin, who’d left the group on January 28 due to stomach flu. What happened on that mountain is one of history’s most bizarre unsolved mysteries.
Trivia question #23:
A. Mexico’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla
B. Mexico’s independence from the French
C. The end of the French occupation of Mexico in 1867
D. Mexico’s independence from the United States
Answer: A. Mexico’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla
The Franco-Mexican War began when the French invaded Mexico—at Veracruz—in 1861. France’s intention was to establish dominance in Mexico while the United States was preoccupied with the Civil War and then to provide military support to the Confederate cause. Cinco de Mayo celebrates an important military victory during the Franco-Mexican War, but the war continued, as did France’s occupation of Mexico, until 1867. Here are 12 little-known facts about Cinco de Mayo.
Trivia question #24:
A. White Christmas
B. The Shop Around The Corner
C. Holiday Inn
D. Christmas in Connecticut
Answer: C. Holiday Inn
Holiday Inn was released in 1942 and featured this famous Irving Berlin song. It wasn’t until 1954 that the film White Christmas came out, piggybacking on the success of the song by the same name that had spent 11 weeks at the top of the Billboard charts in 1942; it’s sold more than 100 million copies worldwide. Here are some more pop culture trivia questions you only think you know the answer to.