Oxford University Press's
Academic Insights for the Thinking World

The Oxford Comment Challenge

By Michelle Rafferty


Are you capable of listening to a podcast? Are you also capable of taking a quiz? Great. That means you have a chance to win a copy of Elizabeth Knowles’ How to Read a Word. Just take the quiz below (answers can be found in the most recent episode of The Oxford Comment – words edition) and submit your answers to blog@oup.com before Monday, June 13.

1.) At what age did Caleb Madison become the youngest person to publish a crossword puzzle in the New York Times?
a) 13
b) 15
c) 28

2.) What type of people also tend to make talented crossword puzzle constructors?
a) math teachers and musicians
b) book readers and soccer players
c) high school students

3.) What is the Breakfast Test?
a) the final round of the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament
b) a new puzzle game available on the Apple’s App store
c) the litmus test for crossword censorship

4.) How many years has Oxford been printing books?
a) 530 years
b) 620 years
c) 650 years

5.) What was the first title Oxford printed?
a) an edition of The Creed
b) Oxford English Dictionary
c) The Canterbury Tales

6.) In 1636, who gave Oxford formal permission to print “all manner of books” in a document illuminated in red and gold ink?
a) John Fell
b) Lady Carmel Kuperman
c) King Charles the First

7.) What type of plates were used to produce images in books in the 18th century?
a)  copper
b) brass
c) gold

8.) It was estimated that the first edition of the OED would take 10 years to finish and cost £9,000. What did the numbers actually end up being?
a) Almost 50 years and £390,000
b) Over 100 years and £530,000
c) Only 5 years and £3,000

9.) How many new words are added to the OED every month?
a) about 100
b) about 1,000
c) about 10,000

10.) According to Archivist Martin Maw, the OED is like _____ in book form.
a) Lego
b) candy
c) the world’s longest opera (Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen)

Bonus: What popular CBS sitcom did New York Times crossword puzzle editor Will Shortz appear on in 2010?

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