Sample Toss-up Questions

(Available for Practice in Practice Sets and The Best of the Best, and for official play in Tournament Toss-up Sets)

1. When Einstein made his famous comment, "God does not play dice with the universe," he was expressing doubts about what theory of matter?

Ans. Quantum mechanics

2. In crop rotation, why are legumes such as soybeans and alfalfa planted in the third and last stage?

Ans. They are nitrogen-fixing plants.

3. Identify the command used in BASIC to tell the computer to jump to the specified statement number.


4. Complete these lines taken from Martin Luther King's tombstone. Free at last/ Free at last/ Thank God Almighty . . .

Ans. I'm free at last.

5. Into what shape can a pool table be made so that whenever you hit a ball from a focal point, it caroms off the side and drops into the hole, located at the other focal point?

Ans. Ellipse

6. From the French, translate one of the Seven Sayings of Christ upon the Cross: Aujourd'hui-meme, tu seras avec moi dans le Paradis

Ans. "Today, you will be with me in Paradise."

7. What adjective describes the distillation method used to separate several volatile substances from a mixture?

Ans. Fractional

8. "He gives his harness bells a shake / To ask if there is some mistake. / The only other sound's the sweep / Of easy wind and downy flake." Who wrote these lines?

Ans. Robert Frost

9. The name of this Southern city appears both in a 1953 Manifesto and in Dr. King's "Letter from a Jail." Name the Alabama city.

Ans. Birmingham

10. To the value of the first prime number greater than 30 add the value of the first prime number less than 125.

Ans. 144

11. What two states were created entirely out of other states?

Ans. Maine (from Massachusetts) and West Virginia (split off from Virginia to join the Union side during the Civil War)

12. Hemingway chose a verse from Ecclesiastes as the title of which of his novels?

Ans. The Sun Also Rises

13. Since light cannot escape, how are Black Holes detected?

Ans. Radio or X-ray astronomy

14. What percentage of the House of Representatives is elected every two years?

Ans. 100%

15. Cooke called it, "A group of the unfit, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary." It is also, "A group that keeps minutes and wastes hours." What word are we looking for?

Ans. Committee

16. The folk song "Les Gens de Pays ," meaning what, is an anthem for the independence movement of the province of Quebec?

Ans. The People of the Country

17. What do ecologists call the efforts by individuals of common or different species in a community to use the same limited resources?

Ans. Competition

18. How many circles can be tangent to each of two intersecting lines?

Ans. Infinite

19. Identify the Zulu-dominated province of South Africa, the smallest of the country's four provinces, whose name comes from the Latin "to be born."

Ans. Natal

20. Close one eye and look at your outstretched hand. Now change eyes, and your hand shifts. What is this phenom enon called?

Ans. Parallax Return to QU home page. Try our "20 Questions" free monthly quiz.