I would have loved to participate in Literary Jeopardy!. The New Yorker details how the event unfolded, in advance of the recently published A Reader’s Book of Days: True Tales from the Lives and Works of Writers for Every Day of the Year by Tom Nissley:
“Wolf Wolfe Wolff Woolf” was the most popular category, probably because it was so much fun to say: “I’ll take ‘Wolf Wolfe Wolff Woolf’ for four hundred, Tom.” The contestants were formidably well read. Ruth Franklin knew the author of “Never Cry Wolf” (Farley Mowat; May 23rd). Eric Banks named the writer of whom Virginia Woolf said “she stinks like—well, a civet cat that had taken to street walking” (Katherine Mansfield; February 11th). And Lorin Stein improved on the name of Judy Blume’s sixth-grade heroine with “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret Fuller” (March 8th).
The hardest category was “Before & After,” in which an acrostic-style clue offered a mashup that required a two-part answer in which the last word of the first half was the first word of the last half. Got that? Neither did the contestants. “Watergate whistleblowing author of ‘Blind Ambition’ who, in Kerouac’s original ‘On the Road’ scroll, still went by the name of his real-life inspiration, Neal Cassady.” Silence as the contestants chewed it over. It was Roger Craig who finally got it: John Dean Moriarty.
The book has been added to my to-read list!