Brain Teaser – Wordplay

Tony Augarde, who sets these brainteasers, has just published a new book called “Wordplay,” about the English language. All the answers to these questions can be found in the book and, of course, on the Credo Reference website.

1. What is the meaning of the phrase “kick the bucket”?

2. Which German composer’s last words were supposedly “I shall hear in heaven”?

3. Which ballet dancer’s original name was Margaret Hookham?

4. Which jazz trumpeter and singer’s autobiography was called “Satchmo: My Life in New Orleans”?

5. Who coined the word “chortle”?

6. Was Cinemascope introduced by Twentieth Century-Fox in 1953, 1958 or 1963?

7. Abbotsford was the home of which Scottish novelist?

8. What is an oxymoron?

9. Name the 44th vice-president of the United States whose most famous gaffe was to misspell the word “potato” as “potatoe”.

10. What kind of witty four-line verse was invented by E. C. Bentley?

Questions set by Tony Augarde (

How did you do?

0 – 1 Mmmm, not exactly brilliant.
2 – 5 A reasonable stab.
6 – 8 A good showing. But there’s still room for improvement!
9 – 10 You really know your stuff. Well done!

Questions set by Tony Augarde (


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