This is real hardcore Roman numerals trivia; no questions here about what the V stands for or anything like that.
I was watching WrestleMania last night and was sad to see the WWE has stopped numbering its WrestleManias with Roman numerals. (It’s nerdily coincidental that they’d stop this year, considering the event’s build was all about shoving a wrestler named Roman down everyone’s throats.) (They’ve also stopped numbering the WrestleManias, period. This year, the number “31” was nowhere to be found, instead replaced by a red play button.)
That sent me on a minor Roman numerals kick — and that kick brings us to this.
Here are XI pieces of Roman numerals trivia. (Answers at the end.)
1 | Why is the Roman numeral for 38 special?
Just writing the words “38 Special” sent me on a Hold On Loosely kick like you wouldn’t believe.
2 | Why did the NFL decide to take a one-year break from Roman numerals for the Super Bowl in 2016?
It’s at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, much like last night’s WrestleMania. Perhaps Levi’s Stadium has a no Roman numerals policy?
3 | How many U.S. states have two-letter postal codes where both letters are Roman numerals?
4 | Which piece of U.S. currency contains Roman numerals and what number do they create?
And, most important, what message was the Illuminati trying to send us by including them?
5 | The current pope, Pope Francis, does not have a Roman numeral after his name. Who was the last pope before him to go numeral-less?
Hint: It’s the only pope that shares a name with a Star Wars character. Second Hint: It’s not Pope Markhammill.
6 | The longest English word that’s a valid Roman numeral is only three letters long. What is it?
It’s not “XXX,” although at a bar trivia night you could probably argue that and get it on a technicality.
7 | Why is 1666 significant in Roman numerals?
8 | Ok cool. What’s another reason 1666 is significant in Roman numerals?
I’m making a lot of assumptions about your problem solving style with this second question.
9 | How do the Roman numerals on the face of Big Ben differ from the Roman numerals on most clocks?
10 | When Watson was playing a round of Jeopardy, what famous person did it refer to as “Ten” due to a misunderstanding of Roman numerals?
No doubt drawing a scornful yet still somewhat warm-hearted laugh from Ken Jennings.
11 | Which celebrity pictured at the top of this post has the worst Roman numeral tattoo?
It’s a very crowded field.
Answers: (1) The Roman numeral for 38 is XXXVIII, which is the last Roman numeral in alphabetical order. (2) The NFL felt that Super Bowl L would be mocked as “Super Bowl Loser.” (3) Four: Idaho (ID), Illinois (IL), Maryland (MD) and Michigan (MI). It would be five if you could Washington, D.C. (DC). (4) The $1 bill has the Roman numeral for 1776 at the base of the pyramid. (5) Pope Lando. (6) MIX. (7) It’s the sum of all seven Roman numerals. (8) It’s also the number that features every Roman numeral once in descending order: MDCLXVI. (9) Big Ben uses “IV” for 4, most clocks use “IIII.” (10) Malcolm X. (11) In a bit of an upset, Angelina Jolie.