Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Mensa Puzzle That Makes Me Feel Stupid

Um, cheese. Turnips? Ginsu knives! No? Okay, I don't get it. From
Page A Day Calendars.

Every year for at least the last four, I've gotten the 365 Stupidest Things Ever Said desk calendar for my desk at work. It's very entertaining, and I never skip ahead, except the weekends. But I was also a fan of the Mensa puzzle calendar from the same company. It's just that I was already at work, and sometimes that thing is just work. But with the purchase of the desk calendar, you get a free online one. So, I have been receiving the Mensa puzzles in my email every day, at the end of the day.

Now, sometimes, I'll admit that I get stumped. But I usually at least know what they're talking about. The one that arrived in my Monday mail didn't just stump me. I had no idea what they meant, at all. Metrical foot scheme? I don't know what that is. I know the answer to number 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 right off the top of my head (even with the typo in 5), but I don't know what a metrical foot scheme is.

So, I decided to cheat. I went to the Googles, and typed it in. It turned up the Wikipedia page on metre, which if you don't know (I barely did) is part of the subject of poetry. That didn't help. There, it says stuff about syllable weight and dactylic hexametre of Classical Latin and Classical Greek. Not helpful. It says dactyl was long-short-short. . .which is kind of like LONG-short-short. Still not helpful. It says a long syllable was literally one that took longer to pronounce than a short syllable. What?

Okay, break it down. Mar-i-el Hem-ing-way. Three and three. All take an identical amount of time to pronounce to me. Ro-sie the Riv-et-er. Same thing. Am I on to something? Okay, the an sewer to 1 is El-len De-Gen-er-es. That's two and four, if you get right down to it. But they're all six syllables. All the rest of them are too. I still don't get it.

And then I did. Kinda. EL-len de-GEN-er-es. MAR-i-el HEM-ing-way. CAR-o-line KEN-ne-dy. I-van-the TER-ri-ble. PAM-e-la AN-der-son. SUG-ar ray ROB-in-son. RO-meo MON-ta-gue. JU-li-et CAP-u-let. You'd sound kinda goony if you really said them with that kind of emphasis. But okay, it's six syllable names with the emphasis on the first and fourth syllables. So, I eventually figured it out, but I still feel like an idiot. But I'm not convinced that all of the Mensa tests are a test of intelligence. Some--like this one--are a test of education. Metrical foot scheme?


  1. I got it right away, but I've also been exposed to a number of literature (including poetry) and music classes. You're right -- it has nothing to do with intelligence. It is testing for knowledge. Most Mensa admittance tests are also not standardized intelligence tests. It's basically a social organization for smart but socially stunted people who want to hang out with others who share their background and interests. The tests ensure they'll have something to talk about at their events.

  2. Jill am smart! Greenlee. . .duh. . . :)


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