Judy Kay-Wolff


Bobby and I whizzed from Vegas to Philly in what appeared to be record time.   I am not the best of travelers and always need something to occupy my mind to prevent staring at the clouds and alternately gazing at my watch.   Quite by accident, at the last minute, I discovered an old quiz book written by the legendary Uncle Al (alias Albert M. Sobel) described in 1969 by then-ACBL Bulletin Editor, Richard L. Frey::

“Quizmaster  General” columnist and champion bridge payer Alexander .M. Sobel, the man who dreamed up the questions for such popular radio programs as the Dr.  I. Q. Show and the Bob Hawk Show (You’re a LEMAC Now) has written a quiz book to test your memory:

Al dedicated the book to R. L. (‘Skinny”) Miles, Jr. ‘who spent many a boisterous and sleepless night with me arguing and checking over the thousand items contained in How’s Your Memory?’

How’s your Memory is a match ‘em up quiz game.   There are 100 categories (from Girls’ Names in Songs, Nursery Rhymes, Lovers in History, Advertising Slogans, Well known bridges, College Football Nicknames, Famous Pairs, Mottos and Expressions, Characters in Novels and believe it or not — Contract Bridge).   Three’s something for everyone!  The left column gives you the clues for ten of the topical subject questions.  They’re only eight answers on the right hand side so you may have to supply your own correct answer as some might be bogus ones (or omitted) to trip you up.  You don’t have to go far to see how on point you were as the answers are on the following page (on the back, of course).   It was absolutely fascinating bearing in mind some are very old subjects written 41 years ago published by Exposition Press of New York.   Some you could whiz through in wham-bam/thank you ma’am style and others, if we were lucky, might have gotten one or two of the ones on the back side if they weren’t ‘our type’ of category.

For example:  Eastern Hemisphere Capitals:

COUNTRY:  1. Israel; 2.Turkey; 3. Switzerland; 4. West Germany; 5. Portugal, 6. Hungary;  7. Rumania;  8. Norway; 9. Finland; 10. Denmark.

THE CAPITAL:   A. Budapest; B. Jerusalem; C. Bucharest; D. Copenhagen; E. Ankara; F Oslo; G. Bonn;  H. Lisbon,

THE ANSWERS:  1. B;  2. E;  3. BERNE;  4. G;  5. H;  6. A;  7. C.  8. F;  9. HELSINKI;  10. D.

I might add that on this one (one of the easier ones), we missed one of them and it is too embarrassing to own up to which it was.

The predictions were as expected although often some of the answers you normally know in your sleep totally elude you.   Being such a world traveler via his bridge career (administration as well as competition itself), Bobby was great on geography, famous cities, landmarks, songs and naturally all the sports – major and college as that is the love of his life.  (According to my assessment:   Sports is #1, Bridge comes in close behind and Moi is a distant third – but I am too obsessed with my own interests to be bothered by such trivial evaluations).    Predictably, my good areas were movies, writers, Oscar winners, well-known women – typically female specialties).   I am not sure the complimentary mid-trip Bloody Marys helped or hindered our memories but before we knew it, we could spot the lights of Center City and the skyscrapers that stood taller than City Hall (an unmentionable subject in my later years).

We arrived after a four and a half hour flight that, shall we say, flew by (ugh)!  And, being on Pacific Time I (not we) found the energy to unpack our baggage and even set up my computer (or how could I sleep without my wanky being operable in the morning). 

It has been two and a half years since I have been back here in my home town and I can’t wait to saunter down to breakfast and see all my old buddies since it has been two years since we have been to any local tournament in this familiar neck of the woods (that’s anywhere East of Vegas).

I’m not playing till Saturday which will give my partnership with Jane a chance to practice and remove the crusts of rust which have settled in – not having played in well over two years because of our temporary absence from the bridge scene.  BUT – how could I pass up Philly?   It would be pure unadulterated sacrilege!


RoseOctober 6th, 2010 at 11:19 am

Great idea for passing the time of day in the air (not one of my favorite pastimes). Imagine a tournament director (with such an impressive background) having the inspiration to author a quiz book. Can’t imagine a current day top TD doing the same — although I remember Jerry Machlin writing a very humorous book. He was one of the funniest and best loved directors I can remember.

Sobel’s book sounds like fun and would challenge our memories (quite an endeavor at our ages). Sometimes I can’t recall what I had for breakfast. Incidentally, what were more of the categories?

Judy Kay-WolffOctober 6th, 2010 at 11:39 am

Hi Rose:

It was diversified as it could get. Here goes: Entertainers’ Nicknames, Middle Names, Broadway Plays with Numbers in Titles, College Songs, Comic Strips, Father and Child, All White, How They Died and other lugubrious subjects. If you have Alzheimers, it is a great test as sometimes you can’t recall short term events but have memories from forty-fifty years ago. I am not quite there. I refer to my present state as Halfheimers!

The book causes you to think about facts and events you haven’t considered in decades — and it was really l.o.l. for Bobby and me.


BarbFebruary 13th, 2013 at 3:22 pm

Rose, Did you know Jerry Machlin was Al Sobel’s nephew?