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Quiz about The Personalities of Playing Cards
Quiz about The Personalities of Playing Cards

The Personalities of Playing Cards Quiz


Playing cards themselves rather than just being tools for card games are full of mysticism and symbolism. Here are but a few instances. This is an Adventures in Authoring Quiz.

A multiple-choice quiz by 1nn1. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
1nn1
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
384,750
Updated
Mar 24 22
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
342
Awards
Top 5% quiz!
Last 3 plays: Guest 220 (5/10), Guest 68 (6/10), Guest 209 (6/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. The origin of playing cards is debatable but what is definitely known is different countries had different suits. What comprised the suits in Spanish cards? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. The French won the battle of the suits. There is now worldwide acceptance of hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades. It occurred because this group of symbols was the easiest set to reproduce?


Question 3 of 10
3. The other court card besides the king and queen was the knave. Why was this changed to "jack"? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. The king of hearts appears to be stabbing himself in the head. This is because this king represents Charlemagne who killed himself.


Question 5 of 10
5. One of the theories of how the standard deck of cards became "standardised" was the alignment of the cards to time periods within a year. Which of the following options debunks that theory? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. Playing cards were used for Allies to escape from German prison Camps in WWII. How did this occur? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. In 18th Century Netherlands, a playing card was left with an abandoned baby. If there was only half a card, the parent would return one day; if the card was whole, the baby was fully abandoned?


Question 8 of 10
8. The ace of spades is different to other cards as it is more elaborately decorated than any other. Why? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. In the Vietnam War, American card manufacturers started producing card sets with only the ace of spades. Why? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. The joker is a recent addition to card decks. It originated in the card game Euchre.



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Most Recent Scores
Jun 10 2024 : Guest 220: 5/10
May 31 2024 : Guest 68: 6/10
May 31 2024 : Guest 209: 6/10
May 31 2024 : moondial: 2/10
May 09 2024 : Guest 166: 0/10

Score Distribution

quiz
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The origin of playing cards is debatable but what is definitely known is different countries had different suits. What comprised the suits in Spanish cards?

Answer: Cups, coins, batons and swords

The Latin card set was the first to feature "standardised suits". The Spanish and Italian card decks contained cups, coins, batons and swords (though how they were depicted was different in each country). The Germans' cards depicted hearts, coins, acorns and leaves. The Swiss-German set was different enough to warrant its own sub-genre: Roses, bells, acorns and shields.

Interestingly, in early versions there were no queens or they were replaced with marshalls. Even today there is a gender imbalance (Two boys: King and Jack; one girl being a Queen. Where are the princesses? (In one German set, there is a second girl who is called a "lady"
2. The French won the battle of the suits. There is now worldwide acceptance of hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades. It occurred because this group of symbols was the easiest set to reproduce?

Answer: True

The four card suits that are the basis of today's card set: hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades, were created by the French. The simple French suit designs were cheap to make because stamps could be used for the numbered cards. A woodcut method was not required, only court cards in the French deck required woodcut illustrations.
The symbols themselves are in the public domain and royalties are not payable.
3. The other court card besides the king and queen was the knave. Why was this changed to "jack"?

Answer: Confusion with what "K" stood for in top left hand corner of the card

In the US in 1875, numbers and letters (for court cards) were added to the corner indices. This meant the player could hold all the cards in one hand rather than spread over two. As the jack was then called a knave, this caused confusion as "K" was also used for king. Therefore the "knave" was officially changed to a "jack".

The jack of spades and jack of hearts are displayed as profiles. ie you only see one side of their faces. This gives rise to the term "One-eyed jacks". The only other court card in profile is the king of diamonds which with the Jacks gives the less well known phrase, "One-eyed royals".
4. The king of hearts appears to be stabbing himself in the head. This is because this king represents Charlemagne who killed himself.

Answer: False

There is no proof that Charlemagne killed himself so this would appear false. However the premise that the king of hearts represents Charlemagne (no moustache - only king without one) is also false. (Other kings were said to be David (spades), Caesar (diamonds), and Alexander (clubs)). The French did have a habit of writing their kings' names on the cards but this was not standardised. Additionally royal figures became unpopular in the late 18th century with the Bastille Uprising: Initially, card makers changed the crowns on the manufacturing blocks and plates from which they printed cards. Some replaced the crowns with "caps of liberty."

Note that the king of diamonds carries an axe not a sword. Therefore a far more plausible reason: Integrity of the original artwork of the king of hearts became compromised, which would explain the vanishing of the king of hearts's moustache and the other half of the axe which was traditionally carried over the shoulder. This then would yield a more consistent pattern: black kings carry swords and red kings carry axes.

There is another theory is that the kings of hearts is "pure" where the other three suits are "corruptions of wealth". Hence the king of hearts, being pure, has no need for "artifice" such as adornment with a moustache.
5. One of the theories of how the standard deck of cards became "standardised" was the alignment of the cards to time periods within a year. Which of the following options debunks that theory?

Answer: Total value of 364 on a deck of cards representing the days of the year

Another theory: The black and red represents night and day respectively.
There are a total pip value of 364 on all the cards in a deck. People will argue that there is 365 when the joker is added as the 365th, representing the 365 days in a year. Adding an extra joker makes it 366, the number of days in a leap year. However the joker was not added until the 19th Century, long after this theory was known. Also the number of jokers is not standardised, Some decks have three jokers and sometimes four or six.

The Japanese have a Hanafuda card deck. The role of rank and suit is reversed: the deck has 12 suits, each representing a month of the year, and each suit has 4 cards, one for each season.
6. Playing cards were used for Allies to escape from German prison Camps in WWII. How did this occur?

Answer: There were hidden maps between the layers of a playing card

Americans held in German prison camps were sent special playing cards. The United States Playing Card Company worked with the government to produce these cards. When they became wet, they peeled apart to reveal parts of maps that would lead them to safety once they escaped form the prison camp.
Incidentally, The United States Playing Card Company, founded in 1867 is located in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is the world's largest producer of playing cards. The company sells over 100,000,000 decks of playing cards per year.
7. In 18th Century Netherlands, a playing card was left with an abandoned baby. If there was only half a card, the parent would return one day; if the card was whole, the baby was fully abandoned?

Answer: True

Playing cards were also used for much more than playing games.
Most times the reverse of a playing card was blank, which were one of the most convenient sources of paper (which was expensive). Therefore cards were often written on and used as coupons, letters and invitations.

When the parent returned to pick up the baby, the missing half playing card was used as a receipt when matched against the half-card left with the baby to show that the returning parent was indeed the person who abandoned the baby.
8. The ace of spades is different to other cards as it is more elaborately decorated than any other. Why?

Answer: King James I decreed that the ace of spades must carry an insignia to show taxes had been paid

Under King James I of England, a law was implemented requiring a label or insignia on the ace of spades as proof that requisite taxes had been paid.
This led to embossing of company logos, sometimes elaborately, on (only) the ace of spades. This practice endures to this day.

The phrase "not playing with a full deck" stems from this practice. To avoid paying the tax that was added onto the ace of spades, people wouldn't buy that card when they bought a deck of playing cards. Hence they would only be able to play with 51 cards or not a full deck; they were considered stupid.
9. In the Vietnam War, American card manufacturers started producing card sets with only the ace of spades. Why?

Answer: The North Vietnamese believed the ace of spades foretold death

In 1966 during the Vietnam War, the United States Playing Card Company was contacted by two American soldiers who wanted playing decks consisting of only the ace of spades. These were to be used as part of a psychological warfare against the Viet Cong, who believed the ace of spades forewarned of death and even seeing this card scared these soldiers. Thousands of these cards were distributed through the jungles to make the Viet Cong leave in fear.
10. The joker is a recent addition to card decks. It originated in the card game Euchre.

Answer: True

The extra "joker" card is believed to have been invented by American Euchre players around 1860 when it was decided an extra trump card was required. Originally this card was called "the best bower" or "the little joker" or "the jolly joker". One theory on how the joker got its name was that it could be a derivative of "Jucker", which is German for "Euchre".

It was around this time that rounded corners replacing square end appeared on playing cards as well.
Source: Author 1nn1

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor WesleyCrusher before going online.
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