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**20FD – Can you score a Score on this quiz?


Apr 26, 9:02pm

Post #1 of 11 (2278 views)
**20FD – Can you score a Score on this quiz? Can't Post

Below is a score of quotes from Tolkien’s fiction: most are from The Lord of the Rings, but not all. Each quote includes the word twenty. Note how many different units – of time, distance, people - get counted as exactly twenty, and think why he might have chosen that number instead of a dozen, or fifteen, or thirty, etc. Likewise, consider why Tolkien very rarely uses the Old-Norse based synonym of ‘score’ for the count of twenty…

But mostly, can you supply the missing word or phrase in each quotation? Since playing twenty questions for a fun quiz is a lot of work, I’ve made the first multiple-choice squire quiz ever. Now it should be EZ and fast as well as fun. For extra credit (there’s always extra credit on TORn), can you identify the source of the quote?

Answers are given at the end. Not that you will need them, of course! Enjoy, and give a twenty-gun salute to our founders and the wonderful site they founded, a score of years ago.

1.The ____________ was twenty feet high, and so thick that four men could walk abreast along the top, sheltered by a parapet over which only a tall man could look.
A. Wall of the Citadel
B. Wall of Amon Sul
C. Deeping Wall
D. First Wall of the City

2. Then he turned to the right along the cliff-foot, and after twenty paces halted suddenly; and ________ saw that by the work of hands or of weather there was a cleft so shaped that two faces of the wall overlapped, and an opening ran back to the left between them.
A. Turin
B. Beren
C. Frodo
D. Bilbo

3. Now he tried to quicken his pace. __________ was gaining on him; already he was some twenty strides ahead, flitting on like a shadow; soon he would be lost to sight in that grey world.
A. Gollum
B. Huan
C. Frodo
D. His master

4. With a last despairing effort ________ raised himself on his hands, and struggled on for maybe twenty yards. Then he pitched down into a shallow pit that opened unexpectedly before them.
A. Bilbo
B. Frodo
C. Isildur
D. Sam

5. Below it twenty fathoms or more, there was a wide and rugged shelf which ended suddenly in the brink of a sheer cliff: ___________________.
A. the end of the Emyn Muil
B. the Pass of Cirith Ungol
C. the Doorstep to the Hidden Entrance
D. the East Wall of Rohan

6. In this way they covered almost twenty miles before nightfall, and came to a point where the Road bent right and ran down towards the bottom of the valley, now making straight for __________.
A. the Bruinen
B. the Loudwater
C. the Brandywine
D. the Great River

7. He broke off and lifted his eyes above ____________, and it seemed to him that all he could see was a vast and threatening shadow. Perhaps it was mountains looming on the verge of sight, their jagged edges softened by wellnigh twenty leagues of misty air.
A. the parapet
B. the ridge
C. the River
D. the roof of the forest

8. He reached Isengard in the early darkness, and left again in no more than twenty minutes. Both on the outward journey, when his direct route would take him close to the Fords, and on his return south to find Erkenbrand, he must have met ___________________.
A. Grimbold and Elfhelm
B. Treebeard and the huorns
C. the outcompanies of the Dunlendings
D. Wormtongue

9. He set himself to the repairing of the neglects of his long absence, for he had been nigh on twenty years away; and at the time ________________ were put in hand, especially at Rómenna.
A. great stores of arms
B. great harbour works
C. refittings and constructions
D. many fellings of trees

10. A company of twenty was approaching. At the beginning of the narrow way they laid aside sword and spear, and came on towards the ________.
A. King
B. Wall
C. Gate
D. hobbits

11. The arm let go of Frodo, and ________ pulled him away, crying out for help. Twenty other arms came rippling out. The dark water boiled, and there was a hideous stench.
A. the two hobbits
B. Pippin
C. his friends
D. Sam

12. At last slow words came. ‘I tried to take the ______________,’ he said. ‘I am sorry. I have paid.’ His glance strayed to his fallen enemies; twenty at least lay there.
A. hobbit’s Ring
B. Ring from Frodo
C. Great Ring
D. forbidden Ring

13. To ride with him to Isengard the King chose __________ and twenty men of his household.
A. Eomer
B. Grimbold
C. Hama
D. Dernhelm

14. But that was short of the mark, for twenty guests were invited and there were several meals at which _______________________, as hobbits say.
A. no one stood up hungry
B. it snowed food and rained drink
C. the harvest meal came in nicely
D. the cook and the food fought for the praise

15. On a time Thorin, returning west from a journey, stayed at Bree for the night. There ________ was also. He was on his way to the Shire, which he had not visited for some twenty years.
A. Radagast
B. Aragorn
C. Gandalf
D. Elrond

16. His trees began to sprout and grow, as if time was in a hurry and wished to make one year do for twenty. In the ___________ a beautiful young sapling leaped up: it had silver bark and long leaves and burst into golden flowers in April.
A. Party Field
B. courtyard of the Tower
C. heart of the Realm
D. gardens of Yavanna

17. When twenty years of the Sun had passed, ______________________ made a great feast; and it was held in the spring near to the pools of Ivrin, whence the swift river Narog rose, for there the lands were green and fair at the feet of the Mountains of Shadow that shielded them from the north.
A. The Elves of Beleriand
B. Thingol King of Doriath
C. Feanor and his kindred
D. Fingolfin King of the Noldor

18. But Saruman had not revealed his intentions nor the full strength of his forces. They were already on the march when ____________ set out. Some twenty miles north of the Fords he countered their vanguard and scattered it with loss.
A. Erkenbrand
B. Theoden
C. Theodred
D. Eomer

19. In this way they advanced some fifteen miles, measured in a direct line east, though they must have actually walked twenty miles or more. As the road climbed upwards ________ spirits rose a little; but he still felt oppressed.
A. Bilbo’s
B. Frodo’s
C. Sam’s
D. Pippin’s

20. Hardly twenty paces from where _________ lurked the small orc stopped. ‘Nar!’ it snarled. ‘I’m going home.’ It pointed across the valley to the orc-hold. ‘No good wearing my nose out on stones any more. There’s not a trace left, I say. I’ve lost the scent through giving way to you.’
A. the hobbits
B. Gollum
C. Merry and Pippin
D. Turin

Gee, this is Founder’s Day… if you’re looking here before even trying the quiz, drop and give me twenty!
1. C. Deeping Wall; Source: LR III.7, Helm’s Deep
2. A. Turin; Source: Unfinished Tales, Children of Hurin
3. D. His master; Source: LR IV.9, Shelob’s Lair
4. B. Frodo; Source: LR VI.2, The Land of Shadow
5. D. the East Wall of Rohan; Source: LR III.2, The Riders of Rohan
6. A. the Bruinen; Source: LR I.12, Flight to the Ford
7. C. the River; Source: LR V.I, Minas Tirith
8. A. Grimbold and Elfhelm; Source: Unfinished Tales, Battles of the Fords of Isen
9. B. great harbour works; Source: Unfinished Tales, The Mariner’s Wife
10. C. Gate; Source: TH 17, The Clouds Burst
11. D. Sam; Source: LR II.4, A Journey in the Dark
12. B. Ring from Frodo; Source: LR III.1, The Departure of Boromir
13. A. Eomer; Source: LR III.8, The Road to Isengard
14. B. it snowed food and rained drink; Source: LR I.2, The Shadow of the Past
15. C. Gandalf; Source: LR App. A.III., The Dwarves
16. A. Party field; Source: LR VI.9, The Grey Havens
17. D. Fingolfin King of the Noldor; Source: Silm 13, Of the Return of the Noldor
18. C. Theodred; Source: Unfinished Tales, Battles of the Fords of Isen
19. B. Frodo’s; Source: LR II.4, A Journey in the Dark
20. A. the hobbits; Source: LR VI.2, The Land of Shadow

squire online:
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Superuser / Moderator

Apr 26, 9:39pm

Post #2 of 11 (2227 views)
Ach - only 11. [In reply to] Can't Post

I really should make time for a re-read!

Thanks for the quiz, squire.


Celebrimbor: "Pretty rings..."
Dwarves: "Pretty rings..."
Men: "Pretty rings..."
Sauron: "Mine's better."

"Ah, how ironic, the addictive qualities of Sauron’s master weapon led to its own destruction. Which just goes to show, kids - if you want two small and noble souls to succeed on a mission of dire importance... send an evil-minded beggar with them too." - Gandalf's Diaries, final par, by Ufthak.

Ataahua's stories


Apr 26, 11:24pm

Post #3 of 11 (2212 views)
Yeesh! I too only scored 11 // [In reply to] Can't Post


N.E. Brigand

Apr 26, 11:29pm

Post #4 of 11 (2214 views)
Which came first, the Lonely Mountain or Amon Rudh? [In reply to] Can't Post

Also is Aldarion actually Odysseus?

I scored 14 out of 20, missing #3, #6, #7, #9, #10, and #17. I recognized all the sources, except that I wasn't sure if #15 came from the LOTR appendices (as you inform us it does) or from "The Quest of Erebor" in Unfinished Tales. Your choices for #3 and #6 were tricky (but Tolkienian!) because in each case there were two names for for the same person or thing: "Frodo" vs. "His master" and "Bruinen" vs. "Loudwater"--and in both cases I chose wrong. For #7, there's another scene in the same chapter where Pippin looks over a parapet that I conflated with this one. As regards #9, I just couldn't remember what was "put in hand" and went for the answer that seemed grammatically likeliest. On #10, I remembered there was no actual gate at the gate, so I guessed the quote referred to the wall they built there. I picked "Elves of Beleriand" for #17 rather than the specific and correct Elf. While I knew that passage was from The Silmarillion, I had totally forgotten that there had been a feast at the spring of Ivrin, which also features in Túrin's story.

I didn't realize "score" was of Norse derivation. One use by Tolkien of "score" for "twenty" came immediately to mind:

"You have a score of scores counted ten times and five."

Another great quiz, great headman! It's fascinating how wrenching these passages from the source defamiliarizes them.

Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.

Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
How to find old Reading Room discussions.

Forum Admin / Moderator

Apr 26, 11:45pm

Post #5 of 11 (2209 views)
11 for me, also [In reply to] Can't Post

I really thought #2 was Bilbo finding the opening in the wall to the hidden door into Erebor.

You definitely "scored" on this quiz, squire, thank you for one both relevant to the occasion, and entertaining as well!


"I desired dragons with a profound desire"

Forum Admin / Moderator

Apr 26, 11:53pm

Post #6 of 11 (2208 views)
Lucky number 14! [In reply to] Can't Post

Thanks, Squire, that was a good brain workout.

The Passing of Mistress Rose
My historical novels

Do we find happiness so often that we should turn it off the box when it happens to sit there?

- A Room With a View

Superuser / Moderator

Apr 27, 12:24am

Post #7 of 11 (2211 views)
What a clever idea for a quiz! 16 for me [In reply to] Can't Post

I admit I guessed on 9 and 14, but the correct answers sounded familiar so I went with them. I could have sworn 7 was from when Bilbo climbed to the top of the trees in The Hobbit, so great fake answer. Now I want to go back and read that, plus the correct answer, so kudos for giving the sources too!
Any other day I might not have scored so many, but today for some reason, everything just clicked (well, 16 of everything just clicked, lol).
Thanks for such a clever, interesting and fun quiz! Heart

Koru: Maori symbol representing a fern frond as it opens. The koru reaches towards the light, striving for perfection, encouraging new, positive beginnings.

"Life can't be all work and no TORn" -- jflower

"I take a moment to fervently hope that the camaradarie and just plain old fun I found at TORn will never end" -- LOTR_nutcase

N.E. Brigand

Apr 27, 1:18am

Post #8 of 11 (2205 views)
Well done! // [In reply to] Can't Post


Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.

Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
How to find old Reading Room discussions.


Apr 28, 1:31am

Post #9 of 11 (2192 views)
No, I can't [In reply to] Can't Post

Also, I cheated by looking at the answers after the first 6 or 7 questions. I was never very good at these things! But I'd love to hear theories about why "twenty."
Happy Anniversary, TORn! Especially RR!

Hamfast Gamgee
Grey Havens

May 4, 9:13am

Post #10 of 11 (2119 views)
A surprisingly low score from me [In reply to] Can't Post

Only 9 out of 20! I think that I must be spending too much time in the real world. Twenty is an interesting number to use. I think it is probably the last number one can use as an approximation before numbers get a bit too big to be useful as a moderate unit. If one says that a wall is about twenty paces wide, one can have a rough image of how big it is. And can do some simple math if need be. And I did notice that some of these said roughly twenty. Saying something is about 19 paces doesn't have quite the same ring to it! I suppose that other numbers can count like 25 or 24. Maybe at the 24th anniversary of founders day we can have a quiz of 24 times 24 has been quoted!


May 7, 12:35pm

Post #11 of 11 (2069 views)
What's the significance of 11? [In reply to] Can't Post

I, too, "scored" 11 :D I don't feel TOO badly since I'm in such great company! And I'm VERY impressed with your first multiple choice quiz... I truly hope its not your last since you're very good at it! So much thought went into this. Isn't fun when you find a theme for something like this and it all falls into place? :D It sure looks like it here.
I had never stopped to think about the significance of 20 for the Good Professor! *ponders* That he doesn't use the word "score" instead is curious since he's not shy about using other words like "leagues" and "fortnight".

Thank you so much for creating a great 20th Anniversary mathom. *bows low* This was fun!


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