Welcome to the website woven for wordaholics, logolepts, and verbivores. Carnivores eat meat; herbivores eat plants and vegetables; verbivores devour words. If you are heels over head (as well as head over heels) in love with words, tarry here a while to graze or, perhaps, feast on the English language. Ours is the only language in which you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway and your nose can run and your feet can smell.

 

We’ll celebrate Presidents (not President’s) Day on Monday, February 15. A number of studies indicate that History and Civics are the subjects in which American students fare worst. Here’s your chance to prove that you are not one of them. After you’ve tried your hand and mind at each presidential poser, you can use them as bar bets.  

  1. How many men have been President of the United States?    

Although Joe Biden is listed as our 46th president, only 45 men have held that office. That’s because Grover Cleveland was nonsequentially elected as our 22nd and 24th president and, unfortunately, counted twice, irremediably scrambling the math.     

  1. Who was the youngest man ever to serve as President of the United States?

If your answer is John F. Kennedy, you’re slightly off the mark. When he took office, Kennedy was, at the age of 43 years and 7 months, the youngest man ever to have been elected president. But Theodore Roosevelt became president at 42 years and 10 months, in the wake of the assassination of President William McKinley. When TR’s second term was over, he was still only 50 years old, making him our youngest ex-president. 

  1. Now that you know the identity of our youngest president, who was our oldest president to enter the Oval Office?

Having turned 70 on June 14, 2016, Donald Trump superseded Ronald Reagan as the oldest man to ascend to the Oval Office. But Joe Biden has now become our most chronologically endowed president, starting at 78 years and 2 months older than Reagan when he left office.

  1. Speaking of age, identify six U.S. presidents who are not buried in or on American soil.

Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Joe Biden.

  1. What two presidents died on the same day?

Our 2nd and 3rd presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, the only two presidential signers of the Declaration of Independence both died on July 4th, 1826, exactly 50 years after the Declaration became official.

  1. Our 3rd, 4 th and 5th presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe each consecutively served two full terms for a total of 24 years. Name three other presidents who consecutively served two full terms.

They’re our recent presidents — Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

  1. Five presidential candidates have won the popular vote but lost the Electoral College and hence the presidency: Andrew Jackson (1824), Samuel Tilden (1876), Grover Cleveland (1888), Al Gore (2000) and Hillary Clinton (2016). In addition to this pattern, what else do they have in common?

They are all Democrats.

  1. Have any of our presidents not been born citizens of the United States?

Yes, eight of them. Martin Van Buren, our 8th president, entered the earthly stage on December 5, 1782, making him the first president born after the Declaration of Independence was signed and thus a U.S. citizen by birth. Eight presidents were born before 1776 as British subjects George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson and William Henry Harrison. Barack Obama is not on this list. 

  1. Donald Trump has spoken about running for president in 2024. In the 20th and 21st centuries, only one American has lost a presidential election and then come back to be elected president. Who was he?

Richard Nixon was narrowly defeated by John F. Kennedy in the 1960 presidential race but bounced back to win the presidency in 1968 and 1972.

  1. Name a Union-Tribune columnist whose daughter was fired on national television by an American president.

Tis I, Richard Lederer. Back in 2009 my daughter, Annie Duke, then the winningest woman in the history of professional poker, was a contestant on NBC’s reality show “Celebrity Apprentice.” On the last day of the season, when the apprentices had been winnowed from 16 to two, then emcee Donald Trump fired Annie in favor of the late comedienne Joan Rivers.