Remember the venerable “everything’s big in Texas” theory? Well, it doesn’t apply to this pop (culture) quiz of itty-bitty, teeny-weeny Texas-trivia questions, which range from musical and military to historical and hysterical. Mull over the multiple choice, tackle the true and false. Then check your test answers to find out if you nailed most of them (“I knew it all along”) or blew them big time (“What’s a chicken-fried steak?”). Either way, enjoy your enlightenment—emphasis on “light.”

What’s In A Name?

1. What is the name of the 52-foot-tall talking cowboy that greets visitors to the State Fair of Texas?
a. Shorty
b. Howdy
c. Big Tex
d. Little Joe

2. President Lyndon Baines Johnson once horrified animal lovers by picking up one of his dogs by the ears. What was the name of that pet and its fellow beagle?
a. Him and Her
b. This and That
c. Sam and Rebekah
d. Like It and Lump It

3. How did grapefruit get its name?
a. It tasted sour, like wine.
b. Wild grapefruit are grape-size.
c. They hang in clusters like grapes.
d. Early varieties had a purplish hue.

4. Rancher and pioneer Charles Goodnight experimented with cross-breeding cattle and buffalo. What did he call the result?
a. Cattalo
b. Buffabull
c. Beefabuff
d. Jackalope

5. Billionaire Howard Hughes was an accomplished aviator who built the world’s largest all-wood airplane. He called it the HK-1. What did everyone else call it?
a. the Lumber Duck
b. the Spruce Goose
c. the Woodpecker
d. the Oak Joke

6. The Beatles adopted their name in part because it paid tribute to the group that backed rock star and Lubbock native Buddy Holly. What was the name of his band?
a. the Beatniks
b. the Bugs
c. the Crickets
d. the Roly-Polys

Pop Culture:

7. Which of the following made-in-Texas movies won an Oscar for best picture?
a. Hud (1963)
b. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974)
c. Terms of Endearment (1983)
d. Places in the Heart (1984)

8. What was the name of the stripper and porn-movie actress who scandalized Dallas in the fifties?
a. Dixie Cupp
b. Candy Barr
c. Honey Pott
d. Susanna Trickinson

9. What famous fictional character was created by Robert Howard of Cross Plains in 1933?
a. Pecos Bill
b. Old Yeller
c. Conan the Barbarian
d. Smokey the Bear

10. Who was once nominated for an “Ugliest Man on Campus” contest at the University of Texas?
a. actress Jayne Mansfield
b. singer Janis Joplin
c. director Robert Benton
d. President Lyndon Baines Johnson

11. According to the sixties country hit by Fort Worth’s Roger Miller, what can’t you do in a buffalo herd?
a. kiss a girl
b. drink a beer
c. roller skate
d. juggle eggs

12. Fort Worth’s Fess Parker played Davy Crockett in the popular Walt Disney TV shows of the mid-fifties. What other famous American did he also portray on TV?
a. Kit Carson
b. Daniel Boone
c. Tom Thumb
d. LBJ


13. Which of the following is not an official state symbol?
a. guitar (state musical instrument)
b. petrified palmwood (state stone)
c. peanut patty (state candy)
d. lightning whelk (state seashell)

14. What happened near Brownsville in 1865, a month after the Civil War had officially ended?
a. Union soldiers informed Texas slaves that they were free.
b. Bandit Juan Cortinas invaded the town and engaged in a bloody shoot-out with the U.S. Army.
c. Union and Confederate soldiers clashed in the final battle of the Civil War.
d. Local ranchers launched the first-ever trail drive.

15. In Texas lingo, what does “CFS” stand for?
a. “cattle for sale”
b. “chicken-fried steak”
c. “can’t find shit”
d. “come for supper”

16. Miriam A. Ferguson was Texas’ first female governor.
Her nickname was “Ma.” Why?
a. Her first two initials were M.A.
b. She had two daughters.
c. She was figuratively the head, or mother, of the state.
d. All of the above are true.

True or False:

17. A prairie dog is really a rodent, and a horny toad is really a lizard.
18. Larry McMurtry’s epic novel Lonesome Dove won the Nobel prize for literature.
19. A burrito is so called because originally it was filled with roasted donkey meat.
20. Silent-movie cowboy Tom Mix was once a Texas Ranger.
21. In Texas a “coke” means any kind of soft drink.

O Say, Can You Si?

22. “Amarillo” means “yellow” in Spanish. How did the Panhandle city supposedly acquire the name?
a. Cowboys considered the white-collar male residents cowardly.
b. The first house there was painted bright yellow.
c. The local mud was a yellowish hue.
d. It was a mistake; the name was originally “Armadillo.”

23. Spaniard Alvar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca explored Texas in the 1530’s. What does “cabeza de vaca” mean?
a. “explorer”
b. “head of the cow”
c. “strength of the bull”
d. “lost pumpkin”

24. What does “tuna” mean in Spanish?
a. “tune”
b. “prickly-pear fruit”
c. “type of fish”
d. “Anglo tourist in Mexico”

25. “Pico de gallo” is a spicy garnish made of fresh tomatoes, onions, and jalapeños. What does the phrase mean in Spanish?
a. “piece of fire”
b. “a little bit of gall”
c. “beak of the rooster”
d. “pain of mouth”


1, c.
2, a.
3, c.
4, a.
5, b.
6, c.
7, c.
8, b.
9, c.
10, b.
11, c.
12, b.
13, c.
14, c.
15, b.
16, d.
17, T.
18, F.
19, F.
20, F.
21, T.
22, c.
23, b.
24, b.
25, c.

Want more? Try this quiz from the March 2001 issue.