There’s something endearingly old-fashioned about a desk calendar. But for Kit Sekelsky, the co-creator of “Everyday Q&A” – now shipping its fifth edition for 2024 – that’s part of the charm.
Along with Jonathan Oakes of the Trivial Warfare podcast, Sekelsky made the first calendar for 2020 as part of a personal challenge. Unable to find her usual Jeopardy! Calendar (last month, in the Champions Wildcard tournament, she became a four-time winner on the show), she settled for an off-brand alternative. It didn’t work out well.
“Some of the answers were wrong, some of the questions were unparsable,” Sekelsky said. “By February I was posting on Facebook like, ‘This calendar is horrible. Am I gonna have to make my own?’ And I got so many comments that were like, ‘Yeah, you should do that.’”
The people had good reason to think so: It was in 2016 that Sekelsky started her first, even more old-fashioned trivia venture, The Inkling (soon taking signups for its 11th edition). Separated from her old pub-quiz team after a move, and inspired by a mail-in atlas challenge she read about in Ken Jennings’s book Maphead, she devised a physical packet of 150 printed questions, which players fill out by hand and return by mail for grading.
Unlike the general-interest desk calendar, The Inkling’s challenge is a stiff one. “I try to make sure that no one gets 100% of the questions right. And when you have Victoria Groce playing, you have to work hard to do that.” Mind you, part of the challenge is just getting signed up; it’s capped at around 100 entrants. “Because of the manual aspect,” Sekelsky says, “I’m limited to what I can grade.”
Happily, that constraint doesn’t apply to Everyday Q&A; five years on, Sekelsky and Oakes sell hundreds of copies each year. Some people like to buy one for themselves and one as a gift, Sekelsky says, taking advantage of the 20 percent discount for multiple orders. “They work well for secret-Santa office presents. It’s not something you’re gonna see on a store shelf.”
Come to think of it, store shelves are kind of endearingly old-fashioned too.