Fostering curiosity in kids (and their parents) since 2011

Posts tagged ‘games’

The medieval sundial looks like a hole in a stone wall surrounded by scratches in a circle at regular intervals.

“Did clocks even have minute hands in 12th C France?”

As you may remember from my original post on the oddities of tennis scoring, Billie Jean King believes that the reason tennis is scored Love-15-30-40 may have been because the clock hanging over the indoor tennis court was the handiest tool available for keeping score. When I shared this theory with my husband, he immediately shot it to bits. “Did medieval clocks even have minute hands?”

Ancient stone building with lovely gardens.

“What was the significance of the number 4 in medieval France?”

That tennis post I did last week keeps generating questions. One reader noted that it seemed weird that the 6 sets in medieval tennis contained only 4 60-degree games each, especially if tennis scores were meant to represent the 360 degrees in a circle. Mathematically speaking, it would make more sense to have each set contain 6 games. Which raised the question, why 4? Was the number 4 significant in some way for medieval tennis players?

Illustration shows two men playing a version of tennis that doesn't use a net.

“Why is tennis scoring so weird?”

The other day while driving past a neighborhood tennis court, the subject of scoring naturally came up. Everyone in the car agreed that the standard Love-15-30-40 scoring system used in tennis was pretty bizarre. Oddly specific, too, in that way that hints at an interesting story. So I looked it up. Why is tennis scoring so weird anyway?

“Did any of the Presidents not like toys?”

Back when The Eight-Year-Old was only five, we spent a lovely afternoon building a village for her toy dinosaurs out of Lincoln logs. After carefully installing a sunlight in the roof of her sauropod stable, my daughter asked, “Mommyo, did any of the Presidents not like toys?” When I said that surely they all played with toys as kids, she clarified: “No, Mommyo, I’m talking about grown-ups. Did any grown-up Presidents not like playing with toys?”