Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Q&A: Xxxxxxxxx hed here

Q&A: What time is it? IIII or IV?

What time is it? IIII or IV?

Over the past year or so, after replacing an old wall clock (I like the kind with Roman numerals), we brought one home from one of the dollar stores. Upon getting it home our son noticed that at 4, the Roman numeral was listed as IIII instead of IV. What is going on here? Who took it upon themselves to change Roman numerals and why?

No one seems 100 percent certain why some clocks use IIII for 4 o'clock and others use IV. One theory is that using IIII gives a clock a more symmetrical look than using IV because it better offsets the VIII (8 o'clock) on the other side of the clock. Another is that the use of IIII gives a clock a more ancient look.

But we can tell you it's not incorrect to use IIII. The Romans themselves used IIII on sundials, and that became the widely accepted representation of 4 o'clock in that world.

At some point in the Middle Ages, IV started to gain acceptance on clocks and other documents, and even when referring to the fourth name used in a royal line.

As you've noticed, however, there's no consistency in usage. For instance, the most famous clock in the world, Big Ben in London, uses IV.

But many other famous clocks use IIII — among them the clock at Marshall Fields in Chicago, the Ohio clock in the U.S. Capitol and the Zimmer tower clock in Lier, Belgium.

Publix effort nets more than $1M

On Nov. 4 I shopped at Publix and when checking out, the cashier asked if I wanted to donate to the Hurricane Sandy Fund. I did so and was charged for my $5 donation. My question is how much was raised by Publix by this fundraiser?

Maria Brous, director of media and community relations for Publix Super Markets Inc., issued this statement:

"The customer donation program benefitting the American Red Cross Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund concluded on Saturday, Nov. 10, 2012. Publix customers and associates helped raise more than $1 million for our neighbors in the Northeast. The generosity of our customers is unsurpassed; they always come through in times of need."

Mummers Parade set for Jan. 1

Can you tell me whether or not there is still a Mummers Parade conducted in the United States any more?

Weather permitting, the annual Mummers Parade is Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, in Philadelphia. It starts at 10 a.m. and lasts for hours, and is one of the more colorful New Year's traditions in the United States.

According to the city of Philadelphia website, there are four divisions competing for prizes in the 113th parade: Comic, Fancy, String Band and Fancy Brigade. For more information, visit or

Q&A: Xxxxxxxxx hed here

Q&A: What time is it? IIII or IV? 11/21/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 5:51pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump offered a grieving military father $25,000 in a call, but didn't follow through


    President Donald Trump, in a personal phone call to a grieving military father, offered him $25,000 and said he would direct his staff to establish an online fundraiser for the family, but neither happened, the father said.

    President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting  with members of the Senate Finance Committee and his economic team on Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017 at the White House in Washington, D.C. [Pool photo by Chris Kleponis | Getty Images]
  2. State House leader Corcoran urges Congress to back Trump tax cuts


    TAMPA — At a time when President Donald Trump's relations with Congress grow frayed, state House Speaker Richard Corcoran lined up solidly with Trump Tuesday in urging Congress members from Florida to back the president's tax-cutting legislation.

    Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran backs the supply-side economic theory that cutting federal taxes for business owners would result in more jobs for others. [CHRIS URSO   |   Times]
  3. Tampa's Oaklawn Cemetery placed on National Register of Historic Places

    Human Interest

    TAMPA — Oaklawn Cemetery, Tampa's first public graveyard, has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

    Tampa's Oaklawn and neighboring St. Louis cemeteries just north of downtown have been added to the National Register of  Historic Places. LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
  4. Romano: Love to hear your Nazi speech, but I'm washing my hair

    Human Interest

    A year ago, he was racism's favorite twerp.

    Richard Spencer, center in sunglasses, and his supporters clash with Virginia State Police after hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the "alt-right" clashed with anti-fascist protesters and police in August in Charlottesville, Va. [Getty Images]
  5. Editorial: More work needed to stem juvenile car thefts


    There is more bad news than good about Pinellas County's juvenile car theft epidemic. The good news is that arrests ticked down slightly last year — a sign that law enforcement may be beginning to contain the problem. The bad: Reports of stolen vehicles in Pinellas are up this year, and the problem may be …

    There is more bad news than good about Pinellas County’s juvenile car theft epidemic.