Answers to the Christmas quiz below – please feel free to report your scores in the comments if you are of a competitive bent, and let me know if you disagree with any of the answers.
The first letters of every answer in this quiz (excluding bonus questions and after removing definite or indefinite articles from answers) spell out the first lines of a novel. What do the letters spell out, and from what novel (for 5 bonus points)?
A: A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens; “Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial had been signed by the clergyman.
Round 1: Link Round
- What nickname was shared by Suleiman I of the Ottoman Empire, Robert I of Normandy (and father of William the Conqueror), and Lorenzo de Medici?
A: The Magnificent
- According to Keats, in which season do “hedge crickets sing, and now with treble soft/The red-breast whistles from a garden-croft”?
- Which actor starred in the 1986 film Stand By Me, and the 1991 film My own Private Idaho? He had younger sisters called Rain, Liberty and Summer.
A: River Phoenix
- Which London building is this?
- Which 2009 song contains the lyrics
“Yea, yea I’m out that Brooklyn, now I’m down in Tribeca/Right next to DeNiro, but I’ll be hood forever”?
A: Empire State of Mind
- What is known as “China’s Sorrow”?
A: The Yellow River
- Which 2014 film starring Reese Witherspoon is based on a book by Cheryl Strayed, and tells the story of her solo 1,100 mile trek of the Pacific Crest Trail?
- What word can precede “investor” to create a term for a person who provides capital to a start-up business, usually in exchange for an equity stake?
- Which cricketer, generally better known for his skill with the ball, has also scored the most test runs without ever hitting a century?
A: Shane Warne
- What word links: Kevin who was originally intended to be Captain Cartwright, an Australian harbour and river, and Shakespeare’s description of spring flowers in Sonnet 18?
Bonus: What is the link between the above 10 answers?
A: All words used in the title of famous Westerns (The Magnificent Seven, Cheyenne Autumn, A River Runs Through it, Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Phantom Empire, She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The Wild Bunch, Angel and the Badman, Shane, My Darling Clementine)
Round 2: World languages
What languages are these?
- Rõõmsaid jõule ja head uut aastat!
- እንኳን አደረሳችሁ
- Glædelig jul og godt nytår
- Yeni yılınızı kutlar, sağlık ve başarılar dileriz
- Blīþe Gēol and Gesǣlig Nīwe Gēar
A: Old English
- Eguberri eta urte berri on
- Feliĉan Kristnaskon kaj bonan novjaron
- Καλά Χριστούγεννα! Ευτυχισμένο το Νέο Έτος!
- Buon Natale e felice anno nuovo
- God jul og godt nytt år
Bonus: What common meaning do the sentences all have?
A: Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
Round 3: Prefixes and suffixes
- What word can precede cat, fire and life?
- What word can precede cold, age and land?
- What word can precede off, over and that?
- What word can precede boat, broken and hold?
- What word can precede land, mountain and charge?
- What word can follow right, under and black?
- What word can follow black, hawk and fish?
- What word can follow Olympic, ear and tree?
- What word can follow domino, butterfly and ripple?
- What word can follow bright, no and big?
Round 4: 2018 – That was the year that was
- The Winter Olympics were held in Pyeongchang in January. In which event did Great Britain win three of its five medals?
- With which nerve agent were Sergei and Yulia Skripal poisoned in Salisbury this year?
- The lead singer of The Cranberries died this year. What was her surname?
- In January, the US government shut down as a result of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy. What are children who entered the US under this policy commonly known as?
- Japanese politician Takeshi Onaga died in August at the age of 67. He was principally famous for campaigning to end the American military presence in which prefecture of Japan?
- Kofi Annan, who died in August, was most famous for leading which organization between 1997 and 2006?
A: United Nations
- Which country’s national museum was destroyed by fire in August of this year?
- What was the surname of the footballer who scored England’s only goal in the world cup semi-final defeat against Croatia?
- The world was gripped by the Thai cave rescue in June and July of 2018. What was the name of the football team the trapped boys all played for?
A: Wild Boars
- On 13 January 2018, residents of which part of the United States were rudely awakened by a false text message alert warning of an impending missile strike?
Round 5: Connected words
- What first name links
– Valentine (cricket)
– Common (football)
– Dubs (politics)
- What word can follow
– Dark (novel series)
– Black (wine)
– Kingdom (building)
- What word links
– the collective noun for foxes
– a 1995 Michael Jackson hit
– the first solo album by Greek musician Vangelis?
- What word links
– the gymnastics event where you might see the Yurchenko or Tsukahara techniques employed
– an ITV quiz show from 2002-2004 which involved brokers referred to only by their occupations,
– the most secure part of a bank?
- What three letter word can be found in
– the title of a 1982 hit by Survivor
– the name of Barfield and Marks’ most famous London erection
– a 2015 thriller about drone warfare starring Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman?
A: Eye (Eye of the Tiger, London Eye, Eye in the Sky)
- The Acheron (Greek), Sarasvati (Hindi) and Ifing (Norse) are all mythical examples of which geographical feature?
- What is the only single word anagram of the word which links:
– The actor who won an Oscar for his role in the 1960 film Elmer Gantry,
– the location of Theresa May’s January 2017 speech outlining her hopes for Britain’s future relationship with the EU
– the type of plane modified for use in the Dambusters raid?
A: Ancestral (Lancaster)
- Which six letter word is found in all of the following:
– A No. 3 hit in September 1991, originally heard at the end of a 1979 film banned in Norway and Ireland
– The band formed by Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott
– A popular hymn with words by Cecil Frances Alexander, which also provided the title to each work in a popular series of Yorkshire-set books
A: Bright (Bright Side of Life, Bright Eyes, All Things Bright and Beautiful)
- Which word links
– the singer of “When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going”
– a series of films with Frank Sinatra and later George Clooney in the title role
– and the UK band whose hits include The Riverboat Song and The Day we Caught the Train?
A: Ocean (Billy Ocean, Ocean’s Eleven, Ocean Colour Scene_
- What two letter word links
– a 1998 album by REM
– a 2009 animated film about a flying house
– a series of documentaries following the lives of fourteen British children every seven years since 1964?
Bonus 3 points: All of the answers to the above questions are words found in a famous poem published in 1816 (note: grammatical tense is changed in one case, plurality in another, and in a third the spelling of the relevant word is different)
Which poem, by whom, and why might it have been apt not to have had question 10?
A: Kubla Khan, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It may have been apt not to have number 10 because the poem was famously unfinished, so perhaps this should be reflected in the round as well.
Round 6: Picture Round 1 – Name the country
- A: Tunisia
- A: Tanzania
- A: Haiti
- A: Albania
- A: Thailand
- A: Trinidad and Tobago
- A: Hungary
- A: Ethiopia
- A: Russia
- A: Ecuador
Round 7: Christmas song lyrics
Name the Christmas song or carol from the lyric provided
- In Bethlehem, in Israel/This blessed Babe was born/And laid within a manger/Upon this blessed morn
A: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
- When you’re skating in the park/If the snow cloud makes it dark/Then your rosy cheeks are gonna light my merry way
A: I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day
- Hey, Mr. Churchill comes over here/To say we’re doing splendidly
A: Stop The Cavalry
- His name shall be the Prince of Peace/Forevermore adore/The Wonderful, the Counselor/The great and mighty Lord
A: To Us a Child of Hope is Born
- The Father’s sole-begotten One/yet born a spotless Virgin’s Son!
A: Eternal Glory of the Sky
- Later we’ll have some pumpkin pie/ and we’ll do some carolling
A: Rocking Around the Christmas Tree
- And our eyes at last shall see him/Through his own redeeming love
A: Once in Royal David’s City
- When the band finished playing/They howled out for more
A: Fairytale of New York
- Joyful, all ye nations, rise/Join the triumph of the skies
A: Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
- But the prettiest sight to see/Is the holly that will be/On your own front door
A: It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas
Round 8: Picture round 2 – eye rhymes
All or part of the first five answers are eye rhymes of all or part of the second five answers, but not necessarily in the correct order (e.g. answer no.1 is not necessarily an eye rhyme for answer no.6, but is an eye rhyme of one of the answers from 6-10).
- A: Sally Field
- A: Benin
- A: Ulan Bataar
- A: Raul
- A: Iran
- A: Aran Islands
- A: Lenin
- (UK name) A: Wally
- A: Alan Titchmarsh
- A: Saul Bellow
Round 9: December
- What star sign covers the majority of December?
- Which scientist’s birth is celebrated by atheists on Christmas Day?
A: Isaac Newton
- In Spain, what are you traditionally supposed to try and eat twelve of as the chimes sound for the New Year?
- Kingdom Day, or Koninkrijksdag, is an event celebrated on 15 December each year in which country? A: The Netherlands
- Prohibition was repealed in the United States in December 1933, but which amendment to the US Constitution, passed in 1920, had originally enabled prohibition?
- Which singer, born on Christmas Day 1971, had hit albums in the 2000s called Life for Rent and Safe Trip Home?
- In the United States, December 30 is designated a National Day for a common raising agent with chemical formula NaHCO3. What is this substance more commonly known as?
A: Baking Soda/Bicarbonate of Soda
- Which word for Christmas derives from the Germanic name for a midwinter festival lasting several weeks?
- What is the birthstone for December?
- December the 5th celebrates the anniversary of the signing of the UN declaration on what topic?
A: Human Rights
Round 10: Gluttony and other sins
- Which famed glutton once flew from Memphis to Denver solely to eat a dish invented for him called “Fool’s Gold”, containing peanut butter, a pound of bacon and a whole loaf of bread?
A: Elvis Presley
- What is the surname of the character who explodes as the result of consuming a wafer thin mint in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life?
- Henry I supposedly died after eating a surfeit of what creature?
- Who is the protagonist of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice?
A: Elizabeth Bennet
- Which series of eight paintings and engravings by Hogarth depicts the decline and fall of Tom, a young Londoner who comes into a fortune on his father’s death?
A: The Rake’s Progress
- In Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, what is the surname of the boy who falls into a river of chocolate and is carried away to the Fudge Room?
- What is the sin-themed title of the 2001 album subtitled An Aerosmith Anthology?
A: Young Lust
- Who plays soon-to-retire detective William Somerset in the film “Seven”?
A: Morgan Freeman
- Which fruit has a variety called “Envy”?
- The only ever English pope is said to have died while drinking wine. What was his name before becoming pope?
A: Nicholas Brakspear