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16 December 2015updated 07 Sep 2021 11:19am

The Christmas quiz

Pit your wits against our Christmas quiz.

By Olav Bjortomt


1 Sam Smith gave Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne co-writer credits and royalties of 12.5 per cent on his song “Stay With Me” because of similarities with which song?

a “Learning to Fly”

b “You Don’t Know How It Feels”

c “American Girl”

d “I Won’t Back Down”

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2 Which operatic star conducted the final performance of John Copley’s production of La bohème for the Royal Opera House, 41 years after he sang Rodolfo on opening night?

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a José Carreras

b Nicolai Gedda

c Placido Domingo

d Giacomo Aragall

3 Which pop star received a phone call from Vladimir Putin, who apologised for an earlier hoax call made by Russian pranksters?

a Justin Bieber

b Elton John

c Taylor Swift

d Madonna

4 Which religious leader made a guest appearance at the Glastonbury Festival?

a The Dalai Lama

b The Pope

c The Archbishop of Canterbury

d The Chief Rabbi

5 In June, the Berlin Philharmonic announced that who will replace Simon Rattle as its chief conductor?

a Daniel Barenboim

b Christian Thielemann

c Andris Nelsons

d Kirill Petrenko

6 Which artist’s When Will You Marry? of 1892 became the most expensive painting ever when it sold for nearly $300m?

a Vincent van Gogh

b Paul Cézanne

c Paul Gauguin

d Georges Seurat

7 Which British artist created a work of embroidery based on Magna Carta’s Wikipedia page to celebrate the charter’s 800th anniversary, with guest sewing from the likes of Mary Beard and Jarvis Cocker?

a Tony Cragg

b Cornelia Parker

c Sarah Lucas

d Antony Gormley

8 Which fashion house designed the cape that brought Madonna

down at the

Brit Awards?

a Versace

b Alexander McQueen

c Armani

d Stella McCartney

9 Nicole Kidman won the Evening Standard Best Actress theatre award for playing which scientist?

a Rosalind Franklin

b Marie Curie

c Rachel Carson

d Dorothy Hodgkin

10 The title of the play Farinelli and the King refers to a celebrated castrato (played by Mark Rylance, husband of the work’s author, Claire van Kampen) and which ruler?

a George I of Great Britain

b Frederick the Great of Prussia

c Philippe V of Spain

d Louis XVI of France

11 Banksy’s temporary theme park Dismaland was taken down and sent where to be used to make shelters for migrants?

a Lesbos

b Paris

c Calais

d Lampedusa

US Politics

12 The Republican presidential hopeful Ben Carson stood by previous comments in which he claimed that the pyramids were built not as tombs for the pharaohs, but as what?

a Sun shelters

b Granaries

c Stables

d Armouries

13 Donald Trump, another candidate for the Republican nomination, came under fire when he insulted which rival’s looks in a magazine interview?

a Hillary Clinton

b Carly Fiorina

c Marco Rubio

d Jeb Bush

14 Which US presidential hopeful said sorry to the French after claiming that their working week consisted of just “three days where you have to show up”?

a Jeb Bush

b Marco Rubio

c Chris Christie

d Mike Huckabee

15 In October, Hillary Clinton was grilled by the House select committee on Benghazi for how many hours?

a Four

b Seven

c Nine

d 11

16 Who won the Time magazine online Readers’ Poll for Time Person of the Year, but was then excluded from the shortlist for the award?

a Vladimir Putin

b Ted Cruz

c The founders of Black Lives Matter

d Bernie Sanders

17 In June, just after beneficial Supreme Court decisions on Obamacare and same-sex couples’ right to marry, which song did Barack Obama sing during a eulogy broadcast on national TV?

a “Amazing Grace”

b “We Shall Overcome”

c “Abide With Me”

d “Going Home”

British Politics

18 In January, what did the then equalities minister, Jo Swinson, suggest that more boys should do, so that more of them grow up to be carers?

a Ride a pony

b Wear more pink

c Take up ballet

d Play with dolls

19 The former Labour chancellor Denis Healey died at the age of 98. Which Conservative cabinet minister did he once describe as “a mixture of Hamlet, Rasputin and Tommy Cooper”?

a Keith Joseph

b Michael Heseltine

c Willie Whitelaw

d Nigel Lawson

20 During initiation into which Oxford University society was David Cameron alleged to have become uncommonly friendly with a dead pig?

a Vincent’s Club

b Bullingdon Club

c Gridiron Club

d Piers Gaveston Society

21 Which former Labour leader confessed that he had attempted stand-up comedy as a student, creating characters such as “Captain Kink”?

a Tony Blair

b Ed Miliband

c Neil Kinnock

d Gordon Brown

22 What term was David Cameron reported to use to describe laid-back policy discussions?

a Chatarama

b Chatmandu

c Chatty Arbuckle

d Second Chatican Council

23 What football team did David Cameron, an Aston Villa fan, accidentally claim to support due to a “brain fade”?

a Burnley

b Birmingham City

c Wolverhampton Wanderers

d West Ham United

24 Which former Tory MP came unstuck when her outrage at Twitter “autocomplete” suggestions for Liz Kendall’s name turned out to be taken from her own search history?

a Esther McVey

b Louise Mensch

c Ann Widdecombe

d Edwina Currie

25 Which politician was barred from boarding a flight because he had booked it under the alias James T Kirk?

a George Osborne

b Nick Clegg

c Alex Salmond

d Nigel Farage

26 What did Boris Johnson claim was his great regret?

a He never became a rock star

b He never played cricket for England

c He never sailed around the world

d He’s never learned a foreign language

27 The Labour MP Chris Bryant was called a “classist gimp” by which musician?

a Ed Sheeran

b Florence Welch

c James Blunt

d Chris Martin

28 The Labour deputy leader, Tom Watson, refused to apologise for claims he made about which late Tory?

a Teresa Gorman

b Margaret Thatcher

c Geoffrey Howe

d Leon Brittan

Election 2015

29 Which food did David Cameron say he would “cut out” until the general election?

a Chocolate

b Bread

c Bacon

d Haribo sweets

30 Which member of the SNP became the youngest MP since the Great Reform Act on being elected at the age of 20 years and 237 days?

a Kirsty Blackman

b Mhairi Black

c Hannah Bardell

d Angela Crawley

31 Which politician was presented with a hat-shaped cake on BBC Question Time after he promised to eat his hat if the exit polls proved correct?

a Neil Kinnock

b Paddy Ashdown

c David Steel

d Peter Mandelson

32 What term did the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, use to describe the prospect of a Labour-SNP coalition government?

a Ajockalypse Now

b The Sturgeon Adventure

c ArMcGeddon

d The Towering Inveraray

33 After failing to win the seat of Thanet South, Nigel Farage resigned as leader of the UK Independence Party. How long did his resignation last for?

a Three minutes

b Three hours

c Three days

d Three weeks

34 In what Nick Clegg claimed was a “cruel and punishing night”, the Liberal Democrats went from 56 to how many Commons seats?

a Five

b Eight

c 12

d 15

Jeremy Corbyn

35 At which anniversary service did Jeremy Corbyn “stand respectfully” without singing the National Anthem?

a 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain

b 70th anniversary of VJ Day

c 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt

d 800th anniversary of Magna Carta

36 Which novel did Jeremy Corbyn say was his favourite book?

a Madame Bovary

b Middlemarch

c Germinal

d Catch-22

37 The Labour leader revealed that one of his hobbies is taking photos of which items?

a Plant pots

b Stained-glass windows

c Hubcaps

d Drain covers

38 Which Channel 4 News journalist was criticised for an “aggressive” and “biased” interview with Corbyn over his links with Deir Yassin Remembered, a group founded by the Holocaust denier Paul Eisen?

a Cathy Newman

b Krishnan Guru-Murthy

c Jon Snow

d Matt Frei

39 Which Labour grandee accused party members of “galloping towards the precipice” if it elected Corbyn, and his hard-left supporters of “deluding a new generation” with the same extremist “claptrap” that gripped the party in the 1980s?

a John Reid

b Gordon Brown

c Peter Mandelson

d Betty Boothroyd

40 Which shadow cabinet minister said, defying Corbyn, “We must now confront this evil. It is now our time to do our bit in Syria”?

a Angela Eagle

b Hilary Benn

c Andy Burnham

d Owen Smith

Foreign Affairs

41 The Romanian prime minister Victor Ponta resigned after more than 30 people died in which type of event?

a Coal mining disaster

b Gas explosion

c Nightclub fire

d Building collapse

42 Following the decision by the US Supreme Court on same-sex marriages, in which state did Kim Davis, a county clerk, refuse to issue marriage licences?

a Alabama

b Kansas

c Texas

d Kentucky

43 What was the name of the Zimbabwean lion that the American dentist Walter Palmer had a hand in killing?

a Aubrey

b Bill

c Cecil

d David

44 Texas teachers overreacted to Ahmed Mohamed, a Muslim student, bringing which device in to high school?

a Clock

b Quran

c Novelty gun lighter

d Home-made robot

45 The former West German chancellor Helmut Schmidt, who died at the age of 96, reportedly stockpiled what to guard against a possible ban?

a Foie gras

b Menthol cigarettes

c Absinthe

d Chewing gum

46 Martin Shkreli, founder of Turing Pharmaceuticals, aroused the anger of practically everyone by raising the price by 5,000 per cent of Daraprim, a drug used mainly to treat which disease?

a Toxoplasmosis

b Diphtheria

c Filariasis

d Psittacosis

47 Mark Lippert was attacked by a knife-wielding nationalist. Lippert is the US ambassador to which country?

a India

b China

c South Korea

d Philippines

48 Which country’s National Dialogue Quartet won the Nobel Peace Prize?

a Belarus

b Egypt

c Ukraine

d Tunisia

49 In which ancient city were the Temples of Baalshamin and Bel destroyed by Isis?

a Nimrud

b Palmyra

c Nineveh

d Hatra

50 China displayed a sense of humour by awarding which individual the 2015 Confucius Peace Prize, its equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize?

a Robert Mugabe

b Alexander Lukashenko

c Kim Jong-un

d Bashar al-Assad

51 From which job was the Hungarian Petra Laszló fired after she was filmed kicking and tripping up refugees?

a Security guard

b Construction manager

c Camera operator

d Newspaper reporter


52 Which athlete became only the fifth Briton to hold Olympic, world, European and Commonwealth titles in one event simultaneously?

a Jessica Ennis

b Mo Farah

c Christine Ohuruogu

d Greg Rutherford

53 At which racecourse was the jockey Aidan Coleman assaulted by members of the public?

a Sandown Park

b Market Rasen

c Southwell

d Goodwood

54 England regained the Ashes in a Test match series with what scoreline?

a 3-2

b 4-1

c 2-1

d 3-0

55 Which football manager is being personally sued by his former team doctor Eva Carneiro?

a Arsène Wenger

b Louis van Gaal

c Alan Pardew

d José Mourinho

56 Which city accidentally held the longest half-marathon after organisers sent runners down a wrong turn that extended the course by four miles?

a Riyadh

b Bangkok

c Kuala Lumpur

d Doha

57 Ranked number 43 in the world at the time, which Italian tennis player beat Serena Williams in the US Open semi-finals, thereby ending Williams’s attempt at a calendar Grand Slam?

a Francesca Schiavone

b Flavia Pennetta

c Camila Giorgi

d Roberta Vinci

58 Which two cricketers became, respectively, England’s all-time leading run-scorer and wicket-taker in Test matches?

a Alastair Cook and Stuart Broad

b Ian Bell and James Anderson

c Joe Root and Stuart Broad

d Alastair Cook and James Anderson

Television and Film

59 The Irish actress Katie McGrath’s Jurassic World character, Zara, suffered a memorably horrific death when she was dropped into which dinosaur’s mouth?

a Tyrannosaurus rex

b Gorgosaurus

c Mosasaurus

d Indominus rex

60 Which county is the setting for the TV hit Poldark?

a Cumbria

b Devon

c Northumberland

d Cornwall

61 According to the Writers Guild of America, which film has the funniest comedy screenplay of all time?

a Annie Hall

b Some Like It Hot

c Airplane!

d Groundhog Day

62 Nadiya Hussain was the hugely popular winner of which TV contest?

a The Great British Bake Off

b Britain’s Got Talent

c MasterChef

d The Voice

63 Which television drama employed graffiti artists to provide authentic Arabic slogans – only for the artists to produce tags saying that the show was racist and rubbish?

a Homeland

b 24: Live Another Day

c Blindspot


64 Which actress finished her Oscar acceptance speech for the 2015 Best Supporting Actress by calling for equal pay for women?

a Meryl Streep

b Patricia Arquette

c Laura Dern

d Julianne Moore

65 Which of Alan Partridge’s TV pitches finally became a reality in 2015 after an advert based on the idea was filmed?

a Monkey Tennis

b Arm Wrestling with Chas and Dave

c Youth Hostelling with Chris Eubank

d Inner City Sumo

66 Who will replace Stephen Fry as host of QI?

a Sandi Toksvig

b John Sessions

c Sue Perkins

d Alexander Armstrong

67 Which BBC Breakfast presenter accidentally used the C-word on air?

a Louise Minchin

b Stephanie McGovern

c Charlie Stayt

d Bill Turnbull

68 What was the name of the Top Gear producer who was assaulted by Jeremy Clarkson, leading to his departure from the show?

a Oisin Tymon

b Cedric Messina

c Per Høst

d Gareth Edwards

69 Which contender for biggest box-office bomb of the year starred Johnny Depp as an eponymous aristocrat and art expert?

a Manglehorn

b Creed

c Trumbo

d Mortdecai

Local News

70 What type of plane crashed on the A27 when it failed to complete a loop-the-loop at the Shoreham Airshow?

a Folland Gnat

b Gloster Javelin

c Hawker Hunter

d British Aerospace Sea Harrier

71 Millennium Square, Britain’s first smoke-free square, is in which city?

a Manchester

b Bristol

c Leicester

d Oxford

72 Which local authority was identified as having the highest proportion of takeaway restaurants that didn’t meet good hygiene standards?

a Enfield

b Southwark

c Brighton and Hove

d Tower Hamlets

73 Adeyemi Zubairu was an illegal immigrant from Sierra Leone who used a crudely forged passport to get a job working where?

a Department for Work and Pensions

b House of Commons

c Daily Express

d Buckingham Palace

74 The sale of alcohol is to be allowed in which model village for the first time, ending a 120-year ban on booze?

a Portmeirion

b Poundbury

c Bournville

d Abbotsbury

75 A new grammar school, the first in 50 years, opened where in Kent?

a Sevenoaks

b Margate

c Tonbridge

d Maidstone

76 Which London skyscraper won the Carbuncle Cup award for worst building in the UK?

a The Cheesegrater

b The Walkie Talkie

c The Shard

d The Gherkin

77 Which retailer was accused of “outrageous exploitation” when reports emerged that it had a 90 per cent mark-up on “get well soon” cards at its Bristol Royal Infirmary outlet?

a M&S

b Sainsbury’s

c Tesco

d WHSmith

78 At the age of 28, Alex Reppold became Britain’s youngest what?

a Head teacher

b Chief constable

c Chief Scout

d Trade union leader

79 Liverpool became the first city in the world to instal special lanes for what?

a Fast walkers

b Football supporters

c Mobility scooters

d Liverpudlians

80 The Office for National Statistics reported that net migration to the UK had reached which all-time high in the year to March?

a 160,000

b 330,000

c 510,000

d 740,000

81 Which birds were reported to be tweeting longest because of city light pollution?

a Starlings

b Sparrows

c Robins

d Chaffinches

82 Alana MacInnes of Uist and Caitlin McNeill, from Colonsay, launched a ferocious internet debate about a dress that was coloured either white and gold or what and what?

a Green and red

b Grey and orange

c Purple and yellow

d Black and blue

83 Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena was acquitted after becoming the first person to stand trial in the UK for which offence?

a Selling qat

b Female genital mutilation

c Making “legal highs”

d Ill-treatment or wilful neglect

84 In mid-October, the slogan “Frack Off” was unveiled just above which hill figure?

a Cerne Abbas Giant

b Uffington White Horse

c Long Man of Wilmington

d Whipsnade White Lion

85 Which of these was given a ticket by an overzealous traffic warden in Carmarthen?

a A wheelie bin

b A cat

c A mobility scooter

d A Zimmer frame

86 Elizabeth II beat Victoria’s record for the longest-reigning British monarch on which date?

a 11 April

b 6 June

c 2 August

d 9 September


87 In November, plans for the world’s largest offshore windfarm were unveiled. Where will it be located?

a Red Sea

b North Sea

c Irish Sea

d Yellow Sea

88 How much corporation tax did Facebook UK pay last year?

a £465

b £4,327

c £14,901

d £104,761

89 US scientists claimed that they had trained which creatures to analyse images of tissue samples seen in mammograms?

a Pigeons

b Rhesus monkeys

c Mice

d Geckos

90 Avid Life Media, owners of a dating website, offered a £240,000 reward to anyone providing information leading to the arrest and prosecution of hackers who had attacked the site. Name the website.

a Ashley Madison

b OkCupid


d Adult Friend Finder

91 Finland became the first country to issue an official set of national emojis, the initial three icons chosen being a heavy metal fan, naked people in a sauna and what else?

a A reindeer

b Javelin thrower

c Nokia 3310

d An Angry Bird

92 What was the name of the Nasa probe that conducted the first ever flyby of Pluto in July?

a New Frontier

b New Horizons

c New Prospects

d New Threshold l

Answers on page 119