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18 December 2008


Who did what behind David Cameron's back? Why was Prince Charles a "miserable swine"? And how many b

By Staff Blogger

Compiled by Olav Bjortomt With illustrations by Dan Murrell


1 Life-size cardboard cut-outs of Foreign Secretary David Miliband spouting what word in a speech bubble were displayed at the Tory party conference?

a) Cheese!

b) Treachery!

c) Bananas!

d) Blah!

2 Gerard Batten received 22,422 first-preference votes in the London mayoral election, coming seventh. He was which party’s candidate?

a) Christian Peoples Alliance

b) Left List

c) BNP

d) Ukip

3 Which junior government whip was sacked in September after saying she wanted a debate about the party’s future and saying that “a huge number of Labour MPs want a leadership election”?

a) Shona McIsaac

b) Sally Keeble

c) Karen Buck

d) Siobhain McDonagh

4 A 15-year-old boy from Hastings was warned by police about antisocial behaviour after doing what behind David Cameron’s back in April?

a) Giving him double V-signs

b) Pretending to sneeze and wiping his hand on Cameron’s jacket

c) Motioning to kick him

d) Calling him silly names

5 Which politician found love with a divorced GP named Margaret Williams?

a) Lembit Öpik

b) John Hutton

c) David Blunkett

d) Adam Afriyie

In the news

1 In February, what magnitude on the Richter scale did the UK’s biggest earthquake in nearly 25 years reach at its epicentre near Market Rasen, Lincolnshire?

a) 4.0

b) 4.5

c) 4.9

d) 5.2

2 Six laptops containing information on more than 20,000 patients were stolen from which London hospital in June?

a) St Thomas’s Hospital

b) St George’s Hospital

c) University College London Hospital

d) King’s College Hospital

3 After what began as an April Fool’s Day spoof, 63 per cent of the people of Audlem voted in a community website poll to do what?

a) Become a nudist village

b) Ban the internet

c) Become part of Wales

d) Ban chain stores and restaurants

4 Which Channel Island abolished what was regarded as the last feudal state in Europe?

a) Herm

b) Brecqhou

c) Sark

d) Jethou

5 What did the Queen officially open on 14 March?

a) St Pancras Station

b) Echo Arena, Liverpool

c) London Fire Brigade HQ

d) Heathrow Terminal Five

Online and technology

1 Reacting to warnings that switching on the Large Hadron Collider might create a black hole, which Manchester University particle physicist said: “Anyone who thinks the LHC will destroy the world is a t**t”?

a) Alexander Mackenzie

b) Brian Cox

c) Peter Cunnah

d) Mark Roberts

2 The November release of the second expansion set – entitled Wrath of the Lich King – for which computer game (or MMORPG) shattered sales records in November?

a) Ultima Online

b) EverQuest

c) Guild Wars

d) World of Warcraft

3 Which country launched its TecSAR spy satellite aboard an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle in January?

a) United Arab Emirates

b) South Korea

c) Jordan

d) Israel

4 Leiden University Medical Centre deciphered the first complete DNA sequence of what in May?

a) A man

b) A horse

c) A gorilla

d) A woman

5 What is the name of Google’s proposed open-source web browser, which will compete with the likes of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer?

a) Shuttle

b) Chrome

c) Zoom

d) Android

International affairs

1 Who was sworn in as prime minister of New Zealand, having unseated the incumbent, Helen Clark?

a) Don Brash

b) Rodney Hide

c) Jim Anderton

d) John Key

2 In June, archaeologists discovered what is believed to be the world’s oldest Christian church in which country?

a) Jordan

b) Syria

c) Israel

d) Lebanon

3 Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly saved the Georgian president, Mikhail Saakashvili, from Vladimir Putin’s threat to “hang him by his . . .” what?

a) Tongue

b) Neck

c) Balls

d) Manhood

4 Which country’s parliament became, in September, the first in the world to have more women members than men?

a) Sweden

b) Burundi

c) Rwanda

d) Mali

5 What became the highest-denomination Zimbabwean banknote in May?

a) Z$100m

b) Z$250m

c) Z$500m

d) Z$1,000m


1 Hackney Council banned which writer from giving a reading of his new book Hackney, That Rose-Red Empire at Stoke Newington Library, due to derogatory comments he made about the potential effects of the 2012 Olympics?

a) J G Ballard

b) Peter Ackroyd

c) Iain Sinclair

d) Will Self

2 Which sport was the subject matter of the Irish writer Joseph O’Neill’s post-11 September New York novel Netherland?

a) Cricket

b) Snooker

c) Darts

d) Rugby Union

3 The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, declared three days of mourning after the death in August of which man, whom he called “our great poet . . . the lover of Palestine”?

a) Tawfiq Zayyad

b) Mahmoud Darwish

c) Mourid Barghouti

d) Ahmed Shawqi

4 Darius Alizadeh, Scarlett Papava and Dr Julius Gorner are characters in which 2008 bestseller?

a) Devil May Care

b) The Book Thief

c) The White Tiger

d) Child 44

5 Paul Theroux wrote of whose authorised biography: “It seems that I didn’t know the half of all the horrors”?

a) Alasdair Gray

b) V S Naipaul

c) Warren Buffett

d) John Lennon


1 Who was John “Dancing Pig in Cuban Heels” Sergeant’s partner on Strictly Come Dancing?

a) Kristina Rihanoff

b) Ola Jordan

c) Lilia Kopylova

d) Flavia Cacace

2 Which E4 horror-drama, scripted by Charlie Brooker, imagined what would happen to the contestants of Big Brother if a zombie plague engulfed the nation outside the confines of their studio compound?

a) Dead Set

b) Horror House

c) Bloody Brother

d) Channel Gore

3 “Let’s go home” were the last words spoken in which acclaimed American drama that recently concluded after five seasons?

a) The Shield

b) The Wire

c) The Sopranos

d) Entourage

4 Who was accused of racism after featuring a gypsy character selling pegs and heather in a TV sketch?

a) Basil Brush

b) David Mitchell and Robert Webb

c) Matt Lucas and David Walliams

d) Enfield and Whitehouse

5 Prince Charles was called a “miserable swine” for turning down the chance to appear on which TV show?

a) 10 Years Younger

b) The X Factor

c) Doctor Who

d) Coronation Street


1 In May, who was revealed to be the surprise buyer of a Francis Bacon triptych and Lucian Freud’s Benefits Supervisor Sleeping for an estimated total of $120m?

a) Lakshmi Mittal

b) Roman Abramovich

c) Bill Gates

d) Karl Albrecht

2 Which Turner Prize-winning artist made his debut as a feature film director with the Bobby Sands movie Hunger?

a) Grayson Perry

b) Keith Tyson

c) Douglas Gordon

d) Steve McQueen

3 The London-born musician MIA, who had a top five hit in the US with the song “Paper Planes”, is the daughter of a founding member of which Tamil militant group?

a) Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam

b) Upsurging People’s Force

c) Senan Padai

d) Eelam Revolutionary Organisation of Students

4 What was the year’s highest-grossing film at the UK box office?

a) Mamma Mia!

b) The Dark Knight

c) Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

d) Iron Man

5 The New York Philharmonic became the first American orchestra to play in which country in February?

a) Myanmar

b) Iran

c) Iraq

d) North Korea

US election

1 Which of these names did the Republican vice-presidential nominee, Sarah Palin, not give to one of her five children?

a) Bristol

b) Trig

c) Josh

d) Track

2 Which Israeli politician was accused of creating a campaign website with a near-identical design to that of the election site for Barack Obama?

a) Ehud Barak

b) Amir Peretz

c) Tzipi Livni

d) Binyamin Netanyahu

3 The state of Virginia went “blue” for the first time since which election year?

a) 1996

b) 1976

c) 1964

d) 1952

4 Hillary Clinton wept in a coffee shop before an audience of 16 undecided voters in which New Hampshire town, just before winning the state’s Democratic Party primary?

a) Portsmouth

b) Manchester

c) Dover

d) Rochester

5 Who claimed he was making a “flattering” comment when he described Barack Obama as “young, handsome and also tanned”?

a) Hu Jintao

b) Vladimir Putin

c) Fidel Castro

d) Silvio Berlusconi

Credit crunch

1 What was the total cost of the bank rescue package announced by the British government on 8 October?

a) £200bn

b) £300bn

c) £400bn

d) £500bn

2 In August, the Council of Mortgage Lenders announced that the number of home repossessions had risen by what rate during the past year?

a) 28 per cent

b) 38 per cent

c) 48 per cent

d) 58 per cent

3 Sir Tom McKillop told shareholders at which bank’s general meeting that, as chairman, he was “profoundly sorry about the position we have reached”?

a) Royal Bank of Scotland


c) Lloyds TSB

d) Bradford & Bingley

4 Which investment bank filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after Barclays and Bank of America pulled out of emergency buyout talks on 14 September?

a) Bear Stearns

b) Lehman Brothers

c) JPMorgan Chase

d) Merrill Lynch

5 What phrase did the then chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, use to describe the force that could raise asset values to an unsustainable level more than a decade ago?

a) “Irrational exuberance”

b) “Unthinking enthusiasm”

c) “Wild optimism”

d) “Fallacious faith”


1 Which regional newspaper responded to its banning by a local football club by publishing a Roy of the Rovers-style cartoon strip in place of photos?

a) Bolton News

b) Northern Echo

c) Hull Daily Mail

d) Western Daily Press

2 Who launched the Daily Beast, a topical news website that aims for the centre ground between the liberal Huffington Post and the right-wing Drudge Report?

a) Ben Bradlee

b) Tina Brown

c) Andrew Sullivan

d) Maureen Dowd

3 Max Mosley won his privacy case against which newspaper after it claimed that he had taken part in a Nazi-themed orgy?

a) News of the World

b) Sunday Mirror

c) Sun

d) Daily Mirror

4 Which BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music controller resigned over the Russell Brand-Jonathan Ross prank telephone calls row?

a) Roger Wright

b) Mark Damazer

c) Lesley Douglas

d) Bob Shennan

5 Founded in 1908, which major US newspaper announced that it will cease printing daily and instead print weekly editions from April 2009, while offering daily updates online?

a) Cleveland Plain Dealer

b) Baltimore Sun

c) Atlanta Journal-Constitution

d) Christian Science Monitor


1 Edwin van der Sar’s penalty shoot-out save from which Chelsea footballer led to Manchester United winning their third European Cup?

a) John Terry

b) Didier Drogba

c) Nicolas Anelka

d) Frank Lampard

2 Rafael Nadal became the second Spaniard to win the Wimbledon men’s singles title. Who was the first in 1966?

a) Manuel Santana

b) Alberto Arilla

c) Andrés Gimeno

d) Sergio Casal

3 Who won Team GB’s first gold medal at the Beijing Olympics?

a) Nicole Cooke

b) Rebecca Adlington

c) Chris Hoy

d) Bradley Wiggins

4 After winning the 2008 US Open, Tiger Woods announced he would be taking the rest of the golf season off because of additional surgery on which part of his body?

a) Right elbow

b) Lower back

c) Left knee

d) Neck

5 Which rugby player was knocked out by his team-mate Josh Lewsey in a training-ground incident after he allegedly told Lewsey to “shut up or be shut up”?

a) Phil Vickery

b) Simon Shaw

c) James Haskell

d) Danny Cipriani

How did you do?

Quiz answers

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