Skip to Content

Christmas Quiz Questions

The Spectator's 2016 Christmas quiz

Six rounds with the inimitable Christopher Howse, from the ridiculous to the sublime, illustrated by Castro

10 December 2016

9:00 AM

10 December 2016

9:00 AM

Say so

In 2016, who said:

1. ‘Brexit means Brexit.’
2. ‘We’ve got some leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain. Nigeria and Afghanistan, possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world.’
3. ‘The Prime Minister — I should be pleased about this I suppose — seems to think he should be in Chippenham, paying homage to the town where I was born.’
4. (On discontinuing his Twitter account for six months): ‘Too many people have peed in the pool.’
5. ‘The UK is going to be in the back of the queue.’
6. ‘Son of a whore, I will curse you in that forum.’
7. ‘Watching Django Unchained — A Bally-murphy Nigger!’
8. ‘You can put half of Trump supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables.’
9. ‘Yes, I was dead, it’s true I was dead. I resurrected as I always do.’
10. ‘I took Kim’s collar — a sort of choker chain — and pulled it tight. Suddenly he went limp.’

‘I took Kim’s collar…’

Beastliness

In 2016:

1. The Argentine province of Tierra del Fuego planned to cull 100,000 of which mammal, introduced in 1946?
2. The number of what mammal in Spain rose above 400?
3. What birds were trained by Dutch police to intercept drones?
4. Bert Williams, 71, from Prenton, Wirral, set a new record for a British angler by catching a 93lb fish in the sea off Norway. What kind of fish?
5. Five marine mammals were beached in Norfolk and Lincolnshire, on the tail of one of which someone sprayed ‘CND’ and attempted its symbol, only to draw the Mercedes logo by mistake. What species were they?
6. Staff at Cincinnati Zoo shot dead Harambe, which had grabbed a four-year-old boy who had fallen into the moat of its enclosure. What kind of animal was Harambe?
7. Amber Heard, while married to Johnny Depp, was excused a formal conviction but bound over for good behaviour after pleading guilty to bringing two dogs, Boo and Pistol, into Australia. What breed were they?
8. A moth called Tuta absoluta destroyed 80 per cent of which vegetable crop in the Nigerian state of Kaduna?
9. Niger banned the export of which quadrupeds, often turned into anti-ageing creams abroad, after 80,000 had been sold this year?
10. A snail from Nottingham with a left-spiralling shell was paired with another from Ipswich with a view to their mating. By what personal name was the Nottingham snail known?


A snail from Nottingham

Odd


In 2016:

1. The mapping authority of which country proposed dropping the swastika symbol as a marker for temples on maps for tourists expected for the 2020 Olympics?
2. The Capitoline Museum in Rome covered ancient nude statues with plywood boxes when which visiting president held a press conference there?
3. Firemen rescued uninjured a man trapped in a warehouse in Hinstock, Shropshire, for eight hours under tons of what foodstuff?
4. The government of which country issued a directive prohibiting ‘bizarre architecture’?
5. A Warwickshire man cashed in for £72,000 his bet of £50 at 5,000-1 on which football team winning the Premier League?
6. Who took a DNA test at the instance of Charles Moore and found that his father was the late Sir Anthony Montague Browne, Churchill’s last private secretary?
7. Large quantities of which gaseous element, which had been running short, were found in the Rift Valley of Tanzania?
8. A performance of Guillaume Tell by the Metropolitan Opera, New York, was halted when a member of the audience sprinkled what on to the orchestra?
9. At the end of March, the accident and emergency department at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough complained of people seeking treatment for having eaten too many what?
10. Which fast-food chain sued Florence council, claiming $20 million damages, after it was refused permission to open a shop in the Piazza del Duomo?

Royal

In 2016:

1. President Obama watched which prince ride a rocking horse in pyjamas and dressing-gown?
2. The Queen descended 92ft into the Crossrail workings to give the future railway what name?
3. The Malaysian attorney-general’s office found that £479 million paid into the bank account of Najib Razak, the Prime Minister, in 2013 was a personal gift from the royal family of which country?
4. The Queen presented a trophy to Pat Smullen, the jockey of Harzand, the Aga Khan’s horse, which beat the favourite, US Army Ranger, to win which classic?
5. In August George Osborne, the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, was appointed Companion of Honour at less than half the age of which singer appointed CH in the Queen’s Birthday honours?
6. Which prince was tested for HIV to encourage others?

7. Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn delayed in succeeding King Bhumibol, who had died aged 88 after reigning for 70 years over which country?
8. The Queen had a look round Waitrose at which urban development masterminded by the Prince of Wales?
9. On Netflix, if Claire Foy is the Queen, who is Matt Smith?
10. Which royal residence, with 775 rooms and 20 miles of pipework, is to undergo a £369 million refurbishment?

Pictures and pictures

1. Who directed Hail, Caesar!, in which George Clooney was kidnapped by communists?
2. Painters’ Paintings at the National Gallery showed ‘The Execution of Emperor Maximilian’ by Manet, which once belonged to Degas. The same exhibition showed ‘Portrait of Dora Maar’ (1942), given to Matisse by its painter, who was who?
3. Benedict Cumberbatch played Dr Strange. What is the doctor’s first name?
4. ‘Totes Meer’ by Paul Nash featured in an exhibition of his works this year at Tate Britain. At which London gallery was it shown as part of a Paul Nash exhibition in 2010?
5. Who followed up Rudolf Abel with the BFG for Steven Spielberg?
6. The Scottish National Gallery put on show a picture, usually hanging at the Mauritshuis in The Hague, painted by Carel Fabritius (1622-1654). It shows which species of bird that likes feeding on teasel seeds?
7. If Henry Cavill was Clark Kent, who was Bruce Wayne?
8. In an exhibition of pictures from the Tretyakov, the National Portrait Gallery in London showed a portrait by Ilyia Repin of which bibulous composer, painted days before his death in 1881 aged 42?
9. Eddie Redmayne was Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, with screenplay by whom?
10. At the Royal Academy, Barry Humph-ries, Jacob Rothschild and Celia Birtwell figured among 82 portraits by which painter?

Truth will out

Match the famous people with the judgments of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography upon them. Bernard Levin, journalist (1928–2004); Sir Henry Morton Stanley, explorer (1841–1904); Sir Neville Cardus, cricket writer and music critic (1888–1975); Alec Douglas-Home, 14th Earl of Home (1903–1995); Sir James Frazer-, anthropologist (1854–1941); Paul Nash, painter (1889–1946); Leo Abse, MP (1917–2008); Goronwy Rees, academic (1909–1979); Harley Granville Barker, actor, director and critic (1877–1946); C.M. Doughty, traveller (1843–1926).

1. There was a myth that he was the natural son of George Bernard Shaw: they looked alike, each was a redhead and the dates added up.… Whatever the truth, he was certainly someone whom Shaw could, in his awkward way, cherish and admire, educate and castigate: a surrogate son.


The truth will out

2. He wrote intuitively, conveying his own aesthetic delight and putting an essential truth into a telling phrase; Sibelius, for example, composed ‘mainly in nouns and verbs with eloquent dashes of silence’.
3. The danger inherent in these wanderings was exacerbated by his lack of travel documents, by the Russo-Turkish War (which was perceived in Arabia as a Christian-Muslim conflict), and by his open admission of his Christianity and straightforward criticism of elements of Islamic culture that he did not like, such as polygamy and slavery. It did not help that he uttered these criticisms while remaining dependent upon the Arabs for hospitality and even food, but he was convinced that truth may walk through the world unharmed, and he may have proved that point.
4. In focusing on the pattern of the dying and reviving god that lay at the heart of the religions of the ancient Mediterranean, while never mentioning Christianity, he was more than a little disingenuous. In truth he was engaged all the while in a covert campaign against religion in general and Christianity in particular.
5. The excuse for his increasingly outrageous costumes was that he wished to draw attention to the textile products of his constituency, but the truth was that he never lost a theatrical taste for dressing up.


The truth will out

6. The moment of truth — literally — came in 1953, when he read an advertisement for editorial staff in the weekly paper Truth. The editor, George Scott, allegedly gave him a job because he was Jewish and he wished the paper to be seen in a different light. He must never have regretted this whim.
7. He described his father’s departure for Gallipoli in 1915 with the Lanarkshire yeomanry.… ‘I shall never forget the long night of agony in the King’s Cross Station Hotel which I somehow came through; squeezed of all emotion but fear and rage at the folly to which man could descend.’ This is strong stuff for a lad of 12, but no one who knew him could doubt its truth.
8. After his death it was alleged that he was a Soviet agent … but his daughter’s biography in 1994 concluded that his activities in this area were low-level and very short-lived. The truth is almost impenetrable.
9. His poetic imagination, instead of being crushed by the terrible circumstances of war, had expanded to produce terrible images — terrible because of their combination of detached, almost abstract, appreciation and their truth to appearance.
10. So traumatic were the memories of his youth that he did everything he could to obscure the truth from public view, fabricating for himself a new identity in the process.


Show comments
Close