Christopher Howse

Christmas quiz | 13 December 2018

Set by Christopher Howse. Illustrated by Castro

Christmas quiz | 13 December 2018
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You don’t say

In 2018, who said:

1. ‘I have the absolute power to PARDON myself, but why should I do that when I have done nothing wrong?’

2. ‘A piece of cake, perhaps? Sorry, no cherries.’

3. ‘Frankly, Russia should go away and should shut up.’

4. ‘It is absolutely ridiculous that people should choose to go around looking like letter boxes.’

5. ‘I always say that the river flows well to its destiny because of the guidance of a solid rock.’

6. ‘There are men out here that do a lot worse, but because I’m a woman, you’re going to take this away from me?’

7. ‘My wife is Japanese. My wife is Chinese. Sorry, that’s a terrible mistake to make.’

8. ‘Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism; nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism.’

9. ‘No one has got a f—ing clue what Brexit is, yeah … So what’s happened to that twat David Cameron who called it on?’

10. ‘Anybody get here in a car today? Nod your heads if you did. I know there were some carriages.’

Flick books

1. What was the American film title of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone?

2. What American film did Im Westen nichts Neues become in 1930?

3. What film directed by Ken Loach did A Kestrel for a Knave become?

4. What Stanley Kubrick film was based on The Short-Timers, a novel about the Vietnam war?

5. In 2008 what film was based on Q&A by Vikas Swarup?

6. The film Jack Reacher (2012) was based on which Lee Child novel?

7. What film starring Bruce Willis did Nothing Lasts Forever become in 1988?

8. A film directed by René Clair, based on Agatha Christie’s book Ten Little Niggers, was released in America under what title in 1945?

9. Svengali (1954), with Donald Wolfit in the title role, was based on which novel by George du Maurier?

10. Which railway thriller by Hitchcock did The Wheel Spins by Ethel Lina White (1936) become?

Creature comforts

In 2018:

1. What kind of whale was spotted in the autumn in the Thames at East Tilbury

2. China reduced import tax from 5 per cent to 2 per cent on:

a) monkey skins

b) lamprey skins

c) donkey skins

3. Which kind of tree was threatened by a plague of European processionary moths which descended on west London?

4. While baptising 80 people in Lake Abaya in Ethiopia, Docho Eshete, a Protestant pastor, was suddenly killed by what creature?

5. India’s Supreme Court ordered the government to take action to prevent insect excrement turning which celebrated mausoleum green?

6. Cairngorms National Park rejected a scheme by the Queen’s Balmoral estate to build a hydro-electric system because it would be too noisy for which woodland creatures?

7. A shark called Miss Helen was stolen from San Antonio aquarium, Texas, by thieves who wrapped it in a wet blanket and put it in a pram. The suspects were tracked down and the shark recovered. What kind of shark was Miss Helen?

a) frilled

b) horn

c) hammerhead

8. Which African country described the donation by the French embassy of ten donkeys to villagers in Gitega province as an ‘insult to the nation’?

9. A chick raised by ‘two male vultures in a long-term relationship’ was released in Sardinia by a zoo called Natura Artis Magistra, which is in which European city?

10. A cat known as Embassy Cat was said to have been given away in order to end its life of isolation in the Ecuadorian embassy in London with which long-term asylum-seeker?

How should I begin?

Of which books are these the opening words?

1. I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.

2. Mr Salteena was an elderly man of 42 and was fond of asking peaple to stay with him.

3. My dear wife Carrie and I have just been a week in our new house, ‘The Laurels’, Brickfield Terrace, Holloway — a nice six-roomed residence, not counting basement, with a front breakfast-parlour.


In the Thames

4. From ’41 to ’51

   I was my folk’s contrary son.

5. He sat, in defiance of municipal orders, astride the gun Zam Zammah on her brick platform opposite the old Ajaib-Gher — the Wonder House, as the natives call the Lahore Museum.

6. Mr Utterson the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance, that was never lighted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse; backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary, and yet somehow lovable.

I withdrew my powers of sensual perception

7. In these times of ours, though concerning the exact year there is no need to be precise, a boat of dirty and disreputable appearance, with two figures in it, floated on the Thames, between Southwark bridge which is of iron, and London Bridge which is of stone, as an autumn evening was closing in.

8. Having placed in my mouth sufficient bread for three minutes’ chewing, I withdrew my powers of sensual perception and retired into the privacy of my mind, my eyes and face assuming a vacant and preoccupied expression.

9. Wonderful or supernatural events are not so uncommon, rather they are irregular in their incidence.

10. Mr Sniggs, the Junior Dean, and Mr Postlethwaite, the Domestic Bursar, sat alone in Mr Sniggs’s room overlooking the garden quad at Scone College.

Choicest gifts in store

In 2018:

1. Who was born in April, fifth in line to the throne behind his elder sister Charlotte, under the Succession to the Crown Act, 2013?

2. Who had to celebrate her birthday by listening to Shaggy, Sting and Craig David at the Albert Hall?

3. Who married the Earl of Dumbarton and Baron Kilkeel on the same day?

4. On a visit to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories, the Duke of Cambridge met relatives of the late Rachel Cohen, hidden from the Gestapo by the mother of which member of the royal family?

5. Who revealed for his 70th birthday: ‘I invented moussaka with grouse. It doesn’t always have to be lamb — in other words, groussaka!’

6. Who mourned the passing of Willow aged 14?

7. The birth of whose daughter in June pushed the 2nd Earl of Snowdon down to 20th in line to the throne?

8. Who wore dark glasses at the Derby, having had a cataract removed the month before?

9. Who was driving a carriage and pair at Windsor ten weeks after a hip replacement?

10. Of which royally named museum did the Duchess of Cambridge become patron in April?

The very dead of winter

Match these authors with the Christmassy extracts below: Charles Dickens, Compton Mackenzie, Robert Browning, Flora Thompson, Anthony Trollope, Henry James, Hilaire Belloc, John Ruskin, Cuthbert Bede, G.K. Chesterton.

1. Christmas passed away in a week of extravagant rain, and a visit was paid to the pantomime of Valentine and Orson at the Surrey Theatre that reduced Michael to a state of collapse owing to the fight between the two protagonists, in which Orson’s fingers were lacerated by the glittering sword of Valentine. Nurse vainly assured him the blood was so much red paint. He howled the louder and dreamed ghastly dreams for a month afterwards.

2. They had been working all day at the decorations of the church, and they were now looking round them at the result of their handiwork. To an eye unused to the gloom the place would have been nearly dark; but they could see every corner turned by the ivy sprigs, and every line on which the holly-leaves were shining.

3. The light was failing. I had perhaps some vague idea of sleeping out, but that would have killed me, for a heavy mist that covered all the tops of the hills and that made a roof over the valley, began to drop down a fine rain; and, as they sing in church on Christmas Eve, ‘the heavens sent down their dews upon a just man’. But that was written in Palestine, where rain is a rare blessing.

4. ‘I had a cold once. I think it was in the year eighteen hundred and seventeen; let me see, four and five are nine, and — yes, eighteen hundred and seventeen, that I thought I never should get rid of; actually and seriously, that I thought I never should get rid of. I was only cured at last by a remedy that I don’t know whether you ever happened to hear of, Mr. Pluck. You have a gallon of water as hot as you can possibly bear it, with a pound of salt, and sixpen’orth of the finest bran, and sit with your head in it for twenty minutes every night just before going to bed; at least, I don’t mean your head — your feet. It’s a most extraordinary cure.’

5. The snow is everywhere. The shrubs are weighed down by masses of it; the terrace is knee-deep in it; the plaster Apollo, in the long-walk, is more than knee-deep in it, and is furnished with a surplice and wig, like a half-blown Bishop.

6. I have no memory of our way,

   Only that, when at intervals the cloud

   Of horror about me opened to let in life,

   I listened to some song in the ear, some snatch

   Of a legend, relic of religion, stray

   Fragment of record very strong and old

   Of the first conscience, the anterior right,

   The God’s-gift to mankind, impulse to quench

   The antagonistic spark of hell and tread

   Satan and all his malice into dust,

   Declare to the world the one law, right is right.

   Then the cloud re-encompassed me, and so

   I found myself, as on the wings of winds,

   Arrived: I was at Rome on Christmas Eve.

7. With Christmas arrives the opera, the only opera worth speaking of — which indeed often means in Florence the only opera worth talking through.

8. I do not venture to affirm that the snow of those Christmas holidays was whiter than it is now, though I might give some reasons for supposing that it remained longer white. But I affirm decisively that it used to fall deeper in the neighbourhood of London than has been seen for the last twenty or twenty-five years.

9. Some of them went to church to show off their best clothes and to see and criticize those of their neighbours; some because they loved to hear their own voices raised in the hymns, or because churchgoing qualified them for the Christmas blankets and coals; and a few to worship.

10. Christmas numbers of magazines ought to be tied up in brown paper and kept for Christmas Day.

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