Alex Massie

Christmas Quiz! | 23 December 2010

Text settings

Just like last year, it's time for a Christmas Quiz. So here is this year's edition. You could, I suppose, use Mr Google to get the answers but where's the fun or honour in that? And it's only for fun and honour, I'm afraid, since there are no prizes beyond the usual measures of personal satisfaction and the warm glow that comes from doing better than someone else...

The answers will be published in the New Year but if you'd like them before that you can always email me (alexmassie AT Have at it then, and best of luck.


1. Where could you find a countryside poet, a TV doctor, a defeated Presidential candidate and an English detective?

2. What didn't happen in Berlin in 1916 or in Tokyo in 1940 or London in 1944?

3. An American cemetery, a British university and palace, a Glasgow music hall star's valley and Henry II's mistress are four fifths of what? And which member is missing?

4. Columbia, Yale, Georgetown, Yale. What exclamation comes next in this sequence?

5. How are a capital Michael Frayn play and a dish of chicken and tomatoes connected? Similarly, what links a city in Ohio with a novel by Richard Adams?

6. An additional problem: start with a city in Utah and reach a Scottish mayor via Irish terrorists. 

7. On what kind of terrain might you encounter a Governor-General of Canada, an architect famous for his London churches and a highwayman re-imagined by Germans who sounds as though he hails from somewhere close to the first of these?

8. Italy is pink and France is yellow, so what colour is Spain?

9. Who was supplied by the Lone Ranger's beast, seconded by the USS Enterprise's doctor and staffed by, among others, a sightless bench?

10. How should you rank Salisbury, Melbourne, Newcastle and Aberdeen?

11. How could changing at the Opera take you from the 32nd President of the United States to Uncle Joe's greatest victory?

12. Explain how a father and son could be doubting and collecting taxes respectively while an unrelated American traitor now sounds rather Papal.

13. Eleanor of Aquitaine in 1968, Loretta Lynn in 1980, Virginia Woolf in 2002 and Edith Piaf in 2007. What?

14. Bay, Nutmeg, Pine Tree, Ocean, Granite. Identify these five and the missing sixth.

15. With what vital industry would you once have associated an untouchable Chicago agent who sounds thin or perpendicular, the location of a playwright's unseemly death and a British Prime Minister's peerage?

16. How could pairing American Airlines with Two Fat Ladies be bad news? And who suffered most from doing so?

17. The Confederate Capital, an uninhabited Scottish island, a Tory club in London and a tragic English motor-racing driver all play under the smallest constellation. Explain.

18. How could you hear of, but not write about, Lady Agnew outranking a White Horse?

19. Where might you find a German newspaper publisher, Sheffield's mad dog and Sherlock Holmes's retirement location all working together?

20. Explain how a dozen were unhappily sequestered; half as many sought their creator and half as many again pined in vain for Moscow.

21. How might passing from north Dublin to Prague or from Edinburgh's port to Malta seem familiar? In the same fashion, why might half of north London and the Argentine city of Avallaneda be on the same side?

22. If 5 is home and 6 is overseas, what is 1 called today?

23. Bill Monroe's sound, a Pickwick member, an English film-maker and a Florida golf course might all be considered varieties of a Danzig novelist. How so?

24. Whose multi-volume but still incomplete autobiography begins with retreat from Kabul and finishes by invading Abyssinia?

25. A French bastard's triumph, an Irish emancipator, the Master of the Senate and a father less obsessed with marriage than his wife represent four who become one on the field. Who are they? And what position did they each hold?

26. Tuvalu did it in 2000, East Timor and Switzerland in 2002 and Montenegro was the most recent in 2006. Did what?

27. When would you celebrate a 30 day Pontiff, a tough Liverpool obstacle, a British piece of armour and an Australian bubblegum band?

28. Where might you find a daughter of Tyre, a son of Tros, a nymph and a Priestess together?

29. How might Ronald Reagan be said to have pitched for Tony Benn's seat?

30. Only four novelists have won the Booker Prize and the Nobel Prize for literature. Can you name them?

Remember, it's just for fun!  If you want a soccer-specific quiz then I suggest you have a tilt at Left Back in the Changing Room's splendid brain-frazzler.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

Topics in this articleSociety