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December 28, 2012 5:12 pm
1 (i) In January, Professor David Phillips, president of the Royal Society of Chemistry, complained that James Bond films helped to create a “remorselessly grim” reputation for which energy sector?
(ii) In the latest Bond instalment, Skyfall, product placement caused the spy to swap his usual martini for which beverage?
2 What links the Sun and Mars, The Avengers (2012), and the US in 1971?
3 (i) What links the three actors (3a, 3b and 3c)?
(ii) Name the character who is the odd one out?
4 In October the publication of Susan Orlean’s Rin Tin Tin: the Life and the Legend, a biography of the canine Hollywood star, gave credence to one of the darkest scandals in Oscar history: that Rin Tin Tin won the most votes at the Academy Award for Best Actor in 1929, only to be overlooked in favour of the German actor Emil Jannings. Which porcine star called for the Oscars to reverse their no-animals rule in advance of her appearance at this year’s ceremony?
5 Barack Obama said he might do it in private with his wife Michelle. Boris Johnson claimed to have done it with David Cameron. What?
6 “I have to take advantage now, because memories fade.” Which famously prolix former leader said this upon the publication of their 1,000-page memoir, published in February, called Guerrilla of Time?
7 Euro banknotes depict the architectural styles of seven periods in Europe’s cultural history. But in an interview with La Stampa in January, philosopher Umberto Eco said the banknotes should foster a sense of shared purpose by depicting “men of culture” such as Shakespeare and Balzac. Which Italian writer did he also suggest?
8 The Queen’s appearance on screen with James Bond star Daniel Craig was one of the highlights of Danny Boyle’s Olympics opening ceremony. But which actress did the ceremony’s organisers consider casting as the monarch if the Queen refused to take part?
9 Olympic archer Khatuna Lorig helped the star of which $685m-grossing 2012 film learn bow-and-arrow skills? (“The whole thing is like TV’s Big Brother projected into the future by a demented Classics student,” the FT wrote in its one-star review of the same film.)
10 Olympic swordsman Bob Anderson, whose death aged 89 was announced in January, was the stunt double for which screen villain’s fight scenes in a 1970s blockbuster and its sequel?
11 It was announced that the two maestros (11a and 11b) of their respective fields were doing what this year?
12 Sir Paul McCartney criticised the “bloody jobsworth” who had the last word on his duet with Bruce Springsteen at a concert in Hyde Park in July.
(i) What happened?
(ii) And why?
13 An Edinburgh fringe hit in August before wowing audiences off Broadway, Mies Julie transposes Strindberg’s 19th-century drama Miss Julie from Sweden to where?
14 “I had them done in my youth. It was a big mistake and I wish I’d never done it,” said Evgeny Nikitin, a Russian opera singer with a heavy metal past. He was scheduled to sing in a new production of Wagner’s Flying Dutchman at the Bayreuth festival in July, but had to withdraw from the festival after a German television news segment revealed that one of his many tattoos featured what?
15 In June, the gossip website TMZ showed video footage of actor Benicio del Toro (Traffic, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas). While asking the Hollywood star imbecilic questions (“Do you think Cuba should be a state?”) the TMZ cameraman inadvertently filmed a famous recluse. Who?
16 In September, an iconic rock band lost a copyright claim against the Andy Warhol Foundation. Name the band.
17 (i) What variety of creature is shown in the film stills 17a and 17b? (ii) Name the actresses and the films they star in.
18 In January a group called the Catholic-Christian Secular Forum objected to a film featuring “Hosanna”, a song by the Slumdog Millionaire composer AR Rahman. Which country does the group come from?
19 Until this year it was believed that the oldest art in the world were the paintings at France’s Chauvet caves, dated to 35,000 years ago. In June, however, another set of cave paintings, was dated to 40,800 years ago. In which country were they discovered?
20 Shirley MacLaine claims that in previous reincarnations she was an orphan called Asana raised by wild elephants and a Moorish peasant girl who seduced the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne. Of which Downton Abbey co-star did she say in July: “We were lovers in another life”?
21 The Lion King became the highest grossing play in Broadway’s history in April when its cumulative gross reached $853,856,062. It reached the figure in half the time of its predecessor, a musical composed by a Briton. What is the name of the overtaken production?
22 The British broadcaster and writer Joan Bakewell claimed in August that the BBC rejected a proposal to erect a statue of a former employee in its new Broadcasting House on the grounds that it would be “too left-wing”. Name the former employee.
23 Last year physics professor Lawrence M Krauss published Quantum Man, a biography of Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman. Krauss’s friend Cormac McCarthy, the US novelist, offered to copy edit the book for the paperback edition, published in March. He proceeded to take out all the exclamation marks and another piece of punctuation, which he told Krauss has “no place in literature”. Name the other offending punctuation mark.
24 The picture shows a star of one of the US’s most-watched TV shows.
(i) Name the star.
(ii) And decipher what his name stands for.
25 In May the photograph taken by Iain Macmillan was sold at Bloomsbury Auctions in London for £16,000. What two features are most notable about it?
26 Artist Samantha Lo, aka the “Sticker Lady”, was arrested in June for placing stickers reading “Press to time travel” and “Press to stop time” on traffic signal buttons. Name the country in which she was arrested.
27 Chicago experimental troupe the Wooster Group teamed up with the Royal Shakespeare Company in a Shakespeare production this summer featuring soldiers in camouflage fatigues fighting Native Americans, a sexually ambivalent military hero wearing a white sarong, and “the epitome of female beauty” – as the FT put it – “played by a man in a frizzy auburn wig.” Which Shakespeare play was thus performed?
28 In September Amherst College, Massachusetts, released a photograph dating from 1860 which is believed to be only the second-known of a certain writer. Name the writer.
29 A lost hymn was discovered by an English academic this year in a sketchbook lodged in the Berlin State Library. It was written in 1820 and demonstrates the composer’s first use of his slow chorale style, as refined in the 1825 work String Quartet No 15, Op 132. Who was the composer?
30 (i) There was no shortage of band reunions this year. Give the names of the three bands (30a, 30b and 30c).
(ii) The FT’s unimpressed review of which of the bands led to a flood of angry online comments, in which the reviewer was derided as a “muppet” and “baffoon” [sic] who would meet with a sorry fate if he ever set foot in Manchester?
31 The award of this year’s Nobel Prize for Literature to the novelist Mo Yan, a Chinese Communist party member and former solder in the People’s Liberation Army, was described by fellow laureate Herta Müller as a “catastrophe” and “a slap in the face for all those working for democracy”. From what country did Müller flee in 1987, having been labelled a political dissident by the secret police?
32 Two buildings, one an architectural landmark (32a) and the other a building (32b) intended to become Europe’s highest skyscraper when it is finished in 2013, both suffered fires this year. Who built the architectural landmark and in which city is the skyscraper?
33 “It was glorious! Shriekingly funny”: a letter surfaced this year detailing a famous hoax from 1910 when a female novelist plus pals donned beards, pretended to be Abyssinian princes and persuaded a Royal Navy admiral to give them the red-carpet treatment on HMS Dreadnought. Who was she?
34 There was controversy this month at La Scala when the Milan opera house opened its new season with a production kowtowing to Berlin by celebrating the bicentenary of the German composer Wagner’s birth instead of the bicentenary of which Italian composer?
35 A 120ft manuscript was on display at the British Library until December 27 this year. Of which 20th-century classic was it an early draft?
36 A film by Alfred Hitchcock ended Citizen Kane’s 50 year reign at the top of the British Film Institute’s annual poll of cinema’s greatest films in August. What is its name?
37 “It is absolute pandemonium in this place. Everyone is delirious to the point where we are chanting random things. One guy from Australia has streaked stark naked through the entire plane. Everyone is up with their cameras rolling, waiting for a glimpse ...”
38 Can you match the following writers – Kurt Vonnegut, Charlotte Brontë, James Joyce – to the opening lines of the following pieces of writing, all posthumously discovered or published for the first time this year?
(i) “In many ways, Haley, this is the nicest room in the house, even though it is little and has only one window,” said Annie Cooley, a woman in her middle twenties.
(ii) Alas! I cannot send you a Copenhagen cat because there are no cats in Copenhagen.
(iii) A rat, weary of the life of cities, and of courts (for he had played his part in the palaces of kings and in the salons of great lords), a rat whom experience had made wise, in short, a rat who from a courtier had become a philosopher, had withdrawn to his country house (a hole in the trunk of a large young elm), where he lived as a hermit devoting all his time and care to the education of his only son.
39 Pussy Riot were arrested in March after performing a Putin-baiting “punk prayer” in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow. To which holy person was the feminist-punks’ “prayer” directed?
40 What links the hit HBO television series Girls, about four young women in New York City, with the new Broadway production of Glengarry Glen Ross, about four real estate salesmen in Chicago?
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