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December 27, 2013 5:55 pm
1. Pictured above is The Oxford English Dictionary’s word of the year in action. What is it?
2. Which novelist, a specialist in voluminous family sagas, reportedly described Twitter in a speech in March as “unspeakably irritating” and the “ultimate irresponsible medium”?
3. Which veteran Washington, DC, politician joined Twitter in September, her first tweet being: “First of 3 female SecState’s – last to join Twitter. Better late than never!”? And which tech company chief executive announced his arrival on Twitter in the same month with the David Brent-style tweet: “Visited retail stores in Palo Alto today. Seeing so many happy customers reminds us of why we do what we do”?
4. Which performing arts company’s year of scandal saw a former lead performer jailed for orchestrating an acid attack on the company’s artistic director and a disputed accusation from a former member that female performers were pimped out to wealthy patrons? Which other performing arts company faced a claim from which former star of having a kind of anti-Russian “mafia” among its ranks?
5. 2013 was a busy year for cramming two different words together to create a single portmanteau word. Name the two in the picture.
6. These photographs are from two royal biopics, one released in 2013, the other coming out next year. Name the royals and their impersonators.
7. Watch out, modernist architects: Prince Charles is armed with a powerful tool. Name the multipurpose implement.
8. Below are synopses of the highest-grossing films in 2013 in three different territories. Can you name each country? And which of the three films is the highest-grossing in its country’s 100-year film-making history?
a) A 16th-century holy man tries to become a demon hunter by tackling a fish demon and a pig demon and going on a quest to find the Monkey King. In one scene, he saves himself from falling by sticking his fingers in another person’s nostrils.
b) The grandfather of the protagonist dies aged 99 while watching a cricket match. Our hero agrees to take his grandfather’s ashes to a distant village but his train trip is interrupted by the arrival of a woman being chased by four armed men: she’s trying to escape from a forced marriage. High jinks ensue.
c) A playboy-industrialist challenges a vicious terrorist to take him on. The terrorist does so. Meanwhile a biotech entrepreneur has invented a treatment that regenerates missing limbs, with unfortunate side effects. Mayhem ensues.
9. “Nollywood” is estimated to be the world’s second largest film industry by quantity of films made annually. In which country would you find it?
10. Francis Bacon’s triptych portrait of which fellow painter sold for $142.4m in November, making it the most expensive painting ever auctioned? And how much did a set of Bacon’s paintbrushes reach at another auction in 2013?
11. Which two New York-based musicians took the music world by surprise with unexpected albums this year, one announcing it on their birthday, the other releasing it the week after their partner’s birthday? Whose sold 80,000 copies in the first three hours of release?
12. Whose first novel in 11 years, published in October, opens with a young New Yorker adrift in Amsterdam at Christmas, haunted by the shocking death of his mother in an incident at the Metropolitan Museum of Art 14 years previously? (The FT commended how, “like a Dutch painting, every scene is described in glittering detail and framed with retrospective melancholy”.)
13. Which English-speaking nation’s most watched TV programme of 2013 was the final of a cookery competition series?
14. Which curse links these two films, one a historical epic, the other a biblical biopic due out in 2014?
15. After being praised by the British prime minister David Cameron, Warburtons bakery, the England rugby team, racing driver Lewis Hamilton, the television show Spooks and former French president Nicolas Sarkozy all suffered terrible setbacks. This year the “Curse of Cameron” befell a biopic whose lead actor was commended by the PM for capturing the character’s “twitchiness”. The film was later judged 2013’s biggest flop, with a return of only 21 per cent on its $28m budget. Name the film. Also name the team that Cameron was chastised for saying he supported by a crown court judge.
16. In a September interview, a superstar rapper said, “I just told you who I thought I was. A god. I just told you. That’s who I think I am.” Almost exactly a year previously, a rock legend gave an interview referring to Christ’s transfiguration: “I’m not like too many others,” the rock star said. “I’m only like another person who’s been transfigured. How many people like that or like me do you know?” Name the modest musicians.
17. Name the two Shakespeare plays pictured and the cities that the productions were staged in.
18. A painting thought to have been lost – the finished version of a sketch that does exist – was believed to have been found among a cache of 400 works in a Swiss bank vault this year. Name the painter. And who, or what, is Cornelius Gurlitt?
19. In July, the avant-garde director Frank Castorf presented a Ring cycle at the Bayreuth festival themed around the story of the quest for which global commodity? (The result was 15 minutes of boos and the FT diagnosing “a crisis of content for the Wagner Festival”.)
20. Two famous sites for street art were threatened with demolition in 2013. The sites are pictured. Where are they?
21. Which exhibitionist this year raised eyebrows by posing naked on a wrecker’s ball?
22. In a study published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport in September, researchers discovered that practitioners of a certain art form performed better after taking vitamin D supplements in winter than those who didn’t. Name the art form.
23. A September paper in the science journal Nature revealed that physicists at the Harvard-MIT Center for Ultracold Atoms have found a way to bind photons together into molecules – a discovery that might unlock the secret to a handheld weapon popular in a galaxy far, far away in the distant past. Name the weapon.
24. Until recently newly elected fellows to the Royal Society of Literature used a quill owned by Charles Dickens to enter their names in the roll book. Now they use a fountain pen that belonged to a poet, left to the society by his widow who died in 2012. Name him.
25. US research published in December indicates that a particular activity takes place on average almost three times an hour in the most popular PG-13 rated movies. What is the activity?
26. Name the dance crazes, one achieving notoriety at an awards ceremony in August, the other popularised by a hit Broadway tune 90 years ago.
27. Which item of Jane Austen’s did US pop star Kelly Clarkson buy for £152,450 at auction but was prevented from taking from the UK after an export ban was slapped on it?
28. Austen’s portrait will feature on Britain’s new £10 banknote. Which nation’s banknote carries a portrait of novelist Fatma Aliye Topuz, whose first work, an 1889 translation of a French novel, saw her credited as “a Lady” because it was judged inappropriate for a woman to be involved in literary work?
29. It was revealed in a book published in February that a novelist was investigated by MI5 for writing a 1941 novel about German espionage with a character called “Major Bletchley”. The MI5 spooks were nervous that the novelist had a mole in the code-breaking centre Bletchley Park. In fact the major’s name was used for revenge, as the writer explained: “Bletchley? My dear, I was stuck there on my way by train from Oxford to London and took revenge by giving the name to one of my least lovable characters.” Name the novelist.
30. This portrait is by a once renowned artist whose work received its first exhibition in decades in 2013. Who does it show and which phrase is apocryphally attached to it?
31. Which scientific activities are taking place in the two pictures?
32. Which country, with one of the fastest growing economies in the world, was the first sub-Saharan African state to win the Golden Lion for its national pavilion at the Venice Biennale in June?
33. In December, North Somerset local councillors refused planning permission to construct what would have been the first building by a certain famous architect in the UK. Name the architect.
34. In October a nation’s government introduced legislation to abolish the official censorship board, established in 1929. No books are currently banned in the country but several are censored, including How to Drive Your Man Wild in Bed and The Complete Guide to Sex. Name the country.
35. In the same month, another country announced plans to liberalise its censorship laws, which currently prohibit Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code and Gabriel García Márquez’s Memories of My Melancholy Whores from publication. Name the country.
36. Two design innovations made their debut in 2013. What are they?
37. Japanese novelist Haruki Murakami recently published a new short story with a title taken from a song on a Beatles album. Twenty-six years ago he named a novel after a different track from the same album. Which Beatles album is it?
38. What’s going on in the picture?
39. This year a comedian promised to take his new stand-up world tour to “prisons, drug rehabs, social network HQs, universities, nationalist organisations, mosques, foreclosed houses, protest sites, synagogues and in people’s private homes”. But he had to scrap the Middle Eastern leg after his safety couldn’t be guaranteed and then was denied entry to South Africa. It was also revealed by an inmate that one of his books was banned by prison authorities at Guantánamo Bay. Can you name the funnyman?
40. Nasa’s unmanned spacecraft Voyager 1 left the solar system in 2013 after a 37-year journey of almost 19bn kilometres. The point where the solar system ends is called the “heliopause”, after the Greek word for the Sun. Who has flown closest to the Sun?
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