December 23, 2010 10:00 pm

The Christmas challenge

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A painting of 'Sea of Ice' by Caspar David Friedrich
Actors starring in biographical drama

1 “The Sea of Ice”, painted by Caspar David Friedrich in 1823-1824, was inspired by an 1819-1820 expedition in search of an Arctic sea passage. This year there has been more than twice as much marine traffic through this passage than in 2009, due to climate change. Can you name it?

2 First performed in 1613, the play Double Falsehood was this year declared by scholars to be the work of John Fletcher and a co-author. Lexical analysis suggests the passages written by Fletcher are those with the word “ye”, whereas his co-author, 15 years Fletcher’s senior, preferred the more old-fashioned “thee”. Name the other author.

3 Biographical dramas on stage are all the rage. Name the real life people being played by actors in these productions.

4 Puccini’s La fanciulla del West was first performed 100 years ago at an opera house that is celebrating the centenary with a Deborah Voigt-starring revival. Name the opera house.

5 Whose work is being painted on a London gallery wall by these assistants?

London gallery wall

6 Which hard-partying Hollywood starlet lost her role in a planned biopic of porn star Linda Lovelace? (The producer says he fired her; she says she quit.)

7 In November a bidder on eBay paid $412,200 for the rights to a 1970 soft porn film called The Italian Stallion. Originally named The Party at Kitty and Stud’s, it was renamed after its principal found fame in the highest-grossing film of 1976. Name the actor.

8 Name the memoirists.

(i) “I got to know John Lennon longer and better further down the line. We’d hang for quite a while; he and Yoko would pop by. But the thing was with John – for all his vaunted bravado – he couldn’t really keep up. He’d try and take anything I took but without my good training [ ... ] John would inevitably end up in my john, hugging the porcelain.”

(ii) “I always say in politics that other than when you really need to, you should avoid making enemies deliberately, because you make so many entirely accidentally.”

(iii) “In this autobiography I shall keep in mind the fact that I am speaking from the grave. I am literally speaking from the grave, because I shall be dead when the book issues from the press. At any rate – to be precise – nineteen-twentieths of the book will not see print until after my death.”

9 This year a Dutch opera company boldly went where no one has been and staged an opera in a language that had never been heard before on the opera stage. Which language was it?

father and daughter

10 Observe this odd father-daughter scene, from a 1986 film. One is a singer and occasional actor who is the subject of a new biopic. The other is an actor and occasional singer, who this year released an album inspired by suffering a cerebral haemorrhage. Name them.

11 One was restored, another was revamped and the third was built from scratch. Name these cultural venues.

cultural venues

12 Who in 2010 matched a feat previously achieved only by the Monkees, in 1967, and the Beatles, in 1969, by twice in one year topping the album charts in the US and the UK simultaneously?

13 Which head of state caused a controversy by commanding that a new membrum virile be added to a classical statue in his official residence?

unknown painting

14 In July the Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano, claimed a previously unknown painting by an Old Master, had been found in a Jesuit church in Rome, only for the Vatican’s official art historian to rubbish the attribution. Name the supposed painter.

15 The guitarist of a defunct 1980s band told a head of state to stop liking his old group’s music. The band’s singer agreed, claiming the head of state “hunts and shoots and kills stags”. Which band, and which head of state?

A painting of a boat scene by Paul Signac

16 A man posing as a Jesuit priest was revealed to have been fooling US museums and galleries this year with copies of impressionist paintings. Can you detect which of these Paul Signac boating scenes is a fake?

17 What links Stieg Larsson's Millennium trilogy, Michael Jackson’s Michael and Jim Morrison’s pardon, granted this month, for his indecent exposure conviction in Florida in 1969?

18 The world’s second-coldest capital plans to build an enormous indoor city containing skyscrapers, housing for 20,000 people and Venetian canals. Where is it?

19 Which of these actors hasn’t been in a Woody Allen film?

20 The Grand Hôtel des Bains on the Venice Lido closed this year. Which 1912 novel, made into a film in 1971, immortalised it?

21 New Zealand changed its labour laws in order for which series of films to be made in the country?

22 Match these objects to their auction price: (i) $95m; (ii) $69.5m; (iii) $10.3m.


23 Which of these objects was found in an attic during a house clearance in a London suburb? Which one was fictionalised in Peter Carey’s novel, Parrot and Olivier in America?

24 This year Russian president Dmitry Medvedev marked the 150th anniversary of a writer’s birth by laying flowers at his grave. Yet the Russian state didn’t schedule any official events to mark the 100th anniversary of another writer’s death in November, which was also ignored by the Russian Orthodox Church. Name the two writers.

25 This year meteorologists using solar geometry and historical weather data pinpointed the exact location where an artist painted views of foggy London between 1899 and 1901: they claimed he set up his easel on the balconies of two suites in the Savoy, on the fifth and sixth floors. Which artist?

26 One hundred years ago a Vienna-based composer, facing a crisis in his marriage, sought help from Sigmund Freud. Freud diagnosed a mother complex; the composer rallied and dedicated his 8th Symphony to his wife. But a year later he was dead at 51; 2011 will be his centenary. Who was the composer?

Ashton Kutcher, Oprah Winfrey, Britney Spears

27 Match the celebrities to their Twitter insights.

(i) “I’m thinking about doing some yoga this week. Let’s get spiritual!”

(ii) “I would like to propose a toast for the guy who invented Labor day. You kick ass!”

(iii) “I don’t get out much ... but just left new restaurant, Chicago Cut ... Phenom!! Food is great!”

28 “What was the point?”, “Monumental ego trip”: critics savaged an avant-garde French adaptation of a classic American play that opened in Paris in February. Titled Un Tramway, it starred Isabelle Huppert as a promiscuous, aristocratic, hard-drinking southern belle. Name the original play.

29 Who, it was revealed this year, painted the 1965 portrait of Queen Elizabeth II at breakfast (not reading the FT, sadly)?

A painting of Queen Elizabeth II

30 “A return is always going to be difficult – quite frightening, actually.” Which UK-based artist spoke of their nerves before their first Indian exhibition, which opened last month?

31 What went wrong with the artist Ai Weiwei’s installation of millions of tiny porcelain sunflower seeds at Tate Modern? And the UK first edition of which much-lauded novel was pulped because it published the wrong draft of the text?

32 It was discovered in November that this year’s Nobel literature laureate Mario Vargas Llosa agreed to change sections of a 1963 novel to satisfy the censors of which dictatorship?

33 Which country has scrapped its no-income-tax policy for artists and replaced it with a scheme capping the exemption at €40,000?

34 Which Hollywood studio filed for bankruptcy in November? And which big record label was the subject of a court battle between hedge fund Terra Firma and the bank Citigroup in October?

35 US conservatives attacked which box office hit as a “big, dull, America-hating PC revenge fantasy” with an “abhorrent new age, pagan, anti-capitalist worldview”?

Elton John, Lady Gaga, Eminem

36 Which member of Interpol’s most wanted list – until handing himself over to police – has a mother who runs the Fairytale Puppet Theatre in Australia?

37 This year Nell Leyshon’s play Bedlam was staged at the Globe theatre in London, the first time in the venue’s 411-year history that – what?

38 What’s the link between these four people?

39 “You can fly and get too close to the sun,” goes the U2-penned song for this musical about a superhero. The most expensive Broadway production ever, costing $65m, on its first preview night last month, one cast member was concussed and another was left dangling above the audience when a flying scene went awry. Which superhero is it?

A man and a woman doing comedy on TV

40 Filmed in a certain country in 1963, this comedy skit is repeated on television each New Year’s eve in that country. Name the mirthful nation.

Photos from Alamy, Getty, The Guardian, Luciano Romano, Rex, John Persson, Tristram Kenton, AP, EPO



The 2010 FT Christmas quiz is sponsored by Lindberg (, Danish makers of the bespoke glasses worn by many of the top names in business, sport and entertainment. Every pair of Lindberg glasses is handmade from ultra-lightweight titanium, acetate, gold or horn and custom-built for each customer. The quiz winner will be the first correct entry picked at random. The winner will receive a £2,000 pair of Lindberg’s top of the range “Precious” glasses, including lenses, hand-made to the winner’s specifications using a choice of the finest materials, including specially heat-treated solid 18 carat gold, diamonds, buffalo horn or platinum. The winner will also receive a pair of exclusive Lindberg sunglasses, with Zeiss lenses, worth £300. To enter, e-mail your answers to before the closing date of 5pm GMT on Monday January 3 2011. The winner will be notified on Thursday January 5 and the winner’s name and all the answers will be printed in the FT on Saturday January 8 2011.


The Financial Times Christmas Quiz in association with Lindberg

1. By entering into the FT Christmas Quiz, Participants agree to these terms and conditions and acknowledge that failure to comply with them may result in disqualification. The FT Christmas Quiz shall be void where prohibited by local law. All national and local laws and regulations shall apply.

2. The FT Christmas Quiz is open to participants worldwide (where permitted). Employees and immediate family members of employees of The Financial Times Limited (“FT”), Lindberg A/S, and their associated companies, professional advisers, advertising and promotional agencies are not eligible to take part in the FT Christmas Quiz.

3. To enter the FT Christmas Quiz, simply email your answers to the FT Christmas Quiz questions in the Life and Arts section of the FT newspaper to and include your name, email address, telephone number and postcode. Entry period is from 24 December 2010 to 5pm GMT on 4 January 2011. Only one entry per person is permitted. Multiple or incomplete entries will be deemed to be invalid.

4. The winning prize consists of a voucher for eyewear to the value of £2,000 and a voucher for Lindberg designer sunglasses to the value of £300 (the “Prize”).

5. The winner will be the first eligible entry drawn at random who has answered all questions to the FT Christmas Quiz correctly (or the most correct if there are no correct entries). The winner will be drawn by FT on or about 4 January 2011.

6. FT shall notify the selected winner by 8 January 2011 and provide details of how to claim the Prize. If the Prize is declined or unclaimed by the winner, or if the winner cannot be contacted from the details supplied within 3 business days of notification, a replacement winner may be drawn at the FT’s discretion and will be notified by the FT. The original entry that was drawn will then be forfeited.

7. The result of the draw is final and no correspondence will be entered into. The Prize is non-transferable, non-refundable and has no cash value if not used.

8. By entering the FT Christmas Quiz, the winner agrees to take part in any publicity relating to the FT Christmas Quiz by FT or Lindberg if the winner is invited to do so without further compensation.

9.FT reserves the right to cancel or amend these Terms and Conditions or change the Prize (to one of equivalent value) as required by the circumstances.

10. FT cannot accept responsibility for or liability arising from Participants taking part in the FT Christmas Quiz or for taking up the Prize. FT gives no warranty or guarantee in relation to the Prize and accepts no responsibility or liability for the Prize being amended by FT. To the fullest extent permissible by law, FT excludes liability for all loss, damage or claim arising as a result of the Participant’s entry into the FT Christmas Quiz or use of the Prize.

11. These terms and conditions shall be governed by and construed in accordance with English law. Disputes arising in connection with this FT Christmas Quiz shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

12. The Promoters are The Financial Times Ltd, Number One Southwark Bridge, London, UK, SE1 9HL and Lindberg A/S Bjarkesvej 30, Aabyhoj, DK-8230.

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