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1. Name the location of the artworks (pictured above), both in a state of disassembly.
2. Which feminine icon turned up in a story for girls this year entitled “I Can Be a Computer Engineer”, in which she accidentally infects a laptop with a computer virus (“Oh no!”) and, on being asked about the game she’s working on, laughs: “I’m only creating the design ideas! I’ll need Steven’s and Brian’s help to turn it into a real game!”?
3. This year saw the centenary of the birth of architect Lina Bo Bardi, whose works included a glass house in which she lived and a museum of art containing works by El Greco, Rembrandt and Monet. In which country were both buildings built?
4. Armenian belly dancer Safinaz was summoned by which country’s prosecutors, angry she had “insulted” their nation by wearing an outfit based on its red, white and black flag?
5. Which politician’s campaign trail led overseas to an event in front of 18,000 supporters at Madison Square Garden in September, featuring an onstage speed portrait painter?
6. This month, a politician overruled the judges of the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards by insisting the prize be co-awarded to Richard Flanagan for his novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Who and from what country was the politician who enjoyed the book so much?
7. This country is home to a Rem Koolhaas building nicknamed “big pants” (for its curious shape); a 33-floor office block shaped like a gold coin; and a linked series of egg-like domed structures devised by Zaha Hadid which prompted a letter of dismay from a heritage group when it was awarded a prize in 2013. Yet in October, its head of state called for a halt to outlandish architecture. Name the country.
8. Rank, in descending order, those pictured right by the number of their Facebook “likes”.
9. In 1871, one of this composer’s operas received its world premiere in Egypt after being commissioned for the opening of the Royal Opera House in Cairo. In October, during a production of another of his operas, Paris Opera ejected a veiled Muslim woman. Name the composer.
10. Which business leader revealed this year that his favourite business book was a collection of articles by the New Yorker writer John Brooks lent to him by Warren Buffett? He particularly admired a 1967 report on the company Xerox, at the time a technological leader with its new-fangled copying machine.
11. A scientific journal detailed the puzzling case of a Dutchman with a severe obsessive compulsive disorder who was treated by having electrodes implanted in his brain. As a result, the man, “Mr B”, developed an obsession for an American singer in whom he previously had had no interest, listening repeatedly to lyrics such as: “One man, one wife, one love for life/ Memories are made of this.” Name the singer.
12. This year saw the 329th birthday of a numerologically obsessed composer. Add the numbers three, two and nine together and you get 14, a number that was of great significance to him, it being the sum of the letters of his surname if they were represented as numbers (A being one, Z 26). Name the composer.
13. A Peruvian writer is suing a film studio for $250m after claiming similarities between a hit movie and his/her own memoir of life in a village at the foot of a snowy mountain where a terrible childhood accident takes place involving an elder sibling and hot custard. Name the film.
14. May 14 1979 saw the death of a Caribbean-born, British-based author whose best-known book was inspired by a Brontë sister’s novel. The same day marked the last date in a tour by a British pop star who wrote a song inspired by another Brontë novel and didn’t play another headline show until this year. Name both.
15. This year a painting stolen from Britain in 1970 was found hanging in a Sicilian pensioner’s kitchen. Name the artist.
16. Which former head of state unveiled his paintings, and who are the subjects of the examples above?
17. In August, which nation’s film certification board decided to treat kissing in Hollywood and in local films using the same guidelines? “The earlier logic that westerners are more comfortable with indulging in and watch[ing] smooching does not apply any more,” it argued.
18. During a recital in Miami, conductor Michael Tilson Thomas asked one that was squirming to move. Violinist Kyung Wha Chung scolded one who was coughing during one of her concerts in London. What did the audience members have in common?
19. Which pop star posted this picture of herself to celebrate the success of her new album, which sold more copies in its first week than any album since 2002, when she was 12?
20. The playwright David Hare complained in February about high levels of violent deaths in film and television dramas. With 14 corpses, which Shakespeare play has the highest onstage body count?
21. Eminem’s 2013 hit single “Rap God” this year entered the Guinness Book of Records for having the most what (it contained 1,560)?
22. Which revolutionary leader is commemorated in a new ballet that opened in November?
23. An “Isis-like distribution channel”, said literary agent Andrew “the Jackal” Wylie. “As close as one can get to the Ministry of Truth and its doublespeak,” according to George Orwell’s estate. Name the sinister organisation.
24. A British act first topped the US charts in 1952. This year, at the age of 97, the same performer became the oldest living artist to have a top 20 album in the UK. Name the artist.
25. Name the reactivated film franchises due to hit cinema screens in 2015.
26. Rank the following by median hourly wage, highest to lowest, according to an April report by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics:
a) Writers and authors
d) Musicians and singers
27. According to a survey of 40 countries by the International Publishers Association (not including Iceland) this year, which country published the most books per head of population in 2013?
28. The Merriam-Webster dictionary this year included a new word from the world of pop music. It refers to something invented in 1997 to help vocalists sing properly, which subsequently gained popularity for being used for the opposite purpose, to impart a strange tremulous waver to the voice. “We never thought anyone in their right mind would do that,” its inventor told the FT in 2008. What is it?
29. In November, vlogger Zoella celebrated having the fastest-selling debut novel in UK publishing history. “Almost wanna cry,” she tweeted. Not long after she tweeted again. “Bare [sic] with me.” What went wrong?
30. Name the rock star creatures.
31. In May, on the eve of the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, Chinese-Australian artist Guo Jian had Lunch with the FT in a Beijing restaurant, where he discussed his new artwork, inspired by the violent suppression of the 1989 protest in which he was a hunger striker. After the interview was published, he was accused of “visa fraud” by Chinese authorities. What happened next?
32. During Lunch with the FT this year, who:
a) demanded a selfie with the writer?
b) ordered a steak, with a veal chop on the side?
c) swore when told which football team the FT’s editor supported?
33. Theoretical physicist Kip Thorne was scientific consultant on the film Interstellar this year in which astronauts encounter a black hole, a wormhole, gravitational lensing and an accretion disc. Which of these is hypothetically possible based on Einstein’s theory of relativity but has never actually been known to occur?
34. Thorne’s friend and fellow boffin Stephen Hawking turned up on a chart-topping album this year talking about the importance of communication. Who was the album by?
35. Which US writer was commemorated this year with an official English Heritage plaque on a house in Upper Norwood? This chronicler of LA crime lived in the south London suburb between 1901 and 1907.
36. Name the people being honoured this year and rank according to precedence in the British honours system.
37. In October, West Australian Opera cancelled a planned production of an opera because it featured scenes of smoking. Which opera was it?
38. Which international sporting organisation funded almost all the £19m budget of a feature film charting its history? It described the film as “open, self-critical and highly enjoyable”.
39. A study published this year searched more than 5m English-language books published between 1929 and 2000 for terms denoting unhappiness. The aim was to establish a “literary misery index”. Which decade was found to have the unhappiest books?
40. Be of good cheer! This year marked the 500th anniversary of an engraving by Albrecht Dürer. What is it called?
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Photographs: Getty Images; AFP; AP; PA; Capital Pictures; LMK; Planet Photos; Laura Miglio; AndersWaren/ Swedish Museum of Natural History; Pedro Peloso
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