Editor’s note: the quiz is now closed. The deadline for entries was 5pm GMT on Thursday January 7
1 In October this year Serbian border police gave permission for Rocco Rorandelli to photograph refugees in an area between Macedonia and Serbia. Which rapidly evolving technology enabled this photograph to be taken? And which international agency based in Montreal is attempting to help member countries regulate its use?
2 Which self-improving tech leader started 2015 by promising to read a book every two weeks — beginning with Moisés Naím’s The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being in Charge Isn’t What It Used to Be — and ended the year by pledging shares worth roughly $1bn a year to good causes?
3 Kate Winslet thinks discussing the topic is “a bit vulgar”; Jennifer Lawrence is “over trying to find the ‘adorable’ way” to address it; Patricia Arquette railed against it in her Oscar acceptance speech for best supporting actress. What are they referring to?
4 Which European capital gave the green light this summer for its first skyscraper in 40 years?
5 In January a writer whose most recently published novel had sold 1m copies in its first week of publication took to the internet to dispense online advice to his/her readers, responding to almost 4,000 queries on subjects ranging from lost cats to broken hearts. Name the writer.
6 “Went to a paper shop, it blew away. Went to a telescope shop, they saw me coming,” and so on. Which world record did Clive Greenaway, a professional magician from Dorset, break in March?
7 Which hit television drama series about a branch of the music industry, premiering on US television in January, featured the real-life music stars Kelly Rowland, Courtney Love and Jennifer Hudson?
8 Which reclusive writer, who published a book this year, responded to a reporter’s written request for an interview by scrawling “Go away!” on the letter? And which other reclusive writer told the FT in a rare interview later in the year that: “Publication has always made me anxious”?
9 A spokesperson of which artist accused the creator of a sculpture in the Chinese city of Karamay, of “blatant plagiarism”?
10 Explain the connection between the three pictures.
11 Which veteran television chat show host bowed out in May with a show featuring four US presidents, the Foo Fighters and an observation from Steve Martin that “Your extensive plastic surgery was a necessity — and a mistake”?
12 To what were Financial Times arts and books critics referring in the following extracts?
(a) “The sex scenes are beyond bizarre, an unfathomable combination of the Marquis de Sade and Russell Brand in which a ‘giggling snowball of full-figured copulation’ is liable to mutate into a ‘dangerous and clamorous rollercoaster coil of sexually violent rotation’ involving a ‘bulbous salutation’. ”
(b) “Like a team of incision-happy surgeons, [the film-makers] have opened up the anatomy of a genius. It may be for other film-makers to close him up again and give us the broad-view biopic (birth, life and that dramatic enhancement of a premature death) to complement this exercise.”
(c) “With the music so alive it might have seemed that nothing could go wrong. But a gratuitously violent rape scene, acted out to fill one of the ballet episodes, roused the audience’s fury. The director . . . was booed mercilessly . . . ”
(d) “An enormous backdrop of concentric circles and an icy, door-like slab suggest a vest-pocket Valhalla more than an English country cottage. But the actors’ skilful by-play helps blot out the images, as do the thumping snatches of original music supplied by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke.”
13 After the murderous attacks of Friday November 13, many Parisians chose to show their defiance by posting messages on social media under the slogan “Je suis en terrasse” and buying copies of the book ‘Paris est une fête’. Name the book’s American author.
14 A Kickstarter campaign launched in June to raise money for The Secret Loves of Geek Girls, an anthology of comic and prose stories, included a cartoon image featuring a novelist contributor. Who is she?
15 “Girls were calling all day. What would you do?” Such was the explanation of a Broadway theatregoer who leapt on stage moments before the comedy Hand to God began — and did what?
16 The first public screening of a film with gay characters in lead roles took place in September in the country with the world’s second-largest box-office. Name the country.
17 At the Grateful Dead’s farewell shows in Chicago this summer, attended by more than 210,000, how many Deadheads were busted for marijuana possession: three, 300 or 3,000?
18 In July Baahubali: The Beginning was released in India, where it smashed box-office records. It also broke the world record for what?
19 The designer of the suit was the subject of an exhibition at the V&A in London in 2015, which proved the most popular in the museum’s history. Name the designer and the artist of the painting that appears on the suit.
20 What connects the three pictures?
21 A computer algorithm that turns photographs into paintings in the style of famous artists was invented in 2015. Name which artists the algorithm is copying in the pictures (a), (b) and (c).
22 An art historian claims the picture is the location for one of only two street scenes painted by this artist. Name the artist.
23 A lost episode recorded in 1968 of the BBC radio programme Desert Island Discs turned up in January. It featured a jazz musician who — in the course of selecting records, a luxury item and a book to take to a desert island — chose five songs in which he featured, a trumpet and his autobiography. On being told there was no mail on the island, he chuckled: “No female? What kind of island is that?” Name him.
24 In July the actress Gwyneth Paltrow turned her attention to a “very important mechanism for relieving stress”. Here is one of the five steps she published on her website Goop for doing it: “Contract the back of the throat as if to perform ujjayi breathing — a whispery breath — which is typically done through your nose with your mouth closed. Breathe deeply through your mouth so you feel air hit the back of your throat.” What is this “very important mechanism”?
25 In September the hashtag #Damonsplaining started trending on social media. Why?
26 Intended to reduce stress, recorded music was introduced to a type of workplace in 1914. In August, however, research conducted in the UK and published in an academic journal suggested it might constitute a safety hazard, interfering with team communication and breaching World Health Organisation recommendations for noise levels. Name the workplace.
27 How did the tenor Aleksandrs Antonenko make history when he played the title role of Otello at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in September?
28 Which central bank erected a sculpture of a tree outside its headquarters in September? The artwork is titled “Gravity and Growth” but has been dubbed “the magical money tree” by wags.
29 A Roman landmark reopened this year after a 17-month restoration. In July, it was announced that a film featuring the landmark would be remade after its director’s family sanctioned the project. Name the landmark and the film.
30 According to research in July: (i) which rapper was found to use the widest vocabulary in his songs — 8,818 words, almost 4,000 more than Bob Dylan? (ii) and which band, the Who or the Rolling Stones, was found to have the largest lyrical vocabulary?
31 Why was Madonna given a rousing round of applause for removing a particular item of clothing at the O2 Arena in December?
32 The soprano Jessye Norman, Instagram comedian Josh “The Fat Jew” Ostrovsky, futurologist Ray Kurzweil and media magnate/porn baron Richard Desmond all, separately, had Lunch with the FT this year. Match the guest to the following menus.
(a) Berries, smoked salmon and mackerel, six pieces of dark chocolate and porridge in a private location in San Francisco
(b) “Slutty” cocktails, crispy shrimp, chocolate mousse in a New York strip bar
(c) Chicken oysters, crabmeat and avocado salad and sparkling water in an Oxford hotel
(d) Tomato salad, tuna steak and a bottle of vintage 1983 Bordeaux in a City of London restaurant
33 The film adaptation of Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is due in 2016, with “No-Maj” replacing the book’s slang term for non-magical people. What is the old term?
34 Rank the following in descending order of cost:
(a) The value of the cars destroyed during the making of Bond movie Spectre
(b) the budget of NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton, co-produced by Ice Cube
(c) the yearly earnings of Jackie Chan in 2014
35 Trace the connection between the three images.
36 Next month a London West End theatre welcomes the first-ever computer-generated musical, Beyond a Fence. What is the name of the compositional software program behind the music?
(a) Cameron Macintosh
(b) Android Lloyd Webber
(c) Leonard Bytestein
37 Which artist obsessed by visions of the world ending might have been surprised to find a still-existing world marking the 500th anniversary of his death in 2016, with a major exhibition of his works opening in a Dutch town in February?
38 After 18 months, and 4,000 working hours, what did Daniel Barenboim unveil at the Southbank Centre in London in May? (It “stood up well to the evening’s exertions”, the FT reported.)
39 What links 2015’s most Googled fashion-related term (“How to walk in heels?”) to last year’s Cannes Film Festival?
40 A statue in Odessa, Ukraine, was refashioned as Darth Vader in October. Who did it show before? Also, which famous landmark was taken over by Stormtroopers in 2015?
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Quiz of the Year results
Thanks to all those who entered the Quiz of the Year, which featured in the January 2 edition of FT Life & Arts, and congratulations to winner Tim Davie of Oxfordshire, who will receive 52 bottles of Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé. The answers are as follows.
1. Drone technology enabled the photograph to be taken. The International Civil Aviation Organisation is the regulating agency.
2. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg made a public new year’s resolution to read more in January. In December, he made another public pledge, to give away 99 per cent of his Facebook shares — worth about $45bn — during his lifetime.
3. Kate Winslet, Jennifer Lawrence and Patricia Arquette were among those in Hollywood speaking about women being paid less than men.
4. Paris finally approved plans for the 500m euro, 180-metre high Tour Triangle, the city’s first skyscraper since the Tour Montparnasse was built in the 1970s.
5. Haruki Murakami
6. Clive Greenaway, also a professional Tommy Cooper impersonator, broke the world record for most jokes told in one minute, 26, breaking the previous record of 21.
8. Harper Lee. Elena Ferrante
9. Anish Kapoor
10. Donald Trump (a) was revealed by the scriptwriter to be the inspiration for the character of Biff Tannen in the film trilogy Back to the Future (b) in December, actor Will Smith (c) said Trump’s political ideas may force him to run for the US presidency
11. David Letterman
12. (a) Morrissey’s novel List of the Lost (b) Danny Boyle’s film Steve Jobs (c) Guillaume Tell at the Royal Opera House (d) Harold Pinter’s Old Times on Broadway
13. Ernest Hemingway
14. Margaret Atwood
15. College student Nick Silvestri plugged his mobile phone into an electrical socket on the set in order to charge it. The socket was fake
16. In September, censors in China passed for public screening Seek McCartney, a film about a romance between two men — one French, one Chinese.
18. The film also broke the record for the world’s largest promotional poster. The record has since been broken again
19. Alexander McQueen was the designer. Hans Memling was the artist of the painting “The Last Judgment”
20. The River Lea in east London. River Lea is the name of a track on 25, the latest album by Adele. (a) The river also turns up at the beginning of The Compleat Angler by 17th century author Izaak Walton (b) Barbel (c) is one of the species found in the river
21. (a) Vincent van Gogh (b) Edvard Munch (c) Wassily Kandinsky
22. Johannes Vermeer
23. Louis Armstrong
25. The hashtag caught on after actor Matt Damon interrupted an African-American producer on a TV programme to explain racial diversity in Hollywood
26. Operating theatre
27. It was the first time at the Met that blackface was not used for the part
28. The European Central Bank in Frankfurt
29. The Trevi fountain. La Dolce Vita
30. (i) Eminem (ii) the Rolling Stones had a vocabulary of 2794 words, compared to the Who’s 1794.
31. Madonna successfully removed a cape, having been pulled to the ground by dancers while attempting a similar move at the same venue at February’s Brit Awards
32. (a) Ray Kurzweil (b) Josh Ostrovsky (c) Jessye Norman (d) Richard Desmond
34. In descending order, (c) Jackie Chan’s yearly earnings were estimated by Forbes in August at $50m (a) $36m worth of cars were destroyed in the making of Spectre (b) the budget for Straight Outta Compton was $28m
35. In November singer Ozzy Osborne (a) apologised for urinating on the Alamo monument in Texas (b) in her memoir M Train, singer Patti Smith (c) describes buying a bungalow that she calls ‘The Alamo’
36. (b) Android Lloyd Webber
37. Hieronymus Bosch
38. Daniel Barenboim unveiled a new piano he had designed.
39. The Cannes Festival was reported to have banned flat shoes on its red carpet
40. Vladimir Lenin. The Great Wall of China