© Rocco Rorandelli
Experimental feature

Listen to this article

Experimental feature

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?

Full terms and conditions

The Financial Times Limited (“FT”) New Year Quiz in association with Laurent-Perrier UK Limited (“Laurent-Perrier”).

Promoter and Prize Provider

The FT New Year Quiz and prize draw is promoted and administered by The Financial Times Limited whose registered address is Number One Southwark Bridge, London, UK, SE1 9HL with company number 227590.

The prize will be provided and delivered by Laurent-Perrier UK Limited whose registered address is Westferry Circus, Canary Wharf, London, E14 4HD, with company number 01383260.


The FT New Year Quiz and prize draw (the “Promotion”) is open to participants worldwide, except where prohibited by local laws and regulations. It is your responsibility to ensure you are able to participate in the Promotion, and that you are in compliance with your local laws and regulations. To the furthest extent permitted by the law, neither the FT nor Laurent-Perrier accepts any liability for an entrant’s failure to comply with their local laws and regulations.

You must be aged 21 years or over to participate in the Promotion, proof of age will be required before the Prize (as defined below) is provided to the winner.

Employees of FT, Laurent-Perrier, their families, agencies or anyone else professionally connected with the Promotion are not eligible to participate.

There is no fee payable to participate in the Promotion. Internet access is required. Entry is valid online only via email to christmasquiz@ft.com. A maximum of one entry per person is permitted.

By submitting any information required as part of your entry to participate in the Promotion, you agree to your information being held and processed in accordance with United Kingdom’s Data Protection Act 1998. Unless otherwise specified, the personal information you provide in your email submission will only be used for the purposes of administering the Promotion and providing the Prize to the winner.

How to Enter

This Promotion opens on December 31 2015 and runs until 5pm GMT on 7 January 2016. Any entry received after the closing date will not be valid.

To participate in the FT New Year Quiz and have a chance to be entered into the prize draw simply email your answers to the FT New Year Quiz questions, which shall be published in the January 2 edition of the FT newspaper in the Life and Arts section (and in the same online at FT.com), to christmasquiz@ft.com and include in your email, your full name, date of birth, telephone number (including country code) and post code.

Only valid entries will be accepted. All entry information is subject to verification. No submissions from agents, third parties, organised groups or syndicates will be accepted. No incomplete, corrupted entries or multiple entries from the same person will be accepted.

Prize and Prize Draw

Laurent-Perrier will provide the prize of 52 bottles of Laurent-Perrier Cuveé Rosé, which Laurent-Perrier will deliver to the winner’s nominated postal address (the “Prize”).

Participants who have answered all FT New Year Quiz questions correctly (or, if there are no entries where all the answers are correct, then from the entries with the greatest number of correct answers) will be included in a prize draw from which a winner will be chosen at random by the FT on or about 7 January 2016.

The FT will make reasonable efforts to contact the winner by 9 January 2016 in order to verify the winner’s name, age and postal address, and notify them that they have won.

If a winner has not responded to notification within 3 business days or if a selected winner is ineligible, or otherwise in breach of these terms and conditions, or unable to take up the prize for any other reason, then the FT reserves the right to select another winner using the same process as set out above.

The winner hereby agrees to take part in any reasonable publicity without further recompense including, without limitation, having their name and city of residence published in hard copy and digital versions of the FT Newspaper, online on the FT and Laurent-Perrier websites, and digitally via FT and/or Laurent-Perrier social media channels.


By entering this Promotion you agree to accept and be bound by, these terms and conditions.

The winner is responsible for all expenses not expressly stated in these terms and conditions as being included as part of the Prize.

Incomplete, illegible, corrupted entries, or those which are otherwise not in accordance with these terms and conditions will not be valid. Neither FT nor Laurent-Perrier accepts responsibility for failure to receive an entry.

The Prize is non-transferable and cannot be sold or auctioned. No cash or other alternative to a Prize will be offered save for in the event of unforeseen circumstances, in which Laurent-Perrier reserves their right to offer an alternative prize of equal or greater value than the original.

If there is any reason to believe that there has been a breach of these terms and conditions, or of the spirit of the Promotion, the FT may at its sole discretion refuse to accept an entry.

FT and Laurent-Perrier’s decisions are binding in all matters relating to the Promotion, and no correspondence shall be entered into.

To the furthest extent permitted by law, neither the FT nor Laurent-Perrier accepts any liability for any damage, loss or injury suffered due to entering the Promotion or taking up the Prize.

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

FT reserves the right to cancel or amend these Terms and Conditions.

FT gives no warranty or guarantee in relation to the Prize and accepts no responsibility or liability for the Prize being amended by Laurent-Perrier. To the fullest extent permitted by law, FT excludes liability for all loss, damage or claims arising as a result of your entry into the Promotion or receipt of, or use of the Prize.

These terms and conditions (and any non-contractual disputes/claims which arise out of or in connection with them) will be governed by English law and entrants submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the English courts.

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.

7. Empire

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.

17. Three

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

24. Yawning

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

33. Muggle

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

Get alerts on Life & Arts when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.

Comments have not been enabled for this article.

Follow the topics in this article