1• Name the painter who took the story of Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem for the census on Christmas Eve and transposed it to the Brabant village pictured left.
2• Which Russian author wrote a short story about the Devil causing mischief on Christmas Eve when he steals the moon and plunges everyone into darkness?
3• Identify the films the cinematic devils appeared in (see picture panel below)
4• Which environmentally friendly pop star played a sulphurous young man in the film version of Dennis Potter’s Brimstone and Treacle?
5• A cockney gentleman addresses his lady companion: “Lor luv a duck! Would you Adam and Eve it, treacle? This cuppa ’arf past is makin’ me Hampsteads ’urt!” Translate into Queen’s English.
6• Which dystopian novel about rampant hooliganism took its title from a cockney expression meaning normal-looking but odd underneath? And how do its yobbish protagonists communicate?
7• Name the chuckling villain played by Burgess Meredith in the television series Batman right.
8• In The Incredibles, couturier Edna Mode designs costumes for superheroes (“It will be bold! Dramatic!”). Which traditional feature of their garb does she detest on practical grounds?
9• Name the four architects who designed the structures shown in the picture panel below.
10• Name the painters of the four Madonnas shown in the picture panel below.
11• Which playwright wrote Mother Courage and Her Children?
12• Who exhorts a tragic hero to screw his courage to the sticking place?
13• Who wrote the ghostly novella The Turn of the Screw? The author also haunted publishing this year, turning up as the main character in two novels – name them.
14• What is the term for a balletic turn involving the rapid whipping motion of one of the dancer’s legs?
15• Dame Alicia Markova, the British ballerina who died this year aged 94, worked with almost every significant figure in 20th-century ballet – which one did she call “Serjypop”?
16• What links the three pop acts shown in the picture panel below?
17• Peter Blake on designing the album cover of Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band: “I asked them to make lists of people they’d most like to have in the audience at this imaginary concert. John’s was interesting because it included Jesus and Ghandi and, more cynically, Hitler. But this was just a few months after the US furore about his ‘Jesus’ statement, so they were left out. George’s list was all gurus. Ringo said, “Whatever the others say is fine by me,” because he didn’t really want to be bothered.” Which composer is among the faces featured on the Sergeant Pepper’s artwork?
18• Which rival opera composer said, after seeing Wagner’s Tannhäuser, “It is too intricate to be judged at a first hearing, but I shall not give it a second”?
19• Who received an 11-minute ovation for their last performance at the Metropolitan Opera house this year? And which opera did they appear in for their “prolonged and hapless exit”, as one unkind critic sniffed?
20• Death scenes:
A) the death of which Dickens character prompted Oscar Wilde’s quip that you need a heart of stone to read it without laughing?
B) On his deathbed, the 1940s Hollywood actor Edmund Gwenn supposedly remarked “Dying is easy. [Something else] is difficult.” What is the something else?
21• Nativity scenes:
A) Pedro Almodóvar’s film Live Flesh begins with the main character Victor being born in 1970s Madrid in unconventional circumstances. What are they?
B) Which book’s misnamed narrator takes pages to be born?
C) Who is the angel in the celebrity-studded version of the nativity scene at Madam Tussaud’s in London this year?
22• What significant contribution did two sisters from Kentucky, both teachers, make to birthdays in 1893?
23• Which sorority links the state of Oregon, the Grimm brothers and Anton Chekhov?
24• Jean Rhys’s novel Wide Sargasso Sea is about a young Creole woman from Jamaica who is driven mad after being trapped in a loveless marriage to an Englishman. Which 19th-century novel is it based on?
25• Which inveterate rock and roller was the inspiration for Captain Jack Sparrow, Johnny Depp’s swashbuckling, louche character in the film Pirates of the Caribbean?
26• Pirated copies of Gabriel Garçia Marquez’s novella Memories of My Melancholy Whores flooded his native Colombia before its official publication this year. What did the novelist do to thwart the bootleggers?
27• A melancholy picture (right). But who was the artist?
28• Which Greek island splashed out and brought a painting by which old master this month?
29• Which maestro was supposed to conduct Verdi’s La Forza del Destino at the Royal Opera House in London this year and why did he pull out at the last minute?
30• Name the sources of the following tantrums:
A) “I’ll thcweam and thcweam until I’m thick.”
B) “Rude vile pigs! Do you know what that means? Rude vile pigs! That’s what all of you are.”
C) “Guy pinched the sticky nostrils. Marmaduke’s teeth tightened their grip. The minutes ticked by. Finally he released his mouthful, sideways, for greater tear, and sneezed twice into his father’s face. Holding the screaming child out in front of him like a rugby ball or a bag of plutonium, Guy hurried towards the adjoining bathroom. This left Marmaduke with only one option for the time being – the reverse kick to the groin – which he duly attempted. Guy put him face down on the far corner of the bathroom carpet. He managed to shut and bolt the door and crouch on the lavatory seat before Marmaduke was up and at him again... ”
31• Name the sources of the following sideswipes against critics:
A) “As for the oxen from Leipzig, they may say what they will. They will make nobody immortal with their talking, and, likewise, they will not take immortality from the man whom Apollo has destined for immortality.”
B) “Critics! Poor devils! Where do they come from? At what age are they sent to the slaughter house? What is done with their bones? Where do such animals pasture in the daytime? Do they have females and young? How many of them handled the brush before being reduced to the broom?”
C) “Critics should be searched for certain adjectives at the door of the theatre. Irreverent, probing and (above all) satirical. I would have all such adjectives left with their coats in the foyer, only to be redeemed when their notices are written.”
32• Name the film that begins with a critic meeting a grisly fate at the hands of knife-wielding vagrants. Which play does his death echo? And which newspaper does he write for?
33• Which powerful real-life gossip columnist runs for US president in the 1940s and is assassinated in Philip Roth’s alternative historical novel, The Plot Against America?
34• Name the book about a plot against America that sold over a million copies this year, was nominated for the National Book Award and doesn’t have a single named author.
35• What reason did this year’s Nobel laureate for literature Elfriede Jelinek give for not attending the prize ceremony?
36• Name the people shown in the picture panel and the prizes they are picking up.
37• Name and shame the Oscar winners giving the following florid acceptance speeches:
A) “I love you! Tom Cruise! I love you, brother! I love you, man!... Everybody, I love you. I love you all. Cameron Crowe! James L. Brooks! James L. Brooks, I love you. Everybody who’s involved with this, I love you. I love you. Everybody involved.”
B) “I haven’t had an orthodox career, and I’ve wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn’t feel it, but this time I feel it, and I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!”
C) “In the great wealth, the great firmament of your nation’s generosity, this particular choice may perhaps be found by future generations as a trifle eccentric, but the mere fact of it – the prodigal, pure, human kindness of it – must be seen as a beautiful star in that firmament which shines upon me at this moment, dazzling me a little, but filling me with warmth and the extraordinary elation, the euphoria that happens to so many of us at the first breath of the majestic glow of a new tomorrow.”
* 38• Who sent a comedian to pick up a Pulitzer prize on their behalf? *
We regret there was an error in the quiz. Question 38 should have read: Who sent a comedian to pick up a National Book Award on their behalf? In light of this, we are extending the deadline to Wednesday 19 January. The winner will be selected on 21 January and the answers published on 22 January.
39• Match the special guests to the comedy cartoon series they have appeared in.
40• It’s the end: name which modern novels these last lines came from:
A) “Think I will just have a little glass of wine and a cigarette.”
B) “And it may be that love sometimes occurs without pain or misery.”
C) “She was 75 and she was going to make some changes in her life.”
D) “I should hope, then, that by the time of my employer’s return, I shall be in a position to pleasantly surprise him.”
Tom Cruise starred with Max von Sydow in Minority Report. Von Sydow starred with Linda Blair in The Exorcist. Blair starred with Gloria Swanson in Airport 1975. So there are two degrees of separation between Tom Cruise and Gloria Swanson.
Devise the fewest degrees of separation, using actors only (ie no directors or producers), between Rudolph Valentino and Vin Diesel
Quiz compiled by Ludovic Hunter-Tilney
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