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Ardern’s calm, cannabis farms, and a little bit of Liberace – take the Thursday quiz

·8-min read
<span>Photograph: REX/Shutterstock</span>
Photograph: REX/Shutterstock

“The attempts to be funny continue to be contemptible,” said one happy punter in the comments the other week, and yet again it is time to face that Thursday combination – 15 questions on topical news and general knowledge, peppered with a few jokes. The Pokémon question’s reign of terror may be over, but rest assured there are still two hidden Doctor Who references to spot, the regular presence of Kate Bush and Ron from Sparks, and inexplicably some anagrams exactly when you least want them. It is just for fun, there are no prizes, but there are bonus points on offer if you can make the quizmaster laugh with your comments. Let us know how you get on.

The Thursday quiz, No 27

  1. Jacinda Ardern
    Jacinda Ardern

    WORLD NEWS: New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, said: ‘Sorry, a slight distraction’ after what disrupted one of her press conferences?

    1. Her phone wouldn’t stop buzzing with goal alerts from Old Trafford

    2. One of the flags on the backdrop behind her fell down

    3. A 5.9 magnitude earthquake happened

    4. A man wearing an Olly Murs face mask burst into the room

  2. Broken Phone Receiver and Dial&lt;br&gt;BRRRP9 Broken Phone Receiver and Dial
    Broken Phone Receiver and Dial
    BRRRP9 Broken Phone Receiver and Dial

    TELECOMS DISASTER: A man was arrested in Cairo after accidentally doing what with a phone?

    1. Posting a picture of his penis as a reply to a tweet by Egypt’s prime minister, Mostafa Madbouly

    2. Broadcasting his face on social media to thousands of people after snatching and stealing a journalist’s phone while they were making a live report

    3. Airdropping an obscene image to the nearby phone of the Russian ambassador to Egypt whose Bluetooth he had accidentally connected to

    4. Announcing that he’d started a European Super League and then having to back down a couple of days later

  3. Dua Lipa / Adele / Billie / Kate
    Dua Lipa / Adele / Billie / Kate

    MUSIC: Which artist last week smashed the UK’s record for streams of a song in a week after there were 24m streams for her new single?

    1. Dua Lipa

    2. Adele

    3. Billie Eilish

    4. Kate Bush

  4. Marijuana

    RELAXING NEWS: Adults in which country will be permitted to grow up to four cannabis plants in their homes or gardens under laws that will make it the first country in Europe to legalise production and consumption of the drug?

    1. Liechtenstein

    2. San Marino

    3. Andorra

    4. Luxembourg

  5. Action during the T20 World Cup
    Action during the T20 World Cup

    SPORT: The men’s T20 Cricket World Cup has got under way, and jolly entertaining it has been too. Which two countries are hosting it?

    1. The UAE and Qatar

    2. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh

    3. Namibia and South Africa

    4. The UAE and Oman

  6. Puccini pictured in the 1920s
    Puccini pictured in the 1920s

    COMPARATIVELY SPEAKING: Which of these operas by Giacomo Puccini was the earliest to be performed in public?

    1. La Bohème

    2. Turandot

    3. Tosca

    4. Madame Butterfly

  7. Mystery Australian state flag
    Mystery Australian state flag

    FLAGS OF JOY: This extremely British-looking flag is the state flag of which Australian state?

    1. New South Wales

    2. South Australia

    3. Queensland

    4. Victoria

  8. Annapolis State House
    Annapolis State House

    GEOGRAPHY: Annapolis is the state capitol of which US state?

    1. Massachusetts

    2. New Hampshire

    3. Maryland

    4. Arkansas

  9. Beaker and Bunsen
    Beaker and Bunsen

    GCSE SCIENCE CORNER: Physics today. Which of these formulas best describes Newton’s second law of motion?

    1. Resultant force = mass × acceleration

    2. Acceleration = mass x resultant force

    3. Resultant force = gravity × acceleration

    4. E = mc²

  10. The Giants Causeway
    The Giants Causeway

    NORTHERN IRELAND: The spectacular Giant’s Causeway (Clochán an Aifir) is a world heritage site and simply one of the best places to visit in the British Isles. But what are the mysterious columns made of?

    1. Basalt

    2. Dacite

    3. Granite

    4. Peladon

  11. Halloween tiger
    Halloween tiger

    SPOOKY TIMES: Here’s a picture of a tiger with a pumpkin. It is Halloween at the weekend, but which of these seasonal festivals on ‘the wheel of the year’ takes place at the same time as Halloween?

    1. Imbolc

    2. Beltane

    3. Lughnasa

    4. Samhain

  12. Ron from Sparks
    Ron from Sparks

    THE GHOST OF LIBERACE: That’s a Sparks song from 1994 about how he’s always hanging ’round, hovering over farmland, lingering over towns. But that’s not important right now. Did Liberace once successfully sue the Daily Mirror for libel in the UK for implying that he might be gay?

    1. True

    2. False

  13. Old Tv
    Old Tv

    ENSEMBLE CASTS: Which British comedy show included regular characters Pauline, Mickey, Mr Chinnery, Uncle Harvey and Auntie Val? Plot twist – it is anagram time

    1. Goth woe straightened

    2. Elegant gene mouthfeel

    3. Bevy handling beam

    4. Refrigeration sharpened landfill

  14. NASA&#39;s Orion Spacecraft
    NASA's Orion Spacecraft

    SHOOT FOR THE MOON: Nasa has announced plans to launch an uncrewed flight around the moon in February 2022, paving the way for astronauts to once again set foot on Earth’s satellite. But when did a person last set foot on the moon?

    1. 1971

    2. 1972

    3. 1973

    4. 1974

  15. New Zealand map
    New Zealand map

    AND FINALLY: What is currently winning New Zealand’s bird of the year competition?

    1. A butterfly

    2. A bird

    3. A bat

    4. A bee


1:C - The 5.9 quake rattled parliament in Wellington on Friday as Ardern was holding a press conference. The shaking began midway through a reporter’s question. Ardern gripped her podium, before turning back to the reporter with a grin: “Ah, sorry, a slight distraction – would you mind repeating that question?” By contrast, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was just wishing the ground would open up and swallow him., 2:B - I mean it wasn’t an accident that he snatched the phone. It was the broadcasting bit that was the accident. The man was arrested hours later at his home., 3:B - It was Adele’s return to the charts. Her new single, Easy on Me, became her third UK No 1 single after Someone Like You in 2011 and Hello in 2015. The previous high for a week of streams was 7 Rings by Ariana Grande, which was listened to 16.9m times on its release in January 2019., 4:D - There’s no news yet on when Cheech & Chong are applying for citizenship., 5:D - The matches are being played in Muscat in Oman, and in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai in the UAE. Oman failed to qualify for the final Super 12 stage after defeats to Bangladesh and Scotland in the first qualifying round., 6:A - La Bohème was the first of three great operas produced in the space of only eight years. It was first performed in 1896. Tosca followed in 1900 and Madame Butterfly in 1904. Turandot did not appear until much later, with its first performance being in Milan in 1926. It had been completed posthumously by Franco Alfano, but it had Nessun Dorma in it so had been well worth the wait., 7:B - South Australia began legislative moves to have a new flag in the late 2010s, but there is yet to be any change. The description of the flag is ‘A piping shrike on a gold background in the fly of a British blue ensign.’ Currently all the states of Australia still have official flags based on the old British ensign flag. , 8:C - The Maryland State House in Annapolis (pictured) is the oldest in continuous legislative use in the United States and housed the US government from November 1783 to August 1784., 9:A - The equation shows that the acceleration of an object is directly proportional to the resultant (or net) force, in the same direction as the force, and inversely proportional to the mass of the object. In English, basically things go faster if you push them harder, but slow down if they get heavier., 10:A - There’s actually nothing that mysterious about them. They are basalt columns that formed as part of volcanic activity 50m to 60m years ago., 11:D - Samhain happens 31 October-1 November at the same time as Halloween and you can easily lose yourself down an internet rabbit-hole while people argue about the precise relationship between the two which the quizmaster is carefully opting not to adjudicate on., 12:A - He did. In 1959. A Mirror columnist had written that Liberace was "a deadly, winking, sniggering, snuggling, chromium-plated, scent-impregnated, luminous, quivering, giggling, fruit-flavoured, mincing, ice-covered heap of mother love". It is one of the quizmaster’s favourite bits of media law training, because it teaches you that the burden of proof in a libel case is entirely down to the publication to prove they were right; the plaintiff doesn’t have to prove the publication was wrong. You can tell by his face that Ron from Sparks thinks you should have known that., 13:B - It was indeed The League of Gentlemen. Your other options were that lovable tale of a time-travelling bigamist thief Goodnight Sweetheart (Goth woe straightened), Men Behaving Badly (Bevy handling beam) and The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (Refrigeration sharpened landfill), 14:B - Apollo 17’s lunar module lifted off from the moon on 14 December 1972, carrying Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt. Cernan was last off the surface, and so the last human – to date – to be on the moon., 15:C - The kākāpō is currently in second place behind the pekapeka-tou-roa, or long-tailed bat, one of New Zealand’s few land-based native mammals. it was put on the list to raise awareness of the bat’s endangered species, and is now romping away with the competition.


  1. 0 and above.

    We hope you have fun – let us know how you got on in the comments!

  2. 4 and above.

    We hope you have fun – let us know how you got on in the comments!

  • If you do think there has been an egregious error in one of the questions or answers, please feel free to email but remember, the quizmaster’s word is always final, and you don’t want him turning up to trick or treat you at the weekend.

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