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Mountain records, bartered art and brand new doctors – take the Thursday quiz

By Martin Belam
Ncuti Gatwa
Ncuti Gatwa at the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards. Photograph: Scott Garfitt/REX/Shutterstock for BAFTA

Welcome to the Thursday quiz, where each stab at humour is “even less funny than previous risible attempts” according to one satisfied customer in the comments the other week. You face 15 questions on topical news and general knowledge, with a side-serving of sarcasm and in-jokes. There are no prizes but let us know how you got on in the comments.

The Thursday quiz, No 55

  1. Ncuti Gatwa

    DOCTOR NEW: Ncuti Gatwa will take over from Jodie Whittaker as the Time Lord in Doctor Who. In which Netflix series does he star as Eric Effiong?

    1. Stranger Things

    2. Emily in Paris

    3. Sex Education

    4. Bridgerton

  2. Artist

    ART FOR ART'S SAKE: Irene Demas and her husband Tony, from Ontario, look set to be able to retire after putting up for auction a painting that they swapped with an artist for what in the 1970s?

    1. Some large salmon

    2. Grilled cheese sandwiches

    3. A set of deckchairs

    4. A small gold ring with the words 'Ash nazg durbatulûk' engraved on it

  3. A boar in Italy

    FERAL HOGS: We regret to inform you that the wild boars of Rome have been at it again. What have been forbidden in a large swathe of northern Rome to help people avoid contact with the animals?

    1. Picnics – boars are attracted to the food

    2. Letting dogs off the lead – the feral hogs have been attacking family pets

    3. Fruit trees without netting – to prevent fruit dropping to the floor where it makes a tasty boar treat

    4. Karaoke – Italian wild boars are notoriously partial to a good old sing-song

  4. Science!

    GCSE SCIENCE CORNER: What does a potometer measure?

    1. Carbon dioxide diffusion into the blood

    2. Glucose uptake into the blood

    3. Oxygen diffusion into the lungs

    4. Water uptake in a plant

  5. George Eliot

    LITERATURE: George Elliot's Middlemarch is set between 1829 and 1832. But when was it first published?

    1. In eight instalments in 1851 and 1852

    2. In eight instalments in 1871 and 1872

    3. In eight instalments in 1891 and 1892

    4. In eight instalments in 1901 and 1902

  6. Ron

    AMATEUR HOUR: That is a 1974 Sparks song where she'll let you know 'when you turn pro'. But that's not important right now. A Virgin Atlantic transatlantic flight had to turn back last week after what amateur shenanigans happened on board?

    1. It turned out the first officer had not completed his final flying test

    2. Two TikTok influencers tried to film themselves joining the Mile High Club in first class

    3. A group of lads on a stag do got stuck after trying to see how many of them could get into the same toilet at once

    4. The pilot announced he was forming a European Super League™ and then had to make a very public and humiliating U-turn

  7. Puppies

    IT'S A DOG'S LIFE: A Massachusetts family got a surprise when they found a stray puppy and brought it home. What did it turn out to be?

    1. A baby racoon

    2. A baby brown bear

    3. A baby coyote

    4. A baby Sasquatch

  8. Thursday quiz road sign

    ROAD SIGNS AROUND THE WORLD: This road sign from Brazil means what?

    1. No electric vehicles

    2. No parking

    3. End of the expressway

    4. No Ebeneezer Goode

  9. Maths lady meme

    FIBONACCI NUMBERS: First described in Indian mathematics, and forming a sequence where each number is the sum of the two preceding ones, F₁₂ is 144. But 144 is the square of which number?

    1. 12

    2. 64

    3. 1,440

    4. 20,736

  10. Funny face

    CITIES IN DISGUISE: Which city in north-east England is based around settlements formerly known as Pons Aelius and Munucceaster, which is sometimes modernised as Monkchester?

    1. Newcastle upon Tyne

    2. Durham

    3. Leadworth

    4. Sunderland

  11. Horsey

    WHY THE LONG FACE?: A standard 40m x 20m dressage arena has which letters clockwise around the edge of the arena, starting with the entrance?

    1. V, C, E, H, F, M, B and G

    2. A, K, E, H, C, M, B and F

    3. D, X, G, H, F, M, B and K

    4. H, O, R, S, E, Y and DANCE

  12. View over Derwentwater

    HEAD FOR HEIGHTS: John Kelly, a 37-year-old data scientist, broke the record for scaling all Wainwright fells in the Lake District in five and a half days. How many are there?

    1. 214

    2. 164

    3. 114

    4. 84

  13. Hot air balloon

    ALLONS-Y: The website Wikivoyage lists 23 locations visited by fictional Phileas Fogg in Jules Verne's novel Around the World in Eighty Days, none of them by hot air balloon. Number 15 is Salt Lake City, Utah, US. But which year did Salt Lake City host the Winter Olympics?

    1. 1996

    2. 1998

    3. 2000

    4. 2002

  14. Old Tv

    ENSEMBLE CASTS: What is the name of the two old guys in the balcony who are always heckling Fozzie Bear in The Muppet Show?

    1. Randalls and Staten

    2. Tesla and Edison

    3. Hudson and Vanderbilt

    4. Statler and Waldorf

  15. Music

    MUSIC: Which artist celebrated their 60th birthday this week by putting £1,000 behind the bar for fans in 60 different pubs?

    1. Dave Gahan of Depeche Mode

    2. Shaun Ryder of Happy Mondays

    3. Paul Heaton of The Housemartins and The Beautiful South

    4. Kate Bush of Kate Bush and the Thursday Quiz

Solutions

1:C - The show first aired in 2019. Gatwa will become Doctor Who later this year at the end of a special to mark the BBC's centenary. Millions of Doctor Who fans around the world are now watching Sex Education for the very first time and you can insert your own punchline here, 2:B - They owned a restaurant and let regular customer and painter John Kinnear swap artworks for food. One of them transpired to be by acclaimed Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis, 3:A - The story was actually quite serious – African swine fever has been detected and so health authorities have banned picnics, fenced off bins and told people to avoid contact with the feral hogs, which often gather in groups of between 30 and 50, 4:D - Not a potatometer. That just measures how many potatoes you ate this week. There are two types of potometer. A bubble potometer involves a whole complicated underwater setup where you have to seal the junction between the shoot and potometer with petroleum jelly to prevent air leaks. With a weight potometer you just weigh the plant and the water and then a bit later weigh them again. I know which seems like a lot less effort for GCSE Science here, 5:B - Mary Anne Evans actually started work on them in the late-1860s, and ended up combining an unfinished novel called Middlemarch with a new story she had written called Miss Brooke. The first three instalments were written in advance, with the final five being written specifically in the serialised format., 6:A - Although the pilot was perfectly qualified to fly, a paperwork error meant they were not paired with someone designated as a 'trainer' while waiting to pass a final test that Virgin Atlantic require. You can tell by his face that Ron from Sparks thinks you should have flown that, 7:C - After they realised the mixup, the coyote pup has been recovering in a wildlife centre where it will shortly be introduced to a foster sibling. It couldn't have been a baby Sasquatch. Everybody knows they only live on the west coast, 8:B - The 'e' is for estacionamento, Portuguese for parking, not for something more MDMamazing. Has anyone got any Vera's?, 9:A - 144 is 12 x 12 and it is also the 12th number in the Fibonacci sequence. Spooky. And also, according to the website ask-angels.com, 144 is an 'Angel Number' that 'has a profoundly deep meaning about waking up to your divine purpose and highest soul mission'. So there's that, 10:A - Pons Aelius means 'Hadrian's bridge' and was a Roman fort at a crossing of the Tyne. Munucceaster was part of the kingdom of Northumbria, but got wrecked by war. A castle erected by Robert Curthose, son of William the Conqueror, in 1080 gave rise to the modern name, 11:B - Even the most super-ardent dressage fan will admit that it is unclear how these letters got chosen. One theory is they were the letters above doors in a barracks in Germany where elements of the discipline were formulated. Since horses are notoriously bad at spelling, it probably isn't a huge issue for them, 12:A - The 320-mile (515km) challenge, which includes England’s highest mountain, Scafell Pike, involves a total ascent of about 72,000 ancient Sumerian cubits, and he beat the record by eleven hours, 13:D - Salt Lake City followed Nagano, Japan, in 1998 and is currently interested in hosting again in 2030. Only eight more of these Jules Verne-themed geography questions to go, 14:D - Named after two famous New York City hotels, eagle-eyed viewers may have spotted that there is actually a poster backstage at the Muppet Theatre that seems to imply that at one point in the past they themselves had been the headline act, 15:C - He invited fans to celebrate with him, explaining that his original tour plan involving cycling between venues around the UK had to be shelved after the pandemic caused delays to the recording of his new album. 'The next best way to celebrate is to hand-pick 60 pubs across the UK and Ireland and put a given amount of money behind the bar of each one' he said. You can insert your own happy hour punchline here

Scores

  1. 0 and above.

    We hope you had 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 martin.belam@theguardian.com, but remember, the quiz master’s word is always final, and you don’t want him to release the hounds.

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