The Gate        The 18th Annual Xmas Quiz
Friday, December 24, 1999
©2000 San Francisco Chronicle

PERHAPS NOT RIGHT now, but there will come a time this weekend you will be bored, and you must save this column until then. Perhaps you can ask the members of your family you still get along with to help you with this all-new amazing assortment of curious questions.

1. What is a lahar?

2. True or false: Einstein converted to Christianity. True or false: Napoleon converted to Islam. True or false: George Bernard Shaw converted to Hinduism.

3. ``Do the Yam'' is a) a literal translation of the official title of Nepal's ambassador to India, b) Victorian slang for sexual intercourse, c) the name of a yacht that beached this year in Madagascar and was destroyed by termites, or d) a song sung by Fred Astaire in the movie ``Carefree.''

4. Imagine an east-west line drawn through the island of Guam. Does it pass north or south of the Mediterranean Sea? Does it pass north or south of Caracas, Venezuela? Does it pass north or south of Calcutta? Does it pass north or south of Honolulu?

5. Consider the current version of the American $1, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills. Five real buildings appear on them. What are they? What words are over the pyramid on the $1 bill? How many automobiles are pictured? How many times does the word ``United'' appear on the $100 bill? How about the $5 bill? How many of the famous men on the front are bearded?

6. The characters Bert and Ernie on ``Sesame Street'' -- for whom were they named?

7. How did L. Frank Baum choose the name ``Oz'' for his magical land?

8. Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka -- what are they?


Charles Ives and Wallace Stevens have in common? What did Jorge Luis Borges and Hector Berlioz have in common?

10. We all know that James Earl Jones spoke Darth Vader's lines in the ``Star Wars'' movies. But he was not wearing the spooky suit. Who was?

11. The parachute was invented by a) Leonardo da Vinci, b) Jean-Pierre Blanchard c) Rachel Jack Thompson, d) Thomas Edison, or e) Thomas Jefferson.

12. Assuming you are dressed in street clothes right now, the odds are that the initials YKK appear somewhere in your body. Where? And what do they stand for?

13. Furnish the next name in the series: a) Master and Commander, Post Captain, H.M.S. Surprise, -- ; b) Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Grover Alexander and Christy Mathewson, -- ; c) The Boy in the Bubble, Graceland, I Know What I Know, -- ; d) Victoria, Edward VII, George V, --.

14. Here's a list of California place names: Ironwood, Corcoran, Calipatria, Centinela, Mule Creek, Pleasant Valley and Avenal. What do they have in common?

15. Which is heavier, aluminum or concrete?

16. What did Innocent do to John?

17. Gateview, Mariner, Exposition and Striped Bass -- what are they?


quote the Bob Dylan lyric ``to live outside the law you must be honest.'' But what line comes immediately after it?

19. You're on foot, stepping over an international border. Where would you experience the greatest difference in time zones? (Hint: Do not be distracted by the International Date Line.)

20. Nike, in addition to being a shoe company, is a) the Greek goddess of victory, b) the Roman goddess of strength, c) the Norse god of fire, d) the hometown of the father of founder Phil Knight, e) a made-up word created by musician Rik Elswit, who today is worth more than $100 million although he has still never worn a pair of Nike shoes.

Answers on Monday. Have a merry something.

Something old, something new, something to make you squirm.

I wonder wonder who wrote the book of

©2000 San Francisco Chronicle   Page C19