The Gate        The 19th Annual Xmas Quiz
Jon Carroll
Monday, December 25, 2000
©2000 San Francisco Chronicle

SOMETIME TODAY, DEPENDING on your family custom and/or religious affiliation, you will feel bored or sated or oversocialized, and you may require the intellectual joy that a good old Xmas Quiz can bring. Which is why we have one:

1. Who or what is Salem Sue? How big is she?

2. How many women have been crowned reigning queen of England?

3. The hobble hanger, surcingle, shin boot and spoked wheel are all parts of what? The breeches, mask, bib and metallic plastron are all parts of what? The register, spindle, retarding magnet and full-load adjustment screw are all parts of what?

4. Did Oscar Wilde die before William S. Burroughs was born?

5. Who was born first: Irving Berlin or Ho Chi Minh? Who died first: Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton?

6. Name the musical artist(s) associated with each of the following titles: (a) "Car Wheels on a Gravel Road," (b) "Red Headed Stranger," (c) "Kind of Blue," (d) "The Koln Concert," (e) "Abbey Road," (f) "Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water," (g) "In Search of the Lost Riddim," (h) "Stop Making Sense," (i) "Songs for Swingin' Lovers." Some of these will seem ridiculously easy; which ones will depend on age and taste.

7. The names of three of the world's 15 most populous cities start with the letter S. What are they? Two start with the letter L. What are they? One starts with the letter O. What is it?

8. EVERYONE knows that Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on the moon, spoke these words to mark the occasion: "That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind." But what were the actual first words spoken on the moon?

9. Who wrote "Thinking About the Unthinkable"? What movie was said to have been inspired by it?

10. It is possible to argue that the word "octopus" has three plural forms. What are they?

11. What is the largest city in California that does not have a Spanish or Indian name?

12. Here are some people whose last names turned into common words. You supply the name: (a) Charles C. , an English land agent in Ireland whose high rents inspired a protest, (b) Rudolf , an inventor of useful internal combustion engines, (c) Julius , a 19th century French aerial gymnast, (d) Amelia , a 19th century American social activist with a particular interest in women's athletics.

13. THERE are many people in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations with but one entry. I'll tell you the person; you give me the quotation: (a) Porfirio Diaz, (b) Count Galeazzo Ciano, (c) William P. Kinsella, (d) Thomas Pynchon, (e) Erich Segal, (f) John Dean.

14. If I am flying due south from Vladivostock, the first country I will pass over is Japan. What is the second? If I am flying due north from Mecca, the first country I will pass over is Iraq. What is the second? If I am flying due west from New Orleans, what is the first country I will pass over? If I am flying due east from New Orleans, what is the first country I will pass over?

15. Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy appeared in a 1958 G.E. Theater half- hour drama, only the second time they had ever appeared together onscreen. (The first was 1957's "Hellcats of the Navy.") The name of the episode they appeared in was (a) "The Professor and the Kleptomaniac," (b) "Head of the Class," (c) "A Turkey for the President," (d) "A Fool and His Money," (e) "Negroes on Parade."

Please, please please remember to keep this column until tomorrow, when the answers will appear in this space. I beg of you. Don't give me that "my wife threw it away" stuff either.

---- People thought last year's was too hard, so maybe this is a bit easier.

You've got to accentuate the

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