The Gate        Return to regular view

The 20th annual Xmas quiz
Jon Carroll
Tuesday, December 25, 2001
©2001 San Francisco Chronicle

SO SUPPOSE YOU are one of those people who do not celebrate Christmas and today may be just a little isolating, or you are one of those people who celebrate in the bosom of their families and today may be a little isolating --

either way, you're going to want a nice quiz. Yes?

1. Ten languages are spoken by 100 million people each. What are they?

2. Who are David, Charles, Cesar and Alexander? Who are Pallas, Judith, Rachel and Argine? Who are Hogier, La Hire, Hector and Lancelot?

3. If I fly due south from San Francisco, what is the first land mass (other than bits of Northern California) I would fly over -- ignoring islands? If I fly due east from Miami, again ignoring islands, what's the first nation I would pass over? Flying north from London, what's the first non-British land mass I would pass over? Flying south from Beijing, what's the first nation I would pass over?

4. What do the following movies have in common: "Brewster McCloud," "3 Women," "Popeye," "Vincent and Theo"? "The Great Waldo Pepper," "Pretty Baby," "White Palace," "The Client"? "The Betsy," "Eyes of Laura Mars," "Coal Miner's Daughter," "The Client"? "Pretty Baby," "Pressure Point," "Platoon," "Pope Joan"?

5. Was that fun? Yes? So what do these books all have in common: "Motherless Brooklyn," "Bonfire of the Vanities," "The Golden Spiders," "Catcher in the Rye"? "At Lady Molly's," "Casanova's Chinese Restaurant," "The Kindly Ones," "The Valley of Bones"? "Last Stand at Saber River," "The Switch, " "Killshot," "Maximum Bob"? "Maximum Bob," "Motherless Brooklyn," "Might as Well Be Dead," "Mystery Train"?

6. Please put these musical terms in order, from the slowest indicated tempo to the fastest: allegro, adagio, andante, lento.

7. TIME FOR US to brush up on our Islam. Within 10 years, when did the Prophet Mohammed start preaching? Where did this happen? When did he die? When did Muslim armies conquer Jerusalem? When was the first Muslim kingdom in Spain established? Finally, who was Ali ibn Abi Talib, and what does he have to do with modern Islamic beliefs?

8. What do these things have in common: a) mast, tail boom, skid, anti- torque tail rotor; b) stirrup sock, throat protector, toe guard, mask; c) journal box, axle, side footboard, coupler head; d) muntin, hanging style, lock rail, jamb.

9. How many of the United States, or parts of states, are located north of a part of Canada?

10. The Pulitzer Prize for Letters has since 1917 issued nine special citations. Some recipients are now obscure, but you can name five; one for the authors of a musical, one for the author of a best-selling book (and TV miniseries), one for a comic book author, two for writers known for being beloved.

11. Oil is measured in three ways: tons, barrels and gallons. If I assured you that Exxon Valdez spilled 10,080,000 gallons of oil into Prince William Sound, would you say that was less or more than the 600,000 tons of oil released into the Gulf of Mexico by a blowout at the Ixtoc 1 oil platform? By how much?

12. WE HAVE SOME quotes from Santayana. Fill in the blanks: "Those who cannot remember the past are -- to repeat it." "Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your --." "Perhaps the only true dignity of man is his capacity to -- himself."

13. What do these things have in common: "New clean bedlinen, additional odours, the presence of a human form, female, hers, the imprint of a human form, male, not his, some crumbs, some flakes of potted meat, recooked, which he removed."

Answers tomorrow. Save this paper if you're interested in the answers, as they will make little sense without the questions. Have a merry remainder.

Yes, perhaps there are a few tricky ones, but it's all in the game.

No no no no, I don't smoke it no more, I'm tired of waking up on

©2001 San Francisco Chronicle   Page D - 14