SF Gate        www.sfgate.com        Return to regular view

Jon Carroll
Thursday, December 25, 2003
©2003 San Francisco Chronicle | Feedback | FAQ

Perhaps you are a European and you celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve, or perhaps it is Christmas afternoon and you have opened all the presents and are now lying quietly in the hall closet, or perhaps you do not celebrate Christmas at all and you really need an amusing diversion to escape from all the tinsel-tossing carol-butchering ho-ho-ho-nicks. What you need, in fact, is a Christmas Quiz.

1. Who or what are Nipper and Chipper, Uncle Mose, Bibendum, Poppin' Fresh, Katy the Kangaroo, Newt the Gnu and Elmo the Elephant?

2. What geographic entity comes next in the following sequences (Hint: This is not a geography question): A. Mexico, Alaska, Berlin town; B. Tucson, Tucumcari, Tehachapi; C. St. Louis, Joplin, Oklahoma City; (d) Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Kentucky; E. Paris, Rome, Manhattan?

3. What well-known city is built very close to the lowest point on earth?

4. What is the sum of a cartwheel, a sawbuck, a niblick, a spoon and four bits?

5. What are vibrissae?

6. Name at least 10 countries with four-letter names.

7. Here's a good Christmas question: You know those three wise men who followed yonder star to the baby Jesus? What religion were they?

8. Where and in what year (approximately) was the income tax first introduced?

9. What do these things have in common: A. brow tine, pearls, gutter, beam; B. marginal shield, horny beak, tympanum, neck; C. pulp chamber, root, apical foramen, neck; D. gonfalon, burgee, swallowtail and tongue, bunting; E. Arrie Barker, Mary H. Jones, Jackie Mabley, "Arrangement in Gray and Black."

10. It's time for America's favorite quiz game, Presidential Pets. What U. S. president owned A. an alligator, B. a dog named Veto, C. an elephant, D. a collie named Rob Roy and a Chow named Tiny Tim, E. dogs named Him and Her?

11. How many holes are there in Blackburn, Lancashire? When we're 64, where will we rent a summer cottage? When you picture yourself in a boat on a river, what kind of trees do you see? What kind of skies? That soap impression of his wife: What did he do with it?

12. In the Cambridge Biographical Dictionary, who is the first person listed under the letter "A"? Who is the last person listed under "Z"?

13. In Peter's Bogdanovich's "The Last Picture Show," what movie was playing at the last picture show?

14. In the Christian tradition, Jesus had 12 apostles and 12 disciples. What is the difference between the groups?

15. Benjamin Franklin came very close to electrocuting himself. What was he trying to do at the time?

16. What is the derivation of the phrase "mother of pearl"? What is mother of pearl? Is mother of pearl in fact the mother of pearls?

One reminder: Please keep this newspaper on hand, so the answers printed in this space Friday will make some kind of sense. In previous years, some people have thrown their papers away, and tragedy has ensued. The quiz is always available at sfgate.com/columnists/carroll.

Thanks this year to Bruce L. Smith, Lucy Johns, Janos Gereben, Rich Glasson, Jef Poskanser, John Steele and Michael K. Stone.

Welcome to this, the 23rd Annual Xmas Quiz, a holiday tradition in the Bay Area for 23 years. No. 12 is probably too obscure, and No. 14 will inspire rampant pedantry.

You can write Jon Carroll at jcarroll@sfchronicle.com, or you figure out why a young boy from the black mountain hills of South Dakota was known as "Nancy."

©2003 San Francisco Chronicle | Feedback | FAQ

  Page E - 22