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The 33rd Annual Xmas Quiz

Updated 10:51 am, Wednesday, December 26, 2012
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So perhaps your Christmas is over now, or has not yet begun, and perhaps you're not having Christmas at all, and you want a quiet something to tide you over on this day when America seems to stop business as usual. For your listening and dancing pleasure, therefore, a Christmas quiz.

Of course, you could read this column with your trusty Google by your side, but it might be more fun to see if your actual brain can provide the answers. Or you can do it with friends and see how that hive-mind thing is working out. But however you want to do it is fine. It's yours now.

1. Victorian people who wanted to make something accurate down to the finest details were said to "get it right down to every jot and tittle." What are a jot and a tittle?

2. What was Whoopi Goldberg's original name?

3. What is Mexico's full name?

4. Benghazi, Libya, has been much in the news lately. If you fly east from Benghazi, what is the first country you hit? (Hint: It's not Egypt). If you fly due west from Benghazi, what is the first country you hit? How about due north? Due south?

5. What language was Oscar Wilde's "Salome" written in?

6. Define these aristocratic terms: (a) Baron of Beef, (b) Vickers Viscount, (c) Countess of Huntingdon's Connexion, (d) Marquess of Queensberry Rules, (e) Duke of Earl.

7. Who lived in Ayot St Lawrence? Hint and more questions: He won a Nobel Prize. What other unexpected honor did he win? The work he won that prize for inspired another cultural landmark. What was it?

8. California place names: What does "manteca" mean in Spanish? To what does Point Lobos refer? What does Malibu mean in Spanish?

9. According to the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas," what did the gift receiver get from her true love on the beginning of the Forefeast of the Theophany?

10. According to the eighth of Alcoholic Anonymous' 12 traditions, what should AA forever remain?

11. What was the original name of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice"? (a) "First Impressions," (b) "Old Friends," (c) "Family Matters," (d) "Suitors, or A Novel of Suitability," (e) "Benefit of Clergy."

12. What was the name of Dr. Frankenstein's monster?

13. What was F. Scott Fitzgerald's real name? (a) Franklin Benjamin Fitzgerald, (b) Forsythe Westcott Hammond Fitzgerald, (c) Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, (d) Gerald Rosenbloom, (e) Scott O'Connor Fitzgerald Jr.

14. What does the word spaghetti mean in Italian? (a) Little peanuts, (b) little strings, (c) little reeds, (d) uncooked turnips, (e) without sauce.

15. Who wrote, "The law, in its majestic equality, forbids the rich as well as the poor to sleep under bridges, to beg in the street, and to steal bread"?

16. There are 12 mantras that accompany each Surya Namaskara. During each namaskara, how many yogic postures are assumed? Bonus question: What is the informal name for the assumption of these yogic postures?

17. How did mayonnaise get its name?

18. Zane Grey was a prolific writers of Western stories. What was his day job?

19. You may recall that Uri Geller (do you recall Uri Geller?) sued the Amazing Randi for calling his "psychic spoon bending" routine a cheap magician's trick. How did that case turn out?

20. If I'm seeing signs that say "Outlook good," "You may rely on it," "Try again later" or "My sources say no," what are you looking at?

The answers are here. Special thanks to Nancy Friedman, Dan Goss, Jack Mingo, Jim Goulder, Herb Mager, Andrea Behr and Bill Van Niekerken. Please address complaints, corrections, admonitions, emendations and discreet raillery to the e-mail address listed below, attached as it is to a lovely poem by Lewis Carroll from "Alice in Wonderland."

A few queries about movie stars, condiments, literary lions and the Forefeast of Theophany.

How doth the little crocodile improve his shining tail, and pour the waters of the Nile on every shining scale. How cheerfully he seems to grin, how neatly spreads his claws, and welcomes little fishes in with gently smiling jcarroll@sfchronicle.com.