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The 20th annual Xmas quiz answers
Jon Carroll
Wednesday, December 26, 2001
©2001 San Francisco Chronicle

SO HERE THEY are, the best darn answers I can come up with. Let the quarreling and the carping begin; it's a holiday tradition.

1. The 10 languages are Mandarin, Spanish, English, Bengali, Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, Arabic, German and Japanese.

2. Those are the names of the kings of spades, hearts, diamond and clubs, followed by the queens and the jacks. When the design of playing cards was formalized in 1816, the face cards were all given names. They are all the names of real historical or mythological figures except Argine, which is an anagram of "Regina."

3. There's no large land mass due south of San Francisco until Antarctica. The first large nation due east of Miami is Morocco, specifically that portion of it known as Western Sahara. Due north of London, there's nothing until the polar ice cap, which is not a land mass, so the answer would be Russia -- only the plane would be moving south again. And the first nation due south of Beijing is Brunei, on the island of Borneo.

4. The movies in the first set were directed by Robert Altman. The second set of movies all had performances by Susan Sarandon. The third set of movies all had performances by Tommy Lee Jones. The fourth set of movies all start with the letter P.

5. The books in the first group are all set primarily in New York City. The second group are all by Anthony Powell, from his 12-volume "A Dance to the Music of Time"; the third group are all by Elmore Leonard; the fourth group all start with the letter M.

6. The correct order would be: adagio, lento, andante, allegro.

7. .THE PROPHET STARTED preaching around 611 C.E. in Mecca. He died in 632. Jerusalem was conquered in 638; the first Muslim kingdom in Spain was established around 715. (Yes, it all happened darned fast.) Followers of Ali ibn Abi Talib formed the Shiite branch of Islam.

8. a) They are all parts of a helicopter; b) They are all parts of a baseball catcher's uniform; c) they are all parts of a diesel train engine; d) they are all parts of a door.

9. Twenty-three states or parts of states are north of some part of Canada - - check out the location of Point Pelee in Ontario, which is south of, for starters, all of New England.

10. The recipients of the Pulitzer special citations were: Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein, for "Oklahoma!" (1944); Alex Haley, for "Roots" (1977); Art Spiegelman, for "Maus" (1992); E.B. White (1978) and Dr. Seuss (1984), just for being themselves.

11. There are seven barrels (roughly) in a ton of oil, and 42 gallons in a barrel. Thus, the Exxon Valdez, at about 35,000 tons, is a mere drop in the ocean compared with the 600,000 tons at Ixtoc 1.

12. HERE ARE THE complete quotations: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." "Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim." "Perhaps the only true dignity of man is his capacity to despise himself." I'm not sure about that last one, but you know how George can get.

13. Actually, that's a quotation from the Ithaca chapter of "Ulysses" by James Joyce, which I put in because I wanted to. If you got it, you get a lovely star above your bed yes yes yes you do yes.

Many thanks to Melanie Downey, Curt Reeves and Mark Hokoda. Remember, the questions for these answers can be found at

The last bits of 4 and 5 are a little dodgy, but I will defend 13 forever.

When Caroline Meeber boarded the afternoon train for Chicago, her total outfit consisted of a small trunk, a cheap imitation alligator-skin satchel, a small lunch in a paper box, and a yellow leather snap purse, containing her ticket, a scrap of paper wit

©2001 San Francisco Chronicle   Page D - 12