Sunday, March 25, 2018

10Q (March 24, 2018)

[For most of the images, larger versions can be viewed by clicking on them]

1. John William Hessing was a soldier from the Netherlands, initially in the employ of the Dutch East India Company in Ceylon. After the British overpowered the Dutch in 1781 and annexed all their sub-continental holdings, Colonel Hessing continued the fight as a mercenary, first in the employ of the Nizam of Hyderabad, and later the Marathas. He was rewarded with the prestigious command of the Agra Fort, which he retained for almost two decades, dying in battle on 21 July, 1803 defending the fort against the British. In commemoration, his wife Ann reversed the story of a then 170-year-old labour of love, and built him a tomb of red sandstone which has come to be known as the Red [X], less than 10km from the original [X]. What is [X]?

2. Which French poet, whom Victor Hugo described as "an infant Shakespeare", produced his best known works while still in his late teens, and gave up creative writing altogether before the age of 21? He is seen seated second from left in this 1872 painting, with his lover Paul Verlaine at extreme left.

3. [Y] Day is an unofficial holiday celebrated among chemists on October 23, between 6:02 AM and 6:02 PM, making the date 6:02 10/23 in the American style of writing dates. What is [Y], also the name of a creature of the Talpidae family?

4. This vehicle was originally called a [Z] Hanseat, a brand belonging to the German company Oscar Vidal und Sohn [Z]-Werk GmbH. Three-wheeled trucks, vans and the curious soft-top passenger taxi you see in the second image were manufactured in India under license by Bajaj-[Z] from 1960 until 2000. In Madhya Pradesh, it is affectionately called a bhatsuar – a 'stuttering mechanical pig'. The name [Z] has since disappeared in Germany, but is still a generic term in India, for small transport vehicles. What is [Z]?

5. In the printing and typesetting industry, this is a two-word term for dummy text. It has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was popularised in the 1960s with the release of Letraset sheets containing _____ _____ passages, and more recently with desktop publishing software like PageMaker including versions of this dummy text. The term comes from the following lines in 'De Finibus Bonorum et Malorum' ('The Extremes of Good and Evil') by Cicero, written in 45 BC, a treatise on the theory of ethics, very popular during the Renaissance: "Neque porro quisquam est qui _______ _____ quia dolor sit amet, consectetur, adipisci velit..." ("There is no one who loves pain itself, who seeks after it and wants to have it, simply because it is pain..."). What is the term?

6. The ancient Chaldean word 'Gizbar', which means 'treasurer', has led to a number of names in European languages, including the Dutch Jasper and the Danish Jesper. Give me two of these derivatives[A], which one would associate with a convivial supernatural entity; and [B], the name of a nobleman after whom a fort that once stood in the Miramar area of Panjim was named.

7. Who is this, reciting his own translations of whose poetry? [Two answers required]
[Audio clip]

8. While working in the postal service of the Council of Europe in the 1950s, Arsène Heitz, an Austrian draughtsman submitted 21 of the 101 designs for [C] that are conserved in the Council of Europe Archives. One of these designs, inspired by the twelve-star halo of the Virgin Mary, often portrayed in Roman Catholic art,  was the one finally chosen. In 2002, Dutch architect [D] and his architecture firm Office for Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) suggested a new design in response to Commission President Romano Prodi's request to find ways of rebranding the European Union in a way that represents Europe's "diversity and unity". The proposed new design, shown here, was dubbed the [E], and has also been compared unfavourably to wallpaper, a TV test card and deckchair fabric. What are [C], [D], and [E]?

9. Name this dramatic adaptation of the tiatr format, written in English and directed by Sunil Shanbag. Set on a Goan river island in the 1970s, the play is named for the bhatkar's son's Anglo-Indian girlfriend. The play was first staged in Mumbai in April 2016 as part of the Aadyam theatre initiative of the Aditya Birla group.

10. This drug cartel in Mexico was founded by a small group of Mexican Army Special Forces deserters and now includes corrupt former federal, state, and local police officers. The group's name comes from its first leader, Lieutenant Arturo Guzman Decena, whose Federal Judicial Police radio code was "Z1", a code given to high-ranking officers. What are they called, from a Greek / Latin / Spanish word equivalent to the letter 'Z'?

1. Taj Mahal
2. Arthur Rimbaud
3. Mole
The naming is derived from Avogadro's number, which is approximately 6.02×10^23, defining the number of particles (atoms or molecules) in one mole of substance, one of the seven base SI units.
4. Tempo
5. Lorem Ipsum

6. [A] Casper, [B] Gaspar (Dias)
7. Watch...
Gulzar, Rabindranath Tagore
8. [C] EU flag [D] Rem Koolhaas [E] Barcode
9. 'Loretta'
10. Los Zetas

Monday, March 19, 2018

10Q (March 19, 2018)

[For most of the images, larger versions can be viewed by clicking on them]

1. You may have heard of Sake Dean Mohamed, the first person to open an Indian restaurant in Britain. While the restaurant didn't work out, in 1814 Mohamed and his Irish wife Jane moved to Brighton and opened a public bath-house, also the first of its kind in England. The bath-house was very popular, and both King George IV and his successor William IV were among the customers. It was billed as a 'health resort', specialising in '_______ing', a word derived from a certain Indian activity. This was hugely successful, and resulted in Mohamed being appointed _______ing Surgeon to both George IV and William IV. What's the blanked-out word (both blanks are the same)?

2. An [X] was the basic tactical unit of the Roman army following the reforms of Gaius Marius in 107 BCE, with a legion consisting of ten [X]s, named the first [X], the second [X] and so on. The first [X] was considered to be the most senior and prestigious, and the tenth the least. Each [X] consisted of six 'centuries' of 80 men.
(a) What is [X], currently also used in scientific, especially biological, contexts?
(b) The [X] sagittaria was a specialised auxiliary unit consisting of what type of soldiers?

3. Watch this video clip.

If you have trouble playing the Youtube video, you can download the clip from here.
This is an age-old form of Hindu religious discourse known as Harikatha or Katha Kalakshepa, popular in Andhra Pradesh, in which Haridasus go around villages singing devotional songs telling the stories of Vishnu. Who, according to Hindu mythology, was the first Harikatha singer?

4. This is Mona E. Simpson (born Mona Jandali, June 14, 1957), a prize-winning American author and professor of English. She is also the biological younger sister of a person whom she first met when she was 25 years old, after he tracked down his birth mother, Joanne Carole Schieble, who had had him out of wedlock in 1955 and given him up for adoption. The siblings developed a close friendship, but kept their relationship secret until 1986, when Simpson introduced her brother at the book party for her first novel, 'Anywhere But Here'. Her first three books, 'Anywhere But Here' (1986), 'The Lost Father' (1992) and 'A Regular Guy' (1996) were based on her mother, father and brother, respectively. Who was her brother?

5. What nine-letter English word borrowed directly from Italian, that is used to refer to a confused, messy situation (as in the titles of these books), shares its origins with a common culinary term meaning 'to roast'?

6. Born in Junagadh in pre-Independence India, he was coached early on by a Gujarati named Jaomal Naomal, and late in life said that he wished Partition had never taken place. He was 16 when he first toured India in 1951-52, celebrating his 17th birthday during the Test series. His precocity impressed Jawaharlal Nehru – who specially asked to be introduced to him in New Delhi – as well as many other Indians, some of whom woke up the Pakistani cricketers at railway stations as they criss-crossed the country, demanding to see the boy wonder. His team-mates were so impressed by this adulation that they nicknamed him 'Dilip', after Dilip Kumar, himself originally from Peshawar and once named Yusuf Khan. Who?

7. Predatory insects of the genera Vespula and Dolichovespula, known simply as wasps in most English-speaking countries, are in North America known by a two-word name based on their distinctive colouring. This name has also been used as the name of multiple superheroes and supervillains, including at least one of each by Marvel Comics. A mutant version also turns up in 'The Hunger Games', in the form of the 'tracker jacker', a genetically mutated species that's lethal due to its repeated stings. Its most visible place in American popular culture is as a mascot, most famously with the Georgia Tech ______ _______ American football team, represented by the mascot Buzz (below). Fill in the blanks.

8. This Hollywood actor comes from a Swedish noble family descended from the cavalry lieutenant Nils Gunnarsson ____, ennobled in 1652 with the addition of the Swedish word for 'Golden' to his surname. In an interview related to the première of the movie 'Prince of Persia' in 2010, the actor jokingly told an interviewer that his last name was pronounced "Yil-en-hoo-luh-hay", poking fun at Americans' difficulties with pronunciation of foreign words. Who? [Need full name for the full point]

9. PCOs in many parts of India are using SIM boxes such as the one shown below to achieve a transformation that is often used by phishing rackets in which people are duped by calls purporting to have been made from their banks. What do these SIM boxes do?

10. This is an extract from "The Sedan Also Rises", a 2015 article about the hunt for a 1955 Chrysler New Yorker belonging to [Z]: "It seems to be one of the few items from [Z]’s entire life that hasn’t been preserved. His birth certificate hangs in his boyhood home in Oak Park, Illinois. His wooden skis adorn the wall of Sloppy Joe’s bar in Key West. His childhood scrapbook is searchable online ... Generations after his death, he still attracts pilgrims who follow his footsteps from Petoskey, Michigan to Pamplona, Spain. It’s not his books that inspire lookalikes to sweat on the streets of Key West every summer for his birthday celebration. It’s his image as a man who lived life intensely. For devotees, to sit at his barstool or stand in his study or peek at the 'Pilar' is to touch a little bit of the man. These objects are relics in a shrine." Identify [Z].

1. Shampoo (from the Hindi 'champi')
2. (a) Cohort (b) Archers
3. Narada 
4. Steve Jobs
5. Imbroglio, cognate with 'broil'
6. Hanif Mohammad
7. Yellow Jacket
8. Jake Gyllenhaal
9. It translates international data calls into voice calls
10. Ernest Hemingway

Sunday, March 11, 2018

10Q (March 11, 2018)

[For most of the images, larger versions can be viewed by clicking on them]

1. La Madone des Motards, known in English as the festival of the Madonna of the [X] (it's a plural word), is promoted as the largest “pilgrimage” of its kind in France. Begun in 1979 by a local abbot as an event for himself and 37 friends, it annually attracts 10,000-plus participants from across Europe to the fields of Porcaro, population 650, in Brittany. What is [X]?

2. In biological studies, 'in vitro' refers to studies or experiments conducted outside the living body and in an artificial environment. In contrast, 'in vivo' refers to studies or experiments that are performed in the living body of a plant or animal. What are experiments conducted 'in silico', a term coined by mathematician Pedro Miramontes in his 1989 report "DNA and RNA Physicochemical Constraints, Cellular Automata and Molecular Evolution"?

3. A former industrialist born and raised in a conservative Hindu family in Burma, S.N. Goenka (photo above) stumbled upon this form of meditation while searching for a ‘cure’ for his migraines. He reached out to local teacher U Ba Khin, who refused him at first, chiding him for looking at an ancient way of meditation for something so mundane. Not to be deterred, Goenka handed over his business to his family, and spent the rest of his life learning and teaching the techniques. In 1969, he came back to India and re-introduced it here (the teaching had been lost over the years) and set up the first meditation centre.
(a) What technique? (b) In which small town in Nashik district in Maharashtra did he set up the first centre?

4. Betta splendens, also known as the betta, is a popular species of freshwater aquarium fish (photo above). The name of the genus is derived from ikan bettah, taken from a Malay dialect. The wild ancestors of this fish are native to the rice paddies of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam and are called pla-kad (meaning 'biting fish') in Thai. Tending to be rather aggressive, they have been used for 'battles' since prior to the 19th century in south-east Asia. Seeing the popularity of these encounters, King Nongklao started licensing and collecting these fish in the 1840s. What common name are they known by in English?

5. Developed for US military use in the late 2000s by a team at Ekso Bionics under a licensing agreement from Lockheed Martin, what kind of device / mode of transport is the Human Universal Load Carrier, or HULC?

6. The blurb on this non-fiction book cover is by its author's well-known sister, whose name and description have been blanked out. Name her.

7. Having been forgotten on the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I, this tiny principality remained legally at war with Germany till 1958, when it formally 'declared peace'. Which country nestled between two larger nations?

8. A vaquero is a horse-mounted livestock herder of a tradition that originated on the Iberian Peninsula, and remains a part of the doma vaquera, the Spanish tradition of working riding. Vaquero traditions that developed in Mexico from these Spanish antecedents also became the foundation for the North American cowboy. This is reflected in what word for a cowboy, especially one in the California region of the US, that derives from the word 'vaquero'?

9. I was asked this year to be one of the judges for the Publishing Next Award for Cover of the Year. This was one of the designs submitted. Identify the author. [Enlarge the picture to read the author bio.]

10. These are two early-life memoirs of which famous author?

1. Bikers
2. Biological experiments carried out entirely in a computer simulation
3. (a) Vipassana (b) Igatpuri
4. Siamese fighting fish
Nongklao was King Rama III of the Chakri dynasty, predecessor and half-brother of King Mongkut or Rama IV, whose life was the subject of the book 'Anna and the King of Siam' (also made into a film), and the subsequent musical 'The King and I'.
5. An exoskeleton
It is an un-tethered, hydraulic-powered anthropomorphic exoskeleton, designed to help soldiers in combat carry a load of up to 90 kg at a top speed of 10 miles per hour for extended periods of time.
6. Mindy Kaling, whose real name is Vera Mindy Chokalingam
7. Andorra
8. Buckaroo
9. M. Veerappa Moily
10. Roald Dahl

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

10Q (March 6, 2018)

[For most of the images, larger versions can be viewed by clicking on them]

1. According to Sri Lankan legends, when the Buddha died in 543 BCE (or thereabouts), his body was cremated in a sandalwood pyre at Kushinagar, and his left canine tooth was retrieved from the funeral pyre by Arahat Khema, who then gave it to King Brahmadatta for veneration. Brahmadatta kept it in his capital city of Danta____, where it remained for a long while before continuing its journey to its final resting place.
As per Vedic writings, though, the place was originally called Purushamandama-grama meaning the place where the creator deity of the world was deified on a mandapa. Over time the name got changed to Purushottama ____, and later to just ____.
These are alternative explanations of what city name, that is said to be cognate with the Greek 'polis'? (All blanks above are the same.)

2. What object of household use gets its name from the biological genus of these fruit classified in the cucumber (Cucurbitaceae) family, specifically X aegyptiaca and X acutangula?

3. The Swiss corporation Phœbus S.A. Compagnie Industrielle pour le Développement de l'Éclairage (French for Phoebus, Inc. Industrial Company for the Development of Lighting) that existed from 1925 to 1955, was actually a front for a number of companies including Osram, Philips, Tungsram, Associated Electrical Industries, ELIN, Compagnie des Lampes, International General Electric, and the GE Overseas Group,which held shares in the Swiss corporation proportional to their lamp sales. Known after the fatcs came to light as the Phoebus cartel, the group engaged in large-scale planned obsolescence, reduced competition in the light bulb industry, and has been accused of preventing technological advances that would have produced longer-lasting light bulbs. Who in Greek mythology did the cartel take its name from? (In other words, Phoebus, which means 'bright' in Greek, was one of the alternative names for whom?)

4. Apco Worldwide is an American lobby group and PR firm which has, among other 'achievements', run an image-improvement campaign for the US financial industry at the height of its troubles in the early 2010s; helped keep Kazakhstan dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev in power; and handled crises as diverse as Merck & Co's scandal involving Vioxx, the arthritis drug that killed thousands before it was withdrawn, and Ford Motor's troubles with Firestone tires on its Explorer vehicles. Its first venture into India in 2007 was for a person who has since used them to great effect, in helping to promote and rebrand a showpiece investor meeting. What name did they come up for the biennial event?

5. The circulation of engravings such as this one were significant contributors to the anti-colonial fervour in America in the 1770s. What event does it depict, and who made the engraving?

6. Listen to this audio clip.
This is from a 2003 reggae version of a famous rock album. The name of the tribute album, produced by Easy Star All-Stars, is the same as that of the original album, but with one key word changed. (a) Name the tribute album.
Included with the liner notes of the tribute are instructions on how to synchronise the album with a 1939 film and produce a variation of the perceived "____ ____ of the Rainbow" effect. (b) Which movie?

7. Incorporated in 1948, it claims to be the largest exporter of viscose rayon fibre in the country, with exports to over 50 countries. It is headquartered in Nagda in Madhya Pradesh, and also has plants at Kharach (Kosamba, Gujarat) and Harihar (Davangere, Karnataka). The company's products include Freedom ("the softest fabric available"), Ice Touch ("fabric which keeps body temperature five degrees cooler"), Uncrushables ("first wrinkle-free polyester viscose fabric"), Venetia ("designs inspired from Italy") and Caramel ("soft, smooth and lightweight fabric"). Name the company, associated for a long time with a beauty pageant.

8. On 16 October 1834, a fire broke out at an historic location, after an overheated stove used to destroy a stockpile of tally sticks set fire to one of its most hallowed chambers. The resulting conflagration destroyed a significant part of the complex. The artist J.M.W. Turner watched the fire from a vantage point, and painted several canvasses depicting it, including the one shown below. (a) What were the buildings involved in the disaster, that were swiftly rebuilt, and ready for use by February the following year?
Immediately after the fire, King William IV offered an almost-completed building as an alternative, hoping to dispose of a residence he disliked. The building was considered unsuitable for the proposed use, however, and the gift was rejected. (b) What building?

9. What reversal of parenting roles occurs in only one species of mammal, the Dayak fruit bat shown here?

10. The record for the maximum ODI centuries on a single cricket ground is seven, achieved by three different batsmen. Ricky Ponting did it at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. On which ground did both Saeed Anwar and Sachin Tendulkar hit seven centuries?

1. Puri, in Odisha
2. Loofah, from luffa
3. Apollo, god of, among other things, light
4. Vibrant Gujarat (their client being, of course, Narendra Modi)
5. The Boston Massacre, by Paul Revere
6. (a) 'Dub Side of the Moon' (b) 'The Wizard of Oz'
7. Grasim Industries Limited, which has since diversified into building materials and chemicals, and from 1992 to 2012 sponsored the Grasim Mr India competition

8. (a) The British Houses of Parliament at Westminster (b) Buckingham Palace
9. Milk production and nursing is done by the male of the species
10. Sharjah

Saturday, February 24, 2018

10Q (February 24, 2018)

[For most of the images, larger versions can be viewed by clicking on them]

1. This image depicts St X of Y, a 4th-century Bishop nicknamed the Doctor of Grace whose writings were very influential in the development of Western Christianity. He is the patron saint of brewers, printers, theologians, sore eyes, and a number of cities and dioceses. An order named after him built a church (also named after him) on Monte Santo in Old Goa between 1597 and 1602, which was abandoned in 1835 due to repressive government policies, and has fallen into ruin since.
Y is a place in modern-day Algeria that was the site of a number of church councils and synods in the 4th and 5th century CE. Its name comes not from the Latin for 'horse' but the Punic 'ûbôn', meaning 'harbour'. Name the good doctor.

2. Who, in 1917, formed the Socialist Party that soon became the Communist Party of Mexico, the first Communist Party formed outside Russia, before forming the Communist Party of his own country in, of all places, Tashkent in 1920?

3. The circulation of entries such as the ones below for a 1998 contest organised by online magazine Salon led to what persistent myth on the Internet?

Yesterday it worked.
Today it is not working.
_______ is like that.

Three things are certain:
Death, taxes, and lost ____.
Guess which has occurred.

Everything is gone;
Your life's work has been destroyed.
Squeeze trigger (yes/no)?

4. The name of the male in this pair of fairy-tale characters is an affectionate diminutive of one Germanic version of the name John, effectively meaning 'little John' in German. The name of the female is short for Margarete. What fairy tale whose title is the name of these two characters?

5. Who in Hindu mythology is originally called Bhargava Rama, using the name of his kul, but later gets named for the weapon that he wields?

6. The Quds Force is a special unit of Iran's Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution (usually called the Revolutionary Guard). It has been tasked with "exporting" Iran's Islamic revolution, and is responsible for "extraterritorial operations" of the Revolutionary Guard. What is Quds the Arabic for?

7. This picture shows a technology called OptimEyes in operation at one of Britain's biggest retailer Tesco's petrol stations. The technology, which Tesco said is like something out of 'Minority Report', was blasted by privacy campaigners when it launched. What does OptimEyes do? [Disclaimer: I had first put this info away some five years ago. When I do a search now, I can't locate anything about it more recent than that, so I don't know if Tesco is still using it.]

8. The X are an indigenous people, the majority of whom live in Meghalaya, with small populations in neighbouring Assam, and in parts of Bangladesh. Their language, also called X, is the northernmost Austro-Asiatic language. This language was essentially oral until the arrival of European missionaries. A Welsh missionary, Thomas Jones, transcribed the alphabet in Roman script as shown below. What is X which, in a different Indian language, would sound like an ailment or affliction?

9. In 2010, publishers Frederick Warne & Co. sent this Oscar-winning British actor and screenwriter (she has won BAFTAs and Academy Awards in both categories) a box containing half-eaten radishes and a letter from Peter Rabbit asking her to write him another adventure. Over the next few years, she produced these three sequels to Beatrix Potter's original. Who?

10. The component parts of the name of which financial institution come from the Dutch word for 'general' and the names of the cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam?

1. St Augustine of Hippo
2. Manabendra Nath Roy, generally known simply as M. N. Roy, who later also founded the Communist Party of India. 
He had fled, via Indonesia, Japan and the US, to Mexico after unsuccessfully attempting to launch an armed insurrection against British rule in India in the first decade of the 20th century. In Mexico, he became associated with like-minded revolutionaries, including then President Venustiano Carranza, and formed the Socialist Party. 
3. That Windows' Japanese edition uses haiku error messages
4. Hansel and Gretel.
Hansel is a form of Hans, which itself comes from Johannes.
5. Parashurama ('parashu' means 'axe')
6. In this context, it's the Arabic for Jerusalem
7. It scans customers' faces so that advertising can be tailored to their age and gender
8. Khasi
9. Emma Thompson
10. ABN AMRO Bank
In 1991, Algemene Bank Nederland (ABN – meaning 'General Bank Netherlands') and AMRO Bank (itself the result of a merger of the Amsterdamsche Bank and the Rotterdamsche Bank in the 1960s) merged to create the original ABN AMRO.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

10Q (February 20, 2018)

[For most of the images, larger versions can be viewed by clicking on them]

1. The X Challenge, a promotional initiative for the movie X, hit social media recently. Alia Bhatt did it hanging upside down from some equipment in a gym; Anil Kapoor and Rajkummar Rao did it outside a pharmacy somewhere in Punjab, prompting Sonam Kapoor to tweet: "Woohoo!! Dad this is fantastic! I am who I am because of you and how you think! #progressive #feminist #artist #BestDad"; Ravi Shastri did it at his hotel in South Africa; Diana Penty did it with a bunch of friends, all of them pointing fingers at her.
What is X?
Who took the challenge and posted the following tweet with his photo? [Half points for an explanation, 1 point for the name]
"Yes that’s a Y in my hand & there's nothing to be ashamed about. It's natural! Period. #StandByHer Copy, Paste this & Challenge your friends to take a photo with a Y!"
Y is part of the name X, and you don't have to tell me what it is (I'm shy that way).

2. A band called Siervas, which is Spanish for "servants” or "those who serve", is a group of 12 unconventional female members who come from Argentina, China, the Philippines, Chile, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru and Japan. Their first music video, "Confía en Dios” recorded in Lima, Peru, was released in October 2015, and notched up nearly 1.25 million views. What is the common vocation of the group members?
You can listen to the song here.

3. For most of the 1920s and part of the '30s, the man in the picture below quit art and devoted his life to learning and playing chess. Later, after doing quite well at several international tournaments, he realised that he had got as good as he was ever going to be and was never going to make it to the top flight in the world. He then returned to his Cubist and Dadaist art. His gravestone epitaph roughly translates in English to “Anyway, it’s always other people who die.” Who?

4. This is a song from the film '1920'. Identify the singer and also name the music director, who is of late an Indian.

5. This design, still persistent though obsolete, was created by Christopher Latham Sholes in 1873 for the Sholes and Glidden __________ and sold to X in the same year. While it is often said that it was designed to slow things down, this is incorrect – it was designed to prevent jams. The design of what, and who or what is X?

6. Polish pianist-composer Ignacy Jan Paderewski has a star on the Hollwood Walk of Fame. How does that make him unique in terms of people so honoured?

7. Watch this video clip.

That is Elvis singing the German children's song "Muss i denn" in a 1960 movie, where it's part of an English adaptation. What is the Elvis song called in English, and what's the film (appropriate given he was posted as a soldier in Germany at the time)?
The same tune appears in the form of some "ku-ru-ku"ing in a song from a 1971 Hindi film based on the Tamil movie 'Server Sundaram'. Name the song (the initial few words after the ku-ru-ku will suffice).

8. The Oxford Group, a non-denominational movement modelled on 1st-century Christianity. One of its 'Groupers', Ebby Thacher, found membership in the group an aid in avoiding one of his major vices, and recruited buddy Bill Wilson, who also found that it helped him. What did Bill W. go on to found as a result?

9.  The most recent one fell on April 4 two years ago. The next one will be on May 5 seven years from now. One suggested way of celebrating it is by eating dishes like the one being cooked here. What is this 'holiday'? (It has a three-word name.)

10.  This restaurant and entertainment venue in Stockholm is based on the Greek taverna featured in which 2008 musical?

1. 'Padman', Muruganathan (the actual chap the movie is based on)

2. Watch the video

They are all nuns
3. Marcel Duchamp
4. Pandit Jasraj, Adnan Sami
5. The QWERTY design of a typewriter and now computer keyboard, X is Remington
6. The only European head of government with a star (he served as Prime Minister of Poland between the World Wars)
7. Watch ...

"Wooden Heart" from 'GI Blues'
Here is the Hindi song

"Do Mastaane" from 'Main Sunder Hoon'
8. Alcoholics Anonymous
9. Square Root Day -- 4/4/16, 5/5/25, etc (and root vegetable cut into squares, get it?)
10. This one.

'Mamma Mia!' 
It is the brainchild of ex-ABBA member Benny Ulvaes, who's the guy in the picture.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

10Q (February 10, 2018)

[For most of the images, larger versions can be viewed by clicking on them]

1. You might imagine that this World Heritage Site, National Park and Ramsar Site is named for its natural beauty, but it's actually named after the local name for the mangrove species Heritiera fomes (whose flowers are shown here), that are found there in large numbers. Which cross-border site?

2. [Audio link] These are the opening lines of the audiobook version of a novel first published in 1923. Identify the actor who did the recording, and name the character he is 'playing'. If you can identify the book – only the second to feature its protagonist and the first set outside England – from this scant sample, an additional 2 points!

3. What word used originally for a medieval contest between groups of knights on horseback, deriving from the Old French for 'to joust', was first used the way it currently is – in the context of other sports and games – in 1761?

4. The bottles in the photo below contain liquids composed of X, propylene glycol, glycerine, and flavourings. They are used to refill devices known, besides other common names, as ECs, ENDS and PVs. What are these devices, and what is X (it's the expansion of one of the letters in one of the abbreviations mentioned here)?

5. In Hindu theology, the six passions of the mind – negative characteristics that prevent people from attaining moksha or salvation – are kama (lust), krodha (anger), lobh (greed), moha (attachment), mada or ahankar (pride) and matsarya (Y). What are they collectively known as, and what is Y (that is, 'matsarya' in English)?

6. This type of simple, reversible line embroidery stitch (left, in the image below) is named for the 16th-century portrait painter (right top) best known for his paintings of Henry VIII (such as the one right below) and his children, almost all of whom are depicted wearing clothing decorated with blackwork embroidery. What is it called?

7. What is known in defence services terminology as a brown-water navy?

8. The construction of this Tudor-style edifice with fortified towers, battlements and turrets was started in 1862 and completed in 1944. In 1884, it was bought by the British guardians of the minor Maharaja Chamarajendra Wadiyar X, to serve as a place of residence during the course of his education and administrative training. It is known by the name of the city where it stands. What is it called?

9. Theron, who is the headmaster of the Collegium Magikos located in the Himalayas, is the father and teacher of which fictional character?

10. The two people in this photo were known to be good friends. In 1976, in Mexico City, the guy on the left (let's call him A) attended a screening of the film 'La Odisea de los Andes', for which the other man (B) had written the script. Spotting his friend, A went to embrace him. B, however, punched him in the face, knocking him down and giving him a black eye. Ever since, literary people in Latin America have wondered why. One story is that A had told a mutual friend that he found B's wife Patricia less than beautiful. A second is that Patricia, suspecting that B was having an affair, had asked A what she should do about it, and A had told her to leave him. The cause of this famous falling-out remains unknown. Who are these two?

1. The Sundarbans, named after the Sundari tree
2. Hugh Fraser (who played the character in the popular TV series) playing Captain Hastings in 'The Murder on the Links'

3. Tournament (or tourney), from 'tornoier'
4. Electronic cigarettes, nicotine [visual]
The abbreviations expand, respectively to electronic cigarettes, electronic nicotine delivery systems, and personal vapourisers (hence vapes and vaping).

5. Arishadvarga, jealousy
6. Holbein stitch, named after Hans Holbein the Younger
7. A naval force that carries out military operations in river or littoral environments. 
The term originated in the US Navy during the Vietnam War, used for the small gunboats and patrol boats used in rivers, along with some of the larger ships that support them as 'mother ships'. The US Naval Operations Concept document defines blue water as "the open ocean", green water as "coastal waters, ports and harbors", and brown water as "navigable rivers and their estuaries"
8. Bangalore Palace (not Mysore, though he obviously was from Mysore, but that palace has obviously existed from way before)
9. Mandrake the Magician

10. Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Mario Varga Llosa

Saturday, February 3, 2018

10Q (February 2, 2018)

[For most of the images, larger versions can be viewed by clicking on them]

1. The word for what annual event comes from the French word for a purse or a small bag, which is why there's usually a handy briefcase involved?

2. In US prison slang, what is a 'four-piece suit'?

3. Name subject and (rather surprising) artist of this sketch made c. 1656 - c. 1658.

4. The area that is now this cricket ground was originally a lake, and there were plans to connect it to the sea by a canal to make it an alternative inner city harbour. However, the massive 1855 Wairarapa earthquake uplifted the area nearly 1.8 m and turned the lake into a swamp. The local city council accepted a proposal that the new land be drained and made into a recreational area, and in 1863 prisoners from the Mount Cook Gaol began to level and drain the new land. Which cricket ground is this (its name reflects its origins), and in which city is it?

5. It is the national animal of Guyana, and features in the country's coat of arms. It also appears on Brazilian currency notes. What English name for the Panthera onca comes from a Tupi word for the creature?

6. This is a clip from a single-season seven-episode soap opera titled 'X Heights' that was shot in a commercial location in Burbank, California, in 2009, without the people who ran the place getting to know about it. What is X?
If you have any problem viewing the YouTube video above, you can access the clip here.

7. Amini, Kadmat, Kiltan, Chetlat and Bitra constitute a group of islands that came under the rule of Tipu Sultan in 1787. They passed to British control after the Third Anglo-Mysore War and were attached to the South Canara Collectorate of the Madras Presidency. What is this group of islands called, and which Indian Union Territory are they now part of? The name of the UT used to contain the name of this island group till 1973, when it was given its current name.

8. The name of the crystal that the wine goblet shown below is made from comes from a Greek term that can be translated as 'not drunken'. This is rooted in the belief that it is a strong antidote against drunkenness. In his poem "L'_________, ou les Amours de Bacchus et d'_________" ("_______ or the Loves of Bacchus and _________"), the 16th-century French poet Remy Belleau invented a myth in which Bacchus, the god of intoxication, wine and grapes, was pursuing a maiden named _________, who refused his affections. She prayed to the gods to remain chaste, a prayer which the goddess Diana answered, transforming her into a white stone. Humbled by her desire to remain chaste, Bacchus poured wine over the stone as an offering, dyeing the crystals purple. Name the maiden / crystal. [Different forms of the name fit all the blanks above.]

9. The four-in-hand, Pratt or Shelby, half-Windsor and Windsor are all types of what? [Specific answer, containing at least two words, required.]

10. This is the unusually-named St. Olav’s Church on Dr. Bishwanath Jot Sarani at Tin Bazar, one of 100 buildings that were constructed between 1755 and 1845, when the town it is situated in was called Frederiksnagore. What is the current name of the town, named after an avatar of Vishnu, and which colonial power ruled it at the time?

1. The presentation of the Budget (which comes from 'bougette')

2. A full set of restraints, composed of handcuffs, leg irons and waist chain

3. Shah Jahan by Rembrandt
4. Basin Reserve, Wellington
5. Jaguar

6. Watch the title sequence 
Titled Ikea Heights, the show is a comedic melodrama in which the characters live in a society of the same name inside an Ikea store. The characters are aware that they exist in an Ikea store but never comment on the ridiculousness of the concept. Sometimes, non-actors in the store accidentally end up being a part of the show – for example in the second episode, in which a detective investigates a murder by walking up to unassuming Ikea attendants and asking for clues.
7. Aminidivi islands, part of Lakshadweep (originally Laccadive, Minicoy and Aminidivi Islands)
8. Amethyst
9. Necktie knots

10. Serampore (locally Srirampur), which was a Danish outpost