Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Random Question (December 24, 2013)

Q. The two people shown in this picture, leaving the field after the second day’s play between Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana at the Queen’s Park Oval in March this year, together achieved something that has never happened in any international match, and only a few times in all first-class cricket. What?

A. Father and son playing in the same cricket match.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul's son Tagenarine made his first-class debut for Guyana in Feburary, aged only 16. In his fourth match, against Trinidad and Tobago in Port-of-Spain in March, he played alongside his father, who made a valiant 108 in the second innings as Guyana fell 45 short of their victory target of 376. 

Cricinfo says: There has never yet been an instance of a father and son playing alongside each other in a Test match, the nearest approach being that Chris Cairns' Test debut for New Zealand was only four years after his father Lance's final appearance. There have been a few instances in first-class cricket, though, the most recent being in April 1996, when Heath Streak's 46-year-old father Denis was called up, owing to a player shortage, to play alongside his son for Matabeleland in Zimbabwe's Logan Cup final. Most of the other instances came in county cricket in England quite a long time ago: there was one celebrated Championship match, in Derby in June 1922, in which father-and-son Bestwicks, playing for Derbyshire, bowled to father-and-son Quaifes for Warwickshire.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Random Question (December 14, 2013)

Q. In the light of recent events, the shape of this building as seen on Google Earth is evoking some ironic commentary on social networks. What building is it?

A. The Supreme Court of India

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Random Question (November 30, 2013)

Q. The only species in its genus, Ithaginis cruentus is widespread and fairly common in the eastern Himalayas, ranging across India, Nepal, Bhutan and China. It is the state bird of Sikkim. It gets its common English name from its splashes of colour. What is it called?

A. Blood Pheasant

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Random Question (November 26, 2013)

Q. Which computer software product gets its name from a term used by developers to refer to the user interface elements of a software, as opposed to the working space it provides the user?

A. Google Chrome.

Here's an article that explains the terminology: http://www.nngroup.com/articles/browser-and-gui-chrome/

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Random Question (November 13, 2013)

Q. This device is meant to deal with a problem known in medical terms as 'enuresis'. What is that in plain English?

A. Bedwetting.

It is an alarm system that goes off at the first hint of moisture (a detector is placed on the underwear). It supposedly works well over time, training the unconscious brain to link the signs of impending bedwetting with the need to wake up. 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Random Question (November 5, 2013)

Q. What's the connection?

A. Shilton D'Silva (on the right), one of India's up-and-coming football stars, was named after Peter Shilton (on the left) by his father Sydney D'Silva, who was also a footballer in the 1980s. 

Correct answers were not really received from anyone, but I'm going to give it to Paul who simply answered 'Shelton'. So even though there's no explanation of the connection, or even the right spelling, since no one else even gave it a shot, I'll assume Paul knew what the connection was.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Random Question (October 31, 2013)

Q. In which town in New York state would you find this 18-foot-high steel sculpture?

A. Sleepy Hollow

This statue stands near the grave of Washington Irving, who wrote 'The Legend of Sleepy Hollow' in 1819. The story, about the revenge of a headless horseman (seen in  the sculpture about to fling his jack-o-lantern pumpkin head at one of his victims), has been revisited in the 1999 Johnny Depp starrer "Sleepy Hollow" and an ongoing TV series with the same name.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Random Question (October 26, 2013)

Q. Whose logo is this?

A. Zimbabwe Cricket.

This one's easily workoutable from the cricketing symbols and and the image of the Zimbabwe bird. 

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Random Question (October 22, 2013)

Q. Six thousand of these papal medals issued by the Italian State Mint to honour Pope Francis have had to be recalled. The medals feature a portrait of Francis on one side and on the other, an image depicting the story of Jesus and the publican surmounted by a Latin phrase which means "Jesus, therefore, saw the publican, and because he saw by having mercy and by choosing, He said to him, 'Follow me'". Why did they have to be recalled?

A. Because the word 'Jesus' was misspelt 'Lesus'.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Random Question (October 15, 2013)

Q. What is this? What's the name that comes in the blanked-out area?

A. Deaths in the recently-concluded TV series 'Breaking Bad'. The 'W' stands for Walter White. 

'Breaking Bad' is the story of White (played by Bryan Cranston), a struggling high school chemistry teacher who is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer at the beginning of the series. He turns to a life of crime, producing and selling methamphetamine, in order to secure his family's financial future before he dies. 

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Random Question (October 10, 2013)

Q. The Chessington World of Adventures, a theme park and zoo in Surrey, England has recently banned visitors from wearing what kind of clothing "to avoid confusing or scaring the animals"?

A. Animal print clothing.

Banned prints include zebra, giraffe, leopard, cheetah, tiger, spotted and striped hyena, and African wild dog.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Random Question (October 2, 2013)

Q. Whose logo is this?

A. The German Green Party

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Random Question (September 21, 2013)

Q. What is the focus of this upcoming made-for-TV film? (I'd like a precise answer, please.)

A. Ali's battles in the US Supreme Court after he declared himself a conscientious objector to the Vietnam War. 

In 1967, following his decision to refuse to be drafted, he was stripped of his heavyweight title, convicted of draft evasion and sentenced to five years in prison. Many who served and suffered the horrors of that nightmarish war will never forgive Ali for his stance. Others praise him for being instrumental in bringing the societal pressure that helped end the war. The film focusses on the internal battles the nine Supreme Court justices had in deciding Ali's appeal of his conviction.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Random Question (September 14, 2013)

Q. Born Samuel Evans Stokes Jr into an American Quaker family in 1882, he came to India at the age of 22 to work at a leper colony in the hills around Shimla. What name did he take after converting to Hinduism, and what industry is he generally credited with having started in India?

A. Satyananda; the apple-growing industry in Himachal Pradesh.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Random Question (September 10, 2013)

Q. Easy one (I think). Identify actor and movie.

A. Matt Damon with a massive false nose in 'Ocean's Thirteen'.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Random Question (September 3, 2013)

Q. The more well-known photos of this location in time and space came a few hours before this one. What had taken place here just hours earlier? (And, because I suspect many people will go for a certain option, let me make it clear that's not a Chinese flag on the tank.)

A. This is the Presidential Palace in Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh City), just hours after the last of the American helicopters had taken off from its roof on April 30 1975, signalling the end of a long and bitter war. [The more famous pictures mentioned in the question are like the one below.]

More on the photo above: When the North Vietnamese tank No. 843 broke down the gates of the presidential palace in Saigon, most Western journalists had been evacuated from South Vietnam, but that defining moment was captured on video and on camera film by two who stayed behind. The photographic record of the moment was made by Francoise Demulder, who would later become the first woman to win the World Press Photo Award. A student of philosophy (and a model), Ms. Demulder travelled to South Vietnam with her boyfriend in the early 1970s. To cover their travelling expenses, the couple quickly became embedded with the U.S. military, she (who had no formal training in photography) taking war photos and her boyfriend driving her around, covering the fighting, and dropping off their photos at the AP office. She stayed behind to take the photo above.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Random Question (August 26, 2013)

Q. This one needs some thinking, not quizzing skills per se. What are [X] and [Y]?

A. For the answer, the unexpurgated cartoon is shown below.

Perhaps people were misled by the setting, which I agree has nothing to do with the caption, but then I didn't draw this. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Random Question (August 22, 2013)

Q. Here's one for lovers of classic rock. This compilation has clips from 15 of the greatest rock songs of all time (someone's personal selection, not mine). Simply identify all 15 songs and musicians (post a numbered list).

A. Here's the list:
1. Every Breath You Take -- The Police/Sting
2. Hotel California -- The Eagles
3. Won't Get Fooled Again -- The Who
4. All Along The Watchtower -- Jimi Hendrix
5. Good Vibrations -- Beach Boys
6. Layla -- Derek and the Dominos/Eric Clapton
7. Smells Like Teen Spirit -- Nirvana
8. Kashmir -- Led Zeppelin
9. Light My Fire -- The Doors
10. Hey Jude -- The Beatles
11. Comfortably Numb -- Pink Floyd
12. Bohemian Rhapsody -- Queen
13. (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction -- Rolling Stones
14. Stairway to Heaven -- Led Zeppelin
15. Imagine -- John Lennon

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Random Question (August 14, 2013)

Q. Which entity's new-look logo is this?

A. American Airlines

Given below is what it used to look like till earlier this year.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Random Question (August 8, 2013)

Q. This item recently came up for auction on eBay, with a starting price of $3 million. The accompanying text reads: "This exceedingly rare original __________ ____ is the only one ever on the market. It emanates from the family of Itzhak Stern, __________ accountant and right hand man ... There are 3 others known which are in institutional hands. It is 14 pages in length and lists 801 male names, dated April 18, 1945. It is guaranteed authentic." What is it? 
(Note: The overall answer is made up of the two words that fit in the first two blanks; the third blank is the same as the first. Some other words have been left out of the description.)

A. One of four Schindler's Lists known to exist.

In case you didn't know this, the list is named for German businessman Oskar Schindler, who compiled the 801 names of workers he deemed essential for his enamel factory, thus sparing them from concentration camps. The story was made into an Academy Award-winning film by Steven Spielberg in 1993. Ben Kngsley played the role of Itzhak Stern in the film (Liam Neeson played Schindler).  In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked the film 8th on its list of the 100 best American films of all time.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Random Question (July 29, 2013)

Q. Two parts to this question – who's the guy in the middle, and what is the name of the thing he is sitting on?

A. George R.R. Martin sitting on the Iron Throne from the hit television series 'Game of Thrones', based on his books.

The picture shows cast and crew members of the show – Michelle Fairley, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Kit Harington, executive producer George R.R. Martin, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, co-creator/executive producer David Banioff and co-creator/executive producer D.B. Weiss at The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' presentation of An Evening With "Game of Thrones" at TCL Chinese Theatre on March 19, 2013 in Hollywood, California.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Random Question (July 21, 2013)

Q. Easy one, if you've been reading the news. A partner at a law firm indiscreetly revealed it to his wife's best friend, who then tweeted the tasty secret. The Sunday Times got hold of it, and did some software sleuthing for confirmation. At the end of this chain of events, who stood revealed as the real author of this book?

A. J.K. Rowling

Monday, July 15, 2013

Random Question (July 15, 2013)

Q. For all you cricket buffs... Seven men have scored a century in their 100th Test match and, neatly, seven also in their 100th one-day international. Two questions: 
a. Who is the only man on both lists? To help you narrow it down, let me reveal that he hit 102 not out in his 100th ODI against Pakistan in Sharjah in October 1988, and marked his 100th Test in April 1990 with 149 against England in St John's.
b. Which of the former seven hit two centuries in his 100th Test? One of the greatest batsmen and captains of the modern era.

A. a. Gordon Greenidge b. Ricky Ponting

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Random Question (July 4, 2013)

Q. On the US's Independence Day, a question about that country: the people who put up this monument believe it's the first of its kind on government property in the United States. What does the 'A' stand for?

A. Atheism.
A group called American Atheists unveiled a monument to their non-belief on June 29 to sit alongside a granite slab that lists the Ten Commandments in front of the Bradford County courthouse in Florida. "When you look at this monument, the first thing you will notice is that it has a function. Atheists are about the real and the physical, so we selected to place this monument in the form of a bench," said David Silverman, president of American Atheists.

American Atheists sued to try to have the stone slab with the Ten Commandments taken away from the courthouse lawn in this rural, conservative north Florida town. The Community Men's Fellowship erected the monument in what's described as a free speech zone. During mediation on the case, the atheist group was told it could have its own monument, too.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Random Question (June 26, 2013)

Q. This statue of a Scottish educationist stands outside a Delhi school named after him. This gentleman, besides founding some of India's well-known schools, also raised a number of orphaned children from Partition days. One of those kids converted to Christianity and took this man's surname, and eventually brought it some considerable notoriety. What is the surname?

A. Tytler. The statue is of J.D. Tytler, in whose honour Jagdish Kapoor changed his last name. 

James Douglas Tytler was a Scottish educationist who, among other things, founded the Delhi Public School and Summerfields School. This statue sits in front of the J.D. Tytler School. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Random Question (June 21, 2013)

Who is this? She gained some prominence as a result of a moving speech she gave in 2006. Also, it might help to know that she gets her name not from an Indian fashion accessory but from the name of a crocodile.

A. Bindi Irwin, daughter of TV animal wrangler Steve Irwin, who famously delivered an eulogy at her father's funeral seven years ago. She was named after a favourite crocodile of Steve's at the Australia Zoo run by the Irwin family. Her name supposedly means 'young girl' in an Australian Aboriginal language.

Monday, April 1, 2013

I-CoaT#1 – top 10

Congratulations to Rajiv for topping the leaderboard for the first online Inter-Connectedness of all Things quiz, with a commanding margin. He cracked several Themes and the Master Answer when this was barely a fledgling contest, and after that there was no catching up with him. Given that he's top of the SEQC leaderboard at the moment as well, looks like it's going to be Rajiv's year.

Coming in second was Doc Murali, who cracked 40 answers but didn't get a single one of the Themes! The rest of the top 10 are listed below.

I-CoaT#1 Final Standings (top 10 only)

1. Rajiv D'Silva....75
2. docmurali.........40
3. Groucho...........37
4. Ajachi..............32
5. Chirag..............32
6. Srijit.................29
7. Harman Singh...27
8. Atharv Joshi......26
9. raklodramA......23
10. anjali...............22

The entire leaderboard can be accessed here.

Thank you to everyone who participated, even if it was for a single question only, and even if you checked out the questions without sending in any guesses.
That's it for the first online I-CoaT! Here are the Theme and Master Answer explanations:

Theme A: 'Phantom'
A1: Vilayanur Ramachandran is the author of 'Phantoms of the Brain' and generally writes a lot about phantom limbs.
A2: The jewel thief in the first two Pink Panther films (played by David Niven and then by Christopher Plummer) goes by the nom de plume of the Phantom.
A3: The New Zealand fast bowler Chris Martin is nicknamed the Phantom.
A4: The fourth film in the Star Wars franchise was titled 'Episode 1: The Phantom Menace'.
A5: In the comic series by Lee Falk, Walker (derived from 'Ghost Who Walks') is the surname that the Phantom adopts when he goes to the city.
A6: Rolls-Royce has used the name Phantom for various series of cars since its inception till the current day.

Theme B: 'Joseph'
B1: Sepp Blatter, B2: Ze Roberto, B3: Pep Guardiola, B7: Pepe Jeans, B11: San Jose -- all their names are variants of Joseph.
B4: Pope Benedict's real name is Joseph Ratzinger.
B5: Plumber was a reference to Joe the Plumber, who came into the limelight somewhat during the 2008 US elections as an everyman kind of person.
B6: Catch22 was written by Joseph Heller.
B8: GI commonly goes with Joe.
B9: Verdi's first name was Guiseppe, the Italian version of Joseph, but besides that he also masqueraded under the name Joseph Green, an English translation of his name.
B10: Yousuf Youhana – again, if you took the English versions of this name, it would be Joseph John (a name our Mallu brethren would be well able to identify with).

Theme C: 'Bombay'
C1: Kaizad Gustad directed 'Bombay Boys'
C2: Blood type was a reference to the rare Bombay blood type, which came into public view due to references in last year's hit film 'Kahaani'.
C3: Mira Nair directed 'Salaam Bombay'.
C4: The wedding of Catherine of Braganza to Charles II resulted in Bombay being given as dowry by the Portuguese to the British.
C5: Duck refers to Bombay duck.
C6: Mani Ratnam directed 'Bombay'.
C7: Mumba Devi is what Mumbai is supposedly named after.
C8: Bollywood = Bombay

Theme D: 'Evita/Eva Peron'
D1: Eva Duarte was the star of a popular Argentine radio drama when she first caught the eye of her future husband, the nation's President Juan Peron.
D2: She met Peron when she was invited to a gala organised to raise funds for victims of an earthquake.
D3: Her fight with and eventual death at the age of 33 from cervical cancer added to her mythos.
D4: Madonna played her in the movie version of 'Evita'.
D5: Argentina is self-explanatory.
D6: Juan Peron ditto.

Theme E: 'Jesus Christ'
E1: Mount refers to the Sermon on the Mount.
E2: Basilisk – besides being the name of a mythical creature, the term is also used for the Common Basilisk, a lizard that is nicknamed the Jesus Christ Lizard for its ability to run on the surface of water.
E3: Fish refers to the Miracle of the Fishes. Also, the fish was a secret symbol used by the early Christians to identify with each other while avoiding persecution. It is also a strong part of the symbology of Christianity – Christ referred to Peter as a 'fisher of men', and as a result, the Pope wears the Fisherman's Ring.
E4: The Last Supper and E5: cross are quite obvious in their connection.
E6: Galilee was where Christ grew up; he is sometimes referred to as the Man from Galilee.

Theme F: 'Cats'
F1: Tuxedo is a variety of cat.
F2: The chariot of the Norse goddess Freyja is drawn by two cats, and she is otherwise connected with cats as well.
F3: Peter Cat was a feline that lived at the Lord's Cricket Ground from 1952 to 1964, and is the only animal to be given an obituary in 'Wisden'. For some reason unclear even to the management, there is a popular restaurant called Peter Cat in Calcutta.
F4: India was the name George Bush gave to a pet cat that the family adopted when they were in the White House, leading to a ridiculous furore in parts of our great nation.
F5: The Egyptian goddess Bast or Bastet (with or without a 'bloody' in front) was closely identified with the cat family and is often depicted with a cat's head.
F6: Felix is one of the commonest names for cats in the Western world (a 2006 survey showed it to be no 2 in the UK, no 1 in Germany, and no 4 in Canada), perhaps rooted in the name of a very popular cartoon cat from the 1920s.
F7: Cheshire as in the Cheshire Cat from 'Alice in Wonderland'.
F8: Calico and F9: Persian are two other cat breeds.

Theme G: 'Jeeves'
G1: The Junior Ganymede is the valets' club that Jeeves is a member of.
G2: Spinoza is one of his favourite authors.
G3: C. (for Cyril, if you're interested) Northcote Parkinson was a naval historian who also authored a fictional biography of Jeeves.
G4: Ask.com started live as AskJeeves.com.
G5: Stephen Fry played Jeeves in the television series 'Jeeves and Wooster'.
G6: A valet is what Jeeves is (not a butler).
G7: P.G. Wodehouse – if I need to explain this, you shouldn't be reading this.

And the Master Answer is:
Musicals by Andrew Lloyd-Webber, which include 'The Phantom of the Opera', 'Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat', 'Bombay Dreams', 'Evita', 'Jesus Christ Superstar', 'Cats' and 'Jeeves' (revised later as 'By Jeeves').

Monday, March 25, 2013

E6. If you take the name of this holy sea (no, no, not Holy See!) and change the last letter to another vowel, you get the first name of a famous heretic. Change it to another vowel, and you get his last name. What is the name of this place?

A. Galilee. The famous (recanted) heretic is, of course, Galileo Galilei.

Monday, March 4, 2013

D6. The ruling party in current-day Argentina is the Justicialist Party, which has its origins in a document titled 'The Twenty Truths of Justicialism' articulated in 1950. Its author, the founder of the party, used various means to popularise his political ideology, including initiating the production of the car in the picture (also called the Justicialista) as an attempt to create an Argentinian automotive industry in the 1950s. Name him.

A. Juan Peron

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

F9. Dari, spoken in Afghanistan, and Tajik, spoken in Tajikistan, are two of the three primary dialects of which classical language?

A. Persian (I've given points for Farsi, though strictly speaking that's the third of the primary dialects, and is not the answer that fits with the Theme).

Monday, February 18, 2013

E5. Dai Davies, who played in goal for the Welsh national football team, making 52 appearances between 1969 and 1987, was somewhat cruelly nicknamed Dracula by fans because they felt he couldn't deal with what common element of the game of football?

A. The cross

Saturday, February 2, 2013

G7. This is a promotional still for a current BBC television series based on stories by which author?

A. P.G. Wodehouse. The series is called 'Blandings'

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

C8. What's the nominal connection between this Australian plant (scientific name Litsea bindoniana) and the Hindi film industry?

A. It's called the Big-leafed Bollywood :-)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

B11. Founded by Lieutenant José Joaquín Moraga as Pueblo de ___ ____ de Guadalupe on November 29, 1777, it was the first civilian city in the Spanish colony of Nueva California. In more recent time, it has been called 'the capital of Silicon Valley'. Name the city, where you would find this complex, the headquarters of Adobe Systems.

A. San Jose

Monday, January 14, 2013

D5. This sport called pato, which combines the skills of polo and basketball, is surprisingly the national sport of which country, that's generally mad about another game altogether?

A. Argentina

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

F8. This variety of crab, Ovalipes ocellatus, gets its colloquial name from a type of cheap printed fabric that its patterned shell resembles. The textile originated in India and was quite the bone of contention between British importers of the cloth and the English manufacturers of similar fabric from the early 18th century till well over a century afterwards. What textile?

A. Calico

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A6. General Electric is the largest manufacturer of aircraft engines in the world. With more than 50,000 engines in service with 500 airlines, 2,400 corporate and utility operators and more than 100 armed forces, which company is the second largest?

A. Rolls-Royce