Questions for February 2017

As I keep saying, this quiz is doomed – I have been doing it for 20 years now – but I keep finding enough questions to make up a set. So here is February 2017 – have a go by posting a comment, or just enjoy it.

1. Erasmus, in 1526, wrote the first modern book of table manners. Including: Instead of licking ones’ greasy fingers, or wiping them on one’s jacket, one should … do what?

2. The British driving test was instigated in 1935. Who was the first candidate?

3. In 1970 the Cairo Opera House was engulfed by fire. Why didn’t the fire brigade attend?

4. Anders Celsius devised the centigrade scale for temperatures in 1742, but it had a flaw – how did Carolus Linnaeus improve it?

5. David Wolf was an astronaut on the Space Shuttle in 1997. What pressing need did he have, unique among astronauts, that was facilitated and enabled specifically for him?

Questions for January 2017

This is the 20th anniversary of the quiz!! But, it is doomed. When I started it in 1997, Google and Wikipedia had not even been dreamed of, let alone invented. I am running out of obscure questions, information is so easily available these days! Anyway, here is a special Captain Beefheart quiz –

1. Captain Beefheart, when a young man would often wash his hair & keep it wet – why?

2. Why was Trout Mask Replica once chosen for Desert Island Discs?

3. CBS used a brand new disc-cutting lathe to make the master recording of Doc At The Radar Station. Once the cutting began, the band and the engineers all went out for a meal … and what happened?

4. The Captain came to regret making the too-commercial LP Bluejeans and Moonbeams. (My mother liked it). What did he advise his fans to do with it?

5. Beefheart added his cousin, Victor Hayden, to the band on bass clarinet. What was remarkable about Victor’s style of playing?

Questions for December 2016

Here’s the questions for December – no pictures this time.

1. In the original series of Star Trek, when the Enterprise uses a Tractor Beam to pull things toward the ship, you cannot see the beam at all – why?

2. And in the original series of Star Trek, there was a sort of square-looking transporter module for travelling down from the ship to land on planets, so why did they keep doing the “beam me down/up” thing?

3. After much strife, prominent Tibetans (mostly in exile) managed to get a national Tibetan Football Team together. Then, due to pressure from China, nobody wanted to play against them. Where was their first international game?

4. What is unique about the English word BONDMAID?

5. The Dyirbal language, spoken by 29 persons in NE Queensland, has not two, not three, but four genders. One gender is for males … what things fall into the other three genders?

Questions for November 2016

All pictures again – some from my holidays!!

On this map of Europe, what do the coloured zones represent?

Where is this?

This is Archbishop Grgur, a propellerhead of the 10th century. As you can see, he was pretty motivated – what about?

This is the ancient town of Komiza, on the Dalmatian island of Vis. A passing Pope with his fleet of boats took shelter here during a storm – this was ages ago – and was impressed with the industry and zeal of the fishermen, as well as their hospitality. How did that Pope reward the fishermen of Komiza?

This is an 18th-century lawyer in London, depicted at one moment in his life. (The artist must have sketched very quickly). What is about to happen?

Questions for Sept/Oct 2016

I’m travelling a lot these days and will have to end this quiz soon, after 20 years!! but I will soon put up a “Best of” compilation of a few of the earlier questions that got the best sarcastic answers. (I remember promising to do that 15 years ago, in August 2001). So here are some picture questions until I get home … witty comments are welcome.

1. This is Leonardo’s idea for a tank. What’s wrong with it?

2. These men are, would you believe, looking for a job. What job?

3. What does this device do?

4. This is a list. What are the items listed?

5. These are post-war Germans in Berlin. What are they looking for?

Questions for August 2016

This is Dr Bob’s quiz for August 2016. I’m travelling, and running out of text questions, however I have a lot of of pictures to use. When I get the hang of it I will move on to use those; here’s two for now. Please send witty answers by hitting “Comment”, or just enjoy them when they come up.

1. The graph shows the percentage of Norwegians watching television; NRK2 is traditionally the least watched channel. What did NRK2 broadcast that made it more popular?

2. This is the civic Coat of Arms of the Polish coastal town of Ustka. How was its design modified in 2004?

3. Which author has had the most books banned from public libraries?

4. The Enindhilyagwa language has five genders of nouns … I bet you are going to look this up on Wikipedia.

5. The Norwegian explorers Fritdjof Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen tried to reach the North Pole in 1895, but after a series of mishaps ended up stranded in a snow shelter for eight months. The Norwegian language, like French and German, has formal and personal forms of address, for example for the word “you” and Norwegians were dreadfully formal in those days. What caused the two stranded men to adopt the personal form of address in their conversation?

Questions for June/July 2016

By the late Dr Bob … I am still travelling, see my other blog ( for daily-ish updates of my adventures. These are good questons IMHO, that I have been saving.

  1. During the construction of London’s Westminster Bridge in the 1860’s, why was the use of a diving-bell replaced by individual diving-suits?
  2. The Great Wall of China has towers with arrow-slots so that archers can fire northwards at the approaching Mongols. But the part of the Wall near Beijing also has arrow-slots in the south face, towards China – why?
  3. In English law, situations or things can be described as existing “since time immemorial”. When did “time immemorial” officially end?
  4. What was Arthur Conan Doyle supposed to be doing, when he devised and wrote the first Sherlock Holmes stories?
  5. Peter Jackson and his crew, on their first visit to the farm which would become the location for Hobbiton in Lord of the Rings, were shoo’ed away by the farmer – why?