Carrie Fisher, ghostly jesters and a curious motoring fine – take the Thursday quiz

·8 min read

This time last week it was Thursday, and now here we all are again facing 15 questions on general knowledge and topical trivia plus a few jokes. All your favourites are here: a Doctor Who reference to spot, a Kate Bush answer to avoid, the beloved Pokémon round, Ron from Sparks, and some twisty little anagrams along the way. It is very silly, just for fun, and there are no prizes, but let us know how you got on in the comments.

The Thursday quiz, No 26

  1. Mark E Smith
    Mark E Smith

    UK NEWS: It is that time of the year when the ONS releases its list of the most popular baby names, and then people try to draw social significance from them. What was the most popular name for a girl in England and Wales in 2020?

    1. Amelia

    2. Isla

    3. Olivia

    4. Leela

  2. Spencer Tunick nude installation
    Spencer Tunick nude installation

    WORLD NEWS: The US artist Spencer Tunick has been getting masses of people to get their kit off again for one of his artworks. Where?

    1. The Dead Sea

    2. The Grand Canyon

    3. Lanzarote

    4. Margate

  3. An abandoned rusting car in the woods
    An abandoned rusting car in the woods

    OH FINE THEN: This week a man was a baffled when he received a fine for driving in a bus lane in Bath, about 120 miles from his home. What caused it?

    1. The DVLA had given a duplicate of his car registration number to a bus in Bath in error

    2. A slogan written across the T-shirt of a woman walking down the bus lane was incorrectly read as his registration number

    3. The person driving in the bus lane was wearing an Olly Murs face mask, and facial recognition cameras then issued the real Olly Murs with a fine

    4. The man's teenage son, without a driving licence, had been secretly borrowing his car to make romantic visits to a friend in Bath

  4. Statue in Greece
    Statue in Greece

    GREEK TRAGEDY: This statue of a world-famous singer has been unveiled in Athens to much disdain, and described by one observer as looking like "Gandhi in heels". Which Greek musical artist is it meant to be?

    1. Elena Poulou

    2. Nana Mouskouri

    3. Irene Papas

    4. Maria Callas

  5. Emmylou / Stevie / Joni / Kate
    Emmylou / Stevie / Joni / Kate

    MUSIC: While we're on the subject of music, Chelsea Wolfe has just released a haunting cover version of the song Woodstock, made famous by Crosby Stills Nash & Young and Matthews Southern Comfort, among others. Who wrote it?

    1. Emmylou Harris

    2. Stevie Nicks

    3. Joni Mitchell

    4. Kate Bush

  6. Rose

    POETRY CORNER: "Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose" is a famous line from the poem Sacred Emily by which poet?

    1. Gertrude Stein

    2. Marianne Moore

    3. Louise Glück

    4. Maya Angelou

  7. The flag of Cornwall
    The flag of Cornwall

    GEOGRAPHY: Land's End is the most southerly point of the county of Cornwall? True or false?

    1. True

    2. False

  8. The flag of Cornwall
    The flag of Cornwall

    FLAGS: While we're on the subject of Cornwall, this is the Cornish flag. What is it called?

    1. St Boniface's flag

    2. St Piran's flag

    3. St Candida's flag

    4. St Gaptooth's flag

  9. Pikachu!

    WORRYING POKÉMON DESCRIPTIONS: Not every Pokémon is as cute as Pikachu. Which Pokémon has this worrying official description: “This Pokémon generates energy for laying strong curses by sticking pins into its own body. This Pokémon was originally a pitiful plush doll that was thrown away. A cursed energy permeated the stuffing of a discarded and forgotten plush doll, giving it new life."

    1. Gastly

    2. Gothorita

    3. Sableye

    4. Banette

  10. Ron!

    HOSPITALITY ON PARADE: That's a 1975 song by Sparks about how one day they'll have one extra coastline. But that's not important right now. It is the anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar. It was named after a cape on the coastline of which country?

    1. Portugal

    2. Spain

    3. Morocco

    4. France

  11. Beaker and Bunsen
    Beaker and Bunsen

    GCSE SCIENCE CORNER: A bit of biology this week. Where in a cell are the chromosomes?

    1. Cell membrane

    2. Ribosomes

    3. Cytoplasm

    4. Nucleus

  12. Michael Staniforth
    Michael Staniforth

    KIDS TV THAT THEY SHOULD DEFINITELY REVIVE: Michael Staniforth brilliantly played which character in Rentaghost?

    1. Timothy Claypole

    2. Timothy Clodpole

    3. Timothy Playcole

    4. Timothy Lumsden

  13. The Nasa blast-off
    The Nasa blast-off

    PER ASPERA AD ASTRA: Nasa this week launched a spacecraft on a 12-year quest to explore eight asteroids. It has been given a name that is a Beatles reference. What is the name?

    1. Eleanor, after Eleanor Rigby

    2. Lucy, after Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds

    3. Prudence, after Dear Prudence

    4. Jude, after Hey Jude

  14. Carrie Fisher
    Carrie Fisher

    ON THIS DAY: It would have been Carrie Fisher's birthday today. To which long-running US cartoon series did she lend her voice as Angela? Plot twist – it's anagram time …

    1. Hotness Imps

    2. I Um Fly Gay

    3. A Truncated Nap Snip

    4. Shark Pout

  15. Roscosmos Space Agency photo
    Roscosmos Space Agency photo

    AND FINALLY: Yulia Peresild and Klim Shipenko returned from the International Space Station this week after doing what for the very first time in space?

    1. Shooting scenes for the first movie made in space

    2. Campaigning for the election of the mayor of Moscow in space

    3. Being vaccinated against Covid-19 in space

    4. Announcing that they'd started a European Super League in space and then having to back down a couple of days later


1:C - There were 3,640 baby girls called Olivia last year. It is the most popular name for girls for the fifth year in succession. Does the power of Olivia Colman know any limits?, 2:A - The 54-year-old photographer visited the spot in southern Israel as a guest of the tourism ministry to portray for the third time the shrinking Dead Sea via nude subjects., 3:B - According to reports, the woman was wearing a top with the slogan KNITTER on it, which was read by the computer and mistaken for his number plate KN19TER, which possibly is the universe's vengeance on him for having splashed out on getting an unnecessary personalised number plate., 4:D - The 1.8-metre work, created in honour of the soprano by fans who regard Callas as one of the country’s most overlooked assets, has been criticised for being kitsch, unbecoming and, even worse, bearing no resemblance to "La Divina"., 5:C - Although Joni Mitchell wrote it, the first commercial release of the song in 1970 was by Crosby Stills Nash & Young. Graham Nash was her partner at the time, which is how he heard it. Mitchell's own version appeared on her Ladies of the Canyon album in the same year. In the UK it was Matthews Southern Comfort who had the biggest hit with it. Chelsea Wolfe is great and you should check her out., 6:A - Stein used the rose motif in many of her works, inspiring the song Roseability by the brilliant Scottish band Idlewild., 7:B - It is false. Land's End is the most westerly point of mainland Cornwall and also of England – though not mainland Great Britain because Corrachadh Mòr up in Scotland actually sticks out a bit more. Lizard Point is the most southerly point of Cornwall and England., 8:B - The white cross on a black flag is attributed to the 5th-century Cornish abbot Saint Piran. Of the others, Saint Boniface put his jam and cream the other way round, because he is the patron saint of Devon, and St Candida is the patron saint of Dorset., 9:D - Nothing says "enjoyable kids' TV show" like an animated walking voodoo doll filled with cursed energy. This is the last ever Pokémon question, I promise. Unless someone complains about it in the comments, in which case it will be back next week., 10:B - Cape Trafalgar is in the province of Cádiz, in south-west Spain. It is to the west of Gibraltar and to the north of Tangier in Morocco. You can tell by his face that Ron from Sparks thinks you should have known that., 11:D - In the nucleus of each cell, the DNA molecule is packaged into thread-like structures called chromosomes. Each chromosome is made up of DNA tightly coiled many times around proteins called histones that support its structure. It's all bloomin' marvellous, really., 12:A - Staniforth played Timothy Claypole from 1976, when the show first aired, until 1984, and was the longest-standing member of the cast. He also sang the theme tune. Sadly he died from an Aids-related illness aged 44 in 1987., 13:B - Lucy is named after the 3.2m-year-old skeletal remains of a human ancestor found in Ethiopia nearly half a century ago. That discovery got its name from the 1967 Beatles song Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, prompting Nasa to send the spacecraft soaring with band members’ lyrics and other luminaries’ words of wisdom imprinted on a plaque. The spacecraft also carries a disc made of lab-grown diamonds for one of its science instruments., 14:B - Appearing as the former manager of Pawtucket Brewery Shipping Department, Fisher made more than 30 appearances in the series Family Guy before her death in 2016. Your other options were The Simpsons (Hotness Imps), Captain Underpants (A Truncated Nap Snip) and South Park (Shark Pout)., 15:A - The movie’s plot, which has been mostly kept under wraps along with its budget, centres on a surgeon who is dispatched to the ISS to save a cosmonaut.


  1. 0 and above.

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  2. 6 and above.

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