Hi there, I'm going to be a bit busy on Monday so I thought I'd let you have this week's quiz early. I've strayed from the usual format (because I'm unpredictable like that) and you will find very few TV, film or pop music questions this week (because I simply had too many questions I wanted to share with you). Hope you like:
1. Which 19th Century French composer, best remembered for his 'Ave Maria', wrote the national anthem of the Vatican City?
2. Which mural by Michelangelo on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel was the cause of a vicious dispute between the artist and the Italian cardinal Oliviero Carafa after the latter had accused the former of obscenity because the artist had painted nude figures with their genitals exposed?
3. What is the Basque name for Vitoria, the capital city of the Basque Country?
4. Dying in November 511 AD, who was the first King of the Franks to unite all of the Frankish tribes under one ruler thus being considered as the founder of both France and the Merovingian Dynasty?
5. In Greek mythology, what was the name of the beautiful shepherd boy of Asia Minor, beloved of the goddess Selene, who put him into a deep sleep so that she may embrace him eternally?
6. Which French President was assassinated by the mentally unstable Russian émigré Paul Gorguloff in 1932?
7. Which song, released in December 1963, was the Beatles' best-selling single worldwide?
8. What was the first name of the Austrian paediatrician after whom Asperger's Syndrome is named?
9. At the 1976 Olympics, which Cuban athlete became the first person to win both the 400m and the 800m?
10. What was the name of the real-life boxer played by Denzel Washington in the 1999 film 'The Hurricane'?
11. Founded by Johann Friedrich Overbeck and Franz Pforr among others, what name was adopted by a group of early 19th Century German Romantic painters who aimed to revive honesty and spirituality in Christian art?
12. What is the name of the Norwegian princess who shocked her nation in July 2007 when she announced that she was clairvoyant and wanted to teach her people how to talk to angels?
13. Nicknamed 'The Wee County', which is the smallest county in Scotland?
14. Nicknamed 'The Dragon of Albania' and remembered for his struggles against the Ottoman Empire, by what name is the prominent Albanian national hero Gjergj Kastrioti better known?
15. According to the Books of Samuel, who was the first King of Ancient Israel?
16. MSF is a humanitarian aid non-governmental organisation created in 1971 by a small group of French doctors. For what do the letters MSF stand?
17. In the First Century BC, the Roman author Vitruvius dedicated a treatise to the emperor Caesar Augustus that is now considered the earliest surviving written work on which subject?
18. Which English physicist discovered the existence of electrons in 1897?
19. The Orange Bowl is a famous American football stadium located in which US city?
20. The German television station ZDF sparked controversy in July 2007 when it cancelled which long-running music show?
21. In Aldous Huxley's novel 'Brave New World', what is the name of the happiness-inducing drug that replaced religion and alcohol as the 'opium of the masses'?
22. The only player in Major League history to have the initials U.U.U., which former Major League Baseball relief pitcher, who won the World Series in 2003 with the Florida Marlins, was sentenced to 14 years in prison for attempted murder in March 2007?
23. In which South American country is the Sechura Desert?
24. Sometimes referred to as the Thirteen Years' War, by what name is the war that took place between the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire between 1593 and 1606 better known?
25. Which book of the New Testament tells the parable of the Good Samaritan?
26. The FBI grew out of a force of Special Agents created in 1908 by which American Attorney General?
27. In the deadliest single shooting incident in the history of the United States, thirty two people were shot dead by Cho Seung Hui in April 2007 in what has become known as the Virginia Tech Massacre. In which town in Virginia did the shootings occur?
28. Who was the British neurosurgeon who wrote the influential book 'Neurynology' in 1843 and introduced the word 'hypnotism' into the English language?
29. From 1988 to 2002, Prince Albert of Monaco competed at every Winter Olympics in which sport?
30. Originally known by the codename ‘Longhorn’, which ‘Windows’ line of graphical operating systems was released by Microsoft in January 2007 as a replacement for Windows XP?
31. Which Italian poet wrote the Futurist Manifesto in 1909?
32. What is the name of the great-granddaughter of the composer Richard Wagner who caused controversy at the 2007 Bayreuth Festival with her direction of 'Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg' that included nudity, giant plastic phalluses and ‘raining’ shoes?
33. Located in the Baltic Sea, to which country do the islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa belong?
34. The musical play 'Mother of All the Peoples' dramatised the life of which female Scottish missionary to Nigeria?
35. Who was the Roman goddess of strife?
36. In which British city was the Israeli President Chaim Herzog born in 1918?
37. Deriving from the Sanskrit for ‘Man of the forest’, what is the name of the legendary bipedal primate said to inhabit the mountainous regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan?
38. Which small, herbivorous mammal, native to Africa and the Middle East, looks similar to a rabbit but is often said to be the closest living terrestrial relative of the elephant?
39. Which horse won the 1967 Grand National at odds of 100/1 after a melee at the 23rd fence caused most of the field to pull up?
40. Which African country joined OPEC on January 1 2007?
41. Who was the 19th Century English essayist who wrote 'The Spirit of the Age' and 'On the Pleasure of Hating'?
42. Zheng Xiaoyu, director of the State Food and Drug Administration of the People's Republic of China, was executed in July 2007 after he was held responsible for the deaths of forty people in which country? He was convicted of taking bribes and dereliction of duty when the people died after taking a cough syrup that contained diethylene glycol.
43. Which town in Alaska is the terminus of the Pan-American Highway?
44. Who was the ancient Greek explorer, who lived in modern-day Marseille in France, who travelled around much of Northern Europe and was the first person to mention the name Britannia?
45. Which legendary monster is said to guard the Swiss city of Basel?
46. Who became the first President of the independent Republic of the Philippines in 1946?
47. Which Greek basketball club won the Euroleague in May 2007 after defeating CSKA Moscow 93-91?
48. In 1583, which botanist and philosopher wrote 'De Plantis Libri XVI' which is considered to be the first textbook of botany?
49. By what name was the football League Cup known between 1981 and 1986?
50. In 2006, which American record producer privately sold Jackson Pollock’s 'No. 5, 1948' and Willem de Kooning’s 'Woman III' for alleged prices of $140,000,000 and $137,500,000 respectively which, if true, would make them the two most expensive paintings in history?
1. CHARLES GOUNOD
2. THE LAST JUDGEMENT
4. CLOVIS I
6. PAUL DOUMER
7. I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND
9. ALBERTO JUANTORENA
10. RUBIN CARTER
12. MARTHA LOUISE
16. MÉDECINS SANS FRONTIÈRES
18. JJ THOMSON
22. UGUETH URTAÍN URBINA
24. THE LONG WAR
26. CHARLES J BONAPARTE
28. JAMES BRAID
29. BOBSLED (or BOBSLEIGH)
30. WINDOWS VISTA
31. FILIPPO TOMMASO MARINETTI
32. KATHARINA WAGNER
34. MARY SLESSOR
37. BARMANOU (or BARMANU)
41. WILLIAM HAZLITT
46. MANUEL ROXAS
47. PANATHINAIKOS BC
48. ANDREAS CAESALPINUS
49. RUMBELOWS CUP
50. DAVID GEFFEN