Christmas Quiz Questions

2020 Christmas quiz

Set by Christopher Howse. Illustrated by Castro

19 December 2020

9:00 AM

19 December 2020

9:00 AM

Out of the ordinary

In 2020:
1. The town of Asbestos voted to change its name to Val-des-Sources. In which country does it lie?
2. What town between Dunstable and Milton Keynes was hit by four earthquakes in a fortnight?
3. In a heatwave in America where was a temperature of 130˚F recorded?
4. In April a volcano erupted on an island in the caldera of its predecessor, which exploded in 1883 and went by what name?
5. Which Mediterranean island nation gave each of its citizens €100 to spend in bars?
6. Chad began to send 75,000 cattle as repayment of a debt of $100 million to which other African country?
7. In February, who won the New Hampshire Democratic primary?
8. Which former CEO of Nissan started the year in Lebanon, having been smuggled out of Japan for a flight to Istanbul hidden in a container for audio equipment?
9. What denomination coins were issued by the Royal Mint showing Piglet and marked ‘Copyright Disney’?
10. Which country sent a spacecraft to retrieve rocks from the Moon?

The horse’s mouth

In 2020:
1. Who said: ‘We will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again’?
2. Who told the Commons that the UK Internal Market Bill ‘does break international law in a very specific and limited way’?
3. Which department chain decided to drop the slogan in use since 1925: ‘Never knowingly undersold’?
4. What value coin was minted with the inscription: ‘Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations’?
5. In October, who told those with holidays booked in Wales: ‘My message to them is that they must not come.’
6. Who said: ‘And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning?’
7. During a debate, who said of whom: ‘This guy is a dog whistle about as big as a fog horn’?
8. Who said: ‘We will win because our NHS is the beating heart of this country. It is the best of this country. It is unconquerable. It is powered by love.’
9. Which candidate for the Labour leadership said, ‘I thought Jeremy was one of the most honest, kind, principled politicians that I ever met.… I’d give him ten out of ten.’
10. Which professor, asked by Sarah Montague on Radio 4 whether we could say with confidence that life should be returning to normal by spring, said: ‘Yes, yes, yes.’


Royal appointments

1. For what anniversary in 2020 did the Queen say in a televised message: ‘Our streets are not empty, they are filled with the love and the care that we have for each other.’
2. Who issued a joint statement: ‘We have chosen to make a transition this year in starting to carve out a progressive new role within this institution’?
3. The Prince of Wales visited the tomb of his grandmother Princess Alice, the mother of the Duke of Edinburgh, at the church of St Mary Magdalene in which city?
4. In a brief ceremony at Windsor in July, the Duke of Edinburgh, aged 99, handed over his position as Colonel-in-Chief of the Rifles. Who took it up?
5. Malta demanded the return of a fossilised tooth found by Sir David Attenborough in the 1960s and given by him to Prince George of Cambridge. From what creature had it come?
6. Who was seen at the end of May riding a 14-year-old Fell Pony called Balmoral Fern in the sunshine at Windsor?
7. In January the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge joined students making mango and kulfi milkshakes at the MyLahore restaurant in which city?
8. Who wore a Sue Palmer emerald-green dress with a gold ribbon knot brooch for a photograph to mark her 70th birthday?
9. At which house by the river Muick did the Prince of Wales recover from coronavirus in March?
10. In which month of 2022 is an extra bank holiday being created to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee?



1. Joe Biden will take Major and Champ to the White House. What breed are they?
2. At Thanksgiving, President Donald Trump pardoned a turkey called Corn. What was the name of the other turkey involved?
3. The Queen was seen with either Vulcan or Candy as she was driven from Buckingham Palace in March after cancelling her appointments in the face of coronavirus. What cross are the dogs?
4. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex adopted a dog called Pula in August 2018. What breed is it?
5. In November, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s dog Lupo died. What breed was it?
6. This year, New Kim, a two-year-old bird, was bought by a bidder from China for £1.4 million. What breed of bird was she?
7. Two people caught bubonic plague in the western Mongolian province of Khovd from which genus of rodent?
8. Four rare primates were struck by lightning in Mgahinga national park in Uganda. What genus did they belong to?
9. Name the dog that shares Downing Street with Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds.
10. Name the Foreign Office cat that retired to the country in August.



1. Which Dame had played Melanie in the film Gone with the Wind, and died aged 104?
2. Who had appeared in the wireless comedy series Much-Binding-in-the-Marsh, chaired Just a Minute for 50 years and died aged 96?
3. Who made a name for himself as a mercenary in the Congo in the Sixties and died aged 100?
4. Who was the flamboyant marquess who had enjoyed the company of ‘wifelets’ and died of Covid-19 aged 87?
5. Name the former BBC producer who for two decades had written a column about being homeless and died aged 82.
6. Name the longtime Spectator contributor who wrote The Lone Conformist, travelled with his possessions in a plastic carrier bag and died aged 79.
7. Javacheff was the surname of the artist best known for wrapping buildings such as the Reichstag and died aged 84. But what was his first name?
8. Who wrote The Meaning of Conservatism and Sexual Desire among other books and died aged 75?
9. Who had a hit in 1964 with ‘My Boy Lollipop’ and died aged 73?
10. By what name was Richard Wayne Penniman, who died aged 87, better known?


Let them eat cake

Match the books to the extracts: David Copperfield; A Confederacy of Dunces; The Way We Live Now; Through the Looking-Glass; The Portrait of a Lady; Finnegans Wake; Robinson Crusoe; Gargantua and Pantagruel; At Swim-Two-Birds; Jackdaw Cake.
1. ‘Look, you wanna gimme half a dozen wine cakes, too? Ignatius gets nasty if we run outta cake.’
2. Mr Dick was very partial to gingerbread. To render his visits the more agreeable, my aunt had instructed me to open a credit for him at a cake shop, which was hampered with the stipulation that he should not be served with more than one shilling’s-worth in the course of any one day.
3. ‘Then hand round the plum-cake, Monster,’ the Lion said, lying down and putting his chin on his paws. ‘And sit down, both of you,’ (to the King and the Unicorn): ‘fair play with the cake, you know!’
4. ‘The world at large has to eat dry bread, and cannot get cakes and sweetmeats. A girl, when she thinks of giving herself to a husband, has to remember this. If she has a fortune of her own she can pick and choose, but if she have none she must allow herself to be chosen.’
5. Taking my gun, a hatchet, and my dog, and a larger quantity of powder and shot than usual, with two biscuit-cakes and a great bunch of raisins in my pouch for my store, I began my journey.
6. A secret hoard of indifference — like a thick cake a fond old nurse might have slipped into his first school outfit — came to his aid and helped to reconcile him to sacrifice.
7. Each aunt took it in turns to bake and ice the cake and to decorate the icing. While they were kept busy doing this they seemed to be quite changed. Annie wore an ordinary dress and stopped laughing, Li ceased to cry, and Polly’s fits were quieter than on any other day.
8. The olla consisted of several sorts of pottages, salads, fricassees, saugrenees, cabirotadoes, roast and boiled meat, carbonadoes, swingeing pieces of powdered beef, good old hams, dainty somates, cakes, tarts, a world of curds after the Moorish way, fresh cheese, jellies, and fruit of all sorts. All this seemed to me good and dainty.
9. Variholed sponges of crisp-edged honey and oaten breads, earthenware jars of whey-thick sack and porcelain pots of lathery lager, sorrels and short-bread and coarse-grained cake, cucumbers cold and downy straw-laced cradles of elderberry wine poured out in sea-green egg-cups and urn-shaped tubs of molasses crushed and crucibled with the lush brown-heavy scum of pulped mellifluous mushrooms, an exhaustive harvesting of the teeming earth, by God.
10. I fed her, my carlen, my barelean linsteer, upon spiceries for her garbage breath, italics of knobby lauch and the rich morsel of the marrolebone and shains of garleeks and swinespepper and gothakrauts and pinkee dillisks, primes of meshallehs and subleties in jellywork, come the feast of Saint Pancreas, and shortcake nutrients for Paas and Pingster’s pudding, bready and nutalled and potted fleshmeats from store dampkookin, and the drugs of Kafa and Jelupa and shallots out of Ascalon…



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