40 questions from the 2011 WQC

A selection of 40 questions (out of 240) from the 2011 World Quizzing Championship.  


1. The catchphrase ‘I love it when a plan comes together’ is from which U.S. TV show that ran from 1983 to 1986 (the phrase was also used in a 2010 film release of the same name)?

2. After one of its leading members recently left them, which band changed its name to ‘Beady Eye’?

3. This English film composer won Academy Awards for the scores of movies like ‘Out of Africa’ and ‘Dances with Wolves’ but will probably best be remembered for composing 11 James Bond soundtracks, including ‘Dr. No’, ‘From Russia with Love’, ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Diamonds are Forever’.  Who is this composer, who died earlier this year?

4. Entitled ‘u’ and premiering in the Hague, September 2010 saw the first ever opera performed in which language?

5. This musical instrument, sometimes referred to with the broader name ‘kettle drum’, evolved from a military drum into a regular in classical orchestra. What is its name?


6. According to Christian belief, Jesus performed his first public miracle when turning water into wine at a wedding in which town in Galilee (after which the miracle is named)?

7. In Nazi concentration camps Jews wore yellow triangles. Members of which “door-to-door” religious community wore inverted purple triangles?

8. It is considered an unlucky number in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese cultures because, in their languages, it is nearly homophonous to (i.e. sounds like) the word for “death”. This is why many numbered product lines skip it. You won’t find a cell phone number series beginning with this digit and some buildings do not have a  floor with this number. In Hong Kong, some high-rise residences don’t use the digit ANYWHERE within its floor numbers – as a result, a building with a 50th floor might only be 35 storeys high!. What number is this?

9. Which French monumental sculptor, born in Paris in 1875, is especially known for his statue ‘Christ the Redeemer’, one of the iconic landmarks of Rio de Janeiro?

10. Known as a master of the candid shot, which photographer took the famous kissing in Times Square image on VJ day, 1945?


11. The eponymous cheese is made from raw cow’s milk. The leftover whey feeds the pigs used for the eponymous ham. Which Italian city are we in?

12. Which British physician’s work on cancer was so influential that nowadays blood cancers or lymphoma are divided into two groups both bearing his name, the latter normally being preceded by the prefix ‘non’?

13. Celebrated annually since 1850, which event takes place on the Theresienwiese, named after Theresia of Bavaria who married King Ludwig I on that very spot?

14. This company sold many consumer electronics under the brand name GoldStar, while some other household products (like soaps and toothpaste) were sold under the brand name of Lucky. In 1995, to better compete in the Western market, the company was renamed. To what?

15. What name is given to the small buckwheat or wheat flour pancakes on a yeast base, typically served with sour cream, that are a famous part of Russian cuisine?


16. Carbon has a lot in common with what element right under it on the periodic table, so much so that science fiction imagines life forms based on it?

17. At what temperature do the Celsius and the Fahrenheit scale meet? Put differently: there is one temperature x which is the same in degrees Celsius and in degrees Fahrenheit. Which?

18. Patagona gigas is the largest species of which bird family, despite being just 20 cm (8 inches) long and weighing only about 20 g (two-thirds of an ounce)?

19. This Italian economist and sociologist is best known for his principle that about 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. For instance he observed that 80% of the land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population. This principle, sometimes also called the ‘law of the vital few’ or simply the 80-20 rule, and a related chart were named after him. What was his name?

20. This Canadian-American experimental psychologist, cognitive scientist and linguist is also an author of several popular science books such as The Language Instinct (1994), How the Mind Works (1997), The Blank Slate (2002), and The Stuff of Thought (2007). He argues that language is an “instinct” or biological adaptation shaped by natural selection. Who is he?


21. In 2010, Dilma Rousseff became the first woman President of which country?

22. Prior to the 1990 unification of two ‘Arab Republics’, one of them had been the Arab world’s only Marxist state. Which new Republic was formed by their merger?

23. This hero of the young Roman Republic spent much of his life farming just three acres but was appointed dictator during an emergency in 458BC. He accepted the position for just as long as was necessary and resigned as soon as he could (after just 16 days). He indirectly inspired the name of one of the USA’s 25 biggest cities (2008 census). Who was this famous Roman?

24. What two-word name was given to colonists in Algeria (mostly French nationals) before its independence in 1962?

25. In 1943, British colonial authorities in Palestine issued a WANTED poster with mug shots of ten men hunted as terrorists. Pictured in alphabetical order, the first man was a Polish clerk whose peculiarities were listed as “wears spectacles, flat footed, bad teeth”. This ‘terrorist clerk’ went on to become the Prime Minister of his nation and also won the Nobel Peace Prize. Who was he?


26. What was the title of the 2004 movie starring Gael Garcia Bernal that narrated a journey by the young Che Guevara through South America in 1952?

27. What name is given to a poem of 17 syllables arranged in three lines of 5, 7 and 5 syllables each that has been extremely popular in Japan since the 17th century?

28. Who is the only woman to have won the Academy Award for ‘Best Director’?

29. Which secret organisation had its headquarters at number 12, Grimmauld Place, London?

30. Which novel by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe, arguably one of Africa’s most famous English-language works, gets its name from a Yeats poem? It was published in 1958, almost 30 years before his other masterpiece ‘Anthills of the Savannah’?

Sport & Games:

31. In the smartphone game Angry Birds, who are the birds so angry at?

32. At the Mexico City Olympics, who long-jumped 8.9 m, breaking the old record by a whopping 55 cm and setting a new mark that lasted until 1991?

33. In 1996, which country became the most northerly in continental Europe ever to provide the winner of the Tour de France?

34. The annual World Series of Roshambo is the premier event for ‘professional’ players of roshambo. By what name is this game commonly known?

35. This German only played his first international football match in March 2010, but in that year’s World Cup, he shared top scorer honors with Spaniard David Villa, Uruguayan Diego Furlan and Dutchman Wesley Sneijder. Who is he?


36. The name of which vehicle, still widely used in Asia, is derived from a Japanese word, literally meaning “human-powered vehicle”?

37. Which entire continent is covered by the 672 international dialing code?

38. What name does Google give to the special logos on its web page that celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists and scientists?

39. Looking out from the city centre of Johannesburg, in which one of the 8 main wind directions would you situate the city district of Soweto?

40. Nicknamed “Treasure State”, which state is the fourth largest in the United States after Alaska, Texas, and California?

1 response to 40 questions from the 2011 WQC

  1. Answers:

    1. The A-Team
    2. Oasis
    3. John Barry
    4. Klingon
    5. Timpani
    6. Cana
    7. Jehovah’s Witnesses
    8. 4
    9. Paul Landowski
    10. Alfred Eisenstaedt
    11. Parma
    12. Thomas Hodgkin
    13. Oktoberfest
    14. LG (Lucky Goldstar)
    15. Blini
    16. Silicon
    17. -40
    18. Hummingbirds
    19. Vilfredo Pareto
    20. Stephen Pinker
    21. Brazil
    22. Yemen (Marxist People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen aka “South Yemen’, merged with the northern, Yemen Arab Republic)
    23. Lucius Quinctius or Cincinnatus (city named for the Society of the Cincinnati, which was named for him)
    25. Menachem BEGIN (Israel)
    27. Haiku
    28. Kathryn BIGELOW (for ‘The Hurt Locker’ in 2010)
    30. Things Fall Apart
    31. Pigs
    32. Bob Beamon
    33. DENMARK (Bjarne Riis)
    34. Rock – Paper – Scissors
    35. Thomas MÜLLER
    36. RICKSHAW
    37. ANTARCTICA (+672 also covers certain Australian External Territories and Norfolk Island)
    38. Doodles
    39. South west (Soweto is abbreviation of SOuth WEst TOwnship)
    40. Montana

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