Detectives, sea monsters and stupid dangerous stunts – take the Thursday quiz

·8-min read

Fifteen questions on general knowledge and topical trivia, plus a few jokes every Thursday – how will you fare?

A new year! 2022! A chance for a new beginning! A chance to put it all behind you! Everything is renewed! But not here at the Thursday quiz, where it is the same old gubbins as ever, or as one excited commentator put it last week: “Sheesh Martin, the Sparks shoehorn? Again?” Ahead of you lie 15 topical and general knowledge questions, sprinkled with a generous helping of Ron from Sparks, a hidden Doctor Who reference, the wonderful Kate Bush and all your favourites. It is just for fun and there are no prizes, but let us know how you get on in the comments.

The Thursday quiz, No 37

  1. The Riddler
    The Riddler

    WHO AM I? I am a hugely successful singer with many hits to my name over a long period of time, and in 2021 I sold more calendars than any other singer

    1. Cliff Richard

    2. Elvis Presley

    3. Kylie Minogue

    4. Shakin' Stevens

  2. PD James, 1990.
    PD James, 1990.

    LITERATURE: What was the name of the fictional detective created by PD James that first appeared in her 1962 novel Cover Her Face?

    1. Andrew Dalgliesh

    2. Aaron Dalgliesh

    3. Adam Dalgliesh

    4. Kenny Dalglish

  3. Benedict

    ELEMENTARY MY DEAR WATSON: Speaking of fictional detectives, which of the four Arthur Conan Doyle novels featuring Sherlock Holmes was published first?

    1. The Hand of Fear

    2. A Study in Scarlet

    3. The Sign of the Four

    4. The Hound of the Baskervilles

  4. USA

    ON THIS DAY: What changed in the US on 6 January 1973, and would stay that way until 27 April 1975?

    1. Nasa suspended space flights due to a fuel shortage

    2. The clocks – the country experimented with permanent daylight savings time

    3. The location of the US Supreme Court, which had to relocate due to building works

    4. The organisation of soccer – as the North American Soccer League (NASL) rebranded to Soccerbowl to better compete with the NFL

  5. Science corner
    Science corner

    GCSE SCIENCE CORNER: Biology this week, and we are talking about mitosis, the process in which a eukaryotic cell nucleus splits. What phase in mitosis involves the pulling of the chromosomes and their copies to different ends of the cell before the split?

    1. Telosphase

    2. Prophase

    3. Metaphase

    4. Anaphase

  6. Nicola Coughlan
    Nicola Coughlan

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY: It is the brilliant Nicola Coughlan's birthday on Sunday. Happy birthday, Nicola! But which Derry Girl is she?

    1. Clare Devlin

    2. Erin Quinn

    3. Orla McCool

    4. Michelle Mallon

  7. Russ Abbott
    Russ Abbott

    TRUE OF FALSE: The Russ Abbott song Atmosphere charted higher than the Joy Division song Atmosphere in the UK singles chart?

    1. True

    2. False

  8. Sparks

    REINFORCEMENTS: That's a 1974 song by Sparks where they could use a strong rear guard. But that's not important right now. Hadrian's Wall is apparently celebrating its 1,900th anniversary this year, but according to the English Heritage website, how far does it stretch?

    1. 73 miles

    2. 93 miles

    3. 113 miles

    4. 133 miles

  9. Flag of Bougainville
    Flag of Bougainville

    FLAGS OF JOY: This is the flag of the Autonomous Region of Bougainville. Where is it?

    1. French Polynesia

    2. Guadeloupe

    3. Papua New Guinea

    4. Fiji

  10. Mark E Smith
    Mark E Smith

    YEAH YEAH INDUSTRIAL ESTATE: That's a song by The Fall. But where is Thwaite Mills, an industrial museum of a fully restored working water-powered mill from the 1820s?

    1. Middlesbrough

    2. Durham

    3. Carlisle

    4. Leeds

  11. Caspian Sea
    Caspian Sea

    BLOWING THINGS UP, BUT AT SEA: What was the Caspian Sea Monster?

    1. The nickname of the largest submarine ever built by the Soviet Union

    2. A Soviet underwater missile defence system, that was intended to launch nuclear missiles at Western Europe from the bottom of the Caspian sea

    3. An experimental Soviet aircraft that flew above water at an altitude of 5-10 metres

    4. It was a very large experimental Soviet oil-drilling rig which capsized and sank in the Caspian Sea in the 1960s

  12. Dumb Waiter
    Dumb Waiter

    THE PLAY'S THE THING: Who wrote The Dumb Waiter, first performed in 1959, and seen here being performed by Toby Jones and Jason Watkins in 2004??

    1. Mike Leigh

    2. Harold Pinter

    3. Joe Orton

    4. Alan Bennett

  13. Wine glasses
    Wine glasses

    CHEERS MY DEARS: The Cité du Vin museum is the hilariously literal name of one of France's finest museums. But where is it located?

    1. Bordeaux, in the Bordeaux region

    2. Dijon, in the Burgundy region

    3. Tours, in the Loire Valley region

    4. Reims, in the Champagne region

  14. Billie / Olivia / Taylor / Kate
    Billie / Olivia / Taylor / Kate

    MUSIC: Obviously when Adele released her album last year it swept all before it. But which of these women had the UK No 1 album directly preceding Adele's 30 topping the chart?

    1. Billie Eilish

    2. Olivia Rodrigo

    3. Taylor Swift

    4. Kate Bush

  15. Amazon's Alexa
    Amazon's Alexa

    STUPID CHALLENGES: There was controversy after an Amazon Alexa device suggested to a 10 year old child to do which stupid stunt when asked for 'a challenge'?

    1. Stick a penny into an electric socket

    2. Crack an egg over someone's head

    3. Eat a spoonful of ground cinnamon

    4. Burn a load of carbon firing yourself quite near to space in a rocket for no readily apparent reason


1:A - It was Cliff Richard, who claims to have sold 1.5m calendars since he first produced an official one in 1979. The 81 year old outsold all other musicians, according to figures released by Calendar Club, although he wasn't as popular as football teams, 2:C - Dalgliesh was in fourteen of her novels, and has been memorably played by Roy Marsden, Martin Shaw and Bertie Carvel on television. That's an amazing Jane Bown portrait of PD James with the cat, by the way., 3:B - Published in 1887, it takes its title from Holmes announcing that 'There's the scarlet thread of murder running through the colourless skein of life, and our duty is to unravel it, and isolate it, and expose every inch of it.' Alright, mate, 4:B - It was the clock change. The country moved on to DST early, in a move partly inspired by fuel shortages., 5:D - Anaphase is the fifth stage of cell division. The genetic material is moved to either end of the cell, so that when it divides the newly formed cells both have a complete copy of it. This process is almost certainly taking place all over your body within you right now as you were selecting your answer. Weird, huh? , 6:A - She plays Clare, often the voice of reason in the group. Highly vocal on politics, she once tweeted "If you think actors shouldn't have political opinions remember it’s someone’s job/ I could apply that to your job & say warehouse managers should not be allowed opinions, which I wouldn’t say because it’s ridiculous.", 7:A - It's true. Although regarded as a classic, the Joy Division track Atmosphere was originally a limited edition release only available in France, and then reissued as a 12" in the UK after Ian Curtis had died. It eventually charted in 1988 when a second reissue reached number 34. On the other hand, the classic Russ Abbott track Atmosphere reached No 7 in the chart first time out in 1984. Abbott did an excellent guest turn as a villain in the Sarah Jane Adventures series in a story called Secrets of the Stars which you should check out, 8:A - Running from Wallsend on the River Tyne in the east to Bowness-on-Solway in the west, the quiz master isn't entirely convinced by the 73 miles figure or the 1,900 years figure himself, but that's what the English Heritage website says, and that is what the question asked. And you can tell by his face that Ron from Sparks thinks you should have known that, 9:C - A secessionist movement in the 1970s on Bougainville Island resulted in Bougainville gaining quasi-federal status as a province in the Papua New Guinea constitution., 10:D - Opened as a museum in 1990, it harnesses the power of the River Aire, and sits on a site that has been used as a mill since the 1600s, 11:C - The Korabl Maket was an absolutely massive troop or supplies carrying plane with eight engines mounted on it. It was designed to fly at incredibly high speeds very close to the surface of water. They only built one, and it crashed in 1980 and sunk. You should look for film footage of it on YouTube. It is insane, 12:B - The play features two hit-men, Ben and Gus, waiting in a basement for their target to arrive, 13:A - It was officially opened in 2016, and one installation features 3,812 empty wine bottles suspended from the ceiling which must have given the architects one hell of a hangover, 14:C - Taylor's re-recorded version of her Red album was at No 1 the week before Adele took the crown. Both Billie Eilish and Olivia Rodrigo also enjoyed No 1 albums in 2021. Kate Bush hasn't released an album since 2016, when the recording of her live shows – Before The Dawn - peaked at No 4 in the chart, 15:A - Apparently Alexa had sourced the challenge by searching the web, a notoriously safe occupation for 10 year old children


  1. 0 and above.

    We hope you enjoyed the quiz – let us know how you got on in the comments!

  2. 4 and above.

    We hope you enjoyed the quiz – let us know how you got on in the comments!

  • If you do think there has been an egregious error in one of the questions or answers, please feel free to email but remember, the quiz master’s word is always final, and his new year resolution was to ignore all his work emails.

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