Shakespeare’s woman, Harry’s disguise, and what on earth is ‘goblin mode’ – take the Thursday quiz

Can you imagine going to a standup night, and at one point someone gets up from their seat and asks the comic to clarify whether they meant that the dog itself had a terrible smell, or whether its sense of smell was terrible, because what they’d said is slightly ambiguous?

Well, don’t be that person in the comments under a quiz. Fifteen questions of a vaguely topical or general knowledge nature, littered with some jokes that don’t need to be fact-checked. There are bonus points available if you can spot tenuous links to the teatime family favourite Doctor Who. Let us know how you get on in the comments.

The Thursday quiz, No 85

  1. Hobgoblin

    WORD OF THE YEAR: The new Oxford word of the year, as chosen by the public, is "goblin mode". That's two words, but never mind. What does it mean?

    1. Playing a video game online stealthily without revealing yourself to other players

    2. Dressing up in a costume completely the opposite to your normal personality

    3. Going off-grid and offline and ghosting all your friends on social media

    4. Unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy behaviour

  2. Colours

    PANTONE OR SHAMTONE: “It’s brave, it’s fearless, it depicts optimism and joy," said the head of Pantone in announcing the company's colour of the year for 2023. What was it?

    1. Very Peri

    2. ¡Hola! Cerulean

    3. Viva Magenta

    4. Sparkling Cyan

  3. The world's oldest Tortoise
    The world's oldest Tortoise

    CUE NEIL YOUNG SONG: Old man, look at his life. A tortoise that has been living since at least 1882 and was quite old then is celebrating his official 190th birthday in Saint Helena. But what is his name?

    1. Jonathan

    2. James

    3. Jeremy

    4. Jumping Jehoshaphat

  4. Prince Harry
    Prince Harry

    ROYAL SHENANIGANS: Prince Harry dressed up as a superhero in a surprise video message to try to comfort bereaved children for the charity Scotty’s Little Soldiers. Who did he dress up as?

    1. Batman

    2. Spider-Man

    3. Iron Man

    4. The Incredible Hulk

  5. William Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare

    ON THIS DAY: It is often said that on 8 December 1660 a woman appeared on an English theatre stage for the first time – playing Desdemona in which Shakespeare play?

    1. Hamlet

    2. Troilus and Cressida

    3. Love's Labour's Lost

    4. Othello

  6. Penguins

    ALSO ON THIS DAY: On 8 December 2013, with a show in Antarctica, which band became the first act to play concerts on all seven continents within one calendar year?

    1. Metallica

    2. Muse

    3. Mötley Crüe

    4. Megadeth

  7. Funny glasses
    Funny glasses

    CITIES IN DISGUISE: Which Canadian city grew out of a settlement formerly known as Granville?

    1. Edmonton

    2. Vancouver

    3. Montreal

    4. Ottawa

  8. On the mountain
    On the mountain

    THAT'S HIGH THAT IS: Snowdonia National Park Authority has voted to refer to Mt Snowdon by its Welsh name in future. What is it?

    1. Ymaelodi â'r Ymylon

    2. Ysbeidiau Heulog

    3. Yr Wyddfa

    4. Nythod Cacwn

  9. A pillow
    A pillow

    NICKNAMES: Which of these port cities used to be known as "Linenopolis" because of its fabric production?

    1. Belfast

    2. Portsmouth

    3. Swansea

    4. Glasgow

  10. Stormzy

    CHART BATTLE: Stormzy beat the new Cliff Richard album to the UK No 1 spot in a fierce chart battle last week. But what is the name of Stormzy's new album?

    1. Big for Your Boots

    2. Still Disappointed

    3. This Is What I Mean

    4. A Steady Drip, Drip, Drip

  11. Chemists

    GCSE CHEMISTRY CORNER FEATURING INTERNATIONALLY AGREED SPELLING: In a chemical reaction, the mass of products is ______ the mass of reactants?

    1. Equal to

    2. Greater than

    3. Less than

    4. Inverse to

  12. Vintage TV
    Vintage TV

    ENSEMBLE CASTS: Which comedy show features Jennifer Gibney, Eilish O'Carroll and Rory Cowan among its cast?

    1. Moone Boy

    2. Derry Girls

    3. Upwardly Mobile

    4. Mrs Brown's Boys

  13. Village People
    Village People

    VILLAGE PEOPLE'S POSER: Young man, there's no need to feel down, Village People had a smash hit in 1978 with YMCA. But which C is the ferryman of Hades in Greek mythology?

    1. Charon

    2. Cronus

    3. Cymopoleia

    4. Chloris

  14. Couple kissing in bed
    Couple kissing in bed

    NO SEX PLEASE, WE'RE _________: Which country has just passed a legal amendment to its criminal code which would criminalise premarital and extramarital sex, as well as the cohabitation of unmarried couples?

    1. Thailand

    2. Malaysia

    3. Indonesia

    4. The Philippines

  15. Music

    MUSIC: Which huge music star announced that they will be performing their final ever UK show at Glastonbury in 2023?

    1. Elton John

    2. Barry Manilow

    3. Rod Stewart

    4. Kate Bush


1:D - The president of Oxford Languages, Casper Grathwohl, said: “Given the year we’ve just experienced, ‘goblin mode’ resonates with all of us who are feeling a little overwhelmed at this point. It’s a relief to acknowledge that we’re not always the idealised, curated selves that we’re encouraged to present on our Instagram and TikTok feeds. This has been demonstrated by the dramatic rise of platforms like BeReal where users share images of their unedited selves, often capturing self-indulgent moments in goblin mode.”, 2:C - Very Peri was so this year. We are looking forward to 2023 with a shade of purple that is almost impossible to carry off with any dignity above a certain age. Maybe that's the point., 3:A - Living on Saint Helena since 1882, when he arrived as a gift to the governor of the small south Atlantic island, he holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest known living land animal. Although his precise date of birth remains unknown, estimates suggest he hatched around 1832. The Guinness World Records noted: “Jonathan’s age is an estimation based on the fact that he was fully mature, and hence at least 50 years old, when he arrived in Saint Helena from Seychelles in 1882. In all likelihood, he is even older than we think.”, 4:B - Harry, who was 12 when his mother Diana, Princess of Wales, died in 1997, told the youngsters: “Christmas is a time when we miss our loved ones really, really badly and that’s OK. But at the same time, it can be possible to feel guilty for having fun without our parents. But I am here to assure you that our parents always want us to have fun, OK? So don’t feel guilty.", 5:D - Desdemona appears in Othello. Some sources say Margaret Hughes, some say Anne Marshall, and some say Katherine Corey played the part in the production., 6:A - It was Metallica, who played to scientists at a research station, and because of the fragile ecology of the continent, they played it 'silent disco' style with everybody wearing headphones. The poor penguins felt completely left out., 7:B - Vancouver still has a district named Gastown which was the original colonising settlement. It was officially named Granville from 1870 to 1886, 8:C - That's the ticket. All the others are track titles from the amazing Welsh-language album Mwng by Super Furry Animals from 2000., 9:A - Belfast became a dominating city of fabric production in Britain and Ireland during the late 1700s. The nickname of "Linenopolis" was bestowed on Belfast due to its flourishing linen trade. The linen quarter now specialises in bars and restaurants, as well as theatre and music., 10:C - This Is What I Mean is the third studio album by the rapper, and it became his third UK No 1 album. Cliff Richard entered the charts at No 2, but he can't feel too hard done by as he has already had seven albums reach No 1 during a career lasting approximately one billion years., 11:A - The law of conservation of mass states that no atoms, sulfur or otherwise, are lost or made in a chemical reaction, so you always end up with the same mass of stuff, even if the stuff has changed., 12:D - The seemingly unstoppable show features Brendan O'Carroll's wife Gibney and sister O'Carroll among its cast. And there's absolutely no need to be snobbish in the comments about a show that was pulling in 9m viewers over Christmas for much of the last decade. It's more fun than Wuthering Heights, for a start., 13:A - Early depictions of him show a rough, unkempt Athenian seaman dressed in reddish-brown, who takes the souls of the dead across the rivers Acheron and Styx., 14:C - A spokesperson from the law and human rights ministry, Albert Aries, defended the amendments before the vote and said the law would protect marriage institutions. He said acts of pre-marital and extramarital sex could only be reported by a spouse, parents or children, limiting the scope of the amendment. Rights groups criticised the legislation as morality policing and activists denounced it as a crackdown on civil and political freedoms. A revision of Indonesia’s criminal code, which stretches back to the Dutch colonial era, has been debated for decades., 15:A - John will perform on the Pyramid Stage on Sunday 25 June, closing out the main stage with only his second-ever appearance at a UK festival. The announcement arrives soon after John played his final US show at Los Angeles’ Dodger Stadium last month. He does have a few Europe dates set up after Glastonbury but insists that, despite the fact he is still standing, that's your lot.


  1. 0 and above.

    We hope you had fun – 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 quizmaster’s word is final, and he is very busy with Harry and Meghan and the football.