Space debris, an ancient tree, and next year’s Oscars host – take the Thursday quiz

<span>Photograph: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP</span>
Photograph: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

They say that the mills of the gods grind slowly, but they grind exceeding fine. In stark contrast, the Thursday quiz comes around each week exceedingly quickly, and rather than say it is “fine”, lots of people nitpick. As a consequence, the sulfur questions continue, and you will face 14 other vaguely topical and general knowledge puzzles which will feature nearly all of your favourite laboured in-jokes. There are no prizes, it is just for fun. Let us know how you get on in the comments, where you can secure bonus points by spotting oblique references to Doctor Who and being funny.

The Thursday quiz, No 81

  1. Low Perform At Tramway Glasgow
    Low Perform At Tramway Glasgow

    THE INVISIBLE WAY: We lost Mimi Parker, drummer and vocalist with the hauntingly beautiful band Low. Where did she form the band with Alan Sparhawk, who was her husband?

    1. Salem, Oregon

    2. Austin, Texas

    3. Athens, Georgia

    4. Duluth, Minnesota

  2. Tammy Wynette
    Tammy Wynette

    TAMMY'S TEASER: Tammy Wynette had a hit single with D-I-V-O-R-C-E in 1968. Nobody knows how interested she would have been in GCSE science questions, but which element is C the symbol for?

    1. Calcium

    2. Carbon

    3. Cadmium

    4. Chlorine

  3. Jesus painting
    Jesus painting

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Today would have been the birthday of enthusiastic theses writer Martin Luther (not pictured). Happy birthday, Martin! If you enjoyed that sort of thing, of course. Apologies if not. His 31 October 1517 publication Disputation on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences contained how many theses?

    1. 59

    2. 75

    3. 87

    4. 95

  4. Artist palette
    Artist palette

    ART FOR ART'S SAKE: Meanwhile, art boffins at the Bredius museum in The Hague, where the sketch The Raising of the Cross (not pictured) has been on display since 1921, revealed last week thanks to new scientific techniques that it had genuinely been painted by whom?

    1. Vermeer

    2. Bruegel

    3. Rembrandt

    4. Van Clomp

  5. Willow, the official dog of the Guardian's Thursday quiz
    Willow, the official dog of the Guardian's Thursday quiz

    IT'S A DOG'S LIFE: This is Willow, the official dog of the Guardian's Thursday quiz, on the bus. In the Netherlands authorities have sanctioned the use of what to scare wolves they say have grown so unafraid of humans that they could become a serious danger.

    1. Whistles

    2. Paintballs

    3. Air horns

    4. 30-50 feral hogs

  6. Ron Mael
    Ron Mael

    A FUN BUNCH OF GUYS FROM OUTER SPACE: That is a 1983 Sparks song about some aliens here to infiltrate and get a tan. But the New York skyline was disturbed last week not by aliens, but by a drone display advertising the 10th anniversary of which game?

    1. Plants vs Zombies

    2. Candy Crush

    3. Pokémon Go

    4. Angry Birds

  7. A Long March 5B rocket
    A Long March 5B rocket

    WHAT GOES UP: Talking of violated airspace, which European country had to close a portion of its airspace after a hefty chunk of the massive rocket used to deliver the third module of China’s Tiangong space station suffered an uncontrolled fall back to earth?

    1. Spain

    2. France

    3. Austria

    4. Croatia

  8. Wayne Rooney
    Wayne Rooney

    1966 AND ALL THAT: A series of questions that aren't about football leading up to the 2022 Fifa World Cup in Qatar, about which England's Euros champion Beth Mead has said the ban on homosexuality is 'the complete opposite to what I believe and respect. It’s not something I will be backing or promoting'. The 2006 World Cup was held in Germany. But which Austrian wrote the tune of the German national anthem?

    1. Franz Schubert

    2. Arnold Schoenberg

    3. Hans de Flores

    4. Joseph Haydn

  9. Erling Haaland
    Erling Haaland

    ALSO NOT QUITE ABOUT FOOTBALL BUT WITH A MISLEADING FOOTBALL-THEMED PHOTO: Erling Haaland has set about playing in the Premier League like someone on Fifa super-easy mode. But the tourist board in Halland say his popularity has obliterated their presence in search engines. Where is Halland County?

    1. Norway

    2. Denmark

    3. Sweden

    4. Iceland

  10. Trees

    TREE-MENDOUS: An ancient tree in a ruined abbey (not pictured) has won UK tree of the year – but what type and where was it?

    1. A yew at Waverley in Surrey

    2. A sycamore at Hob Tor in Derbyshire

    3. A rowan at Newbattle in Midlothian

    4. A weeping willow at Navan in Armagh

  11. Catherine Tate and David Tennant
    Catherine Tate and David Tennant

    OBVIOUS DOCTOR WHO REFERENCE: What was the name of the character Catherine Tate played so brilliantly in Doctor Who, and will do again next year?

    1. Clara Oswald

    2. Donna Noble

    3. Martha Jones

    4. Amelia Pond

  12. Dido

    OH HOW TERRIBLY VEXING WITH DIDO: Vexillology is the study of flags, and Dido had a hit with White Flag, so how could they not be put together as an exciting new recurring Thursday quiz category? Which of these countries has a national flag that could be described as "three horizontal bands of equal width, red on the top, blue in the middle, and apricot on the bottom"

    1. Kyrgyzstan

    2. Armenia

    3. Lebanon

    4. Vietnam

  13. Royal visit to Northern Ireland
    Royal visit to Northern Ireland

    COCKTAIL O'CLOCK: The Thursday quiz is quite partial to being written while down the pub, which might explain a lot. But if you ordered a shot of a coffee liqueur like Kahlúa topped with Baileys, what is that most likely to be called?

    1. Buttery Nipple

    2. U-Boot

    3. Baby Guinness

    4. Pickleback

  14. A scientist
    A scientist

    GCSE SCIENCE SULFURIC QUESTION OF THE WEEK: Despite what you repeatedly argue in the comments, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry spells it sulfuric, GCSE examiners spell it sulfuric, and the Thursday quiz spells it sulfuric. What colour is sulfuric acid (not pictured, that is just someone looking down a microscope)?

    1. Yellow

    2. Light blue

    3. Blood red

    4. Colourless

  15. Oscars

    SILVER SCREEN MACHINE: Who has been announced as the host of next year's Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awards, which you probably know better as the Oscars?

    1. James Corden

    2. Jimmy Kimmel

    3. Trevor Noah

    4. Kate Bush


1:D - Across their 29-year career, Low have put out 13 full-length studio albums, and their 1999 EP Christmas is one of the most beloved indie-rock takes on festive music. The band told fans "Keep her name close and sacred. Share this moment with someone who needs you. Love is indeed the most important thing.”, 2:B - It is, of course, carbon. If you didn't get that, you need to hand back any science qualifications you hold, however much you want to spell sulfur as sulphur., 3:D - There were 95 theses, which feels like a lot, but in fairness, in translation it only amounts to around 2,700 words because most of the theses are very short. And actually Martin Luther *might* be in that picture, as art boffins believe that Lucas Cranach the Elder included likenesses of Luther's family in his painting Lasset die Kindlein zu mir kommen., 4:C - Previously dismissed as a “crude imitation”, The Raising of the Cross oil sketch from the 1640s was long thought to have been the work of a follower of the 17th-century master. Infrared reflectography and X-ray scans were made of the sketch, which convinced restoration experts at the gallery it was genuine., 5:B - The provincial government in Arnhem took the decision after a video circulated on social media showed a wolf strolling confidently past a visibly anxious young family in the Hoge Veluwe national park. A spokesperson said paintballs had been chosen to allow park wardens to see which animals had been targeted. The objective was solely to frighten them and make sure they stayed at least 30 metres (100ft) from people, they said., 6:B - The company had the necessary permits for the display, but local Democratic state senator Brad Hoylman nevertheless railed against the stunt, saying it was “outrageous” to “spoil” the city’s famous skyline “for private profit”. It also threatened birds, he said, but missed the opportunity to make an Angry Birds joke. You can tell by the look on his face that Ron thinks the organisers should have known that would happen., 7:A - The EU Space Surveillance and Tracking operations centre said the core stage of the rocket was about 30 metres (65 Ancient Sumerian cubits) long and weighed between 17 and 23 tonnes (between 3,400 and 4,600 Willows), making it “one of the largest pieces of debris re-entering in the near past”. Its re-entry led Spain’s air navigation authority, Enaire, to impose restrictions on the airspace over north-eastern parts of the country, including Catalonia and the Balearic islands., 8:D - Joseph Haydn's Gott erhalte Franz den Kaiser, written in 1797, is the basis for the melody. The lyrics were written by August Heinrich Hoffmann von Fallersleben in 1841. It was adopted as the national anthem by the Weimar Republic in 1922, and these days only the third verse, which starts "Einigkeit und Recht und Freiheit (Unity and Justice and Freedom)" is sung., 9:C - Jimmy Sandberg, the Visit Halland director, has written an open letter pleading with fans of Haaland and journalists to spell his name correctly. “We are Halland. He is Haaland. The popularity of the football phenomenon is completely suffocating our online presence,” he said. “To our despair, we now see that all of our efforts promoting Halland are rapidly being wiped away,” he added, while promoting Halland., 10:A - The Waverley Abbey yew will now go on to represent the UK in the European tree of the year contest, which surely none of us knew was even a thing?, 11:B - Introduced as a one-off guest in Christmas special The Runaway Bride, she later returned to play Donna opposite David Tennant's tenth Doctor for an entire season. And jolly good she was too. She's due to be back for next year's 60th anniversary special alongside the late Bernard Cribbins, which is going to be bittersweet to see him again., 12:B - That is the flag of Armenia. The other three all feature a very distinctive design element – the Vietnam flag features a large star, the Kyrgyzstan flag features a sun symbol that also represents the top of a yurt, and Lebanon's flag features a green cedar tree., 13:C - Containing exactly 0% Guinness, the shot is just delivered in such a way as to look like a mini pint of Guinness, but more delicious., 14:D - Sulfuric acid (H2S04) is a colourless corrosive substance, destructive to the skin, eyes, teeth, and lungs, so you wouldn't want to argue with it about how to spell it., 15:B - The chat show host said: "I am grateful to the Academy for asking me so quickly after everyone good said no." Alright Jimmy, we do the jokes in the Thursday quiz, not you.


  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 often wishes he was the kind of person confident enough to assert in the comments that the year Tammy Wynette had a hit with D-I-V-O-R-C-E is wrong in the Thursday quiz without bothering to look it up first.