Æthelstan, Duran Duran and a special Ron Pokémon – take the Thursday quiz

<span>Photograph: Joel Selvin/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Joel Selvin/Getty Images

One Thursday quizzer once expressed in the comments the desire for fewer “real questions with sensible answers” and more questions that involved carefully “weighing the whimsical against the possible”. Well, this is surely their lucky week, as the quiz master is off work for half-term, and therefore this week’s 15 questions are almost entirely whimsy written well in advance. And you’ve got double science as punishment for all the moaning about the sulfuric acid question last week. It is just for fun, and there are no prizes, but let us know how you got on in the comments.

The Thursday quiz, No 79

  1. Sir Michael Palin
    Sir Michael Palin

    CANCEL CULTURE: It is the birthday of John Cleese today. So here is a question about lovely Michael Palin instead. What was the name of the anthology comedy series Palin starred in between 1976 and 1979?

    1. Not Only … But Also

    2. Rutland Weekend Television

    3. The Staggering Stories of Ferdinand de Bargos

    4. Ripping Yarns

  2. Robert Picardo
    Robert Picardo

    HOLOGRAPHIC: It is also Robert Picardo's brithday today. Happy birthday, Robert! He is known for playing the Emergency Medical Hologram character first introduced in which Star Trek series?

    1. Star Trek: The Next Generation

    2. Star Trek: Voyager

    3. Star Trek: Discovery

    4. Star Trek: The One Where Rachel Finds Out

  3. Simon Le Bon
    Simon Le Bon

    DANCING ON THE VALENTINE: It is also the birthday of Duran Duran legend Simon Le Bon. Happy birthday, Simon! But what was the name of the third Duran Duran LP – their only No 1 album in the UK?

    1. Rio

    2. Arena

    3. Seven and the Ragged Tiger

    4. Hounds of Love

  4. England's Rachel Daly
    England's Rachel Daly

    OH YOU ANGLO-SAXONS YOU: Æthelstan (not pictured) is often regarded by historians as the first king of the English. He is said to have died on 27 October. But which year?

    1. 939

    2. 979

    3. 1019

    4. 1059

  5. Edith Wharton
    Edith Wharton

    LITERATURE: Edith Wharton became the first woman to win the Pulitzer prize for fiction in 1921. With which book?

    1. Alice Adams

    2. The Custom of the Country

    3. The House of Mirth

    4. The Age of Innocence

  6. Tammy Wynette
    Tammy Wynette

    TAMMY'S TEASER: Tammy Wynette had a hit single with D-I-V-O-R-C-E in 1968. But which constellation beginning with O includes the stars Rigel and Betelgeuse?

    1. Orpheus

    2. Orion

    3. Octans

    4. Organa

  7. 1998 World Cup
    1998 World Cup

    1966 AND ALL THAT: A series of questions not related to football leading up to the 2022 Fifa World Cup awarded to Qatar even though the bid process said it had to be held in June and July. The 1998 World Cup was in France, but what is the opening line of the French national anthem?

    1. L’étendard sanglant est levé

    2. Allons enfants de la Patrie

    3. Ils viennent jusque dans vos bras

    4. Le temps du zoo, c'est le temps du moi et toi

  8. The Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam
    The Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam

    WHEN IT IS SPRING AGAIN I'LL BRING AGAIN TULIPS FROM AMSTERDAM: The delightful city of Amsterdam is in which province of the Netherlands?

    1. Amsterdam

    2. Overijssel

    3. Friesland

    4. North Holland

  9. Duke and Duchess of Windsor
    Duke and Duchess of Windsor

    ROYAL SCANDALS GONE BY: Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, married Edward VIII after he abdicated. But what was her name at birth?

    1. Betty Wallis Nuffield

    2. Bessie Wallis Spencer

    3. Bessie Wallis Warfield

    4. Betty Wallis Cranleigh

  10. Beatles mural
    Beatles mural

    GCSE SCIENCE BUT WITH PAUL McCARTNEY: Wings At The Speed Of Sound was the fifth album by Wings (not pictured), who were only the band the Beatles could have been. But what is the SI base unit for measuring the speed of sound called?

    1. Pascal

    2. Mach

    3. Weber

    4. There isn't one

  11. Boiled egg
    Boiled egg

    GCSE SCIENCE AGAIN BUT NOW WITH MADONNA FOR SOME REASON: Ray of Light was a 1998 smash for Madonna, who apparently looks like a boiled egg these days if you ask Lorraine Kelly. An endoscope uses glass fibres to enable doctors to see inside a person. Cheeky. Rays of light travel along the glass fibres by …?

    1. Total internal reflection

    2. Total internal refraction

    3. Total internal diffraction

    4. A total eclipse of the heart

  12. 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. She wants to know in what year did Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer release the movie Lassie Come Home, the first instalment in the shared Lassie universe franchise movies?

    1. 1938

    2. 1943

    3. 1948

    4. 1953

  13. Scotland in the T20
    Scotland in the T20

    SPORT: Always a popular category. We are slap bang in the middle of the 2022 ICC Men's T20 World Cup in the cricket, which started in fine style with shock wins for Namibia and Scotland (pictured). Where is it being held?

    1. Australia

    2. New Zealand

    3. South Africa

    4. United Arab Emirates

  14. Woman reading book in library
    Woman reading book in library

    WEIRD WORDS: Which of these words is in the Collins online English dictionary as an obsolete Scottish word for being confused or bewildered?

    1. Tersurus

    2. Tintookie

    3. Tartrate

    4. Taivert

  15. A Pokémon designed by Lamba text-to-pokémon
    A Pokémon designed by Lamba text-to-pokémon

    SPARKS IN THE DARK: Here is how an AI imagined Ron from Sparks might look as a Pokémon. But which games company's hardware have the Pokémon games like Pokémon Red, Pokémon Blue, Pokémon Diamond, Pokémon Pearl and so on mostly been released for?

    1. Nintendo

    2. Sega

    3. Sony

    4. Konami


1:D - Intended as a parody of pre-war literature aimed at schoolboys, they only made nine episodes, including The Testing of Eric Olthwaite, Tomkinson's Schooldays and Across the Andes by Frog, 2:B - He was introduced in Star Trek: Voyager, and went on to play additional copies of the hologram program in the 1996 film Star Trek: First Contact and also in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He also – because why waste a good ploy that worked with Brent Spiner and Data/Lore – played the inventor of the medical hologram, Dr Lewis Zimmerman, 3:C - Released in 1983, Seven and the Ragged Tiger featured the hits The Reflex and Union of the Snake, and spent one week at the top of the charts. It remains their only No 1 album despite not being as acclaimed or well-known as its predecessor Rio., 4:A - Æthelstan was declared king of Mercia, won over the support of Wessex, recaptured York from the Vikings, and even won a battle against the Scots at the Battle of Brunanburh. He then never married and didn't have an heir to pass a unified kingdom on to. Classic Æthelstan. That's Rachel Daly in the picture by the way, one of the Lionesses who Æthelstan would for sure have supported these days if he was still alive., 5:D - Set in New York City in the 1870s, it was her 12th novel. Martin Scorsese directed a film version in 1993, although there was originally a silent movie version of it just three years after publication., 6:B - The blue-white Rigel (Beta Orionis) and red Betelgeuse (Alpha Orionis) are the two brightest stars in the constellation, 7:B - It is Allons enfants de la Patrie, as the opening lines say in English "Arise, children of the Fatherland, Our day of glory has arrived, Against us the bloody flag of tyranny is raised". Stirring stuff. It certainly put Brazil off their stride in the 1998 final., 8:D - There are 12 provinces of the Netherlands – none of which are actually called Amsterdam. Mentioning this will almost certainly not stop someone trying to point this out as an error in the comments., 9:C - She took the name Simpson after her marriage to Ernest Aldrich Simpson, and prior to that she had also taken the name of her first husband, Earl Winfield Spencer Jr. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor lived out a life of leisure as society celebrities, despite the long-held view that they had been Nazi sympathisers, having visited Germany and met Adolf Hitler at the Berghof in 1937., 10:D - There are seven SI base units, and 22 named derived units, but the speed of sound isn't one of them. The speed of sound varies depending on what medium the sound is moving through, and under what conditions, so it couldn't be a base unit. The seven SI base units are second, metre, kilogram, ampere, kelvin, mole and candela., 11:A - Total internal reflection is the optical phenomenon in which waves arriving at the interface from one medium to another are not refracted into the second medium, but completely reflected back into the first medium., 12:B - Based upon the 1940 novel Lassie Come-Home by Eric Knight. The film was the first in a series of seven MGM films starring Lassie, who was initially played by a dog called Pal. Pal died of natural causes in June 1958 at age 18, which is about 85 in "dog years", or about 1,057 ancient Sumerian cubits., 13:A - Covid caused the whole thing to get into a tizz. Australia were meant to host it in 2020, but that was cancelled. India were meant to hold an edition in 2021, but that had to be moved to the UAE and Oman. Australia got another shot to host this year, where they are defending champions., 14:D - One of those words that is presumably used more now to get rid of a V in Scrabble than it is in conversation. A tartrate is any salt or ester of tartaric acid, a tintookie is Australian slang for a fawning or servile person, and Tersurus is a planet where the inhabitants communicate by farting., 15:A - The Game Boy was the destination for the first generation Pokémon games in 1996, and since then every major release has been aimed at Nintendo platforms like the DS, 3DS or Switch. You can tell by the look on its face that Ron's Pokémon thinks you should have known that.


  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 martin.belam@theguardian.com, but remember the quizmaster’s word is final, and often whimsical, and he is genuinely on holiday and so is unlikely to read them.