Word games, pen names and trips into space – take the Thursday quiz

<span>Photograph: John Raoux/AP</span>
Photograph: John Raoux/AP

Good news everyone! This week’s Thursday quiz introduces not one but two – TWO! – brand new regular features, which I am sure are going to prove as popular as the questions about Pokémon and the anagrams always did in the past. There are 15 questions on general knowledge and topical trivia, and along the way there is a hidden Doctor Who reference for you to spot for a bonus point, as well as the ever-welcome appearance of Kate Bush and Ron from Sparks. It is just for fun. There are no prizes. Let us know how you got on in the comments.

The Thursday quiz, No 41

  1. Where&#39;s the cursor
    Where's the cursor

    OUT OF OFFICE: A change in the law that came into effect on Tuesday means 65,000 federal officials will no longer need to answer emails or phone calls out of hours, after which European country became the latest to offer workers the right to disconnect?

    1. Netherlands

    2. Luxembourg

    3. Belgium

    4. Spain

  2. Wordle

    _ _ _ _ _: Josh Wardle has sold his addictive creation Wordle to which US news organisation?

    1. Washington Post

    2. New York Times

    3. Wall Street Journal

    4. The Atlantic

  3. Science corner
    Science corner

    SCIENCE CORNER: Which of these phrases best describes the structure of DNA?

    1. A long single straight chain

    2. A double helix structure

    3. A triple helix structure

    4. Eight groups of four teams, the top two in each group go through to the round of 16

  4. Sparks

    A FUN BUNCH OF GUYS FROM OUTER SPACE: That is a 1983 Sparks song in which aliens comes to Earth to 'infiltrate and get a tan'. But that's not important right now. Why did Kyle Hippchen give up his seat on the first space tourism flight operated by SpaceX?

    1. Because he exceeded the weight limit for takeoff

    2. Because he failed a drugs test before boarding

    3. Because he discovered his ex was also going to be on the flight

    4. Because at the last moment he realised it was a hugely polluting, scientifically worthless publicity stunt

  5. Old Tv
    Old Tv

    ENSEMBLE CASTS: Speaking of space, which modern flavour of Star Trek features Tawny Newsome, Jack Quaid and Noël Wells among its cast?

    1. Picard

    2. Discovery

    3. Prodigy

    4. Lower Decks

  6. Viking ships arriving in Britain much later
    Viking ships arriving in Britain much later

    ON THIS DAY: Sweyn Forkbeard died on 3 February 1014. At the time he was king of Norway, king of England, and king of which other country?

    1. Finland

    2. Sweden

    3. Denmark

    4. Scotland

  7. Buddy Holly
    Buddy Holly

    THE DAY THE MUSIC DIED: Today is also the anniversary of the air crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and which other music star?

    1. The Big Bopper

    2. Eddie Cochran

    3. Jim Croce

    4. Jim Reeves

  8. Natalie Imbruglia
    Natalie Imbruglia

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY: It is Natalie Imbruglia's birthday tomorrow. Happy birthday, Natalie! But what was the name of the character she played in the Australian soap opera Neighbours

    1. Charlene Robinson

    2. Dee Bliss

    3. Lucy Robinson

    4. Beth Brennan

  9. Louisa May Alcott
    Louisa May Alcott

    LITERATURE: Louisa May Alcott is probably best known for her book Little Women, which was based on her life and used her own name. But what was the pen name that she used to write the books Behind a Mask and A Long Fatal Love Chase?

    1. AM Barnard

    2. IM Foreman

    3. LM Albert

    4. JD Bernhard

  10. David Tennant as Phileas Fogg
    David Tennant as Phileas Fogg

    ALLONS-Y: Wiki Voyage lists 23 locations visited by fictional Phileas Fogg in Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days. No 1 is London, England. But which of the four railway stations on the UK edition of Monopoly is not served by the London Underground?

    1. King's Cross

    2. Liverpool Street

    3. Fenchurch Street

    4. Marylebone

  11. A crow
    A crow

    DO IT CLEAN: A company in Sweden has trained crows to clear up what from the streets of Södertälje, near Stockholm?

    1. Discarded fast-food packaging

    2. Discarded chewing gum

    3. Discarded cigarette butts

    4. Discarded Pokémon trading cards

  12. Spot the ball #1
    Spot the ball #1

    SPOT THE BALL: The Winter Olympics are starting in Beijing this week. To get us in the mood, here is another fantastic new regular round. One stone has been removed from this picture of Norway's super-trouser Curling team from the 2018 edition. Which one?

    1. A

    2. B

    3. C

    4. D

  13. Africa Cup of Nations 2019
    Africa Cup of Nations 2019

    SPORT BUT NOT REALLY SPORT; IT IS GEOGRAPHY IN DISGUISE: Which is the capital of Senegal, one of the four Africa Cup of Nations semi-finalists ?

    1. Cairo

    2. Yaoundé

    3. Ouagadougou

    4. Dakar

  14. The Riddler
    The Riddler

    WHO AM I? I am a two-year-old, green-eyed, grey and white farm cat who caught Jill Biden’s eye when I jumped on stage and interrupted a speech the first lady was giving, and now I've been adopted and moved into the White House. What is my name?

    1. Willow

    2. Ivy

    3. Rowan

    4. Four Seasons

  15. Buck&#39;s Fizz x3 and Kate Bush
    Buck's Fizz x3 and Kate Bush

    MUSIC: Which of these combinations is the original Eurovision Song Contest winning lineup of Buck's Fizz?

    1. Cheryl, Mike, David and Jay

    2. Cheryl, Mike, Bobby and Jay

    3. Cheryl, Bobby, Paul and Jayne

    4. Kate, Kate, Kate and Kate


1:C - Petra De Sutter, the Belgian minister for public administration, said the law was necessary to combat a culture of people feeling they should always be available. If you disagree with this answer, please make sure you only email the quiz master to complain about it during office hours, 2:B - Wardle said it had been incredible to watch the game bring so much joy to so many, not least of which because he had originally invented it simply to entertain his partner during lockdown, 3:B - Raymond Gosling and Rosalind Franklin's work on X-raying the material was crucial to the discovery of the structure of DNA most often credited to Francis Crick and James Watson, although in truth as far back as in 1869 the Swiss physician Friedrich Miescher had discovered 'something' that he called nuclein, which set scientists on the path, 4:A - Hippchen won a ticket to be on the flight in a raffle, but realised he would need to lose 80lb (36kg) in six months to make the grade, so gave the ticket away to a friend. You can tell by his face that Ron from Sparks thinks you should have known that, 5:D - The three provide voices for the animated series Lower Decks, which was first broadcast in 2020, 6:C - The son of Harald Bluetooth, he revolted against his father and seized the Danish throne in 986. You can insert your own poor connectivity joke here, 7:A - Real name Jiles Perry Richardson Jr, he wrote Chantilly Lace and White Lightning. He, along with Valens, was on tour with Buddy Holly when the plane they had chartered to take them from Clear Lake, Iowa, to Moorhead, Minnesota, crashed in poor weather conditions in 1959. Reeves and Croce both died in separate plane crashes. Cochran was killed in a car crash, 8:D - Imbruglia appeared on the show between 1992 and 1994. Asked about possibly returning to it at some point, she said: 'I'll always be grateful to the show for launching my career, but I wouldn't want to revisit that time.' Doesn't sound like she's particularly torn about that, 9:A - As well as writing 33 'gothic thrillers' for popular magazines, she wrote passionate sensationalist works under the name AM Barnard. , 10:C - It is Fenchurch St. The other three have underground stations as part of their station complex – including King's Cross St Pancras which serves both King's Cross and St Pancras mainline stations. Fenchurch St is close to Tower Hill on the London Underground and to Tower Gateway on the DLR, 11:C - The crows get rewarded with a little bit of food every time they deposit a cigarette butt into a little machine. 'They are wild birds taking part on a voluntary basis,' said Christian Günther-Hanssen, the founder of Corvid Cleaning, the company behind the method. Hmmmmmm, 12:C - It was C. Remember they sweep in front of the stone in curling, not behind it. I already know that everybody will be absolutely thrilled with this new round in the comments, 13:D - It is Dakar. The other three teams to make the semi-final stage were Egypt (Cairo), hosts Cameroon (Yaoundé) and Burkina Faso (Ouagadougou), 14:A - The White House hasn’t had a feline resident since India, President George W Bush’s black cat. Before that, black-and-white Socks – who seemed to enjoy the limelight – lived with the Clintons when they were in the White House. Willow joins Commander, a German shepherd puppy that Joe Biden introduced in December, 15:B - Bobby G, Cheryl Baker, Mike Nolan and Jay Aston was the original lineup of the band, who have ended up in two camps after many years of disputes over the name. Cheryl, Mike and Jay work under the name The Fizz, while Bobby still works as Buck's Fizz


  1. 0 and above.

    We hope you had fun – let us know how you got on in the comments!

  2. 3 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 quiz master’s word is always final, and he’s very busy getting ready for the Winter Olympics. Sign up for the daily Beijing Briefing from him here.