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19 March 2012

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Latest Questions: 19 March 2012

Which Florida tourist destination is famous for its hard-packed sand on which you can drive your car, and is home to the US National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR)? Daytona Beach
Which island off the tip of the Lleyn peninsula (in North Wales) has been a destination for pilgrims since a monastery was founded there in 516 AD? Bardsey
Which substance is rendered from beef or mutton (and occasionally pork) fat, and used in the manufacture of soap and also, formerly, of candles? Tallow
Who won a BAFTA for his portrayal of the speech therapist Lionel Logue in the 2010 film The King's Speech? Geoffrey Rush
Which famous Broadway actress was the mother of Larry Hagman? Mary Martin

She was the original Nellie Forbush in South Pacific, and the original Maria in The Sound of Music.

Which famous writer kept a pet bear in his rooms at Trinity College, Cambridge? Lord Byron

It was a protest against the rule that prevented him keeping his beloved dog Boatswain there.

12-year-old Dolores Haze is the title character of which classic 20th century novel? Lolita
Which French "decadent" poet, born in 1854, was described by Victor Hugo as "an infant Shakespeare", but gave up writing before the age of 20? Arthur Rimbaud

He travelled widely in later years, but died of cancer aged 37.  The cancer was diagnosed only after he had had one leg amputated, and he died less than five months later.

Who scored the 20,000th Premier League goal, in December 2011? Marc Albrighton

Marc Albrighton plays on the wing (right wing, usually) for Aston Villa.  Not to be confused with Mark Albrighton, a central defender who played 86 games for Doncaster Rovers between 2002 and 2006 and is currently playing for Nuneaton Town in the Conference North.

Who won cricket's County Championship in 2011? Lancashire
Which river flows into the Rhone at Lyons? The Saône
Where would you be most likely to find dottle? In a tobacco pipe

Dottle is "the wet and sour-smelling mass of unburned tobacco" found at the bottom of a pipe.

Who wrote the play Cell Mates, which Stephen Fry walked out of in 1995? Simon Gray
Which city, about half-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco, was described by Oprah Winfrey (among others) as "the happiest city in America", and in 1990 became the first to ban smoking in public places? San Luis Obispo
Which animal is associated with both Carlsberg brewery and Coventry City Football Club? The elephant
Which member of the brassica family is used to produce a strong-flavoured condiment, and is sometimes known as Japanese horseradish? Wasabi
The Riddle of the Sphinx (in Greek mythology) is said to ask "What goes on two legs in the morning, at mid-day on two, and in the evening on three; and the more legs it has, the weaker it be?".  What is the answer? Man

Man crawls on all fours as a baby, in his prime he walks on two legs, and in old age he walks with a stick.

In World War Two, which German-occupied French port was the target of a disastrous Allied raid, planned by Lord Louis Mountbatten, which took place 42 days after Dunkirk? Dieppe
Two Manchester University scientists won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010 for their work on which allotrope of carbon? Graphene
Which opera was written by Benjamin Britten as part of the celebrations for the coronation of Elizabeth II? Gloriana
What name is used for scissors that have saw-toothed blades, for cutting zigzag edges, used to cut cloth, to reduce fraying? Pinking shears
Which Anglo-Saxon kingdom eventually covered the English Midlands, extending between the estuaries of the Wyre, Humber, Severn and (almost) the Thames? Mercia
What is measured in dioptres? The power of a lens
Which river is formed in Stockport, Greater Manchester, at the confluence of the Tame, Goyt and Etherow? Mersey
Which British retail chain has the same name as Odysseus's faithful dog according to Homer? Argos
Who was the first person to swim the English Channel ? Captain Matthew Webb
Which aid to gardeners did James Dyson (now Sir James) invent before the bagless vacuum cleaner? The ballbarrow

The ballbarrow is like a wheelbarrow, but (as the name implies) it uses a ball instead of a wheel.  It was featured on Tomorrow's World.

What is the title of the weekly newspaper for the British entertainment industry, but mainly the theatre - founded in 1880? The Stage
What works on the Otto cycle? A four-stroke engine

The Otto engine is the standard petrol engine used in a motor car.

Which major multinational company was formed in 1907 when the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company merged with a burgeoning British import-export trading company? Shell

The "Shell" Transport and Trading Company (the quotation marks were part of its legal name) had grown out of an antiques business that started to import sea-shells in 1833.  It became a general import-export business and had already moved into oil before merging with Royal Dutch.

In which Sky 1 television series do Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant stay in London and send the reluctant Karl Pilkington on foreign journeys? An Idiot Abroad
Who wrote the Wheel of Time series of fantasy novels? Robert Jordan
The Borg-Warner trophy has been presented, since 1936, to the winner of which famous motor race? Indianapolis 500

BorgWarner is a leading US car parts supplier.

Which city in the British Isles is said by some to get its name from two rivers whose names mean respectively black (or dark) and green (or clear)? Douglas, Isle of Man

The rivers in question are the Dhoo and the Glass.

Which family of fishes, native to Australia and south-east Asia, are known for their habit of preying on land-based insects and other small animals by shooting them down with water droplets from their specialized mouths? The archerfish
What is remarkable about the words DERMATOGLYPHICS and UNCOPYRIGHTABLE? They're the two longest words in the English language that don't repeat any letters

© Haydn Thompson 2012–17