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Let's get quizzical: Go for the cerebral burn with our fiendish seasonal test

Did 2011 pass you by or were you making mental notes along the way?


From martyrs to morons

1 How did the US Department of Energy get presidential candidate Rick Perry into trouble?

2 Mohamed Bouazizi died on 4 January. What had he done 18 days before, and what happened subsequently?

3 "The feds are following me." Who said it and what happened next?

4 In January, Sian Massey was accused of being ignorant of what – and what happened to her accusers?

5 What happened when Wendi met Jonnie?

6 What did President Obama produce in April in order to silence conspiracy theorists?

7 Piola Vago are a shanty-town band from Buenos Aires. Their best-known member has had more time than he probably would have liked to play with them in the past few months. Why?

8 Who was declared insane on 29 November?

9 Which former prime minister was sentenced in October to seven years' jail and fined the equivalent of $188m for "abuse of power"?

10 According to the book Secret Weapons: Technology, Science and the Race to Win World War II, published in the summer, how did the Allies plan to make Hitler less aggressive?


Stars in the sky to stars in decline

1 Adele and Beyoncé both did it this year. Adele also did it in 2008, while in the 1990s, Blur, Pearl Jam and Lynyrd Skynyrd also did it. But what was it?

2 On the morning of 28 February a Nescafé coffee machine appeared on British television. What was the significance?

3 What does the word "Forbrydelsen" mean?

4 What part did Jessica Palmer play in England's Rugby World Cup campaign?

5 How did Harry Hill feature in a murder trial, in which a dental nurse was convicted of killing her husband?

6 In July, newspaper reports of a newly discovered planet, Kepler-16B, around 200 light years from earth, referenced a scene in the first Star Wars film. Which scene?

7 What did Julian Barnes once describe as "posh bingo"?

8 At the beginning of the year, EastEnders received a record number of complaints. About which storyline?

9 Only one non-franchise film featured in the 10 highest-grossing films this year – and even that might become one. Which film?

10 What first did Li Na achieve in June?


Babies, Bruni (Carla) and the Beeb

1 In January, Eduardo Medina-Mora Icaza complained bitterly to the BBC. About what?

2 Baby Giulia was born on 19 October 2011. Who are her mum and dad?

3 How did Ben Sheward famously celebrate the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton?

4 "Look, the guy's an unmarried man. I know a lot of unmarried men who would reverse their underpants if they could." Capt Vaughan Smith was talking about the alleged poor personal hygiene of his house guest. Who's that?

5 Who was offered $5m to appear in one sex scene by the porn company Vivid, after her media appearances in April?

6 Who claims to have been referred to as "the Carla Bruni of British politics"?

7 The joke he tells most is about having a sister called "Ophelia". Who is he? k

8 What measures did James Ellington, the British 200m sprinter, take this month, having failed to find a sponsor?

9 Who did Sam Cooper, a builder and decorator, marry in May?

10 Which jailbird, who left prison in November, links the Pink Floyd album Wish You Were Here and the 1987 film of the same name?


Match the quotes to the headshots (see gallery)

1 "He said I'm the most intelligent person he's ever met."

2 "I'm not your average goody two-shoes celebrity. I'm chavtastic."

3 "Hemp-smoking, fornicating hippies in crusty little tents." Who thus described the St Paul's protestors?

4 "Europe is finished. It will be a good place for tourism, but little else. Europe is a thing of the past." Said by which sporting supremo?

5 "I miss me too."

6 "Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow."

7 "I don't know how much God has to do to get the attention of the politicians. We've had an earthquake; we've had a hurricane. He said, 'Are you going to start listening to me here?'"

8 "The worst result in my history."

9 "When asked if they would like to have sex with me, 30 per cent of women said, 'Yes', while the other 70 per cent replied, 'What, again?'"

10 "One thing I can say for certain now is that I will not look at another married man again."


Ten who have left us this year

1 A former civil-engineering student, he was the son of a bricklayer.

2 Nine months before he died, two women told Israeli TV that he had Jewish blood: one said that she was his second cousin, her daughter elaborating that one of his grandmothers had been Jewish.

3 This commentator developed his style because he didn't want the players to hear what he was saying.

4 A comedian, her autobiography was entitled Prime Mimicker.

5 A musician, this son of a former Celtic footballer was hit hard by drug problems.

6 He'd been in showbusiness since the 1940s, but in his early days was a wrestler and semi-professional cyclist.

7 The daughter of a Scots-Irish legal secretary and a dispossessed Somali aristocrat, she was inspired to form a band when she saw a Sex Pistols gig.

8 A pathologist, he described what he was most famous for as "medicide".

9 She wrote her first, most famous, play in reaction to a theatrical culture of what she called, "safe, sheltered, cultured lives in charming surroundings".

10 This sportsman was nicknamed "The Car Park Champion".


Names and neets, Royal Mail and retweets

1 Which similar-sounding boy and girl names were revealed in July as being the most popular for babies in the UK for the second year running?

2 In September, representatives from Braunau am Inn in Austria, Predappio in Italy and Gori in Georgia met to discuss strategies. With regard to what?

3 What did the Spanish Primera Liga and basketball's NBA have in common?

4 In August, The Sunday Times revealed that around 925,000 people aged 16 to 24 are "neets". What's a neet?

5 The two-seater Terrafugia Transition, launched in July, does 35mpg, has a top speed of 65mph and costs $279,000. What is it?

6 What do jeggings, mankinis, sexting and retweeting have in common?

7 The first one took place in Toronto on 3 April; others followed in cities round the world, including London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Glasgow in the UK. What?

8 What gave the city of Birmingham cause for complaint when the latest Lonely Planet guide to the UK came out?

9 According to the BBC news website in February, in the past five years the Royal Mail has spent £5m on four billion what?

10 What symbolic event occurred at the Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital in Manila on 31 October?

For the answers, see related links