Bunhill's fiendishly hard holiday quiz

So you thought you knew about business? Okay, so how many pottles in a peck, how many groats in a triple unite, and what was so special about Piggly Wiggly? Our learned friend asks the crucial questions
Click to follow
The Independent Online
Euros and all that

1) LSD: L is for Libra, D is for Denarius. What does S stand for?

2) There was no shortage of LSD in London's East End in the 1950s. Why?

3) What, apart from a dyke, did Offa bring to Britain?

4) How were the first halfpennies minted?

5) There used to be a coin called a unite. Why?

6) How many groats are there in a triple unite?

7) During what conflict might you have paid for your beer with nobles and angels?


8) What is special about Stora Kopparbergslags, in Sweden?

9) What do Burmah Oil, Imperial Tobacco and BP have in common?

10) Why should these companies get a stamina award: BP, Unilever, Guinness?

11) What dubious distinction do these companies have: Philips, Deutsche Bundesbahn, Ferrovie di Stato, British Telecom, British Coal?

12) Why were these companies notable just after the First World War: Metropolitan Carriage, Fine Cotton Spinners & Doublers, Levinstein?

13) What do these companies have in common: Cambridge University Press, Durtnell, Alldays Peacock, Hays, James Gibbons?

14) What is the world's oldest bank?

15) Why does Britain's oldest bank sound so young?

16) Why was Unless-Christ-Had-Died-For-Thee-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned-Barebones such a useful chap in late 17th-century London?

Industrial relations

17) What is the earliest recorded strike?

18) Who were the Knights of Labor?

19) What was the world's longest strike?

20) What did Sir Titus Salt build?

The madness of crowds

21) In 1636 a Dutchman paid 4,600 florins, a new carriage, two grey horses and a harness for a Semper Augustus. What was it?

22) What was the biggest-ever fall in a stock's value?

23) What did the South Sea Bubble have to do with the South Seas?

24) At what annual rate were UK house prices rising in July 1988?

Proper measurements

25) These measures are still used on the Continent. What do they mean? a) zoll b) tom c) pouce.

26) How many

a) sheets in a quire?

b) inches in a Flemish ell?

c) roods in an acre?

d) pipes in a tun?

e) pottles in a peck?

27) What are a Grand Eagle, Colombier, a Double Elephant and a Pott?


28) Heinrich Schliemann, excavator of Troy, made his fortune in two ways. What were they?

29) What did Jason most likely use his golden fleece for?

30) Who was America's first billionaire?

31) Who is the only man to make and lose a billion dollars in less than two years?

32) In today's money, was JD Rockefeller, at his peak, worth more than Bill Gates?

33) Where does Lady Grantchester get her pounds 500m from?

34) When did the first executive earn more than $1m a year?

35) What is the link between a millionaire businessman from Yorkshire and the second lowest score in minor league cricket?


36) What, apart from an animal, could Dick Whittington's cat have been?

37) What did Lubeck, Riga, Hamburg and Danzig have in common in the Middle Ages?

38) In the 19th-century, where was the ice for your gin and tonic most likely to have come from?

39) A hundred years ago (well, in 1895 ...)

a) What was the UK in balance of trade surplus, or deficit?

b) What was, by far, the UK's biggest trading partner?

c) Ranked in order, which were the UK's five biggest export markets?

d) In order, which were the UK's five biggest supplying countries?


40) Which shop keeps a "dog log" to show what dog mess has been cleared up, where and how?

41) Why was the Piggly Wiggly Store notable?

42) In what Harrods store would Mr Al Fayed be just another customer?

43) What was invented by the owner of the Humpty Dumpty store in Oklahoma City in 1937?


44) What tax was levied after 1188 in order to pay for the Crusades?

45) What tax was levied at the rate of two shillings on every hide of land?

46) What tax was paid according to how warm you were?

Business books

47) Which of these books are real, and which were invented by Bunhill's readers?

a) The fractal balance sheet: New techniques in creative accountancy

b) Consistently exceptional leadership

c) Profit without people: Beyond downsizing

d) Stop selling, start partnering

e) The influence of Odour-induced Affect on Creativity, Categorisation and Decision- Making

f) Creation teamwork

g) Zero-sizing: Management without workforce

h) Principle-centred leadership

i) Outsourcing ownership: How your business can run better without shareholders


48) What proportion of the world's lawyers are American?

49) Which European culture has most similarities with Japanese?

50) How many Japanese chief executives committed suicide in 1992 after their companies went bankrupt?

a) 17

b) 133

c) 1,526

51) If you have a business lunch with four Mexican men, how many hands should you be able to see?


52) What is described in its trademark registration as "an aldahydic- floral fragrance product"?

53) Which of the following have not been trademarked?

a) Damon Hill's eyes

b) The name Gazza

c) A nose-tapping gesture

d) The outline of the Canary Wharf Tower

e) The note of a Harley-Davidson motorbike

f) The colour of the setting sun


54) What is added to hen feed to brighten the colour of a Waitrose egg yolk?

55) How much would a White-tailed Black Cockatoo's egg fetch?

56) Which part of which animal will cost you $25 a slice?

57) How much would you pay for 10 litres of champagne sorbet?

58) Which company advertised the following in 1817: "Soap, mould and dipt candles"?

59) Fill in the gap:

a) "In the ad business, ............... ......... is a commodity bought and paid for like everything else"

b) Advertising agency: "eighty-five per cent ...................... and fifteen per cent ................"


60) What is the origin of:

a) Tesco?

b) Hovis?

c) Horlicks?

61) Who was Bond of Brooke Bond?

62) Who was Doc Marten?

63) Who founded Birdseye Foods?

64) What are these: Mini Active Urban Sandal, Gravel Express, Rugger Field Sports Resin Top, Proceed Marvie, Sambar Dias Astonish!! ?

65) There are Nissans called the Cedric, the Gloria and the Laurel. Why?

Quotations (fill the gaps)

66) Solvency is entirely a matter of ...... and not of income.

67) The businessman is the only man who is for ever ......

68) The trouble with the profit system has been that ......

69) To err is human, but to really foul things up requires a ......

70) Blessed are the young, for they shall inherit ......

71) If all economists were laid end to end, they would not ......

72) A memorandum is written not to inform the reader but ......

73) I yield to no one in my admiration of the office as a social centre, but it's no place .......

74) The income tax people are very nice. They're letting me keep ......

Bunhillybillies (all from this year's Bunhill)

75) What is the Carbolic Smoke Ball, and why is it called that?

76) Why was a Scarborough businessman embarrassed by his Bulgarian connection during Euro 96?

77) What is the link between the London Fancy Box Company and poisoned fish patties?

78) Which profession has the following risk/reward ratio, according to Dilbert, the cartoon character?

Risk: Public humiliation and the death of thousands of innocent people.

Reward: A certificate of appreciation in a handsome plastic frame.

79) What was Black Friday?

80) What is the link between Nippies and the first business computer?

81) What trade would you follow if you were a saippuakauppias? And what would be the peculiarity of your job?

82) A paper reports that "the stock market opened 10 points lower tomorrow". Where is the paper, where is the stock market?

83) What is sugging?

84) Where have Wallace & Gromit been drawn into a battle between two dairies?

85) Which relative by marriage of Rupert Murdoch has spent most of the last decade in prison?

86) What is the link between the Harvey Wallbangers, Slug & Lettuce and a glove puppet?

Answers - don't look yet

1) Solidus.

2) It stood for Lightermen, Stevedores and Dockers.

3) The penny.

4) Pennies were cut in half.

5) It was issued after the union of Scotland and England.

6) 80 - a groat is 4d, a triple unite is pounds 3.

7) The Hundred Years' War.

8) It is world's oldest company, founded in about 1000.

9) They have been the biggest companies in Britain by market capitalisation - Burmah in 1919, Imperial in 1948, BP now.

10) The only UK companies to stay in the top 20 by market capitalisation throughout the century.

11) They made the world's biggest job cuts, totalling 240,000, in the early 1990s.

12) They were all top 20 UK companies.

13) All founded before 1700.

14) Monte dei Paschi di Siena (1472).

15) Child's, founded in 1559.

16) He founded the first fire insurance company, after the Great Fire of London.

17) By a Greek orchestra in Rome, over meal breaks, in 309BC.

18) The first big US union, formed in 1869.

19) By barbers' assistants in Copenhagen. It ended in 1961, after 33 years.

20) Saltaire, the first model industrial town, in 1851.

21) A tulip.

22) The South Sea Company's stock fell from pounds 1,050 in September 1720 to pounds 150 in October, then to nothing.

23) It was supposed to trade with South America, but only did one voyage.

24) 65 per cent.

25) An inch: in German, Norwegian and French.

26) a 24 (paper) b) 27 (cloth) c) Four d) two (wine), e) four (volume).

27) Sizes of paper.

28) US gold rush and trading indigo in St Petersburg.

29) Panning for gold at Kolchis.

30) Conrad Vanderbilt.

31) Ross Perot: his shareholding in EDS went from $150m to $1.48bn, and back to $297m in 1970.

32) No - Rockefeller's wealth was $1,250m, equalling $17bn now.

33) She is the daughter of Sir John Moores, founder of Littlewoods.

34) 1901: Charles Schwab, president of US Steel.

35) Paul Sykes gave Studley Royal cricket team pounds 20,000 just before it was all out for five runs. Herefordshire beat that in 1855, all out for four.

36) A trading ship.

37) Members of the Hanseatic League.

38) Newfoundland.

39 a) In massive deficit - exports: pounds 285.8m, imports pounds 416.7m; b) USA c) USA, Germany, India, France, Australia d) USA, France, India, Holland, Germany.

40) Peter Jones in London.

41) It was the first self-service shop, founded in 1916 in Memphis.

42) In Harrods, Buenos Aires.

43) The supermarket trolley.

44) Saladin Tithe.

45) Danegeld.

46) The Hearth Tax.

47) c, d, e, f, and h are real.

48) Two-thirds.

49) Finnish.

50) c.

51) Eight apart from your own - they keep their hands on the table to show they are not on their guns.

52) Chanel Number Five.

53) d and f.

54) Marigold petals.

55) $30,000.

56) Crocodile tail.

57) $1,100.

58) Colgate.

59) Fill in the gap:

a) Sincerity (Newsweek 1967). b) Confusion, commission (Fred Allen).

60) a) Jack Cohen merged his name with that of T E Stockwell, a tea merchant.

b) Short for Hominis Vis, the strength of a man.

c) The Horlick brothers

61) No one: Arthur Brooke called his shop Brooke Bond because "it seemed to sound well".

62) Klaus Maertens, a German orthopaedic doctor.

63) Clarence Birdseye.

64) Japanese cars, respectively a Mitsubishi, a Subaru, a Daihatsu, a Mazda, a Subaru.

65) They are named after Cedric Hardwicke, Gloria Swanson, and Stan Laurel.

66) Temperament (Logan Pearsall Smith).

67) Apologising for his occupation (HL Mencken).

68) It was highly unprofitable to most people (EB White).

69) Computer (anon).

70) The national debt (Herbert Hoover).

71) Reach a conclusion (George Bernard Shaw).

72) To protect the writer (Dean Acheson).

73) Actually to get any work done (Katharine Whitehorn).

74) My own mother (Henny Youngman).

75) A lawyer's ball, named after a 19th-century court case.

76) Don Robinson was the man whose Bulgarian links were used to bring the Bulgarian team to Scarborough for the competition - it decamped after a few days to Darlington.

77) In 1913 one of the LFB partners received a gift of poisoned fish patties. This was a start of a vicious battle with his partner, which led to him being arrested and the partner vanishing).

78) Engineering.

79) 24 September 1869, after Jay Drew and Daniel Gould tried to corner the gold market.

80) J Lyons built the Leo computer to work out wages for the Nippies, waitresses in its Corner Houses.

81) You would be a Finnish soap dealer: saippuakauppias is the longest single-word palindrome.

82) For example, evening paper in San Francisco, stock market in New Zealand.

83) Marketing masquerading as market research.

84) Wensleydale.

85) Andrews Kwame Pianim, the father of Murdoch's son-in-law and a political dissident in Ghana.

86) The founder of the two pub chains is Hugh "Sooty" Corbett.