The 2012 Independent Quiz Of The Year

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Now in its 145th edition, Whitaker’s Almanack is the definitive source of facts, trivia and ephemera. So who better than its compilers to test your knowledge of the big events of 2012…


1. Which former of head of state was sentenced on 30 May to 50 years’ imprisonment for aiding and abetting war crimes and crimes against humanity?

2. What was the name of the royal barge, which carried the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh during her Diamond Jubilee celebrations?

3. This century’s second and last solar transit of which planet occurred between June 5-6?

4. Who became the first person other than a head of state, the first woman from abroad and the first Asian citizen to address both houses of the UK Parliament on 21 June?

5. Which famous animal – the last known member of his subspecies – died in the Galapagos National Park on 24 June?

6. Whose supposed remains were discovered in September beneath a car park in Leicester more than 500 years after his death?

7. A series of terrorist attacks on US and western European diplomatic buildings in September followed the screening of a YouTube trailer of which film?

8. What is the name of the Mars Science Laboratory’s robotic rover, which  successfully landed on  Mars on 6 August?

9. The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was granted political asylum by which country  on 16 August?

10. To the nearest mile, how high was Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner when he jumped out of his Red Bull Stratos  helium-filled balloon on 14 October?


1. In the longest grand slam final in tennis history at the Australian Open in January, how many points were won in total between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal?

A) 288

B) 314

C) 369

2. Which two England footballers became the latest in an ever-growing list of players who have missed in penalty shoot-outs as England went out to Italy at Euro 2012?

3. In setting a new record for goals scored in one season, how many goals did Lionel Messi score for Barcelona in the 2011-2012 season?

A) 66

B) 73

C) 76

4. Which two Scotsmen made surprise appearances during Andy Murray’s press conference following his US Open semi-final victory in September?

5. On a dramatic final day of the Ryder Cup at Medinah in September, how did a rather late-running Rory McIlroy travel to the course?

6. Which sporting contest was briefly interrupted by Trenton Oldfield in April?

7. Who scored Manchester City’s  last-minute goal against Queens Park Rangers in May to win the club their first Premier League title?

8. Which horse, having just one month previously won the Cheltenham Gold Cup, died following a fall in the Grand National?

9. “_____ has scaled one of the great heights of British sporting achievement.” Who was David Cameron talking about?

A) Bradley Wiggins

B) Andy Murray

C) Mo Farah

10. The 2012 Formula One season saw seven different winners in the first seven races. Who was the first driver to win two races?


1. The actress Carey Mulligan married the lead singer of which band on 21 April?

2. Who announced his wedding to partner Priscilla Chan through a Facebook status update on 19 May?

3. Which American mobster, whose life was immortalised in the film Goodfellas, died on 13 June?

4. Which American actor tragically lost his 36-year-old son Sage on 13 July?

5. Which prolific Irish writer, who outsold Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett and James Joyce, died on 30 July aged 72?

6. Which sportsman’s wife gave birth to twins Aisha and Amani on 24 August?

7. Which African politician married on 15 September despite a court ban blocking the move?

8. Which British singer became a father, after his wife Ayda Field gave birth to Theodora Rose on 18 September?

9. The Dutch actress Sylvia Kristel (far right) died on 18 October; which role did she make famous in the 1970s?

10. The Crown Prince of which country married Countess Stephanie de Lannoy, on 20 October?


1. What piece of classic film memorabilia fetched $480,000 (£302,000) at an auction in Beverly Hills in November 2012?

2. Which film won the Cannes Film Festival’s Palmes d’Or in May 2012?

3. Who became the highest paid British actor after a signing a deal worth £31m in November?

4. Which 2012 art house film united Denis Lavant, Kylie Minogue (below centre) and a talking limousine?

5. Universal Pictures and which other major Hollywood film studio celebrated their 100th anniversaries this year?

6. Daniel Day-Lewis is tipped to walk away with the Academy Award for Best Actor next year for his portrayal of Abraham Lincoln (below, top left), but which actor was originally cast in the role?

7. Which director was originally chosen to direct The Hobbit trilogy, before leaving the project in 2010?

8. Which controversial 38-year-old actor came out of retirement to star in Paul Thomas Anderson’s critically acclaimed drama, The Master?

9. Skyfall was released in October 2012 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Bond franchise, but which 007 outing was released for its 40th anniversary in 2002?

10. Who won Best Supporting Actor at the 2012 Academy Awards?


1. In which village in New Hampshire were the first votes of the 2012 Presidential campaign counted?

2. How many electoral college votes did Barack Obama win in the election?

3. Which Democrat representative became the first openly gay person to be elected to the United States Senate after picking up a majority vote in the state of Wisconsin? 

4. Which state became the first in  the country’s history to elect female candidates in all electable positions?

5. Fill in the blank: “They brought us binders full of _____”

A) Latinos

B) Horses

C) Women

6. Name the odd one out: Rick Perry, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani

7. Which US musician sang a reworked version of one of his biggest selling hits during Barack Obama’s final day of campaigning in Ohio, declaring that he had “99 problems but Mitt ain’t one?”

8. Fill in the blanks: “Well, Governor, we also have fewer _____ and _____... we have these things called aircraft carriers”

A) Guns and tanks

B) Horses and bayonets

C) Spears and shields

9. How many people filed a Statement of Candidacy with the Federal Election Commission to register as a 2012  presidential candidate?

A) 41

B) 417

C) 4,112

10. Who finished third in the popular vote, representing the Libertarian Party?


Link the author to the first line of the autobiography:

“I’m going nowhere fast”

“Bang! Everything goes dead mad, dead quick”

“The real loser is the person  who crosses the finish line last”

“I was born into a year of famine”

Total Recall by Arnold Schwarzenegger, 2012 / Blade Runner: My Story by Oscar Pistorius, 2012 / Between the Lines by Victoria  Pendleton, 2012 / My Decade in the Premier League by Wayne Rooney, 2012


“We call it ‘doing a runner’, and it’s the best way on earth to beat the traffic after a show”

“May I begin by offering my sincere apologies”

“I pulled back the plastic sticky tape from the cardboard box”

“As I write I am sitting in Monte Carlo with my wife Kristina”

Waging Heavy Peace by Neil Young, 2012 / Camp David by David Walliams, 2012 / Rod Stewart: The Autobiography, 2012 / Bond on Bond by Roger Moore, 2012


“My Dear Reader Chum, a very hearty hello to you”

“This is one of those  misery memoirs”

“I’m in my hotel room in London  and I can’t stop crying”

“This is the day that I have dreamt about for years”

Starting Over by Denise Welch, 2012 / Back Story: A Memoir by David Mitchell / Is It Just Me? by Miranda Hart / Unbelievable by Jessica Ennis


1. Which country suffered the biggest power outage in history between 30-31 July?

2. The US Ambassador to Libya was killed in a terrorist attack on which city on 12 September?

3. What was the name of the cruise ship that ran aground off the coast of Tuscany at the beginning of the year?

4. Which South American city witnessed a terrible rush-hour train crash in February, during which 51 people died and more than 700 were injured?

5. An outbreak of which mosquito-borne disease has killed more than 220 people in the US in 2012?

6. The qualifying session of which sporting event was hampered by severe flooding on 6 July?

7. Which European country was struck by two major earthquakes in the space of nine days in May 2012?

8. On 4 March, a series of blasts at an ammunition dump killed more than 250 people in which African country?

9. If E is for Ernesto and S is for Sandy, what is R?

10. A reconstruction of which famous ship sank off the coast of North Carolina during Hurricane Sandy?


1.  2012 chart-topper Wouter “Wally” De Backer is known by which professional stage name?

2.  American indie band Fun’s massive-selling hit “We Are Young” featured which American soul musician?

3. Which American rock band from Anaheim, California, released their first album for 11 years in September 2012?

4. Urban duo Jordan Stephens and Harley Alexander-Sule are better-known by which cigarette-paper-inspired stage name?

5. Which single by South Korean singer  PSY had racked up more than 760 million hits on YouTube by November 2012,  making it one of the most watched music videos of all time?

6. Which band provided the official song for the London 2012 Olympic Games?

7. Who won Best Newcomer at the 2012 Mobo Awards in November?

8. Why was 2012 a significant year for pop group Girls Aloud, post-hardcore band  At The Drive In and indie-rock outfit Granddaddy?

9. Which British anarcho-punk band hung up their guitars in November 2012, prompting former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott to joke about buying their greatest hits album? 

10. Who won British Breakthrough Act at the 2012 Brit Awards?


Match the correct number  to the answer

11 / 78 / 634 / 54 / 4 / 15 / 76 / 6 / 9500 / 962 / 38

– The total number of medals won at the London 2012 Olympics.

– The number of years the former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was sentenced to for tax fraud before the sentence was later reduced. 

– The height in metres of the Tokyo Skytree, the tallest tower in the world.

– The number of goals scored at the Euro 2012 finals.

– The number of days George Entwistle served as the BBC Director-General.

– The cost per share ($) in Facebook when it debuted on the Nasdaq stock exchange in May.

– The number of minutes that the former Bolton Wanderers player Fabrice Muamba was declared “in effect dead” after suffering a cardiac arrest in an FA Cup match in March.

– The approximate number of road closure applications, which councils received for Diamond Jubilee street parties.

– The number of horses that completed the Grand National in April.

– The number of Grammy Awards that singer Adele won in February.

– The number of British cities to be equipped with the 4G network upon its UK launch in October.


1.  Which British actor won Lead Actor in a Drama Series at the Emmy Awards?  

2. At the 57th Eurovision Song Contest, staged in Baku, Azerbaijan, UK entry Engelbert Humperdinck scored how many points?

3. Who said “Sometimes you have to go up really high to understand how small you really are” in October?

4.  Which Conservative MP was suspended from the political party after deciding to participate in I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out  of Here!?

5. Andrew Mitchell resigned from his post as Government chief whip following a confrontation with police in Downing Street, but what did he deny calling police?

6. Who apologised via Twitter in June for making a “terrible error of judgement” over using a tax avoidance scheme?

7. Which BBC show’s live tour was cancelled in June due to a lack of ticket sales?

8. In February, Harry Redknapp was cleared of tax evasion following a case which found that he had received two payments into a bank account with what distinctive name?

9. Who came top of the Forbes magazine list of the highest-earning dead celebrities of 2012?

10. The MP Eric Joyce was fined £3,000 and banned from public houses for three months following a brawl at which House of Commons bar in February?


1. London became the first city to hold the Summer Olympics three times, having previously hosted them in which years?

2. Three countries made history by allowing female competitors to enter the London 2012 games: Saudi Arabia, Brunei and _____?

A) Oman

B) Qatar

C) Yemen

3. What connects Liemarvin Bonevacia, Reginald De Windt, Guor Marial and Philipine van Aanholt?

4. Which Briton became the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal in Women’s Boxing?

5. Eight competitors  participating in which sport were disqualified for trying to lose group  stage matches?

6. The 2012 Games’ mascots Wenlock and Mandeville were described by one Canadian news outlet as a product of a “drunken one-night stand” between which two television characters:

A) A Womble and a Tweenie

B) A Fraggle and a Smurf

C) A Teletubby and a Dalek

7. Team GB finished third in the Olympic medal table. Where did  Team GB finish in the Paralympic medal table?

8. Ellie Simmonds and Jonnie Peacock were granted which honour at the closing ceremony of the Paralympics?

9. The opening ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympics was inspired by which Shakespeare play?

10. Which Paralympic athlete won the final event in the Olympic stadium?


1. Which actor and presenter returned to the stage to play Malvolio in Twelfth Night on 11 October?

2. Which painting became the most expensive to be sold at auction when it fetched $120m (£74m) in a New York City auction?

3. Which British comedian won the  Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for  his leading role in One Man, Two Guvnors?

4. Which artist’s representation of the Union flag formed the arena centrepiece at the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games?

5. Benedict Cumberbatch shared the Best Actor category at the Laurence Olivier Awards with his co-star Jonny Lee Miller in Danny Boyle’s adaptation of which famous work of fiction? 

6. A daring heist in October resulted in the theft of seven works of art by Picasso, Matisse and Monet from the Kunsthal Museum; which European city is the museum situated?

7. The ArcelorMittal Orbit, the 115m-high (377ft) sculpture and observation platform in the London 2012 Olympic Park, was co-designed by which artist?

8. Which 2003 mystery novel, featuring a 15-year-old boy with behavioural difficulties, was adapted for the stage, where it enjoyed a sell-out run at the National Theatre in 2012?

9. Simon Russell Beale returned to the National Theatre to  play the title role in which seldom-produced Shakespeare play? 

10. Which artist joined the Order of Merit at the beginning of the year despite refusing a knighthood in 1990?


1. September saw the release of J K Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy. What is the name of the fictional town in which it is set?

2. Which American novelist announced his retirement from writing in an interview with French magazine Les in Rocks in October?

3. Which television presenter’s memoir, published in September, is called My Animals and Other Family?

4. Madeline Miller won the final Orange Prize for Fiction (now the Women’s Prize for Fiction) in May, but what was the title of her winning novel?

A) The Song of Achilles

B) The Portrait of Patroclus

C) The Son of Peleus

5. In April, the Ian Fleming estate invited which author to pen a new James Bond novel, to be released in 2013?

6. Which record was broken by E L James’s Fifty Shades of Grey in June?

A) The first adult novel to be out of stock in all UK libraries

B) The fastest adult paperback novel to sell one million print copies

C) The first novel to receive one million “likes” on Facebook

7. Standing in Another Man’s Grave, published by Orion in November, saw the return after five years of which detective?

8. Charles Dickens’ bicentenary was celebrated in February. Which of the following is not a character created by Dickens?

A) Serjeant Buzfuz

B) Alfred Jingle

C) Walt Boggis

9. The debut novel The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, centres around which sport?

A) Baseball

B) Cricket

C) Rounders

10. Hilary Mantel’s 2012 Man Booker  Prize-winning novel Bring up the Bodies examines which event?

A) The sinking of the Mary Rose

B) The dissolution of the monasteries

C) The execution of Anne Boleyn


Whitaker’s Almanack 2013 is published by Bloomsbury at £50.

Also Available: Whitaker’s Little Book of Knowledge, £9.99.

And click here for the answers...

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