Are you cleverer than an i student?

Chloe Hamilton meets some of the bright young minds who tested their knowledge in our quiz

Dissertations were cast aside in favour of general knowledge as 17 teams from universities across the UK gritted their teeth and sharpened their pencils for the iQuiz final, held at the Herbert Art Gallery in Coventry.

Students battled their way across storm-hit Britain on Tuesday night to take part, answering questions on current affairs, history, people and music, all in pursuit of the grand prize: a 14-day trip across Europe, courtesy of the iQuiz final sponsor Topdeck Travel.

The winning team, Cherwell A, from Oxford, named after the university’s long running student newspaper, amassed an impressive 84 points out of a total of 115. But Nick Hilton and Anna Leszkiewicz, both 21, and 19-year-olds Rowan Borchers and Max Long, admitted they struggled with questions in the “In The News” round. “We didn’t buy i today because it was sold out!” said Anna, who studies English.

Although delighted at the prospect of travelling around Europe, the team were apprehensive about spending two weeks in each other’s company. “This will be the first time we’ve all been on holiday together,” said Nick, who also studies English. “We didn’t really think this through, did we?”

A special mention should go to Exeter’s team, The League of Exeterordinary Gentlemen, who travelled to Coventry in a rail replacement bus after their train was cancelled because of flooding. As the quiz began, teams exchanged anxious looks as they contemplated not only the task at hand, but also the possibility of a cancelled train home.

In second and third place were teams from Kent and Southampton universities. King’s College London’s line-up, its ukulele society, took an early lead before fading in the second round. The group said they decided to take part after being booked as the half-time entertainment at the KCL heats in November. “We entered as a joke really,” said Will Palmer, 20, a philosophy student. “We were meant to be playing our ukuleles in the breaks between rounds but we decided to do the quiz, and here we are!”

Hot on Oxford’s heels for much of the final was the team from Leeds, who boasted of their quiz prowess during the buffet break. “We’re going to be on Eggheads soon,” said philosophy student Nick Gandy, 21. “And one member of our team just missed out on University Challenge.”

The questions were set by i quizmaster Simon O’Hagan, who has devised The Independent’s Saturday Magazine Quiz for more than five years. Do you think you beat Oxford’s score?

iQuiz Final Scoreboard

The Questions

In The News

1 Which TV star had to be helped out of Lake Windermere in some distress after she swam 1.5 miles for Sport Relief?

2 Barack Obama joined forces with another leading president this week to call for a global pact to fight climate change. Which president?

3 According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, which “squillionaire” and his wife donated the most in 2013?

4 Between i and The Independent, more than £400,000 has been raised from our Christmas Charity Appeal – easily a record. The money will go towards saving which animal?

5 “I can feel my pulse in my lower intestine” – Which British sportswoman inspired this possibly slightly over-the-top piece of commentary at the weekend?

6 Foreign Secretary William Hague has drawn a comparison between the besieged city of Homs in Syria with a town that was the scene of a 1995 massacre in the war in the former Yugolsavia. Which town?

7 The oldest human footprints ever found outside Africa have been discovered in which English county?

8 This writer requested that no statue to him ever be put up. But 144 years after his death, one has finally appeared in Portsmouth, his birthplace. Which writer?

9 What is the name of the head of the Environment Agency?

10 i celebrated reaching what landmark on Saturday: 1,000 issues, 2,000 issues, or 5,000 issues?


1 Ed Miliband is the first Labour leader to have attended secondary school in England since which one?

2 The USSR came to an end in 1991, under Mikhail Gorbachev. What did USSR stand for?

3 Which civilisation flourished in what is now central/northern Italy before its assimilation into the Roman Republic in the 4th century BC?

4 The Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye, the Treaty of Neuilly-sur-Seine, the Treaty of Trianon, and the Treaty of Sevres were among the treaties signed at the end of which war?

5 Which political weekly, first published in 1828, claims to be the oldest continuously published magazine in the English language?

6 London was the first UK city to be subdivided into postal districts, in 1857. In 1864, which became the second?

7 In 1863, which speech began with the words, “Four score and seven years ago … ”?

8 The invention of pot noodles; the record attendance (199,000) at any football match; and the opening of the M1 all occurred in which decade?

9 Which recently deceased world leader was given his first name by his primary school teacher in 1925?

10 He was chief minister to Henry VIII, and his story has lately been given prominence by Hilary Mantel’s award-winning novels Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. What was his name?


As with the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, all these people have three names. Who are they?

1 A Victorian poet and pioneer of “sprung rhythm” whose most famous work is The Wreck of the Deutschland.

2 Often referred to as the leading stage actor of his generation, he is currently starring as King Lear at the National Theatre.

3 A US actress, born 1965, most famous for her role as Carrie Bradshaw in a hugely popular TV series that was also a 2008 movie.

4 An acclaimed American novelist whose most famous work has been described as “nearly 1,100 pages of mind-blowing inventiveness and disarming sweetness”, he died by his own hand, aged 46, in 2008.

5 British, born in 1934, a longtime dweller in Orkney, his 10th symphony was premiered a couple of weeks ago.

6 Born in 1971, a graduate of Cambridge University whose genius with comic creations first came to attention on Channel 4’s The 11 O’Clock Show in the late 1990s.

7 English-American playwright and author (1849-1924), creator of Little Lord Fauntleroy and author of the 1909 book The Secret Garden that is now considered a classic of English children’s literature.

8 An icon of 20th-century liberalism, he was Prime Minister from 1916 to 1922.

9 Pioneering US architect, he was born in 1867 and died in 1959, one of his most famous buildings is the Guggenheim Museum in New York.

10 On 22 November 1963 he carried out arguably the most notorious assassination of the 20th century.


1 He used to be in 80s band Squeeze, he’s been awarded an OBE, and he’s presented a music show on BBC2 since 1992. Who is he?

2 The first lady of Argentina from 1946 until her death in 1952; the society osteopath caught up in the Profumo scandal in 1963; a major figure in the first book of the Bible who was sold into slavery by his brothers, and rose to become the second most powerful man in Egypt after Pharaoh. What’s the connection?

3 Name the oldest of the four Beatles. He was born on 7 July 1940.

4 Which sponsorship-free music festival, first held in 1999 on Camber Sands, East Sussex, and which has since branched out into Europe and the US, takes its name from a song by the Velvet Underground?

5 First performed in Vienna on 7 May 1824, it provides the official anthem of the EU, and is the most requested piece of music on Desert Island Discs. What is it and who is it by?

6 One Direction’s career took off when they finished third in the 2010 X Factor final. But who were the two acts that finished ahead of them? A male artist was first, a female artist was second.

7 The biggest record shop in New York opened in the Williamsburg district in November 2013. It’s a British operation, originally affiliated to a record label of the same name, whose first branch opened in west London in 1976. What is it?

8 The Rolling Stones had a No 3 hit in January 1967 with the song “Let’s Spend the Night Together”. But when they went to perform it live on the Ed Sullivan Show on American television, the host objected to the suggestive nature of the lyrics, and the Stones had to change the words. So instead of “Let’s Spend the Night Together”, what did the Stones sing?

9 Jackie, Tito, Jermaine, and Marlon were four of the five brothers who formed this hugely successful 70s band. The fifth would go on to huge success as a solo artist right up to his death in 2009. Who was he?

10 On 7 September 2013, the American conductor Marin Alsop became the first woman to do what?


1 How many English clubs have won the European Cup/Champions League?

2 Euro notes come as 5 euros, 10 euros, 20 euros, 50 euros, 100 euros, 200 euros and 500 euros. According to Wikipedia, which are the most in circulation, and therefore the most used?

3 Crossing the Rubicon has entered the language to mean doing something irrevocable. But in which European country is the river Rubicon?

4 In Greek mythology Zeus, disguised as a bull, kidnapped Europa and took her to which island?

5 In 1989 the Velvet Revolution brought an end to 41 years of Communist rule in which country?

6 Romansh is the fourth official language of which western European country?

7 And Wallonia is a region of which western European country?

8 In 1802 what did Frenchman Albert Mathieu first propose that did not come to fruition until 1990?

9 Borgen is the hugely popular Danish political TV drama. But how does Borgen translate?

10 It is the oldest international film festival in the world, having been founded in 1932. The winning film receives the Golden Lion award. Which festival?

Picture Round

Flick through the gallery and match the personality to their Twitter profile, listed underneath. (Twitter profiles are accurate as of Monday 3 February 2014)


1 Stand & B Counted or Sit & B Nothing. Don’t Litter, Chew Gum, Walk Past Homeless PPL w/out Smile

2 Freaks are called freaks and are treated as they are treated – in the main, abominably

3 Genius

4 Professional human being. I also love eyebrows and playing the drums!

5 error breeds sense

6 Ultra-naïve positivist-ish although science can’t explain the existence of antipositivists

7 It might be the greyest, darkest day you’ve seen. But beyond those clouds the sun is ALWAYS shining


9 I don’t know what to put in this bit. That’s what she said.

10 Pale, awkward and very very small. Form an orderly queue, gents.

11 We’re flying free like birds in the sky because we’re ALIVE Here, there and everywhere…

12 2002: I was sent to the principle for putting a cheese doodle in my bellybutton because life isn’t always fair.

13 Anything is possible I don’t think limits

14 I’m that actor in some of the movies you liked and some you didn’t. Sometimes I’m in pretty good shape, other times I’m not. Hey, you gotta live, you know?

15 Do you want my heart between your teeth?

All questions set by Simon O’Hagan

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