Once again, we at The Last Word are delighted to present our Christmas quiz, yet again with a quite magnificent first prize of an entire year's supply of beer – 365 bottles – generously donated by master brewers Shepherd Neame. As in previous years please include an original slogan for Spitfire ale – see the website (www.spitfireale.co.uk) for inspiration. In the event of a tie, the best slogan will decide the winner.
Either email your answers to email@example.com, or post them to The Last Word Quiz, Sports Desk, The Independent, 2 Derry St, London W8 5HF. The competition closes at noon on Saturday, 2 January, and since we're at the decade's end, this year's questions all relate to the so-called Noughties. As usual, in a bid to nutmeg the almighty Google, I have thrown in some real toughies. I don't expect anyone to get a full set of correct answers but I hope you'll rise to the challenge. Merry Christmas.
1. He died in Devon in 2005, mourned by many of us but notably by Jim and Valerie, even though Jim acknowledged that he'd been "a bit of a show-off". Who was he?
2. Think back to April 2004 and identify the highly significant missing number in the following sequence: 69, 10, ---, 90, 23, 36, 107, 16.
3. In a group of four, the defending champions finished bottom, having failed even to score, and the inaugural champions finished just one point above them. Both were eliminated. Who were they and what was the event?
4. Which international team enjoyed its greatest-ever margin of victory, by more than 100 points, in June 2002, yet its worst-ever margin of defeat, also by more than 100 points, in October 2003?
5. Which sporting MP, in 2009, came a cropper with a resounding bong?
6. Who, in October 2005, accused a rival of voyeurism, saying "there are some guys who, when they are at home, have a big telescope to see what happens in other families".
7. In 2002, Phillip from Pontypridd beat another Philip, much to the delight of his team-mates, among them Paul and Pierre. What was the event (clue: it wasn't exclusively for people whose names begin with P)?
8. Who was emphatically on the wrong end of these scores – 119-107, 119-107, 119-105 – in Manchester in 2006?
9. Which Martin skippered a world-beating team in 2002, was rewarded with the MBE, yet within three years was relying on Department of Social Security handouts to pay the rent?
10. These two teams, based in the same city, had never even played one another before June 1997, yet the eyes of the world (in a manner of speaking) were upon them when they met in October 2000. Name them.
11. In the Noughties, which pair of brothers warmed the bench during a World Cup final contested by England?
12. Who, in his 2009 autobiography, had 18 reasons to connect Yugoslavia, Zaire, Tottenham and Bristol Rovers?
13. What shocking story did television station Globo TV break in August this year?
14. In 2004, which major tournament was won by a player (supported by Bernard Hill and Eleanor Bron) ranked 119th in the world?
15. From whose 2009 autobiography is this an extract? "It felt like my life was falling apart, brick by brick. Nou Camp, the Treble, Schmeichel's cigar were just distant memories."
16. To what unfortunate "club" do boxer Rocky Marciano and golfer Tony Lema belong, a club that was joined in June 2002 by cricketer Hansie Cronje?
17. "I froze. I let the enormity of the occasion get to me. It all seemed so alien to me. I could not get my hands to stop sweating. I tried my nuts off, but I had a very bad day at the worst possible time." Who, where, when?
18. Who was sacked in June 2007 while on holiday in Tibet?
19. Who, in December 2007, was suspended from driving in France after being caught speeding at 122mph?
20. "A fine example to everybody in government of stability and making the right decisions for the long term." To whom was Andy Burnham, then the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, referring?
21. Which former soldier was diagnosed with clinical depression and reportedly even contemplated suicide, before enjoying extraordinary late success in a long sporting career, and retiring triumphantly in December 2005?
22. To whom did Tom Watson and Luke Donald defer in the second round of the 2005 Open Championship?
23. Which boxing world champion, beaten only once this decade, also holds the rank of sergeant-major in his country's military reserves?
24. "Sometimes I feel it quite lightly, a mere brush stroke across an otherwise happy mood. Sometimes it engulfs me with terrible regret and sadness – and guilt..." This admission features on the very first page of an acclaimed 2007 autobiography. Whose story was it, and to what was he referring?
25. The seventh of nine children raised in a bleak copper-mining town, and hugely popular in his own country, in 2001 he played a supporting role in one of the great sporting tales of the decade. Name him.
26. The maverick but hugely successful coaching philosophies of which former employee of Rank Xerox have been much copied these past six years?
27. Who, in May 2007, was fined over £20,000 and docked 900 points?
28. Which great sporting figure usurped a platypus in 2001?
29. "First of all I wouldn't want him on my team. Second of all, if he was on my team I would really distance myself from him because I don't think that's right and I don't think he should be in the locker room when we're in the locker room." Whose coming-out, in 2007, prompted this homophobic outburst?
30. In the early 1980s, amphetamine tablets were smuggled from Australia to Europe in a baby's nappy. That baby went on to win Olympic gold medals in 2004 and 2008. Who is he?