This is my valedictory Christmas Quiz in these pages so I'm going out with what I think is my hardest one yet, at least 70 per cent Google-proof, though I dare say I will be confounded, as usual, by readers of The Last Word.
Dozens of you have always managed to find all the right answers, despite my best efforts. Anyway, as before, there is a sumptuous prize on offer to the entrant with the most correct answers or, in the event of a tie, to the person randomly selected. It is, as the final act in a fine tradition, a year's supply of Spitfire Ale, one bottle for every day of 2012, which luckily for you is a Leap Year, yet again very generously donated by master brewers Shepherd Neame (for further details, see www.spitfireale.co.uk). My profuse thanks to them.
All answers must be emailed to email@example.com by noon on 31 December, giving you a slightly shorter amount of research time than in previous years. Or they can be posted to me c/o The Independent (Sports Quiz), 2 Derry St, London W8 5HF, but the deadline is final, as is my judgement on all answers. That's it. Good luck!
1. Glenn McGrath is the highest-placed non-Englishman on the list, at 19th. Ian Botham tops it by six from Fred Trueman, with Bob Willis third. Shane Warne is a lowly 32nd. What's the list?
2. Which Football League club has been managed by two men with identical names except for a distinguishing middle initial, one being J, the other T?
3. A 32-year-old record fell in a football match between Nottingham Forest and Leeds in 1971. What?
4. Maria Sharapova, Sue Barker and Spencer Gore, who won the first Wimbledon championship in 1877, were all very good at hitting a ball back and forth, but what, apart from tennis, is the connection?
5. What did a Johnson do in 2007 that had not been done since a Burke in 1956?
6. He turned 70 earlier this month and is remembered as a commanding centre-half who won 44 international football caps, scoring four goals, and later managed his country. Who is he?
7. The fourth, fifth and sixth numbers in this enduringly significant sequence are missing. The others are 34, 10, 8 ..... 4, 19, 1, 17, 0 and 18. Fill in the gap.
8. Mickey was Paul's favourite player. However, to Mickey's feigned consternation, it was his team-mate whose name was immortalised in Paul's famous lyrics. Which team-mate, and what song?
9. A boy called Morris and his kitten loom large in the folklore of which football club?
10. A man called Joe was the first, in New York in 1940, and a man called Joey the last, in Pittsburgh in 1965. What did they do?
11. In the Five Nations, Ireland beat every team they played, achieving notable wins in Paris and at Twickenham, and yet did not win the Grand Slam. What was the year?
12. Who, this year, complained about football's inclusion in the Olympic Games, asserting that genuine stories about badminton or swimming might be overshadowed next summer by stories about what David Beckham had for breakfast?
13. "If you think I'm ugly now, you should have seen me when I was born." This is the opening line from the 2003 autobiogaphy of which sportsman?
14. Which racehorse, in 2005, was reportedly mentioned by the Queen in a speech during a wedding reception at Windsor Castle, and why?
15. Which illustrious sporting figure, the grandson of a Delhi hotelier, was burnt in effigy in India this year?
16. What prize did Tottenham Hotspur win in 1961 that West Ham won in 1965, Manchester United in 1968, Sunderland in 1973 and Arsenal in 1998?
17. An England rugby union No 8, capped six times; an American footballer with the Cleveland Browns; an England footballer capped three times in the 1940s who later managed a famous club. What is the name they share with a multiple world champion better known, certainly in this country, than any of them?
18. What sporting record has endured since the Saturday of Theodore Roosevelt's (right) inauguration as US President?
19. What still unique clean sweep did a Swede accomplish in 1983 that an Australian almost achieved the following year, a Venezuelan in 1988 and a Frenchman in 2004?
20. Of 10 people to have won more than one gold medal, two are identical twins. This is the Olympic record of which country, a participant in its own right since 1920?
21. Which sporting icon has a daughter called Queen Elizabeth?
22. Jimmy Greaves was sent off in an FA Cup tie on the same day Malcolm Allison saw his team knocked out of the Cup by a non-league club. What was the year?
23. Name the man who first won his sport's world championship in 1947, and repeated the feat in 1950, but was a losing finalist six times. Both his victories, and all six defeats, were against the same player.
24. Everton v Sheffield Wednesday, Ajax v Panathinaikos, West Germany v the Netherlands. Three big football matches; who connects them?
25. A West Indian immigrant named Davidson arrived in Britain in 1955, settling in west London, before eventually returning to the Caribbean. Who is his famous grandson?
26. "Scrambled eggs, gyro meat, feta cheese, tomato, and onion, with bacon or sausage on the side. Plus a short stack of banana chocolate-chip pancakes. If I was really hungry, I might also get an order of cheese fries. At 10 in the morning, cheese fries at the same meal with pancakes. Sounds so bad. Tasted so good." Whose breakfast diet, recorded in his 2008 autobiography?
27. Which great sporting arena, used by the US Army during the Second World War, has hosted Olympic events more than 40 years apart and has also staged concerts by the Rolling Stones, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, The Police, and a service led by Pope John Paul II?
28. This footballer's cousin, a future superstar in another field of entertainment, was just 12 when the footballer broke his leg in the FA Cup final. Name both men.
29. "Grandpa would cheerfully fight a 20-round bare-knuckle bout in a pub stable-yard after church on Sunday and win half a sovereign, but by the time he arrived home his hands were so stiff and swollen that he couldn't even take the money out of his trouser pocket; my father had to do it for him." Whose grandpa?
30. Finally, cryptically, which diffident decorated hero fatefully received Wall Street's mark of esteem, in 1996?
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