Specialist: photography

From the quiz on 8/8/17.

  1. Which Japanese company produces the popular EOS series of SLR cameras? Canon

  2. American photographer Dorothea Lange is renowned for her many photos, including the iconic Migrant Mother, that document which era of American history? Great Depression

  3. What property of a camera lens is denoted by a lower-case f, as in f-number? Focal length

  4. Which American documentarian, perhaps best known for the TV miniseries The Civil War (1990), lends his name to a technique in which still photographs in motion pictures are slowly zoomed and panned across to retain visual interest? Ken Burns

  5. Thomas Sutton and James Clerk Maxwell’s 1861 photograph of a tartan ribbon represents what first in the history of photography? First colour photograph

Art & literature 39

From the quiz on 1/8/17.

  1. What middle initial does Iain Banks add to his name when writing science fiction? M

  2. In which US city are 16 of the 19 Smithsonian museums? Washington DC

  3. Which Charles Dickens character is variously referred to as the old man, the merry old gentleman, and the Jew? Fagin

  4. Which American author wrote the novels Mildred Pierce, The Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity? James M. Cain

  5. Which Dutch artist painted the portrait of Oliver Cromwell that allegedly spawned the English phrase “warts and all”? Peter Lely

  6. Which American author coined and espoused the so-called Iceberg Theory, in which sub-surface details are not written explicitly but are instead left to the reader? Ernest Hemingway

  7. The 1896 cycle A Shropshire Lad is the best-known work by which English poet? A. E. Housman

  8. Qinghua is a popular style of Chinese pottery decorated solely in which two colours? Blue and white

  9. Which American author won Pulitzer Prizes for The Armies of the Night (1968) and The Executioner’s Song (1979), and co-founded the newspaper The Village Voice in 1955? Norman Mailer

  10. The Wilton Diptych, painted in the late 14th century, depicts which King of England being presented to Mary and Jesus by three saints? Richard II

Specialist: Dune

From the quiz on 18/7/17.

  1. Which iconic creature from the Dune universe is also referred to as Shai-Hulud, Shaitan and Maker? Sandworm

  2. Which Scottish actor plays Leto II Atreides in the 2003 miniseries Frank Herbert’s Children of Dune? James McAvoy

  3. What is the name of the special suit worn by the Fremen to preserve body moisture on the desert planet Arrakis? Stillsuit

  4. After Frank Herbert’s death in in 1986, which American sci-fi author collaborated with Frank’s son Brian to continue the Dune series? Kevin J. Anderson

  5. Members of which secretive society repurpose all adult women as vegetative “axlotl tanks”, using them to reproduce, create Face Dancers and make clones of the dead called gholas? Tleilaxu

Art & literature 38

From the quiz on 11/7/17.

  1. Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s bestselling 2001 novel The Shadow of the Wind is set in Barcelona in the period following which war? Spanish Civil War

  2. The French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec is noted for his many paintings of and posters for which club in Paris? Moulin Rouge

  3. E. W. Hornung’s literary character Arthur J. Raffles is a gentleman thief and amateur player of which sport? Cricket

  4. In which European language were the novels The Tin Drum, Metamorphosis, Death in Venice and All Quiet on the Western Front originally written? German

  5. As a teenager, which Italian Renaissance artist had his nose broken and permanently disfigured after an altercation with his contemporary Pietro Torrigiano? Michelangelo

  6. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s 1925 novel The Great Gatsby and Jay Anson’s 1977 novel The Amityville Horror are both set on which US island? Long Island

  7. Which series of novels by Daniel Handler begins with The Bad Beginning (1999) and ends with The End (2006)? A Series of Unfortunate Events

  8. Sky Mirror, Cloud Gate in Chicago’s Millennium Park, and the ArcelorMittal Orbit in London’s Olympic Park are sculptures by which Turner Prize–winning British artist? Anish Kapoor

  9. What animal does the title character win in a raffle and train up to be a champion in Enid Bagnold’s 1935 novel National Velvet? Horse

  10. Which Shakespeare play ends with one of the characters apologizing for any offence that might have been caused? A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Art & literature 37

From the quiz on 13/6/17.

  1. Which Shakespeare play features a singing jester named Feste? Twelfth Night

  2. Do not go gentle into that good night / Old age should burn and rave at close of day; / Rage, rage against the dying of the light” are the opening lines of a 1951 villanelle by which British poet? Dylan Thomas

  3. What name, ultimately from the Latin for “thread” and “seed”, is given to delicate ornamentation made using twisted wire, usually gold or silver? Filigree

  4. Fear of Flying, released in 1973 to much controversy over its sexual themes, was the début novel of which American author? Erica Jong

  5. Shunga, literally meaning “spring pictures”, is a genre of erotic art from which Asian country? Japan

  6. Down the Rabbit Hole is the opening chapter of which children’s novel first published in 1865? Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

  7. Kafka’s Dick, The Madness of George III and The History Boys are plays by which English playwright? Alan Bennett

  8. ‘Tis (1999) and Teacher Man (2005) are the lesser-known follow-ups to which memoir first published in 1996? Angela’s Ashes

  9. In which country did the Constructivism, Rayonism and Suprematism art movements all originate in the 1910s? Russia

  10. Which Dutch abstract art movement, founded in 1917 by Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondrian, is characterized by the use of geometrical figures such as lines and rectangles along with blocks of colour? De Stijl

Specialist: George Orwell

From the quiz on 16/5/17.

  1. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, what two-word name is given to a small slot used for the disposal and incineration of historical documents by the Ministry of Truth? Memory hole

  2. Which 1938 book by George Orwell recounts his experiences in the Spanish Civil War? Homage to Catalonia

  3. Napoleon, the Berkshire boar who becomes dictator of Manor Farm in George Orwell’s Animal Farm, is based on which real-life Soviet premier? Joseph Stalin

  4. Which town in Greater Manchester features in the title of a 1937 book by George Orwell documenting working-class life in northern England? Wigan (The Road to Wigan Pier)

  5. According to George Orwell in his 1946 essay The Moon Under Water, what should ideally have “uncompromisingly Victorian architecture and fittings”, always be “quiet enough to talk”, and have staff that “know most of their customers by name, and take a personal interest in everyone”? Pub

Art & literature 36

From the quiz on 9/5/17.

  1. In a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, a princess can feel which vegetable through twenty mattresses and twenty feather beds? Pea

  2. What is the first name of Mr Rochester in Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre? Edward

  3. Which Chinese artist created the 2010 Tate Modern art installation Kui Hua Zi, which consisted of more than a hundred million hand-crafted porcelain sunflower seeds? Ai Weiwei

  4. What animal is the title character in Daniel Keyes’s 1966 award-winning sci-fi novel Flowers for Algernon? Mouse

  5. In which 1871 novel were the poems Jabberwocky and The Walrus and the Carpenter first published? Through the Looking-Glass

  6. Which Italian artist painted the c. 1545 work Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time, whose bottom-right corner is the ultimate source of the giant foot from Monty Python’s Flying Circus? Bronzino

  7. Christopher Hitchens’s 1995 book The Missionary Position is an extended critique and exposé of which religious figure? Mother Teresa

  8. In George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, by what aviation-related name is the UK known? Airstrip One

  9. What was the Greek mythological name of Jane Austen’s elder sister? Cassandra

  10. The Monarch of the Glen, which shows a stag in the Scottish Highlands, and the four bronze lions at the base of Nelson’s Column are among the best-known works of which English painter and sculptor? Edwin Landseer