We asked you five “pub quiz” type questions. Here come the answers!
- Snooker originated as a variation of billiards. It developed its own identity when its first set of rules were finalised in India in 1884. The English army officer responsible shared his name with a British Prime Minister. Which one?
Neville Chamberlain. Born in 1856 and thus 13 years senior to his (unrelated) namesake, Lieutenant Chamberlain was stationed in Jubbulpore (now Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh state) when he invented “snooker’s pool” in the mid-1870s – “snooker” originally being a term for a first-year cadet officer or an inexperienced soldier, which Chamberlain borrowed to describe a player in an awkward position but which gradually came to be applied to the position itself.
- What is the national bird of Sweden?
The common blackbird (Turdus merula). A species of true thrush, the blackbird has several characteristics (eating garden pests, pleasant song, lifelong monogamy) to commend it. Nevertheless it missed out in a 2015 poll to establish an unofficial national bird for Britain – the European robin (Erithacus rubecula) won, despite the fact that it’s extremely aggressive and territorial.
- Staying with Sweden…which member of ABBA isn’t Swedish?
Anni-Frid Lyngstad – as she was then known. She was born in 1945 in Ballangen in mid-northern Norway to a Norwegian mother and a German father, but moved to Sweden before she was two. After her third marriage in 1992 she became Her Serene Highness Princess Anni-Frid of Reuss, Countess of Plauen. But she’s most commonly known in Sweden by her nickname Frida.
- What is the collective noun for butterflies? And for a bonus point, the same question for caterpillars.
This is a bit of a trick question. Over the years several wordsmiths, in writing and in the spoken word, have attempted to coin evocative or amusing collective nouns, in addition to the more prosaic generic ones – but these rarely catch on when the creature concerned is typically solitary, as butterflies are. Some sources quote flutter, others quote kaleidoscope. The normal collective noun for flying insects is a swarm.
As for caterpillars, the collective noun we’ve come across most often is army – which is what it can feel like if you’re a keen gardener attempting to defend your cabbages from the depredations of the Large White.
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was originally a comedy on BBC Radio 4. In which year was it first broadcast?
1978. Douglas Adams originally came up with a sitcom based in a bedsit but rapidly switched to a sci-fi story when it became clear that that was what both he and producer Simon Brett wanted. It broke ground as the first radio comedy to be produced in stereo (and originally had to be classified as a drama as the BBC wouldn’t allow comedies to be made in stereo in 1977, when the series was commissioned and recorded). The novel was adapted from the first four radio episodes; the second novel, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, from the remaining eight.
How did you get on? Why not let us know?