Are you a quiz whiz?

What better way to kick off the New Year than with a mind-boggling set of literary quizzes. Time to put on those thinking caps...

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Published: Wed 2 Jan 2008, 11:32 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 3:02 PM

quSHARPEN your literary wits with our quiz from quizmaster Marcus Berkmann who has set some easy questions — to lull you into a sense of security — and some that are much much harder, but all the answers can be unearthed.

1. Whose new novel, the 17th (and possibly last) in a famous series, was named after a Radiohead song? (It's on OK Computer.)

2. Bill Bryson did Shakespeare this year. Who did Shakespeare's Wife?

3. In 2006, the architect Dietmar Feichtinger designed a sophisticated footbridge over the Seine. It's the 37th bridge to be built over the river in Paris and the first to be named after a woman. But after which French author and philosopher?

4. At the age of ten, while at Highgate Junior School in North London, the precocious John Betjeman presented his first book of poems to his favourite teacher, 'the American master', as he called him. Better known as whom?

5. According to Marianne Faithfull, who had given him the book, Mick Jagger wrote Sympathy For The Devil immediately after reading which Russian novel? (Title and author needed for the point.)

q26. Which Bombay-born British poet and author, while living in Vermont in the 1890s, invented the sport of snow golf? (Similar to golf, but played with orange balls.)

7. Samuel Rogers (1763-1855) lent the same suit to two fellow poets when they were invested as Poet Laureate. Which two? You'll need both for the point.

8. Whose real names were Le Comte de la Fare, M. du Vallon and Chevalier d'Herblay?

9. Spoetry is the recently coined term for poetry created (or emerging serendipitously) from what?

10. Dealings With The Firm BLANK BLANK BLANK, Wholesale, Retail And For Exportation is the full title, with the relevant three words removed, of which great novel of 1848?

How celeb-savvy are you?

All the world's celebrities have a book out this Christmas. Some of them might even have read it. In each case, name the celebrity 'author'.

1. My Booky Wook

2. On The Edge

3. Survivor: My Story — The Next Chapter

4. Mad, Bad And Dangerous To Know

5. Barefaced Lies And Boogie-Woogie Boasts

6. Winning Is Not Enough: The Autobiography

7. Laid Bare

8. Spilling The Beans

9. Poptastic

10. Keep Smiling

q3Books & films

Here's a selection of films that have been based on famous books. We give you the stars, the director and the date of the film release. For each point, name the book and the author.

1. Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Olivia de Havilland. Directed by Victor Fleming (1939)

2. Sean Connery, Honor Blackman, Gert Frobe. Directed by Guy Hamilton (1964)

3. Ron Moody, Oliver Reed, Harry Secombe. Directed by Carol Reed (1968)

4. Glenda Jackson, Alan Bates, Oliver Reed. Directed by Ken Russell (1969)

5. Dinah Sheridan, William Mervyn, Jenny Agutter. Directed by Lionel Jeffries (1970)

6. Judy Davis, Alec Guinness, Peggy Ashcroft. Directed by David Lean (1984)

7. Winona Ryder, Susan Sarandon, Claire Danes. Directed by Gillian Armstrong (1995)

8. Emily Watson, Robert Carlyle, Pauline McLynn. Directed by Alan Parker (1999)

9. Johnny Depp, Freddie Highmore, David Kelly. Directed by Tim Burton (2005)

10. Keira Knightley, James McAvoy, Brenda Blethyn. Directed by Joe Wright (2007)

Here are excerpts of some reviews of books published in 2007. If the word BLANK comes up, it's either the name of the person we want, or a clue so massive it would give the answer away.

1. This is Peter Lewis on May 14, reviewing yet another book by a retired politician: 'When Thursday morning Cabinet meetings coincided with the opening of a Test match, folded notes of the score were brought to him at intervals, which he passed across the table to Ken Clarke, with looks of anguish. Michael Heseltine thought they were about some financial crisis.' Who is he talking about? (a) Nigel Lawson (b) Kenneth Baker (c) John Major

2. A.N. Wilson on August 24: 'She is the greatest of the English crime writers, no question. She is a very, very good novelist. But all her life she wrote surreptitiously. She gave herself no airs. Ideas for books were noted down in the simplest way — 'make list of characters' — on old bridge scores, her daughter's school exercise books or shopping lists.' Who is he writing about? (a) Agatha Christie (b) Dorothy L. Sayers (c) PD James

3. Val Hennessey on October 19: 'Amazingly, this football fanatic, gang member and break-dance champ won a place at ballet school, forced there by his truckdriver father who saw ballet as a way out of trouble... perhaps he should have stuck to football? But what a waste of his fluid beauty and breathtaking poetry-in-motion if he had.' Whose autobiography had she just read? (a) Carlos Acosta (b) Angel Corella (c) Jose Manuel Torre

4. Quentin Letts on October 5: 'Much of the pre-launch hype for this satirical novel has been about sex — but it is better, much naughtier and defter than that. It depicts a former Prime Minister and his clumsy, unpredictable wife, who has a husky voice and a bicycle-stand cleavage.' Who is the author? (a) Michael Dobbs (b) Robert Harris (c) Michael Crick

q45. Tanya Gold on May 4: 'You first realise this book is no common celebrity autobiography from the prologue, which is in italics. Here, David introduces us to his fantasy parents, 'who were immediately attracted to each other because he only had a right leg and she a left leg'. Moments later he claims to have been adopted.' David who? (a) Seaman (b) Baddiel (c) Gest

6. Peter Lewis wrote on July 13: 'He pretty clearly didn't order it or know about it in advance. But for a man of his political savvy, it is astonishing how inept he was at dealing with it. This drives Conrad Black to despair. "This pathetically shabby, poorly thought-out, absurd and demeaning enterprise" could so easily have been cleared into the long grass.' Who and what is being referred to? (a) Lyndon Johnson and Vietnam (b) Richard Nixon and Watergate (c) Bill Clinton and 'Monicagate'

7. Geoffrey Wheatcroft on June 29: 'His career should have lasted much longer and achieved much more. Instead, the story just degenerates into a catalogue of dissipation, fornication and inebriation. 'I am not, believe me, moralistic or censorious about the temptations of the flesh, but there is only so much one can read about the number of drinks that any man has downed or the birds he has "snookered".' Who is this paragon? (a) Alex Higgins (b) Jimmy White (c) George Best

8. Val Hennessey on November 23: 'What a harridan! What a cantankerous old battleaxe! Admittedly, BLANK had something of a bad start when, at her birth in 1908, her appalled mother took one look and screeched: "Take it away! It's horrible!"' Dark Victory was the book, but who was the subject? (a) Joan Crawford (b) Bette Davis (c) Vivien Leigh

9. Jaci Stephen, on September 21: 'Leslie blamed drink for the low place she found herself in, and never touched a drop again. "I had a drink problem," she realises. 'No, Leslie, you had a husband problem, and the irony is that in trying to defend him, you have laid bare his awful behaviour. 'What kind of man locks his wife out in the garden in just her panties in order to calm her down?' To whom is she referring? (a) Leslie Ash (b) Leslie Charteris (c) Leslie Crowther

First time lucky

Sometimes a writer's first published novel is his first great success: Lucky Jim, Catch-22, Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone to name a few.

But more often, a writer has to toil in semi-obscurity until the cash starts rolling in.

Here are ten lists of early novels, each of them the first published works of a now famous novelist. In each case, name the writer.

1. The Pothunters (1902), A Prefect's Uncle (1903), Tales of St Austin's (1903), The Gold Bat (1904)

2. The Man Within (1929), The Name Of Action (1930), Rumour At Nightfall (1932)

3. The Loving Spirit (1931), I'll Never Be Young Again (1932), Julius (1933)

4. Player Piano (1952), The Sirens Of Titan (1959), Mother Night (1961)

5. Call For The Dead (1961), A Murder Of Quality (1963)

6. If Morning Ever Comes (1964), The Tin Can Tree (1965), A Slipping-Down Life (1970)

8. Metroland (1980), Before She Met Me (1982)

9. A Trick Of The Light (1984)

10. Cause Celeb (1994)

7. Grimus (1975)

q5Extraordinary words

Test your vocabulary by attaching the right adjective to each meaning.

1. Relating to the back of the knee

2. Fruit-eating

3. Referring to the west wind; therefore favourable, auspicious, pleasant, mild

4. Shaped like a cucumber

5. Having to do with ostriches

6. Dark, obscure, murky, gloomy

7. Bristling, particularly in reference to goose pimples or creeping flesh

8. Foul-mouthed

9. Gooey, gluey, viscous, slimy

The adjectives: Cucumiform. Favonian. Frugiverous. Horripilating. Mucilaginous. Popliteal. Struthious. Tenebrous. Tetrorchid. Turpiloquent.

Name the place

Many writers have been associated with places, some real, some made up.

1. Which characters in Harry Potter are named after the town in Gloucestershire where JK Rowling was born?

2. Which open space in the London borough of Hackney gave its name to a 1989 novel by Martin Amis?

3. Which chief inspector solves crimes in Kingsmarkham?

4. Which great Indian novelist, who died in 2001, set most of his 15 novels and countless short stories in the fictional town Malgudi?

5. In which county are Silverbridge, Hogglestock and Greshamsbury?

6. Who wrote of Bay City, Gray Lake and Idle Valley in California?

7. Who grew up in Slad in Gloucestershire with his distant cousin Rosalind Buckland?

8. Who has written seven novels (so far) set in and around 28 Barbary Lane, San Francisco?

9. George Mackay Brown, one of the great Scottish poets of the 20th century, wrote principally about which island group where he was born and lived most of his life?

10. Who wrote about the small Welsh village of Llareggub?

Blankety blank

This year's Blankety Blank is a poetry round. In each of the following quotations, the missing word is a substance: wood, water, gold, stone, air and so forth. In each case, fill in the missing word.

1. 'Full fathom five thy father lies; Of his bones are coral made: Those are BLANKS that were his eyes: Nothing of him that doth fade.' (William Shakespeare, The Tempest)

2. 'Oh, where are you going to, all you Big Steamers, With England's own BLANK, up and down the salt seas?' (Rudyard Kipling)

3. 'Thy neck is as a tower of BLANK; thine eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon, by the gate of Bathrabbim: thy nose is as a tower of Lebanon which looketh toward Damascus.' (Song of Solomon)

4. 'Ö he named her Minnehaha, Laughing BLANK.' (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

5. 'Not BLANK, nor the gilded monuments Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme.' (William Shakespeare)

6. 'Bring me my bow of burning BLANK! Bring me my arrows of desire!' (William Blake)

7. 'I met a traveller from an antique land Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of BLANK Stand in the desert.' (Percy Bysshe Shelley)

8. 'Thy Grace may wing me to prevent his art And thou like Adamant draw mine BLANK heart.' (John Donne)

9. 'It seemed that out of battle I escaped Down some profound dull tunnel, long since scooped Through BLANKS which titanic wars had groined.' (Wilfred Owen)

10. 'My mistress's eyes are nothing like the sun: BLANK is far more red than her lips' red.' (William Shakespeare)

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