Quizzes The Pragati Quiz

We Can Work it Out

This is the 13th installment of The Pragati Quiz, our weekly dose of stimulation for readers who are curious about the world.


(Answers at the bottom.)

  1. Who was this ‘impudent brat’, born on 23 July 1906? 
  2. The George Cross is the second-highest (after the Victoria Cross) decoration for gallantry in the United Kingdom honours system. There are only two occasions when it has been awarded collectively — the second such was to the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) in 1999. The first is still displayed on the recipient’s flag. Who?
  3. Which term for incomprehensible writing or speech that is long-winded, pompous and involved, usually with Latinized words, was coined by Texas congressman Maury Maverick in 1944, inspired by the sounds made by a turkey strutting around with ridiculous pomposity?
  4. This 1595 Caravaggio painting The Musicians demonstrates the use to good effect of which common pigment (vivid red) that comes from cochineal? It derives its name from the Arabic “qirmiz” and the Latin “minium” (red lead or cinnabar).
  5. The beginning of the Golden Globes award ceremony in 2017. The opening scene of which film does it parody?
  6. The Strelitzia is known as the crane flower in South Africa, but it has which other common name from the resemblance of its inflorescence to a certain fauna native to Papua New Guinea and Indonesia?
  7. What/whom did the empty chair represent in this image from Sweden in December 2010?
  8. A catchphrase popularized by Superman refers to the three things that he fights for. The last of the three is not only the in-flight magazine of American Airlines, but also the origin of which brand name that pioneered the idea of multi-level marketing?
  9. The Ypres Cloth Hall in Belgium, one of the largest medieval commercial buildings, was destroyed in WWI. However, it had been used as a model in 1872 for a building in India that housed an institution that is the oldest of its kind in the country. According to a popular legend, a team of architects visited the Indian building and were able to get the Cloth Hall back on its feet again (the restored building shown here now houses the In Flanders Field War Museum). Which Indian building?
  10. From 1962 to 1971, millions of gallons of a mixture of 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T were used in Operation Ranch Hand to remove forest cover and clear vegetation. It is speculated that exposure to this may have led to Sen. John McCain’s brain cancer, as he took part in the operation. What colour were the drums in which this herbicidal mixture was stored?
  11. What is this French farmer doing with a pig on a leash? And why are female pigs mostly used for the purpose?
  12. What fundamental change happened to the FA Cup after a pivotal final played at Wembley in 1927 in front of 93,000 fans? It was also the first Cup final to be broadcast live over the radio. For the record, Arsenal lost 1-0 to a Hughie Ferguson goal, thanks to a goalkeeping error from Dan Lewis.
  13. The Etemenanki (Sumerian for “temple of the foundation of heaven and earth”) was a ziggurat dedicated to Marduk in the city of Babylon in the 6th century BCE and dominated its skyline. Originally 91 meters in height, it now exists only in ruins. Which Biblical story did it very likely inspire?
  14. For a proposed overseas tour by the MCC in September 1968, Tom Cartwright was selected but had to withdraw because of injury. The choice of his replacement had major repercussions that went beyond cricket. Who and how?
  15. This term originally meant a covering of mosquito netting over a couch sofa or bed, and in time came to mean the bed or sofa itself. In cuisine, it means a small, prepared and usually decorative food, consisting of a small piece of bread or pastry topped with a garnish or topping, often meat or seafood. What?
  16. According to legend, this “game of the four winds” was invented by a fisherman to distract seasick sailors during heavy weather. It was outlawed in its country of origin as it was felt that this game encouraged gambling and wasted time, but is again very popular there now. It is popular online as well among global audiences. Name the game.
  17. A cenotaph marking the site of whose original grave in Baltimore?
  18. Where have most of us seen a representation of the demon Apasmara, who stands for ignorance, and thus cannot be killed as it would devalue all knowledge?
  19. The two inventors of these early motor cars, who never actually met, fought each other all their life for the title of “father of the modern automobile”. Ironically they were united in death when in 1926 the two companies that they founded decided to merge. Name the pair.
  20. The brand, based on the German Wanderer, was created by the Czech entrepreneur František Janecek. It was brought to India by Farrokh Irani and manufactured near Mysore. When the licensing tie-up with the parent company ended, it continued to be sold till 1998 under a new brand named after the Indian founder’s home province in Iran. Name both brands which are now being revived in India as they have high nostalgia value.



  1. Chandra Shekhar Azad. This is how he got the nickname ‘Azad.’
  2. The island of Malta, in 1944, for its heroic resistance in WWII.
  3. Gobbledygook
  4. Carmine. The Arabic word also is the root for the English word “crimson”, incidentally.
  5. La La Land, which incidentally won all the seven Golden Globes it had been nominated for that year.
  6. Bird of Paradise
  7. Liu Xiaobo. The empty chair at the Nobel award ceremony represented the Nobel Peace Prize winner imprisoned in China. He passed away in 2017.
  8. Amway,which is short for “American Way.” Superman fights for “Truth, Justice and the American Way.”
  9. The Kolkata High Court, the oldest High Court in India.
  10. Orange, and so the popular name for the herbicide used in southeast Asia was Agent Orange.
  11. Hunting for Truffles. Truffles are the fruiting bodies of a subterranean ascomycete fungus, highly valued as food. They produce a chemical almost identical to a sex pheromone found in the male pig’s saliva, making them easy for female pigs to detect.
  12. Cardiff City won — the only time a non-English team has won the Cup. After this, the common name ‘English Cup’ was dropped in favour of the FA Cup.
  13. The Tower of Babel
  14. Basil D’Oliveira (who was bi-racial and of the Cape Coloured community of South Africa) was selected in his place and an angry South African Government banned the tour.It led to the banning of South Africa in cricket and eventually to the complete sporting isolation of apartheid-era South Africa.
  15. Canapé, from the way the toppings ‘sit’ on the bed of bread.
  16. Mahjong
  17. Edgar Allan Poe. The Raven, the subject of his most famous poem, is depicted, along with its most famous line — Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”
  18. Under the feet of the Nataraja statue, who thus subdues ignorance.
  19. Karl Benz and Otto Daimler
  20. Jawa and Yezdi motorcycles


About the author

Anustup Datta

Anustup Datta lurks in Bangalore, consults for brands for a living, and quizzes to stay sane. Will happily travel to the ends of the world if there’s good food and/or single malt. Has a borderline pathological attachment to his Kindle.