The Pragati Quiz

You Blue Blistering Barnacles!

This is the 15th installment of The Pragati Quiz, our weekly dose of stimulation for readers who are curious about the world.


(Answers at the bottom.)

  1. A Beretta M1934  .380 ACP pistol (the model shown) bearing serial number 606824 was sold by Jagdish Prasad Goel to Gangadhar Dandavate in Gwalior. Whom did Dandavate give the pistol to, and for what purpose?
  2. What two word term, referring to a mid-1940s event, is used for the excuse “was only following orders (of a superior)” in a court of law? The German phrase “Befehl ist befehl” (An order is an order) is often used for the same principle.
  3. Former Austrian artillery officer August Zang went to Paris around 1837 and founded the legendary bakery Boulangerie Viennoise. The main product of the bakery, the Austrian kipfel, was soon imitated and became which staple of France baking?
  4. This is the cover of the 29th book of Terry Pratchett’s popular Discworld series, with Paul Kidby drawing the cover for the first time. Based on the artwork alone, can you guess the name of the novel?
  5. Have a close look at this video. The discovery of the precise mechanism was the first example of which higher “ability” to be discovered outside the higher primates?
  6. This book by Manu Pillai won the Sahitya Akademi Yuva Puraskar in 2017. Which ruling house of an erstwhile princely state does it chronicle, one which claims that its legendary founder Bhanu Vicrama was crowned by Parasurama himself?
  7. William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore were the ninth, twelfth and thirteenth presidents of the United States of America respectively. Which US party were they all nominated by?
  8. This is an extract from the list of winners of the Tour de France. The name blanked out is of the only 5-time consecutive winner of the race, whose picture is below. He gets his nickname from the classic 1952 film shown to the right. Who, and what is the nickname?
  9. Which Latin word for “crab” did Celsus first use in the 1st century CE to describe a disease, from the way “the veins stretched on all sides as the animal the crab has its feet”?
  10. These two mountains, the Rock of Gibraltar and Jebel Musa, flank the entrance of the Straits of Gibraltar on the northern and southern sides. According to legend, the mountains were once close together and constituted an impenetrable wall. Which hero pulled them apart to make a passage for ships to pass through, one who still guards the entrance to the Mediterranean?
  11. What was invented in 1920 by a Johnson & Johnson cotton buyer, Earle Dickson in Highland Park, New Jersey for his wife Josephine Knight Dickson (shown here), who was careless and frequently cut and burned herself while cooking? It was promoted with the slogan — “I am stuck on _______ brand ’cause_______’s stuck on me!”
  12. Which product must one own to obtain full membership of this community?
  13. Benjamin Franklin suggested this idea satirically in 1784 when he was ambassador to France. Port Arthur, Ontario, Canada, was the first city in the world to enact it on July 1, 1908. The first states to adopt it nationally were the German Empire and its WWI ally Austria-Hungary, commencing April 30, 1916, as a way to conserve coal during wartime and maximise time for war production.What idea?
  14. “Painting the ____ _____” is an idiom for a never-ending task, and refers to the continuous maintenance required by which engineering marvel that was the first great steel structure constructed? It opened in 1890 and is prominently displayed on Scottish banknotes.
  15. She was the daughter of Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand and in 1507 became the ambassador of Spain to England, thus becoming the first female ambassador in European history. Unfortunately, her inability to produce a male heir unleashed a chain of events with far-reaching consequences.Who, and what consequences?
  16. Who is the author of Game On and Love Match, the first two books in the romance series titled “The Academy”, written for young adults?
  17. This sculpture by Alberto Giacometti sold for $104.3 million in 2010. It shares its name with an iconic brand logo. What name and which brand?
  18. Identify the lady interviewing the late Fidel Castro here. As a hint, there is an adjective in the English language derived from her name, meaning “full of hills and valleys.”
  19. In 1906, Stuart H. Cramer coined this term while filing a claim for a patent for a product which added water vapour to the air in textile plants. But the industry for the product kicked off only nine years later after an improved invention at a printing plant to keep inks from smudging. What’s the term?
  20. When Mahatma Gandhi and other senior leaders were imprisoned during the Quit India movement in 1942, which advocate and INC leader attempted to negotiate with Liaqat Ali Khan on a possible sharing of ministerial berths between the INC and the Muslim League, in return for dropping the two-state demand and avoiding Partition? There is a road named after him in Mumbai now.


  1. Nathuram Godse, who used it to assassinate Mahatma Gandhi
  2. Nuremberg Defense, after the Nuremberg trials in 1945-46 where this defense was unsuccessfully tried by Nazi generals.
  3. The Croissant
  4. Night Watch — the cover parodies the famous Rembrandt painting of the same name
  5. Counting Only if a second hair is triggered within a specific time is the trap sprung.
  6. The royal family of Travancore
  7. Whig Party, which was formed in the mid-19th century in response to Andrew Jackson’s policies
  8. Miguel Indurain, nicknamed “Singing” from the film Singin’ In The Rain. 
  9. CancerThe description is from the appearance of the cut surface of a solid malignant tumour.
  10. Hercules, which is why the two mountains are called the Pillars of Hercules
  11. Band-Aid™ adhesive bandages
  12. A Harley-Davidson motorcycle. HOG stands for Harley Owners Group.
  13. Daylight Saving Time (DST)
  14. Forth Bridge, referring to the famous rail bridge across the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh.
  15. Catherine of Aragon. Henry VIII divorced her to marry Anne Boleyn, the Pope refused permission, and in the process the Church of England split from the Roman Catholic church.
  16. Monica Seles
  17. Walking Man is also the logo of Johnnie Walker
  18. The Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida, probably best known to Indian audiences for her star turn in Come September.
  19. Air Conditioning — the process invented by Willis Carrier controlled temperature as well as humidity in the printing plant.
  20. Bhulabhai Desai, who defended the INA prisoners in the Red Fort trial after the war.


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.