Lots of inbuilt clues in this week’s scratch-your-head-athon as we offer you the first letter of each answer representing the 26 letters of the English alphabet in 25 questions. Did you know that the word ‘alphabet’ is derived from the first two letters ‘alpha’ and ‘beta’ of the Greek alphabet? Ancient Egyptians also had a formal system of writing... only those were symbols. The Egyptians felt that these symbols that represented thought were powerful and literally called them ‘God’s words’, the Greek translation of this being ‘hieroglyphs’. Meanwhile the script of the Indus Valley Civilisation still poses obstacles to deciphering it. On to the A to Z of quizzing...
1. You would be dispatched here if you were a seriously errant wizard and guarded by foul ghostly beings whose name suggests that they tend to make their prisoners lose the will to live, though chocolate might serve as a first-aid in cases of contact with these creatures. What scary place is this?
2. “A bird in hand is worth two in the bush”, “a thorn in the flesh”, and “ a leopard cannot change its spots” are some popular phrases that are originally found in which bestselling book?
3. Which famous ‘four-towered’ monument on the east bank of the Musi river was built by Sultan Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the fifth ruler of the Qutb Shahi dynasty to commemorate the elimination of a plague epidemic from his city?
4. What property of materials (solids, liquids, or gases) is best known to the common man because Archimedes was given the task of determining whether King Hiero’s goldsmith was embezzling gold during the manufacture of a golden wreath dedicated to the gods and replacing it with another, cheaper alloy.
5. Upon this famous discovery described in question four, Archimedes leaped from his bath and went running naked through the streets shouting what Greek word meaning, “I found it”? As a result, the word entered common parlance and is used today to indicate a moment of enlightenment.
6. A two-word answer, both words starting with the same letter, is a nickname for The Beatles at the height of their fame in the 1960s. It is said to have been coined by Tony Barrow, who was the head of The Beatles press office between 1962 and 1968.
7. Who is the oldest inhabitant of ‘the little Gaulish village’ we all know so well? He is a veteran of the Battle of Gergovia and the Battle of Alesia, and refers to them when excited. His name is obviously inspired by the word describing the medical study of diseases occurring in the elderly.
8. What term that refers to many types of dense, sweet confections, served across the Middle East, large parts of Asia, North Africa, and Eastern Europe, entered the English language between 1840 and 1850 from the Arabic word for ‘sweet’ via Turkish, Bulgarian and Yiddish languages?
9. This colour is named after the blue dye derived from the plant I tinctoria and related species. Although traditionally considered one of seven divisions of the rainbow or the optical spectrum, modern color scientists do not usually recognise it as a separate division and generally classify wavelengths shorter than about 450 nm as violet. The name of this colour and the plant is derived from a country believed to be the oldest centre of dyeing cloth in this colour in the Ancient World. Name the colour and
10. Which football club whose name is derived from the Latin word for youth is historically the most successful club in Italian football. Thir home ground is in Turin and their nickname Le Zebre reflects their jersey colours.
11. Which mountain is also known as the Savage Mountain due to the difficulty of ascent and the second-highest fatality rate among the “eight thousanders” for those who climb it. It is part of the Karakoram Range and is the second highest mountain in the world after
12. Which film became the third Hindi-language film to be nominated for the American Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film after Mother India (1957) and Salaam Bombay! (1988)?
13. Which iconic heavy metal band was formed in Los Angeles, California, in late 1981 when drummer Lars Ulrich placed this advertisement in a Los Angeles newspaper called The Recycler, “Drummer looking for other metal musicians to jam with Tygers of Pan Tang, Diamond Head and Iron Maiden.” Guitarists James Hetfield and Hugh Tanner of Leather Charm answered the advertisement.
14. Which ancient Indian treatise on the performing arts, encompassing theatre, dance and music contains 36 chapters and 6000 stanzas? It was written during the period between 200 BC and 200 AD in classical India and is traditionally attributed to the Sage Bharata.
15. Who is the first President of USA to have been born in Hawai?
16. Tentatively called “Radium F”, which element was discovered by Marie and Pierre Curie in 1898? It was named after her native land which at the time was under Russian, Prussian, and Austrian partition, and did not exist as an independent country. It was Curie’s hope that naming the element after her native land would publicise its lack of independence. Thus this may be the first element named to highlight a political controversy!
17. What extinct animal species once found in great numbers in South Africa’s Cape Province looked like a zebra but had the stripes only in its front half, the rear parts being a plain brown? Its name comes from a Khoikhoi (Bushman) word for zebra and is onomatopoeic, being said to resemble the animal’s call. The only member of this species to have been photographed alive was a mare at the Zoological Society of London’s Zoo in Regent’s Park in 1870.
18. Who first described Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi as ‘Mahatma’. Gandhi repaid the honour by describing him as ‘Gurudev’ or ‘teacher’?
19. What iconic logo design was created in 1971 by Carolyn Davidson, while she was a graphic design student at Portland State University? While most people would regard this symbol as a check mark, it was meant to evoke the flight of the winged goddess of victory in Greek mythology.
20. 48 (ODI) + 51 (Test) = 99. Who is striving hard to alter this equation?
21. In India it had derogatory connotations when used to describe those individuals outside the traditional caste system of Ancient India. In USA however it is most commonly refers to the small band of agents of the Bureau of Prohibition in Chicago led by Eliot Ness who could not be corrupted by the notorious gangster Al Capone. Ness’ struggle eventually led to Capone’s successful prosecution and imprisonment. What’s the word?
22. It is one of the world’s most ancient techniques of meditation, which was apparently re-discovered by Gautama Buddha. It is a practice of self-transformation through self-observation and introspection. In English, this form of meditation is often referred to simply as ‘insight meditation’. What form of meditation whose name is derived from the Pali language meaning ‘clear seeing’
23. What popular term describes a handheld, portable, two-way radio transceiver whose development during the World War Two has been variously credited to Donald L Hings, radio engineer Alfred J Gross, and engineering teams at Motorola?
24. Spanning 150 million base-pairs, this important component of our genome is present in all humans. It was named for its unique properties by early researchers, which resulted in the naming of its counterpart (found only in males) with the next letter in the alphabet, when it was discovered later. Together these form the sex-determination system in humans. What are these?
25. This term is used in the Lok Sabha to describe the time immediately following the Question Hour and laying of papers and before any listed business is taken up in the House. It gets its name because it starts around 12 noon. What term?
1. Azkaban where prisoners are guarded by Dementors
2. The Bible
3. Charminar (from Urdu meaning ‘four towers’)
6. Fab Four
9. Indigo from India
14. Natya Shastra
16. Polonium (after Poland)
18. Rabindranath Tagore
19. Swoosh (of Nike)
20. Tendulkar, Sachin on the verge of his 100 centuries
24. X and Y chromosomes
25. Zero Hour
Ophthalmologist & Quizmaster