OK , as you can see, back from Spain – yes, a lovely time , thanks for asking – and so without further ado here are the answers to those ten questions from Irene Thomas’ The Almost Impossible Quiz Book : -
1) Who went off to France in a fury on 12th December 1936 ?
In 1936, the Duke of Windsor, previously King Edward VIII, departed the UK for France . He was on board HMS Fury.
2) When was Gruoch’s husband apparently menaced by trees ?
Gruoch was the real name of the wife of Macbeth. In Shakespeare’s play he is told that he will never be defeated until Great Birnham Wood comes up to his castle at Dunsinane. It is reported to him by a servant that this is indeed happening. Actually its only Malcolm’s army using camouflage.
3) How was a combination of a colour, a loaf, and an almanac connected with a niece of George IV ?
Tricky one. The neice of George IV was the daughter of his brother Edward Duke of Kent, Alexandrina Victoria – later Queen Victoria. Saxe is a light blue colour with a tinge of grey. Coburg is a type of loaf. The almanac de Gotha is the one which contained details of all eligible princesses in protestant northern Europe during the mid 19th century – a bit like a horse breeder’s catalogue really. When Victoria married Albert, she married into the family of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. ( She was already a member of the family through her mother, though. )
4) Where might you find an English soup of very little worth ?
In an Italian restaurant, zuppa inglesi – literally English soup – is the term used for trifle.
5) How are Peter, Owen, Billy and Albert related to a chimney sweep ?
Peter Grimes, Owen Wingrave, Billy Budd and Albert Herring were all composed by Benjamin Britten, as was The Little Sweep
6) How did Aristides Psairotis’ grove of olive trees become eternally English in 1915 ?
Mr. Psairotis owned the olive grove on Scyros where Rupert Brooke was buried. Brooke had written
“If I should die, think only this of me
There is some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England. “
7) A pelican was admitted in 1812, a badger in 1848, and a beaver in 1859. To what ?
The pelican is the emblem of the US State ofLouisiana, admitted to the Union in 1812, the badger of Wisconsin, admitted in 1848, and the beaver Oregon – 1859.
8) Which men of straw gave their name to an Italian opera ?
I Pagliacci is correctly translated as The Clowns, but it can also mean mattresses stuffed with straw.
9) Whose arms have three legs ?
Obvious really. It’s the Isle of Man. However give yourself a bonus mark if you also said Sicily , since amazingly the emblem of Sicily also has 3 legs !
10) The one in Messina is a storm in a teacup, while the one in Vienna promises like for like. What are they ?
Yes, its Shakespeare. Much Ado About Nothing is set in Messina while Measure for Measure is set in Vienna.
Alright, you maybe wouldn’t want to be asked something like these in a quickfire round, but just look at the satisfaction you get out of unravelling a question like these.