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Robots, Russians and rock’n’roll – take the Thursday quiz

·6-min read
<span>Photograph: Ian McDonnell/Getty Images</span>
Photograph: Ian McDonnell/Getty Images

The quiz master remains on holiday, but before he departed he left behind a crumpled up piece of paper behind a filing cabinet with 14 questions written on it which has taken ages for some poor soul at the Guardian’s office to type in. As ever, the questions are on general knowledge and topical trivia, there’s a hidden Doctor Who reference to find, there’s a picture of the divine Kate Bush, and one question is for no readily apparent reason formatted with anagrams. Have fun – let us know how you get on in the comments.

The Thursday quiz, No 22

  1. A meteor is photographed near the Milky Way
    A meteor is photographed near the Milky Way

    TO THE STARS!: Who was the first woman in space?

    1. Yelena Serova

    2. Valentina Tereshkova

    3. Yelena Kondakova

    4. Svetlana Savitskaya

  2. Sparks

    WHAT THE HELL IS IT THIS TIME: That's a Sparks song that imagines a busy god vexed every time someone prays to them because of something trivial like hoping that Arsenal wins. But that’s not important right now. The first four books of the Old Testament are Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus and…?

    1. Deuteronomy

    2. Judges

    3. Numbers

    4. Ecclesiastes

  3. Old Tv
    Old Tv

    ENSEMBLE CASTS: Which US children's TV series features characters with the surnames Rogers, Blake and Dinkley

    1. Scooby Doo

    2. Spongebob Squarepants

    3. The Flintstones

    4. Wacky Races

  4. GEOGRAPHY: What is the capital city of Sierra Leone

    1. Kampala

    2. Freetown

    3. Libreville

    4. Kinshasa

  5. Who is this
    Who is this

    EYE KNOW WHO YOU ARE: Which British politician is this?

    1. Michael Gove

    2. Keir Starmer

    3. Dominic Raab

    4. Matt Hancock

  6. Laura Marling / Florence / PJ Harvey / Kate Bush
    Laura Marling / Florence / PJ Harvey / Kate Bush

    MUSIC: In 2011 who had a top ten selling album in the UK with Let England Shake?

    1. Laura Marling

    2. Florence + The Machine

    3. PJ Harvey

    4. Kate Bush

  7. Actors in R.U.R.
    Actors in R.U.R.

    EARLY SCIENCE FICTION: R.U.R. or "Rossum's Universal Robots" was a play in the 1920s that introduced the word robot for artificial beings into the English language. Who wrote it?

    1. Taren Capel

    2. Karel Čapek

    3. Jaroslav Kvapil

    4. Antonín Dvořák

  8. Joe Orton
    Joe Orton

    COMPARATIVELY SPEAKING: While we are on the topic of plays, which of these plays by Joe Orton was performed first?

    1. The Good and Faithful Servant

    2. What the Butler Saw

    3. Loot

    4. Entertaining Mr Sloane

  9. WHO SAID IT: Which leading woman in tech said: “Done is better than perfect”?

    1. Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube

    2. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook

    3. Ellen Pao, former CEO of Reddit

    4. danah boyd, founder and president of Data & Society Research Institute

  10. Elvis

    ANAGRAM TIME: He is the undisputed King of Rock'n'Roll®, but which of these is NOT the name of an Elvis movie? Plot twist – it is anagram time…

    1. Core Gel Ink

    2. Hair Sock Joule

    3. Karate Throb Heel

    4. Remelted Oven

  11. Nintendo

    TRUE OR FALSE: The Nintendo company which produces the Super Mario games was founded in 1889?

    1. True

    2. False

  12. Jared Harris
    Jared Harris

    TV & FILM: Jared Harris played which character in HBO's Chernobyl?

    1. Valery Legasov

    2. Boris Shcherbina

    3. Anatoly Dyatlov

    4. Vasily Ignatenko

  13. POETRY CORNER: Which famous poem opens with these line: "April is the cruellest month, breeding / Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing / Memory and desire, stirring / Dull roots with spring rain."

    1. T. S. Eliot's The Waste Land

    2. Robert Frost's The Road Not Taken

    3. Wallace Stevens' Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

    4. Paul Laurence Dunbar's We Wear the Mask

  14. Beaker and Bunsen
    Beaker and Bunsen

    SCIENCE CORNER: Which of these sentences best describes a compound?

    1. A substance made from atoms of one element

    2. A substance made from atoms of two elements

    3. A substance made from atoms of two elements that are chemically bonded

    4. A substance made from atoms of two or more elements that are chemically bonded


1:B - The Soviet Union sent Tereshkova to space in 1963 on board Vostok 6, twenty years before Sally Ride became the first American woman to orbit the planet. That doesn't mean that the Soviet space programme was especially more gender-balanced though. They didn't send another woman up until Svetlana Savitskaya was on Soyuz T-5 in the 1980s. She went on to become the first women to go into space twice, the first woman to perform a spacewalk, and the first woman to be on a space station. Kondakova went to space twice in the nineties. Serova spent over 167 days on the International Space Station from September 2014 to March 2015., 2:C - It is Numbers, disappointingly not one of the earliest telephone directories or a cover version of the Kraftwerk song but instead just a regular book of the Bible, but you can tell by his face that Ron from Sparks thinks you should have known that., 3:A - That's Norville "Shaggy" Rogers, Daphne Blake and Velma Dinkley to you. Did you know that Scooby's full name is Scoobert Doo. You do now., 4:B - The city of Freetown was founded by abolitionist Lieutenant John Clarkson in 1792 as a settlement for formerly enslaved people. It now has a population of just over one million., 5:D - If you live in the UK you would have seen a lot of the former health secretary and then suddenly not any more at all. What a turn-up., 6:C - It was PJ Harvey, and the album delivered her second Mercury Prize win. That year Laura Marlin released A Creature I Don't Know, Florence + The Machine gave us Ceremonials and Kate Bush stunned fans by following up 2005's Aerial and spoiling us with both Director's Cut and then 50 Words For Snow., 7:B - Rossum's Universal Robots was an incredibly prescient piece of work about themes we struggle with today around the use of artificial intelligence and the ethics of robotics. Čapek was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature seven times, but never won it., 8:D - It was written in 1963 and first appeared on the stage in May 1964. Loot was first performed a year later, The Good and Faithful Servant was first seen in 1967, and What The Butler Saw was first produced in 1969, more than 18 months after Orton was murdered., 9:B - Is was Sandberg. Whether she was setting out a manifesto for me writing the Thursday quiz – better done than perfect – is open to conjecture., 10:C - Heartbreak Hotel may have been a huge hit for Elvis, but it was not the title of a film. Your other options were King Creole, Jailhouse Rock and Love Me Tender, which was his movie debut., 11:A - It is true. Rather like Nokia, the company vastly pre-dates the technology it is famous for. Nintendo Karuta was founded in 1889 by craftsman Fusajiro Yamauchi and originally produced playing cards., 12:A - Harris played the first deputy director of the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy, and a key member of the government commission formed to investigate the causes of the disaster and to plan the mitigation of its consequences., 13:A - A central work to modern poetry, The Waste Land was published in 1922, so if it had been a record, next year we'd be getting a deluxe 6CD/Blu-Ray centenary box-set version with all the demo versions and outtakes., 14:D - Yes, that's the ticket. The first one is just an element. The second one is just a bunch of atoms hanging out. The third one would be a compound because they are chemically bonded, but compounds are not limited to being made up of just two atoms. Vinegar, for example, is C₂H₄O₂, and absolutely delicious on chips.


  1. 0 and above.

    We hope you had fun – let us know how you got on in the comments!

  2. 5 and above.

    We hope you had fun – let us know how you got on in the comments!

  • If you do think there has been an egregious error in one of the questions or answers, please feel free to email but remember, the quiz master’s word is always final, and you wouldn’t want to get fired into space.

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