Brush up your brain power

Brush up your brain power

Test your wits with this New Year quiz

Year of the Dragon events

1. Which station opened in the last Year of the Dragon, 2000, but has received fewer than 250 travellers since then?
The International Space Station

2. Who took the biscuit in the Year of the Dragon, 1988?
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR), who bought RJR Nabisco in a takeover battle later depicted in the book and the film Barbarians at the Gate

3. What started to grow in California in the Year of the Dragon, 1976?
Apple Inc

4. What sweet story was first told in the Year of the Dragon, 1964?
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl was published in the USA

5. What did 10 million people do together for the first time in the Year of the Dragon, 1952?
They all watched the same TV programme – I Love Lucy


Hong Kong geography

6. Which building has been a Governor's residence, a consulate, a branch of HSBC and a district court?
The Former French Mission Building, currently used as the Court of Final Appeal

7. Where in Hong Kong is named after the site of a mutiny by Alexander the Great's troops?
Beas River. The original Beas River is in Himachal Pradesh. It was known to the Greeks as Hyphasis.

8. What does Causeway Bay have in common with Cape Town, Malta, Guernsey and Halifax, Nova Scotia?
They all have a noon-day gun.

9. What do Sha Tin, Kowloon Bay, Shek Kong and Lantau have in common?
They are all the sites of existing or former airfields

10. How many tropical storms have required the hoisting of the number eight signal since 1946?
There have been 101 storms, which necessitated 230 different signals of number 8 or higher


Hong Kong legislators

11. Who was the first woman appointed to the Legislative Council?
Ellen Li Shu-Pu, who was appointed in 1965

12. Who was the first woman directly elected to the Legislative Council?
Emily Lau

13. Who is the youngest member of the Legislative Council?
Gary Chan

14. Which member of the Legislative Council has been imprisoned for forgery?
Chim Pui Chong



15. What do athletics, cycling, fencing, gymnastics and swimming have in common?
They are the only sports to have been contested at every summer games of the modern era

16. Which sport was accepted as an official Olympic sport but has never been included in the games?
Gliding was included in the programme for the Tokyo Olympics of 1940, but these games were cancelled due to war

17. In which sport did women first compete in the modern Olympics?
Croquet, in 1900 in Paris. They also competed in tennis and golf at the same games.

18. Which Olympic medallist was later awarded a Nobel prize?
Philip Noel-Baker, who won silver in the 1500m at Antwerp in 1920. He later helped draft the UN Charter and was awarded the Nobel peace prize in 1959.

19. Who won China's first gold medal at an Olympic games?
Xu Haifeng, in the 50m pistol event at the 1984 Los Angeles Games



20. In which city was the first recorded outbreak of Legionella infection?
Philadelphia in 1976

21. Which two non-metallic elements occur in pure form in the Earth's crust?
Carbon and sulphur

22. What do the following birds have in common: crow, dove, eagle, peacock, swan and toucan?
They all have constellations named after them

23. Which is the odd one out: electrons, gluons, muons, neutrinos, protons or quarks?
Protons. All the others are elementary particles, but protons consist of three quarks.



24. Which is the first of China's four great classic novels?
The Water Margin

25. Which Chinese novel's title includes a quadruped and a cooking utensil?
The Deer and the Cauldron

26. What links filmmaker Charlie Chaplin, novelist Anthony Trollope, composer Giacomo Puccini and poet Robert Service?
They have all created works about a gold rush: Chaplin – The Gold Rush (Klondike), Trollope – John Caldigate (Australia), Puccini – La fanciulla del West (California), Service – The Shooting of Dan McGrew and The Cremation of Sam McGee (Yukon)

27. Who managed an amateur production of The Importance of Being Earnest in Zurich during the first world war?
James Joyce. Tom Stoppard later used the events surrounding this production as the basis for his play

28. Whose portraits of women included a drinking vessel, a keyboard instrument, a stringed instrument, a piece of jewellery, a letter and apparatus for weighing?


Food and drink

29. What do artichokes, capers, cauliflowers and cloves have in common?
They are all flower buds

30. What chemical compound makes the yolk of a "100-year-old egg" turn green?
Iron sulphide

31. What foodstuff did Seamus Heaney describe as "coagulated sunlight ... heaped up like gilded gravel in the bowl"?

32. Which product's manufacture involves fermentation, drying, roasting, grinding, liquefaction, blending, extended agitation, melting and crystallisation?



33. What legal principle was established by a case involving a gastropod and a soft drink?
The law on negligence, which was established by the case of Donoghue v Stephenson involving a snail found in a bottle of ginger beer

34. Under what conditions can someone inherit family property under Chinese customary law?
The inheritor must be male, married and have no living male ancestor

35. Which Hong Kong judges do not wear wigs when sitting in open court?
Judges of the Court of Final Appeal

36. Which of the following forms of discrimination are legal in Hong Kong: age, gender, race or religion?
Age and sexual orientation


More dragons

37. Which angry king likened himself to a dragon?
King Lear

38. Which shore-dwelling dragon came to fame in the early 1960s?
Puff the Magic Dragon

39. Who killed a dragon in a story retold by a Nobel laureate in 1999?
Beowulf, which was translated into English by Seamus Heaney

40. What kind of dragon can only reproduce at night?
The dragon fruit, whose flowers bloom at night and die by morning

41. Where can you see stars but no longer see a dragon?
On the Chinese national flag, which contained a dragon prior to 1911


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