Apr 30, 2011

Q.212

Preah Vihear is a Hindu temple that's been in existence from the 11th century and dedicated to the God Shiva. In 2008, it was deemed to be a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Given its location along the border of two Asian countries, it has long been a cause of dispute between these two nations, both claiming it to be part of their boundaries. There have been multiple diplomatic and military flare-ups over it and other related border issues. A recent one was caused by the way the boundaries have been depicted in Google Maps, and some military skirmishes have taken place in April 2011.

Which two countries?

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Apr 29, 2011

Q.211

Fill in the missing name, which is common to both these:

1963 (American sponsorship): Leader: Norman Dyhrenfurth. Some of the other members: Auten, Bishop, Breitenbach, Corbet, Dingman, D. Doody, Emerson, Hornbein, Jerstad, Lester, Unsoeld, Jim Whittaker.

1965 (Indian sponsorship): Leader: Commander M.S.Kohli. Some of the other members: A.S.Cheema, Sonam Gyatso, Sonam Wangyal, C.P. Vohra, Ang Kami, H.P.S. Ahluwalia, H.C.S. Rawat, Phu Dorje.

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Apr 28, 2011

Q.210

UNESCO, the UN body that promotes science and culture among other noble pursuits, celebrates the 23rd of April each year as World Book and Copyright Day. The day sees events dedicated to reading and book publishing, while also creating awareness about copyright issues.

The choice of the day was primarily because two authors died on this day. Today's question relates to both of them. Incidentally, this day is also associated with the birth and death of other literary figures. For instance, Vladimir Nabokov was born on this day.

Q1 The association of this day with books began in Spain because a leading Spanish writer died this day in 1616. Who was he?

Q2. Coincidentally, Shakespeare's death also happened on 23rd April 1616. However, that's not quite true. How?

Questions triggered by this Tender Leaves post

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Apr 27, 2011

Q.209

In the under-19 cricket World Cup of 2002, India played Bangladesh in a league match and lost by two wickets in a close encounter. India scored a mere 77 runs led by a top order collapse. Bangladesh made heavy weather of the chase, slumping to 64/8 before they scraped through.

This match has come back into prominence in recent times because of something that involved the Bangladeshi opening bowler Shafaq Al Zabir. Why?

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Apr 26, 2011

Q.208

This BBC TV quiz show is coming to an end after its host announced her decision to quit the programme. It was a popular daytime show, and its presenter, who was nicknamed "The Queen of Mean", attained a certain degree of notoriety. Briefly, there was an Indian version of the show as well.

Which quiz programme?

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Apr 25, 2011

Q.207

Jennifer Egan's book "A Visit From the Goon Squad" has won the recently declared 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The book is a set of stories about Bennie Salazar, a music executive and once-rocker and characters connected to him, such as his friends and family.

A very interesting aspect to the book is the presence of a chapter (about a girl's diary) set in a particular form, which has probably never been used in a mainstream literary novel. Some critics think of it as a gimmick, while others have lauded the idea. Egan says she first thought of it from how the 2008 Obama campaign benefited from one such document to spur a turnaround in their fortunes.

What form is this chapter in?

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Apr 24, 2011

Q.206

"Fire in Babylon" is a documentary made in 2010 which was shown around in various film festivals. It gained a lot of critical acclaim in these events. The film is being prepared for general theatrical release soon. The film chronicles the achievement of a certain sports team in a certain era. The soundtrack of the film has also gained attention, and features the music of Jacob Miller, Junior Byles, Big Youth, Barry Brown, Bob Marley, Gregory Isaacs, Muddy Waters and Burning Spear.

Which team?

Image: Adrian Sherwood

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Apr 23, 2011

Q.205

In July 1914, he left for India from Cape Town on a ship. The journey went through England, where it landed just days after the first World War had broken out. Since he was German, he was detained and sent to the Isle of Man for internment. Later, as part of an exchange of prisoners, he was sent to Germany.

On this journey, he had been accompanying someone. Who were these two people?

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Apr 22, 2011

Q.204

His book "Making Movies" opens with an anecdote about Akira Kurosawa. He asked Kurosawa about a certain shot in "Ran" (an adaptation of "King Lear") and why it was framed so. Kurosawa replies that if he had moved the camera an inch to the left, a Sony factory would be included, and if he moved to the right, the airport would be seen. Both would be out of place in a period movie.

Which film director, known both for his grasp of technique and his understanding of actors, wrote this book?

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Apr 21, 2011

Q.203

A Soyuz TMA-21 spacecraft docked with the International Space Station after taking off from the Baikanur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in early April. Unusually, it had something sketched on its side, below the lettering identifying the craft.

What was this?

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Apr 20, 2011

Q.202

Leela Samson is a well-known dancer and has won the Sangeet Natak Akademi award (1999-2000) for her contributions to Bharatnatyam. At present, she is also the chairperson of the Sangeet Natak Akademi, and the director of the Chennai dance school Kalakshetra.

She was also appointed to a third post recently, though some questioned her qualifications to do so. Which post?

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Apr 19, 2011

Q.201

Niue is an island country in the Pacific Ocean, and is associated with both the United Kingdom and New Zealand for various political and diplomatic functions. In honour of the upcoming royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the country has issued a set of commemorative stamps. Each set consists of a pair, one stamp featuring the Prince, the other featuring Middleton.

There was something unusual about the way the stamps have been designed, which caused a minor controversy because some people interpreted the design as indicating the marriage may not last.

What design?

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Apr 18, 2011

Q.200

Shanti Bhushan was recently appointed co-chairman of the Lok Pal drafting committee as a result of the Anna Hazare-led agitation. Bhushan is a former Law Minister (during the Morarji Desai government in the late 70s) and has been associated with many significant cases in Indian legal history.

In one such case, he represented a politician called Raj Narain in a case in the Allahabad High Court, in which seven charges were made against another politician. Five of the seven charges were rejected, but the prosecuted party was found guilty of two. Who was this other politician?

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Apr 17, 2011

Q.199

A few months ago, Google had launched a restaurant rating and review sharing service , which is now being integrated into its Places services and no longer offered standalone. The name of this service is typically associated with various types of stews, usually containing meat and vegetables.

What was this service called?

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Apr 16, 2011

Q.198

Jolene (or Jo) Bennett is the CEO of Sabre Corp., which is a leading maker of printers and related office equipment. She is worth about $1.2 billion, and is the only woman on the most recent edition of the Forbes Fictional 15 list (a list of the richest fictional characters around). She came into the public eye in 2009 after acquiring a company.

Which company?

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Apr 15, 2011

Q.197

He was considered one of the finest and most creative writers of his generation, with his 1996 novel Infinite Jest being the epitome of all his pet themes such as tennis, irony, depression, modern culture and post-modernism. The literary world was shocked by news of his death by suicide (a result of his long struggle with depression) in 2008, at the age of 46.

At the time of his death, he was working on a novel and left a lot of draft material. His book editor was charged with putting it together as a book (which remains unfinished), which will release in April 2011 as The Pale King.

Which author?

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Apr 14, 2011

Q.196

This former cricketer and current commentator was drafted in as a Tourism Ambassador for Sri Lanka, for a six month period beginning with the World Cup. In fact, he is even a citizen of Sri Lanka, which probably makes him the most multi-national of all cricketers, because his origins are in one country, he played cricket for a second, lives in a third, and now works for Sri Lanka as well. Who is this?

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Apr 13, 2011

Q.195

In the 90s, this lady served as the MLA (Janata Dal) for the Kutiyana constituency in Porbandar, Gujarat. She recently died due to a heart ailment. In some ways, why would she be considered the female equivalent of a person who migrated to the US from Italy in the last years of the nineteenth century, and who took his last name from his hometown? Image: Rediff

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Apr 12, 2011

Q.194

With Assembly elections in Assam around the corner, the Guwahati High Court recently issued a special direction to the Election Commission. The court asked the EC to ensure that voters who have been categorised as being in category 'D' are not permitted to cast their vote.

What does 'D' stand for?

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Apr 11, 2011

Q.193

The British science fiction television series "Dr. Who" has been around since the early 1960s, and its stories have been written by several well-known authors and film writers. Often, some of its popular episodes have been turned into novels or short stories. A 1979 story called "Shada" was written by someone who would go on to be extremely famous for other things (he had written several Dr. Who stories before). The story never fully got made into a TV episode because it coincided with some strikes at the BBC. BBC Books recently received permission to publish the story and others in that series.

Who was the author?

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Apr 10, 2011

Q.192

The National Payments Corporation of India is an company which looks at creating national retail payment systems in India, and is promoted by leading banks in India. This institution has announced a major initiative (approved by the Reserve Bank of India) and was initially called "IndiaPay". It has now been renamed to "RuPay".

This aims to be the Indian alternative to something and garner a piece of the market which is dominated by two global players. Who are these two?

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Apr 9, 2011

Q.191

Cricket World Cup special: 5/5

Mahela Jayawardena's unbeaten century in the final of the recently concluded World Cup was the first time a centurion ended up on the losing side. Since a five-wicket haul by a bowler is often considered the equivalent of a batting century, who is the only person to have taken a five wickets in a World Cup final and still couldn't manage to be on the winning side?

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Apr 8, 2011

Q.190

Cricket World Cup special: 4/5

With respect to ICC World Cup finals, what do these statistics represent:

England: 9 appearances
West Indies: 5 appearances
Pakistan: 3
India, New Zealand, Australia: 1 each

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Apr 7, 2011

Q.189

Cricket World Cup special: 3/5

Of the 14 squads in the 2011 Cricket World Cup, two had players from more than one sovereign nation state. One squad is obviously the West Indies, with players from many countries in the Caribbean. Which is the other?

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Apr 6, 2011

Q.188

Cricket World Cup special: 2/5

As is well-known, the Indian under-19 side captained by Reetinder Singh Sodhi Mohammad Kaif won the U-19 World Cup for cricket in 2000 (a feat later matched by a side led by Virat Kohli, in 2008). The team defeated Sri Lanka in the final. Who was the man of the tournament in this event?

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Thanks to Aviral Shrivastava for pointing out the error about the captaincy in this question.

Apr 5, 2011

Q.187

Beginning a special cricket World Cup series: 1/5

Mike Horn won a Laureus award for "World Alternative Sportsperson of the Year" in 2001 and was elected to the Laureus World Academy in 2007. He has quite a few 'extreme' records to his credit, such as being the first person to go around the Arctic Circle without motorized transport or dogs. Currently, his main project is termed the "Pangaea Expedition" aimed at promoting knowledge of the world through exploration and about environmental issues.

What has he got to do with the cricket World Cup?

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Apr 4, 2011

Q.186

The Oxford English Dictionary recently announced the latest revisions to the dictionary. Causing predictable outrage in particular was the inclusion of such 'initialisms' as OMG, LOL, and even WAG. Perhaps the most interesting addition was another internet-chat-favourite. This is a sense (i.e. another form) added to a verb (whose use as a verb has always been irritating to some). The OED says this "may be the first English usage to develop via the medium of T-shirts and bumper-stickers".

One way to write it is to use a symbol and a number. What?

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Apr 3, 2011

Q.185

ICANN, the corporation that manages the domains and addresses of the internet, has finally approved a long-standing request (pending since 2004) for a top-level domain. The move is not likely to be free of controversy, with both its opponents and representatives of those it is supposed to be for, voicing concerns about how this will be used.

So what new, three-letter TLD is this?

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Apr 2, 2011

Q.184

"Apsis" is the technical term for this, and can stand for either of two things. The one of interest to us and with respect to the body involved is called "perigee". An astrologer named Richard Nolle is perhaps responsible for the common term that came into prominence.

What term?

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Apr 1, 2011

6 months later

Just a note on the fact that Infinite Zounds completed six months of uninterrupted existence yesterday. The blog has received almost 20,000 visits in that time period, and quite a lot of support from its viewers. The blog would like to thank them heartily. We get a lot of hits via other quiz blogs, particularly Quizblogs.com, and my auto-posts via Facebook (no doubt, half the people who are connected to me think of it as spam :-)). In addition, we have 20 followers on Twitter and at least 60 via RSS who use Google Reader. There are 17 on Buzz as well.

If you subscribe to this blog using its RSS feed, you'll notice that when the questions are short, the answers are also likely to be included in the feed's excerpts. The blog's design is intended to allow you try a guess before you peek at the question. If you'd like to have that experience with RSS as well, you could experiment with this alternative RSS feed which tries to strip the answer off from the original feed. See if you prefer this instead. Let me know if it doesn't work for you.

If you haven't noticed already, we've added a "like" button to each post. So if you like the subject or framing of the question, please let us know if you 'liked' it.

If you like what you've seen on this blog, it would also be very useful for our morale (and ego) if you could let us know by 'liking' the link at the end of this post. If you don't use Facebook or would just like to give us an anonymous pat, please use the "got it!" choice below. If you don't like this blog very much, why not write in and tell us why?

To more zoundery.


Q.183

This writer of crime novels was also known for being an expert on the history of the genre. He reviewed crime fiction for leading newspapers, wrote and delivered lectures on Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes, and even published books about the top 100 best crime and mystery novels ever.

Among his own works, he was best known for having set his most famous character in Mumbai without ever having visited that city. In fact, it took him a decade before he came to India. He passed away recently. Who is this author?

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