Jun 30, 2012


The Modern Pentathlon is a rigorous poly-sport that sees its participants do battle in five disciplines: shooting (pistol), fencing (epee), swimming (200m freestyle), a 3 km cross-country run, and show-jumping. It usually comes into the limelight during the Summer Olympics, in which it will complete 100 years of its inclusion in this year's London Games.

Four years ago, months after the 2008 Beijing Games, the format of the contest was changed. Now, participants will have to complete two sports simultaneously. This has provoked snide remarks such as whether the sport's name should be changed to "tetrathlon".

The London Games will be the first Olympics to showcase this combination. Which two disciplines have been combined?

Use this tag for more IZ questions on the Olympics (we have a lot!)

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This day last year: Q.273

Jun 29, 2012


Emerging in a "Simultaneous Release" each year, this software development environment had a thing for Jupiter-inspired codenames for its versions. This explains names such as Callisto, Europa, Ganymede etc. Now, it has settled into a more alphabetical list associated with space and spacecrafts.

"Juno" is the latest (June 2012). What well-known tool for programmers?

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This day last year: Q.272

Jun 28, 2012


The last G-20 summit was held in Cannes, France, in November 2011 (Q.414 was based on it). These meetings bring together Heads of States and Governments from the top 20 economies of the world, and they certainly have a lot to talk about given the state of the world.

The 2012 edition was held in Mexico in June 2012. As preparation for this summit, representatives from these 20 economies met in January to plan and collaborate in advance so as to make the summit as successful as possible. Montek Singh Ahluwahlia went on behalf of India.

What apt name is given to these representatives in this pre-G-20 summit meetings?

Some of the next few questions will be from the Tender Leaves 'CuriosITi' quiz held in June 2012

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This day last year: Q.271

Jun 27, 2012


This is Elinor Ostrom. She passed away in June 2012, leaving behind a very distinguished academic career, and a reputation as one of the most influential people in the world (according to TIME magazine). She was best known for her research work involving "the commons" (common social resources that are used by communities).

In 2009, she became the first (and till date, the only) lady to do what?

Image: Wikipedia

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This day last year: Q.270

Jun 26, 2012


Politically, what's common to the following countries in 2012:

Kiribati, Taiwan, Finland, Russia, Germany, France, Egypt, India, Mexico, Ghana, South Korea, and the United States?

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This day last year: Q.269

Jun 25, 2012


If you say this word in Finland, they'll think of snow. Lots of it. Take the first four letters of this word in Spain, and they'll think of "light" (even though it's actually an old slang word with some negative connotations). It also rhymes with the company's name.

The other word, one that is used in places like India, means "hope"; apt for its use in emerging markets.

Which two brand names are we talking of?

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This day last year: Q.268

Jun 24, 2012


Who is about to get, well, kicked out, and why?

Image: BBC.co.uk

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This day last year: Q.267

Jun 23, 2012


Technology Academy Finland is an independent fund supported by the Finnish state and industry, and aims to promote technology in its country. The fund is perhaps best known for awarding the Millennium Technology Prize, which it does every two years, ever since 2004.

2012's prize was the first to be shared. One of the recipients was Shinya Yamanaka, known for his work on stem cells. The other recipient gave the fund a chance to honour a beloved son from their own country. Who is the other winner?

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This day last year: Q.266

Jun 22, 2012


This Mexican company is best known for providing its consumers with the best possible amenities, compared to its competition. This includes ample parking, catering, and queue-less ticketing. In 2012, they have opened operations in cities like Bangalore, Amritsar, Patna, Ahmedabad, and Ludhiana.

Which company?

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This day last year: Q.265

Jun 21, 2012


This is Jeff Carter, who plays for the Los Angeles Kings team, holding aloft one of the heaviest trophies in international sport. What is he holding up?

Image: Y! Sports Canada/Bruce Bennett(Getty Images)

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This day last year: Q.264

Jun 20, 2012


The Canterville Ghost is a well-known comic tale (with a dash of sentimentality) by Oscar Wilde. It has been adapted for the screen many times, and now will be, as is the fashion of our times, seen in an animated avatar.

It has made news for more than just this: it marks the coming together of an English duo who worked wonders together for many years but have sadly been separated by other engagements (some of which had taken the lighter of the two across the Atlantic).

Who will thus re-unite?

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This day last year: Q.263

Jun 19, 2012


Connect the following:

  1. A pathbreaking Belgian jazz musician with a highly individual guitar technique (despite having two fingers damaged for life in a fire)
  2. A framework in the Python programming language that lets people build web applications
  3. An Italian film made in 1966 which was so violent, it could not be released in Britain until the 90s for want of clearance
  4. Quentin Tarantino's latest film, set to release in 2012

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This day last year: Q.262

Jun 18, 2012


The citizens of this country were very upset when President Obama used the wrong adjective to describe Auschwitz, the notorious Nazi concentration camp in May 2012. This occured during a ceremony to honour Jan Karski, who was part of the country's resistance during World War II, with a Presidential medal of freedom.

Which country?

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This day last year: Q.261

Jun 17, 2012

"curiosITi" - The Tender Leaves quiz

A brief announcement of an upcoming quiz

I'm conducting a quiz for Tender Leaves (easily Pune's most creative book rental service, even though I'm quite biased) on the 26th of June. The quiz invites participants from Pune's numerous IT/ITES companies, who usually house the best corporate quizzing talent in the city.

The details of the quiz can be found here, including a link to register. Yes, there is a registration fee, but did you know that all proceeds from the quiz will go to Teach For India, that excellent bunch of volunteers who donate their time and effort to teach India's under-privileged children? We hope you will be part of this fund-raiser, and we promise a good quizzing time in return.

The themes for the quiz are Sports and Entertainment, Business and Technology, India, and a little bit of everything else. And the questions on this blog aren't necessarily what you'll see in the quiz - it'll be tailored for that event and audience.

See you at the quiz.


Identify the person:

To him nonsense was complimentary
and animals were documentary;
They googled him this Doodle
(With owl and cat, not poodle)
For this year he hit a double century.

Image: Google

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This day last year: Q.260

Jun 16, 2012


Before 9th June, 2012, only Rustico Torrecampo (Phillipines), Medgoen Singsurat (Thailand), and √Črik Morales (Mexico) could legitimately claim to have done it. They are now joined by Timothy Bradley (USA), though in the eyes of many experts, the word "legitimately" may not be applicable.

What is this all about?

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This day last year: Q.259

Jun 15, 2012


Identify the author of this book, which was released in June 2012, (she is on the cover).

Image: SFGate.com; original:Quentin Bacon Photography / Associated Press

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This day last year: Q.258

Jun 14, 2012


The British tabloid The Daily Mail began raising hell over "Plastic Brits" in late 2011. Their sustained campaign over the last year has tattooed the phrase into British popular culture. Almost everyone involved with the London 2012 Olympics has an opinion about these "Plastic Brits" and the spotlight on them during the Olympics will be intense, especially if some of them win gold.

What kind of people does the Mail term a Plastic Brit?

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This day last year: Q.257

Jun 13, 2012


The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is named after Ernest Lawrence (a Nobel laureate for Physics) and is situated in Livermore, California, in the United States. On the other side of the former Iron Curtain, the Flerov Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions is part of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, and is located in Dubna, near Moscow. This one is named after Georgy Flerov, a Russian physicist.

They recently became neighbours, being granted possession of numbers 116 and 114 respectively. Explain?

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This day last year: Q.256

Jun 12, 2012


This annual 'medical' event (considered fishy by many experts) usually begins from the day of Mrigishira Karti (which falls in the first half of June). This year's event was held at the Katedan indoor stadium in Hyderabad. Sadly, there was such a rush that a stampede took place, resulting in a few casualties.

What event?

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This day last year: Q.255

Jun 11, 2012


Had it not ended in the Rapids, it would have gone on to a set of Blitzs. If the Blitzs too were inconclusive, then Armageddon would have resulted. Don't worry, for even if Armageddon didn't end one way or another, things would go all Black.

But it did end rapidly. What is all this about?

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This day last year: Q.254

Jun 10, 2012


Last year, we asked this question about the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize, which is annually awarded to a book that evokes the comic spirit that the legendary P.G.Wodehouse could summon at the drop of a bowler hat.

This year's prize went to one of Britain's most beloved (and best-selling) writers; it's a surprise that he's never won it before. This year's winning novel is called "Snuff", and it is the 39th book in a series that never turns turtle.

Who is the author?

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This day last year: Q.253

Jun 9, 2012


The name of which unlikely hero's recent exploits can be appropriately mangled into the following anagram (if you excuse an extra "N")?

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This day last year: Q.252

Jun 8, 2012


It was an innocuous line in the SEC filings of a company:
"Mr. Thompson holds a Bachelor’s degree in accounting and computer science from Stonehill College."
Within which company would this eventually lead to turmoil at the very top?

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This day last year: Q.251

Jun 7, 2012


They have been donned out in uniforms of navy blue and white for a very long time. Now, that is going to change. The National Institute of Fashion Technology has designed a new kit for these school kids. Shirts will have checks; in an explosion of colour, this will have red, white, and grey while retaining blue. Trousers, tunics, and skirts will be in grey.

Which set of schools?

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This day last year: Q.250

Jun 6, 2012


This country has been badly hit by the financial crisis to sweep the world, reeling from disaster to disaster in the last four years. An estimated 40+% of its youth are unemployed; hence it was no surprise that when protests broke out, these disaffected youth were at their forefront.

The most notable set of protests is the 15-M movement, which has been in progress since 15 May 2011 (from which it gets its name). Featuring demonstrations and agitations, this movement celebrated its 1st anniversary in May 2012.

Also dubbed the "Indignados" (the "indignants"), which country's citizens are these?

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This day last year: Q.249

Jun 5, 2012


Connect these three elements: two of them are stills from movies, one is a book cover.

Images: The Guardian (the book), Duke and the Movies (2011 movie), The Hindustan Times (2012 movie)

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This day last year: Q.248

Jun 4, 2012


Identify the cool dude in sunglasses (he looks like he's walked a long way) from this ceremony where he is receiving the US Presidential Medal of Freedom in May 2012 from President Barack Obama.

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This day last year: Q.247

Jun 3, 2012


Piaggio, the Italian vehicle maker, is perhaps best known for making the Vespa brand of scooters. Vespa scooters were first made in 1946 and have gone on to feature in films and fashion statements. The scooter (in particular, its gearless model) was re-launched in India in April 2012.

Its showroom price, at quite a premium, has been fixed at 66661/-. Why this particular price?

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This day last year: Q.246

Jun 2, 2012


Vaibhav Suri is the latest to join this grand list. That makes him the 27th Indian on this list. He is also one of India's youngest, making it at the age of 15. The first Indian on this list (who also held the record for being the youngest Indian on the list for a long time) was in the news during May 2012, and his story had a favourable endgame.

What list is this?

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This day last year: Q.245

Jun 1, 2012


The Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation is presented to the year's best screenwriting in science fiction and fantasy. For 2011, the award was presented to an episode of the iconic British science fiction TV series "Dr. Who". The episode, called "The Doctor's Wife" sees the eponymous Doctor battle a sentient asteroid simply called "House" (not played by Hugh Laurie).

The winning writer is not a regular TV writer. He has always said writing a Dr. Who episode was a long-cherished dream. Who is this acclaimed English writer?

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This day last year: Q.244


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