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Showing posts from February, 2013


2861 was the magic number that caused a stir when it was officially announced in January 2013 by its sporting federation. His victory at the London Classic in December 2012 had ensured this. The previous highest was 2851, which had stood since July 1999, when it was achieved by a person that most people think was the sport's greatest ever.

Who is this achiever, and which is the sport?

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This day last year: Q.515


Belgium is famous for its chocolates. In honour of the country's famed chocolate makers, the Belgian post office "BPost" will be issuing these stamps in March 2013. These limited edition stamps are likely to cost a hefty 6+ euros.

Why would most people want to get their hands on them?

Image: The Telegraph
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This day last year: Q.514


Oscar 5

Since today is also IZzie day, a simple one to round things off: Two of the Best Picture nominees for 2013 have titles in French: one means "love" and the other is just sad. What are these titles?

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This day last year: Q.513


Oscar 4

Which 1947 adventure, helmed by one of the most famous Norwegians of all time, that began in Callao, Peru and ended just over a hundred days later in Polynesia, is the subject of Norway's official entry to the 2013 Oscars? It was nominated in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

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This day last year: Q.512


Oscar 3

Since 2002, the Academy Awards ceremony has been hosted in this location in Hollywood. A company held naming rights to it until the firm went bankrupt in early 2012. At the time of the 2012 Oscars, the theatre had taken on the name of "The Hollywood and Highland Center".

In May 2012, another company bought the naming rights - you could say the theatre had now entered the era of sound. Both former and present companies have long been associated with the world of films.

Identify both of these.

(To see questions from 2011 and 2012, use the "Specials:Oscars" label)

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This day last year: Q.511


Oscar 2

What similar but exactly opposite records have the actresses Emmanuelle Riva ("Amour") and Quvenzhane Wallis ("Beasts of the Southern Wild") set by being nominated for the category of "Best Actress"? (In doing so, they replace Jessica Tandy ("Driving Miss Daisy") and Keisha Castle-Hughes ("Whale Rider") in the Oscar record books.)

(To see questions from 2011 and 2012, use the "Specials:Oscars" label)

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This day last year: Q.510


Oscar 1

The 85th Academy Awards ceremony will be held in five days time, so as is traditional on this blog, the next five days are devoted to question on this year's Oscars. (To see questions from 2011 and 2012, use the "Specials:Oscars" label)

The song "Everybody Needs a Best Friend" is one of the nominees for "Best Original Song", and is from the film "Ted". One of its nominated writers will be playing a more significant role during the Oscars. Who, and how?

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This day last year: Q.509


Australian teenagers Jimmy Dale, Matt Stanyon, Oscar Mitchell, George Warrener, and Corey Walsh uploaded a YouTube video in response to a chap named Filthy Frank. They thus kickstarted this year's first major internet video meme, which spread in February 2013 even before you could finish saying "Gangnam style". Which song is this meme set to, recorded by the recording artist "Baauer", thus giving it its name?

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This day last year: Q.508


An online poll that ended in February 2013 sought to make two choices. The first was about which piece to drop, the candidates being the iron, the wheelbarrow, or the shoe. The iron lost and will be replaced. The replacement candidates were the diamond ring, the cat, the helicopter, the guitar, and the robot. The internet being the internet, the cat won.

What is all this about?

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This day last year: Q.507


This week's IZzie

The 2013 edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival was held in January 2013. Among its many high-profile events was the book launch of Pataudi: Nawab of Cricket", written by Suresh Menon. Sharmila Tagore unveiled the book along with another person, an ex-cricketer, who is yet to write a book of his own but was able to draw many a celebrity-hungry fan to the event.

Who was this other person?

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This day last year: Q.506


This motivational speaker and selling guru passed away in November 2012; it could be said that this time he was unable to remain "up, up, up" in a "down, down, down world". His first and middle names were "Hilary Hinton", which were not as memorably alliterative as his nickname and last name.

Who is this American?

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This day last year: Q.505


Dubbed the "Euro Cup", these are the venues of the last few editions of the European Football Championships:

2012: Ukraine and Poland

2008: Austria and Switzerland

2004: Portugal

2000: Netherlands and Belgium

The UEFA announced the process to find the hosts of the 2020 edition: what will be different about that?

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This day last year: Q.504


In early 2013, several Central and South American countries have been badly hit by an outbreak of rust (a type of fungus) affecting one of their most important cash crops, and thus their economies and employment figures. Guatemala, Honduras, and Costa Rica have gone as far as to declare national emergencies because of it.

Which crop?

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This day last year: Q.503


In 2012, the publishes Amar Chitra Katha started "Contemporary Classics", which offers comic book versions of books for children. One of the first in this series has been adjudged the Best Publication for Children at the 3rd Comic Con, held in New Delhi in Feb 2013.

Which story by Ruskin Bond is this?

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This day last year: Q.502


In early 2013, the New York Times reported that some upscale New York restaurants (such as Momofuku Ko and Chef's Table have begun banning this in their restaurants. This has led to a lot of comment, especially in social media, in food circles in the US and Europe.

A catch portmanteau has also been coined, yoking the word "food" to the name of an iPhone app.

So what's the fuss about, and what's the portmanteau word?

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This day last year: Q.501


This monkey was unveiled to the press and the world with great fanfare in February 2013. Reportedly, it made a trip in a vehicle called "Pishgam", "pioneer" in Persian (it's not fully clear if the monkey was given the same name). Thus, it became the first Iranian of its kind to do what?

Image: AP/Al Jazeera

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This day last year: Q.500


This week's IZzie is a vIZual

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This day last year: Q.499


Wolff Olins (whom we earlier met in IZ 329) is an international branding firm that boasts of a lot of work in rebranding exercises. In this note, they are describing the birth of a company's name, that came into prominence in India since November 2012:
Working closely with Anthony Greener of Guinness and John McGrath of Grand Metropolitan, Wolff Olins shaped a vision for the new business รข€“ that it would be about everyday pleasure everywhere. From that vision, we defined a set of corporate values, a new name and a brand expression. The name combines "everyday" [...] and "everywhere" [...].
Which company?

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This day last year: Q.497


Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said is the ruler of the Sultanate of Oman. He was expected to visit India in January 2013 but declined to do so a month before. For what purpose was he to visit the country, and who came in his place?

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This day last year: Q.496


The XLVII Super Bowl championship for American football was held in February, 2013, and was won by the Baltimore Ravens who beat the San Francisco 49ers in an eventually close match marred by a power blackout.

Jackie Harbaugh, the mother of Ravens' coach John Harbaugh, when asked about the game before the event, half-jokingly said that she would prefer if the Super Bowl ended in a tie. Why did she say that?

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This day last year: Q.495


The Crunchies are awards given out by the technology website TechCrunch. If the other finalists for the category of "Best Technology Achievement" were Google Glass, Baumgartner Jump, the event of SpaceX docking with the International Space Station, and the Tesla Supercharger Network, who won?

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This day last year: Q.494


The 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, Africa's continental soccer championship is being held in South Africa from January to February 2013. South Africa were originally the hosts for the 2017 edition of the Cup, but exchanged places with the winners of the bid for 2013 because of turmoil in that nation.

So who will now host the 2017 Cup?

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This day last year: Q.493


1995 was all about the events before a stellar object is first seen at the horizon. It took nine years (2004 for the mathematically disinclined) for us to find out what happens before the same stellar object disappears out of sight at the horizon.

2013 is the year when we find out what happens just before midnight. What are we cryptically hinting at (and being verbose and elliptical and talky-feely about?)

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This day last year: Q.490


One Today

One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores,
peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces
of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth
across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies.
One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story
told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.

Opening lines of a poem first heard in public on Jan 21, 2013. During what (usually quadrennial) event?

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This day last year: Q.489