The QFI General Open Quiz at IIT Madras - The Prelims
Researched and conducted by:
Major Chandrakant Nair
The Quiz Foundation of India
The IIT Madras Quiz Club
33 questions 37 points
Questions 11-20 are starred and will be used to resolve ties
In case scores are still tied after using up the starred questions,
the team with the first wrong answer (starting from Q1) will be
Top 9 teams in the finals
Members of the top 3 college teams that don't make it straight
away will be drafted into these 9 teams (making it 9 teams with
4 members each in the finals) on the basis of prelims scores
There are only 5 national capitals in the world that use an
apostrophe in their names. Two of them are in the Caribbean
and named after Saints, i.e. St. John’s (Antigua and Barbuda)
and St. George’s (Grenada) and another in the Pacific, i.e.
Of the remaining two, one is the capital of an Asian country
and the other of an African country.
Name both capitals.
(1 point each)
Scenes from the closed Ciudad Real airport in Spain.
What is happening here? Bigger image follows.
National Depository Centres of India are institutions that receive
a copy of every book, newspaper and periodical published in the
country. There are four such centres:
- National Library of India, Calcutta
- Asiatic Society of Bombay
- Delhi Public Library
Name the fourth centre.
Only Connect is a BBC quiz show based on finding connections
between seemingly unrelated clues. The final buzzer round is
named Missing Vowels, where the teams are given words or
phrases with the vowels removed and the spaces shifted to
disguise the original words. In the first match of Series 3, one
of the topics in this round was French Phrases in English, which
surprisingly had the same question presented twice in the
exact same form. This also prompted the host Victoria Coren
to ask if the teams liked the joke.
Which phrase was used twice in the round?
Still from The Sign of Three, Sherlock s03e02.
What is such a napkin fold called/modelled on?
They are classified on the basis of their shape into 2 groups tabular and non-tabular.
The tabular variety have steep sides and a flat top, like a
plateau, with a length-to-height ratio of more than 5:1. The
non-tabular ones come in different shapes like dome, pinnacle,
wedge and blocky. The largest one recorded till date is B-15,
which was spotted in March 2000 and had a surface area of
What are we talking about?
She is an Indian-American cook-book author whose debut
work Easy Exotic won the "Best First Book" award at the 1999
Gourmand World Cookbook Awards. But she is more famous
for a career in another field and, as per her own admission, is
the first person from her country in this field in Europe.
Her full name may be interpreted to contain references to
each of the 3 members in a certain trinity.
This is Weird Al Yankovic’s Bob, a track from his Grammy Award
winning studio album Poodle Hat. It is a style parody of Bob
Dylan’s ‘Subterranean Homesick Blues’ and ‘Tombstone Blues’.
How were the lyrics of this song composed?
From the introduction of a 1939 novel: “The numerals caused
plenty of trouble, none between six and thirty were available.
When introducing young ladies into the story, this is a real
barrier; for what young woman wants to have it known that
she is over thirty? And this restriction on numbers, of course
taboos all mention of dates.”
Which novel? OR Why were these numbers not available for
In typography, a coincidental
alignment of spaces can cause
gaps in the type. Most noticeable
with justification or monospaced
fonts, they can also result from
the close repetition of a long
word or similar words at regular
What are these gaps called?
A cluster of these adjacent gaps
can create a lighter area within a
block of type. What are these
(1 point each)
This magazine cover depicts
how a glove was used to
make the vital intervention
in a 1963 incident.
There are 2 schools of thought on this issue, and the resolution
of the contradiction between the two was based on this
classification in Bharata’s ‘Natyashastra’ - Atihasita, Apahasita,
Upahasita, Vihasita, Hasita and Sita. One group believes in Sita
(if at all), while the second one advocates the occurrence of the
other extreme at a certain pivotal moment, their argument
supported by multiple tales. The most famous representation
of the theory proposed by this second group is a 10th century
wanderer with a name meaning ‘linen sack’.
What was the point of conflict between the 2 groups? OR How
do we better know this traveller?
Space constraints in many countries have prompted the
construction of buildings such as the Memorial Ecumenica in
Santos, Brazil. The building, the tallest of its kind in the
world, has 32 floors with 1000 niches per floor, and each one
can be rented for $6,000-$21,000 for 3 years. The facility is
open 24 hours a day in view of the extreme heat in Brazil.
Another similar structure is the Moksha Tower in Mumbai,
with an in-built artificial river, still in its planning stages.
What is the purpose of these buildings?
Residents (and companies who’ve been tasked) of a particular
Asian region toil day and night to pack soil of the region into
huge bags that today dominate its landscape. The top 2-3 cm of
soil is removed and over 100 million cubic metres is already
stored in growing mountains of blue and black vinyl bags
dotted around the countryside. This system is in existence for
the past 3 years.
Images in the next 2 slides.
England had to beat San Marino by 7 goals and hope for
Poland to beat the Netherlands in the last group fixtures to
ensure qualification for the 1994 Football World Cup.
England manager Graham Taylor issued a rallying call ahead of
the game: “In 20 years, people will recall this and say ‘Do you
remember the night when we beat San Marino by seven goals
and Poland beat Netherlands to put England into the World
Cup finals’. We're making history!”
What nickname was given to Taylor because of the similarity of
this speech to another incident involving England and made
famous by fiction?
It takes a woman 9 years to become a full-fledged X. The first
stage is a ‘come and see’ phase for the interested. If they still
wish to join, they enter Aspirancy, focused on learning English.
This is followed by Postulancy, where history and sacred texts
are taught. The final stage is the Novitiate where they wear
plain white garments and involve themselves in prayers and
practical training. Thereafter, 3 blue stripes are added to the
white garment and a year is spent in Rome, Washington D.C.
etc. on Tertianship, a period of deep spiritual growth.
What is X?
Members of the genus Malus are known to reduce the risk of
colon, prostate and lung cancers. They contain ursolic acid
which increases skeletal muscle and brown fat, and decreases
white fat, obesity, glucose intolerance and fatty liver disease.
A rich source of dietary fibre and Vitamin C, they can prevent
oxidative damage and cognitive decline by increasing the
production of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine.
Tribute was paid to these facts by the folks of Pembrokeshire,
and this appeared in print for the first time in the Feb 1866
edition of Notes and Queries magazine. What was this tribute?
Weighing 450 tons, it is roughly the same size as a football
field, has been in existence for 15 years and taken around $150
billion to build. Today, it holds the Guinness World Record for
the most expensive man-made object ever.
Just identify this object, where Christmas is usually celebrated
more than once a year.
Pictured is the official emblem of the 1952 Winter Olympics.
The building depicted on the emblem was named the city’s
“Structure of the Century” in 2005.
Which building? What annual event, previously hosted by the
country’s parliament and the city university’s faculty of law
among others, is the building hosting since 1990?
Bigger image follows.
(1 point each)
The works of Michelangelo, Rubens, Durer etc. of Adam and
Eve highlighted a particular aspect of their creation, one that
has been the cause of great theological debate for centuries.
Those who are in favor of it cite connections to God, the
process of creation of Eve itself and the exile from the Garden
of Eden as reasons. However, the church was against this view
(and rightfully so, according to Christian beliefs), prompting
many other medieval painters to use extra foliage and long
hair in their depictions, not wanting to offend the clergy.
What is this issue popularized by the named painters, one that
challenges the very foundations of Christianity?
God Bless You, X is a collection of short fictional interviews
written by Kurt Vonnegut in 1999. The title is a parody of his
1965 novel God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater.
The work features Vonnegut employing X to give him neardeath experiences, allowing him access to heaven and those
in it for a limited time, including people like Shakespeare,
Hitler, Isaac Asimov etc.
Who is X?
Description of a chess set that was listed on eBay: “Extremely
high quality copy of a very rare chess Set. Originally the set
was created on Lomonosov Porcelain Factory in 1920s by a
very famous and important artist - Natalia Danko. It is 100%
impossible to find the original set for sale. This copy was made
from an original set which is located in Lomonosov Porcelain
Factory Museum. This copy is hand made, hand painted and is
a very limited edition.”
What inspired the design of the chess set? Images follow.
One of America's most prominent abstract expressionist
painters, this half-Italian burst on to the New York scene in 1946
with his first solo show at Peggy Guggenheim's Art of This
Century Gallery. His social circle had people like Jackson Pollock,
Willem de Kooning, Henry Miller and Tennessee Williams. His
wife was a painter too, and sold a painting to the Museum of
Modern Art for a princely $100 in 1942, way before any of her
peers were accepted by the institution. Today, some of his works
are prominently displayed at the Tribeca Grill restaurant and the
Greenwich Hotel, both owned by a famous son.
Just identify. Image follows.
On September 27, 1925, the day of
Vijayadashami, he declared that
“We must train intellectually,
physically, and in every way so as to
be capable of achieving our
cherished goal.” Drill and exercise
sessions began soon, but the men
involved wanted to ensure that
these could be performed without
any difficulty. For this, they sought
inspiration from the police and the
colonial Army, as this also instilled
values of discipline and a feeling
that they were the protectors of
culture, religion and country from
Story behind the origin of what?
The 1899 edition of the America’s Cup was held off the coast of
New Jersey from Oct 3-16. The US yacht Columbia owned by
J.P. Morgan gained the required 3 out of 5 decision over the
yacht Shamrock owned by Sir Thomas Lipton. The event was
covered in great detail by a correspondent of the New York
Herald. The reporter was stationed aboard SS Ponce, a
passenger ship of the Porto Rico Line and sent in numerous
live updates which, in itself, was a media sensation. This was
the first time in history when an event had been tracked in this
Who was this correspondent?
This concept, that started in the 16th century AD, is designed
to uphold the principles of equality between all people of the
world regardless of religion, caste, colour, creed, age, gender
or social status. Two major accomplishments of this tradition
have been the participation of women and children in the
service of mankind, and also teaching people the etiquette of
sitting and eating in a community situation. The name of the
tradition is also used by the Indian Army units to refer to
messes catering to the troops.
X is a remote control software
developed in the late 1980s as a
Macintosh product by WOS
Datasystems and later upgraded
to run on Microsoft Windows. It
allowed a user to control
another computer across the
local network or the Internet,
viewing its screen and using its
keyboard and mouse as if he or
she were sitting in front of it.
The name X reflected that the
software could access another
terminal with ease, no matter
how remote it was. What is X?
This term refers to a stock character in fiction who dies soon
after being introduced. It originates from a late 1960s TV
series which had security personnel wearing a particular
uniform dying frequently during episodes. It was calculated
that of the 59 total deaths in the series, 43 (73%) were these
personnel. John Scalzi’s novel that won the Hugo Award in
2013 is named after and based on the same concept.
This organization under the Ministry of Human Resources
Development was constituted in its present form in 1962 and
has a motto meaning ‘From Untruth to Truth’. Today, it has
close to 9,000 entities affiliated to it (including 141 in 20
countries other than India) and 8 regional offices for proper
functioning: Delhi, Chennai, Guwahati, Allahabad, Panchkula,
Ajmer, Bhubaneswar and Patna.
This tweet was accompanied by a photograph where Djokovic
demonstrated the extreme heat levels at the tournament.
What was the photograph about?
The Underground Railroad was a network of secret routes and
safe houses used by 19th-century black slaves in the US to
escape to the free states and Canada with the aid of people
who were sympathetic to their cause. These slaves routinely
utilized a folk song called Follow the Drinking Gourd so they
would not get lost.
What was the ‘Drinking Gourd’?
By the age of 40 years, X’s hair had completely turned grey.
Therefore, services of a French coiffeur were utilized during a
visit to Paris. The hair dresser dyed the hair jet black, but
intentionally left out a few strands on the right side. He also
restyled it to be short at the neck and longer at the top, a
pattern that fit in well because X had curly hair. Once back
home, the plum job of maintaining the look went to a stylist
named Habib Ahmed and required the routine import of a
special dye from Germany.
Who is X?
The music director of this film made his debut in the industry
as a child vocalist-actor in a 1993 song composed by his
Who is the music director? Which song?
(1 point each)
Video removed (‘Pookkal Pookkum’ from Madrasapattinam)