• Its name literally translates as “Empty Quarter” in English.
It is one of the largest sand deserts in the world,
encompassing southern Saudi Arabia and areas of Oman,
Yemen and the UAE. In 1950, Wilfred Thesiger crossed
this area several times and mapped large parts of it. It is,
geologically, the second most oil-rich place in the world;
Ghawwar Field, the largest oil field in the world, extends
southward into the northernmost parts of this desert.
• This tree’s name literally
means “fruit of many seeds”
in Arabic and is found in 31
African countries. Outside
Madagascar, all are a single
species: Adansonia digitata.
• Scientists have had difficulty
in telling how old it is
because it is one of the few
tree species having no tree
• Its leaves and white flowers
serve as salad for humans.
Its black seeds are similarly
edible and when cooked
provide a substitute for
coffee. The white pulp of the
fruit can be boiled into a
sherbet-like lemonade that is
high in vitamin C.
• This word was coined by Neil Howe and William
Strauss in their book ______ Rising: The Next
Great Generation (2000) to describe people born
between 1982 and 2004. The authors wrote “this
generation is going to rebel by behaving not
worse, but better. Their life mission will not be to
tear down old institutions that don't work, but to
build up new ones that do.”
• Identify the word
• “Get A Grip On Physics” by
John Gribbin is an illustrated
introduction to modern
physics published in 1999,
describing the various
developments in physics since
the 1950s, from the four
forces of nature to the
beginnings of string theory. A
certain event in Dec 09 caused
the sales of the book to zoom
up on Amazon. What was the
Tiger Woods wrecked SUV. A series of photos released by the Florida police
show a well-thumbed copy of the book lying on footwell among shards of tinted
• In a front page story in November 2009, The Pioneer
newspaper announced the best editor it never had. It went
on to note that the author received a letter offering him a
job as editor.
• On February 12th
1938, the author wrote to the India Office
in London: “My object in going to India is, apart from the
work on The Pioneer, to try and get a clearer idea of
political and social conditions in India than I have at
present. I shall no doubt write some book on the sub-
continent and if I can arrange it, I shall probably contribute
occasional articles (to English periodicals).
• Identify the editor who never was
• This lady, very surprisingly, has an India connection. Her father Charles
was a well-known British journalist. Her unofficial biographer Jerry
Oppenheimer writes that she had a major passion for men while growing
up in London, specifically, attractive, older achievers.
• She had many boyfriends. She was once literally chased around the house
by Indian statesman V.K. Krishna Menon, her father Charles says of his
• Oppenheimer writes that her father “never stated whether he thought the
fatal heart attack suffered at the age of 77 in 1974 (by the “red” Indian)
was brought on by his supposed hot pursuit of his comely daughter”.
• Great Britain: The British Council
• France: Alliance Francaise
• Germany: The Goethe Institute
• Italy: Societa Dante Aligheri
• All the above are non-profit institutes set up to promote the
language and culture of their native countries around the
world. Taking a leaf out of their book, China also decided
to establish institutes for the promotion of Chinese
language and culture. What are they known as?
Man on the left wrote the original. Man on the right wrote
the sequel. What is the common book title?
• In 1608, the Dutch East India company (VOC) created the first Dutch colony in India a few
miles south of Bandel to trade in opium, salt, muslin and spices. A fort named Gustavius
was built along with a church and several other buildings. The settlement survived till 1825,
when the Dutch ceded control to British in lieu of the island of Sumatra as part of the
Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824. Identify
• The definition of this word is “the name for a resident
of a locality” according to Wikipedia. Paul Dickson,
editor of the Merriam-Webster dictionary is frequently
cited as the word’s creator. Some examples of this
include Mancunian, Brummie, Bajan, Taswegian,
Paulista and Porteno.
• What's the word?
• Like all Ivy League universities, Princeton University had its
own set of social clubs whose members mainly consisted of the
children of its predominantly WASP alumni.
• This led to the inevitable criticism that the clubs were elitist and
discriminated against minorities
• To counter this accusation, the clubs hosted a series of parties
aimed at recruiting minorities particularly from African-
American and Chinese-American students
• What were these series of parties called? (Clue: think
• The day on which Ved Vyasa was born to Sage Parashara and
• The day on which Ved Vyasa began writing the Brahma Sutras
• The day on which Gautama Buddha gave his first sermon at
Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh
• The day on which Mahavira, after attaining detachment, made
Gautam Swami, a Gandhara, his first disciple
• This effect was first named by American criminologist Monica
Robbers, who defined it as “the phenomenon in which jurors hold
unrealistic expectations of forensic evidence and investigation
techniques, and have an increased interest in the discipline of
forensic science.” Evan Durnal of the University of Central
Missouri’s Criminal Justice Department has demonstrated through
statistical studies that this effect has changed the American legal
landscape in complex and far-reaching ways.
• Name the effect
• Y writing about X for an obituary. Identify X and Y
• We saw a lot more of each other during a literary seminar organised by the East-West
Centre in Hawaii. Having said our pieces and sat through discussions that followed, we
went out for our evening walks, looking for a place to eat. It was the same kind of stroll
as we had taken in Mysore punctuated by abrupt halts in the middle of crowded
pavements till he was ready to resume walking. Finding a suitable eatery posed quite a
problem. X was a strict teetotaller and a vegetarian; I was neither. We would stop at a
grocery store where he bought himself a carton of yoghurt. Then we would go from one
eatery to another with X asking "Have you boiled rice?" Ultimately we could find one.
X would empty his carton of yoghurt on the mound of boiled rice. The only
compromise he made was to eat it with a spoon instead of his fingers which he would
have preferred. Such eateries had very second-rate food and no wines. Dining out was
no fun for me.
• One evening I decided to shake off X and have a ball on my own. "I am going to see a
blue movie. I don't think you will like it," I told him. "I'll come along with you, if you
don't mind," he replied. So we found ourselves in a sleazy suburb watching an
extremely obscene film depicting all kinds of sexual deviations. I thought X would
walk out, or throw up. He sat stiffly without showing any emotion. It was I who said,
"Let's go." He turned to me and asked kindly: "Have you had enough?"
• Thaksin Shinawatra’s followers called Red
• Periyar’s called Black Shirts
• Kuomintang had a cadre who acted as their
foot soldiers and extorted money for the
organization called Blue Shirts
• On 10th
August 1963, the Congress Working Committee unanimously
approved of a proposal that stated “Senior Congressmen who are in
government should voluntarily relinquish their posts and offer themselves
for full time organizational work”
• This resulted in several cabinet ministers and chief ministers
“spontaneously” giving up their posts and offering themselves to shoulder
responsibilities of the organization
• Cabinet ministers who resigned included Morarji Desai, Jagjivan Ram, S.K.
Patil, and Lal Bahadur Shastri
• Chief Ministers who resigned included Biju Patnaik (Orissa), Bakshi
Ghulam Mohammad (Jammu and Kashmir), Binodanand Jha (Bihar), C.B.
Gupta (Uttar Pradesh) and B.R. Mandloi (Madhya Pradesh)
• Who was the author of this proposal? This proposal would also result in a
unique first in Indian politics? What?
• Proposal called the Kamaraj Plan
• C.B. Gupta’s replacement as Chief Minister
was Sucheta Kripalani, making her India’s
first woman Chief Minister
• This writer’s popularity extended far beyond his native land. Thomas Hardy compared
“Marmion”, his 2nd
poem to the Iliad; Goethe described his first novel as among the best
things ever written; Stendhal called him “our father” who invented us all. Rossini turned
one of his more popular works into an opera; Donnizetti did the same with a loose
adaptation of “The Bride of Lammermoor”
• This same writer also had his fair share of literary detractors. John Ruskin saw his
mansion Abbotsford as the most overt sign of his overall fakeness. Walter Bagehot and
William Hazlitt were equally excoriating of him. Mark Twain despised him to such an
extent that he argued that the writer “had so large a hand in making Southern
character…that he is in great measure responsible for the [American civil] war”.
• His countrymen, who once believed he had done as much for their country as Cervantes
had done for Spain and Shakespeare had done for England, switched their loyalties to a
poet who was an Ayrshire laborer and tax collector and more suited to their rising
• Orkney poet Edwin Muir called both “sham bards of a sham nation”. Muir was,
however, willing to concede that the writer was a genius
• Identify these 2 “sham bards”
On Apr 30th
, the president of this country unveiled this statue, called “African Renaissance Monument” in front of 19 African
heads of state, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, rapper Akon and some representatives from North Korea. Natives of the country
complained that the statue was both too expensive and too ugly. The president also claimed intellectual property rights and
claimed 35% of the statues revenue for himself. It overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and is reportedly the first thing visible when
flying into this capital. Name the capital and country.
This soft drink was invented by Dr. Augustin Thompson in 1884 and remains one
of the most popular regional soft drinks of America to date, its popularity confined
to the New England states. Maine declared it as the state soft drink in 1995. This
drink also gives us a word in the English language, meaning a combination of
courage, daring and energy. What's the good word?
• “The Age of Kali” was William Dalrymple’s 4th
book, mostly covering his
experiences in the Indian subcontinent over a decade. There is a chapter
about a meeting with Benazir Bhutto; he asks what she has been reading
lately. She replies she is reading a book gifted to her by her father. On
hearing the name of the book, Dalrymple is incredulous; “Was she being
serious? _______ __ ________ is terrible schlock pop-history – the Indian
independence Movement for Imbeciles – hardly the sort of book you would
expect to find a senior South Asian statesman admitting to reading”.
Dalrymple also finds it ironic that Bhutto is reading a book which, in his
opinion, is heavily biased against Jinnah and the Muslim League.
• What is the good book that Darlymple sahib thinks so badly of?
• He was in no mood for portraiture and two minutes were all that he would allow me ... Two
niggardly minutes in which I must try to put on film a man who had already written or inspired
a library of books, baffled all his biographers, filled all the world with his fame, and me, on
this occasion, with dread. He marched into the room regarding my camera as he might regard
• ... chewing vigorously on his cigar ... He reluctantly followed me to where my lights and
camera were set up. I offered him an ash tray for his cigar but he pointedly ignored it, his eyes
boring into mine. At the camera, I made sure everything was in focus, closed the lens and
stood up, my hand ready to squeeze the shutter release, when something made me hesitate.
Then suddenly, with a strange boldness, almost as if it were an unconscious act, I stepped
forward and said, "Forgive me, sir." Without premeditation, I reached up and removed the
cigar from his mouth.
• ... At this the scowl deepened, the head was thrust forward belligerently, and the hand placed
on the hip in an attitude of anger ... I clicked the shutter. Then he relaxed. "All right," he
grunted as he assumed a more benign attitude, "you may take another one."
• Who describing what?
In 1979, Regis Busso, a freelance photographer travelled to a European capital
to cover the celebrations of a 30th
anniversary, where he captured this image.
Paris Match immediately devoted double pages to it under the title “The Kiss”.
This image was subsequently reprinted on towels, t-shirts and other
memorabilia. Which 2 Cold War leaders are captured in this embarrassing
• One had to be a passably good standard to play for St.
Stephen’s. But I was still without question the 10th and
sometimes the 11th most valuable player in the side.
The real stars included Arun Lal and Kirti Azad, both of
whom went on to play for India and Praveen Oberoi
and Rajinder Amarnath; both had captained Indian
Schoolboys before coming to college. Someone
describing his cricketing career. Who?
• Which musician, when asked why he hadn’t
done any new work recently, responded that he
was on tour with a show in the USA and Canada
called “Britney Marries Krishna”?
• Your quizmaster was not able to find any trace of
it on the web
• 9 questions
• Closed theme
• Pune style lexical connect
• Points system: 4 points per correct answer
• 18, 16, 14, 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 is theme
• -4 throughout
• Quote from Bertrand Russell’s Freedom Versus
• “Two men have been supreme in creating the
modern world: Rockefeller and ______. One in
economics, the other in politics, refuted the liberal
dream of universal happiness through individual
competition, substituting monopoly and the
corporate state, or at least movements towards
• Fill in the Blank
• Nehru kept 2 statues on his work desk; a
bust of Gandhi and a replica of the hand of
______. One of his biographer’s comments
that this reflects the range of his sources of
inspiration. Nehru would often speak of
wanting to confront problems with the heart
of Gandhi and the hand of ______. Fill in
Clive Owen portrays which
historical character in
Elizabeth: The Golden
• Identify this church found in an Indian state capital
• This 1975 black comedy directed by Robert
Altman focuses on the country music and gospel
music scene in Tennessee. Like all of Altman’s
films, it has a huge ensemble cast which includes
Shelley Duvall, Ned Beatty, Geraldine Chaplin
and Jeff Goldblum.
• This film garnered a truckload of critical acclaim
and is ranked #59 on AFI’s 100 Years 100 Movies
• This publishing company, launched in 1953 by Frenchman Maurice
Girodias, was mostly known for publishing erotic novels as well as
• It was the first to publish Nabokov’s “Lolita”; it was also the first
publisher willing to print William Burrough’s “Naked Lunch”, the
unexpurgated “Ulysses” and J.P. Donleavy’s “The Ginger Man”
• It takes its name from the Edouard Manet painting one sees above
• In 2006, the Seattle Supersonics basketball team
were sold to a new group of owners. The owners
tried to get funding for a new venue for the team;
after 12 months and several disagreements
between them and the then state government, the
franchise was shifted to a new city and adopted a
• By what name are they now known?
• If New York is known as “The Big Apple”,
which city is known as “The Big
US State Capitals
1. Otto von Bismarck- Bismarck, North Dakota
2. Abraham Lincoln- Lincoln, Nebraska
3. Walter Raleigh- Raleigh, North Carolina
4. James Madison- Madison, Wisconsin
5. St Paul’ Cathedral, Kolkata- St Paul, Minnesota
6. Nashville- Nashville, Tennessee
7. Olympia Press- Olympia, Washington
8. Oklahoma City Thunder- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
9. Honolulu, Hawaii