Skip to content

Instantly share code, notes, and snippets.

What would you like to do?
Solutions by my brother Matt, my mom and me for the 2017 RSS Christmas quiz

RSS 2017 Christmas Quiz

1.  …GO!  [10 points]

  • All are named Aloysius
  • All are surnamed Parker
  • Lady Penelope’s FAB 1, 2, 3 in “Thunderbirds are Go!” (featuring her chauffeur Aloysius Parker)

(a) What connects the following?

  • Aloysius Snufflupagus, Big Bird’s bestie from Sesame Street — A shaggy brown creature with a tall, yellow friend
  • Chief Aloysius of the Santa Rosa PD in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World — Chief of the ‘SRPD’ in a comedy whose title contains a quadruple repeat
  • Aloysius is Lord Sebastian Flyte's teddy bear in Evelyn Waugh's novel Brideshead Revisited (1945) The inspiration for Aloysius was Archibald Ormsby-Gore , the beloved teddy bear of John Betjeman , Waugh's friend at Oxford — A furry toy modelled on Archie.
  • Aloysius O’Hare, greedy businessman in The Lorax — One whose company sells air, and whose name evokes an airport
  • Aloysius (Hudsucker Proxy) — A janitor who loses a fight with Moses
  • Aloysius (US Acres) — Orson’s bossy cousin, who enjoys distributing demerits

(b) Similarly, what connects the following?

  • Eleanor Jean Parker (June 26, 1922 – December 9, 2013) was an American actress who appeared in some 80 movies and television series. An actress of notable versatility, she was called Woman of a Thousand Faces by Doug McClelland, author of a biography of Parker by the same title. Played Mary in Many Rivers to Cross, Marjorie Lawrence in Interrupted Melody, and Marie Allen in Caged. — A lady of many faces – including Marie, Mary, and Marjorie
  • Ray Erskine Parker Jr., wrote the Ghostbusters theme — The writer of the theme associated with Bill, Dan, Harold, and Ernie
  • Dorothy (Rothschild) Parker — A founding member of the Vicious Circle, famous for her acerbic wit
  • Bonnie Elizabeth Parker, of Bonnie & Clyde — The female half of a notorious crime duo, whose car now stands at a casino
  • Randolph Severn "Trey" Parker III, voice actor for Balthazar Bratt in Despicable Me 3 and co-author of the musical Book of Mormon; also directed Team America: World Police, a parody of Thunderbirds — One who tunefully satirised a sacred text, and gave Balthazar a voice
  • Sarah Jessica Parker of Sex and the City — An actress regularly seen alongside Kim, Kristin, and Cynthia

(c) In what context …

would you see a car with six wheels, a boat, and a horse receive the labels 1, 2, and 3 respectively? (Combine the answers to parts (a) and (b) for a clue.)

Lady Penelope’s FAB 1, 2, 3 in “Thunderbirds are Go!” (Featuring her chauffeur, Aloysius Parker)

2.  POLYMERISATION  [4 points]

If 5 is IHNTOBBTTAS, and 10 is IDAATINELR, what will 20 be?

3. ROCK LEGENDS [9 points]

Identify the famous names from their (full) initials, and explain the outlandish arithmetic. Who is represented by the question mark?


Each celebrity has a minor planet named for them, whose number in the IAU Minor Planet Catalog satisfies the equation. Planets are “Outlandish Rocks”. and so the minor planet catalog is a “Rock Legend”.

Professor James Moriarty (5048 Moriarty) is the missing entry.

  1. William Shakespeare (2985 Shakespeare) + Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (3047 Goethe) = Alfred Bernhard Nobel (6032 Nobel)
  2. Albert Einstein (2001 Einstein) + Charles Robert Darwin (1991 Darwin) = Wilhelm Richard Wagner (3992 Wagner)
  3. Sir Edmund Percival Hillary (3130 Hillary) + Hendrik Johannes "Johan" Cruijff (14282 Cruijff) + Sir Thomas Sean Connery (13070 Seanconnery) + Sigismund Schlomo Freud (4342 Freud)
  4. Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (4511 Rembrandt) + Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart (1034 Mozartia) = Galileo Galilei (697 Galilea) + Tutankhamun (4848 Tutenchamun)
  5. Bilbo Baggins (2991 Bilbo) + Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum = Gutenberg (777 Gutenberg) + Norma Jean Monroe (3768 Monroe)
  6. Carl Edward Sagan (2709 Sagan) + Edwin Eugene Aldrin Jr. (6470 Aldrin) + Louis Daniel Armstrong (9179 Satchmo)
  7. Thomas Alva Edison (742 Edisona) + Christophorus Columbus (327 Columbia) = Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck (1069 Planckia)
  8. Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev (2769 Mendeleev) + Christian Andreas Doppler (3905 Doppler) = Paul Cézanne (6674 Cézanne)
  9. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (3047 Goethe) + Albert Einstein (2001 Einstein) = Professor James Moriarty (5048 Moriarty)

4. CAN YOU DIG IT?  [11 points]

Identify the following from the clues. What do all ten answers have in common?

“Dig It” => “Digit”: each answer conceals the numerals in order, split across words:

  • Mansize Rooster, by Supergrass; “grass” means “inform on” in Britain — A cockerel of human dimensions, performed by a prolific informer
  • Don't go near the water (William Brinkley, Charles Walters, BeachBoys) — William’s book (1956), Charles’s film (1957), or Mike & Al’s song (1971)
  • The Lost world — Challenger first appeared here, over a century ago — Professor Challenger, in AC Doyle’s The Lost World
  • Gareth Reese — A cricketer, a rugby player, or a commentator
    • Gareth Rees (cricketer) (born 1985), Welsh cricketer
    • Gareth Rees (motorsport commentator) (born 1969), Welsh motorsport commentator
    • Gareth Rees (rugby union) (born 1967), former Canadian rugby player
  • World of Our Own, by Westlife — 2001 boy-band album, a remix of “NOW FOR LOUD ROW”
  • Edward Cecil Guinness, 1st Earl of Iveagh, KP GCVO FRS — The official title of Guinness
  • Pope Pius IX, reigned for 11560 days, or 998.8e6 s — One who reigned for almost 999 million seconds
  • Everything’s Eventual by Stephen King
    • King describes the unusual method he used to sort the stories: “What I did was take all the spades out of a deck of cards plus a joker . Ace to King = 1-13. Joker = 14. I shuffled the cards and dealt them. The order in which they came out of the deck became the order of the stories, based on their position in the list my publisher sent me. And it actually created a very nice balance between the literary stories and the all-out screamers.”
  • Totleigh Towers, in the Bertie&Jeeves novels by PG “Plum” Wodehouse — The Bassett country residence, according to Plum
  • Hanin Elias — ATR co-founder, name-checked by “The Tiger” between The Slits and Dickens: “The Slits, Hanin Elias, Hazel Dickens...” (From lyrics to “Hot Topic” by Le Tigre)

5.  ... JOE  [5 points]

(a) Identify the three film titles, one of which appears in (b).

  • The Moderns (MODE) — GB, GC, JL, KC, KJO, LF, WS, & others (1988): Geneviéve Bujold, Geraldine Chapman, John Lone, Keith Carradine, Kevin J O’Connor, Linda Fiorentino, Wallace Shawn, and others.
  • The Meaning of Life (MEAN) — EI, GC, JC, MP, TG, TJ, & others (1983): Eric Idle, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, and others
  • The Comedians (MEDIAN) — AG, ET, PU, RB, & others (1967): Alec Guiness, Elizabeth Taylor, Peter Ustinov, Richard Burton, and others.

Beyond the first word, what connects them?

All three movies contain a term for the central tendency of a statistical distribution (the “Regular Joe”): Mode, Mean and Median.

(b) Which technically-minded comic book character

…(who’d feel at home in an earlier question) received a new name during 2008-2011 that will be a familiar term to the modern statistician?

  • Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl/Oracle/Batgirl
    • Barbara "Barb" Gordon is a fictional character appearing in comic books published by DC Comics and in related media, created by Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino. From 1967 to 1988, she was the superheroine Batgirl; from 1989 to November, 2011, she had been known as Oracle Barbara Gordon | Batman Wiki
    • Barbara Gordon … was reestablished as a computer expert and information broker known as Oracle, providing intelligence and computer hacking services to assist other superheroes. […] Reverting the character to her Batgirl persona, DC Comics relaunched its comic book titles in 2011…, featuring her in the eponymous Batgirl monthly title.
    • Oracle makes an industry-leading database product.
    • 305 Gordonia is a minor planet.

6.  INK-COGNITO  [6 points]

While browsing the mathematics section of his local second-hand bookstore, Stefan stumbles upon a dusty leather-bound volume. Curious, he opens the book and notices that it has suffered significant damage at the hands of a previous owner, with some of the text being obscured by black ink blotches. As Stefan leafs through the pages, the following two lines catch his eye – the second of which has fallen victim to two particularly unfortunate blotches: [image:C35A66DC-F882-49DC-938D-053DDAFFB599-1379-000001E371202B6A/Q6-600.png] Always fond of a challenge, Stefan wonders whether it might be possible to figure out the values of the obscured numbers – assuming, of course, that both lines of numbers follow a consistent pattern. Can you help him out?

Each result on the right is found by multiplying all but one and dividing by the excluded element)

2 3 7 47 395 => 194933 86637 15913 353 5

  • 3*7*47*395 / 2 ~= 194933
  • 2* 7*47*395 / 3 ~= 86637
  • 2*3* 47*395 / 7 ~= 15913
  • 2*3*7* 395 / 47 ~= 353
  • 2*3*7*47 /395 ~= 5

7. OD & DS  [8 points]

Decipher the following wise words:

  • Te bs tig aot big a saitca i ta yu gt t pa i eeyn's bcyr [Jh Tky]
  • Pltcas ue saitc i te sm wy ta a duk ue lm-pss – fr spot rte ta ilmnto [Ade Ln]
  • al ng ll ne ay be as ry or nt ip as he ty to ad nd te [rt ge ls]
  • ns, ke ts, ve he ad it of ng in ve th ir ls [ge ox]

Title: “Odds & Ends”: The first two quotations eliminate odd-positioned letters, and the second two retain only the ends of words.

  • The best thing about being a statistician is that you get to play in everyone’s backyard (John Tukey)
  • Politicians use statistics in the same way that a drunk uses lamp-posts — for support rather than illumination (Andrew Lang)
  • Statistical Thinking will one day be as necessary for efficient citizenship as the ability to read and write (HG Wells)
  • Statisticians, like artists, have the bad habit of falling in love with their models (George Box)

8.  OLIVE (____GREEN)  [8 points]

What connects the following?

  • Kevin Arthur "Dasher" Wheatley, VC – The nickname of a gallant Australian (KW)
    • Kevin Arthur "Dasher" Wheatley, VC was an Australian recipient of the Victoria Cross
  • Dancer, dir. by Steven Cantor – Cantor's exploration of a Ukrainian
    • Sergei Polunin is a breathtaking ballet talent who questions his existence and his commitment to dance just as he is about to become a legend
  • Tartan Prancer car from National Lampoon’s Vacation –Tartan taken on holiday in America
  • Vixen, from Vixen by Mary Elizabeth Braddon – Rorie's childhood sweetheart (19c)
    • Vixen by Mary Elizabeth Braddon (1835 - 1915) “This is an exquisite and heartbreaking love story. Violet Tempest and Roderick Vawdrey, otherwise known to each other as Vixen and Rorie, are childhood sweethearts.“
  • Comet, the dog from Full House – ‘Boat’ role played by Buddy
    • Comet is a Golden Retriever which was introduced on the show in season three of Full House. He was played by Buddy, of Air Bud fame. A Boat is a Full House in poker slang.
  • ”Cupid” by Johnny Nash: 1960s success for John Nash Jnr (Arrow mentioned on line 2)
  • Donner, found by Martello and Beauchamp in Artist Descending a Staircase by Tom Stoppard – One found by M and B after falling downstairs
  • Blitzen, a miniaturized computer system designed for NASA in the late 1980s – Compact but powerful NASA machine

Whose name is missing?

  • Rudolph, the “ninth” reindeer;
  • Present in the title is Olive – the apocryphal “tenth reindeer” formed by the mondegreen “Olive, the other reindeer”

What’s the connection with the first film in question 5a (The Moderns)

  • The Moderns is directed by Alan Rudolph

…and which other film ties the same individual to two names from question 1b (one directly, the other indirectly)?

  • … who wrote and directed Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle (1994),
  • … a film about Dorothy Parker
  • … which also starred Matthew Broderick as Charles MacArthur
  • … who is married to Sarah Jessica Parker

9. STRENGTH IN NUMBERS [12 points]

(a) Explain the table below, and thus replace each question mark appropriately. (The inclusion of the item marked with an asterisk is debatable – why?)

  • Each entry is a single (S) or album (A) with a year in its title.
  • The 1992 album by Status Quo has the official title 1+9+8+2, but in other sources is listed as 1982


  • 1919: Motörhead
  • 1962: Grass~Show
  • 1963: New Order — ”1963" is a track by English rock group New Order. It was originally released as a B-side to "True Faith" in 1987 and appeared on the Substance compilation of the same year. It was then released as a single in January 1995, in a radio mix by Arthur Baker.
  • 1965: Afghan Whigs — 1965 is the sixth studio album by American alternative rock band The Afghan Whigs, released October 27, 1998, on Columbia Records.
  • 1973: James Blunt / Beth Orton
    • ”1973" is a song by the English recording artist James Blunt. It was released as the lead single from his second studio album, All the Lost Souls (2007).
    • Orton's sixth studio album, Kidsticks, … was released on 27 May 2016, following extensive airplay of the singles "Moon" and "1973”.
  • 1977? Ash and The Jam
  • 1979: Smashing Pumpkins
    • "1979" is a song by American alternative rock band the Smashing Pumpkins
  • 1980: Estelle
    • "1980" is the debut solo single by British singer-songwriter Estelle
  • 1982: SQ, which has the official title 1+9+8+2, but is listed in other sources as 1982) (Status Quo)
    • 1+9+8+2 (official title; in other sources as 1982), is the fifteenth studio album by the English rock band Status Quo, released on 16 April 1982.
  • 1984: E / HH / VH (Eurythmics / Hugh Hopper / Van Halen / Rick Wakeman / Yusef Lateef)
    • 1984 (For the Love of Big Brother) is a soundtrack album by Eurythmics
    • In 1972 Hugh Hopper recorded the first record under his own name, 1984 (named after George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four). This was a decidedly non-commercial record featuring lengthy solo pieces using tape loops as well as shorter pieces with a group;
    • 1984 (stylized as MCMLXXXIV on the album's front cover) is the sixth studio album by American hard rock band Van Halen, released on January 9, 1984.
    • 1984 is a 1981 concept album by British keyboardist Rick Wakeman, based on the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell. Tim Rice wrote the lyrics.
    • 1984 is a 1965 album by Yusef Lateef.
  • 1985: SR-71 / Bowling for Soup
    • "1985" is a 2004 song originally written and recorded by SR-71. It was covered by American rock band Bowling for Soup, whose version reached #23 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was featured on the band's album A Hangover You Don't Deserve.
  • 1987: Whitesnake
    • Whitesnake is the self-titled seventh studio album by British rock band of the same name, released in 1987. [… The album] was released in Europe and Australia as 1987 (with a different track listing)
  • 1989: Ryan Adams / Taylor Swift (and Jacopo Sarno)
    • 1989 is the fifteenth studio album by American singer-songwriter Ryan Adams, released digitally through his own PAX AM record label on September 21, 2015.
    • 1989 is the fifth studio album by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift released on October 27, 2014, through Big Machine Records
    • 1989 is the debut studio album by Italian recording artist Jacopo Sarno. It was released on 29 May 2009
  • 1991: Azealia Banks
  • 1992: The Game – 1992 is the eighth studio album by American rapper The Game.
  • 1998: Binary Finary
    • "1998" is an instrumental music track by British trance act Binary Finary originally released in the year 1998
  • 1999: Prince, Binary Finary, Paradox feat. Devora; Prince, Cassius
    • ”1999" is a song by American musician Prince, the title track from his 1982 album of the same name.
    • Paradox (16) Featuring Devorah - 1999 (CD) at Discogs
    • "1998" (instrumental), a track by Binary Finary also known by its remix/reissue name "1999"
    • 1999 is the debut album by French house music duo Cassius.
  • 2000: Binary Finary
    • They are best known for the dance hit single "1998", especially for the Paul van Dyk and Gouryella remixes, which charted in many countries. The song was remixed numerous times under the title of the year the remix was produced ("1999" and "2000" etc.), many of which were popular.
    • Binary Finary - 2000 (CD) at Discogs
  • 2001: Dr Dre
    • 2001 (sometimes referred to as The Chronic 2001, Chronic 2001 or The Chronic 2) is the second studio album by American rapper and producer Dr. Dre.

(b) In a similar vein, identify the following:

  • 0.636363636... (2014) — "7/11 by Beyoncé” 7/11 is a song recorded by American singer Beyoncé from the reissue of her fifth studio album Beyoncé, subtitled Platinum Edition (2014).
  • 0.259259259... (2016) — 7/27 by Fifth Harmony 2016 Album by Fifth Harmony
  • 30.397368307... (1991) — 2√231 by Anticappella
    • Anticappella was an Italian electronic music group led by Gianfranco Bortolotti, the founder of Cappella. Their best-known hits were 2√231 ("2 Square Root 231") and Move Your Body, featuring rapper MC Fixx It.[1]

(c) Finally, which 2010 title from a masked Canadian is accurate only in base 14?

  • 4x4 = 12 by Joel Thomas Zimmerman (born January 5, 1981), better known by his stage name deadmau5

10. BIZARRE TALES [7 points]

Generate a collection of related names by transforming almost all of the words below:


Each name anagrams to a famous scientist or engineer once an extra letter is removed

  • T BOHR

Then, generate another related name from the word that’s left over.

The remaining letters, INTESTINE, anagram to EINSTEIN plus T

Whose name is symbolised by what remains?

T is the SI symbol for TESLA, an anagram of “TALES” from the title.

11. JUMPIN’ JIVES [6 points]

Even Stranger Things are going on in the table below. [image:5CB42C02-7E39-4C96-818A-C890F9A7C2A2-43734-0001A5E2EAB05319/Q11-290.png]

Can you explain, and fill in the empty cell?

“Reverse” the alphabet on each string, mapping characters as follows:


The empty cell should read “Izb” for “Ray”

  • Catch-22 - Joseph Heller (Qlhvks 2Ξ)
  • Child 44 - Tom Rob Smith (Gln 4Ξ)
    • Child 44 (published in 2008) is a novel by British writer Tom Rob Smith .
  • 77 Shadow Street - Dean Koontz (Wvzm 7Ξ)
    • 77 Shadow Street is a 2011 novel by American author Dean Koontz
  • 99 Francs - Frédéric Beigbeder (Uivwvirx 9Ξ)
  • Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury (Izb 41Ξ)
    • Fahrenheit 451 is a novel by American writer Ray Bradbury , published in 1953.
  • Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall - Bill Willingham (Yroo 91Ξ)
    • Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall is a graphic novel prequel to the comic book series Fables written by series creator Bill Willingham with a variety of artists
  • 1408 - Stephen King (Hgvksvm 128Ξ – from same collection in Question 4)
    • "1408" is a short story by Stephen King . It is the third tale in the audiobook collection titled Blood and Smoke , released in 1999. In 2002, it was collected in written form as the 12th story in King's collection Everything's Eventual .
  • Fever, 1793 - Laurie Halse Anderson (Ozfirv 163Ξ)
    • In 2000, Anderson's Fever 1793, a historical fiction novel set in Philadelphia during the yellow fever epidemic, was published by Simon and Schuster.

12. GUIDING AMERICA [7 points]

(a) After visiting Boston, Baton Rouge, and Madison

…why might a suitable next stop be a country in south-east Africa?

  • The postal abbreviations for each city’s state are MA, LA, WI: Malawi

Similarly, after a trip to Charlotte Amalie, Hartford, Salem, and Des Moines, why might you be prompted to visit south-east Australia, the west coast of Canada, or two African landmarks (located, partially, in countries bordering the one above)?

  • Similarly: VI, CT, OR, IA: State of Victoria, Australia; Victoria, British Columbia, Canada; Victoria Falls (Zambia/Zimbabwe) or Lake Victoria (Tanzania and Others)

Figuratively speaking, which island chain might provide added peace of mind for someone about to head down to Denver, Montgomery, Lansing, and Lincoln?

  • Similarly: CO, AL, MI, NE: Canary Islands, Canaries are used to detect fatal gas leaks in a coal mine

(b) If Equatorial Guinea is halfway between Angola and Mauritius

… Norway is halfway between El Salvador and Iran, Fiji is halfway between Spain and Gabon, and Ireland is halfway between South Korea and French Guiana, which country is halfway between Saudi Arabia and the United States of America?

  • Tajikistan. Interpreting each country’s ISO 3-letter code as a number (each digit running 0-25::A-Z), TJK (13088) is the mean of SAU (12188) and USA (13988):
    • AGO 170 Angola
    • GNQ 4410 Equatorial Guinea
    • MUS 8650 Mauritius
    • SLV 12475 El Salvador
    • NOR 9169 Norway
    • IRN 5863 Iran
    • ESP 3187 Spain
    • FJI 3622 Fiji
    • GAB 4057 Gabon
    • KOR 7141 Korea, South
    • IRL 5861 Ireland
    • GUF 4581 French Guiana
    • SAU 12188 Saudi Arabia
    • TJK 13088 Tajikistan
    • USA 13988 United States of America

13. PRESENT PERFECT [7 points]

Following a catastrophic admin error at the grotto, Rudolph learns that he must make 25 last-minute present drops in the early hours of Christmas morning. (See diagram below.)


Rudolph stands initially on the square D4. On each move, he is allowed to either jump like a chess knight, or jump any number of squares ‘up’ the board (northwards). In other words, from his starting square D4, Rudolph could move next to any of the following eleven squares: B3, B5, C2, C6, E2, E6, F3, F5, D5, D6, or D7. (As a second example, if Rudolph were stood on A6, he could move next to B4, C5, C7, or A7.)

Naturally, Rudolph must land directly on a square to visit it – for instance, if he were to jump from D4 to D6 with his first move, he could tick off the present on D6 as ‘delivered’, but not the present on D5.

What is the smallest number of moves required for Rudolph to deliver all 25 presents and then return home to the North Pole (square D7) – and what route should he take?

Please be sure to include in your answer not only the number of moves in your shortest route, but also the sequence of squares that Rudolph visits along the way.

Rudolph cannot jump to square g2 or a2 from a square with a present. Similarly, he cannot jump from square g7 or a7 to a square with a present. Therefore the minimum trip lands on the start and end (2), four empty squares. and twenty five present squares for a total path of 31 squares, or 30 moves.

	d4*	e2	g1*	g2 
	g4	f2	e4	e7
	g6	g7	f5*	g3	
	f1	d2	b1	b2
	d1	d3	b4*	a2	
	a4	a6	a7	b5*
	a3	c2	c4	c7	
	d5	d6	d7*

In one line: d4 e2 g1 g2 g4 f2 e4 e7 g6 g7 f5 g3 f1 d2 b1 b2 d1 d3 b4 a2 a4 a6 a7 b5 a3 c2 c4 c7 d5 d6 d7

[image:5BC4FC92-3882-4EF3-88A9-97845A4DA7B8-43734-00023DEAFB4E6EEB/RSS Quiz Rudolph Question.png]

Sorry, something went wrong. Reload?
Sorry, we cannot display this file.
Sorry, this file is invalid so it cannot be displayed.
Sign up for free to join this conversation on GitHub. Already have an account? Sign in to comment