Are you smart enough for the Royal Statistical Society Christmas quiz?

Riddle me this: do you have what it takes to complete the Royal Statistical Society’s Christmas quiz?

It may not require specialist mathematical knowledge but the questions are a devilish test of general knowledge, lateral thinking and logic.

The RSS elf who delivered this year’s quiz gave us just one hint: the question titles “may help”.

The entrant (or team of entrants) with the most marks wins a one-year subscription to the society’s magazine, Significance. Explanations of answers are required for full marks. In the case of a tie an additional question may be asked.

Answers should be sent by email (with the subject line “Christmas Quiz 2016”) to by 6pm GMT on Monday 9 January 2017. The answers will be published in mid-January.

Until then, happy Christmas quizzing.

1. Let’s Go (3 points)

I spend £120 on my first visit, £150 on my second and £200 on my third. What’s the smallest number of spots I could have seen?

2. Straight Sets (10 points)

Complete the sets:

1 Richard (after Randolph), George, James, [one item]

2 Margaret, John, Ruth, Bridget, Susan, [two items]

4 Bryan, Matt, Michael, Eddie, [one item]

5 In order, y, z, a, f, p, n, [two items], c, d

(2 points for each set)

3. In a Daze (5 points)

What connects the following?

  • a Newtonian perspective on TE, HF (twice), AC, and CL
  • a scene captured by Vincent and Claude, one year apart
  • a collection containing 1914 (1964)
  • a mercurial judge
  • a campaign against the butcher on Mount Road
  • a dark blue saint

How is the title relevant?

4. World Series (18 points)

  1. The 71 observed values range from 2 to 120. What is the sum of the six observations in London?
  2. Which series starts: 100, 200, 300 and ends many items later with 36, 37 and 38?
  3. Averaging 77.5, what might start with music or sin and end with ignorance, woe, crime, pain, hell or worse?
  4. Revised up from 104 to 106, where is the difference between a miracle and a surprise only minimally greater than that between a domesticated bird and a bear?
  5. What started with a cat and a lake and finished with fruit and a dog? And what’s the connection with caribou, leather jackets and a single man?
  6. In what context can you find one in France, two in London and three in Leicester?

(3 points for each part)

5. Pretty Maids … (4 points)

If Nicholas had 81, Jordan had 20, Lee had 17, and Rory had 54, how many did Eldrick have? How does Martin and Jason’s finish in Springfield this year explain the title’s relevance?

6. The Year in Numbers (14 points)

Where this year did we see the following?

  1. (4.65 * 10^7) + 1 decide the matter
  2. A family reaching 600 in October
  3. An ordered set of 87 triplets starting (46, 37, 38) and ending with 10 instances of (0, 0 ,1)
  4. Robert become the 113th
  5. 1944 break the record by 147
  6. Harmony achieve a distinction previously held by the British Queen and two Olympics
  7. 105 according to Kim, 12016 according to Cesare and 2769 if Marcus is to be believed

(2 points for each part)

7. Two Before M0 (5 points)

In what way are these uncommon?

  • a novel by Murakami
  • procrastination, according to Debasish Mridha
  • M0
  • moonlight in France

How is this related to the question title?

8. Primes over Seven (5 points)

Numbers multiply, that divisible;

These have what’s four;

By four triangle remainders;

Numbers left, sides seven.

9. The Clue’s in the Title (8 points)

  1. Who, in the news this year, started 1964 as 7 and 4 and finished it as 8 and 3?
    In a similar vein:
  2. Where went from 4 to 8 in 1939 and again in 1949?
  3. Where was 5 from 1971 and then went to 10, 8, 2, 3 and 5 in 1997?
  4. More tastefully, what was 4 and 6 in the UK from 1960 until 1998 when it went to 9?

(2 points for each part)

10. (Not the) X-Word (15 points)

A simplified version of the usual puzzle. No grid, just 15 cryptic clues. Each answer should then be transformed to another word using one of two variations on a very simple substitution already indicated in this question.

  1. Protecting the floor like an excessively enthusiastic hen would do. (7)
  2. Contradiction on what is partly White and partly Blue we hear. (6)
  3. One of three baby pigs playing with head of pigeon. (7)
  4. Filter feeder eases passage through tube. (6)
  5. I miss retail activity, being after the required time. (5)
  6. Attempts to conceal, writes R for example. (5)
  7. Standard tire. Or flat stone. (4)
  8. Copies a model: cuts head off back of necks. (4)
  9. Note to international body defines part-human creature. (4)
  10. Grey haired, giving up part of stockpile. (4)
  11. Head in two main directions: inducing sneezing in those susceptible. (6)
  12. Musical composition for group played backwards fits well in joint. (5)
  13. Confused Scrooge ends up in traps. (5)
  14. Womaniser apparently wants you covered by caviar. (4)
  15. Ears suggest that viral illness is targeting passage. (4)

(½ point for each correct answer before transformation; additional ½ point for each correctly transformed answer)

11. States of Matter (4 points)

Determine the missing number (a recent addition to the list).

13, 18, 20, 27, __, 31, 49, 57, 25, 109, 101, 42, 60, 10, 91, 21

12. A Matter of Belief (5 points)

Fold up the string of letters below so it fits in the grid. Squares of the same colour (except white) must not contain contiguous letters in the string.


Who is the indicated person (of particular interest to RSS members)?

Royal Statistical Society Christmas quiz grid

Royal Statistical Society Christmas quiz grid

(4 points for the completed grid; 1 point for identifying the indicated person)

13. … Comes as the End (4 points)

How is this quiz, in its entirety, linked with the starting point for the 4.50 from Paddington?

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