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The Conversation’s super summer quiz

It’s time for The Conversation quiz. Don’t let Dicky win. DuMont Television/Wikimedia Commons

Been paying attention this year? Or has 2014 passed you by in a blur? Find out, with our summer quiz looking back at some of the memorable – some preferably forgettable? – moments of the year.

Answers contain links to further info, just to help settle any scores that might unfold. Good luck! And don’t forget to share your results on Twitter or Facebook.

Arts + Culture

  1. What do musicians Otis Redding, Gram Parsons, Nick Drake, Jimmy McCulloch, James Ramey (aka Baby Huey), Bryan Osper, and Jon Guthrie have in common?

  2. Complete the headline: Richard Attenborough held my [BLANK] and touched my [BLANK]

  3. In which city did Australia’s first cat cafe open in July this year?

  4. What does the Indigenous term Jukurrpa refer to?

  5. Which Georgian soprano became a boycott threat to Opera Australia after her homophobic slur?

  6. What is the name of the new Australian literary prize awarded to Fiona McFarlane’s The Night Guest? Hint: it’s also the name of a truly great Australian novel.

Visit a cat café and reward yourself with a cattuccino if you answer every question correctly. akaitori/Flickr, CC BY-SA
 **Business + Economy**
  1. What Australian food franchise with international operations was forced to appoint administrators in November this year?

  2. By what year will all Australian manufacturing of cars cease?

  3. Reserve Bank Governor Glenn Stevens received an early Christmas present this year when the Australian dollar fell to a four-and-a-half year low after he made comments about it in the media. At what level (in US cents) would he like to see it?

  4. Which CEO presided over one of the largest losses posted by an Australian company in this September’s results season?

  5. Which US car company set up its first Australian dealership in early December?

Unfortunately we can’t offer one of their cars as a prize. National Broadcasting Company/Wikimedia Commons
  1. Who is the one Australian Vice-Chancellor who has been openly against fee deregulation?

  2. Which university was the first to come out and declare it would raise all fees to $16,000 per year under fee deregulation?

  3. What’s the name of the new parenting style that offers neither reward nor punishment?

‘Tell me more about this parenting method.’ leungchopan/Shutterstock
  1. Which specialist consultant to the curriculum review was suspended from his university over the publication of leaked emails where he supposedly called Tony Abbott an “Abo-lover” and referred to Asian-Australians as chinky-poos?

  2. This person (answer to Q15) is Australia’s only professor of what?

    Environment + Energy

  3. The last individual of a unique Australian animal died out in 2014. What species was it (bonus point if you know her name)?

  4. What iconic Australian wild animal was this year found to have a cannibalistic side?

  5. According to a calculation published by CSIRO scientists in September, how certain is it that humans are causing global warming (to three decimal places)?

  6. Which ice cream company left a bad taste in the Queensland environment minister’s mouth after backing a WWF campaign to save the Great Barrier Reef?

  7. How many great white sharks did Western Australia’s controversial three-month shark cull kill?

You won’t find any answers hiding in the Great Barrier Reef. Boris Bialek/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND
**Health + Medicine**
  1. In what animal did the Ebola virus originate? (Bonus point if you can name the species).

  2. How many times does an average Australian couple have sex each week?

  3. Who claimed to have the made-up hormonal condition “rushing women’s syndrome”?

  4. What does “MERS” in MERS coronavirus stand for?

  5. What is the Australian life expectancy? (Bonus point for the male and female life expectancy)

  6. How much was the Commission of Audit’s recommended GP co-payment (for non-concession card holders)?

‘Not now, I’m stuck on question 23.’
 **Politics + Society**
  1. In June, the High Court deemed which federal government program to be unconstitutional for a second time?

  2. NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell resigned from office after having a ‘massive memory fail’ over what?

  3. Attacks on which religious minority prompted the beginning of US and western action against Islamic State militants in Iraq?

  4. Which US political figure appeared with Clive Palmer as the PUP leader announced he would support the repeal of the carbon tax?

  5. Who was appointed Australia’s new Governor-General in January, replacing Quentin Bryce?

  6. Which federal politician is suing Fairfax Media, claiming that a front-page story defamed him?

Stumped? Don’t worry, take your time. Lucas Coch/AAP
 **Science + Technology**
  1. Online dating service Singld Out claims to match people using DNA analysis for what?

  2. This year there was another drop from the famous pitch drop experiment at the University of Queensland. How many drops have there been since the experiment started in 1930?

We can almost guarantee you’ll miss a drop while doing this quiz. Jsjsjs1111/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA
  1. What is the name of the newest confirmed member of the periodic table of the elements? (Bonus point if you name its atomic number.)

  2. What was the name of the software bug uncovered in April that caused a major security panic prompting people to change passwords (again)?

  3. Prime Minister Tony Abbott made headlines when he flexed his orbicularis oculi muscle whilst listening to a caller during a radio interview. What is this more commonly known as?


  1. Redesigned Formula 1 cars were raced for the first time at this year’s Australian Grand Prix. As well as dropping the nose tip and limiting the amount of fuel used per race, what was reintroduced after being banned in 1988?

  2. While Brazil didn’t meet expectations in this year’s football World Cup, the country did use an interesting security measure during the tournament. What was it?

No, the answer isn’t ‘vuvuzelas’. Axel Bührmann/Flickr, CC BY
  1. The Melbourne Cup ended on a sad note, with two horses dying after the race. What were their names?

  2. This year England topped the medal table at the Commonwealth Games in Scotland – the first time Australia’s not finished first since what year?

  3. Russia hosted the Winter Olympics in February. Which high-profile Australian sprinter competed in the bobsleigh event?

  4. In the football World Cup semi-final, how many goals did eventual champions Germany score against hosts Brazil?

Ours mightn’t be the first academic quiz, but we hope it’s one of the best. EuclidC/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA


  1. They all died aged 26
  2. Richard Attenborough held my hand and touched my life
  3. Melbourne
  4. “The Dreaming” in Indigenous Australian culture
  5. Tamar Iveri
  6. The Voss Prize
  7. Pie Face
  8. 2017
  9. 75 US cents
  10. Alan Joyce
  11. Tesla Motors
  12. Stephen Parker, University of Canberra
  13. University of Western Australia
  14. Gentle parenting
  15. Barry Spurr
  16. Poetry
  17. Christmas Island Forest Skink (Bonus: Gump)
  18. Brumby
  19. 99.999%
  20. Ben & Jerry’s
  21. None
  22. Bats (Bonus: African fruit bats)
  23. 1.4 times
  24. Lisa Curry
  25. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome
  26. 82 (Bonus: 79.9 for men, 84.3 for women)
  27. $15
  28. The National School Chaplaincy Program
  29. A $3000 bottle of Grange wine
  30. The Yazidis
  31. Al Gore
  32. Sir Peter Cosgrove
  33. Joe Hockey
  34. Body odour
  35. 9
  36. Ununseptium (Bonus: element 117)
  37. Heartbleed
  38. Winking
  39. Engine turbo
  40. A fleet of 30 military-grade robots (called PackBots)
  41. Admire Rakti and Araldo
  42. 1986
  43. Jana Pittman
  44. 7

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