A Christmas Quiz - 45 quick questions

In case you fancy a quick quiz after your Christmas lunch and don’t have any questions handy, here are 45 that might amuse you. The thing with a quiz is this: if you know the answers, it’s too easy; if you don’t, it’s too difficult. This one is a bit easy and a bit difficult - difficult for Generation Z, not so easy for Millennials (aka as Generation Y), and a doddle for both Generation X (aka as Gen X, born between the 1960s and 1980s) and the Baby Boomers who came before them.

The questions are all multiple-choice, so you have a one-in-three chance of getting each one right anyway. The answers are at the foot of the quiz.

Merry Christmas!


1.‘Beat out that rhythm on a drum’, from the musical Carmen Jones, was a hit song of Christmas 1943.  Who wrote the music?

  1. Richard Rodgers

  2. Oscar Hammerstein II

  3. Georges Bizet


2. Which drummer, born in January 1951, started his career as a child actor, playing the Artful Dodger in Oliver! ?

  1. Art Blakey

  2. Buddy Rich

  3. Phil Collins


3.What is the real name of the Beatles’ drummer, Ringo Starr?

  1. Ringo Starr

  2. Rick Stein

  3. Richard Starkey


4.Who played the drums for Led Zeppelin?

  1. John Christie

  2. John Bonham

  3. John Phillips


5.Who is playing the drums on the track ‘Honky Tonk Woman’?

  1. Ginger Baker

  2. Stewart Copeland

  3. Charlie Watts


6. Who had a Christmas hit with ‘Little Drummer Boy’ in 1982

  1. Rolf Harris

  2. Clive Dunn

  3. David Bowie


7. Which world-famous percussionist has been profoundly deaf since the age of 12 ?

  1. Evelyn Laye

  2. Evelyn Glennie

  3. Evelyn Home


8. Name the composer, astronomer and percussionist whose recorded works include ‘Penguin Parade’, ‘Hurricane’ and ‘Halley’s Comet’

  1. Keith Moon, of The Who, who plays the drums

  2. Martin Rees, Astronomer Royal, who plays the tubular bells

  3. Patrick Moore, of The Sky at Night, who plays the xylophone


9.Name the winner of the 1999 Nobel Prize for Literature who wrote The Tin Drum.

  1. Seamus Heaney

  2. V S Naipaul

  3. Gunter Grass




  1. In the nursery rhyme there is a maid ‘all forlorn’ who milks a cow with a distinctive feature.  What is it?

    a.a ring through her nose

    b. a ribbon tied to her tail

    c. a crumpled horn


2. A cow has four stomachs.  How many teats does she have on her udder?

  1. Two

  2. Four

  3. Six


3.In which Gilbert and Sullivan operetta do ‘three little maids’ appear?

  1. The Mikado

  2. Iolanthe

  3. The Pirates of Penzance


4.In J M Barrie’s Peter Pan the Darling family have a maid who is very small.  What is her name?

  1. Liza

  2. Tweenie

  3. Wendy


5. Two well-known actresses created the television series Upstairs, Downstairs.  One of them is Jean Marsh, who played the part of Rose, the maid.  The part of the butler was played by Gordon Jackson.  What was the butler called?

  1. Hudson

  2. Bridges

  3. Bunter


6. The other co-creator of Upstairs Downstairs appeared below stairs in Robert Altman’s film, Gosford Park.  What is her name and what was her role?

  1. Emily Watson, the maid

  2. Eileen Atkins, the cook

  3. Emily Blunt, the nanny


7. In Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, Olivia has a serving woman called Maria.  At the end of the play, who does Maria marry?

  1. Malvolio

  2. Sir Toby Belch

  3. Sir Andrew Aguecheek


8. The sometime royal butler, Paul Burrell, once had a wife called Maria, who was also in royal service.  What was her job?

  1. She was Prince Philip’s maid

  2. She was The Queen Mother’s cook

  3. She was Princess Diana’s dresser




  1. For how many years can a mute swan live?

  1. 13

  2. 26

  3. 50


2.’Swan-upping’: what is it?

  1. The annual church service (conducted each April) at which The Queen distributes swans’-down pillows to the members of the Order of the Garter

  2. The annual census (conducted each July) at which The Queen’s Swan Marker counts the swan population on stretches of the Thames

  3. The annual ceremony (conducted each Christmas) at which The Queen distributes portions of mute swan to those of her domestic staff who have been discreet throughout the year


3. At Christmas 2002 who played the Snow Queen in the Royal Ballet Swan Lake Covent Garden?

  1. The Romanian prodigy Alina Cojocaru

  2. The French prodigy Sylvie Guillem

  3. The English prodigy Charlotte Church


4. Who choreographed the first all-male production of Swan Lake ?

  1. Richard Spring

  2. Matthew Bourne

  3. Joan Rivers


5.What was the historic achievement of the explorer and adventurer Robert Swan?

  1. He is the first person to reach both the North and the South Poles

  2. He is the first person to ascend all ten of the highest peaks in the Himalayas

  3. He is the first person to discover the true source of the Nile


6.What is the claim to fame of Sir Joseph Swan (1828-1914) ?

  1. He invented artificial silk

  2. He invented the carbon process for photographic printing

  3. He invented the lightbulb twenty years before Thomas Edison


7. Donald Swann wrote the music.  Michael Flanders wrote the words.  Together Flanders and Swann created memorable comic songs and performed them in a record-breaking West End show.  What was it called?

  1. Drop Me a Note

  2. Drop the Dead Donkey

  3. At the Drop of a Hat





  1. In pantomime he played the original Mother Goose.  He was known as ‘the funniest man on earth’ and, when he died, insane, aged 43, the three-and-a-half miles of his funeral route were lined three deep all the way.  His ghost is said to haunt the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and he has appeared in a novel by Peter Ackroyd.  Who is he?

    1. Dan Leno

    2. George Robey

    3. Max Beerbohm


2.’Everyone tells me I’ve had such an interesting life, but sometimes I think it’s been nothing but stomach disturbances and self-concern,’ said Archibald Leach, who played Father Goose in the Hollywood film.  Who was he?

  1. Danny Kaye

  2. Cary Grant

  3. W C Fields


3.Goose Green was the scene of one of the epic battles of the Falklands conflict of 1982.  On which of the Falkand Islands is Goose Green?

  1. East Falkand

  2. West Falkand

  3. Lafonia


4.Who were the stars of The Wild Geese, the 1977 film about the adventures of a group of mercenaries in Africa?

  1. Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, James Coburm

  2. Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Richard Harris

  3. Scott Glenn, Edward Fox, Laurence Olivier


5.Who wrote The Snow Goose?

  1. Hans Andersen

  2. Charles Perrault

  3. Paul Gallico


6.Who is Claire Goose?

  1. The youngest member of parliament

  2. A celebrity chef and presenter of Goose Talk

  3. An actress and star of Casualty






1. Who was the fifth wife of Henry VIII and the fifth husband of Elizabeth Taylor?

  1. Catherine of Aragon and Eddie Fisher

  2. Katherine Howard and Richard Burton

  3. Katherine Parr and Senator John Warner


2. When she was three she inherited $ 5 billion and became the world’s youngest billionaire.  Who was she?

  1. Athina, Aristotle Onassis’ granddaughter

  2. Liza-Jayne, Elvis Presley’s granddaughter

  3. Clare, A A Milne’s granddaughter


3. In 1913, a Frenchman chose 5 interlocking rings as the symbol of the modern Olympic Games which he had helped to found.  Who was he?

  1. Baron Philippe de Rothschild

  2. Antoine de St Exupery

  3. Baton Pierre de Coubertin


4. In the 1990s Vreni Schneider of Switzerland won 5 Olympic titles and 5 World Cup titles.  In which sport?

  1. Fencing

  2. Skiing

  3. Diving


5. In the 1950s which racing driver won the World Drivers’ Championship 5 times?

  1. Stirling Moss

  2. Ernest Marples

  3. Juan-Manuel Fangio






  1. ‘Colley’ is a colour.   Which colour?

a.    Black, the colour of coal or soot

b.    Grey, the colour of the columbine pigeon

c.     Green and white, the colour of the cauliflower


2.Who said, ‘A cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education’?

a.    Michael Gove

b.    Charles Dickens

c.     Mark Twain


3.For a while, the White Collie was the most fashionable breed of dog in nineteenth century England.  Why?

a.    Because Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales each had one

b.    Because Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas each had one

c.     Because one rode on the back of Jumbo the Elephant when P T Barnum’s circus first visited London


4.With which high-profile ‘bird’ (his word) did the footballer Stan Collymore once enjoy a volatile relationship?

  1. The model and author Katie Price

  2. The television presenter Ulrika Jonsson

  3. The former MP Edwina Currie





1.She is  French.  She keeps chickens.  She has played Helen of Troy and a girl called Babette.  She once said, ‘I started out as a lousy actress and remained one.’  Her real name is Camille Javal.  How is she better known?

    1. As Catherine Deneuve

    2. As Brigitte Bardot

    3. As Juliette Binoche


2.Gigi is a story about a Parisian girl who won’t become a “poule de luxe”.  Who wrote it?

    1. Simone de Beauvoir

b. Leslie Caron

c. Colette


3.In Billy Wilder’s 1963 film, who played Irma la Douce?

  1. Audrey Hepburn

  2. Shirley MacLaine

c. Marilyn Monroe



1.In the United States, how are turtle-doves also known?

    1. As roll-neck-sweater doves

    2. As lovesick doves

    3. As mourning doves


2.‘Arm in arm they both came swiftly running like to a pair of loving turtle-doves’ is how they are described by Shakespeare in Henry VI Part One.  Who are they?

    1. Sir John Falstaff and his landlady

    2. The French Dauphin and a prostitute

    3. The Bishop of Winchester and the Earl of Suffolk





Who, with Steve Coogan, is credited as the co-creator of the character Alan Partridge?

  1. Armando Iannucci

  2. Sasha Baron Cohen

  3. Ben Elton








1. c – Georges Bizet

2. c – Phil Collins

3. c – Richard Starkey

4. b – John Bonham

5. c – Charlie Watts

6. c – David Bowie

7. b – Evelyn Glennie

8. c – Patrick Moore

9. c – Gunter Grass



1. c – A crumpled horn

2. b - Two

3. a – The Mikado

4. a - Liza

5. a - Hudson

6. b – Eileen Atkins, the cook

7. b – Sir Toby Belch

8. a – Prince Philip’s maid


1. b – 26 years

2. b – the annual census

3. a – Alina Cojocaru

4. b – Matthew Bourne

5.a – he is the first to reach both Poles

6. a, b and c – all three

7. c – At the Drop of a Hat



1. a. Dan Leno

2. b. Cary Grant

3. c. Lafonia

4. b. Richard Burton, Roger Moore, Richard Harris

5. c – Paul Gallico

6. c – Actress



1.b - Katherine Howard and Richard Burton

2. a -Athina, Aristotle Onassis’ granddaughter

3. c - Baron Pierre de Coubertin

4. b - Skiing

5.c - Juan-Manuel Fangio



1.a – Black

2.c – Mark Twain

3.a – Because Queen Victoria and the Prince of Wales each had one

4.b - Ulrika Jonsson



  1. b – Brigitte Bardot

  2. c.- Colette

3. b - Shirley MacLaine



1.c – Mourning doves

2.b - The French Dauphin and a prostitute



Aemando Iannucci











Gyles Brandreth