1. By what name is Domenicos Theotocopoulus better
— El Greco. He was born on Crete, and his Spanish
patrons had trouble pronouncing his real name, he gradually became known
by his nickname, which means “The Greek”.
2. What is Tommy Flowers remembered for?
— Flowers (1905-98) was the Royal Post Office
researcher in electronic telephone transmissions who designed the first
programmable computer, the British military code-breaking computer
Colossus at Bletchley Park in 1943-4.
3. What makes Enheduanna notable in literary history?
— The daughter of the Akkadian (North Babylonian)
king Sargon the Great (c. 2371-2316 BC), Enheduanna is accepted as the
world’s first author known by name. She wrote hymns to the goddess
4. Two of the most famous men of the 19th century
were born February 12, 1809, but an ocean apart. Who were they?
— Lincoln and Darwin.
5. While she was a medical student, author Gertrude
Stein became convinced that she had a blood disease. What treatment did
she prescribe herself?
— Boxing with a professional. According to a
neighbour, the house used to resound to shouts of, “Now give me one in
the jaw! Now give me one in the kidney!”
6. What book is believed to contain the longest
sentence written in a European language?
— Les Misérables, by Victor Hugo. The sentence
runs over 2.5 pages and consists of 823 words, with 93 commas, 52
semicolons and four dashes.
7. What inspired Sergei Prokofiev to compose Peter
and the Wolf?
— The Walt Disney film Fantasia. In fact he
composed Peter and the Wolf for Disney.
8. Although Samuel Morse invented the Morse Code, he
did not actually invent the telegraph. Who did?
— The physicist and scientific administrator Joseph
Henry (1797-1878). He sued Morse for stealing his patent, and won.
9. Which of the following composers suffered from
syphilis: Frederick Delius, Gaetano Donizetti, Scott Joplin, Niccolò
Paganini, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Bedrich Smetana?
— All of them.
10. What is the literary significance of madeleine
— It was the taste of some madeleine cakes evoking
memories in the mind of Marcel Proust that prompted him to write his
13-volume, 1.25 million word masterpiece À la Recherche du Temps