Miss France contestants in panic over 'brains test'
Entrants for this year's Miss France beauty pageant have been subjected to a general knowledge quiz which prompted "panic" among contestants.
The 33 girls were told they would have to take the test after arriving on the island of Mauritius this week for the annual televised competition.
The exam included such probing questions as: "Who is the prime minister of France?", "What's the average price of a baguette?" and "Complete the sequence: A, E, I...".
Sylvie Tellier, the competition's organiser and Miss France in 2002, said contestants needed to demonstrate that they were not only a pretty face.
According to the 'Sud Ouest' newspaper, which obtained the list of questions, they were designed to "fight against cliches and to check whether their brains were as up to the mark as their interminable legs".
The new 60-minute test seemed to be an attempt by Endemol France, the television production company behind the contest, to fend off claims that it had lowered its tone by allowing contestants to bare more than in previous years.
When the women, aged 18 to 24, took the exams, "many had the look of panic in their eyes", according to 'Sud Ouest'.
The test involved 40 questions divided into 10 categories.
The most taxing mental arithmetic question was: "You leave for New York on a flight at 2pm (French time) with a flight time of five hours and 30 minutes. What time do you arrive in New York local time given that the time difference is minus six hours?" (© Daily Telegraph, London)