Friday 17 January 2020

Excite your intellect with the Great Arts Quiz 2019


Alison Walsh

The big man in the red suit has whooshed down the chimney. Now it's time to kick back, charge your glass and recall 2019's cultural riches in books, theatre, arts, film and music. Our incomparable quiz setter Alison Walsh has trawled the past artistic year and served up her customary test of cultural knowledge. Indeed, showing how in touch she is with the zeitgeist, she's added a new category: Streaming. A very Happy Christmas and a peaceful 2020 to readers, writers, artists and lovers of the arts everywhere. Madeleine Keane, Literary Editor


1 The Irish National Opera's production of Rossini's La Cenerentola at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre this November marked the triumphant return to the Irish stage of which Dublin-born mezzo-soprano?

2 "We would be disappointed if it's not carbon neutral", said the frontman of this British band, vowing not to tour their new album, Everyday Life until an environmentally friendly way could be found. Name them.

3 Traditional music star Colm Mac Con Iomaire's album, The River Holds its Breath, included collaborations with a host of Irish musicians. Which legendary impresario produced the album?

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4 Kanye West's new album is "a giant, exhausting shout-out to the Lord", according to music critic Ed Power. What's it called?

5 "I use the themes that different people in Dublin bring to me. People who carry things with them." Said Grian Chatten, the lead singer of Dublin band Fontaines DC. For which album were they nominated for the Hyundai Mercury Music Prize 2019?

6 The splendid Lizzo was one of the breakout artists of the year with her energetic soul hits Juice and Jerome. In what instrument is she classically trained?

7 Billie Eilish's Bad Guy was the song of the summer, making her one of the youngest ever Grammy nominees. What is her full name?

8 Lil Nas X's Old Town Road, in various incarnations, stayed at the top of the US charts for 19 weeks. Which country icon sung on the track?

9 Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise referred to this composer, conductor and impresario, who died in February this year as 'Mr Preview'. What was his real name?

10 Kneecap, purveyors of 'Gaelic gangster rap' according to www.irishcentral.com, hail from Belfast and feature Mo Chara, Moglai Bap and which other musician?


1 Colm Toibin's Pale Sister, which debuted at the Gate Theatre in November, is his interpretation of which Sophocles' play?

2 Also on a Greek theme, Galway's An Taibhdhearc premiered Medea as Gaeilge for the first time in October this year. Who is the author of the play?

3 Nancy Harris's The Beacon was staged at the Gate Theatre as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival. Which of her plays made its debut at the Bridge Theatre in London, directed by Nicholas Hytner?

4 Young Irish actor Chris Walley won an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for his performance in the West End production of The Lieutenant of Inishmore. In what Irish show does Walley also star?

5 Sonya Kelly's Furniture - "three short plays about tables, chairs and people", toured this year, following a sell-out run at the 2018 Galway Arts Festival. To which late comedy icon is she related?

6 Enda Walsh's The Small Things was staged at the Cork Midsummer Festival in June and starred which much-loved Irish actress, whose catchphrase in a certain TV show, was "ah go on, go on…"?

7 "How can you study Beckett and not know anything about Laurel and Hardy?' said this Irish stage and screen actor of his role in the US tour of Beckett's Endgame. He was awarded the Special Tribute this year at the Irish Times Theatre Awards. Who is he?

8 Edna O'Brien adapted her much-loved trio of novels, The Country Girls, for the stage, in a touring production by the Abbey Theatre company. Name her two central characters.

9 Fishamble Theatre company took Haughey/Gregory, "a funny and fascinating slice of recent Irish history", according to the Irish Independent, on tour this year. Who directed the play?

10 Thisispopbaby reprised their smash-hit show, Riot, in May this year as part of the Dublin Dance Festival. The production starred which much-loved drag artist and which spoken-word artist?


1 Bernardine Evaristo and Margaret Atwood shared the Booker Prize this year, with Girl, Woman, Other and The Testaments, only the third joint winners in the prize's history. Which two authors shared the prize in 1992?

2 Joseph O'Connor's An Post Novel of the Year winner Shadowplay reprised the life of which Irish horror writer?

3 "Few writers produce second novels as bold and unorthodox. Fewer still succeed", said Irish Independent critic Hilary A White of this writer's new novel, The River Capture. Who is she?

4 Olive Again, Elizabeth Strout's new novel, took up the story of which of her unforgettable heroines?

5 The Great Hunger is possibly the best-known work by this poet and playwright, who died in October this year. Name this Cavan native.

6 "I have come to think of all the metal in my body as artificial stars, glistening beneath the skin, a constellation of old and new metal." Which writer said this in her debut collection of essays?

7 The International Dublin Literary Award was won this year by which author, for her novel, Idaho?

8 Anne Griffin's When All is Said shot into the bestseller charts this year. Who was her unforgettable fictional creation?

9 The world lost an incredible literary figure this year with the death of Toni Morrison. In what year did she win the Nobel Prize for Literature?

10 Emma Dabiri's groundbreaking debut chronicled her experiences growing up in Ireland, the daughter of a Nigerian father and an Irish mother, through the prism of hair in her An Post Book Awards-shortlisted book. What is it called?


1 Royal watchers were in for a treat with the reprise of The Crown. In series 3, who played Elizabeth and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh?

2 Game of Thrones finally ended this year, on its eighth epic series, with a controversial ending and coffee cups and water bottles spotted on screen. George RR Martin is currently working on the sixth novel in the written series. What is it called?

3 HBO's Watchmen was a critical and ratings hit, starring Regina King as Angela Abar/Sister Night. Don Johnson played her boss, Judd Crawford. For which 1980s TV show is he also famous?

4 Stranger Things returned to our screens this year with its third series. In what American town is the action set?

5 Which Irish actor played the 'hot priest' in the second series of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's smash hit, Fleabag?

6 Dublin Murders, starring Killian Scott and Sarah Greene is based on the novels of which Irish crime writer?

7 Which acting icon joined the second season of Big Little Lies, playing Mary Louise?

8 This series, about one of the world's worst nuclear accidents, starred Jared Harris and Emily Watson, going on to win no fewer than 10 Emmys. Name it.

9 Line of Duty (series 5) ripped up the rule books with its kinetic action scenes and devilish plotting. Which Northern Irish actor plays Superintendent Ted Hastings in the series?

10 Which TV and film star, notable for his role in Peaky Blinders, narrates RTE's documentary The Irish Revolution?


1 The Hole in the Ground, "one of the scariest movies of the year", according to the Daily Mail, marked the debut of Irish director Lee Cronin, starring which Irish actress?

2 "Who allowed you to take… my breath… away?" This film, starring Beanie Feldstein and Kaitlyn Dever, made audiences laugh and critics rave in May this year. Name it.

3 Float Like a Butterfly, directed by Carmel Winters, chronicled the journey of teen boxer Frances. Which boxing icon coined the phrase that is the film's title?

4 Sam Mendes, director of the First World War film 1917, which premieres on Christmas Day, says that it was based in part on his own family history. What was his much-praised debut film called?

5 "Jesus, Mary and Joseph, she's floating, Martin." Extra Ordinary starred Maeve Higgins as a psychic driving instructor in a small Irish town. Name the writing/directing duo behind the movie.

6 Who came out of retirement to play gangster Russell Bufalino in Martin Scorsese's epic, The Irishman?

7 Dark Lies the Island, starring Charlie Murphy and Pat Shortt, is the film adaptation of a novel by which Irish writer?

8 This year saw the second instalment of which iconic animated film, starring Anna and Elsa, which spawned 1,000 toys and dress-up costumes?

9 Keanu Reeves trained with specialist trainers and navy seals for his role in this film, the third in the popular series, subtitled 'Parabellum'. What is the name of his vengeful character?

10 "Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else." This Hollywood icon, subject of a biopic starring Renee Zellweger, said this. Who is she?

Art and Architecture

1 Everyone was a winner in this year's Turner Prize. Why?

2 Te Bourao II, a rare painting from Paul Gauguin, sold for €9.5m at Artcurial, Paris this December. Where did Gauguin paint his most famous work?

3 IMMA at Kilmainham is currently showing PROTEST!, a major retrospective of which British artist and filmmaker's work?

4 A tatty-looking painting, which hung over a hotplate in the kitchen of an elderly French lady was discovered to be a mediaeval masterpiece, selling for €24m this year. Who was the artist?

5 "If I had been born Henry instead of Mary, my life would have been very different", said this Irish modernist, the subject of a touring retrospective, 'Voyages', landing in Limerick City Gallery of Art this summer. Who is she?

6 A simple Northern-Irish farmhouse, McGonigle McGrath's 'House Lessans' [sic] won which prestigious architecture prize this year?

7 This artist's mural, a tribute to the student uprisings in Paris in 1968, was stolen from outside the Pompidou Centre in Paris in September - who is the artist?

8 The Model in Sligo celebrated the 60th anniversary of which prestigious art collection this year in its exhibition 'To have and to hold'?

9 The Tate Modern in London is currently displaying a waterfall, reindeer lichen and a corridor of cloud, all created by which Icelandic-Danish artist?

10 This Irish photographer won the Zurich Portrait Prize 2019 for his photograph Cybil McCaddy with Daughter Lulu. Who is he?

Picture gallery:

Can you identify these artists?


















Multiple Choice

1 Jonas Brothers came storming back into our consciousness this year with which snappy pop number? Was it: A. Sucker, B. Dancing on Cars, or C. Stringer?

2Peter Boylan’s memoir In The Shadow of the Eighth, chronicled his 40 years working for Irish women’s health. He was Master of which maternity hospital. Was it A. The Coombe, B. Holles Street or C. The Rotunda?

3Dublin rapper Kojaque became a force to be reckoned with his album, Deli Daydreams. What is his real name? A. John Smith, B, Kevin Smith, or C. John Murphy?

4The actor Pat Laffan passed away in March this year at the age of 79. For which comedy role is he best known? A. Pat Mustard, B. Jerry Seinfeld, C. Alan Partridge?

5Joaquin Phoenix chewed the scenery with his performance in Joker, one of the most talked-about films of the year. What is the Joker’s real name – A. Andy Archer, B. Arthur Fleck or C. Clark Kent?

6Stormzy’s Crown featuring mentions of Boris bikes and magazine covers, among other things, struck a contemplative tone this autumn. Which festival did he memorably headline in the summer? A. Electric Picnic, B. Forbidden Fruit, or C. Glastonbury?

7  “There aren’t enough words for how much I love it,” said Marian Keyes of Aisling, the unforgettable modern Irish heroine, the creation of Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen. What is the name of Aisling’s café in Once, Twice, Three Times an Aisling? A. BallyGoBrunch, B. Ballygobackwards or C. Ballygobbard?

8Which film was the surprise winner of the Best Picture Award at the Oscars in February. Was it, A. Roma, B. Okja or C. Green Book?

9“For about 40 minutes, I was a Nobel prize-winner.” This Irish author took a cruel hoax on the chin following a fake call from the Swedish Academy. Is he, A. John Banville, B. Sebastian Barry or C. Joseph O’Connor? 

10 Taffy Brodesser-Akner’s novel Fleishman is in Trouble was a summer hit. Her profile of which American celebrity in the New York Times magazine went viral in July 2018? Was it, A. Julia Roberts, B. Gwyneth Paltrow, or C. Kim Kardashian?


Quotes of the Year

Who said what in 2019, with some clues!

1 “Some studios wanted to tone down the sex and the drugs, so the film would get a PG-13 rating. But I haven’t lived a PG-13-rated life.” A famous singer-songwriter.

2 “The End is nigh… but not that nigh.” A much-loved critic and poet from down under.

3“That old version of me that shares unfailingly and unblinkingly with a world that is probably not fit to be shared with? I think that’s gone.” A pop star famous for oversharing on social media.

4“You see this coat? I needed something red and I went out and found this coat on sale. This is the last article of clothing that I will ever buy.” A noted activist and Hollywood royalty.

5“When I was young, I thought house painters painted houses. What did I know?” A mafia hitman.

6 “I was just getting ready to do a deep dive, and all of a sudden, I was just, like, ‘Let me stop before I get started on this — do I really want to let the Manson family into my head, into my psyche?”’. The director of some of the funniest and most controversial movies of recent times.

7 “I am a writer. I come from Tolstoy, from Homer, from Cervantes. Leave me in peace and don’t ask me questions like that.” Said the controversial winner of the 2019 Nobel prize for Literature.

8 “As long as he’s prepared for there to always to be three in the marriage.” The royal who said this in The Crown is not who you might suspect.

9 “I can’t do thrillers and I can’t do spy novels. I can’t do any genre-fiction books, really, none of them. I just get bored with the prose.” This Irish writer, recent recipient of a Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award, received something of a backlash following his comments on genre fiction.

10 “We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” This lady was the doyenne of American letters.

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