Your anti-woke starter for ten! PETER HITCHENS claims University Challenge questions have become too dull and obscure… so he’s come up with his own

In a recent column, PETER HITCHENS complained that BBC2’s University Challenge had become ‘dull’ – with contestants ‘asked to identify bits of garage music, Jupiter’s moons, obscure women mathematicians, African flags or dense scientific puzzles’. 

With apologies to Jeremy Paxman and the students from Magdalene College, Cambridge, and the University of Warwick who compete in tomorrow’s 50th final, Peter presents his own characteristically provocative quiz… 

PETER HITCHENS complained that BBC2’s University Challenge had become ‘dull’ with contestants ‘asked to identify bits of garage music, Jupiter’s moons, obscure women mathematicians, African flags or dense scientific puzzles’

Your anti-woke starter for ten! 

1 Who wanted to name Heathrow Airport after Princess Diana?

2 Which party leader got taxpayers to fork out £1,700 a month in interest on a £350,000 mortgage – on his second home?

3 Which future Prime Minister became a Trotskyist at Oxford?

4 Thousands fled from Communist East Germany over the Berlin Wall to the West – and millions more probably wanted to. But which Briton actually fled to East Germany – and then fled back to Britain – in 1977?

5 Which song, containing the disturbing lines ‘Your love for me is way outta line. You’re much too young’, and ‘You led me to believe you’re old enough to give me Love / And now it hurts to know the truth’, was No 1 in the UK pop music chart in 1968 and again in the Top 10 in 1974?

6 Who stood for the Oxford Union presidency as an ‘environmentalist’ after failing to win as a Tory?

7 Which current Tory Cabinet Minister once said: ‘All I can say, looking at [Tony] Blair is, what’s not to like?’

8 Which Defence Secretary had to be smuggled out of Portsmouth Dockyard in 1981 after being booed, jeered and pelted with missiles by workers?

9 Which politician, who closed down a large part of Britain’s railway system (and who also introduced traffic wardens and parking meters), skipped the country in 1975 – by train – to avoid a huge tax bill, and took refuge in Monaco?

10 Which rock star, now in his late 70s and a multi-millionaire, once told a judge: ‘We are not old men. We are not worried about petty morals.’

11 Who told the Inland Revenue (now HMRC) that he thought ‘I didn’t owe them a penny because I lived near the seaside’?

12 Which radio station broadcast on 266 metres on the medium wave?

13 Who or what were ‘Hullabaloo [right] and Custard’?

14 Which British Prime Minister said ‘I see myself as the big fat spider in the corner of the room. Sometimes I speak when I’m asleep’?

15 Who, when stopped by a policeman for reckless driving and told he might have killed someone, responded: ‘Young man, I kill thousands of people every night’?

16 When was the last time the British Navy fought the French Navy?

17 Why did Winston Churchill (top right) arrive too early for his meeting at sea with Franklin Roosevelt off Newfoundland in 1941, and have to steam in circles for two hours in the battleship HMS Prince of Wales?

18 Why does Madrid, which is on roughly the same longitude as Exeter, observe the same time as Berlin, many hundreds of miles further east?

19 Where can you look into Tomorrow from Yesterday?

1 William Hague.

2 David Cameron.

3 Tony Blair.

4 Miners’ union leader Arthur Scargill’s aide Maurice Jones (Communist editor of the union newspaper Yorkshire Miner) who claimed political asylum there.

5 Young Girl by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap.

6 Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson.

7 Michael Gove.

8 John Nott.

9 Ernest Marples, Tory Minister of Transport in the 1960s.

10 The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards (or Keith Richard, as he was at the time – he had dropped the ‘s’ because it didn’t sound ‘cool enough’, before later reinstating it).

11 Ken Dodd.

12 Radio London, or ‘Big L’, one of the pirate stations which flourished in the 1960s.

13 Kangaroos used as mascots for BBC1 and BBC2 during the launch of the BBC’s second TV channel in 1964.

14 Harold Wilson.

15 Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris, in charge of Britain’s wartime bombing of Germany.

16 At Mers-el-Kebir on the North African coast in 1940. Churchill was afraid France’s fleet would end up in German hands, and ordered British ships to shell French ones to prevent this. More than 1,000 French sailors died.

17 The two leaders were using different time zones. Churchill was using the time observed in British Imperial Newfoundland; Roosevelt was following the later US Eastern time observed in the US Navy.

18 Because the Spanish dictator General Franco was trying to suck up to Hitler in 1940. Franco had refused to give Nazi Germany any material help, so he adopted their time zone in the hope that it would placate the Fuhrer. It didn’t. But Spain is still on Berlin time, which partly explains the Spanish habit of eating very late in the evening.

19 In the middle of the Bering Strait, where the International Date Line separates Siberia and Alaska, so that it is Monday morning in Tomorrow Island when it is the previous Sunday afternoon in Yesterday Island. The two islands, also known as Great and Little Diomede, are less than three miles apart.

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