2020: the quiz of the year

Kim Kardashian’s unique talent, the return of AC/DC, that mysterious drive to Barnard Castle… How well can you recall the past year? Take our quiz to find out.

In May, which Co Durham attraction was momentarily the UK’s most reviewed tourist spot?

Durham Cathedral

The world’s oldest working railway, at Tanfield

Barnard Castle

Teesdale Alpaca Farm

In November, the Russian state aviation authority recommended that Aeroflot immediately sack an executive of their budget airline Pobeda. Why?

The airline transported a live bear in the flight compartment

The airline advertised a discount for gay and lesbian passengers, in protest at homophobic legislation

The airline produced an instructional video for staff showing them how to make homemade PPE out of serviettes, vodka and shoelaces

An airplane carrying 102 passengers deviated from its route to trace a flight path which resembled a scrotum on a flight-tracking app

The BBC’s adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People was one of lockdown’s biggest TV hits. Following its success, which item fetched a reported €70,000 (£63,700) in a charity auction in June?

Connell’s neck chain

Marianne’s notebook

A vial containing both their tears

A generalised sense of horny ennui

John Banville courted controversy this year by saying authors like him are unlikely to win the Booker prize because the “woke religious cult” within the literary establishment is suspicious of straight, white men. Perhaps confirming that bias, which former Booker prize winner has called Banville’s collected works “an embarrassment and a deep source of shame”?

Hilary Mantel

Bernardine Evaristo

Roddy Doyle

John Banville

In September, American teacher Wesley Barnes was arrested in Koh Chang, Thailand, charged with what offence?

Impersonation of a police officer, after he attended a fancy dress party as the T-1000 cyborg from the Terminator movies

“Criminal defamation,” after he left a negative review on Tripadvisor for a resort hotel

“Romantic fraud”, after he misled his former fiancée about his salary and career prospects

“Possession of arson equipment”, after he was found to have a liquid fuel cigarette lighter in his possession shortly after their proscription

Brazilian senator Chico Rodrigues was arrested in October, when, during a raid on his property, police allegedly discovered:

Diamonds worth $25,000 (£18,700) hidden in his cat’s collar

Cocaine and amphetamines worth $5,000 hidden in a fake lighter like you used to see on sale in gadget shops

Almost 30,000 reais (£4,100) in cash hidden “inside his underwear, near his buttocks”

A version of Edvard Munch’s The Scream, which was stolen in Oslo in 2016, and thought lost

Keeping Up with the Kardashians ended after 19 seasons this year. Which unlikely talent does star Kim Kardashian West claim to possess?

She can see other people’s “emotional energy”

She can smell people’s dental cavities

She can hear dogs’ thoughts

She can taste rainbows

How was a serious train crash averted in Rotterdam in October this year?

A train crashing through a stop barrier came to rest on a conveniently placed sculpture of a whale

A train hit a car deliberately abandoned on the track, which prevented it from derailing

An engine fire was extinguished by convenient torrential rain

A runaway train was halted by a helicopter using a winch

Conservative MP Gary Sambrook hit the headlines when he complained about which unkind graffiti in his constituency?

Gary Sambrook claps when the plane lands

Gary Sambrook eats big dinners

Gary Sambrook sells Avon round the doors

Gary Sambrook likes Bounties

Which of the following real politicians is the Ukip candidate in the 2021 London Mayoral election?

Dick Braine

Peter Gammons

Mark Reckless

Pat Mountain

Giovanna Fletcher won this year’s I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here which, due to Covid-19, was moved to Wales. Coincidentally, Wales has long been used as a reference measurement for deforestation. At 12m hectares, how much rainforest is destroyed every year?

An area half the size of Wales

An area twice the size of Wales

An area six times the size of Wales

An area exactly the size of Wales

In June, Liverpool became the champions of England for the first time since the 89-90 season. Which of these players in their title-winning squad was not alive when they last won the top division title?

Dejan Lovren

Adam Lallana

James Milner

Jordan Henderson

2020 saw the death of cinema legend Sean Connery. Before starring as James Bond and becoming one of the world’s best-known actors, he had a varied career path. Which of the following is not a job that he previously held?


Coffin polisher


Nude model

Taylor Swift had this year’s highest-selling albums with Folklore and Evermore and garnered critical plaudits for her tender, emotional and introspective songwriting. As a child, growing up on her parents’ Christmas tree farm, Swift displayed particular tenderness to which unusual pet(s)?

Several hermit crabs

Three bees

One two-toed sloth

An entire nest of carpenter ants

The infamous “R number” became a household initial this year, but what does it actually stand for?



Rate (of propagation)


All Blacks forward Ardie Savea was in trouble with his team doctor in January over fears he could exacerbate his knee injury by doing what?

Entering the New Zealand version of Strictly

Posting dance videos on TikTok

Taking part in a motorcycle human pyramid

Jumping from Auckland Harbour Bridge in a wingsuit, which is exactly what it sounds like

Inventor “Mad Mike” Hughes died in February after he did what?

Crashed his steam-powered home-made rocket attempting to prove the world is flat

Deliberately infected himself with Ebola in order to prove the efficacy of his UV light cure

Jumped into the Grand Canyon to test his Mandalorian-style jetpack

Leapt from the top of the Luxor Las Vegas casino to promote his wingsuit

Bite-sized streaming service Quibi shut down after just six months and $1.75bn worth of investment raised by Hollywood mogul Jeffrey Katzenberg. Viewers complained its 15-minute long offerings were mystifying and unwatchable. Which of the following is not a real Quibi show?

Gayme Show – a LBGTQ-friendly quiz in which non-gay celebrities compete to be crowned “Queen of the Straights”

Dishmantled – a cookery show where chefs are shot in the face with food cannons

Golden Arm – a thriller directed by Sam Raimi in which Rachel Brosnahan falls in love with her golden prosthetic

Dustin for Prince – a music show in which Dustin Hoffman shares highlights from the life and times of The Artist Formerly, and later presently, Known As Prince

The daughter of which notorious criminal launched a fashion line and craft ale in January, named after her notorious father?

Pablo Escobar

Alejandro “El Chapo” Guzman

John Gotti

Christy “the Dapper Don” Kinahan

AC/DC made a triumphant comeback in 2020. Along with guitarist Malcolm Young’s passing, several other things have changed for the band. Which of the following things has not happened since the band last reformed?

Singer Brian Johnson went deaf

Rhythm guitarist Angus Young paid a $500,000 ransom for his trademark school uniform which was stolen in a burglary in the band’s offices

Guns N’ Roses’ frontman Axl Rose performed lead vocals for numerous tour dates

Drummer Phil Rudd was charged with attempting to procure a murder, and later convicted of making threats to kill

What was remarkable about the Oxford English Dictionary’s announcement of its Word of the Year for 2020?

The word was actually a graph showing how best to “flatten the curve”

It was spelled wrong

It was a number

It was a list of entries, as “2020 has been filled with new words unlike any other”

Cinema had a desultory year in 2020. Last year’s bestselling movie Avengers: Endgame is the number one highest-grossing film of all time. The previous year’s Avengers: Infinity War is fifth. Where does 2020’s highest grossing movie, the Chinese war epic, The Eight Hundred, sit on the all-time rankings list?





Scots Wikipedia – the Wikipedia for speakers of the Scots language – was embroiled in controversy this August when what was discovered about 120,000 edits on its pages?

They were actually written in Irish

They were made by an American teenager who cannot speak Scots

Every single one consisted of changing the name Rabbie Burns to “Big Billy Bawbag”

They contained secretly coded anti-English messaging

23 and above.

Quiz superstar! Give yourself a big round of applause

22 and above.

Quiz superstar! Give yourself a big round of applause

21 and above.

Quiz superstar! Give yourself a big round of applause

20 and above.

Quiz superstar! Give yourself a big round of applause

19 and above.

Quiz superstar! Give yourself a big round of applause

18 and above.

Quiz superstar! Give yourself a big round of applause

17 and above.

Quiz superstar! Give yourself a big round of applause

16 and above.

Quiz superstar! Give yourself a big round of applause

15 and above.

Well done! You pass the 2020 test

14 and above.

Well done! You pass the 2020 test

13 and above.

Well done! You pass the 2020 test

12 and above.

Not bad for 2020

11 and above.

Not bad for 2020

10 and above.

Not bad for 2020

9 and above.

Not bad for 2020

8 and above.

Not bad for 2020

7 and above.

Not bad for 2020

6 and above.

Not bad for 2020

5 and above.

Uh oh! Try again in 2021

4 and above.

Uh oh! Try again in 2021

3 and above.

Uh oh! Try again in 2021

2 and above.

Uh oh! Try again in 2021

1 and above.

Uh oh! Try again in 2021

0 and above.

Uh oh! Try again in 2021

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