Think You’re Smarter Than David Haglund? Find Out With This Week’s Slate News Quiz.

Test your knowledge of the week’s news.
Nov. 2 2012 4:15 AM

Play the Slate News Quiz

With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.

Ken Jennings

Photo by Ben Hider/Getty Images.

Welcome back to Slate’s weekly news quiz. I’m your host, 74-time Jeopardy! winner Ken Jennings.

Every Friday I’ll be testing your knowledge with 12 challenging questions on the week’s news events, big and small, including happenings in science, sports, politics, and culture both high and low. The questions are multiple-choice, and time is of the essence: You have 30 seconds to answer, and as the seconds tick away, the question’s point value drops from 50 all the way down to zero, so you’ll want to click on your answer as fast as you possibly can. There’s no penalty for an incorrect answer, so feel free to take a guess if your puny human brain fails you.

At the end of the quiz, you’ll be able to compare your score with that of the average contestant, as well as to the score of a Slate staffer whom I’ve talked into taking the quiz on the record. This week’s contestant is David Haglund, the editor of Slate’s culture blog, Brow Beat, who hastens to add that he may have been a bit distracted this week by the disaster in his home city.

Think you can ace my quiz and beat Haglund? Good luck!

Normally a full moon during the last week of October is something to look forward to: spooky set-dressing for Halloween fun. This week, however, the full moon's tidal effects amplified the flooding caused by one of the worst storms in the Northeast in a century. If you were in Sandy's path, I hope you rode out the worst of it and—now that you've found electricity—can show your mastery of the elements yet again, by conquering this week's news quiz.

Question 1 of 12

One of the first American casualties of Hurricane Sandy was Claudene Christian, a crewmember aboard a replica of what famous ship?

Christian was a descendant of Fletcher Christian, who led the famous 1789 mutiny on the Bounty.

Question 2 of 12

Who made headlines this week for joking, "You know, kids have good instincts"?

In a Rolling Stone interview, Obama said that kids could "look at the other guy and say, 'Well, that's a bullshitter, I can tell.'"

Question 3 of 12

A remarkable shortage of what commodity has led Sweden to begin importing 800,000 tons of it every year?

Sweden uses trash incinerators to heat homes and businesses, but its people are such good recyclers that there's just not enough domestic trash to burn.

Question 4 of 12

The Coptic Orthodox Church voted this week to select a new pope to lead Egypt's approximately 8 million Christians. What unusual process is used to make the final selection?

Question 5 of 12

Fighting resumed in Syria this week after the failure of a four-day ceasefire, called because of what?

Question 6 of 12

Who was sentenced to four years in jail last Friday for what the court called "a natural capacity for crime" and $607 million in tax fraud?

A lengthy appeal process and the advanced age of the former Italian prime minister (he's 76) mean that he probably won't end up serving any time.

Question 7 of 12

What event made headlines on Saturday in Haida Gwaii, also known as the Queen Charlotte Islands?

The earthquake in the British Columbian archipelago produced tsunami warnings as far away as Hawaii.

Question 8 of 12

Scott Forstall was fired on Tuesday, reportedly for failing to sign a written apology for what?

Forstall was Apple's controversial iOS chief, and refused to apologize for the much-maligned Maps.

Question 9 of 12

The world's most exclusive coffee is now Black Ivory Coffee from Thailand, which costs over $2,400 a pound. What is the secret ingredient in Black Ivory?

After the beans are harvested, they're fed to rescue elephants, picked by hand from their dung, and sun-dried.

Question 10 of 12

This week, a new Mike Huckabee ad used hellfire imagery to urge Christians to vote Republican. For what prominent Republican is "Christian" actually his middle name?

Question 11 of 12

Before Hurricane Sandy, what was the last weather event to shut down the New York Stock Exchange for two days?

This so-called "Great White Hurricane" dumped 40 inches of snow on New York, paralyzing the city for days.

Question 12 of 12

North Korea threatened to fire artillery at South Korea last week in retaliation for South Koreans sending what across the border?

An activist group used the balloons to float 20,000 leaflets of anti-North Korean propaganda into North Korea.

You got 8 out of 12 answers correct in 20 minutes 30 seconds.

Click to revisit answers

Final Score
Answer quickly to earn more points!
50 points
50 points
50 points
50 points
50 points
50 points
50 points
50 points
50 points
50 points
50 points
50 points



November 2, 2012
The Mayflower
The HMS Beagle
The USS Maine
The HMS Bounty
Disney chairman Bob Iger, spending $4.05 billion for Lucasfilm
Barack Obama, calling Mitt Romney a "bullshitter"
Lena Dunham, in her controversial Obama ad
Mitt Romney, on the coveted Lindsay Lohan endorsement
Breakfast cereal
Toilet paper
A leg-wrestling match
A random pick by a blindfolded child
A divination using passing birds
A "longest beard" measurement
The Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha
Russian-brokered peace negotiations
Flooding in Damascus
The World Series
Bernie Madoff
Hosni Mubarak
Silvio Berlusconi
Donald Trump
The calving of Antarctica's largest ice floe
The return of an exiled former king
A 7.7-magnitude Canadian earthquake
A naval incident between China and Japan
Unsportsmanlike conduct in an NFL game
Inaccurate tweets about hurricane damage
Comments about pregnancy from rape
Apple Maps
Gold dust
Elephant poop
Human cremains
Karl Rove
Tim Pawlenty
Chris Christie
Meat Loaf
The Great Blizzard of 1888
The Battery Park Flood of 1901
The Armistice Day Gale of 1926
The Unseasonably Balmy Long Thanksgiving Weekend of 1981
Trained cats
Wi-Fi signal
Helium balloons
"Gangnam Style" played at high volume


0 points


0 points

David Haglund
editor of Brow Beat

0 points

Quiz Template by Chris Kirk and Andrew Morgan

Ken Jennings is a 74-time Jeopardy! winner and is the author of six books, most recently the Junior Genius Guides.



Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Photos of the Crowds That Took Over NYC for the People’s Climate March

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

I Wrote a Novel Envisioning a Nigerian Space Program. Then I Learned Nigeria Actually Has One.

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
Business Insider
Sept. 22 2014 9:39 AM Adrian Peterson Has a Terrible Contract, and Cutting Him Would Save the Vikings a Lot of Money
The Eye
Sept. 22 2014 9:12 AM What Is This Singaporean Road Sign Trying to Tell Us?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 8:08 AM Slate Voice: “Why Is So Much Honey Clover Honey?” Mike Vuolo shares the story of your honey.
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 7:47 AM Predicting the Future for the U.S. Government The strange but satisfying work of creating the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends report.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 22 2014 5:30 AM MAVEN Arrives at Mars
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.