The Slate Quiz with quizmaster Ken Jennings: Play the news quiz for the week of Jan. 4.

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

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

Test your knowledge of the week’s news.
Jan. 4 2013 5:36 AM

Play the Slate News Quiz

With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.

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 Slate science editor Laura Helmuth.


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

The dying days of the winter holidays typically make for a slow news week, but this year even Congress—not always a symbol of tireless diligence—made New Year's a working holiday. I hope you didn't celebrate too hard to keep track of the latest-breaking events of 2012 and the first ones of 2013. Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind? Not as long as the Slate News Quiz is around.

Question 1 of 12

"I'm willing to get this done," said Sen. Mitch McConnell on Sunday, "but I need a dance partner." Who became McConnell's "dance partner" in new fiscal cliff negotiations that night?

The vice president had worked with McConnell to hammer out similar down-to-the-wire fiscal deals in 2010 and 2011.

Question 2 of 12

"2013" is the first calendar year in a long time to be composed of four sequential digits (in this case, 0, 1, 2, and 3). How long ago was the last such year?

It hasn't happened since 1432.

Question 3 of 12

Neurobiologists at the University of Rochester announced this week that which of these could be a cause of Alzheimer's disease?

Working at NASA, the scientists learned that deep-space radiation had serious cognitive impact on mice, a discovery that could affect manned missions to Mars and beyond.

Question 4 of 12

In retaliation for U.S. legislation condemning Russian human rights abuses, Vladimir Putin signed a bill last Friday banning what from Russia?

Question 5 of 12

What is the Kulluk, grounded on Monday due to stormy conditions?

There is currently no sign of leakage from the drilling ship, which ran aground near Kodiak Island.

Question 6 of 12

What famed 88-year-old, who celebrated his 80th and 85th birthdays by taking up skydiving, spent the holidays in intensive care with a bronchitis scare?

The recovering former president, who was moved out of intensive care on Saturday, has been in good spirits and "even singing," said his spokesman.

Question 7 of 12

Belgian authorities have announced plans to charge what group, whose European arm is based in Brussels, as a criminal organization?

Prosecutors expect to charge the religious organization on counts including extortion, fraud, and illegally practicing medicine.

Question 8 of 12

In an attempt to resolve the fiscal cliff stand-off, Starbucks instructed its Beltway-area baristas to write what Beatles song title on every coffee cup served?

The crisis was resolved within the week, no doubt thanks in large part to Starbucks' heroic efforts.

Question 9 of 12

United Nations peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi warned Sunday that 100,000 people could die next year due to strife in what country?

Brahimi said that Syria is doomed to "hell" if a political deal can't be reached soon.

Question 10 of 12

Last Friday, Japan's Jirouemon Kimura became the longest-lived man in world history at 115 years, 253 days. To what personal motto does he attribute his longevity?

Rice porridge and miso soup make up a typical meal for Kimura, who was born in 1897, with Queen Victoria still on the British throne.

Question 11 of 12

If actress Kate Winslet takes her new husband's last name, what will her new surname be?

Ned Rocknroll (the former Ned Smith) is his uncle Richard Branson's "Head of Astronaut Relations and Marketing."

Question 12 of 12

Marching crowds in Hong Kong donned what unusual garb on New Year's Day to protest the city's controversial chief executive Leung Chun-ying?

The long-nosed masks refer to accusations that Leung has lied in an ongoing scandal over building projects at his home.

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

Click to revisit answers

Final Score
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January 4, 2013
Harry Reid
Joe Biden
Richard Durbin
Michael Flatley
Almost 60 years
Almost 150 years
Almost 300 years
Almost 600 years
Heavy metal music
Space travel
Tanning salons
American adoptions
Mormon missionaries
Coca-Cola products
Any offspring of Kim and Kanye
A Russian space launch
A Burmese refugee boat
A solar-powered plane flying around the world
An oil rig off Alaska
Hugh Hefner
George H.W. Bush
Bob Barker
Pope Benedict XVI
"Come Together"
"Don't Let Me Down"
"Fixing a Hole"
"You Never Give Me Your Money"
Democratic Republic of the Congo
South Sudan
"Wake with the morning birds"
"Eat light to live long"
"Hot tea, cold bath"
"Bros before hos"
Butterfly wings
Mexican sombreros
Pinocchio masks
Clown shoes


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Laura Helmuth
Slate's science and health editor

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Quiz Template by Chris Kirk and Andrew Morgan