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

Test your knowledge of the week’s news.
March 15 2013 5:37 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 Slatester whom I’ve talked into taking the quiz on the record. This week’s contestant is Slate’s blogger for The Vault, Rebecca Onion.

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

Last week's average score of 347 on the Slate News Quiz was the highest in the quiz's history, a jump of almost 100 points over the previous week. As you can imagine, I find this trend ... disturbing. Could I be getting soft? If your score last week made you a little cocky, let's see how you do on these 12 questions.

Question 1 of 12

When Jorge Bergoglio became Pope Francis, he chose the first entirely new papal name in 1,100 years. Which of these men—from a long time ago and a Vatican far, far away—was the last pope to break in a new name?

Lando, who was the pontiff for about a year during the 10th century, kept his own name when he became pope.

Question 2 of 12

A leading official told the Chinese parliament this week that the country needs to switch over from chopsticks to forks. Why?

China uses 20 million trees' worth of disposable chopsticks every year, warned forestry chairman Bo Guangxin.

Question 3 of 12

"This comprehensive series of tests will show us whether the proposed battery improvements will work as designed," said Cabinet member Ray LaHood on Tuesday, referring to what company's woes?

The tests on the 787's redesigned battery system may have the Dreamliner back in the air by May.

Question 4 of 12

At a brief but emotional news conference Monday, who said, "People are dying every day. This is not a joke"?

A New York supreme court judge had just invalidated Bloomberg's ban on sugary drinks larger than 16 ounces.

Question 5 of 12

On Tuesday, Google agreed to pay $7 million for privacy violations when it collected Wi-Fi data using its "Street View" camera cars. Based on last year's earnings, how long will it take Google to earn back that $7 million?

Google earnings passed $50 billion last year, meaning that the company makes almost $6 million an hour.

Question 6 of 12

Saudi Arabia is considering ending execution by beheading, not because of human rights concerns but for what unusual reason?

The kingdom is considering firing squads instead, since overworked swordsmen have been showing up late—or not at all—for executions.

Question 7 of 12

A whopping 99.8 percent of the population voted Monday to maintain the current political situation where?

1,513 Falklanders supported the referendum to remain a British overseas territory, with just three people voting against.

Question 8 of 12

Wrigley's announced on its website that in April it will debut a new gum with what unusual property?

Alert Energy Caffeine Gum, targeted at tired twentysomethings, will have "a bitter, medicinal taste" to deter children from chewing.

Question 9 of 12

Paul Ryan's budget plan, unveiled Monday, promises to do what by the year 2023?

Question 10 of 12

On Tuesday, 53-year-old Mitch Seavey became the oldest person ever to win what?

Question 11 of 12

Which of these 1953 events did one participant declare officially invalid on Monday?

As tensions rise on the peninsula, North Korea nullified the armistice in response to U.S. and South Korean joint military exercises.

Question 12 of 12

A British judge has banned York University student James White from owning a pet for eight years after he was convicted of doing what?

In his defense, White argued that (a) he was very drunk and (b) the hamster probably died of heart failure before it was tossed into the skillet.

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

Click to revisit answers

Final Score
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March 15, 2013

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Rebecca Onion

Blogger for The Vault

Pope Luke

Pope Han

Pope Lando

Pope Jar Jar

To speed up mealtimes

To save trees

To accommodate Westerners

To waste less food



General Motors


Gabrielle Giffords, about gun control

Ban Ki-moon, about Syria

Rand Paul, about drone strikes

Michael Bloomberg, about soda

Just over a minute

Just over an hour

Just over a day

Just over a week

An increasing number of women on death row

A new interpretation of the Quran

A shortage of qualified swordsmen

Problems disposing of the heads



The Falklands


It's caffeinated

It's bacon-flavored

It glows in the dark

It conceals body odor

Balance the budget

Pay off the deficit

Phase out Obamacare

Complete the Atlas Shrugged film trilogy

The Purple Heart

The Iditarod

The National Book Award

The Biggest Loser

The coronation of Queen Elizabeth

Sir Edmund Hillary's ascent of Mount Everest

The execution of the Rosenbergs

The armistice ending the Korean War

Dressing his schnauzer as Hitler

Keeping his goldfish in bong water

Detonating a parakeet

Frying a hamster


0 points


0 points

Rebecca Onion
Blogger for The Vault

0 points

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



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