The Slate Quiz with quizmaster Ken Jennings: Play the news quiz for the week of Sept. 5.

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

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

Test your knowledge of the week’s news.
Sept. 4 2014 11:47 PM

Play the Slate News Quiz

With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.

Ken Jennings
Ken Jennings poses in this undated handout photo. Jennings finally lost on Jeopardy after becoming the biggest money winner in TV game show history, earning $2,520,700 over a 74-game run.

Photo by Jeopardy Productions via 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-ster whom I’ve talked into taking the quiz on the record. This week’s contestant is Allison Benedikt, who edits Double X.


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

The Slate Quiz with quizmaster Ken Jennings

In Austin, Texas, last week, police investigated an unusual donation to a local Goodwill: a human skull just a few years old. The police think the skull is some kind of anatomical specimen and not related to a crime—but they're still hoping to track down the mystery donor. Even if you missed that important news story, you should still take a crack at the skull-busting current events questions on this week's Slate News Quiz.

Question 1 of 12

In Sunday TV appearances, intelligence committee chairs from both houses of Congress—and both parties—criticized President Obama for what?

Question 2 of 12

What event has Icelandic officials worried about a devastating kind of flood called a jokulhlaup?

If magma from the Bardarbunga eruption seeps under nearby glaciers, the result could be an explosive burst of ash clouds and water.

Question 3 of 12

According to new government statistics, what did 80 percent of Americans do in 1974 that only 56 percent will do this year?

The average American worker gets 14 days of vacation a year, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but uses only 10 of them.

Question 4 of 12

On Tuesday, after a special meeting on the subject, the U.N. announced that "all international organizations (had) underestimated" the seriousness of what?

We are "losing the battle" with Ebola, warned Doctors Without Borders, as more than 400 deaths were reported over the past week.

Question 5 of 12

Where are rebels uniting to fight under a new flag, a blue diagonal cross on a red background?

The flag, seen on tanks, uniforms, and rebel headquarters, represents the theoretical state of "New Russia" on formerly Ukrainian soil.

Question 6 of 12

Oktoberfest celebrations in Bavaria have been jeopardized by the threat of what?

The local union of 48,000 bakers plans to walk out on Sept. 20—the start of Oktoberfest celebrations—if a new contract can't be negotiated by then.

Question 7 of 12

This week, federal judges in both Texas and Louisiana blocked those states' restrictive laws on what issue?

Question 8 of 12

What company launched an ill-advised bucket-list promotion asking customers what they would like to do before they die?

In the extraordinarily poorly timed sweepstakes, the beleaguered airline offered free round-trip tickets to travelers who told them what destinations were on their bucket list.

Question 9 of 12

After a Sunday ruling restricting 2017's election, groups like Occupy Central With Love and Peace are staging massive pro-democracy protests in what city?

China's legislature decreed that all candidates for Hong Kong's highest offices will be handpicked by a pro-Beijing committee, angering activists.

Question 10 of 12

Columbia student Emma Sulkowicz reported a rape to the administration two years ago, but the university found the man not responsible. How is she protesting?

The senior's "endurance performance art" will continue, she says, " for as long as I attend the same school as my rapist."

Question 11 of 12

The FBI has declassified documents related to a top-secret 1950s program called Project Washtub, which organized what?

The FBI prepared a network of bush pilots, trappers, and other undercover agents in Alaska, ready to go Red Dawn if the Russians ever invaded the then-territory.

Question 12 of 12

Last week, a team at MIT announced that they'd been able to use laser pulses to change a mouse's what?

For the first time, researchers have been able to turn bad memories into good ones by manipulating neurons in the hippocampus.

Click to revisit answers

September 5, 2014

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Allison Benedkt

Senior Editor

His cautious response to ISIS

His executive order on immigration

His air strikes on al-Shabab in Somalia

His tan suit

A volcanic eruption

Polar ice-cap melt

A venting geyser

Earthquakes off Greenland

Put away money for retirement

Take a vacation

Get a medical check-up

Use a CB radio

The Syrian refugee crisis

Climate change

The Ebola outbreak

The leaked celebrity nudes





A beer recall

A pretzel strike

A tuba shortage

A cleavage ban

Gay marriage

Collective bargaining

Obamacare exchanges


Smith & Wesson

Malaysia Airlines

General Motors

Sea World




Hong Kong

Texting the alleged rapist's name to 29,250 fellow students

Dressing campus statues in tube tops and short skirts

Filling a fountain with cotton swabs from rape kits

Carrying a dorm mattress around at all times

A secret anti-Soviet resistance in Alaska

Blackmail of jazz musicians

A campaign of false UFO reports

Wiretapping of United Nations headquarters

Sexual orientation

Eye color




0 points


0 points

Allison Benedkt
Senior Editor

0 points

Answer quickly to earn more points!
50 points



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