Below are the answers to the ARC NEWS NEW YEAR QUIZ.

No prizes, sorry.


  1. Greg LeMond. Shame on you if you said Lance Armstrong or Floyd Landis. They cheated.
  2. a) Perth (Perth in Scotland, that is, not Perth in Western Australia)
    b) St Etienne
    c) Genoa – incidentally, Genoa’s other team is called Genoa rather than Genova, because it was founded by expatriate Englishmen. And it’s also a cricket club! AC Milan and Athletic Bilbao have similarly English elements to their name, for the same reason.
    d) San Sebastian in the Spanish Basque Country (the name means “Royal Company”)
  3. Beaten the mighty New Zealand All-Blacks. Wales last did it back in the 1950s. And before Gareth Hills or any other Welsh member thinks I’m having a go here, I’d like to point out that Scotland have never beaten the All-Blacks. Between me writing this, and you reading it, that might have changed. As if.
  4. None. Sir Bradley Wiggins was born in Belgium, and Chris Froome was born in Kenya.
  5. Curling, because of the noise the stones make sliding down the ice. It’s a much more strenuous version of bowls, for countries with a less-than-temperate climate (like Scotland). Try it if you can, but wrap up well.
  6. Ski-jumping. Don’t fancy it myself, but I like watching (not to see crashes, honest!).
  7. Jana Novotna, who was famously consoled by the Duchess of Kent after losing the 1993 final to Steffi Graf. Five years later her tears were tears of joy as she lifted the trophy. Cancer took her in November.


  1. Stroud was sent to Alcatraz and put into solitary confinement after killing a warden at Leavenworth prison in Kansas. Whilst he had been allowed to keep birds at Leavenworth, this privilege was, perhaps not surprisingly, not extended to him on Alcatraz.
  2. The fictional island of Sodor. The Thomas books were written by a Church of England vicar, the Rev. Wilbur Awdry. The Church of England Diocese of which the Isle of Man is part is known as Sodor and Man, and was once much larger than just the Isle of Man (but I don’t think it contained any fictional islands, mind).
  3. Capri.
  4. Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers; and Ruth Jones and Rob Brydon. The second pair sang the song as their characters Nessa and Bryn from the sitcom Gavin and Stacey, for Comic Relief. If you want to be really pedantic about it, the version recorded by the Bee Gees (who wrote the song) was a duet, because only Maurice and Robin Gibb sang on it, and the Welsh version wasn’t a duet because Tom Jones featured heavily on it too [and it was called (Barry) Islands in the Stream].
  5. Venice.
  6. The British Virgin Islands. It’s a British Overseas Territory. We seem to have a few of them. They seem to have one thing in common (and I don’t mean the monarch, or the Union Jack on their flags…).
  7. Black pudding from Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis (fantastic with scallops).


  1. It’s on the Isle of Man. According to the Panorama programme about the Paradise Papers, it was an additional £60 to get somebody out of bed to receive a well-known Formula 1 World Champion’s VAT declaration re his new corporate (or not so corporate?) jet.
  2. Prestwick Airport in Ayrshire. The plane conveying him home to the US from Germany when doing his national service touched down there to refuel, on 3 March 1960. Prestwick was also a USAF base at that time. Bill Kenwright, who is chairman of Everton FC, and Tommy Steele, have said that the latter showed Elvis around London one day in 1958, but there does not appear to be any photographic or documentary evidence of that.
  3. Sir John Betjeman. Back in the 1960s when British Rail were seeking to close St Pancras, Betjeman was one of the leaders of the campaign to save the magnificent station. He also sought, unsuccessfully, to prevent the vandalism that was the demolition of the Doric Arch at Euston. Still, at least the gatehouses weren’t demolished and are socially useful to this day.
  4. Twelve: King’s Cross, Moorgate, Liverpool Street, Fenchurch Street, Cannon Street, Charing Cross, Waterloo, Victoria, Paddington, Marylebone, Euston and St Pancras. Moorgate is probably the least obvious, so award yourself a pat on the back if you got it. Up until the 1980s, Blackfriars and Broad Street would also have been on the list.
  5. The SS Terra Nova. The RSS Discovery (whose masts I can see if I go upstairs in the office and look out the windows at the south end of the building) is the ship most closely associated with Scott, but it was the Terra Nova that took him and his companions to their fate.
  6. A very powerful type of diesel railway locomotive built by the English Electric Company. A prototype was built in 1955 and 22 series locomotives followed in 1961 and 1962. Their high speed (100mph+) capability ushered in British Rail’s Inter City services on the East Coast Main Line and helped create the railway of today. They are simply the finest thing ever to put wheel to rail, in my opinion anyway. And that counts (to me at least).


  1. Vienna and Bratislava. About 40 miles. What’s so significant about that? HMRC has Regional Centres that are closer together… And others, dare I say it, further apart.
  2. Buda and Pest, on either side of the Danube.
  3. Düsseldorf. “Kraftwerk” is German for power station.
  4. The river Tagus, between Lisbon and Pragal. If I’d used its Portuguese name, that might have given the game away. It was originally called the Ponte Salazar, after the former dictator of Portugal.
  5. Munich. The Theresienwiese [Theresa’s Meadows] are the venue for Oktoberfest, which starts in mid-September, and ends in early October. In case you’re wondering, the original occasion for celebration was the nuptials of a Bavarian crown prince and a Saxon princess in the early 19th century. Talk about milking it!
  6. It was sent by General Anthony McAuliffe, commanding the American 101st Airborne Division who were besieged in the Belgian town of Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944. The German commander sent McAuliffe an ultimatum to surrender on 22 December. Apart from the address and signature, his reply simply said “NUTS!” This had to be translated figuratively for the Germans. Happily, the 4th Armored Division ended the siege on Boxing Day, breaking through on the ground after the weather improved and allied air superiority had come back into play.


  1. David Bowie. He left such a fantastic canon of work, so why do I seem only to keep hearing China Girl and Let’s Dance on the radio?
  2. The wearer kneels down and if the kilt just touches the floor it’s the right length.
  3. Their red soles. Alternatively it’s their stratospheric prices. Mrs McFarlane is an aficionado…
  4. Jean Shrimpton, a 1960s model and contemporary of Twiggy.
  5. The late Gianni Versace. Safety pins. Four Weddings and a Funeral. That was the night he was arrested by the LAPD after being solicited by a prostitute in Hollywood. Presumably he wasn’t thinking…


  1. Manchester. In the Smiths song Suffer Little Children, which references the moors murders.
  2. In the church, and was buried along with her name. Nobody came. Incredibly poignant lyrics which are probably just as relevant today as when Paul McCartney wrote them in 1966.
  3. Jesu, joy of man’s desiring by Bach.
  4. Glenn Frey died eight days after David Bowie and as an Eagles fan since before my teens I was greatly saddened. I saw them three times after they re-formed and the first time, at Murrayfield in 1994, they opened the set with Hotel California, which was a huge personal thrill. The last time I saw them, on the History of the Eagles tour in 2014, Glenn was introduced as coming from Detroit, Michigan, “a city where ‘mother’ is only half a word…”
  5. I’m sure there are more, but the two that come most readily to mind for me are R.E.M. and the B-52s.
  6. “I believe in Father Christmas” by Greg Lake, who died just before Christmas 2016. This quiz seems to be getting a bit morbid…
  7. A union card and a wedding coat.


  1. Cow Pie. Desperate Dan, the famous cartoon character from the Dandy comic, has a statue in the centre of my home city of Dundee, where the Dandy’s publishers DC Thomson & Co are based.
  2. He was on a half pint of whisky. Probably the best line from that piece, although René Descartes’ “I drink therefore I am” is another killer.
  3. It’s the real name of the profane comedian Roy “Chubby” Brown. Brown in fact appeared in the series as the mayor of Royston Vasey. The programme was filmed in and around the Derbyshire village of Hadfield.
  4. Sydney Opera House perhaps, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, herds of wildebeeste sweeping majestically…
  5. There are several claimants, but the best known is probably Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, in Nottingham. Parts of the pub go back as caves into the castle rock. It’s not too far from the Castle Meadow complex. HMRC might want to think about making it part of the Regional Centre. Mind you, there are probably a couple of canal boats to be annexed first…
  6. Paul Young.
  7. They were named after serial killers (Sutcliffe, West, Shipman).