The Big Bang Quiz

Astrophysics, macaws & Shakespeare

Season 01 of TOPIA is inspired by The Big Bang. These 50 questions are very loosely based around the cosmic alchemy within. A bit too loosely in places

Are you universally challenged? Is your whole life pointless? Are you the weakest link? (Insert other weak quiz show pun.)

Everybody loves a quiz, except for those who don’t, and they just don’t know the answers. Quizzes show us who the best people in the world are and therefore who to follow and respect, and who to look down on for not knowing the capital of Botswana (Gaborone. Think of Zsa Zsa Gabor eating a Toblerone). This is important. 

This tricky 50-question quiz promises to put your general knowledge to the test. Especially knowledge of geography and the Universe, which is kind of geography too. And some parrots. We’ve thrown in some pop music to keep it hip, though probably lost all hipness with that last line.

Quiz S01
TOPIA quizmasters working on the sequence of questions

If you get 50 out of 50, you get to guest edit the next season of TOPIA. Good luck.


(PS. Don’t scroll too far, too fast, or you’ll hit the answers.)

Banging questions

This first edition of TOPIA is themed on The Big Bang. But how much do you know about astrophysics? Just kidding, but are the following: a) Moons of the Solar System b) Shakespeare characters c) Both or d) Totally made up?

  1. Phobos and Deimos
  2. Mercutio and Tybalt
  3. Thebe and Sponde
  4. Phoebe and Janus
  5. Pan and Pandora
  6. Oberon and Titania
  7. Hugh Oatcake and Dogberry
  8. Huge Beefcake and Dangleberry
  9. Desdemona and Portia.
  10. S/2004 S20 and S/2015 (136472) 1

A Matter of Good

TOPIA is a place where anything goes – as long as it’s good. Name these books, songs, and films with “good” in their titles:

  1. 1915 novel by Ford Madox Ford that is not set in a German spa, unlike the film with the same name
  2. 1997 film starring Robin Williams, not to be confused with 1987 film starring Robin Williams
  3. 1987 film starring Robin Williams, not to be confused with 1997 film starring Robin Williams
  4. 2001 novel by Nick Hornby about the angriest man in Holloway
  5. Film that gave us the Jack Nicholson line “You can’t handle the truth!” You can’t handle the truth!
  6. Last song on the Beatles’ White Album, though the Carpenters did the superior version
  7. Jack Nicholson again, but with Helen Hunt in 1997 (you couldn’t make this nowadays)
  8. Correct title of the James Brown song “I Feel Good”, pedants
  9. Christopher Isherwood novel about life in Germany, adapted much later into the musical Cabaret
  10. Amy Winehouse song, also performed by Arctic Monkeys but sadly not by the Carpenters

Cities of Kings

These cities all feature in this season of TOPIA.
Can you name them?

  1. Known for a time as Ciudad de los Reyes, the Andes are to the east and the Pacific tsunami gates to the west. The oldest university on the continent is here as well as a stunning food scene.
  2. Named after someone’s Auntie Jane, they call it The Gateway to Mexico, unless you’re heading north, I guess. Popular for medical tourism and its Baja Med cuisine.
  3. Birthplace of George Best, Van Morrison, the Titanic and Michelin-starred The Muddlers Club.
  4. In the song “America” in West Side Story, Rosalía says she likes this city and will drive a Buick through it (if there’s a road she can drive on.)
  5. On the Yamuna river, home to the Lotus Temple, the airport is named after the country’s first woman prime minister.

And away from the cities,
can you untangle these areas of natural beauty?


ZZ Top Marks!

This season features a story about the time 21 people were struck by lightning in Zimbabwe.
But can you name these other place names that begin with Z?

  1. African island, birthplace of Freddie Mercury
  2. Second most populous city in the former Yugoslavia
  3. Swiss city where Alain de Botton was born and James Joyce died
  4. African country that rhymes with another African country
  5. Spanish city, capital of the Aragon region

Hang on, there aren’t many famous place names that begin with Z, unless you’re a Zhongguo tong (an expert on China).
So, can you name these places that end with Z?

There aren’t many of these either, to be fair.

  1. Spanish port from which Christopher Columbus sailed on voyages 2 and 4
  2. Spanish city only 36km from question 6, the home of sherry
  3. Moroccan city and hat
  4. German city that used to be called Karl Marx-Stadt
  5. Highest capital city in the world, also home to the world’s largest urban cable car network

Connect FIVE

Now the hard part. Can you work out what links the following things that all appear one way or another in the first issue of TOPIA?

  1. Arctic, Great Plains, Tundra, Ethiopian, Iberian
  2. Red-shouldered, hyacinth, blue and yellow, Spix’s, military
  3. Frederick Cook (probably not), Robert Peary (possibly), Roald Amundsen, Erling Kagge, Thomas Ulrich and (definitely)
  4. Tarrant Hightopp, Dodo, Mock Turtle, The Dormouse, Gryphon
  5. Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco, Simon Helberg, Kunal Nayyar
  6. Q (5) CH (5), LL (8), Ñ (8), RR (8)
  7. Superconductor, Thomson & Craighead, Troika, Liliane Lijn, Suzanne Treister
  8. Eelgrass, sargassum, stoneworts, kelp, bladderwrack
  9. Fuji, Cumbre Vieja, Yellowstone Caldera, La Garita Caldera, Lake Toba
  10. Miami, San Juan, Bermuda (Yes there are only 3 in this question)


A quiz technician checks the computer’s answer storage rolls are all oriented “answer hangs down the front” – incorrect orientation of a single roll would wipe the whole quiz

Are you sure you want to see the answers?

Banging ANSWERs

  1. Phobos and Deimos are the moons of Mars
  2. Mercutio and Tybalt are characters from Romeo & Juliet. Tybalt kills Mercutio! Bad moon!
  3. Thebe and Sponde are two of the many moons of Jupiter
  4. Phoebe and Janus are moons of Saturn. Phoebe is also a character in Friends, but that wasn’t written by Shakespeare
  5. These really sound like Shakespeare characters, but they’re not! They’re moons of Saturn, again
  6. King and Queen of the fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dreams AND moons of Uranus. A real power couple. Never out of the Daily Mail
  7. They sound made up, and they are! That is, made up by Mr Shakespeare for his play Much Ado About Nothing
  8. OK I made these up
  9. Once again, Shakespeare characters AND moons of Uranus. Uranus has a lot of moons named after Shakespeare characters, or at least that’s what people are saying
  10. Yeah these are moons, and not very poetically named ones either


  1. The Good Soldier
  2. Good Will Hunting
  3. Good Morning Vietnam
  4. How To Be Good
  5. A Few Good Men
  6. Goodnight
  7. As Good As It Gets
  8. I Got You (I Feel Good)
  9. Goodbye to Berlin
  10. You Know I’m No Good

ANSWERS of Kings

  1. Lima
  2. Tijuana
  3. Belfast
  4. San Juan
  5. Delhi

and the naturally beautiful areas:

  1. Patagonia
  2. Himalayas
  3. Lake District
  4. Angel Falls
  5. Antarctica

ZZ Top Answers! 

  1. Zanzibar
  2. Zagreb
  3. Zürich
  4. Zambia
  5. Zaragoza

and the end-in-zeds:

  1. Cádiz
  2. Jerez
  3. Fez
  4. Chemnitz
  5. La Paz.

Connect FIVE

  1. Wolves
  2. Macaws
  3. Made it to the North Pole
  4. Alice in Wonderland
  5. The Big Bang Theory
  6. Tiles and their values in Spanish Scrabble
  7. Artists
  8. Algae
  9. Super volcanoes
  10. Triangles

Back to the quiz! ↑ Back to Round 5

Questions by Daniel Tunnard. Answers also by Daniel Tunnard.

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