Our Quiz Archive

Our 2020 quiz was won by: CAROL GREEN

The standard of entries was high: the scores ranged from 18½ (92½%) to 20 (100%).
A link to the answers is provided at the foot of the Quiz questions

Our Quiz 2020, set by Dr Sati McKenzie

The theme for this year’s quiz is Zola’s novel Thérèse Raquin

1. Name five items sold by Mme Raquin in her boutique (mercerie) in Paris.

2. What relation was Camille to Captain Degans?

3. Which two streets are connected by the Passage du Pont Neuf?

4. Where was Thérèse born? (town and country required)

5. What was the change in Camille’s salary on moving from Vernon to Paris?

6. Name two books that Camille read in the evenings after coming home from work.

7. Where did Laurent live?

8. How did Thérèse view the visitors at her aunt’s Thursday soirées?

9. When and where did the idea of seducing Thérèse first occur to Laurent?

10. What according to Laurent, were the pros and cons of seducing Thérèse?

11. What prevented Thérèse and Laurent from continuing to enjoy their clandestine relationship?

12. How did Michaud strengthen Laurent’s resolve to kill Camille?

13. What memento of Laurent did Camille carry away with him as he drowned in the river?

14. The morgue was popular with the general public. Name four different groups of people that Laurent identified during his visits there.

15. How did Laurent and Thérèse (aided by Michaud) convince Mme Raquin that their marriage would be a universal blessing?

16. On the wedding night, what object did Laurent mistake for the corpse of Camille? Why did the presence of François add to his fears?

17. How did Madame Raquin first learn the truth about Camille’s death?

18. What happened to François?

19. How did Laurent and Thérèse plan to kill each other?

20. What did Camille stop to look at in the Jardin des Plantes?



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Our Quiz 2019, set by Dr Sati McKenzie

A link to the answers is given below the Quiz

The theme for this year’s quiz is Germinal, Zola’s novel set in the mining community in Northern France in the 19th. Century.


1. Name six members of the Maheu family, from six different generations.

2. Name three places in or near Montsou where you might enjoy a refreshing beer after your shift at the Voreux, including one where you could get some dancing as well.

3. What was Sir Humphrey Davy’s contribution to the operations at the Voreux?

4. Who/what was Souvarine’s favourite creature chez Rasseneur?

5. In the context of the Montsou Mining Company what is a denier?

6. Name two mines which did not originally belong to the Montsou Mining Company.

7. What was Mouquette’s claim to fidelity despite her many lovers?

8. What was the cause of Hennebeau’s envy of the miners?

9. What was the speed of descent of the cage down the mine shaft? 1 m/sec (b) 10 m/sec (c) 100 m/sec

10. Pair the following into ‘items’ (there may be wild cards!): Catherine, La Levaque, Mouquette, Zacharie, Lydie, Dansaert, Bouteloup, Philomène, Bébert, Etienne, Pierronne, Chaval

11. In addition to providing safe lighting, the miners’ lamps served another important function. What was it?

12. What is the connection between Germinal and the Zodiacal sign Aries?

13. The winding engine in the Voreux was a powerful beast. How powerful? (a) 40 HP (b) 400 HP (c) 2000 HP? (Note: HP = Horse Power AND the answer is in the book!)

14. What was the cause of Zacharie’s death?

15. What triggered the strike at the Montsou Mining Company?

16. What was the silver lining to the miners’ strike as far as Hennebeau was concerned?




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Our Quiz 2018, set by Dr Sati McKenzie

A link to the answers is given below the Quiz

The theme for this year’s quiz is ‘Food in Emile Zola’s Novels’. To make it easier for our members, I have confined myself to three of his novels: Le Ventre de Paris, L’Assommoir and Germinal.

Three clues are provided for each question. The first is a context clue, giving an indication of where the answer may be found in Zola’s work. The second leads to the solution in French, while the third leads to the English translation. Examples are given later. Solutions may be submitted in French, in English or some in English and some in French.

The English terms/phrases are mostly from Vizetelly’s translation, modified in some cases (as defined in the Larousse dictionary) to reflect current usage. I realise that Vizetelly’s translations are not universally popular but have used them as they are well known and readily accessible. My humble apologies to purists.

Initially, I intended to have fifteen rather than twenty questions, but some of the nuggets I found trawling through the novels were so delicious I had to share them with you. If you have half as much fun solving the quiz as I had setting it, I shall be well satisfied. Just keep the entries coming!

Good hunting, bonne chasse!

Food in Zola’s Works

Three clues are provided for each question. The first gives the context (where it occurs in the novel). The second is a cryptic clue (similar to those found in cryptic crosswords in newspapers, perhaps not as elegant); these are to be interpreted in English BUT lead to the same (French) word/phrase. The third clue leads to the answer in English; a few letters are filled in to help you.


Context clue: Léon's nocturnal banquet for Cadine and Marjolin included this delicacy!

Cryptic clue: Famous French resort? Out with the article; in with decapitated libertine. (8)
Answer: COUENNES [CANNES – replace A with OUE, ROUE with R removed]; from Le Ventre de Paris

English: C?A?K?IN?

Answer: CRACKLING; suggested by the definition in Larousse: Couenne: Peau du porc rendue dure après échaudage et flambage


Context clue: Dessert at Gervaise's birthday feast

Cryptic clue: You board an airplane here with gold; province ceded to France in the treaty of Turin. (6, de, 6)
Answer: GATEAU de SAVOIE [GATE +AU (gold, chemical) de SAVOIE]; from L’Assommoir

English: S?O??E C??E
Answer: SPONGE CAKE (Fr-Eng dict.)

  Context clue Clue to the solution in French Clue to the solution in English
1 Used in preparing black pudding, Quenu scolded Léon for not holding it properly. Sounds like a stereotypically Welsh form of address for a man, usually younger than the speaker. (5) S????G? C??IN?
2 A surprise treat for Cécile Grégoire to have with her hot chocolate at breakfast. Fragment of Hamlet’s soliloquy covers disorganised choir. (7) ?R??C??
3 Catherine made four of these to eat down the mine. UK citizens (informal) surround quest missing two fifths. (8) B?I?U??S
4 This gave Lisa’s ham its golden colour. Place of worship, sure? Not initially. (9) T???TE?, ??EA??R???S
5 La Maheude used this to make the coffee go further. This Marx reels, but lacks left pole. (8) C??C?R?
6 A slimy serpent-like sea water fish, eaten fried, grilled or in bouillabaisse; sometimes preserved in jelly. Only half the attendees at church. (6) C???E? E??
7 Cadine's monster lunch for Léon and Marjolin included these. Animal doctor in a Mediterranean island; end of Minos. (9) ?H?I??S
8 Purchased by La Maheude from Maigrat, sounds like a cheese but is actually made from offal. Frog goes east to acquire a degree; tory surrounds beheaded French marechal. (7,de,6) ?RA??
9 Usually flavoured with aniseed, found in Mme Lecoeur's shop; even the flies fainted at the pestilential smell. Ignoring the accents, sounds like the author of Three Men in a Boat. (6) ?er??e
10 Edible earrings for La Sarriette - yummy. Good initially with disturbed genius. (7) ??ER?I??
11 Mme Hannebeau apologises for not serving these at her lunch for the Grégoires and Negrel; the strike made it unsafe for her servant to go out. Suit hire reformed? I drop out. (7) ?Y????S
12 Served stewed at Gervaise's wedding, these inspired Coupeau to a display of ventriloquism. Tiny cut, nearly all going west. (6) R?B???S
13 A sea water fish - hideous with a gaping mouth like a chinese idol. Greek letter in French; lake missing the last. (5, de, 3) ?O? ??S?
14 Virginie's favourite bit of goose. Peerless saviour lacking consonants, shaken up. (4, 8) C??S? S?I?
15 Mlle Saget is reduced to eating these, but her secret is cruelly betrayed by Gavard. A strong duck? Confused. (8) ?C?A??
16 La Sarriette's purchase - an excuse to listen in on the conversation chez Quenu. Six and four top and tailed? Give it a stir. (8) ?AR?
17 This is attacked after Mme Hannebeau's game course. South American timber in disarray; Red/brown shade? Not quite. (6, 5) ?U??IA? S???D
18 A major winter event chez Quenu; in plural, also denotes the produce that results from this. L'hiver for instance includes the French article. (8) S???I??
19 Gradelle hid his treasure here. South African river? No, a little French one actually. (6) ?A??I?? ?U?
20 Being from Provence, Lantier and Gervaise loved eating this with oil, but the others didn't. Very nearly precedes small rodents; bell without book turns around. (10) ??R?IC???I



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Our Quiz 2017, set by Dr Sati McKenzie

There was a lot of interest in the quiz and two all-correct entries were received – from Ian Birchall and Geoff Woollen. Ian Birchall was selected as winner by random draw at the Society’s annual dinner on Friday 21st April 2017.

Mention should also be made of the nearly correct entries (16 of 17 correct) received from Annie Lynn and Jane Davison. Well done and commiserations.

Here are the questions:

  1. Mixed up in Napoleon’s place of exile? She certainly was with an abbe!

  2. War horse, lost in a flood.

  3. A hunchback but not of Notre Dame? He was a prompter.

  4. To cut without end, add gold for a zinc worker.

  5. Abide with publicity? Confused, he was stationed at Le Havre.

  6. Mad about cards? No, money was his passion.

  7. Desperate to be hung, he hanged himself.

  8. He got completely drunk on red wine, what a donkey!

  9. A native of Plassans, his namesake was a famous contemporary of Descartes.

  10. Miner, hero and martyr, he is feted on 1st November.

  11. Thin, lacking energy and sounds fat – a villainous grocer.

  12. This latter day King Lear was cruelly mistreated by his children.

  13. This Sambuc had something in common with David.

  14. Prussian spy inspires loathing without name.

  15. Prosper’s trusty horse sounds a breeze,

  16. Danes confounded in the site of this decisive 19th. century battle.

  17. Don’t be fooled by the big leer. He is a police spy.


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