Tasked with finding the facts and questions for BBC Two's QI are a team of writers and researchers known as the QI Elves. This year's QI Christmas special will air on Boxing Day and the team have just released their latest fact book, 1,423 QI Facts To Bowl You Over.

Here, the Elves celebrate their favourite season with a special Christmas quiz for the Sunday Herald.


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Here are some festive questions based around the Twelve Days of Christmas, one point per correct answer.

1. What was the name of the 2013 movie starring Steve Coogan as Alan Partridge?

2. Which renowned playwright wrote the poem The Phoenix And The Turtle?

3. What is the French word for hen?

4. The first BBC radio outside broadcast was a duet between a cello and which kind of bird?

5. Gold is number 79 in the periodic table. Which precious metal is number 78?

6. What do you call a male goose?

7. Which figure from Greek mythology was born after Leda had an encounter with Zeus while he was disguised as a swan?

8. True or false: cows with names produce more milk?

9. What was the name of the dance troupe formed by Arlene Phillips in 1974?

10. Who is the Lord Speaker in the House of Lords?

11. What is the name of the Scottish Celtic rock band, whose name is a play on the American Band The Red Hot Chilli Peppers?

12. Who was the drummer in rock band Queen?

13. Bonus question: How many gifts in total are given over the 12 days of Christmas? Five points if you get it right


These questions are based on some of the most outlandish facts from our latest book 1,423 QI Facts To Bowl You Over. But which of the three options is the right answer? One point per correct answer.

14. In 1990, what did the senior crayon-maker at Crayola admit on his last day?

a. He was allergic to crayons

b. He was colour-blind

c. He was the inventor of the biro

15. Why have there been no weddings at St Hilda’s church in Yorkshire for 12 years?

a. There is a bat infestation

b. The Church cat hates people

c. The front door is only big enough for one person to pass through at a time

16. A group of ladybirds is called a

a. Lagoon

b. Lyric

c. Loveliness

17. In 1851 all 436,800 sandwiches sold on the streets of London were which flavour?

a. Ham

b. Cheese

c. Smoked salmon

18. What did Thomas Hardy name his cat?

a. Casterbridge

b. Greenwood

c. Kiddleywinkempoops

19. Who bought six Big Mouth Billy Bass singing fish for Balmoral?

a. The Queen

b. Prince Phillip

c. Prince Harry

20. What did Lamborghini originally make?

a. Tractors

b. Skateboards

c. Ice skates

21. Emma Martina Luigia Morana was the world’s oldest person when she died at 117 years old. How many Italian governments did she outlast?

a. 50

b. 75

c. 90

22. Where do you find the world’s highest concentration of peregrine falcons?

a. The Scottish Cairngorms

b. Yellowstone Park

c. New York City


In this section you can earn two points for a correct answer but if you hit one of the QI Klaxons you will lose 10 points, so tread carefully.

23. What is the spiky bit on a rose called?

24. What is the tallest mountain in the world?

25. How many (human) members were in the Secret Seven?

26. Who has won more Wimbledon titles than anyone else?

27. How many nostrils do you have?

28. Where is the Tobermory whisky distillery located?

29. Which girl guiding group are older than Rainbows but younger than Guides?

30. Who was the author of the Goosebumps series of books?

The QI Christmas Special airs at 10pm on Boxing Day (BBC2). QI’s latest fact book 1,423 QI Facts To Bowl You Over by Anne Miller, James Harkin, and John Lloyd is out now.


1. Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa.

2. William Shakespeare.

3. La Poule.

4. Nightingale.

5. Platinum

6. Gander.

7. Helen of Troy.

8. True.

9. Hot Gossip.

10. Lord Fowler.

11. The Red Hot Chilli Pipers.

12. Roger Taylor.

13: 364 (That’s a grand total of 12 drummers drumming, 22 pipers piping, 30 lords a-leaping, 36 ladies dancing, 40 maids a-milking, 42 swans a-swimming, 42 geese a-laying, 40 gold rings, 36 calling birds, 30 French hens, 22 turtle doves and 12 partridges in their pear trees).

14: b; 15: a; 16: c; 17: a; 18: c; 19: c; 20: a; 21: c; 22: c

23. Klaxon for thorn. Botanically speaking, roses don't have thorns (which are modified branches) instead they have prickles.

24. Klaxon for Mount Everest. It’s actually Mauna Kea, the highest point on the island of Hawaii. It is an inactive volcano which measures a modest 4,206 m (13,799 feet) above sea level, but when measured from the seabed to its summit, it is 10,200 m (33,465 feet) high.

25. Seven

26. Klaxon if you named a tennis player. The answer is Professor Bernard Neal who won the croquet club championship at the All England Club 38 times.

27. Klaxon for two. You have four, two you can see and two more that you can’t.

28. Tobermory

29. Brownies

30. RL Stine