Boxing Day Quiz 2020 – The Answers

Each year we compile a quiz concerning events in law and religion during the preceding twelve months, many of which have featured in our posts. The Answers to the 2020 Boxing Day Quiz are given below. Questions for this year’s quiz are already in preparation.

1. Where and when did a future Prime Minister allegedly break into a churchyard in the dead of night to make an illicit burial.

The full story is in Churchyard Break-in, Illicit Burial and a Prime Minister in waiting: The Curious Tale of Robert Roberts of Llanfrothen by Dr John Morgan Guy. The future Prime Minister was David Lloyd George; the place was Llanfrothen in Merionethshire; and the date,1888.

2. When was it necessary for an airline frequent flier programme to use 1st January 1726 as the date of birth of one of its members?

The cello of Steven Isserlis was registered as a frequent flier, and sent a birthday card on 1 January 2020.

3. Link the eruption of Vesuvius, the devastating earthquake at Benevento, and Brexit.

The blood of San Gennaro failed to liquefy in Naples on 16 December 2020.,  even after the third attempt at Mass at 6.30 pm. In the 20th century the blood has failed to liquefy on three occasions: 1939…, 1944 before the eruption of Vesuvius, & 1980 before the devastating earthquake at Benevento.

4. Which environmental campaigners are better known by names other than:

5. This year’s variant on the Julian/Gregorian calendar question: Locate the place which is one day ahead of the Julian calendar and 12 days behind the Gregorian, observing Christmas Day on 6 January Gregorian and New Year on 13 January Gregorian

Foula, located in the Shetland archipelago of Scotland, is one of the United Kingdom’s most remote permanently inhabited islands. Foula remained on the Julian calendar when the rest of the Kingdom of Great Britain adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752. It adhered to the Julian calendar by keeping 1800 as a leap year, but it did not observe a leap year in 1900. As a result, Foula is now one day ahead of the Julian calendar and 12 days behind the Gregorian, observing Christmas Day on 6 January Gregorian and New Year on 13 January Gregorian

6. When in January 2020 was a town not a town, and why?

The government’s Town of the Year was launched in January 2020; Communities Secretary, the Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, announced that he was kicking off his countrywide town tour in Wolverhampton. Unfortunately, Wolverhampton was designated as a city in 2000.

7. In January, which centenarian was credited with producing over 800 offspring before he finally retired?

Diego the tortoise.

8. When was the European Communities Act 1972 given a reprieve?

On Thursday 23 January 2020, the European Union Withdrawal Agreement Act 2020 – a.k.a. “the Brexit bill” – was given Royal Assent. As Steve Peers observed “the European Union (Withdrawal Act) 2018 had repealed the European Communities Act 1972 (ECA) already from exit day” but the Withdrawal Agreement Act 2020 *revives* the ECA for the transition period.

9. What moved 56km on 31 January 2020?

The EU’s geographical centre shifted in Germany after Brexit. Gadheim takes over from the EU’s former geographic centre, Westerngrund, which is only 35 miles (56km) away. It has been in Germany ever since the bloc grew from 15 to 25 members in May 2004 by taking in mostly eastern European countries The honour of being the centre of Europe stems from calculations by France’s national cartographic institute, IGN. It places the point at 9 degrees, 54 minutes, 7 seconds east and 49 degrees, 50 minutes, 35 seconds north.

10. What is the Court of the Pyx?

The Trial of the Pyx is a judicial ceremony in the United Kingdom for ensuring that newly minted coins from the Royal Mint conform to their required dimensional and fineness specifications. Although coin quality is now tested throughout the year under lab conditions the event has become an annual historic tradition.

11. Who said: “two relevant products…are ‘stuffed’. They look stuffed. Physically they are stuffed, and indeed ‘totally stuffed’” a) John Cleese; b) Private Fraser in Dad’s Army; or a Tax Court?

The soon to be ennobled Geoffrey Cox QC was sacked as Attorney General in a Government reshuffle. He was replaced by Suella Braverman, who, it has been suggested, is “perhaps the country’s leading legal practitioner in respect of stuffed toys”; she acted for HMRC on whether toy animals that contained a sound box that produced soothing sounds for helping babies to sleep were “stuffed toys” for Customs purposes. In Cloud B Ltd v Revenue & Customs [2014] UKFTT 997 (TC) the Court made the Pythonesque statement: “Our decision is accordingly that the two relevant products in this Appeal are ‘stuffed’. They look stuffed. Physically they are stuffed, and indeed ‘totally stuffed’”

12. Which composer wrote 39 operas and other works, but died before his 20th birthday?

Gioachino Antonio Rossini, 29 February 1792 – 13 November 1868.

13. What is peculiar about the Lord Mayor’s Chapel, Bristol?

The Lord Mayor’s Chapel is said to be the only place of worship in the UK belonging to a Lord Mayor and Commonality, and is thus designated a ‘Civic Peculiar’. It does not have a parish or particular denomination, and has sought a mission which recollects its foundation and history, in ways which are relevant to the present age and consistent with being ‘of the City Council’

14. At which station is “the longest bench in the world”?

The Grade II listed bench at Scarborough railway station; it is 139 metres long and thought to date back to 1883:

15. Having waited since 1849 which three came along in quick succession. 

Babies born to a sitting PM since Lord John Russell in 1849: the three being those of Tony Blair, David Cameron and Boris Johnson.

With thanks to Adrian Hilton. 

16. Who knocked from within a building in order to gain access?

Archbishop Stephen Cottrell who picked up his crosier and made the traditional 3 knocks on the west door of York Minster, from the inside this time due to coronavirus restrictions. 

17. Where was “Leicester” this year, and why in July 2020 was this of importance to international travellers?

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Leicester) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 amend the definition of “the protected area” in the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Leicester) Regulations 2020, to refer only to the areas of Leicester City Council and the Borough of Oadby and Wigston. We suspected that this amendment may be problematic for anyone newly outside “the protected area” who wishes to travel to countries such as Belgium for which “Leicester” is a travel restricted area.

18. Link a Church of England bishop, and the discovery of fast freezing.

Beer drinkers will be aware of Shepherd Neame’s Bishop’s Finger, which takes its name from the name of the “fingerposts” pointing pilgrims towards the Shrine of Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. Given the present Bishop of Gloucester’s liking for fish finger baps from the Monk’s Kitchen at the Cathedral, the marketing opportunity for Bishop’s Fish Fingers appears to have been missed, particularly in view of the Birds Eye rebranding of “Captain Birds Eye” .

19. What has the Stockport railway station in common with the one at Gravesend?

They both have a Platform 0.

20. Where, in the Church of England, might one find “the Chamber of Horrors”?

In the Appendix to the 1906 English Hymnal labelled “For Mission Services, Not for ordinary use“. The phrase was used by Ralph Vaughan Williams about these hymns in the EH which he and Percy Dearmer as Editors, were compelled to include, such as I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say, O Jesus I Have Promised, Stand Up! Stand Up for Jesus!, and Take My Life and Let It Be.

21. What word links: courts; hospitals; floors?

Nightingale floors are floors that make a chirping sound when walked upon. These floors were used in the hallways of some temples and palaces, the most famous example being Nijō Castle, in Kyoto, Japan. Dry boards naturally creak under pressure, but these floors were built in a way that the flooring nails rub against a jacket or clamp, causing chirping noises.

The NHS Nightingale Hospitals are the critical care temporary hospitals established by NHS England as part of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in England.

On 19 July 2020, the Lord Chancellor announced locations for 10 ‘Nightingale Courts’ which have been rapidly set up to tackle the impact of coronavirus on the justice system.

22. Name two important applications of the tune “Dear Susan” during 2020

A rendition (x2) of “Happy Birthday”, a..k.a. “Dear Susan”, to the tune was cited as a means of timing hand washing during coronavirus pandemic. It was also chosen as the tune used in the experiments in the PERFORM trials on the general of aerosols &c during singing and speaking.

23. Many organs were silenced during the coronavirus pandemic, but which instrument was first heard in August after a seven year silence?

Fans have flocked to a church in Germany to hear a chord change in a musical composition that lasts for 639 years. It is the first change in the piece, As Slow As Possible, in seven years. The work is by the avant-garde American composer, John Cage. It began 19 years ago with a pause lasting nearly 18 months. The change of chord took place on the specially built organ on which the composition is being performed. The Saint Burchardi Church in the city of Halberstadt started playing the music in 2001 and the last note change took place in 2013.

23. Name a judgment ending “Amen”

Bell Group (UK) Holdings Limited (In liquidation)[2020] WASC 347

24. What links Jaffa Cakes with bread from Subway?

Both were the subject of court rulings on their taxable status. An Irish court ruled that Subway loaves are too sugary to be called bread. A Subway franchisee had appealed for a tax refund, arguing that its bread is a “staple” food and therefore subject to a 0% tax rate. Five judges considered the case, and held that Subway bread has too much sugar in it to be part of this category, and is therefore subject to a higher tax.

United Biscuits (UK) Ltd (No. 2). [1991] BVC 818. Considered whether ‘Jaffa Cakes’, which had previously been zero-rated as food,  really biscuits covered with chocolate and as such liable to the standard rate of value added tax. The court  ruled in favour of the firm.

26. Why should 16 December 2020 remind one of the basics of geometry, (clue: as did 15 August 2017)?

The so-called “Pythagorean Theorem Day” is celebrated when the sum of the squares of the first two parts of the date equals the square of the last part. The last Pythagorean Theorem Day was August 15, 2017 (15² + 8² = 17²), the next will be December 16, 2020 (16² + 12² = 20²)

27. What connection is there between the late Robert Maxwell and safeguarding in the Church of England?

Durham Diocese – Granville Gibson Report. In late 2019 clearance was given to publish the report and a process of ‘Maxwellisation’ was undertaken. “Maxwellisation is the legal practice in English and Scots law that allows persons who are to be criticized in an official report to respond prior to publication, based on details of the criticism received in advance.

28. On a Christmas tree, when is an ornament not an ornament

In ecclesiastical law, and ornament on a Christmas tree is a decoration, not an ornament.

Cite this article as: David Pocklington, "Boxing Day Quiz 2020 – The Answers" in Law & Religion UK, 2 January 2021,

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