1. When the apartment where she is trysting is hit by a German bomb, Sarah Miles promises God that if her lover is spared, she will never meet with him again. What Graham Greene novel have I just spoiled for you, if you hadn't read it yet?
2. Lasting from December 16, 1944 – January 25, 1945, this doomed operation was called Unternehmen Wacht am Rhein by the German army. What do we call it in English today?
3. Here's one of the most famous religious buildings in the world, as seen from the Mount of Olives. What is it called?
4. Kazuo Ishiguro's well-known 1989 novel about the late-life regrets of an emotionally stunted butler was also adapted into a successful movie. What were they called?
5. In August 1453, English King Henry VI had a mental breakdown and ceased responding to external stimuli. After he recovered in December 1454, people who had gained power during his lapse -- including the Duke of York and the Earls of Warwick and Salisbury -- proved reluctant to welcome him back to the throne. What are the ensuing three decades of civil war usually called these days?
6. Alexander Pope wrote a satirical epic poem in which much fuss is made over the snipping of a bit of a young woman's hair by an admirer. What is the poem?
7. Here's a painting by Thomas Cole based on a very popular novel by James Fenimore Cooper. Its title is Cora Kneeling at the Feet of Tamenund, but it usually goes by the same name as the book. Which is what?
8. It's a story that includes the Council of Elrond, an entmoot, and the Battle of the Pelennor Fields. Its protagonists are eventually saved by eagles. What is it called?
9. You will find it between John and Romans.
10. Here's a section of a Thomas Hardy poem. What's it called?
VI11. What item, forged by the Nibelung dwarf Alberich from gold he stole from the Rhine maidens, grants the power to rule the world? According to Richard Wagner, anyway.
Well: while was fashioning
This creature of cleaving wing,
The Immanent Will that stirs and urges everything
Prepared a sinister mate
For her -- so gaily great --
Shape of Ice, for the time far and dissociate.
And as the smart ship grew
In stature, grace, and hue,
In shadowy silent distance grew the Iceberg too.
12. It starts with "Break on Through," "Light My Fire," and "Crystal Ship." What's its title?
The Official Quiz of December 14!
1. 557: The earthquake hit Constantinople.
2. 835: Rise of the eunuchs in Song China.
3. 1287: St. Lucia's Flood in the Netherlands.
4. 1542: Rise of Mary, Queen of Scots.
5. 1911: Amundsen reaches the South Pole.
6. 1947: Birth of Christopher Parkening, who would eventually become probably the most famous classical guitarist in the world. Now, I find I can only give half marks for "guitarist"; I can't believe that Parkening has ever been remotely competitive with, say, Eric Clapton, Pete Townsend, or Eddie Van Halen for household-name status. As pfly puts it: "Gotta classical."
7. 1962: Mariner 2 reaches Venus.
8. 1994: Construction begins on the Three Gorges Dam.
9. 2001: Ocean's 11 opens for the holiday season.
10. 2004: The highest bridge in the world opens in France.
And I believe our winner, out of small but vigorous field, is gS49! Well done as always to Doc Schnell, pfly, and Susan.