In January Riverfront Times published its annual "News Challenge" -- 78 multiple-choice questions testing how well readers paid attention to current events over the past twelve months. Within a week, more than 100 of you submitted your answers to us. A few weeks later a dozen readers e-mailed a similar question: "When are you publishing the results of the news quiz?"
A few more weeks went by and a few more e-mails trickled in. Then a month passed and another with nary an inquiry. It was like everyone (including us) had forgotten about the news quiz. That is, until last week.
We got a call from a "Mike" wanting to know one last time if we were going to publish the answers to the news quiz (stale as they may be) or not?
Today, Mike, is the day you've been waiting for. And, yes, we realize April 1 is an appropriate ending for a fool's errand.
Below are the questions as they appeared in the January 3 issue with the correct answers in italics. Congratulations to readers Michael Watts and Don Weber for your prefect scores.
1. Why did Rev. Fred Phelps' Westboro Baptist Church protest outside of Clayton High School last winter? A. Because the church considers Clayton's greyhound mascot to be a "faggy breed" of canine. B. Because the school invited Phelps' estranged son, Nathan, to speak about his family. C. Because Lady Gaga was on tour overseas and not within driving range of Westboro's home base in Wichita. D. Because Westboro backs Clayton's archrival, Ladue High.
2. What did Democratic state representative Pat Conway of St. Joseph propose to be the official Missouri State Exercise? A. The push-up. B. The jumping jack. C. The filibuster. D. The Missouri mule kick.
3. In order to stop a rash of robberies, St. Louis-area police officers resorted to what unusual method? A. They hid out in trees for better surveillance. B. They stopped issuing traffic tickets at certain times of the day to have more resources available for fighting crime. C. They posed as pizza delivery drivers. D. They used the network of caves in south city as a way of moving from place to place and surprising criminals.
4. What was radio talk show host Dana Loesch's response to reports that U.S. Marines had been videotaped urinating on the corpses of dead Taliban fighters? A. "It makes me so angry, I wanna Hulk-smash somebody." B. [To a caller] "Did you think it was disrespectful? Where was your demonstration when the president sent more troops to Afghanistan?" C. "What, you expected them to wait till they made it back to the base? When you gotta go, you gotta go!" D. "I'd drop trou and do it, too. That's me, though. I want a million cool points for these guys. Is that harsh to say? Come on people, this is a war. What do people think this is?"
5. Which piece of state or federal legislation was actually proposed by a locally based organization during the recent election season? A. Declare "GMO Cornhole" the Missouri State Pastime (Monsanto). B. Institute a $250 tax refund for any U.S. taxpayer with a mustache (American Mustache Institute). C. Legalize "hemp beer" (A-B InBev). D. Make Opening Day an official holiday in the state of Missouri (St. Louis Cardinals).
6. What is Unified Equine and how did it make local news in 2012? A. A racehorse-rescue group that launched a billboard campaign to rename Fairmount Park "UnFairmount Park." B. A Frontenac-based polo team banned from international competition after administering performance-enhancing drugs to its horses. C. An umbrella group of My Little Pony fans (a.k.a. Bronies) whose offer to purchase Grant's Farm was rejected by A-B InBev. D. A company headed by a Wyoming state representative that sought unsuccessfully to open a horse meat-processing plant in Missouri.
Match each of the following responses to Akin's "legitimate rape" comment to the person who said it. 7. "We should sink Todd Akin. If he's found mysteriously murdered, don't look for my whereabouts!" 8. "Rape won't make babies and that is a fact; There's no global warming; the Earth's really flat. We heard it on FOX News so it must be true. Well, Mr. Akin, we say 'FUCK YOU!'" 9. "Congressman's Akin comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong. Like millions of other Americans, we found them to be offensive." 10. "Akin failed a soundbite. McCaskill helped tank the economy. If you think his bad is worse, join the left." A. The Raging Grannies. 8 B. Dana Loesch. 10 C. Karl Rove. 7 D. Mitt Romney. 9
11. In a February 2012 interview with Sports Illustrated, David Freese finally revealed the secret to his astonishing success in the 2011 postseason. What was it? A. His "lucky squirrel's paw," which he carried with him at all times. B. His college buddy Dan Kriegshauser's olive-drab sofa, upon which Freese slept during postseason homestands. C. Never washing his socks. D. Wheaties.
12. What did Mary Junck, CEO of the Post-Dispatch's parent company, Lee Enterprises, do to earn her 2012 bonus of $500,000 plus 500,000 shares of company stock? A. She figured out a way to make money off the Internet. B. She got the company out of bankruptcy. C. She helmed Lee to a mere $26.6 million loss in a single quarter. D. She rehired middle-aged Post-Dispatch staffers who'd been induced to take early retirement -- a move that was quickly followed by an increase in print circulation.
13. When Newt Gingrich came to town for the NRA Convention and took a tour of the Saint Louis Zoo, which animal acted out the collective dream of millions of Americans and bit the former House Speaker? A. Penguin. B. Capybara. C. Coquerel's sifaka. D. Ozark hellbender.
14. Which pop star played both the London Olympics and the Scottrade Center last year? A. Justin Bieber. B. Paul McCartney. C. Madonna. D. Tupac's hologram.
15. Rams owner Stan Kroenke made headlines in the spring of 2012 when he attempted to buy: A. The Los Angeles Dodgers. B. North St. Louis. C. A new toupée. D. The abandoned Chrysler plant in Fenton.
16. Scott Solovic served three prison sentences for sexually assaulting underage girls. When a fourth accuser came forward claiming Solovic had first assaulted her when she was five years old, he protested that: A. It was a case of mistaken identity. B. It was a case of false memory syndrome. C. She was clearly lying, because he only molested teenagers. D. He'd been framed by his ex-wife.
17. Angry protests followed the announcement last year that Rush Limbaugh was to be honored by: A. Having his bust cast in bronze and installed in the Hall of Famous Missourians in the state capitol building in Jefferson City. B. Having his birthday, January 12, declared a municipal holiday in Cape Girardeau, his hometown. C. Being invited to throw out the first pitch at Busch Stadium on Opening Day. D. Having Tower Rock, an island in the Mississippi River north of Cape Girardeau, renamed Land of Limbaugh.
18. Had it become law, HB 1853 would have prohibited any Missouri man from having a vasectomy unless: A. He pays for the procedure in advance. B. He provides a semen sample to a state database. C. He needs the procedure to prevent serious illness or death. D. He has been convicted of legitimate rape.
19. After Akin compared his opponent Claire McCaskill to a dog, his spokesman clarified which breed: A. Bullshitsu. B. Lhasa Asshole. C. Gayhound. D. Xoloitzcuntli.
20. A live version of which venerable TV game show opened in Branson in the spring of 2012? A. The Price is Right B. Dead or In Branson? C. Family Feud D. Jeopardy!
21. In one of the most dastardly moves in collegiate sports last year, Webster University poached an entire team from Texas Tech. Which sport was it? A. Fencing. B. Lacrosse. C. Chess. D. Dressage.
22. A likeness of which beloved Redbirds legend made its way onto the Cardinals' 2011 World Series ring? A. The Rally Squirrel. B. Tony La Russa. C. Fredbird. D. Mike Shannon.
23. According to the website countyhealthrankings.org, St. Charles County has the greatest percentage of what relative to its population? A. Excessive drinkers. B. Road rage. C. Republicans. D. Fast-food restaurants.
24. Hunting season came early -- like in early April -- for the Bootheel town of Kennett. Which critters were on the loose? A. Mountain lions. B. Alligators. C. Ozark hellbenders. D. "Yankees".
25. Former Town & Country police officer Shannon Woolsey sued the town earlier this year, claiming she had endured years of sexual harassment as the only female employee on the police force. Which of the following, according to the suit, did her gentlemanly coworkers say to her? A. They discussed the vaginas of teenage girls that officers would encounter in their daily duties. B. They told her to shut her "man-pleaser" when talking. C. They introduced her to the worst pick-up line of all time: "Why don't you scratch your throat, my dick itches." D. They said all of these things. 26. Researchers at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center are working on creating a vaccine for which common ailment? A. Common cold. B. Psoriasis. C. Stomach flu. D. Beer goggles.
27. According to Saint Louis Zoo president Jeffrey Bonner, what animal is going to live in the zoo's new $20 million polar bear habitat? A. Harp seals. B. Polar bears. C. Kodiak bears. D. Bengal tigers; global warming has rendered St. Louis too hot to support polar bear life.
28. According to a long-term study by researchers at Wash. U., which of the following is the most effective form of birth control? A. IUD. B. The Pill. C. Friends who already have children. D. Abstinence.
29. Had Missouri HB 2051 been passed into law, it would have prohibited the discussion of sexual orientation in public schools, including extracurricular activities, with the exception of: A. Glee club auditions. B. Scientific instruction concerning human reproduction. C. Locked restroom stalls. D. Police interrogations.
30. Stew Clark, Kirkwood resident and director of research for Sweeney's pest-control products, patented a new trap in 2012 targeting what notorious garden pest? A. Cabbage maggot. B. "Varmints." C. Mole. D. Ozark hellbender.
31. Washington University ranked in the Top 10 in all but which poll last year? A. Best college for food (Daily Meal). B. Most dangerous college to go to (Elite Daily). C. NCSA Collegiate Power Rankings. D. Sexy Coeds (Playboy).
32. What was the ultimate fate of "Fast Eddie" Maher, who stole £1.5 million in an armored car robbery in his native England and then spent two decades hiding out in the US before being caught in Nixa, Missouri? A. Deportation back to England. B. Amnesty, on grounds that he had gone so long without getting caught. C. Nothing. Living in Nixa is punishment enough. D. A trademark lawsuit from Eddie Sholar, owner of Fast Eddie's Bon-Air in Alton.
33. According to a newspaper ad that ran last May in the Daily American Republic of Poplar Bluff, what "is killing people 2 to 3 times the rate of smoking"? A. Drunk driving. B. Sexually-transmitted diseases. C. Obamacare. D. Homosexuality.
34. Ethan Barnett, president of Pride St. Louis, caused a stir last spring in the LGBT community when it was discovered that: A. He had been caught embezzling funds from Pride's coffers. B. Barnett had been overheard telling friends in a bar that St. Louis Pride totally sucks and that he was planning to move to a less Catholic, less uptight city. C. Barnett had previously been a member of the Westboro Baptist Church and participated in its anti-gay protests. D. Barnett, who is 30, was dating an 18-year-old high-school student and had pictures of their prom date on Facebook.
35. How did state rep Zachary Wyatt (R-Kirksville) respond to last year's "Don't Say Gay" bill? A. With a 45-minute filibuster, during which he said the word "gay" 105 times. B. By organizing a series of demonstrations in support of the bill throughout the state. C. By proposing an additional clause that called for a compulsory "gay cure" for all members of student LGBT groups. D. By coming out.
36. Dylan Richter scored a really awesome career opportunity upon his graduation from Wash. U. last spring. What was it? A. Lead developer for Google. B. Personal amanuensis to reclusive billionaire Rex Sinquefield. C. Drafted by the Harlem Globetrotters. D. An unpaid internship at Riverfront Times.
37. During last summer's heat wave, the Rev. Larry Rice decided to use which local landmark as an air-conditioned "day center" for area homeless people? A. Saint Louis Zoo's Penguin & Puffin Coast. B. St. Louis Galleria. C. Museum of Westward Expansion in the base of the Arch. D. Schlafly Branch of the St. Louis Public Library (since the Central Library was still under construction).
38. A new kind of perv made his debut last summer, working primarily in grocery stores, demanding what sort of token of affection from unsuspecting women? A. Hugs. B. Kisses. C. A lock of their hair. D. Melon squeezes.
39. What was Akin's main criticism of Claire McCaskill during their debate? A. She fought like a girl. B. She wasn't as ladylike as she'd been back in 2006. C. She made up all sorts of facts. D. She beat him.
40. What was so indecent about Alton golfers Alicia Binford and Shelly Lewis's game last June? A. They regularly forgot to shout "Fore!" and knocked other players on the head, causing Alton police to arrest them for assault. B. They tied for the all-time amateur high score at Woodland Golf Course, for which they won a special booby prize. C. They played it topless. D. They were caught moving their balls.
41. Which local news pair disgusted/amused St. Louisans with their flirtatious promo ads, which included rhapsodic descriptions of each other's laughter and confessions of stalking? A. Jennifer Blome and Mike Bush (KSDK). B. Claire Kellet and Andre Hepkins (KMOV). C. Julie Tristan and David Freese (KSDK). D. Al Hrabosky and his mustache (Fox News Midwest).
42. What do you get at the Clayton restaurant Little Country Gentleman if you finish the Grand Tasting Menu, which comprises ten courses (or thirteen, if you include the amuse bouche and two cheeses) and complain you're still hungry? A. Dessert. B. A sock in the jaw. How dare you complain that chef Mike Randolph has failed to satisfy you! C. A lecture on the hazards of overeating. D. A cheeseburger.
43. In June St. Louis hosted its first fringe festival. What is a fringe festival? A. A fashion festival during which everyone is required to wear fringed clothing. B. A performing-arts festival for non-mainstream acts. C. A celebration of the TV show Fringe. D. A mustache competition.
44. Nathan Grellner had quite a year. Which of these crimes was not an allegation made about the former Valley Park mayor in 2012? A. DUI. B. Evading arrest. C. Embezzlement. D. Peeing on a police car.
45. Why was Missouri Eagle Scout Eric Jones kicked out of the Boy Scouts of America? A. He told his camp director he's gay. B. He confessed that he hadn't really earned all his merit badges, plus he'd hired a tailor to sew them on his sash. C. His Eagle Scout project, a rope bridge, fell apart because of faulty knot-tying. D. It was discovered that he'd skipped from Cub Scouts to Boy Scouts, bypassing Webelos altogether.
46. High school senior Jacob Schmidt embarked on a civic beautification project in St. Louis last summer by spray-painting what objects? A. Sewer pipes used to block off streets. B. Dumpsters. C. Brick walls of abandoned buildings. D. Misspelled gang graffiti.
47. In celebration of its first season in NAIA football, what did the University of Lindenwood-Belleville do to spruce up its stadium last year? A. It installed new seating and a press box. B. It tore out its artificial turf and planted the finest Bermuda grass. C. It dyed the turf a gawd-awful pattern of maroon and gray, the school colors. D. It spruced up its concessions, hiring the same company that provides the Gateway Grizzlies with such novelties as "Baseball's Best Burger", a cheeseburger in a Krispy Kreme bun.
48. In the election last August for the 87th District of the Missouri House of Representatives, Stacey Newman beat Susan Carlson by how many votes? A. 1. B. 12. C. 103. D. 6,486.
49. Which of these was not a factor in the Saint Louis University faculty and student government's votes of no-confidence against SLU president, Fr. Lawrence Biondi? A. Biondi's backing of a top administrator who proposed a controversial plan to reform faculty tenure. B. The university's drop in national rankings. C. Installation of the topiary Billiken on Grand Boulevard. D. The "culture of fear" Biondi has helped foster at the university.
50. In September a French fashion magazine airbrushed what body part out of photo of top model and former Webster Groves resident Karlie Kloss, leading to international outrage? A. Arms. B. Nipples. C. Ribs. D. Belly button. 51. Mitch Richards, the young Republican candidate for Columbia's Missouri House seat, embarrassed members of his party by his participation in which controversial group? A. NARAL Pro-Choice America. B. Juggalos. C. The Todd Akin campaign. D. Show-Me Cannabis.
52. It was revealed last year that a local Episcopal priest, John Kenneth Blair, has a side gig. What is it? A. Baker at the St. Louis Hostess plant (now closed). B. Universal Life minister. C. Erotic photographer. D. Bartender.
53. Sarah VanSlette, a professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, received a grant from the Institute for Urban Research to study what phenomenon said to scare off newcomers to St. Louis? A. Violent crime. B. STDs. C. St. Louisans weird accent that turns words with an "ort" into an "ahrt", such as the pronunciation "Highway Fahrty". D. The high school question.
54. At a Tea Party gathering in October, Akin, former engineer and erstwhile member of the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Science, Space and Technology announced that he didn't see which theory "as even a matter of science"? A. Relativity. B. Intelligent Design. C. Evolution. D. Gravity.
55. The Raelian Movement (a religion that believes in UFOs) held a protest in Columbia last summer. What was the group demanding? A. Permission to turn Mizzou's famous columns into a sundial to communicate with its extraterrestrial rulers. B. Inclusion in the school's religious studies curriculum. C. That women be allowed to go topless in public. D. Tuition waivers for being a persecuted people.
56. Which hockey great purchased a home in west county in 2012? A. Brett Hull. B. Phil Esposito. C. Wayne Gretzky. D. David Hanson of Slap Shot's Hanson Brothers.
57. Lodging Hospitality Management, the new owner of Union Station, is rumored to have big plans for the downtown landmark, including what? A. A Major League Soccer Stadium. B. Expanding The Fudgery to take over the entire mall. C. A museum devoted to the history of St. Louis public transportation. D. Turning it into the biggest nightclub St. Louis has ever seen, with a three-story waterslide.
58. The Wash. U. student senate voted to ban what from campus last year? A. Fast food. B. Hacky sacks. C. Squirrels. D. Plastic bags.
59. St. Louis police chief Dan Isom retired at the end of 2012. What does he plan to do next? A. Become a mall cop. B. Write erotic police procedurals in the manner of Fifty Shades of Gray. C. Be a professor of criminology at UMSL. D. Run for U.S. Congress in 2014.
60. How did KFNS sports radio host Kevin Slaten react to losing his job after some remarks he made about how black voters were "bigoted" because they voted for Barack Obama? A. He wept quietly as he gathered up a few treasured possessions and left the station forever. B. He cursed out the station's general manager and then spit on him, leading to an arrest on charges of assault. C. He went on a violent rampage until an intern shoved a bucket of water at him in self-defense, whereupon Slaten began to melt. D. He exploded with rage. Literally. An industrial cleaning service has been hired to scrub off the pieces of Slaten that are still on control booth ceiling.
61. What did former Post-Dispatch gossip columnist Jerry Berger allegedly do to a man in line with him at a Creve Coeur business last February? A. Aggressively bugged him for "scoop". B. Butted in front of him. C. Grabbed his testicles and poked a finger in his anus. D. Ripped the man's Bluetooth phone bud out of his ear, and deservedly so.
62. Following President Obama's re-election, a group of concerned Missourians filed a petition to do what? A. Allow Missouri to secede from the United States. B. Declare Obama's Hawaii birth certificate null and void. C. Kick Kansas City and St. Louis and possibly Columbia out of Missouri on grounds of being too liberal. D. Move the state capitol from Jefferson City to Rush Limbaugh's hometown of Cape Girardeau.
63. Huzzah! This year, St. Louis was finally awarded an expansion team for which sports league? A. Major League Soccer. B. National Basketball Association. C. Women's National Basketball Association. D. Lingerie Football League.
64. Last winter's biggest snowstorm caused all three major highways to shut down, and there were reports of 240 accidents. How much snow actually fell? A. 1.5 inches. B. 5 inches. C. 9 inches. D. 13 inches.
65. Al Fischer, a music teacher at St. Ann's Catholic School in north county was fired in February after a representative from the Archdiocese overheard him discussing ______. A. His plan to fail a student he didn't like. B. A plot to burn down the school. C. A coup against the administration. D. His plans to marry his (male) partner of twenty years.
66. Why was St. John United Church of Christ thrown out of the St. Clair Church Softball League? A. It was discovered they'd been recruiting players from a local synagogue, mosque and Hindu temple. B. The players disobeyed the league rule against wearing spikes. C. Its pastor objected to extra prayers between innings, claiming it made the game drag on too long. D. Its pastor is openly bisexual.
67. Which of the following is not an actual quote from Akin's concession speech? A. "I thank God, who makes no mistakes. To God goes the honor and the glory. God is the true writer of history." B. "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness all come from the almighty God, not the almighty government." C. "Claire McCaskill was a formidable opponent, and I wish her well in the Senate." D. "It's inexcusable to betray your fellow Americans to terrorists when they could've been rescued!"
68. How did Russ Carnahan respond to opponent Lacy Clay's "30 Days of Differences" Facebook campaign last summer in which a series of tagged and unflattering posts about Carnahan appeared on Carnahan's own wall? A. He launched his own Facebook campaign against Clay. B. He untagged all of Clay's posts (or had one of his interns do it). C. He wrote a number of increasingly-threatening posts on Clay's wall, all of which were some variation on "Stop fucking up my wall, man." D. He deleted his entire Facebook profile.
69. What did engineers determine was causing the strange stains on the Arch? A. Acid rain. B. Inadequate cleaning and polishing after erection. C. Too many tourists rubbing the Arch for good luck. D. The strange chemical reaction between stainless steel and bird crap.
70. Mizzou freshman Kevin Waida was discovered to have stolen what from his classmates last year? A. 200 pairs of women's underpants. B. 200 grams of weed. C. 200 cans of beer. D. 200 pizzas.
71. As has become his custom, Mayor Slay placed a bet with San Francisco mayor Edwin Lee over the outcome of the National League Championship Series that required the loser (it turned out to be Slay) to make the ultimate sacrifice. What was it? A. Don full Victorian mourning attire. B. Change his Twitter avatar to the logo of the winning team for one day. C. Auction off his season baseball tickets. (The proceeds would, of course, go to charity.) D. Eat the most disgusting local delicacy from the winner's city.
72. What alleged practice caused the RFT to dub Mitchell Kerman the "Scamwich Artist"? A. He sold Pappy's Smokehouse barbecue as his own from the back of a pickup truck. B. He left exquisite pencil sketches of his servers in lieu of paying his checks. C. He demanded compensation for wrong orders that he'd never actually made. D. He phoned in prank carryout and delivery orders under the name Phil Ateme.