Special Sub-Topic: My True Love Guild to Me - 9th Day
|The ladies announce that, for my entertainment, they would like to perform a routine based on music from the 1982 stage musical "Nine". I've not seen the show, but I know the film on which it is based. What is the title of this film?|
8½. "8½" is a 1963 film directed by Federico Fellini, the title referring to the total number of films Fellini had previously directed (six full length films, 2 shorts (worth half each), and a collaboration (another half) - making 7½ in total prior to the new one - making it number "8½". The musical's writer, Maury Yeston, explained that he named the musical "Nine" because, if you add music to 8½, it is "half a number more".
"10", "Seven" and "300" are, respectively, a 1979 romantic comedy directed by Blake Edwards and starring Bo Derek, Dudley Moore and Julie Andrews; a 1995 serial-killer film directed by David Fincher and starring Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt; and a 2006 epic about the Battle of Thermopylae, directed by Zack Snyder and starring Gerard Butler and Lena Headey. It is possible to imagine a musical being based on "10"; less so ones based on "Seven" and "300"!
|The ladies are all dressed in a range of delightful ball-gowns, the brightest of which is a spectacular scarlet number. This reminds me of the song "The Lady in Red", which was a big hit in 1986 for which group or singer?|
Chris de Burgh. The song appeared on Chris de Burgh's album "Into the Light", and was the UK Number One single in July 1986.
The other three each had hits with "lady" in the title: the Beatles in 1968 with "Lady Madonna"; Peter Skellern in 1972 with "You're a Lady"; and the Commodores in 1978 with "Three Times a Lady".
|Once the nine ladies have finished tripping the light fantastic up and down the hall, they understandably need a rest. So I suggest they relax by watching TV. By co-incidence, there's an old 1933 film showing called "Dancing Lady". But do you know who played the title role?|
Joan Crawford. Joan Crawford's co-star in the film (directed by Robert Z Leonard) was Clark Gable, playing the rich playboy who helps her get a job in a Broadway musical. The film also marked the film debuts of both Fred Astaire and Nelson Eddy.
|I manage to shoo the nine ladies out into the garden while I rustle up some tea and crumpets, and suggest they pick some flowers to decorate the table (always assuming they can find any in January). One of them comes back with a specimen of the European woodland plant Arum Maculatum (Wild Arum), which is commonly known as "Lords and Ladies". Which of the following is NOT another popular name for the Wild Arum? |
Eggs and Bacon. Eggs and Bacon is Bird's Foot Trefoil (Lotus Corniculatus), so-called because of the yellow and red colour of the flowers.
The names "Lords and Ladies", "Jack in the Pulpit" and "Schoolmaster" all refer in some way to the shape of the Wild Arum plant. The name "cuckoo pint" is less obvious, and derives from the fact that the flower appears in spring, at the same time as the first cuckoos, whilst "pint" (pronounced to rhyme with "mint") is from the Old English "pintle", the male sexual organ.
|I decide to serve tea to the dancing ladies in the conservatory at the back of the house. Coincidentally, my conservatory has nine sides to it - making it what form of polygon?|
Nonagon. Nonagon is actually a hybrid formation, from the Latin "nonus" meaning "ninth" and the Greek "gonon" meaning "angle". The more technically correct term is "enneagon", employing the Greek word for nine, "ennea". A square has four sides (of course); an octagon has eight; and a pentadecagon fifteen.
|I'm impressed to discover that one of my dancing ladies turns out to be a real "Lady", by virtue of her marriage to a local aristocrat who is distantly related to the British royal family. Which of the following ladies suddenly discovered in July 1553 that she was Queen of England through a similarly tenuous royal connection, but was "deposed" after only nine days by Mary Tudor? |
Lady Jane Grey. Lady Jane Grey's claim to the throne was dubious to say the least, and there is no doubt that Mary's was far superior. Jane was found guilty of high treason, and executed in the Tower of London in February 1554, aged 16.
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) is principally famous for her letters, written while her husband was British Ambassador to Turkey. Lady Diana Spencer (1961-1997) was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales. Lady Susan is an early work of fiction by Jane Austen.
|One of the dancing ladies claims that she once auditioned (unsuccessfully) for the BBC TV series "Strictly Come Dancing". But which of these ladies won the first series (May-July 2004) of the show? |
Natasha Kaplinsky. Newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky and her partner, professional dancer Brendan Cole, beat "Eastenders" actor Christopher Parker and Hanna Karttunnen in the final. Opera singer Lesley Garrett was also a competitor in the first series, and made it to the final three pairs before being eliminated. Emma Bunton took part in the fourth series, and came third. As of 2008, Jo Brand has never been a contestant.
|The ladies ask if I could read them a story. I find a book of Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm, which contains a story about a number of "Dancing Princesses". But exactly how many princesses are there in the story?|
Twelve. Not, nine, alas, which would have been too convenient for this quiz. The story (very briefly) tells how a soldier solves the mystery of how the shoes of the twelve princesses were worn out every morning, although they (the princesses) had been locked in their bedroom all night. The solution is that they had crept out through a trapdoor in the floor, and spent the night dancing (as you do).
|The ladies then decide it is their turn to read to me. Looking through my bookshelves, they find a collection of science-fiction short stories entitled "The Nine Billion Names of God". Which science-fiction writer penned this title story?
Arthur C Clarke. Sir Arthur C Clarke, who died in 2008 at the age of 80, wrote this short story in 1953. It tells of a computer program designed to calculate all the possible names for God, and what happens when it has finished the task.
The other options are, of course, other distinguished writers of science-fiction. Asimov's most famous works include the "Foundation" series; Herbert wrote "Dune" (1965); and Heinlein's best work is probably his 1961 novel "Stranger in a Strange Land".
|It's getting late, but the nine ladies are showing no signs of going home, and one of them has found the key to the drinks cabinet. I'm beginning to think desperate measures are called for... Which Swedish playwright wrote "The Dance of Death"?|
August Strindberg. "The Dance of Death", or "Dödsdansen", is a bleak story of a couple trapped in a miserable marriage. The other options are all playwrights as well: Henrik Ibsen (Norwegian); Peter Weiss (Swedish citizen, although born in Germany); Ludvig Holberg (Danish).
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