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Spin Control

The ghost of Xmas Trivia Quiz past

Spin Control has most of this week off, but in the spirit of the season is reprinting Christmas Trivia quizzes each day from previous years, leading up to this year's quiz on Friday evening. This quiz first appeared on Dec. 25, 2005:

The worst thing about a political column on Christmas is that many people don’t read the newspaper on Dec. 25 for anything but the post-yule sales, and most of those who do read will not, in the spirit of the season, countenance smacking someone upside the head – even if that person is a politician whom they would say on the other 364 days of the year much deserves it.
If the lions can lie down with the lambs, then Democrats can drink mulled wine with Republicans, and Constitutionalists can eat fudge with the Green Party. And political columnists can slip something else past their editors on the theory that they’re in a sugar coma from guzzling eggnog.
Years ago when I was an editor – on a temporary, fill-in basis for another newspaper that was desperately short-handed because of vacations over the holiday season – I spent several Decembers scanning small-town newspapers looking for news in the hinterlands. Unfortunately, there seldom was any news in the hinterlands in December, so the small papers filled much of their space with short blurbs or factoids about the holiday season.
Over time, I collected enough Christmas trivia to play "Stump the Santa" at any watering hole. Or to fill in a column on an apolitical day like this.
Answer the questions from your own knowledge base. No checking Google, and no cheating.
1. Name the wise men mentioned in the Book of Matthew.
2. In the song "Santa Baby," the singer wants a deed to what?
3. The song "White Christmas" first appeared in what movie?
4. How long had Jacob Marley been dead when he appeared to Scrooge?
5. How many presents does St. Nicholas leave under the tree for each child in the poem "Twas the Night Before Christmas"?
6. What night does King Wenceslaus see a poor man "gathering winter’s fuel"?
7. What’s the name of the ski lodge in the movie "White Christmas"?
8. What is the date for 12th Day of Christmas?
9. Who was the young reindeer’s coach in the 1964 TV special "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer"?
10. What song is Janie Bailey practicing on the piano on Christmas Eve in "It’s a Wonderful Life"?
11. The song "Silent Night" was written for what musical instrument?
12. If you gave your true love the gifts of the 12 Days of Christmas, how many gifts would she have on the 12th day? No fair using a pencil and paper to figure this out.

Answers inside the blog

1. Lose a point if you said Gaspar, Melchior and Balthazar – or even Moe, Larry and Shemp. The magi are neither named nor numbered in the Bible. The names were thought up later.
2. A deed to a platinum mine, which is a good choice because even with the current run-up in gold prices, platinum is still higher.
3. It first appeared in "Holiday Inn," along with songs about other holidays. Lose a point if you said "White Christmas."
4. "Seven years this very Christmas Eve."
5. None. "He said not a word but went straight to his work/filled all the stockings and turned with a jerk."
6. He "looked out on the Feast of Stephen," which is Dec. 26.
7. The Columbia Inn, in Pine Tree, Vt.
8. Most reference books say Jan. 6, also known as Epiphany (see question 1), although some traditions say Jan. 5, which is 12 full days after Christmas. No points if you said pipers piping or drummers drumming.
9. Comet. Subtract a point if you said Donner, who was Rudolph’s dad.
10. "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing," which they also sing at the end.
11. It was written for a guitar, because the organ in the songwriter’s small German church was broken.
12. She would have 364 gifts (or 376 if you think of the pear trees as separate from the partridges) She’d need a large pond for the geese and swans, and probably a zoning variance if she lives in the city.
Here’s how you score: 0-4 right, you’re Grinch before his heart grew; 5-8 you could take Linus’ speech at the Christmas pageant; 9-12, Bill O’Reilly may call if he needs a stand-in.

The Spokesman-Review's political team keeps a critical eye on local, state and national politics.