Boxing Day Family Puzzler 2013


Welcome to my annual Boxing Day Family Puzzler - the only quiz where no-one is expected to know any of the answers.

All the questions relate to events in the past 12 months and all the solutions are numbers. Contestants must use their knowledge and judgment to get as close to the right figure as they can.

The way I play it with my family is to divide players into two or four teams depending on the size of the party. There are 20 questions and, to make it fair, each player/team should write their guesses down before revealing them. One mark for the closest answer and three if, by some fluke or genius, you get it spot on.

Good luck.

Answers at the bottom.

1. The UK is in the middle of a baby boom. How many popped out last year - the highest figure for 40 years?

2. In 1860 the Royal Mail delivered some 564 million letters. How many did the newly privatised company deliver per day in the last financial year?

Image copyright PA

3. Ozzy the tightrope-walking dog from Norwich became a Guinness World record holder this year. The Border Collie/Kelpie cross successfully crossed a 3.5m rope in the fastest ever recorded time. How long did it take him?

4. How many full-price long-sleeve Gareth Bale home shirts could you buy from the Real Madrid official store for the price the club paid for the world's most expensive footballer?

5. A six-bedroom home in South London, in need of "extensive repair and refurbishment", became Britain's most expensive ever council house this year? How much was paid for it?

Living room friendly offline version of the puzzler [193KB]

6. According to the latest official statistics, in the previous 12 months, how many UK adults were convinced to try that internet thingy for the very first time?

7. What is the latest official estimate for the number of centenarians (people aged over 100) in the UK?

8. How many times was the announcement of Nelson Mandela's death on BBC Breaking News re-tweeted?

9. According to analysis of census figures this year, what percentage of London residents don't speak English as their main language?

Image copyright Reuters

10. Boris Johnson amazed onlookers by completing an extraordinary basketball trick shot outside City Hall while promoting a London competition. The pictures promptly went viral. How many views did the original video get on YouTube?

11. What proportion of elderly people in England will benefit from the £75,000 cap on social care costs announced by the government this year?

12. Crowds at Premier league football matches look set to be at a record level this season - currently an average turn-out of more than 36,500 at each game. What is the current average for matches in Scottish League Two, according to ESPN?

13. The average Brit is sometimes described as the man or woman on the Clapham omnibus. But we learned this year that the number of bus trips taken by the average Briton in a year is the lowest since records began. How many?

14. If you are enjoying a Boxing Day reviver, you won't need telling that alcohol in the UK is more expensive than the average elsewhere in the EU. In percentage terms, how much more expensive?

Image copyright Getty Images

15. James Brown from Nottingham hit the headlines this year for his remarkable collection of vacuum cleaners. How many different models does James have in his collection?

16. Figures for the malnutrition cases admitted to hospital in England caused a stir earlier this year. They revealed, for example, that in 2008/09 there were 30 admissions for malnutrition to hospitals in Somerset. How many were there in the county in 2012/13?

17. David Beckham announced the end of his professional footballing career this year. How many professional games did he play for club and country?

18. According to figures this year, what proportion of conceptions in England and Wales occurred outside marriage or civil partnership?

19. Prince George's mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, was born in Reading. What proportion of babies delivered, like the prince, in the Borough of Westminster have a mum who was born in the UK?

20. John Lewis bought an entire advertising break during the X-Factor in November to show their Christmas animation, The Bear and The Hare. How much did the spot cost them?


1. 812,970, 2. 58 million 3. 18.22 seconds, 4. 879,822, 5. £2.96m, 6. 616,000, 7. 13,361, 8. 78,117, 9. 22.1%, 10. 1.11 million, 11. 4%, 12. 457, 13. 61 (Men 53 and women 69), 14. 43%, 15. 322, 16. 215, 17. 761, 18. 57%, 19. 27%, 20. £400,000

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