Joy Bhattacharjya | Updated on August 14, 2014 Published on January 31, 2014


It’s postulated that 93 per cent of quiz folk get interested in trivia for the satisfaction of telling normal people how wrong they are. This is the only lie in this week’s column. The rest is the absolute truth.

True Lies

1Simple question to start with. Which country has the most living tigers?

2 This man admitted that he had been called a liar more often than any other person on this planet. He made his reputation based on the perfectly true fact that Lindberg was actually the 67th person to cross the Atlantic by flight (he was actually just the first solo flier). Identify the man; the business he started is synonymous.

3 What came into popular use in the early 20th century simply because its sequence of three short, three long and three short light flashes was the easiest to remember in a crisis?

4 White Wilderness was a 1958 Disney film that helped propagate a complete wildlife myth. In 1985, the myth got even more established thanks to an iconic Apple Macintosh commercial. What fact did these two films get so terribly wrong?

5 This star’s actual film debut was in the film Biwi ho toh Aisi as Farooq Shaikh’s younger brother. But another film released a few months later got him a lot more attention and conveniently became known as his debut. Identify the actor.

6 Even the sacred texts have loopholes. One would assume that if you were called a Chiranjeevi, you would live forever. But not all the seven mentioned Chiranjeevis are actually immortal. One of them got the boon that he will only be on earth till the ‘Treta Yug’ ends. Which one?

7 Here’s an easy one for you. In all the posters and films based on the original Mary Shelley story, what was the colour of Frankenstein’s skin?

8 The title of which Beatles song had absolutely nothing to do with prohibited substances and was actually named after a picture drawn by John Lennon’s son, Julian, of a four year old friend?

9 Around 1560 AD, what was introduced by Jean N, the French ambassador to Portugal in the court of Catherine De Medici as a medicine that healed wounds and cured cancers. This is possibly one of the most damaging myths in human history.

10 Which animal has a subspecies named white, not because of its colour but as a corruption of the Afrikaans word ‘Wyd’ meaning wide and referring to it’s large mouth?


1. It’s actually the US, which has over 12,000 tigers, with more than 4,000 in captivit y in Texas alone. India has the most tigers in the wild. These are documented reports, China’s infamous tiger farms may have even more animals

2. Robert Ripley, who started Ripley’s Believe It Or Not

3. SOS. It has absolutely nothing to do with ‘Save Our Soul’ or ‘Save Our Ship’

4. This is the belief that lemmings commit mass suicide by jumping off cliffs. The Disney documentary actually used a turntable to drive animals off the edge

5. Salman Khan, the other film was Maine Pyar Kiya

6. Vibhishana, the brother of Ravana

7. Frankenstein would look like any normal Caucasian. That was the name of the doctor who made the monster. The monster, incidentally, was yellow in colour in Shelley’s original work, not the green we normally see.

8.  Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds

9. Nicotine, the man’s name was Jean Nicot

10. The White Rhinoceros (Not Shiva.)

Joy Bhattacharjya is, in this age of televisions pundits and Facebook gurus, simply grateful that facts are not opinions.

Follow Joy on Twitter @joybhattacharj

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Published on January 31, 2014
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