Quiz: Mind games

Joy Bhattacharjya | Updated on October 11, 2019 Published on October 11, 2019

On this day in 1773, the first asylum for the insane opened in the US. This quiz will literally drive you crazy.

1. St Mary Bethlehem is a psychiatric hospital in London opened in the 17th century. Which word meaning ‘uproar’ and ‘confusion’, is derived from the hospital’s nickname?

2. Which character from Lewis Carroll’s Alice In Wonderland was an allusion to the fact that mercury poisoning from the felt lining of a particular item of wear drove a lot of producers and, sometimes, users of that particular item mad?

3. Mad magazine was the leading American satire magazine of the ’60s and ’70s. Which famous Mad staffer was renowned for his variety of onomatopoeic sound effects such as like ‘BRAAP’ for a person belching, ‘BREEDEET BREEDEET’ for a croaking frog, ‘BRING A LING’ for an old-fashioned phone ringing and even had a vanity licence plate which read ‘SHTOINK’ — the sound of a bath towel bar poking one in the eye?

4. Which award-winning ’ 90s film is based on a play by Alan Bennett about the mental health of a British monarch, probably as a result of acute intermittent porphyria, and his relationship with his eldest son?

5. Which dystopian Australian action thriller was directed by a doctor who worked on emergency medical calls to raise money for the film and also paid most of the extras in beer?

6. Which cricketer, originally known for taking too many chances early in his career, got his nickname from the film alluded to in the previous question. He was also the first player to hit the winning runs in a World Cup final.

7. Which Roman emperor had an interesting take on animals, banning even the mention of goats in his presence, but attempting to appoint his horse Incitatus as a consul, though he was assassinated before he could complete the promotion?

8. He was the first Russian Czar and is believed to have created the first modern secret police. He had fits of insanity, characterised by extreme rage, and killed his own favourite son during one such episode. Name the ruler.

9. Which brilliant inventor, featured on the bank note of his native country, was unusually fond of pigeons and once said about a particular pigeon, “I loved that pigeon as a man loves a woman, and she loved me. As long as I had her, there was a purpose to my life”?

10. Veteran actor Kirk Douglas wanted to play the lead in this film based on a famous novel, but he could not sell it to a studio. He sold it instead to his son, who commissioned another, much younger actor as the lead. The film ended up sweeping all major Academy Awards. Name the film and the lead actor.


1. Bedlam. Many films and television series are based in the hospital

2. The Mad Hatter

3. Don Martin

4. The Madness Of King George

5. Mad Max, directed by George Miller

6. Aravinda de Silva, known as Mad Max

7. Caligula

8. Tsar Ivan IV, known as Ivan the Terrible

9. Nikola Tesla, who featured on Yugoslav and now Serbian banknotes

10. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey. The lead character was played by Jack Nicholson


Joy Bhattacharjya is a quizmaster; Twitter: @joybhattacharj

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Published on October 11, 2019
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