Just in case anyone attempted the Royal Statistical Society Christmas quiz that I included in an earlier post, the solutions are now available here. I managed to match my personal alltime record of zero. Funny though, looking at the solutions, how obvious everything should have been. Bit like looking at last weekend’s results and spotting all the obvious bets!
Category: RSS
Christmas quiz
I mentioned in a previous post the Royal Statistical Society (RSS), which is the UK’s foremost organised body of statisticians. In addition to its role in promoting and publishing allthings statistical, it is also famous for one other thing: its annual Christmas quiz, which is widely considered to be one of the toughest quizzes around. It’s been going for 25 years and is famous enough that it gets reported in full in the Guardian.
Though produced by the RSS, the questions have nothing to do with statistics, and not much mathematics either. That said, the questions do require a good general knowledge, logical thinking and a capacity to approach problems laterally; skills that are useful for statisticians. My personal total score for the quiz over the last 5 years or so is zero.
So, the 2018, 25th anniversary, edition of the quiz is now available here. If you like a good challenge you might enjoy having a go at it. Good luck, and remember that you can’t possibly do worse than me. I’ll post a link to the solutions once they are available.
Just to give you some idea of the types of questions you’re likely to face in the quiz, here’s a question from the 2017 edition:
POLYMERISATION
If 5 is IHNTOBBTTAS, and 10 is IDAATINELR, what will 20 be?
Can you get the answer? There’s a clue in the question title. Once you’ve had enough, scroll down for the solution.





















SOLUTION:
The polymer £5 note introduced in 2016 by the Bank of England features the quote “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat” (initial letters IHNTOBBTTAS), while the new polymer £10 note features the quote “I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading!” (initial letters IDAATINELR). The polymer £20, due for release in 2020, will feature the quote “Light is therefore colour” – so the answer is “LITC”.
Obviously I failed to find this solution in much the same way as I failed to find any solution to any of the questions in each of the quizzes for the last five years. I didn’t look at the quizzes in previous years, but you might extrapolate my more recent scores to get a reasonable estimate of what my score would have been if I had.
If you want further practice, you can find the complete 2017 version of the quiz here and the solutions here.
Statistic of the year
The Royal Statistical Society (RSS) is the UK’s main organised body of statisticians. Its aim is to promote the importance of statistics and data, and it does so by publishing research journals, holding regular meetings, funding conferences and through many other activities. It was founded in 1834 and currently has more than 9,000 members worldwide. The RSS has close ties to universities, research institutes, government statistical offices, industrial organisations and other agencies whose role involves the use or development of statistics. A list of past presidents of the RSS reads like a who’s who of the most famous British statisticians from the last 200 years.
Obviously an organisation with a prestige like that wouldn’t fall into the trap of trivialising statistics with a competition for ‘Statistic of the year’, right?
Wrong! Welcome to the Royal Statistical Society’s Statistic of the Year. In fact there are two statistics of the year: the ‘National Statistic of the Year’ and the ‘International Statistic of the Year’. In the words of the RSS, this competition is…
… a new initiative that celebrates how statistics can help us better understand the world around us
Personally, I’m not convinced that designating an individual number as statistic of the year, in the same way that you might designate Harry Kane Lionel Messi as player of the year, does much to celebrate or promote the importance of Statistics, but perhaps this just conveys my lack of intelligence or humour.
Anyway, I thought you might like to know what 2017’s International Statistic of the Year was:
Just click the above link to find the winner. I’m not joking and I’ll give the reason for that choice in a subsequent post.
Meantime, please take the opportunity to make a nomination for the 2018 Statistic of the Year. I’ll keep you posted once the results are out.
Update:
Nomination from Leonard.Roth@smartodds.co.uk: 0, the number of current under30 yearold tennis players who have ever won a male grand slam. (Del Potro has just turned 30).