(Image: Private Media)

This year was a frankly exhausting news storm, occasionally interrupted by straight-up absurdity. Some extremely strange things happened in 2021, but how closely were you paying attention? Play our end of year news quiz — and check your answers further down.

Question time!

  1. Where did police find four-year-old girl Cleo Smith in early November after 18 days missing?
  • Bunbury
  • Busselton
  • Carnarvon
  • Karratha

2. Which of the following striking metaphors did French ambassador Jean-Pierre Thebault use in his address to the National Press Club in November, soon after the announcement of the AUKUS deal? 

  • “When you want to kill your dog, you say it has rabies.”
  • “When seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.”
  • “I’m proud of what I achieved here, but life on memories is not much of a life.”
  • “Only accidents, crimes, wars will still kill us but unfortunately, crimes and wars will multiply. I love football. Thank you.”

3. In December, which Greens MP was forced to apologise after a misogynist comment aimed at Liberal Senator Hollie Hughes?

  • Peter Whish-Wilson
  • Lidia Thorpe
  • Adam Bandt
  • Sarah Hanson-Young

4. Information concerning Australia’s involvement in which international coup has been suppressed this year?

  • Indonesia, 1965
  • Chile, 1973
  • Angola, 1977
  • Bolivia, 1980

5. What song did anti-lockdown protesters sing as they crossed Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge in August?

  • The entirety of the album Horses by Patti Smith
  • “The Horses” by Daryl Braithwaite
  • “The Needle and the Damage Done” by Neil Young

6. Which celebrity chef has had to fight allegations that they made up large parts of their memoir?

  • Maggie Beer
  • Jock Zonfrillo
  • Poh Ling Yeow
  • Jamie Oliver

7. What delayed the rescue of a lost hiker in Colorado in October?

  • A rostering mistake meant there were several hours when there was no park ranger on duty
  • The hiker ignored calls from numbers she didn’t recognise. 
  • She dropped her phone into a lake while being chased by a bear

8. What ill-thought out apology in September caused Guy Sebastian and his siblings so much trouble?

  • He apologised for helping promote the government’s inadequate arts package in 2020
  • He apologised for posting pro-vaccine material
  • He apologised for probably starting the COVID-19 pandemic

9. What is the name of the Australian senator who read out, completely deadpan, a tweet about his trousers falling down and falling over a balcony and landing in a truck full of manure during Senate estimates?

  • Ben Small
  • Kim Carr
  • Gerard Rennick
  • Malcolm Roberts

10. What was it that kept former Victorian Liberal Party leader Michael O’Brien in a job as late as September?

  • His firm and decisive leadership
  • The lack of an obvious sucessor
  • COVID-19 restrictions preventing a coup

11. What did Prime Minister Scott Morrison say to women at the March4Justice protests at Parliament and elsewhere?

  • “I wish all fellow dads a great day let’s be the best dads we can be. Also thinking of dads no longer with us. Thanks dads”
  • “Not far from here, such protests would be met with bullets…”
  • “This is just like that movie The Croods…”

12. What was the name of the ship that attempted a clumsy three-point turn in the Suez Canal and got stuck?

  • Ever Given
  • Never Given
  • Ever Got

Answer time!

1. Carnarvon

Via ABC: “Missing four-year-old girl Cleo Smith has been found alive in a locked house in the West Australian town of Carnarvon.”

2. “When you want to kill your dog, you say it has rabies.”

Via The West’s Sarah Ison: “‘When you want to kill your dog, you say it has rabies.’ The metaphors from the French ambassador today are really… something.”

3. Lidia Thorpe

Via ABC: “Multiple senators have told the ABC they heard Senator Thorpe yell ‘Well, at least I keep my legs closed’ at Senator Hughes during a heated parliamentary debate. ‘I just want to unreservedly take back my comments that I made earlier and I apologise to that senator wholeheartedly, Senator Hughes’.”

4. Chile, 1973

Via Crikey: ”The AAT has rejected an attempt to reveal information about Australian spies’ involvement in the 1973 Chile coup, leaving lasting questions — and old wounds.”

5. Daryl Braithwaite’s “Horses”

Via Pedestrian: “Shortly after that, protesters cut through the West Gate Freeway and West Gate Bridge, forcing officers to divert traffic. There, protesters, some with flares in hand, were seen singing Darryl Braithwaite’s cover of ‘The Horses’.”

6. Jock Zonfrillo

Via Crikey: “‘Do you have a question for Jock Zonfrillo?’ a tweet from 98.9FM Best Country brightly asks … And hey, given this comes a bit over a week after a piece in Good Weekend alleged that huge chunks of the book were fabricated — which the publishers deny — we certainly do have a question or two for him.”

7. The hiker ignored calls from an unfamiliar number

Via The New York Post: “A hiker lost on a mountain in Colorado ignored repeated calls from rescuers — later explaining that they had been unfamiliar with the phone number, authorities said.”

8. Apologised for a pro-vax post

Via Crikey: “Guy Sebastian … backed away from the music industry’s Vax The Nation campaign, presumably taking a leaf out of the Murray Hewitt approach to pop stardom — that is, you don’t release an anti-AIDS song in case you alienate the pro-AIDS portion of your fanbase.”

9. Ben Small

Via Crikey: “Anyway, Western Australian Senator Ben Small — oil and gas chum, expert room reader and man who has his TER score in his parliamentary bio — decided to, utterly deadpan, read [comedian and writer Ben Jenkins, mocking the conservative media reporting Christian Porter’s withdrawal of defamation proceedings against the ABC] in its entirety. It’s a pretty good gag anyway, but Small’s delivery elevates it to something else entirely.”

10. Covid restrictions delayed a coup

Via Crikey: “[Michael O’Brien] The Victorian opposition leader and guy you just had to Google to jog your memory survived a spill back in March, one that had been openly planned since the previous August. Since then O’Brien has overseen the scattergun and incoherent day-to-day sniping, peaking with spreading surreal unedifying conspiracy theories regarding how Premier Dan Andrews sustained his serious back injury earlier this year. It has clearly not won him any admirers, with a group of Victorian Libs telling Annika Smethurst in The Age they would love to roll him, but health restrictions banning large gatherings at Parliament House have stymied them…”

11. “Not far from here, such marches, even now are being met with bullets”

Via The Australian Financial Review: “Throughout the ages, great speakers have won over their audiences by reminding them that they haven’t had them murdered. Evocative, cadenced, poignant, this quote shows Morrison reaching new oratory heights.” 

12. Ever Given

Via ABC: “The Ever Given ran aground in March, blocking the crucial waterway for six days.”