Your RDA of Irony

The Twelve Questions of Christmas

Here is a Holiday Quiz that I composed for However, there is no reason to limit my sadism to stockbrokers and MBAs.

I. What is the literal meaning of Bethlehem?

a. Realty Developer Lee Hem had a daughter named Beth.
b. Hill of God
c. House of bread
d. Garden of grace

II. What was the actual occupation of St. Nicholas?
a. toymaker
b. bureaucrat
c. Teamster
d. gladiator

III. Which of these ‘CEOs’ would have had the worst office Christmas party?
a. Ivan the Terrible
b. Oliver Cromwell
c. Richard Nixon
d. Benedict XVI

IV. At the time of the first Christmas, Herod the Great was running Rome’s rackets in Judea. The job required a certain talent for killing, but Herod set the standard for slaughter, even within his own family. How many of his offspring did he off?
a. one treacherous rat, even by Herod’s standards
b. two smug ZBT types
c. two smug ZBT types and one treacherous rat
d. three devious daughters, two smug ZBT types and a treacherous rat in a pear tree

V. What was the nationality of the Three Magi?
a. Parthian
b. Peloponnesian                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    c. Phoenician
d. Phrygian

VI. Who introduced the Christmas tree to England?
a. The Venerable Bede
b. William the Conqueror
c. William of Orange
d. Prince Albert

VII. At the time of the first Christmas, which one of these would have been your best investment?
a. Being Augustus’ heir
b. Pompeii REIT
c. Janus Theology Fund
d. Microsophist

VIII. What was the first childhood memory of Irving Berlin?
a. a white Christmas
b. a technicolored pogrom
c. a snowman on Ellis Island
d. caroling on the lower East Side

IX. Which one of these films does not take place during the Christmas season?
a. Places in the Heart
b. The Lion in Winter
c. The French Connection
d. Stalag 17

X. What was the Silicon Valley of the first century?
a. Byzantium
b. Athens
c. Antioch
d. Alexandria

XI. In the first century, Alan Greenspan could have found steady work in which profession?
a. hosting orgies
b. professor of rhetoric
c. Oracle of Delphi
d. messiah

XII. For those of us who are related to Jesus (if only on his mother’s side), here is a Hanukkah question: After the Jewish people won their independence from Hellenist tyranny, which of the following happened?
a. They were immediately conquered by the Romans.
b. They established a theocratic republic.
c. They Hellenized so long as they were not forced to do so.
d. They were misruled by a dynasty of thugs and fools.

If you have the knowledge or foolhardy courage to answer, please do!  What else is the comments section for?  Otherwise, expect my purely subjective–if infallible– answers in a few days.

  1. Texbetsy says:

    1 C
    2 B
    3 A
    4 C
    5 D
    6 B
    7 A
    8 A
    9 C
    10 D
    11 C
    12 B

    Do I pass?

    • Eugene Finerman says:


      If only in terms of effort, you are the valedictorian here! As for the concept of passing or failing, I am going to model our scores after Brown University–which seems to me a combination of Haight-Asbury and Grossinger’s. (You can smoke weed but only from papers from the Jewish Daily Forward.) In other words, failing and passing are only in your own mind: Oy om!


      p.s. If you must know: 6 out of 12.

  2. Leah says:

    1. C. (Bakery, I like to think. “Will there be cake?” – Jackie Mason)
    2. I like D for some reason
    3. B Cromwell? Xmas? Not so likely, although I’d rather have spent the day with him than any of the others; besides, Ivan’s might have been a couple of weeks late– although I admit I can’t remember what year the calendar shifted, wasn’t Ivan a contemporary of Liz 1 and post-Gregorian?
    4. Let’s just say D for achievement
    5. A
    7. None of them is good for long term returns (and I don’t even know what the last one is, beyond being a pun. If it’s monotheism futures, I guess that would be it). For short-term returns maybe A (also assuming you don’t care about living long); C would get you through 300 years or so, B is like buying a spec condo in Las Vegas or Miami
    8.B makes sense
    9. I can’t remember A at all and C very little but based on the structure of the answers, I’ll choose A
    10. I’ll go with Alexandria; I think Athens was the Boston of its time, in decline, but it’s where the best professors came from. Unless you were asking what region in the ancient world was filled with overpaid young nerds who were always glancing down at their scrolls rather than making eye contact; if you were, I just don’t know.
    11. This is a loaded question in my opinion. Steady work and messiah don’t go together; it was a high-risk profession. C seems too easy, although for all I know Greenspan does get his ideas by looking at kishkes. A seems to be a not-very-veiled swipe at his sexual orientation or lack thereof; so why not B, professor. He could live in Alexandria. This wasn’t just a question to see if readers of know what “oracle” means, was it?
    12. I think all of these are correct to some extent. I believe the Maccabees leaned heavily toward theocracy, although republic is probably overly-generous (unless you’re using it in the “People’s Republic” sense). The Romans were hegemonic (if not technically heads of state) pretty soon after. We’ve been Hellenizing ever since– look at Josephus, the apostles, I.F Stone, and you. And I don’t know when the Herod family got to be in charge, but they qualify under D.

    And if you guessed that I left this reply rather than revising drawings, making Beef Wellington and angel food cake, and going after more work, you’d be right.

    • Eugene Finerman says:


      Although this will offer little solace to your starving family (I feel like Fagin ruining the Cratchit dinner), you got 8 of 12 correct.


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