News Quiz

Weekend SpecialNo. 50: “Intelligence Failure”

No. 50: “Intelligence Failure”

By Randy Cohen

The Indian nuclear tests, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the imminent collapse of the Soviet Union, Cuban strength at the Bay of Pigs–every now and then the CIA misses something.

Participants are invited to submit one other thing currently undetected by U.S. intelligence.

by 5 p.m. ET Sunday to e-mail your answer (

Responses to Wednesday’s question (No. 49)–“Three Little What?”:

Their names are Ghauri, Prithvi, and Thaad. Names of what?

“A Cambodian law firm retained by Henry Kissinger to contest Pol Pot’s will. (Now that the Cambodian dictator is dead, Kissinger maintains that the skulls are rightfully his.)”–Barry Crimmins

“The adorable cartoon characters on the box of the new Indian breakfast cereal, Basmati Rice Krispies, fortified with all the strontium your family needs.”–Jon Hotchkiss (Brett G. Porter, Dan Simon, John Snell, and David Hummels had similar answers.)

“The main characters in every single New Yorker short story in the last six months.”–Colleen Werthmann

“Names of missile systems. Also, the most popular names for children of commodity traders, according to Stephen Glass’ article ‘Death, Destroyer of Wusses’ in the June Vanity Fair.”–Andrew Solovay

“Three new drugs that will cure cancer within two years, according to Gina Kolata.”–Daniel Radosh

“Indian television’s new Exploding Teletubbies!!!” WOW! Marshal’s right! Teletubbies are funny stuff EVERY TIME!!!”–Fred Graver

“Ghauri is the Pakistani medium-range missile. Prithvi is India’s most advanced missile. Thaad is the subcontinent’s high-powered chutney-and-tea-derived potency drink that gives Pakistanis and Indians permanent erections as they shake their nuclear spears at each other.”–Marshal Efron

Click for more responses.

Randy’s Wrap-Up

It is slightly disturbing, and perhaps hints of lives lived too much indoors, that quiz participants are such acute observers of the prose styles and editorial policies of various urban magazines. Do we want to live in a world where “Gina Kolata” and “Stephen Glass” are (rather deft and amusing) punch lines? And say we didn’t? Say we organized demonstrations here in New York against such a practice. What might happen? Riot police would shoot us down in the street. No, wait, sorry. That’s what would happen in Jakarta. In New York, our mayor merely threatens striking cabbies with jail, the loss of their medallions, the loss of their licenses, and the loss of their ability to make a living.

Say we wanted to peacefully petition for a redress of grievances: Who would write the petition with dash and style?

Friendly Atom Answer

Missiles, as Marshal Efron and many others knew.

Ghauri, Pakistan’s new medium-range missile, is named after a 12th century Muslim warrior who defeated the Hindu emperor Prithvi raj, after whom, delightfully, India’s most advanced missile, Prithvi, is named. THAAD, the clumsy acronym for Theater High-Altitude Area Defense, is the American anti-missile system that failed its fifth consecutive flight test Tuesday. Built by Lockheed Martin, it has never hit its target. Senate Republicans are pushing for rapid deployment.

Augmented Quotations (final sentence added by “News Quiz”)

“We don’t make a practice of informing the media every time an animal dies at our facilities. You’ll just have to write in for the recipe like everybody else.”–Diane Ledder, spokeswoman for Disney’s Animal Kingdom

“Animals are born and they die. You want that to go?”–Diane Ledder, spokeswoman for Disney’s Animal Kingdom

“It’s a fact of life. The coat boutique is on the second floor, Ms. Streisand.”–Diane Ledder, spokeswoman for Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Box Score

hack references over the last five quizzes

Viagra —————— 9

Monica Lewinsky —— 7

My Giant ————– 7

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