BBC News
Launch consoleBBC NEWS CHANNEL
Page last updated at 11:16 GMT, Friday, 18 December 2009

Money Box Christmas Quiz 2009

Money Box Christmas Quiz 2009

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without twenty ticklish teasers from the Money Box team. Pit your wits against those of presenter Paul Lewis and his colleagues. Good luck!

Christmas decorations on a tree

1.) Multiple Choice Question

Where does the phrase "in the red" come from?

A man with an empty trouser pocket
  1. "The Red" is an old slang word for a debtors' prison
  2. The shame of being overdrawn made people blush with embarrassment
  3. Overdrawn amounts used to be printed in red ink on bank statements

2.) Multiple Choice Question

Which company's chairman said he was doing "God's work" earlier this year?

Goldman Saches president Lloyd Blankfein (l), Microsoft chairman Bill Gates (c) and Ford chairman Bill Ford Jr (r)
  1. Goldman Sachs
  2. Microsoft
  3. Ford

3.) Multiple Choice Question

In January 2009, who said that Dubai "won't just survive, it will thrive"?

The Dubai skyline
  1. Piers Morgan
  2. Jim Davidson
  3. Robert Peston

That Piers Morgan quote

"Everyone I have met here says the same thing, Dubai won't just survive, it will thrive and that's because it's bursting with ambition and drive all led by one man's extraordinary vision and utter determination to turn this place into the biggest and most successful city in the world." Click NEXT to continue

Piers Morgan

4.) Multiple Choice Question

What relation is money saving expert Martin Lewis to Money Box presenter Paul Lewis?

Paul Lewis (left) and Martin Lewis
  1. None
  2. Nephew
  3. Third cousin, once removed.

5.) Multiple Choice Question

Which local currency was launched first?

Someone flicking through Brixton £5 notes
  1. The Lewes pound
  2. The Totnes pound
  3. The Brixton pound

6.) Multiple Choice Question

Bingo tax was changed to 20% in this year's pre-Budget Report. But what was it before this year's Budget?

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond talks to bingo player Betty Fraser during the Glasgow North East by-election campaign
  1. 15%
  2. 17.5%
  3. 25%

7.) Multiple Choice Question

How long would it take to clear a £1,000 debt if the interest rate was 16.75% and you only paid the minimum monthly payment of 2.5%?

A gold bow on top of two credit cards
  1. About 10 years
  2. About 14 years
  3. About 18 years

8.) Missing Word Question

Bob * is the president of Barclays

  1. Diamond
  2. Gold
  3. Treasure

9.) Multiple Choice Question

Which former banker announced he was standing down this year?

A man wearing a bowler hat
  1. M King
  2. T Wogan
  3. D Nutt

10.) Multiple Choice Question

Which politician has connections to wallpaper and Tipperary?

A man wall-papering
  1. George Osborne
  2. Vincent Cable
  3. Alistair Darling

11.) Multiple Choice Question

Approximately how much money per person is the UK government borrowing this year?

A replica of the Chancellor of the Exchequer's briefcase
  1. £1,500
  2. £3,000
  3. £9,000

12.) Multiple Choice Question

What is the taxpoint?

The HM Revenue and Customs building
  1. The self-assessment payment deadline
  2. The day in the year when your salary paid to date equals the tax you owe for the year
  3. The date on a VAT invoice

13.) Multiple Choice Question

How many building societies will there be in the UK after the Yorkshire absorbs the Chelsea in April 2010?

The logos of the Yorkshire and Chelsea Building Societies
  1. 29
  2. 51
  3. 74


The level of the Retail Prices Index in September 2009 - which was -1.4% - would normally be used to set the rate of increase for most social security benefits the following April. Click NEXT to continue.

A graph showing two different measures of inflation

14.) Multiple Choice Question

So by what percentage will Housing Benefit change in April 2010?

A pile of sterling notes
  1. Minus 1.4%
  2. 0%
  3. Plus 1.8%

15.) Multiple Choice Question

What is the sum of the numbers which appear on a new-style 50p coin minted in 2008?

A pile of sterling notes and coins
  1. 52
  2. 2010
  3. 2058

16.) Multiple Choice Question

Money Box presenter Paul Lewis is an expert on which famous Collins?

The Who's Who logo
  1. Lewis Collins
  2. Wilkie Collins
  3. Phil Collins

17.) Multiple Choice Question

The Prime Minister was born on 20 February 1951. When will Mr Brown become eligible for a free bus pass?

Gordon Brown sitting on a bus
  1. 20 February 2011
  2. 6 April 2011
  3. 6 January 2012

18.) Multiple Choice Question

Which tax haven features the female figure 'Erin', the symbol of freedom for Ireland, on its flag?

Part of a flag showing 'Erin', the symbol of freedom for Ireland
  1. Montserrat
  2. Vanuatu
  3. Nauru

19.) Multiple Choice Question

According to a joke on BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House, what was Money Box known as?

A digital radio on a windowsill
  1. Monkey Box
  2. Donkey Box
  3. Money Pox

20.) Multiple Choice Question

How many awards has the Money Box team won this year?

Freshly painted Oscar Statues in preparation for the 2009 Academy Awards
  1. None
  2. 1
  3. 3


  1. When bank statements were printed in branches, banks used a typing machine with a two-colour ink ribbon in black and red, so negative amounts could automatically be printed in red. The practice stopped in the late 1960s/early 1970s when printing moved to central offices to be done by computer. Those printers were more primitive and could not do two-colour printing.
  2. In November, Goldman Sachs chairman and chief executive Lloyd Blankfein told the Sunday Times he was just a banker "doing God's work".
  3. Piers Morgan made the comments when discussing a documentary about Dubai he made for ITV. Click next to read the full quote.
  4. Many assume they are related, but they are not. There are 38,966 Lewises on the published UK electoral roll which lists approximately 60% of voters. So it is hardly surprising that two people with that surname are not related. There are 713 Paul Lewises on the edited register - only one of which is the person in the picture!
  5. The Totnes Pound was launched in March 2007 as an initiative of the Transition Town Totnes Economics and Livelihoods group. The Lewes Pound was launched in September 2008 and the Brixton Pound in September 2009.
  6. The rate was unexpectedly increased from 15% to 22% in April when the government also scrapped VAT on playing bingo and other forms of gaming. Equally unexpectedly, the rate was reduced to 20% in December.
  7. It would take more than 18 years, but if the minimum payment was raised to 5%, it would take just seven years to clear the debt.
  8. Mr Diamond has run Barclays' investment bank Barclays Capital since 1997. He became president of Barclays plc in June 2005.
  9. The long-standing Radio 2 presenter Terry Wogan stepped down from presenting his breakfast programme in December 2009. Before he moved into broadcasting he worked for the Royal Bank of Ireland for five years.
  10. George Osborne's father Sir Peter Osborne founded the wallpaper firm Osborne and Little; and he is heir to the Osborne baronetcy of Ballentaylor, County Tipperary.
  11. According to the pre-Budget report, the government's public sector net borrowing for 2009/10 will be 12.6% of nominal GDP (£1409bn) which is £177.6bn. That sum divided by a population of 60m equates to just under £3,000 per person.
  12. The taxpoint, the actual date on a VAT invoice, is particularly important at the moment. If it is before 1 January 2010 then VAT is due at 15% but if it is 1 January 2010 or later, VAT is due at 17.5%.
  13. There are currently 52 societies: Britannia is no longer counted since it was bought by the Co-operative Bank. The new merged society will bring the number down to 51 and will be the second largest after Nationwide.
  14. Although the September RPI sets the level of increase for most benefits, means-tested benefits like housing benefit are raised each April according to a special index called ROSSI which excludes housing costs and which rose by 1.8% in Sept 2009.
  15. Ie 2,008 (the year) + II (from Queen Elizabeth II) = 2,010. The number 50 does not appear on the new 50p coin, the word "fifty" appears instead. The coins have been criticised for causing difficulty to non-English speakers.
  16. Paul Lewis is the Secretary of the Wilkie Collins Society, and co-edited the recent edition of the Victorian author's letters - The Public Face of Wilkie Collins.
  17. In the pre-Budget report, the Chancellor announced that eligibility for free concessions for the over 60s such as bus passes and prescriptions would change from 6 April 2010. The qualifying age will gradually rise in line with womens state pension age, for both men and women. The Prime Minister will qualify for his free bus pass when a woman born on the same day becomes eligible for her state pension - 6 January 2012 when Mr Brown will be 60 years and 10 months old. If he becomes resident in Scotland he may get his bus pass at 60 as the Scottish Government have not announced any plans to raise the age.
  18. The overseas British territory Montserrat is classed as a tax haven by the OECD. Although the island is in the Caribbean, a large number of Irish people were sent to Montserrat by Oliver Cromwell in the 17th century. Many Montserrat residents speak with an Irish brogue. The Montserrat flag featuring Erin reflects the island's Irish ties.
  19. The programme was dubbed "Monkey Box" as part of the "Radio 4 plus one" game, in which an extra letter was added to various Radio 4 programme titles.
  20. The programme was voted Best Radio Programme in the Voice of the Listener and Viewer awards, Financial Programme of the year in the ABI Media Awards and Personal Finance Broadcast Programme in the Santander Media Awards. But we should really stop going on about it.

How did you do?

0 - 5 : Full-blown crash

6 - 10 : In recession

11 - 15 : Quantitative ease

16 - 20 : Banker's bonus

Money Box is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 every Saturday at 1200 GMT. Money Box Live is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 every Wednesday at 1500 GMT.

You can listen again, read transcripts and sign up for the programme podcast on the Money Box website or by clicking on the links on the right.

You might also like to try the More or Less Christmas Quiz.

And find more BBC quizzes on the Magazine website.

Money Box



Download or subscribe to this programme's podcast

Podcast Help

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

banner watch listen bbc sport Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific