Rodger Evans’ Speechwriters’ Conference Quiz

Posted on 14 May 2015

One of our members who works in the Scottish Parliament, Rodger Evans, wrote this quiz for delegates for our conference at Westminster College, Cambridge. See how may you can answer…

(1) From whom did President Obama borrow the catchphrase “yes we can”?

  1. Postman Pat
  2. Neil Kinnock
  3. Bob the Builder

(2) Who said towards the end of a recent acceptance speech: “I’m going to put an egg in my shoe and beat it”?

  1. John Legend
  2. Iggy Pop
  3. Bob Dylan

(3) What was deemed novel about David Cameron’s 2007 Tory conference speech?

  1. He spoke without his notes
  2. He spoke without a tie
  3. He spoke without his wife

(4) When he used the phrase “evil focker” in the Scottish Parliament as part of the Make Poverty History campaign in 2005, to what was Bob Geldof referring?

  1. Poverty
  2. Aids/HIV
  3. Bono

(5) Who said: “I don’t believe in being serious about anything. I think life is too serious to be taken seriously”?

  1. Ray Bradbury
  2. Noel Coward
  3. Dorothy Parker 

(6) Samuel Johnson said which of the following?

  1. “That which is written without effort is in general read without pleasure”
  2. To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music that words make”
  3. I hate writing. I love having written

(7) When Diane Abbott tweeted “it was X what won it”, regarding the outcome of the Scottish independence referendum in September 2014, who was she referring to?

  1. Jim Murphy MP
  2. Gordon Brown MP
  3. George Galloway MP

(8) In Margaret Thatcher’s famous “The Lady’s Not for Turning” speech, what had inspired its author Ronnie Millar to coin that phrase for the Prime Minister?

  1. A quip by Dennis Thatcher about his wife’s driving
  2. The Iron Lady’s refusal to partake in a game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey at a Cabinet away day
  3. A West End play about witches

(9) Who said of a speech-giver’s wife: “Can we bring her out again? Well, she basically has that thing of appearing to be a normal human being”?

  1.  Sam Seaborn
  2. Kasper Juul
  3. Malcolm Tucker

(10) With what frequency did the then Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond drop “clap traps” – theatrical or rhetorical devices used to win applause – into his April 2014 party conference speech?

  1. Every 30 seconds
  2. Every 60 seconds
  3. Every 120 seconds 

(11) Ronald Reagan’s voice was once described by a biographer as

  1. Truman-like
  2. Trumpet-like
  3. Troglodyte

(12) Who holds the copyright to the speeches of Dr Martin Luther King?

  1. The King estate
  2. Steven Spielberg
  3. EMI 

(13) Who holds the record for the longest speech in the UN, clocking in at close to eight hours?

  1. Fidel Castro
  2. Colonel Gaddafi
  3. VK Krishna Menon

(14) Who said: “I prefer tongue-tied knowledge to ignorant loquacity”?

  1. Aristotle
  2. Cicero
  3. Quintilian

(15) As set out in The Devil’s Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce’s view on oratory was:

  1. Just say the lines and don’t trip over the furniture
  2. A conspiracy between speech and action to cheat the understanding
  3. The highest form of music” 

(16) According to the Penguin Book of 20th Century Speeches, the greatest orator of the century was:

  1. Dr King
  2. Churchill
  3. Hitler 

(17) Chiasmus is affectionately known to its friends as

  1. The Jack Kennedy
  2. The reversible raincoat of rhetoric
  3. The ask-not-what

(18) Who said when asked to name the three most important elements in oratory, “Delivery, delivery and delivery!”?

  1. Pericles
  2. Tony Blair
  3. Demosthenes

(19) Which Welsh actor became a You Tube hit with a weather-defying speech he made on St David’s Day this year?

  1. Michael Sheen
  2. Anthony Hopkins
  3. Jonathan Pryce

(20) Who began an awards acceptance speech by dropping the award and trying to piece it back together?

  1. Will Ferrell
  2. Steve Coogan
  3. Jim Carrey

Send us an email if you’d like a copy of the answers.

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