An ambassador is lurking out there somewhere


Flowers by Fidel Castro’s bed in his mountain hideout of Comandancia la Plata
(Photo by Malcolm Davidson for News-Decoder)

By Nelson Graves

We have — theoretically — an ambassador and three foreign desk officers among our readers.

Four respondents scored well enough on our recent quiz to qualify for those exalted monikers. It turned out to be our toughest quiz to date — the average score was 54 percent — so extra kudos to the three who scored at least 70 percent to qualify for titles.

Answers to all of the questions can be found in recent News-Decoder stories, so loyal readers reap benefits. The toughest question related to Cuba’s former strongman, who died last year: What was the name of Fidel Castro’s revolutionary hideout in the Sierra Maestra mountains?

Only 18 percent of the respondents answered the question correctly: Comandancia la Plata.

On the other end of the difficulty scale, 94 percent of respondents got the right answer (Great Wall of China) when asked, “What is the longest man-made barrier?

Respondents were better informed about migrants and climate change — recently in the news — than about the fall of the Soviet Union or Alan Arkin’s Oscar nomination — both ancient events by the standards of many of our readers.

Here are the answers to the questions, ranked by difficulty:

What was the name of Fidel Castro’s revolutionary hideout in the Sierra Maestra mountains?

Correct answer: Comandancia la Plata (Letter from Castro’s Mountain Hideout)

Alan Arkin received an Academy Award nomination for his first major role in:

Correct answer: “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming” (The Russians Are Coming — Déja Vu Again)

Which country has the highest freedom rating, according to Freedom House?

Correct answer: Finland (Freedom on the Back Foot around the World)

What percentage of black households in the United States owned a gun in 2016?

Correct answer: 19 percent (Once a Rarity, More Black Americans Own Guns Now)

How many Muslim players were on England’s team when they played India in November 2016?

Correct answer: Four (Muslim Players Make Inroads Into English Cricket)

What percentage of the money spent on U.S. imports in 2013 went to buy Chinese goods?

Correct answer: 20 percent (Trade With America Gives Face to China’s Repressive Rulers)

When did the Soviet Union collapse?

Correct answer: 1991 (Russia Poses Unconventional Threat to the West)

The goal of the global climate agreement is to limit the rise in average global temperatures, compared with pre-industrial levels, well below:

Correct answer: Two degrees Celsius (On Climate, Trump Stirs Global Anxiety, Miners’ Hopes)

It is the most traveled, deadliest migration route on Earth.

Correct answer: Mediterranean Sea Route (After Deadly Crossing, Migrants Test Italy’s Will)

What is the longest man-made barrier?

Correct answer: The Great Wall of China (Thoughts on Building Walls)

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