Saturday, 26 July 2014

In The News

In the News

Who or what are the following and why have they been in the news?

1. Ellar Coltrane
2. Emily Benn
3. Cynthia Robinson
4. Evan Davies
5. Alexander Borodai
6. Alistair McCreath
7. Mazher Mahmood
8. Adam Walker
9. Joko Widodo
10. Estimate
11. Karl Albrecht
12. Fred Evans
13. Nick Matthew
14. Beth French
15. Allen Margarethe Loj
16. The Whale
17. Angelo Adkins
18. Joseph Rudolf Wood
19. Ross Murdoch
20. Louise and Kimberley Renicks

In Other News

1. Which two players were joint second placed in the Open?
2. Who won the German GP?
3. What position did Tiger Woods finish in the Open?
4. Which Anglican Cathedral announced a need to raise £24 million for repairs?
5. Which US TV and film actor passed away aged 86?
6. Which origanisation is considering establishing an outpost in London’s Olympic Park?
7. Who claimed the Number 10 had on occasion said that he was ill to prevent him from appearing on TV?
8. Steven Gerrard has retired from international football having won how many caps?
9. A building in Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral has been dedicated to whom?
10. Nick Griffin was ousted from the leadership of which organization?
11. Which England player ruled himself out of the rest of the test series with India with injury?
12. Which world leading heptathlete was ruled out by injury on the eve of the Commonwealth Games?
13. A Hand injury forced whom out of his clash with Tyson Gay?
14. Us Flags were mysteriously replaced with white flags on which building by persons unknown?
15. In which country are the MH17 black boxes being examined?
16. What does Aldi actually stand for?
17. For which club has FIFA world cup 2014 Golden Boot winner James Rodriguez signed?
18. Who is the new football coach of Brazil?
19. What did the Peaches Geldof inquest determine as the cause of her death?
20. Which comedienne actress passed away aged 91?
21. Which two people won the coveted Rear of the Year title?
22. Which single went triple platinum this week, being one of only 5 to do so in 20 years?
23. Why did Mo Farah pull out of Glasgow 2014?
24. Who won England’s first gold medal?
25. Which well known actress was reported as joining the cast of the Archers?

Friday, 25 July 2014

Round Britain Quiz

North of England v. Scotland

Monday saw the return match between Diane Collecot and Adele Geras of the North of England, and Val McDermid and Roddy Lumsden of Scotland. Well, being as it’s the school holidays, of course I had a look at the questions prior to the show.

The first question went to the North, and It went: -
In what way might a Dickensian cricket match have provided inspiration for Lindisfarne and J.K. Rowling?
Now, the words Dickensian Cricket match immediately made me thought of Dingley Dell v. All Muggleton in The Pickwick Papers – you know, the match that was on the back of a ten quid note for a while. Muggle and J.K. Rowling are a natural match off course, Muggles being ordinary non-magical humans like me in the Harry Potter saga. Dingly Dell I guessed would be a track or an album by the group Lindisfarne. North were onto the Pickwick papers, but started barking up the wrong tree almost immediately. They needed Tom to push them into considering the teams involved in the cricket match, but they couldn’t remember them. Push, push, push came from Tom and they got muggles, but that was about as far as they got. I gave myself 6, but poor old North were frankly lucky to get 1 sympathy point.

Val and Roddy opened Scotland’s account with this one: -
Can you place in the correct order: the blacktop that passes through St Louis, Amarillo and San Bernadino; the speed limit on parts of it; a treat combining flavours of chocolate and vanilla; a German defence against enemy aircraft; and Kookie Byrnes’ place on the Strip?

No marks for knowing that this was a numbers question. Unravelling what I could, the blacktop I guessed was Route 66 – the speed limit in parts 55mph, the ice cream possibly a 99, and Ed ‘Kookie’ Byrne’s place being 77 Sunset Strip. Before I turned on the show, I made a guess at 88 - perhaps 88mm - for the anti aircraft defence, which seemed to fit. Yes indeed. A second consecutive 6 pointer for me. As for Scotland, they had Route 66, 55mph, 99 very quickly, and for the wrong reason they got the right answer for 88. Of course they had 77 Sunset Strip, and were worth their full 6 points.

As usual I couldn’t prepare for either music set. The North of England’s asked: -
How and where they might be associated with arrival and departure?
The first sounded like Zorba the Greek’s syrtaki. The second was a voice that sounded like Richard Burton – going for a Burton, I wondered. The third was an opera lady singing heaven alone knows what. Then John Lennon’s imagine – and we definitely had an airport connection here, I thought – John Lennon airport in Liverpool. The North thought the same straightaway. The second was from “The Little Prince”. Now once they said that the opera lady was The Queen of the Night from The Magic Flute I guessed we had Mozart Airport in Salzburg. The Burton one was actually Saint Exupery Airport in Lyon – didn’t know it. As for the Greek – Kazantzakis airport I guessed would be in Crete. I think that I could not in all honesty claim more points than the North, but was happy to take 4 as they did.

Following on from that, Scotland were asked
These three performers might claim kinship with the heroine of a Jane Austen novel: which one?

We began with The Animals’ House of the Rising Sun – the keyboard solo suggesting Alan Price, which would lead to Fanny Price of Mansfield Park. Another opera lady didn’t help me a great deal, the third was definitely a Price – Vincent Price’s voiceover from Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Scotland mistook Vincent Price for Christopher Lee, and couldn’t remember their Fanny from Mansfield Park. They did eventually dredge up Leontine Price the opera singer. In the end Tom awarded them 5, and I was at least worth 4.

What a lovely question the North of England received next.
Where might half an orang-utan and Leontes’s daughter be spotted, along with 99 others?
Once again a little knowledge of Shakespeare helped me out of a difficult spot. Perdita is Leontes’ long lost daughter from “A Winter’s Tale”. Perdita is also the name of the female adult Dalmatian in the Dodie Smith book “101 Dalmatians” and the various film versions. Her hubby is called Pongo – and thanks to an old film I watched on a number of occasions with my kids, called “Dunstan Checks In”, I know that the Scientific name for an orangutan is pongo pygmaeus. Dalmatians, of course, are spotted all over, being covered in the little blighters. Likewise, the North began with Perdita, and had the Dalmatians connection at the start. They stumbled around the other dog, and didn’t have a Scooby about where the orangutan came in. In the end the Scots had to supply pongo. I had a deserved 6, while the North had a rather generous 4.

While Scotland’s next question didn’t quite reveal itself in a blaze of light in the same way, there was still much to enjoy about it. They were asked
To which family could Mrs Thatcher, the enemy of the Space-Bat-Angel-Dragon, and the smallest public monument in Stockholm, all belong?
The Space Bat Angel Dragon is the enemy of Ted Hughes’ wonderful Iron Man. Margaret Thatcher was The Iron Lady. Now, as it happens I didn’t know that there is a small public monument called, or nicknamed, the Iron Boy in Stockholm, but I guessed it would be either boy or girl to complete the small family. Scotland didn’t know about the Space Bat Angel Dragon, nor the Iron Boy, although they did have the Iron Lady. Tom practically told them it was the Iron Man and the Iron Boy. I have no idea where Tom found 4 points to give Scotland, but if they had 4, then I’m claiming 5.

It was all over bar the shouting, but the North of England still had to answer this: -
What does the seagull not have that is provided by part of a knight’s equipment, a pair of Babylonian lovers and the description of a naked person?
No lightbulb moment for me with this one. I had a horrible feeling that it might refer to Chekov’s The Seagull, which I have neither read nor seen. It did. I might have been able to get Pyramus and Thisbe as the Babylonian lovers, but I didn’t. The Knight – said Tom – is in Throught The Looking Glass. Like the North I knew that it is the White Knight, but that didn’t help. From this he pushed us to Hamlet, and the North faffed around trying to remember that the Mousetrap is the play within the play in Hamlet. Still we lacked the naked person. It is apparently from Noises off, and called Nothing On. Blimey. The play within a play in the Seagull does not have a title. Too hard. Too much effort for too little reward. North received 2, and I was happy to take that for myself.

Scotland, already home and dry, I think, were asked
Which mythical literary phrase, never actually uttered, might lead to the mythical characters Atlas, Daedalus, Prometheus and Tantalus?
I had a little more clue about this one than about the previous, but not a huge amount. Possibly the most famous literary phrase never uttered – at least not in any of the works written by the original author – was ‘Elementary , my dear Watson.’ So if the four classical elements were important, then Prometheus gave Mankind fire, Tantalus was imprisoned by Tartarus and tortured by being forever thirsty,but forever denied water, although he was surrounded by it, Atlas is depicted in an Atlas with the earth on his shoulders – even though strictly speaking he carried the heavens, not the earth, and Daedalus invented wings which killed his son Icarus. Scotland got 6 – my answer was as good as theirs, so 6 for me. A comfortable win for Scotland

Answers to News Questions

In the news

Who or what are the following and why have they been in the news?

1. Mario Gotze
2. Shaun the Sheep
3. Nicky Morgan
4. Liz Truss
5. Stephen Crabb
6. Sarah Vine
7. Lord Hill
8. Jose Antonio Vargas
9. Gareth Warbuton
10. MH17
11. Rammasun
12. Lord Blencathra
13. Jonathan Tiernan-Locke
14. Travellers Club
15. David Ross
16. Elaine Stritch
17. Philipp Lahm

In Other News

1. IN the FIFA world cup who won the Golden Ball?
2. – and the Golden Boot?
3. – and the Golden Glove
4. Who visited Nigeria to try to help to free the schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram
5. The last member of the Ramones passed away last week – who?
6. Which ship was refloated last week?
7. Which former Olympian officially came out to Michael Parkinson last week?
8. How many moto GP races has Marc Marquez won consecutively this season?
9. What was the result of England’s first test v. India?
10. Which team were relegated from Rugby League’s Super League last week?
11. Who sang at the world cup closing ceremony?
12. What was the result of the World Cup 3rd place play off?
13. Which controversial vote was passed by the General Synod of the Church of England last week?
14. Who stood down from her appointment to head the Child Abuse Inquiry?
15. Which member of the Cabinet quit last week?
16. – and which retired after 22 years as a minister?
17. Which former Nobel Prize for Literature laureate passed away?
18. Which unusual method of publishing a short story did author David Mitchell announce that he would use?
19. Who broke his leg on stage 10 of the Tour de France?
20. Man Utd. signed a record deal of £750m with which kit supplier?
21. Who saw their drug ban reduced to 6 months?
22. Which Sri Lankan announced his retirement from test Cricket?
23. The ceasefire in Gaza lasted how long?
24. Who is the new Foreign Secretary?
25. Who became South Africa’s first full time non white Test cricket captain?
26. Which England cricketer was formally accused of pushing and abusing Indian cricketer Ravindra Jadeja?
27. The last of England’s 2003 World Cup winning side announced his retirement from top flight rugby last week – who?
28. The Tate Modern has seen a controversy over the authenticity of some of the works in an exhibition of whose work?
29. According to YouGov – what is the UK’s favourite brand?
30. Which museum reopened after a £40m refurbishment?
31. Which former Head of state is suing the makers of Call of Duty for using him as the villain in one of their games?
32. According to reports last week, Marvel are changing which superhero from male to female?
33. Tony McKoy equaled whose total of winners last week?
34. AN outbreak of which disease has occurred in the Commonwealth Village?
35. Which Marvel superhero is to mutate into the new Captain America?
36. What was Rory McIlroy’s score on the first day of the Open?
37. – and where is it being played?
38. What is England’s latest FIFA world ranking?
39. Rio Ferdinand has been transferred to which club?
40. What has Nico Rosberg been banned from using on his helmet?
41. Who was cleared of all charges by an Italian appeal court?
42. Which TV show may have to change its name in the UK following a ruling in the High Court?
43. What is the name of Jessica Ennis-Hill’s baby son?

Who or what are the following and why have they been in the news?

1. He scored Germany’s winning goal in the world cup final
2. He topped a poll to find out the nation’s favourite Children’s TV character
3. New Education Secretary
4. New Environment Secretary
5. New Welsh Secretary, and reportedly the first bearded Conservative Cabinet minister since 1905
6. Wife of Michael Gove – the day after David Cameron said how happy Michael Gove was with his move to Chief Whip, she said in her Daily Mirror column that Cameron was making a huge mistake
7. Cameron’s nominee for EU Commissioner post
8. Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who announced that he had been an illegal immigrant in the USA for 21 years
9. Welsh 800m runner failed a drugs test
10. Malaysian Airlines airliner shot down over Donetsk region of Ukraine
11. Typhoon that struck the Philippines
12. Apologised to Parliament for his £12,000 a month contract to lobby for the Cayman Islands

13. Sacked by Team Sky
14. Club that banned women members leading to Archbishop of Canterbury’s resignation from membership
15. Co-founder of Carphone Warehouse who did not make the shortlist of 3 for the head of Ofsted
16. Actress passed away 89
17. German world cup winning captain announced retirement from international football

In Other News

1. Lionel Messi
2. Jamie Rodriguez of Colombia
3. Manuel Neuer of Germany
4. Malala Yusafzai
5. Tommy Ramone
6. The Costa Concordia
7. Ian Thorpe
8. 9
9. A draw
10. London Broncos
11. Shakira
12. Netherlands 3 – Brazil - 0
13. To accept the ordination of women bishops
14. Dame Elizabeth Butler Shloss
15. William Hague
16. Ken Clarke
17. Nadine Gordimer
18. On Twitter
19. Alberto Contador
20. Adidas
21. Asafa Powell and Sherone Simpson
22. Jayawardene
23. Gaza
24. Phillip Hammond
25. Hashim Amla
26. James Anderson
27. Mike Tindall
28. Kasimir Malevich
29. Aldi
30. Imperial War Museum
31. Manuel Noriega
32. Thor
33. Martin Pipe
34. Norovirus
35. The Falcon
36. 66
37. Hoylake
38. 20
39. Rio ferdinand
40. An image of the World Cup Trophy
41. Silvio Berlusconi
42. Glee
43. Reggie Ennis - Hill

LAM podcast 4

In this week's podcast -

30 questions on July 2013
Talking points on University Challenge
- and -
Handout Questions
Old Quizzers' Tale
Answers to Commonwealth Games questions

Just click on the player below

Thursday, 24 July 2014

University Challenge - Round One - Match Two

Oxford Brookes v. Jesus, Oxford

An all Oxford affair, this. Last time out, Oxford Brookes reached the quarter finals in 2011. In the same series Jesus Oxford were unceremoniously dumped out of the competition in the first round, the round in which they were beaten last year as well. Oxford Brookes’ team consisted of Simon Joyce, Paula Ayres, Stephen May, and skipper David Ballard. Jesus’ team consisted of Beth Roberts, Louisa Thompson, Jonathan Clingman, and captain Alex Browne.

For the first starter Jonathan Clingman worked out that the clues were leading us to sapphire and satire, which both end in – ire. The team managed 1 of a gettable set on Thomas Cromwell. A good old quiz chestnut listing some of the people who have been pictured on Bank of England banknotes came next, and Paula Ayres was the first one in for the points. When the set of bonuses were announced on a physical constant I came out with my stick answer – the speed of light – and picked up a point with the first bonus. I picked up another knowing that Foucault was the French pendulum guy, as did the team. Now, talking about stock answers – JP announced that for the next starter he wanted a particular liquid, and started giving various chemical properties of it. I thought, if in doubt, go water. It was right. Jonathan Clingman took his second starter with this one. Wikipedia editors confounded them, and I only had one because I knew that the red portcullis is the symbol of the House of Lords. Both Alex Browne and I recognized a description of Yokohama for the next starter. This earned Jesus a set of bonuses on The International Sociological Organisation’s list of books of the 20th century. I have to say, none of them exactly sounded like good holiday reading. Jesus took one, which was one more than I did. For the picture starter Paula Ayres recognized the Russian word for good as written in Cyrillic. The bonuses were three more Russian words on which Nadsat words in Anthony Burgess’ ‘A Clockwork Orange’ are based. Phew – got that everyone? Frankly I was impressed that Oxford Brookes even got one of them. Which was enough to ensure that the scores at the 10 minute mark were 40 – 25 to Jesus. First impressions were that Jesus seemed to have slightly the edge on the buzzer, but both teams were rather profligate with the bonuses. It also seemed that neither team was answering particularly quickly, and this could, just could be one of those low scoring contests where only the winner will go through.

The next starter was a very good example of what you can get on UC. I’ll be honest, I don’t know Nick Payne, or any two hander play that he’s written. However I do know that constellations is the pural for a word meaning a group of stars. Louisa Thompson won the buzzer race on that one once it became clear. The infectious disease bonuses they were given provided all of us with two correct answers. Simon Joyce won the buzzer race to answer that a Great Auk was killed on St. Kilda in 1840, and this provided Oxford Brookes with words coined in the 1990s. Like them I had dotcom and malware, but not digerati. Maybe bearing in mind JPs well deserved reputation for scorn when a Shakespeare question is incorrectly answered both teams held back from answering which play has a pageant in which characters dress as great figures from antiquity. It was Beth Roberts who provided the correct answer of Love’s Labours Lost. Unpublished novels provided Jesus with 2 bonuses, although they maybe might have picked up on the clue in the title that Titus Awakes was by Mervyn Peake. Beth Roberts took her second consecutive starter by very quickly recognizing as song from the soundtrack of ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ The bonuse set asked them to identify three more films featuring fictional bands. I surprised myself by getting a fullset on this. The one that foxed Jesus was Tom Hank’s film “That Thing You do” – a rather good film as I recall. Nonetheless the 2 bonuses they had put them up to 3 figures. Stephen Mayes buzzed in to take the next starter with various types of meteorites. Bonuses on lasers promised me nothing, which is what they delivered to all of us. Given three Jacks – Hobbs – Charlton and Nicklaus and asked for the christian names, David Ballard scored a bit of an own goal by buzzing in with the surname Charlton rather than the christian name Jack. Jesus though couldn’t add insult to injury, being unable to answer the question. The next starter on antiseptics asked what QACS stand for. No more than I did, nobody knew Quarternary Ammonium Compunds. Nobody knew that the Battle of Sheriffmuir took place in the 1710s. You could be forgiven for going for the 1740s, but this was the first Jacobite Rebellion, not the second. Not that either team did. Right on the cusp of 20 minutes, Jesus had extended the lead, with the score at 100 – 55, and were looking likely to get home with maybe a little to spare.

Now, if a starter says US thinker – and – 1849, then there really are only two likely possible answers. Thoreau is one – Emerson (Ralph Waldo rather than Fittipaldi) the other. Simon Joyce chanced his arm with Thoreau and was rewarded. Two bonuses on Tales from Shakespeare narrowed the gap to 25 – one full set. The second picture starter showed a photo of Mr. Chekov. Neither team had it. A UC special followed, asking - from which SI units could you use the letters to make French words for Mother and Father? Jonathan Clingman won the buzzer race with ‘ampere’. For his pains his team were rewarded with the picture bonuses. Chekov of course wrote the Cherry Orchard. These bonuses all showed writers at least one of whose works included the name of a piece of fruit. It shows how times have changed when they didn’t recognize Roald Dahl. It was a bit naughty expecting them to identify Jeannette Winterson and TWO works with fruit in the title all for a measly five point bonus. David Ballard was in impressively quickly to identify Mahatma Gandhi as Time Magazine’s first Asian and Non-American Man of the Year. An interesting set on years that contained only two digits – eg 1515 and 1666 – saw them add five more points. The gape still stood at 25 points, and time was ticking away. Beth Roberts came in early on the question asking what Argus had 100 of, and went for teeth, losing 5 points. Stephen Mayes had it with eyes, and the gap was down to 10. A UC special set followed, on shorter words that can be made with any of the letters from the word voluptuous. Almost inevitably 2 bonuses were taken, which meant that both teams were level. Paula Ayres put Oxford Brookes ahead, knowing that in mammals the osseous whatsaname is in the ear. Geological bonuses increased the lead to 20 points. A full set could still give Jesus the win – mind you we had yet to see a full set taken in this show. Beth Roberts fulfilled the first requirement, knowing that Merrylegs was a stablemate of Black Beauty. Bonuses on Francis Bacon ( who did NOT write the plays of Shakespeare) saw them answer 1 incorrectly, at which point the gong sounded. Bad luck that. Had they taken the next two starters we’d have been in a tiebreak situation.

Well done Oxford Brookes, good luck in Round Two. Bad luck Jesus. An interesting match, for very different reasons from those that made last week’s such a good match. For once JP’s final comments hit the nail on the head when he said that Jesus spent far too long conferring on bonuses. Although I would add that taking your time is fine when it enables you to take full sets. Maybe they would have been better to give quick guessed answers and move on.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

Now, we expect JP to get sniffy when teams get Shakespeare questions wrong, but it’s coming to something when he starts doing it with physics as well. When Oxford Brookes offered ‘doppler’ effect for ‘stellar aberration’ he wrinkled his nose, and in a tone remarkably reminiscent of Edward Blackadder saying ‘Bob’, repeated ‘ Doppler?’

Having started relatively early, JP held his piece until the last few minutes of the show, when Oxford Brookes speculatively suggested that the Chekov phot might be Charles Dickens. “Dickens?!” he replied, in the tones of Mr. Bumble just after Oliver Twist has asked for more, “it doesn’t look the slightest bit like Dickens!”

Interesting Fact That I Didn’t Already Know Of The Week

Digerati was a word coined in the 1990s for particularly IT literate people.

Monday, 21 July 2014

On Being Virtuous, and Scottish Skin

I have tried to be virtuous today. Honestly. This is the first official day of the school holidays. Actually I should qualify that a little. When the dates for this school year came out, it transpired that we were actually supposed to be in school for today, and tomorrow was supposed to be the first day of the holidays. Now, rather than having to come in for just one day, which would have been in INSET day anyway, we worked several twilight sessions during the year after school. Not really worth mentioning, but there we are.

So as I said, I am trying to be virtuous this morning. I popped into the school because I didn’t finish reorganizing and tidying my stock room before the end of last week. However I couldn’t find anyone there, and the block was locked, so that has been put on hold until later in the week. I tried, at least.

Now, the basic problem is my legs. Let me explain that. I am very proud of my Scottish ancestry, but it does mean that one thing I seem to have inherited from my Scottish forbears ( you have forbears? That’s one more than Goldilocks – boom boom) one thing I seem to have inherited from them is my Scottish skin. My arms and face will eventually darken, given exposure to ultraviolet, but my legs? Never. They remain a flaccid bluey-white, obstinately refusing to tan even slightly. It looks pathetic. We’re off to Spain at the end of the month, and you have to wear shorts out there. I think they passed a law some time in the 70s. Alright, maybe it’s not compulsory, but trust me, in the summer, you need to wear shorts. So for the last three or four weeks I’ve been wearing them at every opportunity, exposing them to sunshine for all I’m worth. So far – nothing. Last week I even volunteered to accompany 70 odd kids to a theme park for the day to give me an opportunity to get my shorts on again. Result? It tipped down all day. The next day, last Thursday, I again volunteered for a 2 hour stint out on the field in what was ironically dubbed “Fun Day”. I endured two hours of blindingly hot sunshine, and at the end the only bit of my legs which looked even slightly red was where a wasp stung me.

Well, if at first and all that. So this morning, unable to tidy the stockroom I made the fateful decision to take a little exercise instead. A walk in Kenfig Pool Nature reserve would have the triple effect of letting me expose my legs for an hour or two, providing me with some exercise, and letting me see some of my favourite butterflies. I walked for about an hour and a quarter, and in that time I saw 9 species – meadow brown, gatekeeper, small blue, common blue, grayling, small white, speckled wood, peacock and red admiral. Thinking about it, you could probably write a whole article about butterfly names. One of my favourite ever connections went something like this: -

1) Who is Reina Sophia? (she isn’t any longer, but was then)
During the making of which film did Liz Taylor meet Richard Burton?
Which title, now born by the King of Spain, belonged to the ruler of an independent dukedom which was later absorbed into the French crown?
What is the connection between the last three answers?

The answers are : - The Queen of Spain – Cleopatra – The Duke of Burgundy – and the connection is that they have all had butterflies named after them. Now, granted that this is a very specialist connection set, and the guest setter who asked it didn’t receive the warmest round of applause at the end of the quiz, but it does illustrate my point.

Well, speaking of quizzes, which I really should be, you’ll be delighted to know that last night’s quiz, about which I wrote in my last post, went off rather well. I hadn’t realized it before Jess and I arrived, but the pub is one I’d played in through the Bridgend League a couple of times, and a very nice big pub it is too. It’s part of the Brains pub chain. I’m guessing that the chain originated with Brains’ Brewery in Cardiff, but according to their own publicity they now have over 250 pubs in Wales and the Midlands. Anyway, I mention this because the Twelve Knights,, our surviving ‘every-other-Sunday’ quiz pub, is also a Brains pub. So I expected a similar Redtooth quiz. In the Twelve Knights the format is that there is a picture round to start (only 10 pictures thank goodness – pictures and me do not get on, as I think I might have mentioned once or twice before) The next ten questions are all based on the news. For the next round, you are given two lists of five. It’s billed as a Family Fortunes round, but thankfully you’re not asked to predict what the five most popular answers were out of a 100 person survey to find the most popular names for dogs, and such like. For example, our most recent Twelve Knights quiz asked us – Name the last Five films to win the Best Picture Oscar which begin with the word ‘The’. Something that requires a bit of knowledge, I think you’ll agree. The next round gives you ten questions, each of which starts with a consecutive letter of the alphabet. The next round after that has 4 questions, and then asks for the connection. The last round of ten asks ten general knowledge questions. You can answer as many or as few as you like. If you answer all 10 correctly you get 15 points – a 5 point bonus being added to your 10. If you get any answer wrong, though, you get no points for the round at all. Good fun, actually.

So, as I said, I expected something similar last night. There was one difference I noticed straight away. The quiz in the Twelve Knights is always quite well attended, but last night this was of a whole different order. The place was packed. I’d estimate that there were between a dozen and fifteen large teams there. Now, the first round was just the same sort of Redtooth picture round as I expected, and then 10 questions on the news, but after that it was quite different. We had 30 mixed General Knowledge questions – a couple of which made you think, but most of which were perfectly straightforward. Then at the end we had one list of five – in this case a list of US TV shows, and were asked to write down the cities in which they are set.

So, going back to what I wrote yesterday, one of my concerns was that whenever you go to a new quiz, you’re always worried that it might be one of these places where a blind eye is turned to phone cheating. Well, Jess and I won last night with 51/55(two wrong answers were pictures, and the other two were news questions), and the runners up had 49/55. So on reflection I’d say that no, there probably wasn’t phone cheating going on.

Emboldened by our win, I had a little chat with the landlord who’d asked the quiz afterwards, about the quiz, and the format, and the fact that it’s similar in some ways to the Redtooth quiz in the Knights, but also different. What he told me was that the brewery send out the quizzes which they buy from Redtooth. When he gets the quiz, he uses the first two rounds, but then asks the rest as a straight GK quiz, and changes some of the questions, replacing some of them with his own, which he judges more suited to the regulars. You know, I’m all for that. He also won my approval when he gave the answer to this question: -
Who resigned from his post as Foreign Secretary last week? When he read out the answer he’d been given – Ken Clarke – there was a bit of an outcry, and he immediately responded with,
You’re right. Of course it’s William Hague. I don’t know why they’ve given Ken Clarke as the answer here.
Respect for that. So all in all I was very pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed yesterday night’s quiz. OK – so the first prize was only 6 drinks tickets, as opposed to the £25 voucher from the Knights, but then it isn’t so much about the prizes anyway. So if you’re a regular in last night’s quiz, I can only apologise, but in the words of Arnold Schwarzenegger – I’ll be back.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

New Sunday night quiz

As I sit here in the living room, waiting for the Monty Python live broadcast to start, I do so in a certain amount of anticipation. About the show? Not really. Like a lot of blokes of my age I can probably recite most of the sketches along with them. No, the fact is that I gave myself a couple of hours to find a new quiz to try tonight. I’m honestly not that fussy – basically anywhere between Swansea and Cardiff I’ll try. Using the net I came up with 8 or 9 possibilities. My first phone call revealed that the pub had stopped doing the quiz some time ago. Oh well, that’s part for the course, I’m afraid. The second call, though, was a lot more fruitful. Yes, sir, said the nice lady on the phone, and it starts at 8:45. Great.

Jessie’s going to come with me, riding shotgun, as it were. To be honest, I’m not asking for a great deal from a Sunday quiz these days. Time was that John and I would turn our noses up at anything that wasn’t home made, but now I’m just happy to find a place where they’ll chuck a few questions in my general direction, and not get too funny about it if I happen to get more of them right than the other teams. So much the better if : -
* It manages to ask a couple of interesting questions
* If there is a picture round, then pictures should be few, and obvious
* Entertainment questions are rationed sensibly and interspersed with a wide variety of other genres
*Cheating is non existent – or if there is cheating, then the QM takes action promptly and effectively
* The words ‘the next round is a family fortunes round’ never pass the QM’s lips

Alright, come to think of it – I do ask for a lot, then.