Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Where Do The Answers Come From Some Times ?

Funny the way that memory works sometimes, isn’t it ?

Don’t worry, this particular entry isn’t about Mastermind. If I do happen to mention it then it will only be in passing.

This school holiday has been an unusual one for me, in the sense that I normally go to more quizzes in a week when I haven’t got to worry about what time I’ll be getting home on a school night, not fewer, as seems to have been the case in the last fortnight. Since we broke up a week ago last Friday I’ve been to only 3 quizzes. One of those doesn’t really count either, since I was the question master.

So this will hopefully explain to you how pleased I was to get out to the Duke of Wellington in Cowbridge last night. The Duke of Wellington is a quiz that John and I, and often my eldest daughter Phillippa tend to frequent every other week. Its not through any fault of the quiz itself that we don’t go every week, but simply that we think we’re probably more welcome limiting ourselves to once a fortnight. We’ve got a pretty good strike rate in the quiz – winning on 7 out of 8 visits, and the one time we didn’t win we scooped the jackpot, so its really not through boastfulness that I say we’re giving a chance for some other team to win every other week by doing this.

A couple of interesting questions stopped us from winning the jackpot as well as the quiz this week. Question 1 of the Lucky 7 was : -
By what name is the South African province formerly known as Northern Transvaal now known ?
John knew that he didn’t know it. I knew that it couldn’t be Kwazulu, which was once Natal, so I plumped for Gauteng. Actually that’s not a stupid answer since Gauteng does comprise of part of the former Transvaal. Not the right part though. No, in 2003 Northern Transvaal, which had been renamed Northern Province, was renamed Limpopo, for fairly obvious reasons. Good question.
The other one which flummoxed us was : -
Which is the only city in the UK to be wholly situated on an island ?
I’ll admit that we went totally the wrong way on this one. Working on the premise that I didn’t know, I speculated that city means with a cathedral, and went for Kirkwall on Orkney, which is home to St. Magnus’ Cathedral ( which incidentally was the setting for the last ever of the original incarnation of a certain black chair based television quiz show ) The answer is actually Portsmouth, which is based on the island of Portsea. Again, good question.

The other thing of interest was the fact that a couple of “name the year questions” were asked. One of these was : -
Name the year in which Chesney Hawkes had his only UK number 1 single , The One and Only ?
Now, the fact that I knew that the answer was 1991 was not that much to write home about ( or in my blog about ). What was interesting was the way that I came up with the answer.
I distinctly remember listening to the song on the radio of my first car , as I was driving my two eldest children back home after a trip out to visit Kidwelly Castle. Yes, but how did I know that was 1991 ? Well, I knew that it was the first school holiday after I passed my driving test. But how did I remember which year that was ? Well, a couple of the lads from my Year 11 class gave me a card to congratulate me on passing my test . With me so far ? Ok. Well going back to the song, you might remember that it was taken from the film “Buddy’s Song”. The film was based on the book by Nigel Hinton. It was the sequel to “Buddy “, which I had actually read with my year 8 class the year I started in the school, 1987/88. The two lads who gave me the card had been in that class. Which meant that the song came out 3 years later – hence 1991 !

Funny thing, memory, isn’t it ?

Of course, with some questions you don’t even need your memory to help you get the right answer . We were also asked
The oldest recorded elephant lived to which age – 72, 82 or 92 ?
Here I applied my principle – If you’re given a multiple choice question in a quiz, an indifferent or inexperienced question master will nearly always put the correct answer in the middle – or at number 3 if the choice is out of 4. I’m not asking you to believe me on this one – just apply it yourself and see what your results are like.

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