Friday, 4 June 2010

Short Connections and Long Chases

I’ve said it before, and doubtless I will say it again in the future, but quizzing is a broad church. What I like in a quiz you might not like, and vice versa. I don’t particularly like picture quizzes, but a majority of the regulars in the rugby club love ‘em. Good enough. Live and let live.

One thing I do like though is a connections quiz. Oh, I like all question and answer quizzes if they’re good, but I do have a real soft spot for a good connections quiz. I’m sure that you know what I mean by a connections quiz, but to be on the safe side I’ll explain.

Back in the days of the old and sadly missed Neath Quiz League, every year we’d have two or three open quizzes where all the teams could gather and compete across a range of rounds, and generally have a good time without the competitive atmosphere of the League matches. The first one I ever went to , and I can remember this clearly, was the same night that goalkeeper Rene Higuita of Colombia did the scorpion save in a friendly against England. I know this because I was watching it in the bar before the quiz started, and it was accompanied by a general exclamation of “What the . . . Hell was that ?!” When the quiz started the question master was Geoff Evans, a good quizzer and an even better question master. He used the connections format for one round, and I was knocked out by it, and made up my mind to use it in my quiz in the rugby club. As far as I know, I was the first to use this in the club, although several other of our QMs have also adopted it and use it from time to time, imitation being the sincerest form of flattery and all that.

The usual format is that in a round of ten questions, three will have answers that are linked , and the fourth question will be to identify that link. Of course there are variations on the theme, and its not unknown for people to ask 4, 5, 6 or even anything up to 9 part connections. Still, the three part connection is the classic form of the genre. Last night Alwyn set the quiz, and he produced 8 grade A connections. He only does two or three quizzes every year, but they’re always good ‘uns. Here’s my favourite connection from the night : -

1) Maria Bicknell was the wife of which English Artist ?
2) Which is the most common Christian name in Fairy Tales and Nursery rhymes ?
3) Which 1960s recording artist was backed by a band called The Savages ?
4) What's the connection between your last three answers ?

OK – now the answer to number 2 was most likely to be JACK. From somewhere I dredged up the memory that the Savages were actually the backing band of SCREAMING LORD SUTCH. I didn’t know Maria Bicknell, but if the answer was JOHN CONSTABLE, then that would give us the connection of CARRY ON FILMS. This is the beauty of the connections quiz. Don’t get me wrong, knowing all the answers to a set of questions as soon as they are asked is lovely, but its not as satisfying as having to do a little bit of mental gymnastics to arrive at a correct answer, when you really wouldn’t have known it without the connection. Good quiz.


While we’re on the subject of last night’s quiz, in between rounds, without any urging from me the topic of conversation turned to ITV’s The Chase. That’s always a good sign for me, when people who aren’t so quiz obsessed as me are talking about a show. Our nominal captain, Little Dennis, really likes it and I have to agree with him. For the same reasons I gave in my first review last year, and the review I made last week, I ‘ve been enjoying this series. Two teams have so far eluded the chaser. Shaun had a massive total of 25 to chase, and Mark 23, leaving only Anne undefeated so far this series. I may be mistaken, but I fancy that among the team who escaped from Mark’s clutches was Terry Toomey, who lost to Shaun at the quarter final stage of the first series of Are You An Egghead ? Its made me reappraise my statement of last week that the banker never pays out for less than 20. To be honest I’ve had to revise that estimate upwards. The banker never pays out for less than 23, and there are times when I reckon that even 25 wouldn’t be enough. I don’t have the figures to check, but I can’t help wondering what the highest successful chase in either series has been . Mark, Anne, Shaun, if you’re reading this, and you know the answer, you know where to get hold of me.

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