Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Spare a thought for your landlord

If you have a moment, you and I, together, right here and right now lets spare a thought for the poor landlords who buy in pre-prepared quizzes, and are therefore at the mercy of the question setter. Lets take last night. What answer would you give to this question : -
Which guitarist and singer was a member, at different times, of The Yardbirds, Cream, and Blind Faith ?
I bet its not the answer that was on the papers the landlord was reading from. Our Host read out the answer he’d been given in good faith, namely – George Harrison !
Also we had this one –
Robert Smith represented England in which sport ?
Again, there was much scratching of heads when the answer was given as – cricket !
To be fair, the landlord of The Duke of Wellington has got a bit of sense, so he googled the right answers on his phone once the predictable reaction from the teams had died down to a dull roar. The guitarist was, as I’m sure you know, Eric Clapton, and Robert Smith, well the landlord allowed show jumping, although apparently there was a Robert Smith who played cricket for England too – in the 19th century. On reflection we believe that the question was probably meant to be about ROBIN Smith.

Well, we all know that however carefully you prepare your quiz, there are times that wrong’uns happen. However what put the tin hat on it was this. The format of the quiz is that there are 7 rounds of ten questions each. Rounds 1 and 7 are general knowledge rounds. Then rounds 2 – 6 are all themed rounds. Round five was a spelling round. All the words we were given were , sort of, medical terms. I don’t know who prepared this round, but whoever it was gave the poor question master no chance. For example , the first spelling was – hermaphrodite. The only difficulty was that like many of the words in this round there is more than one way of spelling it. For example, it is perfectly possible to spell it hermaphrAdite, which is the answer that the setter gave. That would be fair enough, yet the setter didn’t give or allow any alternatives. Hence perfectly acceptable spellings like caesarean for caesarian were ruled wrong. As for appendectomy, well don’t even get me started.

I guess what I’m really trying to say is that I don’t blame the landlord, who was only reading what he had been given. To tell you the truth its not a question of blame anyway. It was the same situation for all of the teams, apart from the poor sods who ended up playing their joker on that round. But as a round to set it was always fraught with danger. Now, if you’re a landlord setting your own quiz, then its your own fault if you decide to set a round as potentially divisive as a spelling round, and you have to accept any moaning about it. But I believe that somebody was paid to set the quiz and including such a round just strikes me as shoddy, especially considering the two wrong’uns asked earlier in the quiz. Not only are you letting down the punters who play in the quiz, you're also not playing fair by the poor old landlord who is acting as question master - and who pays for the quiz in the first place. As always, feel free to disagree. If you’re going to set a spelling round, then its not rocket science to figure out that there may be alternative spellings. In which case its probably better not to set the round in the first place. While not exactly being the first lesson you’d be taught on your very first day at quiz setter’s school, if such a place existed, its certainly something you should have learned before lunchtime.


Gruff said...

I occasionally go to a quiz in Bedford on a Sunday night. The quiz is a decent one with 20+ teams. It is written by the quizmaster who although prone to the odd gaff generally does a good job. In truth it is a really good quiz. The landlord excitedly told me that they also do a quiz on Tuesdays. "Is it the same QM?" I asked. "No I buy the quiz in from a company called Redtooth". At which point I made a mental note never to go to the Tuesday night quiz. If I wanted boring and frequently incorrect questions/answers I could watch re-runs of The Fuse.

Londinius said...

Hi Gareth,

I don't like Redtooth quizzes at all either. Each to their own, but they are definitely not for me.

I don't think that Tuesday's quiz could have been a redtooth - but whoever did it had a bloody cheek charging money for it, that's all I'll say.

Quentin Vole said...

I don't think hermaphradite is a valid alternative spelling, my Chambers certainly doesn't give it. The word is formed from Hermes and Aphrodite (male and female, geddit?), so Aphradite would definitely be wrong.