I know that I do tend to bang the drum a bit about the RBQ at the moment, but if you’re not a regular can I respectfully suggest once again that it is well worth a listen ? This week’s show, the 3rd of the series, pitted the reigning champions, Myfanwy Alexander and David Edwards of Wales against the North , represented by Jim Coulson and Diana Collecott, who won the first show of the series. The North drew the odd questions, and Wales the evens. As before I’m indebted to the BBC Radio 4 website which lists all the questions in each show. Here they are : -
1. Why would eight Kings of England measure a variable electric current; a German opera composer tell you about magnetism; and a certain physical elegance be a guide to whether something is runny?
I had the Henry as the S.I. unit of electricity, and Weber as the German composer who also shares his name with an S.I. Unit. I will admit that like the North I had never heard of the Poise, the SI Unit of viscosity. Neither had the North, but they were still comfortably off the mark.
2. Solve the following equation: Superman's father + Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar + 'The Body' = 150.
Lovely question this one. I had Jor-El as Superman’s dad straightaway, although this one took Wales longest, as they worked through Kal – El first, which was Superman’s own Kryptonian birth name. Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar is Zorro, and The Body is Elle Machperson. IN roman umnerals – three Ls are CL, or 150. Full marks to Wales.
Which of these three grows most quickly?
Three pieces of music connected with fir tree , oak tree and mahogany. The answer being that the fir tree grows quickest.
Can you connect these pieces with Robespierre, and with living, loving and party-going?
This was another nice question. One of the pieces was the theme music from the old ITV Robin Hood show. I had the connection as the star of the show was Richard Greene, and Robespierre was , as Carlyle called him, ‘ The Sea Green Incorruptible ‘ Merry men linked with the rest of the question.
5. From Neil Drapkin:
What an exercise class instructor does; what stage directions do; what Leonardo da Vinci did in writing; what Raphael did for tapestry-makers. Why would none of these have any meaning for the people of Nineveh?
Blimey, this show has some clever listeners. I had the first three bits, but didn’t know anything about Raphael and tapestry makers. Leonardo wrote in mirror writing, so his left became right and vice versa. Stage directions are backwards, so stage right is actually left from the audience’s viewpoint. An exercise class instructor – and I am not speaking from personal experience here – faces the class, and so his or her left is their right. I didn’t know that Raphael made his cartoons for tapestry designs back to front. But the Assyrian connection is that in the Bible the people of Nineveh were described as knowing neither their left nor right.
6. From Peter Clark:
Why might, in part, a dog, a Channel port, an early English translation of the Bible, the first Director of the FBI, the Book of Common Prayer's enthusiast for divine concord, and the ruling monarch, get you a maximum possible score of 216?
I thought that Wales really showed their class here. David immediately noticed that 216 is a cube number. Myfanwy suggested that a dog would be Rover, the port would be Dover, the FBI Director would be Hoover, and the Book of Common Prayer’s enthusiast for Divine Concord would be Lover. They didn’t get sovereign for the monarch , though. Each of those words contains the letters – over. If you add up the maximum score for that number of overs in cricket – what do you get ? 216 ! Brilliant.
7. If you sent Brucie, along with the authors of Esio Trot, The Virginian and The Crossing of Antarctica to Iowa, they'd all end up in someone's garden. How is this?
I feel that this was a gentler question. Iowa is abbreviated to Ia. Add those letters to Forsythe – (Roald ) Dahl – Wister (Owen) – Fuchs ( Vivian ) you get forsythia, dahlia, wisteria , fuchsia. I didn’t know wister, but had the rest.
8. In what order should a cinema programme Eisenstein's Ten Days That Shook The World, Pelle The Conqueror, and Woody Allen's 'play on film'?
Wales ran out of a little steam on this one. Tricky question. The bit they didn’t get . Woody Allen’s play on film I actually knew as September. Eisenstein’s Ten Days that Shook the World was also titled October 1917, I hadn’t a clue about Pelle the Conqueror. It was directed by one Bille August.
Not that it matters that much, but the result was a win for Wales, a good result considering the strength of the team from the North, who already had one win this year under their belts.
As always, the show ended with a teaser question. Here it is : -
Why might a hawk have its eye on a play by Goldsmith, the home of Harlequins, and the entrance to a New York tenement?
This time I think I’ve got all of the parts of it – but we’ll find out on Monday.