Sunday, 30 October 2011

Not really about quizzes -

- although it connects very tenuously with my Mastermind final, I suppose. I was asked yesterday if I could have use of a time machine, what would I do with it. Now there's obviously a huge number of people I'd like to meet, but we worked through them, and then we narrowed the question down to - ok - forget about people, then what would you like to go and see ?

Well, where do you start ? I mean there's the 7 wonders of the world, to begin with. I'd love to see whether the Colossus of Rhodes really DID span Mandraki Harbour, or as I think is more likely, whether it merely stood to the side of it. Cue more narrowing down of the parameters of the question, and we finally arrived at - if you had a time machine, which of the lost buildings of London would you want to go and see ? Now, that sort of question is grist to my mill. I may have lived in South Wales now for longer than I lived in London, but those years I grew up in London were formative ones, and my affection for my hometown is undiminished. What qualifies this for a post on LAM - just about - is the fact that the number 1 on my list would be Old London Bridge - which was also my specialist subject in Mastermind Grand Final 2007. Here's my list of the top 5, anyway :-

Number 1 : Old London Bridge
Construction began in 1179, and it was completed in 1209. I shan't bore you with details, but ideally, I'd want to pay a couple of visits. Firstly before the Chapel of St. Thomas a Becket on the Bridge was deconsecrated , so ideally about 1420, when it was at its absolute peak of beauty. Then later, about 1600, when Nonesuch House, the prefabrisated wooden tudor building was looking its best. Unfortunately the two were never on the bridge at the same time. If I could only do 1 visit, then basically any time between 1209 and 1758 when they began to dismantle all the buildings on the bridge and remodel two arches into one.

Number 2 : The Crystal Palace
My grandmother saw this one when it was in Sydenham Heights, before it burned down in 1936. Ideally the time to see this would be in 1851, when it was hosting the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park. I had ancestors living down the road in Hammersmith at the time, so they probably saw the place, even if they couldn't afford the entry.

Number3 : The Festival of Britain Complex
Which was actually inspired by the 1851 Great Exhibition, and ironically, the brainchild of Herbert Morrison - grandfather of Peter Mandelson, driving force behind new labour's adoption of the conservative's adoption of the milennium Dome project. It was never meant to be permanent - but I'd have loved to have seen it. My mother still remembers her visit, even though she was only 12 at the time. She went to the 1948 Olympics with my grandad as well. How lucky is that ? Mind you, she also lived through all but the first few weeks of world war II in London, so I suppose she earned it.

Number 4 : The Doric Arch at the entrance to Euston Station.
This one was a near miss for me. I think that it was knocked down in 1961, just a few years before I was born. Mind you, there's just a chance that it might be resurrected. They have found where much of the stones were dumped - I think its either the River Lea or a tributary thereof - and there is a campaign to have it rebuilt, so you never know.

Mind you , they would have to be very careful about just where they put it. Case in point - one of London's 'lost' monuments until a very few years ago was Temple Bar. This was the last existing gate to the city of London. It stood where the law courts on the Strand stand today. It held up traffic something rotten, and so they demolished it in the 1870s when they built the courts. However with a rare foresight they numbered and stored the stones, and it was bought by Lady Meux, wife of a brewery tyccon, who had it erected in Theobalds Park in Hertfordshire. After a successful campaign it was bought, and rebuilt in the entrance to Paternoster Square right by St. Pauls where it stands today.Now, I went to see it just before they started taking it down in Theobald's Park, and even though it was in a bit of a ruinous state it had acertain grandeur and majesty about it there. I went to see it again in London just after it was reopened, and where they have put it now the poor thing is dwarfed by the buildings around it and - I know that this is probably sacrilege to say it - I almost wish that they had left it where it was. Its like an afterthought now.

Number 5 : Burbage's Globe Theatre
Not so much for the building, since I;ve seen the modern recreation, and very impressive it is too. But to actually see how Shakespeare's plays were really performed in his time, rather than just the way that we THINK they were performed in his time.

Funny things, questions, and the places where they can sometimes lead you, aren't they ? Still, if you do happen to invent a time machine, then bags I get first go.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

The return of Mastermind

Yes, in this week's Weaver's Week it gave us the welcome news that Mastermind returns on Friday.

Well, bang goes my theory . I did speculate that maybe the new series of Mastermind was being held back until the new year, which would enable them to show the whole series in a calendar year.According to the website,
“Topics in this first heat are the life of Robert Bruce Lockhart, human parasites, the siege of Malta and the life and work of AC Swinburne.”
Human parasites – does that mean parasites which live off humans, or humans which are parasites like – oops, nearly slipped one in there. I’m looking forward to the series – I know of at least two of this year’s contenders, and I’m hoping they’ll both do really well.

Par for the course, BBC Wales aren't showing it on Friday. That's just one thing that makes the iplayer a godsend.

This week's news - Questions

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

1) Phil Vickery
2) Joanna Lumley
3) Phillip Pullman
4) Sophia Brownlee
5) Graham Quinn
6) Minty Challis
7) B 53
8) Leap Pad
9) Alexandra Hall
10) Anonymous
11) Tony Woodcick
12) Aaron Jones
13) Marco Simoncelli
14) Azra Karaduman
15) Ennahda
16) Giacobini Zinner
17) Mr. Justice Field
18) John Watkyn – James
19) Lisa Tchenguiz
20) Gareth Andrews
21) Mark Stenton
22) P.P.Job
23) Michael D. Higgins
24) Peter Watt
25) Johnny Hallyday
26) Hollister
27) Goodleigh Giant
28) Rod Tinson
29) Dr. Giles Fraser
30) Hannah Cant
31) Darren Webster
32) Robert Black

In Other News

1) Which England rugby international has signed for Ricoh Black Rams in Japan ?
2) Who will direct the new James Bond film ?
3) Where has Russia planned to build a new ice city ?
4) Which company are building their own town in Lulea, Sweden, to house their servers ?
5) Which Italian region has been hit by floods ?
6) 30 £1000 artistic traffic bollards have been installed, to some criticism, in which South Wales town ?
7) Rag and bone men have been banned from using megaphones in which English city ?
8) In the next week, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be working in a charity depot in which country ?
9) How much VAT did Vince Cable fail to pay ? ( since paid in full )
10) Who called his football club’s fans ‘idiots’ ?
11) Which 37 year old former rugby union and rugby league international captain has finally quit ?
12) Which trophy was won by Luke Donald for winning the USPGA money list ?
13) Who has been named as Britain’s favourite composer ?
14) Who was the third person to be voted out of Strictly Come Dancing ?
15) Which X Factor Competitor has been accused of bullying others ?
16) Which team beat which other team in last week’s NFL game at Wembley ?
17) In which country has the Lynx advert with the falling angels been banned ?
18) The president of which country has called for the global legalization of cannabis ?
19) Which town was closest to the centre of the earthquake in Turkey ?
20) Who has been announced to play the villain in the next James Bond film ?
21) What unusual safety measure has been taken by the Richmond Housing Partnership
22) Which police force has been criticized for its boring internet live feed ?
23) Which bishop has criticized clergy in St. Paul’s for the way that they have dealt with the protestors ?
24) Why have an RNLI crew at Sandbanks near Poole in Dorset been criticized ?
25) Which cost saving measure has been adopted during the Blackpool illuminations ?
26) Which clothes range are going on sale in Selfridges ?
27) A mint where has made the world’s largest gold coin ?
28) With the changes on the law to succession to throne, how many places up the list has the Princess Royal moved ?
29) Whose log book was announced as coming up for auction last week ?
30) Last week saw a gala concert celebrating the £500 million refit of which theatre ?

Last Week's News - Answers

Here they are then - answers to last week's questions

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

1) Nigel Richards
2) Ice cream sandwich
3) Fauja Singh
4) Stena Navigator
5) Amanda Boxtel
6) Malcolm Fyfield
7) Charlotte Berry
8) Tesla
9) Nabila Nankufa
10) Michael Campbell
11) Andrew Rosenfeld
12) Sheila Lockhart
13) Wang Yue
14) Zanesville Ohio
15) Margaret Cunningham
16) Duqu
17) Danny Simpson
18) Ekaterina Zatuliveter
19) The Exactor
20) The Sense of An Ending
21) Tom Lewis
22) Wayne Barnes
23) Craig Joubert
24) Giulia
25) Craig Williams
26) Howard Camping
27) Geraldine Grace
28) Lord Sainsbury
29) Jamie Bell
30) Dan Wheldon
31) Dan Lobb
32) UB40
33) Henry Winkler
34) Lilliane Bettencourt
35) Alan Billis
36) Nicholas de Lacy Brown
37) Ellen Whitaker
38) Francois Hollande

In Other News

1) Which band this week sold out for their reunion concert ?
2) A vaccine for malaria has been developed by which company ?
3) Which organization has accused the coalition government of ignoring women ?
4) A mysterious jelly has reappeared where, for the first time in over 50 years ?
5) Where have council workmen been criticized for using old tombstones to repair a drystone wall ?
6) A new ‘Eye’ ferris wheel has opened in which resort ?
7) Which actress told Melvyn Bragg that she suffered a breakdown in her 20s ?
8) Which author said that the National Curriculum takes all of the joy out of reading ?
9) Which politician is behind the moves to change the rules governing succession to the throne ?
10) St. Pauls has been closed due to the anti capitalism protestors. This is the first time it has been closed since when ?
11) Which school has been criticized for knocking down a chapel to build science labs ?
12) Which 2 teams are contesting the baseball world series ?
13) Which country has the most 3 Michelin star restaurants now ?
14) On an Anglesey Monopoly board, newly made, where would you find Llanfair P.G. ?
15) A judge in Barnsley has banned the use of which word in the courtroom when used in a dialect context ?
16) Who told the Halle Orchestra that they can no longer claim to be the oldest orchestra in Britain any more ?
17) Last week saw the final hearing over which ‘racist’ Tintin book ?
18) Where did Lewis Hamilton become the first driver in a car other than a Red Bull to get poll position this season ?
19) Where in London do people live longest in the UK ?
20) What was announced as returning for the first time since 1992 ?
21) Patrice Evra claimed that he received racist abuse from which player ?
22) Which popular Youtube channel was hijacked with porn by hackers last week ?
23) Which Asian capital has been hit by floods ?
24) Who declared an end to their campaign of violence ?
25) Which Hollywood star was snubbed by KFC in East Grinstead ?
26) Which country invaded Iraq after clashes with Kurdish rebels ?
27) What punishment was handed out to wales’ captain Sam Warburton ?
28) Which airline left passengers sitting in their plane on the tarmac for 9 hours at Gatwick after it was rerouted, when the flight crew left the plane since it was time for them to clock off ?
29) Which seaside pier went up for sale ?
30) Which organization is under fire for its links to Amazon ( its not me ! )
31) Concerns were raised last week over health risks from which cosmetic treatment ?
32) Where is the UKs worst ambulance service ?

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

1) The new world Scrabble champion
2) Google’s new Android operating system
3) The oldest person ever to complete a full marathon at 100 years of age.
4) A ship that lost power and was drifting off the coast of Scotland
5) The paraplegic lady who used the new device – the ekso – to walk again
6) He was arrested on suspicion of negligence manslaughter at the Gleision mine
7) Assistant headteacher in Billericay investigated for making graphic twitter messages
8) Electric car company allegedly suing Top Gear
9) Tragically killed in a crush at the Lava and Ignite nightclubs in Northampton
10) Real IRA Terrorist caught in an MI5 sting and jailed for 12 years
11) Property Tycoon asked by Ed Milliband to raise funds for the Labour party
12) Owner accused of driving a Mercedes through the front door of jockey Warren Marston’s house when he told a trainer that she was being investigated
13) The hit and run toddler, seemingly ignored by passers by, who sadly passed away in China
14) Community terrorized by freed lions and bears, let loose by owner of wildlife park before he killed himself
15) She presented the queen with a bouquet in Australia, 57 years after she did it during the 1954 visit
16) A virus targeting energy firms, eg EDF
17) Newcastle Utd. footballer who had his driving ban suspended because he can’t afford a chauffeur
18) Accused of being a Russian spy , lady who seduced Lib MP Mike Hancock
19) The new army missile being used in Afghanistan
20) Julian Barnes’ Booker Prize winning novel
21) He won the Portugal Masters in only his 3rd professional golf tournament
22) Refereed Wales v Australia RWC bronze medal match
23) Refereed RWC final
24) Nicolas Sarkozy and Carla Bruni’s baby daughter
25) In court charged with driving a 4x4 to the top of Mt. Snowdon
26) US evangelist predicted end of world on October 21st
27) Inquest revealed that she was trampled to death by cows
28) New Chancellor of Cambridge University
29) Voice of Tintin in the new film
30) British Indy Car driver who died in a pile up at a race in Las Vegas
31) 2nd person voted out of Strictly
32) 4 of its members were declared bankrupt
33) Received honorary OBE for work for dyslexic children
34) French l’Oreal heiress placed under guardianship of her family
35) Died from lung cancer, before death applied to be mummified for a Channel 4 documentary
36) Former Apprentice candidate suing for compensation over leg injury
37) Show jumper from famous show jumping family banned for driving over the alcohol limit
38) Socialist candidate for presidency of France

In Other News

1) The Stone Roses
2) Glaxo Smith Kline
3) The Womens Institute
4) The Lake District
5) Netherton, West Yorks
6) Brighton
7) Joanna Lumley
8) Philip Pullman
9) Keith Vaz
10) The 1940 London Blitz
11) St. Paul’s school
12) St Louis Cardinals and texas rangers
13) Japan
14) Kings Cross
15) Love
16) Advertising Standards Agency
17) “Tintin in the Congo”
18) South Korea
19) Kensington and Chelsea
20) Bob A Job Week
21) Luis Suarez
22) Sesame Street Channel
23) Bangkok
24) ETA
25) John Travolta
26) Turkey
27) 3 week ban
28) Air India
29) Walton on the Naze
30) The British Library
31) Fish Pedicure
32) East Midlands

Friday, 28 October 2011

Cryptic Question

Right then – last week’s gentle question was this : -

Where did a man who wouldn’t interrupt a clarinet gig to collect his Oscar, the second man to take one small step, the place where Tolkein had Farmer Giles, and David’s father all meet ? Who was the last of the group to join them ?

I’m sure that you’ve worked out that : -

WOODY Allen famously didn’t collect his best director Oscar for Annie Hall, because he always had a gig playing the clarinet that night, and saw no reason to break his routine : BUZZ Aldrin was famously the second man to take the small step down from the lander onto the surface of the moon, Tolkein wrote “Farmer Giles of HAM “ and King David’s father was JESSE ( Jessie ) Woody, Buzz, Ham and Jessie are all characters in the TOY STORY films. The last to join them was Jessie, because she didn’t make her first appearance until Toy Story 2.

Here’s another one which I’m sure that you can make short work of.

What links the man who beat Foster and Jackson, The Garter, the Bath and the Thistle, the gang of the man who never did audition for the Monkees and the original edition of Trivial Pursuit, and how do the Spitfires help you organize them correctly ?

By the way, if you like this sort of question I’ve collected some of them, and other cryptic things, such as connections, sequences, tables and other things in The Cryptic Quiz Book – available in the usual places.

Missing the right news

For quite a while now , in a very small way, its been as if the ‘quiz gods’ have been mocking me. Allow me to explain.

If you’re a regular reader, then you’ll know that I ‘do the papers’. Well, the paper ( singular) anyway. Doing the papers means setting aside a little portion of your day to trawl through the newspaper, looking for things which could make up ‘in the news’ questions. Its not uncommon to find between a dozen and fifteen a day. These are what I use for my weekly ‘in the news questions’. And if you’re waiting for the answers to the last set, and for the questions in the next set, then you only have a day to wait, as I’m planning to post them tomorrow morning.

Years ago I was told by my late friend and mentor Allan Coombs just how important and effective it is to do this. It is to my shame that I either took this with a pinch of salt, or more likely just couldn’t be bothered to put it to the test for more than two decades. Still, there is more joy in Heaven over a sinner that repenteth, and so forth.

If nothing else, its made it a hell of a lot easier to get “in the news” questions for my own quizzes in the rugby club. For one thing, it means that I don’t just include news questions about things that have happened in the day before I compiled the quiz . Its not just that, though. You know that I don’t only play in the rugby club every week. I play in at least another two during the week, and if nothing else it gives you confidence to feel that you’re well prepared on the news, and unlikely to be caught out badly if the question master has chosen to use that as a category.

Now we come to the mockery. In the rugby club, when I’m playing in anyone else’s quiz, I somehow almost always manage to avoid the news questions when the setter of the week asks them. I don’t know how I manage it, yet I’d say that on average, 5 out of the 8 questions will be on things I just haven’t seen in the paper. Heaven alone knows how I have managed to do it, but if you only saw my performance in the news questions in the rugby club, you’d say that all of the ‘work’ had done me no good whatsoever.

Fast forward to last night. There were just the three of us playing- myself, George and Dennis. For the first time in weeks Lemurs, the other very good team in the quiz, had a full complement of players – Claire, Gail, Terry and Rob. A quick digression here if I may. Rob has been ill for several weeks – he missed the CIU finals in Derby, and so it was lovely to see him back in action last night. Glad to see you back, Rob. Returning to the theme, then, you could say we were up against it last night. As it happened, we did lose, but only on the picture handout. We fell behind on the questions, then drew level, then fell behind, then went ahead going into the last round. With a one point lead, a full house would bring a win on the questions. No chance ! And the worst thing was the question which did it for us was one I had heard before, but just couldn’t remember the answer to. Oh well, a draw on the questions is better than a loss.
Still, the silver lining to this was that, at last, I knew the answers to the news questions. Which was brilliant . Mind you, 4 of them had been penciled in for my quiz at the club THIS week. Such is life ! If it means that I am at last getting myself ‘tuned in’ to the news questions from the club, then it’s a small price to pay.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Only Connect - Quarter Final 3

The Edwards Family v. The Trade Unionists

If you managed to check out my belated review of round one, then you’ll remember that these are none other than the two teams that topped my unofficial table – the Trade unionists top scored in round one with 29, and the Edwards Family scored 27. Two other teams scored 27, but neither of them had such a good win margin as the Edwards. The stats of both teams actually bear very close comparison – the Trade Unionists for example scored 11 in the vowels in the first round, and the Edward 10. Anyone’s game.
The Edwards Family consisted of David Edwards, his daughter-in-law Charlotte Martyn, and her husband and David’s son, Richard Edwards, their captain. You’ll remember that I mentioned a little bit about David’s illustrious quiz career before. They won match 2, when they defeated the Inorganic Chemists. In Match 8 the Trade Unionists, Colin Whorlow, Nick Atty, and captain James Hastie, defeated the Rock and Rollers.

Round One – What’s the Connection ?

Put into bat first , the Edwards took Lion, and found a set of pictures which was much to their liking. Firstly we saw a mathematical formula, and then Brian Lara. Bang ! Its 501 they declared, and indeed it was. Victoria did explain the maths, but I didn’t jot it down, sorry. However I am reliably informed that it is the formula for the sum of the first 18 prime numbers - the afore mentioned 501. Brian Lara set a world record first class innings of 501 a few years ago. Great start. The TUs missed a set of Little Venice – Silver – Christopher Columbus – The Equator. A little surprising – Little Venice is one of those old quiz chestnuts for example. The Edwards knew that these were all derivations of the names of South American countries. They followed this up with the music, behind horned viper, and recognized a set of songs that won the Oscar for best song. You would have forgiven the TUS for buckling at this stage, but this outfit are made of sterner stuff than that. The fightback began when they found , behind water, Elbow finger – left feet of 16 churchgoers. Alright, not perhaps the most difficult set, but it still took real guts to go for it off 2 clues. They are all the derivation of imperial units of length. I will admit that I was nearly taken in by Readies – The Fighting Tigers – Owl Stretching Time the same way that the Edwards were. They knew the third as a working title of Monty Python’s Flying Circus. However just as I was about to say it, I realized that I knew Fighting Tigers as well, and it was Dad’s Army. No such revelation for the Edwards, and with a bonus to the TUs for the correct answer, the round was evening up nicely . Especially when two reeds gave them The Author of The Castle of Otranto – Poet of Odes and Epics – Rumpole of the Bailey . They knew these are/were all Horaces. I met John Mortimer once in BBC Lime Grove Studios – where I was a washer up in the canteen. I was going upstairs and he was coming down. I said “I love Rumpole of the Bailey , Mr. Mortimer. “ He said nowt. You pays yer money, I suppose. Back to the show. Both teams scored 6 , in what had really been a round of two halves.

Round Two – What Comes Fourth ?

The Edwards took 2 reeds to start. What they got was one of those sets where you all know the connection, but you have to perm one out of three or four for the answer. Conservatory – Billiard Room – led them to opt for the Library. Incorrect. The TUs tried the Ballroom, but that wasn’t right. Clockwise, the next room in Cluedo is the Study. Hard lines. The TUs saw a lung – a brain – a liver, and correctly surmised that the next would be the skin. Correct, although their reason – it’s the largest organ, was not the one which was given – that being that it’s the heaviest organ. Doesn’t matter – you only need the next in the sequence – it doesn’t matter how you get there. Twisted flax gave the Edwards Domitian - and although I’d never have had the guts to gamble in the studio, at home I had a five pointer. He was followed by Nerva , then Trajan. Both teams knew they were consecutive Roman Emperors , neither knew the next was Trajan’s cousin Hadrian . The TUS took eye of Horus, and Create – Read – Update led them to the correct identification of the CRUD database functions – with the d standing for Delete. I freely admit that I fell into exactly the same trap that the Edwards fell on the set behind Lion. I though that 11 – 101 were binary, and I too said the next would be 1001. No – the next was 131. The TUS couldn’t see the answer – they are the sequence of palindromic prime numbers, so the next would be 151. Tricky set. Finally water gave the TUs Speech and Expression – Religion – From Want – and they slammed it into the back of the next with from fear. What a round they had had – they now led by 12 to 6.

Round Three – The Connecting Walls

Both teams managed to unravel their walls within the time limit. The TUs took Lion, and found sets of - Bouncer – Flipper – Doosra and Slider – cricket deliveries : Wellard – Eccles – Tootsie and Willy – all TV Dogs : Boxcar – Ceiling – Sigmoid and Hyperbolic – all functions. Left with Jaffa – Alexandria – Barcelona and Toulon, all I could think is that they felt the obvious answer was too obvious – with Mediterranean ports being the answer they didn’t give.
So just a slight chance for the Edwards to pull back some of the lost ground. They unraveled the wall, finding :
Citizen – Omega – Pulsar and Ingersoll who manufacture watches : Pi – Riley – Crime – The Party , all of which can be preceded by Life of: Gamma – Alpha – Neutron and Beta – which are all forms of radiation. However even though they found Dent – Virgo – Osman and Willis , they didn’t get that they have all been quiz/game show adjudicators.
So the scores had increased – but at 19 – 13 to the TUs, the gap was the same.

Round Four – Missing Vowels

No mistake, this was asking a lot of the Edwards. Yet bigger leads have been overturned before.
Anything could happen. I have to say that this was the cue for a terrific performance from Charlotte from the Edwards. She didn’t get all of their points, but she got the lion’s share. We began with Bildungsromans ( has that word ever featured as a missing vowel ? I have half a mind that it has ) The Edwards took 2 to 1, but they buzzed wrongly with one . The second set on Wren Buildings they took 3 – 1, and just for a moment it looked possible. The 2011 additions to the basket of goods didn’t help either team that much – the Edwards took the only point, but it was running the clock down nicely, and that was what mattered to the TUs. Colloquial names for plants fell to the Edwards 2 -1, but that was it. When all the adding up was done, it was a win for the Trade Unionists by 22 to 20.

Very well played TUs. You deserve huge credit for keeping your heads after the Edwards made that fantastic start. Good luck in the semi finals . Very hard lines to the Edwards – a fine team in their own right.

University Challenge - Round 2 - Match 1

Leeds University v. Clare, Cambridge

What’s this, Dave ? Posting about UC on Tuesday again ? Are you perhaps carrying out the tactical manoeuvre known as ‘pulling a sickie’ ? Nothing of the sort. Its half term week, and so what better way to pass the time than to write about the two best team quizzes on the telly ?

Right, round 2 began in earnest last night, with Leeds University taking on Clare, Cambridge. Leeds, who beat Goldies in the first round fielded the youngest of all 24 teams in the competition, in the shape of Lucy Bennett, Peter Hufton, Christian Mannsåker, and captain Lewis Mills.After a fairly even first 20 minutes, Leeds had powered away to win comfortably in the last ten minutes. Clare, who narrowly defeated Worcester, Oxford in the first round, were represented by Kris Cao, Daniel Janes, Jonathan Foxwell, and captain Jonathan Burley. After that match I said that Clare had good buzzers and strength throughout the team. As a form guide, Leeds scored slightly more in their match, but Clare had exceptionally good opposition in the shape of Worcester, themselves through to the second round proper after winning their repechage match.

Enough of the build up. Daniel Janes struck first, knowing that this week’s starting word was hard. Actually it wasn’t that hard – but you know what I mean. Clare took two bonuses on the Shetland Islands. Chris Cao, who was going to have an influential night, took his first starter on The Lancet. One bonus followed on modern descriptions of old Queens. ( Stop that childish giggling back there ) . Neither team recognised a description of the term infantry. Daniel Janes took his second of the night , knowing that Dante Gabriel Rossetti was the member of the PRB whose father was an Italian refugee. A couple of bonuses followed on human physiology. I got a phone call just as Peter Hufton was taking Leeds’ first points with a science starter, but I heard the team take a couple of bonuses on an American artist. Nobody could take a starter on plant tissue, and Lewis Mills buzzed in a little too early , and 5 points went adrift. I didn’t see who managed to buzz in with Love’s Labour’s Lost – apologies for that, but the team couldn’t take any of the bonuses on writers’ private lives. The picture starter showed us a series of chemical formulae, but neither team knew that it represented the Mohs scale. So that brief hiatus brought us to the ten minute mark, with Clare looking good value for their lead of 50 points to Leeds’ 30.

Jonathan Foxwell knew that the element missing from the series he was told was gold. Amazingly enough, so did I. Once I had finished my lap of honour around the living room I watched as Clare managed two of the picture bonuses on minerals from the Mohs scale. Daniel Janes knew that the famous turncoat American general was Benedict Arnold. This brought up bonuses on political siblings. Chris Cao knew that the german word for thus, which has a completely different meaning in English is also. Also Sprach Chris Cao. 2 bonuses followed on diseases and microbacteria. Chris Cao took his second in a row with Calculus – the branch of mathematics as opposed to the scientist who was a mate of Tintin’s. 2 bonuses were taken on films of the 1950s. The music starter followed on opera. When Clare offered Strauss, they qualified it correctly with Richard. 2 bonuses followed on other operas also celebrating an anniversary in 2011. Daniel Janes maintained Clare’s Juggernautesque progress with the next starter, knowing that a succession of people all had the Christian name Kingsley. I have no doubt that Leeds knew a lot of these starters as well, but this Clare outfit are very good on the buzzer, and they were winning the race hands down. A couple of good bonuses on wars followed. A little surprisingly neither team knew of the fast growing Leylandii. Daniel Janes knew all about various Doras though. The team managed a full set on the philosophy of religion. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust – if Janes don’t get it, then Cao must. Sorry – a paraphrase of a rhyme about Laker and Locke – but that’s the way it was beginning to seem, especially as Chris Cao took the next starter on vectors. Bonuses on French dramatists completed a total ten minute shut out, as Leeds failed to add to their 30, while Clare had raced away to 210.

Well, alright, the contest was over as a contest, but there’s always other issues to be settled. How high a score could Clare manage ? What sort of fightback could Leeds put on ? Remember how strongly Leeds finished against Goldies, after all. Christian Mannsåker took the second picture starter , recognising the fabulous helmet from Sutton Hoo. 1 bonus on other buried objects found recently in Britain. That man Daniel Janes took the next , knowing that it was Charles Stewart Parnell who was embroiled in the scandal which ended his political career. 1 bonus was taken out of a trick set on thermometers. Neither team knew that there are 1609 metres in a mile. Chris Cao knew that it was Mr. Richter who gave his name to a scale for measuring earthquakes. A full set followed on Presidential running mates. Ah, remember Dan Quayle ? A great starter followed from skipper Lewis Mills of Leeds. He knew that Missouri – whose abbreviation is Mo – would be Molybdenum if taken as the symbol for an element. Great question, great shout. They struggled , though with a set of bonus on meteor showers. Jonathan Burley, the Clare skipper got in on the act with the next starter on Penicillin and a set of bonuses on popes followed. I didn’t note down who took the next starter for Clare, but by this stage it was pretty academic. Neither team knew that Oedipus had been the king of Thebes, nor that Genevieve was the patron saint of Paris. Chris Cao finished off a great evening’s work for the Clare team, by explaining that the word galaxy is derived from the ancient greek for milk. Finally there was just time for Lucy Bennett to tell us that Reykjavik has consecutive letters ykj. That brought the gong. Leeds, a good team, but always second best in the buzzer race last night, finished with 65. Clare, though , posted 320, a great score, beaten only by Durham’s 325 in the first round. They’ll fear nobody in the quarters.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

In rather a playful mood last night, our JP. Given the Eagle sisters in the political siblings bonus he asked for their names, even though I suspect the surname was enough for the points. Mind you , when given the correct answers he was generous with his Yes !! Well Done !!
He was right to not accept Bartol from Jonathan Burley , who had misheard his teammates’ saying ‘Bartok’. Mind you I did feel that JP allowed a lot of leeway to the Clare skipper over the penicillin question, after the captain stammered around for a bit before offering penicillin. I’ve seen JP cut off answers long before that in the past.

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

The English Civil War is alternatively referred to as The War of Three Kingdoms

A good week for promos - Only Connect App

Or put it another way, if you're going to ask me for a plug, then this is a pretty good week since its half term, and I have time to post.

OK - I've received this email from Rachel at Only Connect : -

"The Only Connect App is finally here!

... BBC Four’s popular quiz show is now available to play on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. You can download the App here: http://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/only-connect/id468386827?mt=8

Download NOW and put your general knowledge and lateral thinking to the test!

"

Before anyone asks, yes, I have been given the app for free in return for looking at it and considering mentioning it on the blog. Well, I'm not going to lie to you , I'm not very good with phones. I have got a mobile somewhere, but I haven't found it yet, so it might be a while before I try it out myself. But if the Only Connect people are involved with it, I have no doubt that it'll be worth playing. In fact, if anyone does get it, and wouldn't mind getting back to us and letting us know how well it plays, then that would be great.

Meanwhile, here's the photograph of Victoria which also came with the email : -

New blog - QuizQuizQuiz

I had an email from Jack Waley-Cohen (Only Connect 1 - UC- The Professionals (I think ) )
"We've just (last week) launched the QuizQuizQuiz blog (http://qqq.vc/blg). Of course we are a commercial operation, but the purpose of the blog is to entertain and amuse and gently muse for our readers. The first few posts should give you an idea of the flavour that we are intending to achieve."

Well, it would be hypocritical of me to say anything about anybody else's commercial operations since I've been desperately hawking my books on this very blog for the last few weeks. QuizQuizQuiz are a commercial outfit who organise quiz evenings, write questions etc. Well, lets not lie about it - lots of us would do it if we could make a living out of it, I'm sure.

I've had a look , and there's nothing on the blog to worry about - nobody is asking you to sign up for anything, or give any personal details.
Basically it does what it says on the tin - I quote from the first post : -

" You can look forward to our thoughts about quiz nights, quiz questions, quiz master tips, pub quizzes, celebrity encounters and much much more (we’ve got several months’ worth of blog ideas already stacked up)."

Nothing wrong with that - and definitely the kind of thing that I think LAM regulars might be interested in. I hope that the guys have as much pleaasure from their blog as I get from LAM.

The link is here : -
QuizQuizQuiz blog
- and its also in my recommended links.

Any chance of a reciprocal link guys ? (Hint hint )

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Only Connect - First Round Stats

I can only apologise. I should have done this a fortnight ago. As such, its out of date in as much as half of the quarter final matches have already been played. We’ve seen the Antiquarians beat the Social Networkers, and the Listeners take out the Rowers. Still, Better late than never. At least this might throw a little light on the prospects for the next two matches. Here’s the table showing the quarter finalists’ performances in the first round : -

Team Round 1Round 2Round 3Round 4TotalPoints againstWin Margin
Trade Unionists4771129920
Edwards Family66510271512
Technologists42101127198
Antiquarians6610527243
Social Networkers5471026224
Analysts7210726179
Listeners7110523194
Rowers354416142


Now, you might well be struck by something. The match totals are incredibly similar. With the exception of the Rowers, the other seven teams are separated by only 6 points. So relative positions on my unofficial board can only tell you so much. Still, I would like to point out that both quarter finals so far were won by the team that is higher on my leader board. More by my luck than any judgement on my part, I’m sure.

I think that there are a couple of anomalies worth noting. The Trade Unionists and The Edwards Family have been drawn against each other, and there is next to nothing to choose between them on paper. You suspect that whoever has the faster fingers during the last round will win the day.
As for the Technologists v. The Analysts, well, the Technologists are higher on the leader board. This was due to a maximum on the wall, and a stellar performance on the buzzer in the last round. A buzzer finger that fast will always give you the chance. However I can’t ignore the fact that The Analysts are made up of superb quizzers, and with the level of difficulty higher in the quarters than the first round I can’t help thinking that they will still be too strong for the Technos. Time will tell.

Can’t wait.

University Challenge - Round Two preview

Yes, I’m sorry about this. I try to do it normally before the repechage round, but there we are. At least we know who all the teams in the second round proper are now.
Here’s the scores: -

Team Score forScore againstMatch totalWin margin
Durham32545370280
Queen’s Oxford28095375280
Christ Church Oxford270105375165
Manchester25570325185
Worcester Oxford250110360140
Newcastle23585320150
Birmingham225105230120
Leeds220115335105
Warwick22012534595
Nottingham21515537060
Pembroke Cambridge20514034565
Balliol Oxford2052004055
Merton Oxford19516536030
Clare Cambridge19018037010
Homerton Cambridge19011530575
UCL18510529080


I stress now that the figures for both Homerton and Worcester are based on their repechage games rather than their narrow first round defeats.
So, what conclusions can we draw, if any ? Well, if you look at the match scores, there isn’t a huge amount to choose between many of the teams. Durham were the only team to score over 300, and you have to fancy them, along with Queen’s, Christ Church, and Manchester, all of whom had good wins by more than 150 points. As for the rest , though, making any kind of predictions becomes difficult. Take tomorrow’s match , Clare Cambridge v. Leeds. On paper you might be tempted to say that Leeds scored 220 to Clare’s 195, and so they would be slight favourites. But Clare achieved that when the opposition were good enough themselves to score 180, while Leeds’ win was against a team who managed 115, which suggests a fairly comfortable evening. We know that Clare can beat strong opposition. Can Leeds? Quite possibly – we don’t know yet. So who do you pick ?

There’s a couple of observations to make about the line up for the semis. There are 8 Cambridge and Oxford teams, a balance achieved when Homerton and Worcester made it through the repechage. It’s been quite a while since the Grand Final was won by any other than a team from Oxbridge. Alright, yes, we know that Manchester were the 2009 champions, but they were beaten in the final by Corpus Christi, who were then disqualified. The last non Oxbridge team to win in the final were Warwick in 2007. Last year you might remember that we had a comparable number of Oxbridge teams, although they were almost all from Cambridge. It didn’t matter in the end, since it was the Oxford team, Magdalen, that won the title. Funnily enough, in 2008 we also had 8 Oxbridge sides through to the second round, and eventually repechage winners Emmanuel Cambridge beat St. John’s Oxford in the final. So you’d certainly be foolish to bet against both Queen’s and Christ Church going well.

A great deal depends upon who is drawn to face whom , especially since round two is still sudden death. Theoretically its still anyone’s series to win.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Life After Mastermind - The Book of The Blog ( this week's plug )

As Shakespeare has Macbeth say , “I am in blood stepped in so far that should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o’er.” Or to put it another way , I have blotted my copy book with plugs for my own books enough in the past that it would earn me no credit if I scrupled to plug the latest.

So I’m going to plug it.

Encouraged by the positive comments from people who like the blog ( yes, you only have yourselves to blame for this one ) I’ve written :-

“Life After Mastermind – The Book of the Blog “.

It’s all about my quiz experiences, particularly the telly and radio shows I’ve taken part in, along with observations about quiz culture, quiz life in general, and my feelings on some of the issues in quizzing today. In fact, pretty much the stuff which I’d normally write about in the blog. It also gives something of the inside story of the blog itself as well.

All in all its just slightly less than 100,000 words in total. I hope that people who’ve enjoyed the blog will enjoy reading it as well. As with the quiz books, its available as an ebook. You can buy it on Amazon for the Kindle. If you don’t have a kindle , then don’t worry, you can get an app for your PC or laptop which you can download for free from Amazon – it only takes a couple of minutes. Alternatively, you can buy it from my webstore – the link is in my recommended links. What happens if you buy from the webstore is that I will immediately send you a copy via email, but then you also get your permanent copy on CD ROM through the post as well.

As regards the two quiz books, well, lets just say that they won't be making the bestsellers lists any time soon. Still, its nice to see my old warhorse "Be A Quiz Winner" still jogging along - I haven't mentioned that one in the blog , but its in the links.

This Week's News Questions

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

1) Nigel Richards
2) Ice cream sandwich
3) Fauja Singh
4) Stena Navigator
5) Amanda Boxtel
6) Malcolm Fyfield
7) Charlotte Berry
8) Tesla
9) Nabila Nankufa
10) Michael Campbell
11) Andrew Rosenfeld
12) Sheila Lockhart
13) Wang Yue
14) Zanesville Ohio
15) Margaret Cunningham
16) Duqu
17) Danny Simpson
18) Ekaterina Zatuliveter
19) The Exactor
20) The Sense of An Ending
21) Tom Lewis
22) Wayne Barnes
23) Craig Joubert
24) Giulia
25) Craig Williams
26) Howard Camping
27) Geraldine Grace
28) Lord Sainsbury
29) Jamie Bell
30) Dan Wheldon
31) Dan Lobb
32) UB40
33) Henry Winkler
34) Lilliane Bettencourt
35) Alan Billis
36) Nicholas de Lacy Brown
37) Ellen Whitaker
38) Francois Hollande

In Other News

1) Which band this week sold out for their reunion concert ?
2) A vaccine for malaria has been developed by which company ?
3) Which organization has accused the coalition government of ignoring women ?
4) A mysterious jelly has reappeared where, for the first time in over 50 years ?
5) Where have council workmen been criticized for using old tombstones to repair a drystone wall ?
6) A new ‘Eye’ ferris wheel has opened in which resort ?
7) Which actress told Melvyn Bragg that she suffered a breakdown in her 20s ?
8) Which author said that the National Curriculum takes all of the joy out of reading ?
9) Which politician is behind the moves to change the rules governing succession to the throne ?
10) St. Pauls has been closed due to the anti capitalism protestors. This is the first time it has been closed since when ?
11) Which school has been criticized for knocking down a chapel to build science labs ?
12) Which 2 teams are contesting the baseball world series ?
13) Which country has the most 3 Michelin star restaurants now ?
14) On an Anglesey Monopoly board, newly made, where would you find Llanfair P.G. ?
15) A judge in Barnsley has banned the use of which word in the courtroom when used in a dialect context ?
16) Who told the Halle Orchestra that they can no longer claim to be the oldest orchestra in Britain any more ?
17) Last week saw the final hearing over which ‘racist’ Tintin book ?
18) Where did Lewis Hamilton become the first driver in a car other than a Red Bull to get poll position this season ?
19) Where in London do people live longest in the UK ?
20) What was announced as returning for the first time since 1992 ?
21) Patrice Evra claimed that he received racist abuse from which player ?
22) Which popular Youtube channel was hijacked with porn by hackers last week ?
23) Which Asian capital has been hit by floods ?
24) Who declared an end to their campaign of violence ?
25) Which Hollywood star was snubbed by KFC in East Grinstead ?
26) Which country invaded Iraq after clashes with Kurdish rebels ?
27) What punishment was handed out to wales’ captain Sam Warburton ?
28) Which airline left passengers sitting in their plane on the tarmac for 9 hours at Gatwick after it was rerouted, when the flight crew left the plane since it was time for them to clock off ?
29) Which seaside pier went up for sale ?
30) Which organization is under fire for its links to Amazon ( its not me ! )
31) Concerns were raised last week over health risks from which cosmetic treatment ?
32) Where is the UKs worst ambulance service ?

Answers to News Questions

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

1) Jessie J
2) Michael Boyd
3) Justine Greening
4) Philip Hammond
5) Jake Preston
6) PC Myles Hughes
7) Jan Moulton
8) Kevin Flynn
9) Winson Green
10) Paul Merson
11) Estonia
12) S.S.Mantola
13) Yulia Tymoshenko
14) Gilad Shalit
15) Jeremy Heywood
16) Sir Gus O’Donnell
17) Rob Sloan
18) Harvey Boulter
19) Montecristo
20) Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab
21) The Literature Prize
22) Emily John
23) Katie Price
24) Javier Bardem
25) Lord Hunt of Wirral
26) Georgia Forteath
27) Jingme Wangchuck
28) Bedd Morris Stone
29) Kamini Patel
30) Muhammed Imran
31) Wilberforce
32) Jill Pay

In other news : -

1) Andy Murray beat Rafael Nadal in the final of which event ?
2) Which world leader survived a vote of no confidence ?
3) - and which didn’t pay his bar bill ?
4) Where was a miner rescued from a mine in the Neath Valley ?
5) Who blamed the younger generations lack of respect n the decline of Sunday schools ?
6) It has been claimed last week that which war hero was killed in an incident of friendly fire ?
7) Which phone company were silenced through a technical glitch mid week ?
8) Who claimed that Twitter and Facebook et al are ‘ hives of malignity ‘ ?
9) Opinions differed last week as to the safety of chimneys – where ?
10) Which cabinet colleague was caught out trying to smear Theresa May and Phil Hammond ?
11) Where did Sir Paul McCartney’s 3rd marriage take place ?
12) Who was the first ‘celebrity’ kicked out of Strictly Come Dancing ?
13) What is the faith of Republican contender Mitt Romney ?
14) Which is the first University college to drop the traditional degree classifications in favour of US style grade point averages ?
15) Which London landmark was revealed to be tilting last week ?
16) Which is rated the world’s top university ?
17) Which US State has banned under 18s from tanning booths ?
18) Nigel Ely , ex SAS soldier , is auctioning which unusual item from the Gulf War for charity ?
19) What unusual scoring method is used in the Telford Football League ?
20) What will be on the tails side of the new Diamond Jubilee £5 coin ?
21) Which team ended Scotland’s hopes of reaching the Euro play offs ?
22) Which former cricketer is suing lawyers over compensation for a property deal ?
23) A new factory to manufacture wings for the Airbus has opened where ?
24) Veronica Connolly had to be ordered to pay her license fee, after she refused because of which programme ?
25) In which country are the world Scrabble championships being held ?
26) Which flag flew above 10 Downing Street on 15th October ?
27) Who were embarrassingly forced to pull out of a deal to produce a Satnav ?
28) 9 jockeys including AP McCoy were banned under new rules governing use of the whip in which racecourse ?
29) Bombs were exploded in the City of Culture for 2013 – which city ?
30) By mistake, what did Tesco end up selling for a very cheap 29p ?
31) Porthmadog Council are boycotting the opening of the A487 Bypass – why ?
32) Who has been criticised for chucking official papers in a public bin ?
33) Which Iranian broadcaster have been banned from British airwaves ?
34) Who will be chairing the review into the England RU world cup campaign ?
35) Name the Wales captain very harshly sent off during the Wales v. France world cup semi final

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


1) The Best UK act at the MOBO awards
2) He resigned as artistic director of the RSC
3) New Transport Secretary
4) New Defence Secretary
5) Benefit cheat caught when photographed winning an event in the British Motocross championships
6) Jailed for lying under oath to avoid a driving ban
7) Tycoon who bankrolled Liam Fox’s friend, leading to his resignation
8) Hoax caller who told police that his wife had a bomb on a plane
9) Prison whose long term inmates have now been allowed to wear their own clothes
10) Sky TV football pundit arrested for drink driving
11) Team Ireland have drawn to play in Euro play offs
12) A 2nd world war II shipwreck discovered with a cargo of silver
13) Former PM of Ukraine jailed for 7 years
14) Israeli soldier exchanged for 200 Palestinian prisoners
15) The next Cabinet secretary
16) The retiring Cabinet secretary
17) Stripped of his bronze medal for the Kielder Marathon after admitting getting the bus at the 20 km mark
18) Venture capitalist at the heart of the Liam Fox row
19) Italian cargo ship taken by Somali pirates , then stormed by Royal Marines
20) The ‘underpants bomber’ in court in Detroit
21) New rival to the Booker Prize
22) She was ordered to stop discreetly breastfeeding in Debenhams
23) She gave the shortest speech on record to the Oxford Union
24) Has been announced to play the villain in the next James Bond film
25) New chairman of the Press Complaints Commission
26) Convicted of fraud for 2 wills
27) King of Bhutan who married last week
28) The ancient standing stone was knocked over by a reversing driver
29) Offered police £200 bribes to do computer checks on daughter
30) Tried for bringing 8 live pigeons into the UK in luggage
31) Westminster dog of the Year
32) The House of Commons Serjeant at Arms who has quit

In Other News

1) The Japan Open
2) Silvio Berlusconi
3) Nicola Sarkozy
4) Unity Mine near Cwmgwrach
5) Dame Joan Bakewell
6) Guy Gibson
7) Blackberry
8) Derren Brown
9) Battersea Power Station
10) Chris Huhne
11) Marylebone Register Office
12) Edwina Currie
13) Mormon
14) University College , London
15) Big Ben
16) Cal Tech – University of California Institute of Technology
17) California
18) A buttock from the statue of Saddam Hussein pulled down in Baghdad
19) They report all wins as 1-0 to avoid embarrassment to losing teams
20) The Queen’s head from the 1953 coin portrait
21) Spain
22) Geoffrey Boycott
23) Flint
24) BBC2’s screening of Jerry Springer – the Opera
25) Poland
26) The Welsh Flag
27) Top Gear
28) Wetherby
29) Londonderry
30) Terry’s Chocolate Orange
31) The Invitation was only in English – not bilingual
32) Oliver Letwin
33) Press TV
34) Fran Cotton

Friday, 21 October 2011

Cryptic Questions

Right - firstly heres the answer to the last one -

Where does Anthony Gormley’s geographical icon come before Cameroon’s national football team, the second sign of the Zodiac, and two thirds of an albatross – what do they all possess, and how does the second come first ?

Answer -
Anthony Gormley’s most famous work is the ANGEL of the North. The nickname of Cameroon’s football team is The Indomitable LIONS. Taurus, the BULL is the second sign of the zodiac. An albatross is three shots under par for a hole in golf, and an EAGLE is two shots under, or two thirds, Confusingly in the USA an albatross is actually called a double eagle ! The Angel , the Lion, the Bull and the Eagle are the symbols of the four gospel writers, so the answer is the New Testament. They are all depicted with WINGS. Although second in the list, it is generally thought that the Gospel of St. Mark is actually the oldest, and therefore first.

OK - here's the next one - again, I don't think you'll have too much trouble with it : -
Where did a man who wouldn’t interrupt a clarinet gig to collect his Oscar, the second man to take one small step, the place where Tolkein had Farmer Giles, and David’s father all meet ? Who was the last of the group to join them ?

University Challenge - Repechage Match 2

St. Andrews University v. Worcester College, Oxford

The second of our repechage matches pitted St. Andrews against Worcester College. St. Andrews, represented again by Tomas Volcker, Thomas Lazarides, Dustin Frazier and captain Doug Kennedy had scored 165 when they lost to Merton (that’s the college, not Paul) in match 8. This made them slight underdogs , considering that Dave Knapp, Jack Bramhill, Jonathan Metzer and captain Rebecca Gillie had scored 180 for Worcester in their narrow defeat by Clare ( that’s the college , not Short ) back in match 3. On paper, not a huge amount to choose between the teams.

Thomas Lazarides took the first starter knowing that the plan for European recovery after WWII was named after General George Marshall. This gave St. Andrews a set of bonuses on scientific apparatus. None were taken. Indeed, it was a feature of this particular show that it seemed to me that a large number of bonuses went begging tonight. Maybe I imagined it. Anyway, Dave Knapp, who was to have a pretty good evening, took the first starter for Worcester recognizing a reference to Three Men in a Boat. Worcester then also failed to score on their first set of bonuses, this time on crowns. Thomas Volcker took the next starter on a set of words that all start with the letters – martin -. As if to prove me wrong, they took a full set of bonuses on acronyms with repeated letters – ppp – ddd – uuu but thankfully not kkk. Neither team liked the sound of a starter on trigonometry. Rebecca Gillie knew that the phrase The Primrose Path is found in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Worcester then took their own full set on scallops. The next starter, the first picture, was a UC special, a ‘word cloud’ with key words from a political document, with the most important words jumbled up, and given a size and prominence commensurate with their use within the text. Jonathan Metzer recognized the coalition agreement of 2010, and the team managed two more of the same as bonuses. Mr. Metzer had something of the bit between his teeth, for he took a double with the next starter on Monteverdi. 2 bonuses were taken on pacific islands. The last couple of sets had just seen Worcester starting to move up through the gears, and they led at the ten minute mark by 75 to 35.

Not that St. Andrews were going to make it easy for them. Neither team could take a quotation about the PM and the cabinet, but Dustin Frazier knew that a quotation from The Pilgrim’s Progress was used as the title of one of my favourite novels of all time – Vanity Fair. A bonus followed on eponymous architects. Two starters followed and both went begging. Neither team seemed to quite believe that a pisum sativum could be anything as simple as a pea. Nor did either team know what went to make up the misery index. Still, Jonathan Metzer knew that the world famous Abbey Road Studios are in St. John’s Wood. 2 bonuses on acid were taken. Thomas Lazarides took a good starter on polymers of glucose (believe me, any Science starter anyone manages to take sounds good to me.) 2 bonuses followed on film noir screenplays. With the music starter, Doug Kennedy buzzed in very quickly to identify the dulcet tones of Morrissey. I bet that there were more than a few people playing along at home that beat him to it, though. 1 bonus followed on songs which gave names to bands. The gap was now down to ten points, and the game nicely poised. Skipper Rebecca Gillie put the Worcester express back on the right track with the next starter on Lee Enfield. This gave them a full set of bonuses on pairs of words which differ only by the insertion of a letter T – pin and pint for example. Neither team could take a starter on Gauguin. However Thomas Lazarides showed something of a twitchy buzzer finger when he went early on the next starter, asking for a term to do with wine making, and he paid for it with a 5 point deduction. Jack Bramhill, quiet up to this point, took it with must. 1 bonus followed on poetry. Jack Bramhill went from a single to a double in short order when he knew that red ochre is obtained from haematite. None of a set of bonuses on shared surnames could be taken. That little spurt had taken Worcester away again, and they now led by 145 to 80.

To be in with a shout St. Andrews needed to take the next starter, but it was Dave Knapp who leapt in to link the Tamil Tigers with Sri Lanka. No bonuses could be taken on cities on parallels. Neither team could identify a photo of EM Forster. Jack Bramhill twisted the knife a little further with the next starter, though, buzzing early to say that the NASA Gemini programme was so named because their spacecraft contained two astronauts. Good job they didn’t call it Virgo. I’m so sorry – I can only apologise for that last one. The picture bonuses followed, with photos of other members of the Bloomsbury group. None were taken, but at least it gave us a decent slice of Paxman indignation. More of that later. Another early buzz from St. Andrews saw five points given away, because it happened before JP gave us the key to the question, the name Flinders. This, as Dave Knapp knew, linked us with Australia rather than Canada. 2 bonuses were taken on birds. Jack Bramhill knew a definition of an erg, and two bonuses were snapped up on the works of Schiller. A great early buzz from Dave Knapp identified Cockermouth as the birthplace of Wordsworth, and 3 bonuses on metal meant that Worcester were home and dry. Not that St. Andrews were going down without a fight, for Thomas Volcker took the next starter on a quote from Thoreau. 2 bonuses on people with the name Wilson followed. Dave Knapp took the next on settlements on lake Superior, and a good pair on various treaties of Versailles fell to Worcester. Time was nearly up as Dustin Frazier identified the only Gentile among the Gospel writers as Luke. We only had time for 2 bonuses on an English poet before the gong sounded, giving Worcester a comfortable win by 250 to 110. And I take back what I said about the bonuses, having read back my own notes. I don’t know where I got the impression from.

Jeremy Paxman Watch

I’ve often said thought that all you really need to do to press JP’s buttons is to get an English literature question wrong. He was muttering when both teams failed to identify a photo of E.M. Forster – “A man who liked to keep a low profile – evidently successfully. “ He was growling when Worcester identified a picture of Vanessa Bell as Virginia Woolf.”It’s nothing LIKE Virginia Woolf !” - even though it was , a bit. The Bloomsbury set all looked rather like they belonged in a horse breeder’s catalogue. However the piece de resistance came when they identified Lytton Strachey as Lewis Carroll – “Lewis Carroll ??!! Well ! NO !! Very MUCH no !!”

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

The Iron Crown of Lombardy , used for the coronation of Holy Roman Emperors, is kept in a cathedral in Monza.

Only Connect - Quarter Final 2

Listeners v. Rowers

The Listeners are Andrew Lyman, Jane Teather and captain Dave Tilley, who you might remember beat our own Hugh Bennett in the first round.
Jason Gray, Dominic Guinness and captain Chris Harrison , who collectively make up the Rowers beat the Linguists in the first round. In show 7 the Rowers won 16 – 14, and in heat 6 the Listeners won by 23 – 19. Bearing in mind the relative strength of the opposition in the first round, you’d certainly have made The Listeners favourites going into the show. But upsets can and often do happen.

Round One – What’s the Connection ?

Dave of the Listeners opted for Twisted Flax first, and found the music clues . On two clues they incorrectly plumped for bands known by their initials. Emerson , Lake and Palmer, and Crosby Stills and Nash might certainly have led them to jump to this conclusion. They weren’t far off, but a blast of Earth wind and Fire and Peter Paul and Mary gave the Rowers the right answer – that they were all bands with three names in their title. The Rowers picked water and found Spanish Prisoner – Boiler Room – and then tried the answer that they are all philosophical puzzles. Not right, I’m afraid. Given pump and dump, and mock auction, Andrew tried methods for buying and selling shares. Not quite close enough, said Victoria, since they are all financial swindles. The Listeners went for Two Reeds, and found the pictures. We saw a snowboarder, then a painting of a ship on a stormy sea, then a bat , then a flying fortress – which gave it to me. It didn’t help the Listeners, nor the rowers. Think Flying Fortress – Flying Fox – Flying Dutchman etc. Horned Viper revealed Steiff – Veuve Clicquot – Deutsche Grammophon – Boddingtons. Again, neither team could crack it. All of them have yellow labels. Yes, makes perfect sense when you know it. ( I didn’t either )Eye of Horus gave us John Quincy Adams – Richard Nixon – Dr. John Harvey Kellogg – and that was enough to give Dave the answer, that all were played by Port Talbot’s favourite son, Sir Anthony Hopkins. With just Lion left the Rowers found “For Sale Baby Shoes Never Worn” – Green Eggs and Ham ( I had an inkling here ) – Are You Dave Gorman – Round Ireland With a Fridge. The Rowers didn’t get it , neither did Jane. The last two are favourites of mine, and I knew that the last three were all written as part of a bet. So at the end of a testing first round, the Listeners led by 2 points to 1

Round Two – What Comes Fourth ?

Listeners liked the look of two reeds. The first was Magna Carta signed. The next was Battle of Agincourt. That was enough for me, and enough for them as well. They opted for Waterloo, that happening in 1815. Magna Carta – 1215 – Agincourt – 1415 – you get the point, I’m sure. Lion loomed for the Rowers, with Mount McKinley – Vinson Massif – and here they knew that we were dealing with highest points of continents – Cerro Aconcagua – and then they went for Everest. Incorrect, I’m afraid. The Listeners took Kilimanjaro – for they are the highest point of each of the continents from west to east. Eye of Horus revealed 3rd Corinthian – 2nd Corinthian and here they gambled on 1st Romans – unsuccessfully. The Rowers took a good answer with Doric – as they are the architectural styles on the Coliseum. Bloomin’ good shout that. Twisted Flax gave the Rowers pictures of a safari , a car bumper, a firefox – and when you think that the bumper was made of chrome you’ll know, as did the Rowers, that the next is Internet Explorer. The Listeners took millstone – before millstone – doglike and had a wild guess, which was wrong. So was the Rowers’ guess. But with a little thought its gettable, especially if you think of doglike as canine. Types of teeth then would give us cutter – for incisor. Finally behind water the rowers found home – brain – heart – Neither team could see it. But when it was explained – as things which the heroes of The Wizard of Oz wanted, it was a bit of a d’oh moment. As my dear old friend Allan always used to say , the best kind of question to ask is the one which has people saying ‘I should have known that’ after the answer is revealed – good set. So this round saw the Rowers increase their score to 4, but the Listeners had increased their lead slightly to 6.

Round Three – The Connecting Walls

The Rowers took the Water wall. They knew that there was a set of camps there – Prison – Summer – Fat and Nudist – but it did take a while to untangle them. They also managed another set before the time ran out – devil – sous vide – poach – coddle being methods of cookery. They froze the wall after . Fenwick Symes – Last – Boot – Blanche they didn’t see as characters in the novels of Evelyn Waugh. Pontil – Hawk – Knee Kicker and Jointer they nearly had. They offered tools in carpet laying, but that was actually too specific. They are professional tools – not all used by carpet layers. This gave them 4 points.

The Listeners tackled the Lion wall. They saw a set of famous cemeteries were there quickly, but as did the Rowers, they took a bit of time to unravel them. In fact they found stations on the Northern Line of the London Underground first – Oval – Bank – Highgate – Angel , and then they found Oasis – French Connection – Jigsaw – Monsoon- high street clothing chains. Then they quickly found Desire – Kismet – Morocco and Shanghai Express – Marlene Deitrich films. Not easy , that, and they didn’t get it. They had, however found their cemeteries in Bunhill Fields – La Recoleta – Pere Lachaise and Arlington. So this gave them 7 points and increased the lead. They now had 13 to the Rowers’ 8 .

Round Four – Missing Vowels

The first set were all Geological processes. The Rowers needed a blitz start, but didn’t get one as the category fell to The Listeners by two to one. The next category was They Married Royalty . They did slightly better, winning 2 – 1 themselves. The next category was song titles which didn’t appear in the song’s lyrics - :Listeners lost a point, and the rowers took two, but it was too late, and the end of the quiz. The Rowers had improved to 13, but the Listeners’ 16 was good enough. So well done Listeners, and hard lines to the Rowers, but there’s no shame in reaching the quarters. But it’s the Listeners who join The Antiquarians in the semis. Well played.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Cleverdicks reminder

I have already posted a casting call for this new quiz show, but in case you missed it - Gareth Kingston reckons that its format will be very popular with readers of LAM. Well, that's good news, certainly. Application details are on my post Casting Call - check it out for more info.

High Stakes

What was I doing on Tuesday ? Oh yes, I was invited for dinner at my daughter’s flat in Cardiff. This explains why the debut of Jeremy Kyle’s "High Stakes" passed me by completely. You know, my path did cross once with JK’s. It was back in 2007, when I was recording my first round heat in the 2007 SOBM of Mastermind. This was recorded in the 360 Media studios in Manchester, where they also record JK’s show. I was having my slap applied, when he arrived and I was asked if I would get out of the chair so that he could be touched up . Ooh, Matron. Well, fast forward to 2010, and the filming of the final of Mastermind Champion of Champions. You're right, I didn’t actually take part in the final, but as the highest scoring runner up I was stand in, and invited along to the studio for it. As I was walking from the car park to the studios I saw a substantial queue waiting outside the audience entrance . – Wow ! – I thought – The Champions' final is really popular ! - Then I saw the notice that said this was where people had to queue to get into the Jeremy Kyle show.

OK, well, back to High Stakes. Now that I’ve caught up with the show, what can I tell you about it ? It’s categorized as a quiz show, and while that’s right, this is very much a game show. Now, we all know about game shows, don't we ? Let's not expect great questions, or many of them, or very knowledgeable contestants. Nothing necessarily wrong with that, either. But it does have implications for how entertaining a quiz I'm likely to find it.

Boiling it down to essentials, the show consists of single contestants taking a go at winning up to £500,000 . To win they have to cross 6 lines of 7 numbers, on a big, presumably computerized board on the floor. On the first line, for £1000 I think, one of the numbers is booby trapped. On the second line 2. On the third line 3. You get the idea, I’m sure. The contestant has to pick numbers to stand on in each line. Now, if a contestant wanted to do it completely randomly , they could. On each line, a contestant has the choice of taking a risk, which means stepping onto a number blind, and hoping that its not a trap. However a contestant also has the option of taking a clue. The clue will tell them which number to avoid – for example, the very first one was – Avoid the year in which J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone “ was first published. The options are all consecutive numbers.

Now, basic arithmetic tells us that with 10 clues available, a contestant can get £25,000 without having to take any risk. However then that would lead you needing to avoid a lot of traps just by gambling. So I doubt that we’re going to see the jackpot won any time soon. Not to worry. Once you avoid all the traps on any one line you have the option of bailing out with whatever cash you have won. Even if you find a trap, you at least get the amount of money you won two lines ago.

Well, that’s the idea of the game, then. To be honest, it’s OK. They make out in the publicity for the show that the big USP for it is that the host is allowed to give you help. Well, yes, JK did at times, but I wouldn’t say that it was worth tuning in for this feature alone. Some he knew, some he didn't, or at least pretended that he didn't. If I’m honest I wouldn’t say that there’s anything outstandingly innovative about the show, though – single contestant playing for increasing amounts of cash, with increasing difficulty going with each prize money hike. Still, my initial impressions were that it’s not as unentertaining as some I’ve seen.

It has its negatives, of course. As tends to be the way with game show quizzes aimed at anything like a prime time audience, a large proportion of the questions were about entertainment and popular culture. You don’t get a lot of questions for your money, either, but then that’s par for the course with a game show quiz. It never did Millionaire a lot of harm for example, and the pace of this show wasn’t quite as funereal as some that I’ve seen. Not quite, anyway. I'll be honest, though, the whole number thing wears thin pretty quickly. There were two contestants in the first show. One was 39, and the other was . . . a bit older. It was nice to see a prime time quiz resisting the urge to go running to the 18 – 30 age group for its contestants. As is usual for this particular corner of the quiz show market, the contestants both were ordinary MOPs ( members of the public ) and I shouldn’t be surprised if this remains the same for the whole series. Yet the fact that you HAVE to gamble if you’re going to earn more than £25,000 probably means that really serious quizzers wouldn’t be much more likely to take the top prize than any MOP would.

As for Jeremy Kyle . . . he was OK. I will confess that I don’t find him anything like as annoying as Shouty McGurney from Million Pound Drop, but that’s just a personal thing. I will admit that his assumption of a 'funny'Northern accent to go with his first contestant's grated a lot. I thought that doing that sort of thing went out back in the 70s. I didn't like his calling the audience 'my friends' and the contestants 'mate' all the time either. It had all the sincerity of Hughie Green. He does seem like something of a strange choice to present this, though. His role in the show seems to be very much as the contestant’s friend – yet every 5 minutes or so I couldn't help expecting him to start shouting at them and tell them to ‘grow a pair’ . It’s a mental hurdle to get over, and I don’t know that I’d ever stick with the show long enough to.

I don’t know whether the show will be allowed the time to let other people make this mental adjustment either. I may be mistaken but I think that the viewing figures were less than 2 and a half million, which is far from great for the time it was on. ITV aren’t renowned for being patient with shows and allowing them the time to find their audience. As for my verdict, well , I know I keep coming back to this , but it’s OK.Not good, IMHO, and not bad, IMHO. Its OK. Of course, as always, feel free to disagree. It’s not really my sort of show, but it’s not the sort of thing that I’d go out of my way to avoid. Whether it’ll be around for long though, is something I wouldn’t like to try to predict.But what do I know ? I thought Million Pound Drop would be dropped after one term.

News Questions

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

1) Jessie J
2) Michael Boyd
3) Justine Greening
4) Philip Hammond
5) Jake Preston
6) PC Myles Hughes
7) Jan Moulton
8) Kevin Flynn
9) Winson Green
10) Paul Merson
11) Estonia
12) S.S.Mantola
13) Yulia Tymoshenko
14) Gilad Shalit
15) Jeremy Heywood
16) Sir Gus O’Donnell
17) Rob Sloan
18) Harvey Boulter
19) Montecristo
20) Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab
21) The Literature Prize
22) Emily John
23) Katie Price
24) Javier Bardem
25) Lord Hunt of Wirral
26) Georgia Forteath
27) Jingme Wangchuck
28) Bedd Morris Stone
29) Kamini Patel
30) Muhammed Imran
31) Wilberforce
32) Jill Pay

In other news : -

1) Andy Murray beat Rafael Nadal in the final of which event ?
2) Which world leader survived a vote of no confidence ?
3) - and which didn’t pay his bar bill ?
4) Where was a miner rescued from a mine in the Neath Valley ?
5) Who blamed the younger generations lack of respect n the decline of Sunday schools ?
6) It has been claimed last week that which war hero was killed in an incident of friendly fire ?
7) Which phone company were silenced through a technical glitch mid week ?
8) Who claimed that Twitter and Facebook et al are ‘ hives of malignity ‘ ?
9) Opinions differed last week as to the safety of chimneys – where ?
10) Which cabinet colleague was caught out trying to smear Theresa May and Phil Hammond ?
11) Where did Sir Paul McCartney’s 3rd marriage take place ?
12) Who was the first ‘celebrity’ kicked out of Strictly Come Dancing ?
13) What is the faith of Republican contender Mitt Romney ?
14) Which is the first University college to drop the traditional degree classifications in favour of US style grade point averages ?
15) Which London landmark was revealed to be tilting last week ?
16) Which is rated the world’s top university ?
17) Which US State has banned under 18s from tanning booths ?
18) Nigel Ely , ex SAS soldier , is auctioning which unusual item from the Gulf War for charity ?
19) What unusual scoring method is used in the Telford Football League ?
20) What will be on the tails side of the new Diamond Jubilee £5 coin ?
21) Which team ended Scotland’s hopes of reaching the Euro play offs ?
22) Which former cricketer is suing lawyers over compensation for a property deal ?
23) A new factory to manufacture wings for the Airbus has opened where ?
24) Veronica Connolly had to be ordered to pay her license fee, after she refused because of which programme ?
25) In which country are the world Scrabble championships being held ?
26) Which flag flew above 10 Downing Street on 15th October ?
27) Who were embarrassingly forced to pull out of a deal to produce a Satnav ?
28) 9 jockeys including AP McCoy were banned under new rules governing use of the whip in which racecourse ?
29) Bombs were exploded in the City of Culture for 2013 – which city ?
30) By mistake, what did Tesco end up selling for a very cheap 29p ?
31) Porthmadog Council are boycotting the opening of the A487 Bypass – why ?
32) Who has been criticised for chucking official papers in a public bin ?
33) Which Iranian broadcaster have been banned from British airwaves ?
34) Who will be chairing the review into the England RU world cup campaign ?
35) Name the Wales captain very harshly sent off during the Wales v. France world cup semi final ?

Don't worry - I'm still obsessed

What with the dearth of posts through the week, and then my flurry of activity yesterday , and what with my going on about my two quiz books, you would be forgiven for wondering whether I’m actually doing any quizzing at the moment. Fear not. Interest and enthusiasm may be temporary, but obsession is permanent.

Take last week. Now, I mentioned some time ago that John recently underwent a shoulder operation, which has kept him out of action for a while. Bearing in mind that John wouldn’t be playing, I volunteered to produce the quiz for the Dyffryn Arms in Rhos. After much nomadic wandering on Sunday evenings, John and I have been happily ensconced in this one for a couple of years now. Volunteering to be a QM is always something I think very carefully about before doing. After all, I do try to sell sets of questions on my web store – not with any huge amount of success I hasten to add – and so I’m conscious of the fact that I don’t want to be bidding against myself, as it were. Still, the fact is that this quiz is one of those admirable institutions kept going by dedicated volunteer setters, and therefore not a potential customer at all. So I produced something a little more gimmicky than I’d do for the rugby club – of the 5 rounds, first and last were GK, but the rest were a connections round, a last letter first letter round, and a consecutive letters of the alphabet round. The first time I do a quiz at a new venue my instinct is always to go easier rather than harder. After all, I’ve never had a whole pub moaning because a quiz is too easy. Too hard, on the other hand . . . Well, it seemed to go alright , because I’ve been invited to join the regular setters.

That was Sunday. Now on Monday we had our first match this season in the Bridgend Quiz League. The League season actually started the previous week. However one of the registered teams has dropped out, and since they were out opponents that week, this left us with a bye. Which was all well and good, except that it meant that we started our league campaign with a match against our biggest rivals from last year, and our conquerors from this year’s Muriel Williams, the Tyrisha Nomads. We had a problem. There were only three of us. John was still incapacitated, and our replacement, my friend Rob – mentioned in these posts on several occasions – is not well, and worries that he may not be able to play with us for some time , possibly all season. Hence some frantic ringing round on Monday afternoon, which led to Brian from the rugby club stepping into the breach. All of which made our win a little surprising, but nonetheless very welcome.

Thursday was the rugby club quiz. Now, I won’t lie to you. I take this quiz – well, all quizzes – far too seriously. There’s no prizes in the club, its just for fun. Nonetheless, as I enter the club every Thursday night I can’t help doing a mental inventory of the most likely opposition, the ability of the QM, and the likelihood of a win. With no Rob, therefore no Lemurs, with Brian doing the questions, I thought that our chances were extremely good to nigh on nailed on. Then , after three rounds, we found ourselves three points behind. –What the . . . – went through my mind, I don’t mind admitting. I’m not being horrible, well, maybe I am, but the fact is that when I do the quiz I mark every paper, and I see the kind of answers that these two teams write down, and, well . . . they’ve never shown that kind of ability before. So , being what I am, I wasn’t thirsty but went up to the bar anyway, ostensibly to order a drink, but really to get a better view of what was going on with the other two teams. I’ll admit that I could see no skullduggery going on with one of them. The other, though, had one of their members, a lady old enough to know better, merrily googling away on her iphone. Alright, alright, I’ve gone on enough about this sort of thing in the past. I did my usual – stared at her and the people sitting next to her, and shook my head in sadness, and left them to it. The other team’s scores started to dip a bit, and we overhauled them. The phoning team still kept scoring highly, but we had made up our mind not to make it easy for them, and we put together a great run of rounds – so much so that a great run on connections gave us a tiny lead going into the last round. To cut a long story short, we maintained this through the last round, and increased it on the pictures. For all the monkey business, they still didn’t win. Serve them right.

Well, it’s my turn again next week, so in between world cup rugby, and art gallery going with my daughter Jessica, I shall be compiling for the club. I’ll let you know next week whether the result is kosher or not.

Oh, and a slight indulgence as a footnote if I may. A huge thank you to the kind reader who downloaded the Mytholgoy Quiz Book last night. I hope that you enjoy it.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Answers to News Questions

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

1) Karen Murphy
2) Towakul Kurma, Leymah Gowee, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
3) Josef Martin
4) Boris Berezovsky
5) Adam Werrity
6) Jo Wheatley
7) Tomas Tranströmer
8) Malcolm White
9) The Hands and Flowers
10) Ranzo Avila
11) Bill Smith
12) Skyfall
13) John Stewart
14) Daniel Schectman
15) Sean Iceton
16) Charlie Gilmour
17) Mohammed Asif – Salman Butt
18) Robert Moore
19) Annabel Newton
20) Janine Owen
21) Morag Keil
22) Yacoub Osman
23) Jonathan Djanogly
24) Raffaele Solecito
25) Andrasch Stark
26) Marie Dedieu
27) Nicola Bentley- Lovell
28) Ralph Steinman
29) Margaret Amao
30) Beatrice Dalton
31) Giuliano Mignini
32) Robert Barker
33) Jessica Palmer
34) Steven Regan
35) Dealchecker
36) John Cauldwell
37) Damian Fowkes

In other news : -

1) In which city was the Amanda Know appeal heard ?
2) Which supermarket are now selling multicolored carrots ?
3) What were revealed as the top food cities in a) Europe – b) UK ?
4) Where has Rodin’s “The Kiss “ gone on temporary display ?
5) What is the designation of the new iphone ?
6) Which pacific island nation is undergoing a fresh water emergency ?
7) A couple from which country have claimed to be the german forest boy’s grandparents ?
8) Prince Harry has begun training where ?
9) Who had to apologise to Jonathan Wilkes for calling him a ‘retard’ on air ?
10) What was found in the River Thames in London ?
11) Which newspaper celebrated its 25th anniversary ?
12) Who criticized muslim schools for valuing the Koran over science ?
13) 9 cases of Legionnaires Disease have developed in people who have recently visited which island ?
14) Name the credit ratings agency that has downgraded the credit rating of 12 English banks ?
15) In a survey, which book topped the poll of books that Britons claim to have read, but haven’t ?
16) How much money is the Bank of England printing for quantative easing ?
17) A nest of which poisonous creatures had been found in Bletchley ?
18) Which 1981 Ashes hero passed away suddenly ?
19) The RNLI in Tynemouth were called out after what was mistaken for a distress flare ?
20) Who announced that she will not stand for the presidency of the USA ?
21) Which actor was arrested for failing to take a breath test ?
22) How much will the Aakash – India’s new computer tablet – cost ?
23) Aberystwyth Council have voted to include which flag among a display of flags of the nations ?
24) Why was the King’s Fee JD Wetherspoons pub in Hereford criticized last week ?
25) How old was Steve Jobs, who passed away last week ?
26) Which architect won the Stirling Prize for the second year in a row ?
27) Where in England was the new record set for a day’s temperature in October ?
28) The BBC has been criticized for news reporters being continuously shown wearing which conspicuously branded coat ?
29) Who is heading the inquiry into phone hacking ?
30) Who resigned as manager of Nottingham Forest ?
31) Which Republican presidential hopeful was criticized for the offensive former name of his hunting lodge ?
32) Why was Thomas the Tank Engine criticised last week ?
33) Ofcom announced that they will be taking no action about whose controversial Newsnight appearance ?
34) In which city did the Tory Party conference take place ?
35) Who walked out of a show in St. Helens because there was no carpet in his dressing room ?
36) Who said that Strictly Come Dancing is a celebrity Job Centre ?
37) Where was a controversial bus lane scrapped ?
38) How many notches was Italy’s credit rating downgraded ?
39) Oxford Brookes have created a new bicycle made from what ?
40) In the USA, which TV show is set to end unless the cast agree to a 45% pay cut ?
41) Who was refused a visa by South Africa, so that he could not visit Desmond Tutu’ birthday celebrations ?
42) Which Olympic gold medallist was one of a pair who had to abandon an attempt on the cycling tandem record from Land’s End to John O’Groats ?

Answers

1) The landlady who has challenged her conviction for screening football using a foreign decoder
2) Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize
3) He sent his estranged wife a video of an adulterous woman being stoned to death.
4) The Russian businessman suing Roman Abramovich
5) The friend of Liam Fox in the current controversy
6) Winner of the great British Bake Off
7) Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature
8) He was arrested on suspicion of killing a robber who was trying to steal his car keys
9) The first ever pub to earn 2 michelin stars
10) The illegal immigrant at the centre of the ‘allowed to stay because of his cat ‘ disagreement between Ken Clarke and Theresa May
11) A 75 year old fell runner who died on a training run, and was not found for 3 weeks
12) Internet speculation is that this will be the title of the next James Bond film
13) The Heathrow airport 3rd runway protestor who has been barred from entering the USA
14) Winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry
15) Teen burglar who was turned in by his mother, who admitted 273 burglaries
16) Jailed for 16 months for swinging on the Cenotaph
17) Pakistan cricketers on corruption charges
18) His autopsy revealed that he died and was undiscovered for 3 days in St. James’ Park
19) The hotel worker subjected to lewd comments from Chris Ashton – Dylan Hartley and James Haskell
20) Paramedic struck off for taking laughing gas during 999 calls
21) Artist whose work went on display at Newport Art Gallery – there were complaints because her work shows people copulating
22) He was convicted of writing racist graffiti on posters of Steven Spielberg films
23) Justice Minister criticized for having shares in his childrens’ names
24) Also freed along with Amanda Knox
25) Jockey who rode Danedream to an unexpected win in the Prix del’Arc de Triomphe
26) French tourist kidnapped in Kenya
27) Claims that she was sacked as a driving tester for failing too many people
28) He died three days before being awarded the Nobel prize for medicine
29) Nurse who was threatened with being struck off for threatening to cut her practice manager to pieces
30) Nanny who stole £12,000 from the daughter of the Duke of Richmond, because she thought she was so rich that she wouldn’t miss it
31) Chief prosecutor in the Amanda Knox case
32) He drove into a hospital security guard who told him that there was no parking space for him
33) She was revealed as the blonde girl with Mike Tindall on that evening
34) A joyrider who stole a JCB and tried to escape police by driving it through a graveyard
35) Web comparison site criticized for running competition for photograph of the worst sunburn
36) Nurse struck off for sexually inappropriate behavior to colleagues
37) He admitted trying to kill Ian Huntley in prison

In Other News

1) Perugia
2) Tesco
3) a) Florence – b) York
4) Margate
5) iphone4S
6) Tuvalu
7) Switzerland
8) Top Gun
9) Eamonn Holmes
10) A short snouted sea horse
11) The Independent
12) Richard Dawkins
13) Corfu
14) Moodys
15) Pride and Prejudice
16) £75 billion
17) False Widow spiders
18) Graham Dilley
19) Planet Jupiter
20) Sarah Palin
21) Kris Marshall
22) £22
23) The Gipsy Flag
24) Opening a crèche
25) 56
26) Zaha Hadid
27) Gravesend
28) Berghaus
29) Lord Leveson
30) Steve Mclaren
31) Rick Perry
32) The new DVD talks of a Holiday Tree rather than a Christmas Tree
33) David Starkey
34) Manchester
35) Freddie Starr
36) Len Goodman
37) Heathrow to London on the M4
38) 3
39) Bamboo
40) The Simpsons
41) The Dalai Lama
42) James Cracknell

This Week's Cryptic

Yes, I've got a few more of these, and I'll keep sharing them with you once a week until they run out. So , are you ready ? Tough, because here it is : -

Where does Anthony Gormley’s geographical icon come before Cameroon’s national football team, the second sign of the Zodiac, and two thirds of an albatross – what do they all possess, and how does the second come first ?

As always , answer in a few days.

Shameless Plug - Take Two

Yes, eagle-eyed devotess of my recommended links may well have noticed that another quiz book has made its way onto the list. My second quiz book - "The Mythology Quiz Book" is now available on Kindle - or on CD ROM and email via my web store.

Out of interest , you don't even need to have Kindle to get it - or any other book you want - on Kindle. If you go to Amazon you can get a free Kindle app for your PC/laptop which takes about a minute to download. I only found this out last weekend myself. D'oh !

Casting Call

Sometimes I do get TV companies asking if I'll put out the word about their shows. I try my best to help out. So although I'm sure that LAM readers will have already heard about this one from other sources, I have no problem in agreeing to Hannah Duncombe's request to put out this call. This is the write up on the flyer she sent me : -

"Cleverdicks is an exciting new quiz show hosted by the formidably intelligent Ann Widdecombe who brings her uniquely witty charm to the foray.

Think Albert Einstein v. Isaac Newton !

We are currently looking for intellectual heavyweights and knowledgable know-it-alls to show off how clever they really are.

If you’d like the chance to become a Cleverdick and win a big cash prize apply now.

For an application form please email your name and telephone number to the casting team at cleverdicks@splashmediatv.co.uk.

Please note all returned applications must be received by 24th October 2011"


I'll be honest , I;m not 100% clear about where auditions will be taking place. At first I thought it was just London, but I have since heard that there is one in Liverpool too. Basically, if you're interested I'd apply anyway, and then see what happens once you hear about the auditions.