Sunday, 26 January 2014

When is a weed not a plant?

Well, it was nice to get back to winning ways in the League this week. I mean, our win was nowhere near as clear cut as the score suggested, but hey, we’ll take what we can get. Even better was winning the Thursday night quiz at the rugby club, against a full strength Lemurs team. It was a Brian quiz, so we weren’t putting out quite a full team either. In a funny way it was like a reversal of what usually happens. Normally there isn’t a huge amount to choose between either of the teams, with both scoring heavily in each round, until we have a bad round and then that’s it – once you go behind they are so consistent that you won’t catch them up again. Well, this time they had one bad round when I’m guessing they didn’t get the connection, and maybe put down a wrong answer or two to make it fit. Amazingly our bad round never quite arrived – although the penultimate round came close and the connection was only solved right at the death. It went something like this : -

1. Which Spanish, or Spanish American dance can be defined as a lively couples dance, usually in triple metre, traditionally accompanied by guitars and castanets or hand-clapping?
2. Who is a roguish clown character of the Italian commedia dell'arte who wears a black mask and, sometimes, glasses, and is known for his sly and cowardly ways?
3. Which Arabic phrase means – in the name of God, or Allah?
4. What is the connection between your last three answers

Now, I do accept that you’re probably sitting there saying – I saw it straightaway! Well done, But we didn’t. We were about to hand it in with 4 unanswered questions, when it suddenly struck me that the dance might be fandango – and we were away. I’m sure you’v e got it – but if you haven’t , it’s 1) Fandango – 2) Scaramouche – 3) Bismillah – 4) Lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody.

Of course, the really stupid thing about this is that I’m sure I’ve asked a very similar connection myself in the club before now. OK, I substituted Figaro (as in the Marriage of) for Fandango and Gallileo (Shuttlecraft of the USS Enterprise) for Bismillah, and for Scaramouche I asked for the film with the longest swordfight in cinema history. Still, it’s not like it was a way out one.

I’m off to our other Sunday quiz in half an hour or so. John and I prefer the Twelve Knights in Margam, but since there’s a prize which is worth having, and since we win most – although not all – of the time, it’s probably better if we only go every other week. So we go to our less favourite tonight. I shan’t mention the name, because you never know who might be reading, and I don’t want to upset anyone. I like the fact that it’s always home grown, but it does make it a bit of a quality lottery. There’s one guy who is very, very good, and then there’s another who isn’t. Before Christmas he asked us to name all the countries that have a border with Italy. When he gave the answers he didn’t mention San Marino. When I queried this he would not accept it as an answer. Now, had he said, “No, sorry, I don’t count that as a proper country. . . “ or some such variation, then he would have been wrong, but he wouldn’t have shown off his ignorance. No, instead he said, and I quote,
”Oh no, I checked that one and it doesn’t actually have a border with Italy.”
I did consider telling him that, actually, no, it's border with Italy is the only one it's got. . . but I didn't.I suppose that you mellow as you get older. Time was I would have taken up cudgels on San Marino’s behalf, and argued the toss. But after such a stunning display of blatant wrong-headed – I’m – the – question-master-and-I’m-denying-you-every-point-I-can-whether-your-answer-is-right-or-not-ness even I realized that there was no point, and let it go. Last time we went it was his turn again, and once again, every time our answer deviated from his we were denied the points. John was seething after he asked this: -
Natural world – what is a horse’s tail?
We wrote down that it was a weed. Which it is. When he gave out the answer he said ,”It is a plant.” When the team marking our paper queried if we could have a point for weed, he looked over at us, then snapped,
“No, like I said, it’s a plant.”
Heaven alone knows if he believes that weeds are part of the Animal kingdom, then. Well, it is his quiz, but come on!

So we’re keeping our fingers crossed that it’s not actually our friend tonight. The stupid thing about it is that the prize is a bottle of wine for each round – and if (not when) we win either, we always give it away to one of the other teams anyway!


Watergrass Jon said...

Time was when I used to argue the toss with QMs, now I mostly just shrug and move on - I can't do with the hassle. One of my favourite wrong answers was "What was the name of the Wright Brothers' first plane?" To which I naturally gave the answer "Flyer I", and the answer supplied was "Kitty Hawk". Haha.

Londinius said...

Hi Watergrass Jon

You know I've occasionally toyed with posting something here under the heading - Why Do You Want To Set A Quiz - and then in smaller letters underneath - (when you don't know anything and can't be arsed to look it up?)

But I don't want to upset a lot of good and decent people who set quizzes for no other reward than the satisfaction of giving people a couple of hour's entertainment and maybe getting a couple of free pints.

As you say, by far the most sensible and mature thing to do when you get such a blatant wrong'un is to grin and bear it. Ah me - if only life were that simple!