North of England v. Scotland
Monday saw the return match between Diane Collecot and Adele Geras of the North of England, and Val McDermid and Roddy Lumsden of Scotland. Well, being as it’s the school holidays, of course I had a look at the questions prior to the show.
The first question went to the North, and
It went: -
In what way might a Dickensian cricket match have provided inspiration for Lindisfarne and J.K. Rowling?
Now, the words Dickensian Cricket match immediately made me thought of Dingley Dell v. All Muggleton in The Pickwick Papers – you know, the match that was on the back of a ten quid note for a while. Muggle and J.K. Rowling are a natural match off course, Muggles being ordinary non-magical humans like me in the Harry Potter saga. Dingly Dell I guessed would be a track or an album by the group Lindisfarne. North were onto the Pickwick papers, but started barking up the wrong tree almost immediately. They needed Tom to push them into considering the teams involved in the cricket match, but they couldn’t remember them. Push, push, push came from Tom and they got muggles, but that was about as far as they got. I gave myself 6, but poor old North were frankly lucky to get 1 sympathy point.
Val and Roddy opened Scotland’s account with this one: -
Can you place in the correct order: the blacktop that passes through St Louis, Amarillo and San Bernadino; the speed limit on parts of it; a treat combining flavours of chocolate and vanilla; a German defence against enemy aircraft; and Kookie Byrnes’ place on the Strip?
No marks for knowing that this was a numbers question. Unravelling what I could, the blacktop I guessed was Route 66 – the speed limit in parts 55mph, the ice cream possibly a 99, and Ed ‘Kookie’ Byrne’s place being 77 Sunset Strip. Before I turned on the show, I made a guess at 88 - perhaps 88mm - for the anti aircraft defence, which seemed to fit. Yes indeed. A second consecutive 6 pointer for me. As for Scotland, they had Route 66, 55mph, 99 very quickly, and for the wrong reason they got the right answer for 88. Of course they had 77 Sunset Strip, and were worth their full 6 points.
As usual I couldn’t prepare for either music set. The North of England’s asked: -
How and where they might be associated with arrival and departure?
The first sounded like Zorba the Greek’s syrtaki. The second was a voice that sounded like Richard Burton – going for a Burton, I wondered. The third was an opera lady singing heaven alone knows what. Then John Lennon’s imagine – and we definitely had an airport connection here, I thought – John Lennon airport in Liverpool. The North thought the same straightaway. The second was from “The Little Prince”. Now once they said that the opera lady was The Queen of the Night from The Magic Flute I guessed we had Mozart Airport in Salzburg. The Burton one was actually Saint Exupery Airport in Lyon – didn’t know it. As for the Greek – Kazantzakis airport I guessed would be in Crete. I think that I could not in all honesty claim more points than the North, but was happy to take 4 as they did.
Following on from that, Scotland were asked
These three performers might claim kinship with the heroine of a Jane Austen novel: which one?
We began with The Animals’ House of the Rising Sun – the keyboard solo suggesting Alan Price, which would lead to Fanny Price of Mansfield Park. Another opera lady didn’t help me a great deal, the third was definitely a Price – Vincent Price’s voiceover from Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Scotland mistook Vincent Price for Christopher Lee, and couldn’t remember their Fanny from Mansfield Park. They did eventually dredge up Leontine Price the opera singer. In the end Tom awarded them 5, and I was at least worth 4.
What a lovely question the North of England received next.
Where might half an orang-utan and Leontes’s daughter be spotted, along with 99 others?
Once again a little knowledge of Shakespeare helped me out of a difficult spot. Perdita is Leontes’ long lost daughter from “A Winter’s Tale”. Perdita is also the name of the female adult Dalmatian in the Dodie Smith book “101 Dalmatians” and the various film versions. Her hubby is called Pongo – and thanks to an old film I watched on a number of occasions with my kids, called “Dunstan Checks In”, I know that the Scientific name for an orangutan is pongo pygmaeus. Dalmatians, of course, are spotted all over, being covered in the little blighters. Likewise, the North began with Perdita, and had the Dalmatians connection at the start. They stumbled around the other dog, and didn’t have a Scooby about where the orangutan came in. In the end the Scots had to supply pongo. I had a deserved 6, while the North had a rather generous 4.
While Scotland’s next question didn’t quite reveal itself in a blaze of light in the same way, there was still much to enjoy about it. They were asked
To which family could Mrs Thatcher, the enemy of the Space-Bat-Angel-Dragon, and the smallest public monument in Stockholm, all belong?
The Space Bat Angel Dragon is the enemy of Ted Hughes’ wonderful Iron Man. Margaret Thatcher was The Iron Lady. Now, as it happens I didn’t know that there is a small public monument called, or nicknamed, the Iron Boy in Stockholm, but I guessed it would be either boy or girl to complete the small family. Scotland didn’t know about the Space Bat Angel Dragon, nor the Iron Boy, although they did have the Iron Lady. Tom practically told them it was the Iron Man and the Iron Boy. I have no idea where Tom found 4 points to give Scotland, but if they had 4, then I’m claiming 5.
It was all over bar the shouting, but the North of England still had to answer this: -
What does the seagull not have that is provided by part of a knight’s equipment, a pair of Babylonian lovers and the description of a naked person?
No lightbulb moment for me with this one. I had a horrible feeling that it might refer to Chekov’s The Seagull, which I have neither read nor seen. It did. I might have been able to get Pyramus and Thisbe as the Babylonian lovers, but I didn’t. The Knight – said Tom – is in Throught The Looking Glass. Like the North I knew that it is the White Knight, but that didn’t help. From this he pushed us to Hamlet, and the North faffed around trying to remember that the Mousetrap is the play within the play in Hamlet. Still we lacked the naked person. It is apparently from Noises off, and called Nothing On. Blimey. The play within a play in the Seagull does not have a title. Too hard. Too much effort for too little reward. North received 2, and I was happy to take that for myself.
Scotland, already home and dry, I think, were asked
Which mythical literary phrase, never actually uttered, might lead to the mythical characters Atlas, Daedalus, Prometheus and Tantalus?
I had a little more clue about this one than about the previous, but not a huge amount. Possibly the most famous literary phrase never uttered – at least not in any of the works written by the original author – was ‘Elementary , my dear Watson.’ So if the four classical elements were important, then Prometheus gave Mankind fire, Tantalus was imprisoned by Tartarus and tortured by being forever thirsty,but forever denied water, although he was surrounded by it, Atlas is depicted in an Atlas with the earth on his shoulders – even though strictly speaking he carried the heavens, not the earth, and Daedalus invented wings which killed his son Icarus. Scotland got 6 – my answer was as good as theirs, so 6 for me. A comfortable win for Scotland