Friday, 29 August 2014

Honest multiples

It’s probably the teacher in me that makes me do it, but whatever the case it’s something I find very difficult to stop myself doing. Not only telling teams that their answer is not the right one, but telling them WHY it is not the right one. Case in point – last night was my turn as QM in the rugby club. As I had promised to do, I stole the great question about London Underground stations that have names containing the names of US state capitals which was posted in the Facebook Quiz Discussion group a couple of weeks ago. Now, two of the teams put down Great Portland Street as an answer. If they didn’t look it up in a diary – and I’ve no reason to suggest that they did – then it’s a terrific answer apart from one point. Portland isn’t a state capital. So, when I gave out the answers, I explained – apologies to those teams who put down Great Portland Street , but sadly Portland is not a capital. – Why then did I have to go on with – You were probably thinking of Portland, Oregon. Portland is actually the largest city in Oregon, but Salem is the capital – Why do I have to do this? Nobody likes a show off. I just can’t seem to stop myself.

On the subject of that question, though, at least it is what I like to think of as a true multiple question. This is what I mean. This is a question whereby just because you know one answer, it doesn’t follow that you are necessarily any more likely to know the rest. You might not know the underground itself very well at all, but still be able to guess that a station called Richmond would be likely. This wouldn’t mean though that you’re more likely to pluck Boston Manor out of thin air. Well, compare this with the five pointer we were asked in Sunday night’s quiz. –
Name the five children – first names and surnames – who won golden tickets to visit the factory in Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
My contention is that for many people this is a – know one and there’s a pretty good chance that you know them all – question. With the surnames, you’re probably more likely to know none of them or all of them. I’d guess it might be pretty much the same thing with ‘name the four houses of Hogwarts school in the Harry Potter books and films.’

This is just my opinion, and as always . . . but I rather like questions where you have to work at it a bit, and apply what you do know to help you figure out what you don’t. 


Will Jones said...

Portland is also the largest city in Maine.

Londinius said...

Hi Will,
You see, it's irresistible, isn't it?!