Wednesday, 24 June 2009

When does an 'in the news' question become a general one ?

I'll explain why I pose the question. Went to the quiz in Cowbridge last night. Good quiz too, although we missed out by a point again as it happened. We had a near miss in the jackpot too, getting 6 out of the 7 questions right , but this one did for us : -
Which former World Heavyweight Boxing champion was murdered in Jamaica in 2006 ?

We wracked our memories, but the answer wasn't there, and so it came down to taking a wild stab in the dark. We thought that it was unlikely to be an undisputed champion, so we plumped for Michael Bent, who briefly held the WBO version of the title, before losing it to our own Herbie Hyde. Why ? Well, we were stumped and floundering around, and it was just a name which occurred.

Now, for all I know you may already be screaming
"You idiots ! It was Trevor Berbick !"
at the screen, and you would be correct. The annoying thing, is that 3 years ago, I knew it too. After we had been told the answers, it was one of those where you think back, and you can actually remember it being an 'in the news' question which did the rounds a few years ago. Why I mention it is that I just found it interesting that now it has come back as a general sport question, rather than an 'in the news' one. It just set me to thinking about why it is that some questions recur in quizzes long after they have ceased to be current or topical, and some don't ? Some questions there is absolutely no point in retaining the answer for more than a few months at a time, because once they are no longer news it will never be asked about again. Let me give you an example. What was the name of the man who pretended to have disappeared in his canoe, and then allowed himself to be photographed with his wife in a tourist brochure ? I'm sure that you remember the case now, but do you remember the name ? Well done if you do , and if you don't it was John Darwin. Its only a couple of years ago, but its a question which seems to have passed out of existence for the time being. Whether it will ever resurface I can't say.


There was one other question in the main part of the quiz which gave rise to thought too.
"In which country was Mother Theresa born ? "
If the word "Albania" has spring into your head, well, you are at least in good company. That's the answer we put, and also the answer the team we were marking put, and possibly the answer which some of the other teams put as well. Unfortunately that didn't make it right. Quite rightly the QM announced that the answer was
"Yugoslavia, although I will accept the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia "

Don't take my word for it - check it on Google. It just interested me that the wrong answer is sometimes accepted as the right answer - and yes, I know that in my "The Question Master Is Always Right " series I have given more than a few examples of these in my time. In this case I guess its due to the fact that for most of us, our nationality comes from the country where we were born, and so we naturally assume that if Mother Theresa was Albanian - which she was - then she would have been born in Albania - which she wasn't.


Unknown said...

I've set the 'In which modern-day capital was Mother Theresa born?' several times as it often catches people out. However, I've always shied away from asking the country as we're on really dodgy ground with this. Yugoslavia did not exist when Mother Theresa was born so I would question whether that is the correct answer at all. She was born in Skopje which was then part of the Ottoman Empire and inhabited by ethnic Albanians.

Londinius said...

Hi Rob, thanks for dropping by. Yes, you're right, of course. No problem with the question, just amused and annoyed with myself for giving the 'oft given but wrong' answer !