I’m not proud of this, but I have been known to argue with question masters on occasion. I try to stop myself, because I know that its not a good thing to do, and that its absolutely pointless, but it still happens, I confess. Twice during these last seven days I’ve been to quizzes where a question has been asked, where either the question or the answer given to it has been wrong. No surprise in that. Many many question compilers and question masters get things wrong from time to time in good faith, me included, as those of you who read my monthly quiz will be well aware of. I accept that. I do my best to check the accuracy, but no doubt I could do more.You can’t expect perfection from a question master. But both times last week the questions or the answers have been SO wrong that I’ve been too shocked or stunned to remonstrate with the question master. Which is probably a good thing, when you think about it.
On Sunday night we were asked this multiple question.
Name the 6 countries outside of Africa that have a letter Z in their names
Taking the question at face value we wrote down Switzerland – Czech Republic – New Zealand – Bosnia-Herzegovina – Azerbaijan – Brazil
Good answers ? Not good enough – instead of New Zealand, he offered us Venezuela ! All of a sudden other countries’ names also popped into our heads – among them Kazakhstan – Uzbekistan – Kyrgyzstan to name but three. Now, if he had also left out Azerbaijan, I could accept that I’d misheard, and he had in fact said countries outside of Africa AND Asia. But leaving out New Zealand ?
Then on Thursday night we were offered this one –
In which Shakespeare play do Florizel and Perdita appear ?. Now, OK, I do know that we all get a little protective, a little touchy about what we believe to be our own subjects, and being as I once studied and now teach English Literature I knew I should be on the firmest ground with this question. As I’m sure you know, the answer is “The Winter’s Tale “. All of which begs the questions, how the hell did the question master come up with the answer “The Tempest” ? All I can think of is that maybe he was using a reference which listed the plays in order of composition, next to which there was a list of main characters from each. Winters Tale and Tempest were both very late plays, so possibly his eye just slipped. What made this one worse, apart from being a subject that I think I know a bit about, was that none of my team mates had known the answer, and so had just accepted Winters Tale with a very touching blind faith. In such a case it doesn’t matter how much you remonstrate that the answer you gave is actually the right one, you know what’s going through their minds. Exactly the same thing that would be going through my mind if the boot was on the other foot. It was a little bit of a sod's law night, really. You may remember that we were asked a question to which the answer was Threepenny bit last week ? Well, this week we were asked how many sides one actually had. All three of my compadres fell into the trap of saying 7 - which is the 50p and the 20p of course. I replied that I'd looked at photos in my post mortem googling last week, and could confirm it was definitely an even number, and I reckoned about 12. I let them beat me down to 10. Then I began to beat myself when it was revealed that the answer was of course 12.
Returning for the moment to the subject of my leaving the question masters alone despite, or maybe because of the magnitude of the wrong'uns, is it , I wonder, a sign of old age ? Is this just a one – off, or does it mean that I am finally beginning to see the error of my ways ? Is it a usual thing to get more mellow about wrong’uns as you get older. Any other ‘mature’ quizzers ( is this an oxymoron ?) out there I’d really welcome your views on this one.
As for the two quizzes themselves, it didn’t really make a lot of difference. We won fairly comfortably on Sunday night anyway. On Thursday night at the rugby club we were well beaten on the picture round, so would have lost the quiz overall anyway.