Saturday, 28 November 2009

Christmas keeps on coming earlier each year

Its that time of year again. With no Mastermind, and no Are You An Egghead to watch and review what else could I do on a Friday night ? I went to a quiz. Not that it needs any defending, but by way of an excuse I have been living off iron quiz rations for the last fortnight or so. Pressure of work and the fact that my dear friend John has been in Hong Kong for a couple of weeks, and then ill after he came home necessitated restricting myself to the Thursday nighter. Last night, though, John was better, so we kept a long standing date to join up with a friend to play in a charity quiz in Margam village.

Checking past posts I find that the last time we played here was back in July. They do the two charity quizzes a year. The main thing I remember about the last one was being asked how long Canada’s coastline is, and being absolutely staggered by the answer that it is over 150,000 miles.

Well, last night there was nothing quite like this. However, there was a good reason for this, since last night’s quiz was the first Christmas themed quiz I’ve attended this year. Yes, its not only the High Street Christmas Lights which seem to start earlier and earlier each year. I mean, it is still November, isn’t it ? Well, what the hell. I know that I have said some horrible things about themed quizzes in the past, and I do stand by them. However, I concede that it is possible to make a good themed quiz. It just takes a hell of a lot more planning and effort than normal.

So, what was the verdict? Well, I don’t know, maybe I’m going a bit soft in my old age, or maybe it really was a cut above the usual Christmas themed quiz, but I really enjoyed this. Anyone who can put together a quiz of 7 rounds of 10 questions, with a picture handout and a written handout, for nothing more than the satisfaction of helping a good cause deserves a lot of credit. I’ve been to two quizzes put together by Ken our QM, and I’ve enjoyed both of them. So he’s a good safe pair of hands.

On the subject of the Thursday Night quiz, I found out two nights ago that it will be my turn to do the last quiz before Christmas. Which means that I will have to decide whether I shall be Scrooge or Fezziwig ( see my post of the same title in December 2008 ) Being realistic I shall delay my decision, since its quite possible that one of the QMs who are doing the other Thursdays before mine may well not be able to resist the lure of the Christmas themed quiz, in which case I shall be Scrooge.

By way of a footnote about the rugby club quiz, Brian was QM on Thursday night, and he gave us a connections quiz. I’m delighted to take the credit for introducing the concept of the connections quiz to the club, back in 1995. Basically in each round you ask three seemingly unconnected questions, and then the next question is to name the connection between the answers. I say that I introduced it to the club rather than invented it, since I got the idea from Geoff Evans’ open quiz for the teams of the late lamented Neath Quiz League. As I recall Geoff included a couple of connections, one of which worked something like this.
1) The film and play “Shadowlands” are about which writer ?
2) The three male suspects in Cluedo are Reverend Green, Professor Plum and which other ?
3) Which Ken Dodd 1966 hit is still one of the 20 biggest selling UK singles of all time ?
4) What is the connection between your last three answers
The answers are, of course,
1) C.S.Lewis
2) Colonel MUSTARD
4) GASES ( used against people )

Its good fun, and in the hands of a skilled question master it can enable you to ask harder questions than you might normally do. It also means that you can ask a simpler question in a way that makes it more difficult. Fitting three completely unconnected questions together so that, if you get the three answers, a connection should be obvious also enlivens the whole process of making the quiz.

So, in Brian’s quiz my team, down to just three members, managed to find all 8 connections. However , one of the sets of three made a good example of the danger of not playing the man. Let me ask you,
1) Who had a hit with the song “Welcome Home “ in 1973 ?
2) Which gas operated machine gun was the standard machine gun used by the British army during world war I ?
3) What is the county town of County Clare in the Republic of Ireland ?
4) What is the connection between your last three answers ?

OK . So the answer to number 1, not so much of a problem for forty and fifty somethings , was Peters and Lee. I proved my worth to the team by knowing that the answer to number 3 was Ennis. For me, that was the clincher to give you the connection – British multi event athletes who won gold medals at either world or Olympic level. Well and good. Then for the machine gun, one of us chipped in with Tommy gun. Tommy actually comes from Thompson – Daley Thompson ! Well, that was our reasoning. Initially I did disagree on two counts – namely that it was a sub-machine gun, and also that I did think it was invented after World War I. After hardly any thought we reasoned that the connection as too good, and maybe Brian didn’t know the difference between a machine gun and a sub machine gun. Which meant that we got exactly what we deserved when the answer was the Lewis gun. If we’d been honest we’d have known that of course Brian would not have made that mistake, and I think we would have got to Lewis eventually.

Not that playing the man and not the ball is always a tactic that pays off. In the previous Thursday’s quiz I asked the question
- What is an ‘edzell blue ‘ ?
I overheard one of them suggesting the correct answer – potato – to be argued out of it by the rest of the team, who know that I like butterflies very much, and am a member of Butterfly Conservation UK. So they answered butterfly.

Speaking of which it reminds me that its simply ages since I posted a quiz here, so I shall have a look , and a rummage around my dusty drawers. Then when I’ve done that I’ll have a look for a quiz to post too.


Londinius said...

That's easy for you to say !

Rach Cherryade said...

We go to a regular quiz night every Tuesday (the best one in Manchester in my opinion, a great range of topics and a great quiz master!) anyway, I'm hoping there'll be a Christmas edition because I absolutely love Christmas (we have 2 Christmas trees up in our flat all year round so you can imagine how happy I am now December is finally here!) and Christmas trivia is one of my specialities, it's not terribly useful most of the year though!

Londinius said...

My wifes a big lover of the Christmas period too, and even I sometimes forget to pepper my conversation with pah humbugs once in a while. If you do get a Christmas quiz, and there are any great questions in it, drop me a line !