Wednesday, 29 December 2010

A Moral Question for you

Here’s a moral question for you to consider. When setting a quiz have you ever been tempted to give an answer to a question which you know to be wrong, secure in the knowledge that if anyone makes a fuss you can hide behind the old adage “The Question Master is always right “ ?

I hasten to add that I have never done this myself, although I freely admit that I have given out wrong answers from time to time due to ignorance, carelessness, or incorrect information in my sources. No, probably the worst lie I told wasn't in a quiz at all. It was when I told a girl at university that I had been the large cub scout who ate his packed lunch on a roller coaster in “Jim’ll Fix It” However that was all a long time ago, and not really anything to do with the issue in hand.

I’m doing the second part of a two week stint as question master in the rugby club tomorrow night, and I’ve just been putting the finishing touches to the quiz. I’m going to ask a bit of an old chestnut –
Which piece of music has been requested most times on “Desert Island Discs ?”
I remember asking it about 10 years ago, and giving the teams 4 options – “I’m Not In Love” by 10CC – “Winter” from Vivaldi’s 4 Seasons – “Ode to Joy” by Beethoven – and “When I’m Cleaning Windows” by George Formby. It’s the Beethoven one of course. Last time I asked it IIRC about 4 teams actually went for the George Formby song, and I have to admit that for a minute or so I did seriously consider going with that answer tomorrow night to see if I could get away with it.

Don’t worry. I am not going to make a mockery of my self-appointed role as question master. Laugh though it undoubtedly would be. However it does beg the question – we’ve all played in quizzes where the QM has got something wrong. But have you ever played in one where you are absolutely certain that the QM has deliberately given a wrong answer – or – have you ever set a quiz yourself where you have deliberately given a wrong answer ? I’d love to hear from you if you have.


cwj said...

My "dream" strategy on this was conceived when there was significant and plausible, but unproven, allegations of cheating from one or two teams.

The concept is to include a question which it is literally impossible to know the answer to, because it is all made up. But with careful advanced planning, you have also planted a correct answer in a cheatable place. Any team who contends that the QuizMaster is wrong when you announce an answer other than the "planted" answer MUST have been cheating.

e.g. "Which now defunct public service still has a phone number that can be reached on 0845 232 7971?"

This would be a phone number that you had acquired (for low cost from e.g. Skype) or was a rarely used personal landline.

You get someone with a lovely voice to record the message "Thank you for calling The Cones Hotline. This service is now defunct. Please hang up."

And then...cheating teams will write "Cones Hotline"...other teams won't. And there you have it.

I hope I have explained my ruse very clearly.

I have never actually done this, but I think it is quite cunning.

Londinius said...

Hi cwj

I would never have taken you for a criminal genius ! Seriously , that is terrific, and totally justifiable in my opinion.

Back in November I had a conversation with someone who is widely reckoned to be South Wales' finest quizzer, and it turned ou tthat we have both had the experience of playing in a quiz in Cardiff for a £100 jackpot, and being beaten by a team of very obvious phoners. Its soul destroying !

(Alright - I admit being stranded in an airport for three days, or being stuck without water and heating are probably worse, but you know what I mean.)