Friday, 15 April 2011

Quizzing in the War

This is on a much lighter note than my previous post. I’ve mentioned my collection of veteran and vintage quiz books before. I obtained a nice little item last week. It’s a very thin, very small booklet from world war II, not that much bigger than a pamphlet really, of games and quizzes to play in an air raid shelter . It was published by the Guardian press, price 6d, and the title of it is actually “Buzz”. Isn’t it funny how some things come around again and again? “Buzz” as I’m sure you know, is the name for the interactive quiz games you can buy for the playstation 2/3 etc.

It was intended for use , and I quote ,
“ . . . not only in the home, and for parties, but also in public shelters, ARP quarters, or on fire watching duty.” Isn’t that rather something?

It sells itself as a handbook for a spelling bee game, but this only makes up the first few pages of the book. There are actually 31 pages of questions – albeit small pages, and these manage to cram in 277 questions. They’re an interesting mixture, with rounds on quotations, general knowledge, who wrote what , countries and capitals, London, where in the world, song lyrics, sport, kings and queens advertisements ( contemporary with the book, obviously ) and cryptic clues to film and radio stars. The answers to the questions come in a slightly smaller booklet within the booklet.

In case you’re wondering what the questions are actually like, I’ll give you a flavour with a small selection from different rounds : -

1) Who wrote these lines “They also serve who only stand and wait “?
2) Who wrote these lines “The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor “?
3) Which coin ( pre decimal ) is exactly one inch in diameter ?
4) Which greek philosopher lived in a tub ?
5) Who wrote Bulldog Drummond ?
6) Who wrote “Love Among The Chickens “ ?
7) Who is being described “ with his ukulele many would choose/ he suffers from Chinese laundry blues”
8) Who is being described “ A politician , gangster, airmen and yet/ Nothing surpasses his acting as Rhett”
9) Who took the world Heavyweight boxing title from Jack Dempsey ?
10) What is the meaning of MCC ?
11) When did Gibraltar become a British possession ?
12) Where is Sarawak ?
13) What is isinglass ?
14) In which film did Rudolf Valentino make his debut ?
15) What are sedilia ?

Interesting set , aren’t they. Some easy, some surprisingly difficult, and the whole book is like this. I don’t know, I just really like the idea of the humble quiz being used to keep the spirits up at that particular time in history. It’s a nice little item, and a welcome addition to the collection.

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