Sunday, 10 February 2013

Honour Among Quizzers

I’ve written about this before, although it was some years ago. We all of us have subjects in which we think we’re on safe ground. Then there are subjects where everyone else thinks we should be on safe ground, with some justification, it must be said. These might be connected with our work, or our place of birth, or whatever. These are what I think of as the real ‘pressure’ subjects. The ones where everyone expects you to get them right, so if you do, then there’s little or no glory to be had from doing so, because you jolly well should have known it anyway. If, on the other hand, you get it wrong . . .

I’ll tell you why I bring it up. On Monday night, in our latest League match, we were ahead going into the individual round. The way it works is that each team takes it in turns to select numbers from 1 – 8. Each number represents a different subject. For our first we were given Shakespeare. Now, I don’t claim to be an expert – well, there’s no bones about it, I’m not – but I’m an English teacher, my degree is in English Lit and I know more about his work than the other guys in the team. So with a due sense of foreboding I volunteered, and then gasped an inward sigh of relief as I was asked
”From which play is the quotation ,”Cry havoc, and let slip the Dogs of War” taken?
Well, I mean you would, wouldn’t you? Like me you might never have seen or read ‘Julius Caesar’, but you still know it as the source of the quote. In fact everyone probably knew the source of the quote, except the guy who wrote the question. He gave the answer as “Romeo and Juliet”!

There is a process for making an appeal , or protesting, but our opponents, who were frankly thinking a lot more clearly and calmly than I was, sensibly suggested we wait until the end of the quiz to see if it made any difference or not. Well, to cut a long story short, my head went. They played brilliantly for the next round and a half, wiping out our lead through the individual questions, and then taking a four point lead when I missed an absolute sitter on films because my head was in the shed, and I wasn’t listening to my teammates, all three of whom actually knew the correct answer. Sorry boys. I pulled myself together for the last five questions, and we kept the gap at 4 points. Then in the last pair we were asked about the 1980 British Lions touring party. Their question was about an Irish flanker selected for the 1980 Lions. Understandably they opted for Fergus Slattery, but I was fairly sure that he didn’t tour then, which left me with one name – Dr. John O’Driscoll. Correct. Ours was about an Irish prop who played on the same tour. Phil Orr? I speculated. Correct.

The more mathematically gifted among you will have worked out that this would have given us 2 for a correct answer, and one for a bonus, which meant that we finished 1 behind. If you’re thinking, well, I bet you made the protest then, Dave, then you know me all too well. As soon as we checked each other’s scores, I said words to the effect of – well, I’m sorry boys, but we’re going to have to protest that answer to the Shakespeare question. – Then it happened. Our opponents, good and honourable men all of them, turned round and told me that there was no need for us to protest. They had thought at the time that my answer of Julius Caesar was correct, and in the interval, one of them had googled to check. They wouldn’t necessarily have said anything had the result been clear cut on one side or the other, but due to the way the scoreline had finished, they were going to concede that answer without us needing to make a protest. I have rarely been so glad that somebody brought their iphone with them to a quiz.

So a metaphorical bouquet to the gents of the Crown A of Maesteg, very good quizzers, and men of honour. Good luck tomorrow evening guys.


DanielFullard said...

Simialr thing happened in our league. We got asked an Olympic Question to which the answer was "Mens High Jump". I gave the answer to the captain, who misheard me and said "Womens High Jump". It was given wrong.

However the other team had heard me say "Mens High Jump" and gave us the point instead of stealing the bonus.

bj said...

Maybe the Dogs of War were in the original version of Romeo and Juliet before the censors insisted on cutting down on all the gory battle scenes and putting more focus on the soppy stuff. You'll be telling me next that the a rose by any other name quote is not from Titus Andronicus.

bj said...

On the other hand, while I am all for honour, honesty, fair play etc in quizzing, I see no reason for Daniel's team to have got the point when their captain mishead a teammate and gave the wrong answer, and the other team heard correctly. A similar thing happened to us on Only Connect, when I came up with a correct answer, our captain hesistated momentarily and we were out of time without offering any answer. Our opponents then gave the answer. It was a picture round of something to do with walking, Leon Trotsky, Canterbury Cathedral. Our opponents said Gallop. Victoria asked why and asked what the picture might be. Their captain said he had no idea why, other than the fact he heard me say it. And they couldn't think of a picture. They got the point and it could have made all the difference in what was a close contest. It also happens all the time that a University Challenge skip mishears a colleague, which is why they should always say Nominate, rather than hog the answer. Personally, I don't think you should have got the point. The bottom line is your team gave a wrong answer. School of hard knocks. It should have been a learning experience.