Once again last night at the rugby club I found myself facing the question – would I rather win the questions but lose the overall quiz because of my picture handout score – or would I rather come second in the questions but win the overall quiz because of my picture handout score? Of course, the correct answer is neither of the above. It’s that I’d rather win both so there’s no arguments either way. But I’m afraid that isn’t going to be happening any time soon.
You’ve doubtless gathered that my team, Boycs, had the highest score in the questions last night, winning these by 2 points, but lost to Lemurs by 3 points in the pictures, meaning an overall loss by 1 point. Actually I say my team, but really and truly it was just the two of us, me, and my mate John who has been mentioned more than once in these pages. John used to be a regular in the rugby club quiz – in fact he was a mainstay of our opposition once upon a time. He stopped coming some years back, but in the last 18 months or so I’ve been asking him to come down and bolster up our flagging fortunes, and last night he did just that. We’ve played together on Sunday nights for so many years that we’re a pretty good unit together, and we tend to know when to listen to each other. So it was unusual to say the least for us to perform the feat of both of us talking the other one out of a correct answer. The first was this -
Which country has more World Heritage sites than any other, with 47 in total?
My percentage answer was Italy – after all you have all the ancient stuff, then all the Renaissance stuff (stop me if I’m getting too technical here), but John was sure he had heard or read the same question somewhere else, and so we plumped for something else. Of course it was Italy. Then a little later we were asked : -
In computing, what does BPS stand for?
I didn’t have a Scooby, but John offered bits per second. For some inexplicable reason that I don’t understand even now, I decided to change it to bytes per second. Of course it was bits.
Well, for all that we still managed to get the highest score in the questions, thanks partly, I guess, to some of the news questions. In order to post the news questions on the blog every weekend I tend to spend about 15-20 minutes in a morning combing the papers for potential questions, and as any good old quizzer worth his salt will tell you, doing the papers does pay dividends .
As for the pictures, well I’m afraid that I’m strictly average, and that’s on a good day. Although having said that John and I did have the experience of winning Sunday’s quiz through having a full house on the pictures. They were all comedians of the sort who often appear on TV panel shows, such as Mock the Week and others of that ilk. A little bit of a blue moon experience that one. Now, I’m not saying that even if I could think of a way to do this then I would, because I’m sure I wouldn’t. But in all seriousness, how would you go about improving your own personal performance on picture recognition? I’m not bad on people who are in the news because I do the paper every day. Old writers and historical figures – still pretty good. But bland faced actors and actresses from TV and films, Premier league footballers and the like, no chance.
You’ve probably gathered that I’m not a great lover of picture quiz handouts, and you’re right, I’m not. Me, I’m a straightforward, old fashioned questions and answers man. But I completely accept and understand that lots of people who go to the quizzes I play in like the pictures, and in fact for a significant proportion it’s their favourite part of the quiz. And as any halfway decent question master knows, when you compile a quiz you’re not doing it for yourself, you’re doing it for the punters, and so you should at least try to give them a bit of what they want. There is a tiny part of me that does find putting a picture quiz together for the club a chore, though. I will be QM on Thursday, so I shall have to put one together over the weekend. Yes, I could always opt for something different like dingbats or puzzles, since I’ve used pictures for my last four or five quizzes, but to be honest these never go down as well with the majority as pictures do.
When I compile a picture quiz in order to alleviate the boredom I try to think of making connections, either between every picture on the sheet, or at least between each picture in each row. I haven’t thought of the connection(s) for this week’s yet. My favourite ever was matched pairs which when combined made the names of stations on the London Underground network – for example Billie Jean KING and Ben CROSS, or an even more obscure one - Susan ST. JAMES and Richard PARK. If you tell the teams the way the connection works at the start you can use more obscure ones like that. I think the full list was something like this : -
Billie Jean KING and Ben CROSS
Susan ST. JAMES and Richard PARK
Kenneth BAKER and Adrian STREET( glam wrestler of the 1970s)
Sacha BARON Cohen and Margaret COURT
Nicholas PARSONS and Sarah GREENE
Claire RAYNER and Cleo LAINE
Norman COLLIER and Victoria WOOD
MC HAMMER and Sheridan SMITH
Trevor HORNE and Charlotte CHURCH
George LAYTON and Sharon STONE
MARY Peters and Brian LABONE ( Apologies for that one)
Roy NORTH and Gracie FIELDS
Alan RICKMAN and Harry WORTH
Norman ST.JOHN Stevas and Roy WOOD
Jack SHEPHERD and Kate BUSH
These might not have been the exact pairings I used in the handout, but you can see how it works anyway.