Saturday, 28 June 2014

Round Britain Quiz

Wales v. Northern Ireland

This week David and Myfanwy of Wales took on Polly and Brian of Northern Ireland, and if David and Myfanwy are to retain their title they really needed to put something in the W column this week. They kicked off with this one: -
Why might this be a good year to remember namesakes of the last English winner of the Ballon d’Or, the creator of the ‘Nancy Kwan’, and a couple of married spies?
Now, as before I did have a look at the questions before listening to the show. The married spies occurred to me as the Rosenbergs – Julius and Ethel. The Ballon d’Or winner was definitely Michael Owen. Now, Owen really helps. Wilfred Owen and Isaac Rosenberg were both World War One poets, and 2014 is the centenary of the start of the war. Which only left the Nancy Kwan. Bearing in mind the connection, it was irresistible to suggest that this might be a hairstyle created by Vidal Sassoon. As for Wales, they made the point that Michael Owen was born in Wales, but they still had him. They too went with Vidal Sassoon. Tom felt he had to direct them a little too much to Michael Owen, and gave them 5. I claimed a full 6

I was certainly off to a good start, and thus emboldened did my best with Northern Ireland’s first: -
Explain why the symbol of Charlie Chaplin’s dictator, and the company which merged with Mobil, might have come under the scrutiny of MI5’s Twenty Committee?
Right, the symbol of Charlie Chaplin’s dictator was, if I remembered correctly – two large letter X’s – representing a Double Cross. Two X’s also feature in the name of Exxon, which merged with mobile. I wasn’t at all sure about the MI5 twenty committee, although it was worth noting, I thought, that XX is the roman numeral way of representing the number 20. Obviously it must have something to do with double crossing someone or something. Northern Ireland got as far as I did with no help from Tom, but he wanted more about the twenty committee, and pushed them to the answer of double agents, and actually my suggestion of double cross. He awarded Northern Ireland 4, and I think I might have had 5.

I couldn’t do anything to prepare for Wales’ Music Question: -
Why might these clips make you think of a rose without a thorn?
We started with the music from Howards Way, then the arrangement of The 23rd Psalm made for the Vicar of Dibley. Which come to think of it was arranged by Howard Goodall. The last one was from the Lord of the Rings, but I didn’t know what the Howard connection was. Wales struggled with the first two – David just couldn’t quite bring to mind Howard Goodall. They tried a couple of guesses before Howards Way. Then Howard Goodall fell to them. They got the rose without a thorn, which I didn’t, which was Katherine Howard. As for the Lord of the Rings music, that was Howard Shore. Wales were given 3, which I would also claim for myself.

Northern Ireland’s Music Question was: -
To this music, add a hat which Arlen created and Garbo wore, and a suit from Alec in Ealing. Which nation does the whole outfit suggest?
I was intrigued to hear the music with this one, for I knew that Alec Guinness was The Man In The White Suit in a classic Ealing (Ealing!) comedy. I wondered whether the music might be from the Red Shoes. As for the hat, I had to wait for Polly to give us The Green hat. Red white and green then gave us Italy (or Mexico – or Bulgaria – or Hungary to name three). They struggled to get the music but when given the year 1948 they had it. Northern Ireland were given 5, I think I might have been given 4.

Back to the preprepared questions, and this one for Wales

Dylan and Vernon frequented one in Swansea; Collins turned the tables on an Egyptian one; and the one Bud and Ches belonged to was insane. What were they, and what do they have to do with an Old Norse journey?
The first most obvious part to fall into place was that Bud Flanagan and Chesney Allen were members of the Crazy Gang. Gang fitted nicely with the Norse journey as well. For example, the first Norse Duke of Normandy, the ancestor of William Ist was nicknamed Rolfr inn Gangr – or – Rollo the Walker. It’s not often that having studied Old Norse as part of my English Lit degree (don’t ask) comes in useful but it’s lovely when it does. Swansea is pretty local, and Dylan Thomas is still revered in these parts, so it wasn’t hard to get the Kardomah Gang for Dylan and Vernon. I’ll be honest, I didn’t know anything about an Egyptian gang. Wales did as I had going for the Crazy Gang first. Then they took the Norse on. I’m surprised that David didn’t immediately think of the Kardomah gang, and it was Myfanwy who eventually supplied that part of the answer. When helped by Tom we all could see that Collins was Michael Collins, but I didn’t know what turned out to be The Cairo Gang, which Myfanwy eventually supplied – a counter intelligence unit. I think that I was worth the 3 that Wales got as well.

Northern Ireland’s next question -
What’s the temporal connection between Peter Weir’s Indonesian adventure, Joan Didion’s memoir of mourning, and a Margaret Atwood novel some would consider appropriate to 2014?
offered me little. I knew that Peter Weir directed “The Year of Living Dangerously”, but that was it. Polly dived in with the Joan Didion memoir as The Year of Magical Thinking. They didn’t actually know The Year of Living Dangerously – and played for time. As for Margaret Atwood, they didn’t know it any more than I did, but when given help by Tom they arrived at The Year of the Flood. I think I could give myself 3- again the same as Northern Ireland.

All too soon it was Wales’ last question, and they trailed by one: -
One which, when read, lies between good and fine; one which takes a more informal direction than Charles Kingsley; and one that ran from Sergeant to Columbus. Together these should help you to a name. Whose is it?
This meant nothing to me at the start. Then Sergeant to Columbus clicked – Sergeant was the first Carry One film, and Columbus the last. A direction from Charles Kingsley suggested nothing else to me than Westward Ho! Myfanwy started with Westward Ho! which was the right book, but we both needed to do more work with it. David knew the carry on films. As for the first part, well, I didn’t really benefit from Tom’s clues, but they were enough to lead Wales to Very Good – This led Myfanwy to Very Good Jeeves – Carry on Jeeves – Right Ho, Jeeves. I was nowhere near as many as Wales on this – they had a rather miserly two on this. I think that I would be worth less, so 1.

Northern Ireland then only needed a sympathy point to draw, and another to win. They brought the show to a conclusion with : -
What connects the little boy who became the 42nd President of the USA; a mild-mannered man who joined the Circus; and a Master of the Queen’s Music?
The 42nd President of the USA was Bill Clinton. His birth name was William Blythe, but I couldn’t really see how that helped. Arthur Bliss was Master of the Queen’s Music – was there possibly a happiness connection there? Northern Ireland knew that the mild mannered man was George Smiley, so I think I was definitely on the right track. They didn’t know Bill Clinton’s original name, and they weren’t getting anywhere with Arthur Bliss. Enlightenment dawned as Polly arrived at Arthur Bliss. That was enough to give them 3, and a win by 15 to 13. I would give myself 4 for that one, since I had 2 parts and the connection with no help. Not that it matters, but I scored myself 13 on Wales’ questions, and 16 on Northern Ireland’s.

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