Friday, 30 June 2017

The pitfalls of connections

It is possible to know too much, and this little vignette from last night illustrates this idea, and one of the pitfalls of using questions with connected answers, an idea which I actually introduced to the rugby club more than 20 years ago. The way it works is that the QM will ask 3, 4, 5 or more seemingly unconnected questions, and then ask you what connects all of the answers. It’s good fun, and it always makes compiling a quiz more enjoyable for me, since there’s the challenge of making the connections. OK. So, last night, we were asked this question. I can’t remember the exact phrasing, but this is a pretty good paraphrase : -

“The Western Wall, otherwise known as the Wailing Wall, in Jerusalem, is the last remaining part of a much larger structure. By whom was it built? “ or words to that effect. The question, though, distinctly asked who built, or who ordered the building, of the Western Wall? Now, I was certain that the Western Wall is a remnant of the expansion of the Second Temple, built by Herod the Great. Answer given – Solomon. No, sorry, incorrect. Solomon’s Temple was the first temple, and destroyed in 586 BC. And yes, I did google it when I got home to check. 

OK, mistakes can happen. I don’t know, but I can see how the QM might have come up with this. He needed the word Solomon for the connection. Maybe the thought process was something like this: -

- I need the answer Solomon. What can I ask about Solomon? King Solomon? Yes, what can we ask about him? Well, he built the Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple in Jerusalem? Ah yes, the Western/Wailing Wall is the last bit still standing. Lovely jubbly, question sorted.-

Maybe. However, had he googled “Wailing wall built by” he’d have seen the mistake. Moral of the story, even when you think you know something, sometimes you don’t, and it doesn’t hurt to check.

As I say, mistakes happen. Once you’ve set enough quizzes you can pretty much guarantee you’ve done something similar sooner or later. The trouble was, this stumped us for the connection. I won’t bother you with the other questions, but the answers were Chatham – Long John Silver – Monserrat Caballe. I bet you’re already working out what the questions were, aren’t you? You can probably see the connection already – islands or island groups. However – if you substitute the right answer to the Wailing Wall question– Herod the Great – for the answer given – Solomon – then try to get the connection. Herod Island ? Great Island? Doesn’t work, does it? Please feel free to suggest in a comment what connection you think that we came up with for Chatham – Herod the Great – Long John Silver – Monserrat Caballe.


All of that having being said, we still won, and it was still great fun. I’m thinking in terms of work particularly, but generally after I started feeling better, for the first 4 weeks after my return to work I think I was just on a bit of a high from the sheer relief of being back in work, and not feeling a) truly awful – or b) zombified. Reality has bitten a bit this week – but in a good kind of way. I’ve had some great lessons this week, and I’ve also had some hard ones, and some frustrating ones. But, and this is important, no harder or more frustrating than I had for donkey’s years in the old school. It’s easier to keep yourself on an even keel when everything in the garden looks rosy, but being able to take things in your stride when it’s more difficult, that for me is a sign of progress. And where the quiz comes into it is that even though I’ve now come down a bit from my post-depression little ray of sunshine phase, I still thoroughly enjoyed last night’s quiz.

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