Thursday, March 30, 2006

BH #49 ... the Hiatus Begins!

Back from Southampton. Rainsodden and eating peanut butter and honey on toast, with a pint of vodka, no, I jest, some milk. My crazy rock and rock lifestyle is now on hold. Mogwai were flaccid, samey, and frustrating in their choices until their encore rendition of Mogwai Fear Satan, undoubtedly the greatest ever sixteen minute instrumental song ever and ever will be. It is the alpha and the omega of my alternative rock universe and when they brought out this behemouth I was awed by its frankly monster-like proportions and swore never again to doubt their live capabilities. Waves of crashing fear and hope, and cascading melodies swept on by angels and so on in a frankly rock snobbish manner. There was deafening feedback to end with, and when I mean deafening, I can still hear the screaming of a thousand small children ring in my ears.

Last quiz before I go to Worthing hospital to meet my destiny. Only 21 questions but it does mean you can go back and learn the thousand-odd ones I have set from the beginning of time. Or the start of February.

So one week and one day off. I'll be back with that Brain of London report I have promised since civilisation first began. Or last Tuesday.


1 Advocated by many historians and academics in linguistics and source criticism, the "documentary hypothesis" proposes that what is in fact a combination of documents from different sources rather than authored by one individual?
2 The second wife of Gene Roddenberry, who played Nurse Christine Chapel in the original Star Trek series, Lwaxana Troi and was the voice of the computer in all the Star Trek series except for Star Trek: Enterprise?
3 Which US TV western series featured the adventures of Paladin, a gentleman turned expert gunfighter played by Richard Boone?
4 Sometimes called the "father of algebra", which Hellenized Babylonian mathematician who lived during the 3rd century AD in Alexandria is known for giving his name to equations with equations with variables that take on rational values?
5 Known for his Latin translations of Strabo and Plutarch and the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius, by what other name is the 16th century German classical scholar William Holtzman known?
6 Which noted Roman historian (c.165- after 229) served as a senator under Commodus and governor of Smyrna after the death of Septimius Severus and published a Roman history in 80 books that spanned 983 years, extending from the arrival of Aeneas in Italy on to a circumspect relating of life under Commodus?
7 Formed in 1986, the Swedish rock trio Persone sing in which language?
8 Sir Henry Haydock became the first man to hold which political post in 1361, though it has currently been vacant since last year?
9 The first recognised star of Soviet cinema, which gifted singer starred in such films as Jolly Fellows, the 1934 film seen as the first Soviet musical comedy and which was directed by her husband Grigori Aleksandrov?
10 Which of her Jolly Fellows co-stars was a famous jazz singer and Odessa-born comic actor was the first pop singer to be awarded the title People's Artist of the USSR in 1965 and was known for performing such hits as Me and My Masha at the Samovar and Tired by the Sun?
11 Planned in 1551 by Ignatius of Loyola, what motherchurch of the Jesuits is home to the famous 15th century painting of Madonna Della Stracha?
12 Pope Paul III was a member of which influential family in Renaissance Italy?
13 What name is given to the Bodhisattva that is the future Buddha in Buddhist eschatology, who some Buddhists believe will eventually appear on earth, achieve complete enlightment and teach the pure dharma; the successor of the historic Sakyamuni Buddha who will unite those who he rules over?
14 At which stadium does the football team Cracovia Krakow play?
15 (I thought this was an easy one) What alliance was formed on December 1, 1126 between 26 cities of north Italy to counter the attempts of the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I to assert imperial influence over them?
16 Taking its name from the Greek for "serpent keys", which brass musical instrument was the structural cornerstone of the Romantic orchestra, replacing the outdated serpent (although it was eventually succeeded by the tuba) and is used in Mendelssohn's Overture to A Midsummer Night's Dream and Berlioz's Symphonie Fantastique?
17 Whose principle states that in fluid flow, an increase in velocity occurs simultaneously with decrease in pressure?
18 Which 18th century mathematician and physicist was the first to use the term "function" to describe an expression involving various arguments (e.g. y=f(x)), and also introduced lasting notation for common geometric functions such as sine and tangent?
19 Born Pierre Culliford, which Belgian cartoonist created the Smurfs?
20 The home of Gaumont Pictures, which film studios in La Villette were the largest in the world from 1905 to 1914?
21 Which Gaumont employee is considered the first female director to have worked in the motion picture industry and was the first filmmaker to systematically develop narrative filmmaking in such movies as her first full length feature film debut The Life of Christ in 1906?

Answers to BH #48
1 Bayer designations 2 David McKee 3 Parsifal 4 Red Deer 5 Madagascar 6 Jayavarman VII 7 Seamus Heaney 8 Martin Beck 9 Neuro-linguisitic programming 10 Eunice Barber 11 Amur leopard 12 Vasily Grossman 13 Jacques Chirac, because he spoke English 14 The Big Life 15 Thomas Kinkade 16 George Graham 17 The Rezillos 18 Bus 174 19 Candelaria massacre 20 Guns of the Magnificent Seven 21 The Children's Hour 22 The School for Scandal 23 The Jerwood Drawing Prize 24 Fingers 25 The Process Church of the Final Judgment 26 Mies van der Rohe 27 Heaven's Gate 28 Alexander Rodchenko 29 Architecture 30 Jonathan Swift 31 Marcel Duchamp 32 Barcelona 33 Max Biaggi 34 Camel Yamaha 35 Dave Gallaher 36 Chilblains 37 Gustav Metzger 38 First Faberge egg 39 Fluxus 40 Lye 41 Samuel Guthrie 42 (Scone) Scottish coronations 43 Cheeses 44 Nina Cecilia Cavendish-Bentinck 45 Wetlands conservation 46 John Jacques II 47 Proa 48 Elston Howard 49 Fujara 50 Boogaloo 51 Double Bass 52 Carpaccio 53 Kibbeh 54 Blenheim Palace 55 Ramilies 56 Edward Elgar 57 Moore's Law 58 Tian Shan 59 The Agoge 60 Rose (Rosaceae) 61 Lamech 62 The Torah 63 Leuctra 64 Gytheio or Gythium 65 William Morris 66 Ophiuchus 67 Leader of the Greater London Council 68 David Agnew 69 Ibn Warraq 70 Aarti 71 Wing Chun 72 Canudos 73 Francoise Hardy 74 Freising manuscripts 75 Baked Alaska 76 Kevlar 77 The Wallace Line 78 Lombok Strait 79 Sparta Rotterdam 80 Shrews

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

BH quiz #48

Well, I was going to write about Brain of London, but perhaps the pain is still too red and hot for me to do it. Or maybe I have a headache after getting up at 3.30 in the afternoon and realising I don't want to write about quizzes at this very minute but instead want to go out and buy something to go with the original Matteson's pork sausage I bought at 4am because I am absolutely gosh darned ravenous and that there is very little time, putting that aside, in which I can do that before I go to book group and talk about how utterly flabbby The Time Traveller's Wife is. You see? I can't just linger in front of this computer and wait for genius to pop and sparkle like fireworks in my head. I have to be fed. Or I will be brain dead. (Sorry)

So I swear I'll do it before I go and see Mogwai tomorrow night, if that is, I am getting a lift straight to Southampton and back. If not, I will have even more time to do it.

This questions are basically the results of me going back through my latest notebook and fleshing out scant notes culled from The Times and The Guardian, as well as questions too long to be used elsewhere. It's an 80-question mother...

1 Introduced by the German astronomer who gave them their name in his 1603 star atlas Uranometria, many of the brighter stars are given what designations that combine the consonant of a Greek letter followed by the Latin genitive of the name of the constellation in which it lies?

2 Who created the cartoon Mr Benn?

3 First produced at Bayreuth in 1882, Wagner described which of his works, about the knight whose quest is to find the spear that pierced Christ's side, not as an opera but as "ein Buhnenweihfespiel" or "a festival play for the consecration of the stage"?

4 Britain's largest land native land mammal, the male of which animal are sometimes called brockets if they are under four years old?

5 The eastern port city of Tamatave or Toamasina was set up as the rival capital of which country in 2002?

6 Featured in Geoff Ryman's new novel The King's Last Song, who is the legendary 12th century ruler who united Cambodia and founded the temples at Angkor?

7 Which poet's new collection is entitled District and Circle, his poems being profoundly affected by the 7/7 bombings and the fact that in 1962 he had a London holiday job that saw him use either line every day?

8 Known for such genre classics as The Laughing Policeman, the Swedish husband-and-wife team Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall wrote ten novels between 1965 and 1975 that featured which detective?

9 Used by Derren Brown and known by the initials NPL, what methodology of hypnotic techniques was popularised in the early 80s by the American Richard Bandler to embed ideas in practitioners and their clients in which, for instance, they visualised them being successful?

10 Born in Sierra Leone, which 31-year-old French athlete and world champion in the heptathlon and long jump has claimed she is a victim of police brutality and racist abuse?

11 The world's rarest cat, the first steps to reintroduce which animal into its natural habit in an area comparable to Hampshire in the Russian seaboard region of Primorski and China's eastern border zone, comes at a time when only 35 are left in the wild?

12 Which Ukrainian-born author and Army newspaper correspondent at Stalingard, who pocketed stationery from Hitler's bunker and gave the first and most authorative eyewitness report from Treblinka, may finally be getting recognition for his 880-page masterpiece Life and Fate, a book the Soviet authorities once claimed would not be published for 200 years?

13 Who did Ernest-Antoine Selliere, the head of the European employer's group Unice, recently annoy?

14 Produced by Bill Kenwright, what was the first musical to transfer to the West End and concerns the arrival of West Indians in London in the 50s?

15 Which artist, so well known for his lurid cottage-field and glowing firelight drenched works that he has trademarked the name "Painter of Light" and can be seen in an estimated one in 20 American homes, is being sued for a variety of unbecoming offences like sexual harassment and displays of drunkenness that have seen him allegedly pee in public?

16 Which English clockmaker was partner to Thomas Tompion during the last few years of the latter's life and is credited with inventing several design improvements to the pendulum clock, including the mercury pendulum and the orrery, but whose greatest invention may be the dead beat escapement?

17 Which Edinburgh band made it on to Top of the Pops in 1978 with their appropriately named number 17 hit Top of the Pops?

18 The short and awful life of Sandro de Nascimento and his hijacking of a Rio de Janeiro public transport vehicle in 2000 is the subject of which Jose Padilla documentary?

19 De Nascimento was a survivor of which infamous killing of eight Rio streetkids by police gunmen who shot at a group of about 77 children on July 23, 1993 as they slept outside the church which gave it its name?

20 In which 1969 Magnificent Seven sequel did George Kennedy take over the role of Chris Adams from Yul Brynner?

21 Infamous for its lesbian theme, William Wyler directed which Lilian Hellman play in 1936 as These Times, and after Hays Code censorship of the original remade it under its original title in 1962 with Audrey Hepburn and Shirley Maclaine starring?

22 What play begins with Sir Oliver Surface returning from the West Indies in the 1770s to find fashionable London riddled with corruption and avarice?

23 An annual open show since 1996, what was The Cheltenham Open Drawing Competition renamed in 2001?

24 Jacques Audiard film The Beat That My Heart Skipped is a remake of which 1978 James Toback film that starred Harvey Keitel as a mafia hood trainee concert pianist?

25 Originally developed as a splinter client cult group from Scientology, what religious cult was founded by Englishman Robert de Grimston and MaryAnne MacLean and most notably worships both God and Satan and has had musician George Clinton amongst its adherents?

26 Also known for his Barcelona chair and table and Brno chair, which Modernist architect's crystal skyscraper for the Friedrichstrasse in Berlin is now mimicked in every major city?

27 Led by Marshall Applewhite and Bonnie Nettles, which UFO cult came to an end when Applewhite convinced 39 followers to commit suicide in California so their souls could take a ride on a spaceship hiding behind the Hale-Bopp comet in 1997?

28 Married to fellow artist Varvara Stepanova, which Constructivist and Productivist artist published his first photomontage, an illustration of Vladimir Mayakovsky's poem About This, in 1923 and was also known for the silver-painted plywood ellipses of Oval Hanging Construction?

29 Hegel called what the basest of the arts beause of its materiality and the everyday ubiquity that ultimately muddied creative purity?

30 Who first used the term Modernism in 1737 as a derogatory term for those he thought abused contemporary language?

31 Which artist said on visiting the 1912 Paris air show and seeing a rotary aircraft engine: "Painting is dead ... Who can do better than this propeller"?

32 Which famous sports team's academy is La Masia?

33 Which MotoGP racer is nicknamed the Roman Emperor and Panda?

34 Valentino Rossi and Colin Edwards ride for which MotoGP team?

35 Captain of "The Originals" the first New Zealand team to be called the All Blacks, which rugby union legend was killed during the Passchendaele offensive in 1917 and gives his name to the cup, introduced in 2000, that New Zealand and France contest?

36 Caused by exposure of skin to damp cold, what medical condition similar to frostbite or trenchfoot is also called Perniosis?

37 Stateless since the 40s but currently living in east London, which German-born artist demonstrated his "acid-nylon technique" on June 22, 1960, and is said to have influenced Pete Townshend's guitar-smashing performances with The Who while he was a lecturer at Ealing Art College?

38 What came about as a result of Tsar Alexander III wanting to give his wife Maria Fyodorovna a surprise gift in 1885?

39 Notorious for such performance pieces or "Event Scores" such as George Brecht's Drip Music, what art movement was loosely organised in 1962 by George Maciunas, a Lithuanian-American artist who had moved to Germany to escape creditors, with his fellow Lithuanian Almus Salcius and included among its associates Joseph Beuys, Dick Higgins and Yoko Onon?

40 What caustic solution, rich in potassium carbonate (potash), and used for glass and soap making, is most commonly composed of sodium hydroxide, as in its "soda" variety?

41 Who is credited with discovering chloroform in July 1831?

42 Surviving as present-day Moot Hill, what famously took place on Caislean Credi (Hill of Credulity)?

43 The full range of what in France fall into four categories: Fermier, Artisanal, Cooperative and Industriel?

44 Who was Queen Elizabeth II's maternal grandmother?

45 The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty concerning what?

46 Which man published a new game he had devised called Happy Families before 1851's Great Exhibition and is also credited by some with inventing tiddlywinks, ludo and snakes and ladders?

47 What two-hulled vessel from Micronesia has crossbears called akas, a main hull called vaka and a windward hull called ama?

48 Which catcher was the first African-American to play baseball for the New York Yankees?

49 Typically 170cm long, tuned in G and having three holes, what uniquely designed and huge folk shepherd's fipple flute originates from Slovakia?

50 Joe Cuba is often styled the "father" of which Latino music and dance that became a craze in the US during the late 60s and is also called shing-a-ling or popcorn music?

51 Known for his work with saxophonist Ornette Coleman, jazz musician Charlie Haden played which instrument?

52 Which appetiser is said to have been invented in about 1950 at Harry's Bar, Venice, when a famous actress advised the chef who gave it its name that her doctor had recommended she only eat meat served a certain way?

53 Given the suffix "nayye" when served raw, what food, the national dish of Lebanon, consists of minced lamb mixed with bulgur and spices stuffed insde bulgur pastry and grilled or fried?

54 What is the only non-episcopal country house in England to hold the title 'palace'?

55 What battle took place near Namur on the bank of the river Mehaigne on May 23, 1706?

56 Which English composer sent a famous letter to Miss Dora Penny written in the Dorabell Cipher, which has never been decoded?

57 Attributed to one of the founders of Intel, whose law concerns the empirical observation that at our rate of technological development, the complexity of an integrated circuit with respect to minimum component cost, will double in about 18 months?

58 Pik Pobedy or Pik Pobeda (Victory Peak) is the highest peak in which mountain range?

59 Lycurgus, the semi-mythical law-giver, is said to have introduced what rigorous education and training regime undergone by every Spartan male between the ages of seven and 18, except for heirs to the kingships?

60 To which family does the apple belong?

61 Which descendant of Cain is associated with The Song of the Sword?

62 In Judaism, what becomes Chumash when it is bookbound or printed?

63 What 371BC battle saw the first ever defeat of a full strength Spartan hoplite army?

64 What town of Laconia was the seaport of Sparta though the city was some 30 miles inland?

65 The cool critical reception of whose first independently published work The Defence of Guinevere discouraged which man from publishing again for many years, although his famous poem The Haystack in the Floods was written just after this time?

66 What is the only zodiacal constellation not used as an astrological sign?

67 Bill Fiske became the first person to hold which local government post in 1964?

68 First used in 1978 by Doctor Who producer Graham Williams in 1978, what pseudonym has been traditionally used on BBC TV drama programmes when a writer's name could not be used for contractual reasons?

69 Used by a bestselling author and Islamic scholar and current US resident whose books include 1995's Why I Am Not a Muslim, what Arabic pseudonym meaning "son of a papermaker" has been traditionally used by dissident authors throughout Islam's history?

70 What Hindu ritual, in which light from wicks soaked in ghee or camphor is offered to hone or more deities, has a Sanskrit name meaning "towards the highest love for God"?

71 Which Chinese martial arts system's oral history can be divided into the Yip Man and Yiu Kai branches, the first of which involves an Abbess called Ng Mui fleeing Qing invaders and copying the fighting style of a snake and a crane, the second featuring an early 19th century Shaolin monk called Yim Sei teaching his daughter Shaolin arts, who was also inspired by a snake and a crane?

72 Mario Vargas Llosa's novel The War of the End of The World is based on actual events in Brazilian history, most notably the 1896-7 rebellion of some 30,000 settlers and Sebastanist millenarist followers of Antonion Conselheiro in which village in the state of Bahia that Conselheiro founded?

73 Which French teenager sold two million copies of her song Tous les garcons et les filles, the flipside of her album title track Oh oh Cheri, in 1962?

74 The first Roman-script continuous text in a Slavic language and the oldest document in the Slovene language, which place in Bavaria gave its name to the three texts found there bound into a Latin Codex, and which came to the Bavarian State Library in 1803?

75 What ice cream, sponge cake or Christmas pudding and meringue dessert has such other names as glace au four, Norwegian omelette and omelette surprise?

76 Made out of synthetic fibre of poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide was invented by Stephanie Kwolek from research into high performance polymers and patented by her in 1966?

77 Named after the British naturalist who is sometimes called the "father of biogeography", what hypothetical boundary separates the zoogeographical regions of Asia and Australasia?

78 Sharing its name with the Lesser Sunda Island, what strait marks the passage of the Wallace Line between the fauna of the Indomalayan ecozone and the distinctly different fauna of Australasia?

79 Which Dutch team's stadium Het Kasteel (The Castle) is the oldest football stadium in the Netherlands?

80 There are 368 species of which mouse-like mammal, which are grouped into three subfamilies: Crocidurinae (White-toothed), Myosoricinae (African white-toothed) and Soricinae (Red-toothed)?

Answers to BH#47
1 Natalia Goncharova 2 America's Most Wanted 3 Samaresh Jung 4 Richard Fleischer (also directed 10 Rillington Place) 5 The Great Seal of the Realm or the Great Seal of State 6 Baroness Amos (also Leader of the House of Lords) 7 Suffolk 8 Buccleuch 9 Sarcoma 10 Volkswagen 11 Nivkh 12 Kennewick Man 13 (double-sided barrel) Drum 14 Bolis 15 Tryptophan 16 Perpignan 17 Apollinarism 18 Esparto 19 Spruce 20 Machaerus 21 Perea 22 Peterborough 23 Morrison Formation 24 Heinkel 25 Munich International 26 Star Alliance 27 Frequent flyer 28 Arequipa 29 Prince 30 Peter Nicol 31 Jonathan Power 32 Burnley 33 (Wayne Fontana's) The Mindbenders 34 Brenda Lee 35 A pig as in The Pig War 36 Bosnia-Herzegovina 37 Phonetics 38 Ghaznavid Empire 39 Caspian Sea and Sea of Azov 40 Kondraty Bulavin 41 Louis XI 42 Niels Ebbesen 43 Federal Express 44 John Tzetzes 45 Muhajirun and the Ansar 46 Teatro Colon 47 Don Rodrigo 48 Toy trains and model railways 49 Adam Adamant 50 The Greek Intepreter

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

BH quiz #47

Disaster. Titanic disaster. I came last in my first round Brain of London game with a score of ten. I made some pitiful mistakes. I will write more about this tragedy, the equal of King Lear (possibly), tomorrow when I will have thought of more outrageous and self-deprecating things to say. Kudos to fellow BHs Jesse and Ian for making it to the finals though. No, I'm not jealous. Not at all. But here are some real questions. (Only joking; tonight's questions were okay)

1 Which wife of the poet Alexander Pushkin was rumoured to have had an after with Tsar Nicholas I after her husband's death?

2 Th long-running TV show Aktenzeichen XY ... ungelost is the only German TV format to have been aired in the US. Under what name did the Fox network broadcast it?

3 Which Indian shooting star has been adjuged Best Athlete of the 2006 Commonwealth Games and given the David Dixon award for winning five golds, a silver and a bronze?

4 Which director, responsible for such big Hollywood films as The Vikings, Fantastic Voyage, Dr Dolittle and Tora! Tora! Tora!, has just died aged aged 79?

5 Taken care of by the Lord Chancellor, what institution is used by the monarch to authorise official documents without having to sign each document individually

6 Who holds the position Lord President of the Council?

7 Charles Brandon was the first person to hold the position of Lord President from 1530. He was the first duke of what?

8 The family seat of which dukedom is situated at Bowhill, three miles outside Selkirk, the current holder being the largest private landowner in the UK and chairman of an eponymous "Group" that is a holding company with interests in commercial property, food, beverages and rural affairs?

9 From the Greek for "fleshy growth", what kind of cancer affects the connective or supportive tissue, including bones, muscles and blood vessels?

10 Which company has created the Microbus Concept Car?

11 Apparently related to no other language (a language isolate), what language is spoken in Outer Manchuria in the basin of the Amur tributary, the Amgun, along the lower reaches of the Amur, and on the northern half of Sakhalin island, and is given the Manchu appellation Gilyak?

12 The remains of which prehistoric man were discovered on a bank of the Columbia river near the city in Washington it was named after in July 1996, and has been the cause of court action over Native American's right to bury it?

13 Popular in modern Pubjab music and used in bhangra, what kind of musical instrument is a dhol?

14 In bhangra, what name is give to the accompanying songs that are small couplets written in Punjabi?

15 Particularly plentiful in chocolates, oats and bananas, what essential amino acid is formed from proteins during digestion by the action of proteolytic enzymes and is necessary for normal growth and development and is the precursor of several substances including serotonin; its presence in turkey meat causing drowsiness according to popular belief?

16 The artist Salvador Dali claimed that which French commune or town is the centre of the universe, its train station having a sign proclaiming ".... CENTRE DU MONDE"?

17 Condemned in a synod at Alexandria under St Athanasius in 362, which heresy was propagated by a bishop of Laodicea in Syria proposed that Jesus had a human body but a divine mind and was subdivided into several different heresies, the chief of which were Potelemians and the Antidicomarianites?

18 Given the scientific name Stipa tenacissima, what perennial plant is grown in NW Africa and southern Spain for paper making and is also called halfah grass and needle grass?

19 Applied to 35 species of coniferous evergreen trees, what large trees of the genus Picea has a name from the Polish for "from Prussia"?

20 On the summit of a hill 1100m above the level of the Dead Sea, which fortress 15 miles SE of the mouth of the Jordan was originally built by the Hasmonean king Alexander Jannaeus in c.90BC and was destroyed by Pompey's general Gabinius in 57BC and later rebuilt by Herod the Great?

21 Meaning "the country beyond", what name was given to a portion of Herod the Great's kingdom that occupied the eastern side of the Jordan river valley from about one third the way down from the Sea of Galilee to about one third the way down the eastern shore of the Dead Sea?

22 Ian Patrick Martyn Cundy is the 37th Lord Bishop of where?

23 Named after the town in Colorado where the first specimens were discovered by Arthur Lakes in 1877, what body of rock in the western US and Canada has been the most fertile source of dinosaur fossils in North America?

24 Named after the man who founded it, what aircraft company noted for its production of Bomber aircraft for the Luftwaffe was established at Warnermunde in 1922 as the restrictions imposed on German imposed by Versailles were relaxed and had its first great success with a Blitz high-speed mailplane and airline for Lufthansa in 1932?

25 Which European city airport began operations in 1992 and is officially named Franz Joseph Strauss International Airport?

26 Managed by CEO Jaan Albrecht, what airline alliance was launced on May 14, 1997, was the first and remains the largest airline alliance in the world?

27 Sponsored by American Airlines, AAdvantage was the first and is the largest pogram of what kind?

28 Which city lies at the foot of the volcano El Misti and is the second largest in Peru?

29 Named after a New Jersey town, which sporting goods company began in 1970 when Bob McClure invented the first tennis ball machine for home court and took off as a racquet manufacturer with such models as the Oversize and Longbody?

30 Born in Inverurie in 1973, which Scot became the first British player to hold the world number one ranking in squash in 1998?

31 His rivalry with which Canadian, who in May 1999 became the first North American squash player to become world number one, is said to be one of the most famous in the sport's history?

32 Kitty Usher is the Labour MP for which northern market town?

33 Which British backing band was founded with Bob Lang, Ric Rothwell and Eric Stewart in 1963, and had their first successful single with Um Um Um Um Um Um the next year?

34 Born with the surname Tarpley, who hit the top of the US charts at Xmas in 1958 with Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree and was soon dubbed by DJs "Little Miss Razz Matazz" on account of her husky voice?

35 The shooting of what wandering animal at San Juan Island in British Columbia on June 15, 1859 sparked an armed confrontation between Canada and the US that lasted for 12 days?

36 A crisis was sparked by Austria-Hungary's annexation of what country in October 1908?

37 The study of what has three main branches: articulatory, acoustic and auditory?

38 Created under Turkish Khan Sebuk Tigin with a capital that gave it its name, what empire or state in the region of modern day Afghanistan existed from 963 to 1187?

39 The Manych Canal connects which two seas?

40 Which Don Cassock gave his name to the Cossack-serf rebellion, also known as the Astrakhan Rebellion that took place from 1707 to 1709, when he was shot in the brain, and which was fuelled by Peter I's police state government?

41 Called "the Giver", which French king was also nicknamed l'universalle aragne ("universal spider") and was one of the most successful kings of France in terms of uniting the country, his 22-year reign (1461-1483) being marked by his spider-like political machinations?

42 Which Danish squire and national hero is most famous for his killing of Count Gerhard III on the night of April 1, 1340?

43 What world famous company was founded by former US Marine Frederick W Smith in 1971 in Little Rock, Arkansas?

44 Known to have lived at Constantinople in the 12th century, which Byzantine poet and grammarian's most important work is seen as the Book of Histories, usually called Chiliades ("thousands") from the seemingly arbitrary division by its first editor, N Gerbel in 1546, into books containing 1000 lines, though it actually consists of 12,674 lines of "political" verse?

45 The Sahabas, or companions of Muhammad, are divided into which two categories, the people who fled from Mecca and those who welcomed and welcomed and took in them in?

46 Which Buenos Aires opera house opened in 1908 after 20 years under construction and is located on 9 de Julio Avenue, though the first theatre of that name was opened in 1857 with La Traviata, a mere four years after its Italian premiere?

47 Placido Domingo got his international breakthrough by singing the title role of which Alberto Ginastera opera at the New York City opera in 1966, said to be a quasi-historical depiction of the rise and fall of the last Visigoth king?

48 The Lionel Corporation were world famous for making what toys from 1901 to 1969?

49 Which BBC TV adventure hero was frozen in a block of ice in 1902 by his arch-nemesis The Face and revived in 1966 and aided by swinging sixties chick named Georgina Jones?

50 How is Mr Melas described in the title of a Sherlock Holmes story?

Answers to BH #46
1 Scone Palace 2 Alexander III 3 African National Congress 4 River Don 5 Areole 6 Ovary 7 Steroids 8 Maureen O'Hara 9 Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand 10 Bhutan 11 Egret 12 John Kricfalusi 13 Daws Butler 14 Myanmar 15 Assaye (badge says ASSAYE) 16 The Bab 17 Terry Goodkind 18 Yiddish 19 Stane Street 20 Martin Luther King, Jr. 21 Edward the Martyr 22 Helvellyn 23 Yellowcake 24 Musical instruments (guitar manufacturer of choice for Franz Ferdinand apparently) 25 Candide 26 World Confederation of Labour 27 433 Eros 28 Psychology 29 Fjord 30 Indigenous Australians 31 Cyprus 32 Care Bears 33 Chloroform 34 Nomen dubium 35 Natural History Museum 36 Iceland 37 Alexandre Dumas, pere 38 The Grateful Dead 39 Your sight 40 Point Counter Point 41 Retinitis pigmentosa 42 Genetic 43 Chaim Halberstam 44 Carol Vorderman 45 Woolwich 46 Thumbelina 47 Knights Templar 48 Fairey 49 MAC-10 (Military Armament Corporation Model 10) 50 Olives

Monday, March 27, 2006

The Next Next Big Thing

Jason Deans's MediaGuardian article is all about the next big game show format. Only, we already have the next blockbuster format - Deal or No Deal - and now everyone is going to copy it and go for the high-money random chance show that pushes people's buttons the way DOND does, with its silky, manipulative Dutch fingers. (I bet makes Channel 4 wish they had it put it on in primetime from the very beginning so it could crush all the BBC and ITV in the ratings. Though you also get the feeling that they would never have given it to Noel, the once forgotten, pitiful dethroned king of Saturday night reborn as some game show messiah, if they had done so. But such are the myriad mysterious ways of television.)

Yet I hold no hope out for a big general knowledge-heavy show format arising during this Scramble for Formats. The highbrow heyday came and went with Mastermind in the 70s and early 80s. I accept that. All quizzers must feel a kind of sweet, melancholic pain when they watch DOND because they know that we can never truly go back to the old Millionaire model of rewarding the people with the most knowledge. Millionaire's time is slowly, but surely passing.

It has handed out money to many people, but the ultimate prize is reserved for the greatest (or absolutely goddamn luckiest) GK exponents. It, therefore, reeks of elitism. Like bingo, DOND's top prize can be won by absolutely anyone with enough guts and luck to stick it through to the very end (okay there is a 1/20 chance, but that's better than nothing). Millionaire, as the modest performance of the Super Millionaire edition with its $10 million jackpot proved Stateside, the prizes don't really matter; it's the way you get there, the progress, the contestant and host interaction, the will they go for it or won't they, the whooping audience and the high emotion that comes to the boil. The constant, determing and most important factor on Millionaire is the contestant's general knowledge; it is always in them to win it if they have the right stuff filling their brains.

So Millionaire can never truly aspire to rewarding "any person on the street" the most glorious and pecuniary enhancing way DOND can. Noel's rating monster preaches equality. There is no real competitiveness either. No one loses out at the expense of the other or beats someone else to the chair. Luck dictates the extent of the prize, but a prize will always be won, and be substantial enough to make people happy. Plus viewers always want to know what's in the box. That's why we keep on watching.

Coming soon is another potential newie Ant and Dec's The Con.Test (do you see what they did there? It has a DOUBLE MEANING. I never knew height-deficient Geordies could be so clever. The pint-sized twosome never cease to amaze me with their cunning. For they are surely Gods among men).

They are apparently giving it a poker-style twist with bluffing. The salient point is that you don't have to know anything. Anyone can do it. Anyone can pretend to know something, while the audience will wonder if contestants will actually believe something. Enough with the displays of awe-inspiring knowledge and in with people getting wondrously lucky. Quizzers like myself are at a basic disadvantage because we have a good idea of each other's general knowledge, as well as what constitutes a tough or easy questiom. This is because we have spent years grappling with these ideas for more years than we would care to admit. Ultimately, nothing can surprise those who compete in every format and against all standards of people.

But I say disadvantage because if we are infamous enough, it will affect other contestant's ways of perceiving our bluffs to an abnormal degree and, therefore, contestant researchers will select people who will only make decisions on first impressions and their own prejudices. Quiz nobodies will have such an advantage. Because people will just assume Mastermind champions know everything anyway, they will be discarded at the application stage for the sake of normality.

If the format will truly work, then it will succeed the same way that DOND has by giving the viewer the vital interactivity they crave with such pertinent and constant questions as what would you do? Stick or hit? Trust or rebuke?

Then again it could be as bad as Kilroy-Silk's Shafted or Springer's Greed. Two games which were too complicated for their own good.

I may apply however. Apparently, you have to have a 20-second monologue explaining why you make a great Con.Test contestant. I have been jotting down a few ideas. What do you think of this?

"I worship Satan and his minions in all their nefarious forms, and even the ones they made up on Buffy and Angel. My favourite activities include inflicting torture, my favourite methods include all those advocated by the Inquisition, inserting sharp implements under fingernails and rubbing chilli powder into people's eyeballs. DNA sequencing has revealed that I possess the evil gene. Of course, I have a sparkling personality and many hilarious anecdotes involving farm animals and minor celebrities like Frank Carson and Tom O'Connor, and I'm sure I will make a compelling TV presence. May yellowish-green warts sprout on your genitals and your future offspring have hooves instead of feet if you reject me. Love, kisses and smoochums..."

What do you think? You have to give them what they want, don't you?

Alternatively, I could always find out what Chantelle said in her Big Brother audition tape and repeat it word for word, with male and female emphases changed where necessary, whilst putting on my best sarf accent, copied from my divinely spoken sisters.

Unfortunately, it also seems that my and Ollie's Bullseye dreams have been swept into Application Oblivion. Ollie said to me: "They don't want us. I think it's your fault". He's right. It may be time to start giving fraudulent details in a bid to get me on quiz shows.

I have a modest wish, however. I just want a regular, hard general knowledge show in a not too inconvenient time slot. Oh, where are you now William G Stewart. You are its champion. Please come back to us. I'd watch it even if it was on Channel 5. Good grief, just thinking about it, I'd even watch 100% if it came back on. You see what we have been reduced to?

BH quiz #46

Tomorrow it's Brain of London doo do do doo doo do. Brain's a bit frazzled, but then it always is, but I'm looking forward to it. Until the actual moment when I step into the Rosslyn Park clubhouse and am drawn in a first round match with Mark Bytheway, Mark Billson and Kevin Ashman. Then I will run for the hills!

The Malverns, perhaps? Always liked the sound of them. Not those nasty South Downs down which I have tumbled and knocked many a knee and head.

I will stay there forever and become the Simon Stylites of quiz folklore! It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.

More widdling
Okay, just watched UC. Good performance from Manchester, especially Gareth. Plus, you could see Stephen "team manager" Pearson's smile from a mile off at the end.

And I have to say I didn't really feel sorry for St Hilda's. Except Mead, the captain (no, I won't do any booze related jokes and Ben Jonson pastiches) Wonder why? Hmmm. Guess.

Having hardly watched the series and had the chance to shout out of the answers or at least mumble them whilst sunk down into a slouching posture, I think I may do my little ego exercise the next time I watch the show. One I have been planning for years. Yes, I will score whichever starters I get before either team and do the same with the attendant bonuses and come up with some fantastical ultimate points tally that will prove I am master of the universe.

Then we will surely see if I can beat these bloody students solo-style. What good is this exercise. It may have something to do with me, me and me. My feelings and my confidence, and absolutely nothing good for the betterment of humanity. Skip to the end ... which is about ... here. Period.

1 The present palace of which "Listed Historical Building" in Scotland was built in 1608 for the Earls of Mansfield by William Atkinson, and was extensively remodelled in 1776 by the Fifth Viscount of Stormont, Earl of Mansfield, with the addition of elaborate French furnishings?
2 Known as "the Glorious", which king of Scotland died in a fall from his horse while riding to visit his queen at Kinghorn in Fife in March 1286?
3 Which political party launched the "Defiance Campaign against Unjust Laws" in 1951?
4 Also the name of the city situated in the river delta that reaches into the northeasternmost part of the Sea of Azov (which the Greeks called Lake Maeotis), Tanais was the ancient name for which river?
5 A specialised structure from which spines and new shoots grow, what distinctive feature of cacti identify them as a separate family from other succulent plants?
6 Granulosa cells are supporting cells found in which organ in mammals?
7 What lipids are characterised by a carbon skeleton with four fused rings, its most important role being that of a hormone?
8 Who played Esmeralda to Charles Laughton's Quasimodo in 1939's The Hunchback of Notre Dame?
9 A major influence on Victor Hugo, which French literary figure is considered the founder of Romanticism and was inspired to write his first work Essai sur les Revolutions (1797), whilst exiled during the Reign of Terror, acquiring fame in 1802 with his apology of the Christian faith, Le Genie du christianisme?
10 Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal is considered the founder of what country due to his role in unifying the country for the first time in the 1630s and creating its distinctive national cultural identity?
11 What wading bird can be described as Cattle, Slaty or Little?
12 Which Canadian animator created the cartoon characters Ren and Stimpy (full names Ren Hoek and Stimpson J Cat) during the eighties?
13 Which voice actor (1916-1988) created and played the voices of such famous cartoon characters as Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound?
14 Which Asian country's name comes from two words which translate as "swift" "strong" and also refers to a resident or the city or more specifically a person from the majority Bamar ethnic group?
15 The 19th Light Dragons, the predecessor of the 19th Hussars, gained much of their fame in India where they were given a badge with the likeness of an elephant upon commemorating which September 1803 battle that took place near a titular village in southcentral India and saw British troops defeat the Maratha confederacy?
16 The Bayani, also known as Azali, were followers of a Persian merchant called Siyyid Mirza Ali-Muhammad who, aged 25, claimed to be the new and independent Manifestation of God, or the Mahdi, and took what Arabic title?
17 Who began his Sword of Truth fantasy series in 1994 with Wizard's First Rule?
18 Originally from Poland, the naturalised American Joseph Green was one of the few directors who made films in which language?
19 What modern name is given to an important Roman in England that linked London to the Roman town of Regnum, near modern-day Chichester?
20 Who wrote the books The Measure of a Man (1959), Why We Can't Wait (1964) and The Trumpet of Conscience (1968)?
21 Which English king was allegedly murdered when, whilst still on his horse, his stepmother Queen Elfrida offered him a cup of mead and was stabbed in his back by one of her party as he was drinking it?
22 Which peak's flat summit saw the first British mountain-top landing of a plane when John Leeming and Bert Hinkler successfully landed and took off again in 1926?
23 Also called urania and named for their distinctive colour, what uranium concentrates are obtained from leach solutions and represent an intermediate step in the processing of uranium ores?
24 Based in Alvdalen, Sweden, Hagstrom are manufacturers of what?
25 Which Leonard Bernstein comic operetta contains the songs Glitter and Be Gay; You Were Dead, You Know; I'm Easily Assimilated and What's the Use?
26 Willy Thys is the secretary-general of which organisation founded in 1920 under the name of the International Federation of Christian Trade Unions and currently boasting 26 million members in 116 countries?
27 Visited by NASA's Near Earth Asteroid Shoemaker probe, what famous NEA of the Amor asteroid group was discovered by Carl Gustav Witt in 1898?
28 What did Baywatch star Traci Bingham study at Harvard?
29 Ireland's only example of which geographical feature is located in Killary Harbour, near Leenane in County Galway?
30 Sir Ronald Wilson, who died in 2005, was renowned for his campaigning for whose rights?
31 Which country's euro cent coins feature the Mouflon sheep and an idol from Pomos?
32 Inspired by original artwork that the artist Elena Kucharik painted, what set of characters were created by American Greetings in 1981 for use on greeting cards and two years later were made into toys by Kenner?
33 A member of a subset of environmental pollutants known as trihalomethanes, what is the more common name for the chemical compound methyl trichloride?
34 In zoological nomenclature, what two-word Latin term is a scientific name that is of unknown or doubtful application?
35 Captain Francis Fowke was the winner of the 1864 competition to design which museum, although since he died shortly afterwards someone else took over the scheme?
36 The Landnamabok or "The Book of Settlement" is an old manuscript that describes the settlement of which country in the 9th and 10th century AD?
37 Les voleurs d'Or (The Gold Thieves) was a lost play rediscovered in 2004 by a Quebec researcher in the archives of the Bibliotheque nationale de France. Who wrote it?
38 A current member of the band SerialPod, Bill Kreutzmann was the drummer for which rock band for their entire 30-year career?
39 The controversial Bates Method is a system of practices that are meant to improve what by eliminating "mental strain"?
40 Set in 1920s London, which Aldous Huxley novel features the literary magazine journalist Walter Bidlake and his sister Elinor, and a fascist group led by Everard Webley called the Brotherhood of British Freeman?
41 What genetic eye condition is abbreviated RP?
42 Antisense therapy is a theoretical form of treatment for what kind of disorders?
43 Which Rabbi and famous Hasidic leader is known commonly as the Divrei Chaim after his magnum opus on Halakha and was the founder of the Sanz dynasty?
44 Which English TV personality was first married to Chris Mather, a naval officer and former rugby league international, though it lasted only 18 months, before getting married to management consultant Patrick King in 1990?
45 Which bank owns the debt consolidation company First Plus?
46 Which fairy tale character was unhappily engaged to a mole before she married the prince of fairies who renamed her Maha?
47 The papal bulls Omne Datum Optimum (1139), Milites Templi (1144) and Milita Dei (1145) all endorsed the powers and privileges of which order?
48 Which British manufacturer made the light bomber and fighter biplane of the 20s and 30s known as the Fox and the torpedo bomber known as the Swordfish (nicknamed the Stringbag)?
49 Called the 'American Uzi', which submachine gun was developed by Gordon B. Ingram in 1964?
50 Grown in Catalonia, arbequina are what type of fruit?

Answers to BH #45
1 Ilfracombe 2 Arthur Hallam 3 George Gissing 4 Carlo Marochetti 5 Legion d'honneur 6 (Arthur) Pendennis 7 Ivanhoe 8 Richard the Lionheart 9 "Mantle plumes" 10 Sydney 11 Australian rules football 12 Dick Wolf 13 Mute Records 14 Grace Jones 15 The Pretenders 16 Hereford 17 Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) 18 The Victual Brothers or Vitalians 19 (Velikiy) Novgorod (meaning 'the great' 'new city') 20 Castra 21 Lancaster Castle 22 Photographic film 23 Polyester 24 Cotton 25 Thrace 26 Imrali 27 Fourth Crusade 28 Croesus of Lydia 29 Cog railway or rack-and-pinion railway or rack railway 30 Spain 31 Mexico (Chihuahua al Pacifico) 32 Rheingold-Express 33 Mainz 34 Alps (more specifically Western Alps) 35 Nissan 36 Blackcurrant 37 Electric Light Orchestra 38 Chess Records 39 Salvador 40 Gloucestershire 41 All sites for Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust nature reserves, others are Slimbridge and National Wetlands Centre in Carmarthenshire 42 Belize 43 Queen Elizabeth II 44 John Spencer (against Steve Davis) 45 Jamie Burnett 46 Perfect 300-point game in ten pin bowling 47 Katharine Hepburn 48 The Boys from Brazil 49 Armstrong's mixture 50 Paneer

Sunday, March 26, 2006

BH quiz #45

All of us have apparently travelled one hour forward in time. How amazing.

Today I have learnt what a Spanx is and that I should know more about modern English poets like Hugo Williams. The result of what I call "Observer Time" (every Sunday 3pm-6.30pm)

You learn something, or 53 things every day. Pity it never feels like enough, which is the lot of the eternally curious. Ah. Sigh. Feeling pretty Sunday dull. Sigh again. On wit zee questions.

1 Which seaside resort is home to the natural landmark Hillsborough Hill and a theatre locals called Madonna's Bra due to its brassiere-imitating shape?
2 Clevedon in Somerset is the burial place of which poet who was noted for the close friendship formed with future Prime Minister William Gladstone at Eton and died of a brain haemorrhage in Vienna aged just 21?
3 Known for such novels as The Odd Women (1893) and The Whirlpool (1897), which writer had previously stolen money from fellow students at Manchester University to help pay for a local prostitute called Marianne Harrison and was expelled and imprisoned as a result?
4 Born in Turin and raised a Frenchman, which sculptor was created a baron by the King of Sardinia and created the tomb for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert at Frogmore House, as well as one panel for the Arc de Triomphe, the memorial bust of William Makepeace Thackeray in Westminster Abbey and a statue of Richard the Lionheart, a bronze copy of which can be seen in the House of Lords?
5 What order replaced the old Orders of St Michael, The Holy Spirit, St Louis, St Lazarus and Mount Carmel?
6 Which 1849 Thackeray novel concerns the only son of a prosperous country apothecary who leaves the village of Fairoaks and finally ends up taking a seat in Parliament?
7 Thackeray's 1850 book Rebecca and Rowena is a parody sequel of which classic of historical fiction?
8 Which king was born at Beaumont Palace in Oxford in 1157?
9 The geophysicist W Jason Morgan proposed which theory concerning the upwelling of hot rock in the Earth?
10 Cardinal George Pell is the Roman Catholic archbishop of which city?
11 In which sport are free kicks awarded for clean catches known as 'marks' and spectacular high 'marks' called 'speccies'?
12 Which TV producer left advertising to create the Law & Order television series and assorted spin-offs, and is also an honorary Consul-general of Monaco?
13 Which British record label was formed in 1978 by film editor Daniel Miller, mostly because he wanted to release his own single TVOD/Warm Leatherette under the name The Normal?
14 Who recorded the disco albums Portfolio (1977), Fame (1978) and Muse (1979)?
15 Which rock group were signed to Real Records thanks to a demo of the song The Phone Call but soon gained prominence due to 1979 Ray Davies-written single Stop Your Sobbing?
16 Dating from 1079, which English cathedral is home to the Chained Library?
17 Specialising in counter-terrorist surveillance, which special forces regiment of the British Army was created by Geoff Hoon and has a cap badge which features the sword seen in the SAS and SBS badges behind a Corinthinan helment and a scroll?
18 Which companionship of privateers were hired in 1392 by the Dukes of Mecklenburg to fight against Denmark because their Queen, Margaret I, had jailed the Swedish king Albrecht of Mecklenburg and his son to subdue the kingdom of Sweden?
19 What is the most ancient Slavic city recorded in Russia and is home to the St Sophia Cathedral, built in the 1040s at the behest of Yaroslav the Wise and a kremlin, known as Detinets, which contains the oldest palace in Russia, the Chamber of Facets (1433), the oldest Russian bell tower and oldest Russian clock tower?
20 Meaning 'fortification', what was a rectangular Roman military camp called?
21 Which English castle was the site of the infamous Pendle Witches' trial in 1612, its execution-loving assizes earning the town's "Hanging Town" nickname?
22 What is affected by "Vinegar syndrome"?
23 First used in World War One for waterproofing, glycerine phthalate was the first example of which condensation polymers?
24 Gossypium hirsutum in the US, Gossypium arboreum in Asia and Gossypium barbadense in Egypt are commercial species of which plant?
25 The warriors, and in particular hillmen, of which ancient kingdom in southeast Europe were famous for using an unusual weapon called the Rhomphaia, which combined elements of sword, sickled and polearm, and was increasingly used by infantry in the centuries following Alexander the Great's death until it became a mercenary peltast's trademark?
26 On which island in the Sea of Marmara is the Kurdish leader Abdul Ocalan imprisoned in maximum security?
27 Which of the Crusades was meant to conquer Jerusalem through invasion of Egypt, but instead conquered Constantinople in 1204?
28 Which ruler paid for the construction of the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, which was completed in c.550BC?
29 Built before 1900 and still in use, the first of which kind of railways in Europe was the Vitznau-Rigi-Bahn or Rigi-Bahnen on Rigi, the "Queen of the Mountains", in Switzerland?
30 Talgo is a manufacturer of railway vehicles in which country?
31 In which country is the major rail line known known as ChP or Chepe?
32 Which legendary train rides between Hoek van Holland near Rotterdam and Basel for a distance of 662km, and is named after a Wagner opera?
33 Besides Rome, which German city is home to the only diocese in the world with an episcopal see that is called a Holy See (sancta sedes)?
34 Geographically speaking, what can be Ligurian, Maritime, Dauphine, Graian, Lepontine, Glarus or Bernese?
35 Which car company introduced the Laurel, having merged with its first makers the Prince Motor Company, as the new model to slot between the 1968 Bluebird and the Cedric?
36 The Brazilian dessert Creme de papaya is normally flavoured with liquer or syrup flavoured with which fruit?
37 The remaining members of The Move, Roy Wood and Bev Bevan, formed which band in 1971, though Wood soon left after the release of their eponymous debut album which produced the hit 10538 Overture?
38 Brothers Leonard and Phil founded which Chicago-based record label, famous for releasing landmark rock 'n' roll records from the likes of Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Muddy Waters?
39 In 1549, Portugal established which Brazilian city on a hill facing the Bay of the All Saints, the latter location giving the state Bahia its name?
40 In which county are Hailes Abbey and the Tyndale Monument at North Nibley?
41 What links Arundel in West Sussex, Caerlaverock in Dumfries and Galloway, Castle Espie in County Down, Barnes in London, Martin Mere in Lancashire, Washington in Tyne and Wear and Welney in Cambridgeshire?
42 In which Central American country is the Hummingbird Highway?
43 Who holds the positions Lord of Mann and the Duke of Lancaster?
44 Who was on the receiving end of the first televised 147 break at the Lada Classic, Oldham, 1982?
45 During UK Championship qualifying in 2004, who achieved a 148 against Leo Fernandez, becoming the first player to achieve a break of more than 147 in a professional match?
46 Mika Koivuniemi accomplished what sporting feat in 2004 in a televised match, receiving a cash bonus on top of the tournament prize?
47 Who was maid of honour at Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier's 1940 wedding?
48 Laurence Olivier received the last of his 11 Oscar nominations when he nominated for Best Actor in which film?
49 Whose mixture is given to a highly sensitive primary explosive that is produced by mixing red phosphorous with potassium chlorate?
50 The Persian word for 'cheese', what unaged acid-set cheese is similar to fresh mozzarella and queso blanco, but without added salt, and is the primary source of protein for vegetarian Buddhists and is the only cheese indigenous to the Indian subcontinent?

Answers to BH quiz #44
1 Berry Gordy 2 "contrait de premiere embauche" (first employment contract) 3 Christian Peacemaker Teams 4 Bodhidharma 5 Chad 6 Gazprom 7 Achaemenid 8 Qajar 9 Som 10 Minsk 11 Antibodies 12 Moscow Metro lines 13 Hamas 14 Raymond A Spruance 15 Grace Hopper 16 USS Monitor 17 Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire 18 Environmentally Sensitive Area 19 Greylag Goose 20 Sparrowhawk 21 That lemmings become suicidal to cut population numbers 22 Coot ("as bald as a coot") 23 (Great) Bittern 24 Yare 25 Brython or Brythonic 26 Dal Riata or Dalriada 27 Norfolk 28 Allan Smethurst 29 Dearne 30 Rotherham 31 McAlpine Stadium, Huddersfield 32 James Stirling (of course) 33 Citercians 34 Cassock 35 Paul VI 36 Warwick Castle 37 Bosworth Field 38 Tewkesbury in 1471 39 Cambrian 40 Bristol Channel 41 Explosives 42 Bulgaria 43 Mascarpone 44 Taleggio (from Val Taleggio) 45 Raclette 46 Tannins 47 Jakarta 48 Laura Freixas 49 Mesotherapy 50 Nadeem-Shravan (their first names)

Saturday, March 25, 2006

BH quiz #44

This is the first of a few big quizzes I am going to do before I dance with the devil by the pale moonlight, or more truthfully have that sensitive and invasive surgical procedure, and take that week off from, well, life basically. Last time I read ten novels in seven days. It was a reading spree that gave me the kind of happiness that gives you a smile just thinking about it. The nostalgia of bedrest and never having to care for the present.

1 Which record label head assembled the collective of producers and songwriters known as The Corporation?
2 What is the French three-word name of the law that is currently inciting youths to riot in France?
3 Which international organisation, aimed at helping in conflicts all over the world, has the initials CPT?
4 Which legendary Buddhist monk founded the Chan school of Buddhism (known as Zen elsewhere) and the Shaolin school of martial arts?
5 The United Democratic Front for Change (FUC) is a rebel alliance in which country?
6 What is the largest Russian company and the biggest biggest natural gas extractor in the world?
7 Darius III, who was defeated by Alexander the Great, was the last ruler of which Persian dynasty?
8 Which Persian dynasty preceded the Pahlavi, ruling from 1781 to 1925?
9 What is the currency of Uzbekistan?
10 In which capital is the Commonwealth of Independent States headquartered?
11 What proteins in the human body can be monoclonal or polyconal?
12 What in Moscow are the Lyublinskaya, the Kakhovskaya, the Zamoskvoretskaya and the Koltsevaya?
13 Which organisation's name is formed by the acronym which corresponds to an Arabic word meaning "enthusiasm, fire, ardour, fervour, zeal, fanaticism"?
14 Who commanded US naval forces at the Battle of Midway and led the Fifth Fleet in the central Pacific and Okinawa?
15 Which American naval officer was the first programmer of the Mark I Calculator and developed the first compiler for a computer programming language?
16 Famed for its participation in the Battle of Hampton Roads in 1862, what was the first US ironclad warship (with the first rotating turret)?
17 At just 19 metres, the shortest county boundary is shared by which two counties?
18 What does the conservation designation ESA stand for?
19 Which species of goose, Anser anser, are famous for being the bird with which Konrad Lorenz first made his first major studies of imprinting?
20 The male of which small bird of prey, Accipiter nisus, was once called a musket, thus giving the gun its name?
21 The 1958 Disney nature film White Wilderness is said to be largely responsible for what belief?
22 Though largely black, which swimming bird and member of the rail and crake family have given rise to a common phrase due to their white facial shield?
23 Which large wading bird has had such folk names as barrel-maker, bog-trotter and butterbump and have a Latin name that refers to the bull?
24 Rising south of Dereham, which Norfolk river has the tributaries the Bure, Ant, Chet and Wensum?
25 Borrowed from Welsh to differentiate between this purely ethno-linguistic meaning and the word Briton, what term describes indigenous, pre-Roman, Celtic-speaking inhabitants of most of Great Britain, and their culture and language?
26 Which kingdom in Ireland that later extended to the western coast of Scotland reached its height under Aedan mac Gabrain, its expansion being checked at the Battle of Degsatan by Aethelfrith of Northumbria in 603AD?
27 In which county are the market towns of Aylsham, Holt, Swaffham and Wymondham?
28 Hailing from Sheringham, who was The Singing Postman, renowned for performing songs in his Norfolk dialect?
29 On which river is Barnsley?
30 Located in disused steel mill and winner of the 2001 Stirling Prize, the Magna Science Adventure Centre is an attraction in which town?
31 The Lobb Partnership won the first Stirling Prize in 1995 for which stadium?
32 Which architect designed the History Faculty of Cambridge University in 1968, Cornell University's Performing Arts Center and Stuttgart's Neue Staatsgalerie (1977-83)?
33 Founded by St Robert (of Molesme), which order are also called the Gimey or White Monks, from the colour of the habit over which a black apron is worn?
34 In older times, what item of clothing was known as vestis talaris?
35 The Bolivian surrealist painter Benjamin Mendoza y Amor Flores attempted to assassinate which Pope with a kris at Manila airport, evidence since suggesting the pontiff received a stab wound?
36 Legend has it that which castle's first fortifications were erected by Ethelfleda, daughter of Alfred the Great, in 914?
37 What battle might have been called the Battle of Redmore or Battle of Dadlington Field, as that is what the location was known at the time?
38 Which battle is the only instance in which a Prince of Wales has died on a battlefield?
39 In which mountains does the river Severn rise?
40 In which inlet are the islands of Steep Holm and Flat Holm?
41 RDX, PETN and HMX are secondary types of what?
42 Kashkaval and Sirene cheeses come from which European country?
43 Believed to have been first made between Lodi and Abbiategrasso, the name of which Italian cheese is said to be derived from either the Spanish for 'better than good', a milk product made the whey of stracchino or aged cheese, or from the local dialect for ricotta?
44 One of the oldest soft cheeses, which Italian cheese was described as the art of the Orobbi (ancent inhabitants of Bergamo) in Roman times and is matured in the caves of Valsassina, getting its current name during the 20th century from its location in Lombardy?
45 From the French "to scrape", what is both a type of Franco-Swiss cheese and a fondue-like dish featuring the cheese?
46 Normally divided into hydrolyzable and condensed types, what term describes astringent, bitter-tasting plant polyphenols that bind and precipitate proteins?
47 Which Asian capital is officially not a city but a province with special status as its nation's capital, and is therefore headedd by a governor not a mayor, and is therefore divided into five kota (city) each headed by a walikota (mayor) and one regency head by a bupati (regent)?
48 Which weekly female columnist for the Spanish paper La Vanguardia, and former literary critic for El Pais, has written the novels The Last Sunday in London (1997) and Love or Whatever It Is (2005)?
49 Still under investigation for safety and efficiency reasons, what alternative to liposuction sees fluids injected just under the skin to break down and dissolve fat?
50 Possibly the most successful music directors of the nineties, which Bollywood duo got together after they met at a function in 1972 and have the surnames Saifi and Rathod?

Answers to BH #43
1 Ernest Barlach 2 Nicholas Vansittart 3 Sawflies 4 Duntroon 5 Goat 6 Abigail 7 Sparta 8 Danielle Steele 9 Agate (marble = an aggie) 10 Vendee Globe 11 Cribbage 12 Chardonnay 13 Jane Burden 14 Joan Miro 15 Sir Thomas Lawrence 16 George Boole 17 Paul Whiteman 18 In the Mood 19 Tommy Dorsey 20 The Andrews Sisters

Friday, March 24, 2006

The Pears I consumed every day

Or What I Thought I Knew and Know

Where do you start? Where do you begin at the beginning of a quizzer's life? How to get the multitude facts you need to compete? It was the range of quiz books in my local WH Smith in Bognor Regis. They showed me the initial way. I bought them in bulk and read them voraciously whenever and wherever I could. But one stood out: Jim Hensman's Pears Quiz Companion. It became my handbook, a kind of trivia vade mecum. It was a bargain at £5.99.

Only the other day when I picked up my old copy for the first time possibly this century; the one I bought way back in 1996. It will be a decade this autumn. Its pages are curled scroll-like, and dozens of fracture lines striate its spine and back, like thin white hairs coursing all over it in constant parallel. It has been well and truly thumbed and graffitied with thought, as evidenced by the dots, circles, lines and ticks that mark every margin and entry; there are even small flowers and intricate pyramids. I forgot I had spent so much time with it. Back then it seemed like the world.

When I started out I knew I had to lay a good foundation. I may see it as lightweight now, but it was brilliant as an entry level book. Since then I have found it is easy to become a good quizzer, but if you want to become a great one it takes far more knowledge. At the time it was all I needed. It was a useful education. Pears showed me exactly what people thought constituted the body of trivia knowledge, no matter how puzzling (heraldry) or conventional (capital cities). Here be chestnuts, it should say now.

I never get sentimental about quiz books the way I do this one. And I am aware of the truth that when you buy one, you cross the quizzer equivalent of the Rubicon. It's getting serious, too serious for many. But they are motherlodes, pure sources of targetted knowledge that open your eyes. I know that when I am buying one in a respectable book shop, not a remainders' like The Works, and hand it to the semi-hip and utterly literate cashier with nice hair, who are so used to disdaining the bovine masses for buying Dan Browns in their millions, that they are too shocked to register that is what you are doing. You're buying a quiz book. No, really. A QUIZ BOOK. You big nerd.

But when I opened up me old Pears I didn't expect to learn anything. I thought it had all been done. Maybe I wanted to joust with my younger self; the ticks of certitude allowed me to do so. The plants still don't go in, my mind being an environment where flowers can never truly seed and thrive. It is a rocky place stratified with layers of hard history and literary fact. All man's achievements have overcome the vastness of the natural world, it seems. Or maybe I just seem to remember people's names more easily.

I remember a quizzer once came up to a group of us, the pre-BH pool as it were, at an event a few years ago. He spied our reading material (you know, you sit around and shout out answers in maniacal fashion as someone chucks out questions from the reference book) and saw John Smith's How to Win Any Pub Quiz. He immediately sneered, saying it was ignored by decent quizzers because of its errors.

But who gets 100% of their questions right? I immediately thought in reaction to this paternal fascism. Or even 90%? Then he got into Pears: it was "riddled with errors", "awful" and so on. Yet I had learned so much of it. Never mind the prize boo-boos, of which I concede there are many, it had loads of facts in one convenient place. It had helped me get up to speed more than any other source. It fed me the right kind of nutritious diet. It formed the basics of what I knew then and now, and I believe, always.

Pears provides the hardy fall-backs for quiz setting. The familiar and reliable cliches. Maybe, in a bit of pop psychology worthy of a Springer-esque Final Thought, people tend to do the same thing with other people. They make a few mistakes after they have put their trust in you, and cast you off and curse you forever. The bad is always made of a heavier and denser substance that what constitutes the good of a person's character. That's why an imperceptible hole can sink a mighty ship. It appeared to be the same with Pears (though I remain curious as to where he and every other person gets the stuff they know; actually I'm so curious I think everyone should provide a "sources list"; perhaps, we could all find new and better ways of learning general knowledge, scores would change, reputations soar, while others melt into mid-table mediocrity ... I'm dreaming now).

Funnily enough no such pariah errors came to mind. I never noticed the mistakes. In fact, I have only just spotted my first howler; the kind that makes you write righteous letters. Tradescantia's other name (well, apart from Spiderwort, which is absent) is listed as "Wondering Jew". Of course, the "o" should be swapped for an "a." That could have cost a Pears devotee dear. A more experienced quiz mind does yield others. These recent spots include:

The Orchid Man ... Georges Carpentier
Ian Kilminister ... Lemmy
Ur (Sumeria) discoverer ... Charles Woolley (well, he was really better known as Leonard)
Shakespeare daughter ... Sussanah
currency Brazil ... Cruzado
inventor of googly ... Nicholas Bonsanquet
Did Massine choreography The Rite of Spring? I'm sure it was Nijinsky.
founder of the Proms ... Sir Henry Wood
founder of Cynics ... Diogenes
invented cyclotron ... James Lawrence

It could do better, sure. It has turned many quizzers puce with rage (see the Amazon customer reviews), and I would never use it to compile a quiz - I'm not that stupid. I wonder why it doesn't state the first case that Perry Mason took or the only one he ever lost ("Velvet Claw"; "Terrified Typist"). Or what painting did Ruskin get sued by Whistler in the "flinging a pot of paint in the public's face" libe case (Falling Rocket?). No Cluedo murder victim or venue. Fashion & Dress is derisory. Only two pages of non-fiction books. And I'm still wondering the name of the horse that killed Emily Davison at the 1913 Derby.

Did such condemnations of Pears make me feel like I should ignore it forever more? Nay. Perversely, it made me feel prouder. It had helped my progress, despite all the slings and arrows people had aimed at it. I had no truck with accusations of uselessness, as I do with any criticisms of quiz reference books (they're all good enough for me).

Flicking through its pages even now, makes me realise I can still learn something from it. Who was this chef "Careme", for instance? I swore I had never heard of him. This all could come up, you think. If it has gained admission into such select company it must be worth the price of absorption; I'm thinking this as I read: "Argonaut's Voyages Retraced, 1984 ... Tim Severin". Who he?

I do have the new Pears edition, but I hardly look at it. The same content, slightly tweaked. Thinner, smoother pages. Looking at one section, detectives for instance, and you think they have missed a huge opportunity. Where is Rebus for example? It has pictures on the front - wooh, how attractive, but is that it? But the old one, the formative one holds me more. I get an 'inkling' of the naive quizzer I used to be.

Then again, I can't believe I spent so much sixth form going through it when the mass of A-Levellers were playing army-a-side football games outside. Possibly because I was scared of my rusty footer skills being laid bare, possibly because my fag habit had taken the footballer out of me and locked it in a room with a pack of Marlboros. But no-one ever really took the piss. Odd that.

I am amazed by what I was ignorant of before. In Novels, next to Men at Arms by Evelyn Waugh I have roughly squiggled: "Also wrote Brideshead Revisited, Decline and Fall". Now that Waugh is probably my favourite English novelist (though Scoop is like soooo overrated), it embarrasses me slightly. Ah, the callow and blind sweet bird of youth. The entries with ticks next to them elicit an instant reflex in me. An answer barks back in my mind. There is no thinking involved. But the ones that are ticked become invisible in a way. The tick acted as an eraser. Insecurity asks me if I should have. Nothing is certain. I feel like going back and asking of every single one, do I know you? Laziness suggests I can't be bothered.

I am willing to forgive Pears, even if its hyperbolic self-praise - "the one reference book that will supply you with all the answers you'll ever need" - is patently untrue. When you are young and green you tend to trust such haughty claims and accept them. But, of course, you have no idea. Not least how much general knowledge grows every day. I get a feeling you need a book ten times bigger, at least, to do all the basic GK stuff justice.

It makes me think that there is a book of trivia yet to be written that astounds and amazes, with its networks of unique and interconnected tidbits, of the kind me and my fellow BHs seem to come up with before every quiz league matches, in a weird show of esoteric, but nevertheless useful strength. Pears' lack of elaboration and shortcomings are manifest, but it allows for reflection on how much more you can do and have done, and how you have obtained really in-depth stuff.

It has to be said that Pears is genius for the way its cuts down the information to its barest bones; the trigger words. The way it split up the question components and constructed a clear spacey corridor. And it has some feeling for the giveaway words and the standout facts you gotta know. The only Czech Wimbledon champion you'll ever need? Jan Kodes, of course. It does make you think of the quiz truism: You're only good as the places you look. And admittedly, there is something unsavoury and even lazy about having it all in one volume. And conversely, something satisfying about being a true detective or a hunter profiting from the spoils one has gone foraging for in a variety of locales.

There is no little pain either. Looking through Pears, the answers I needed for Worlds, Brain of Britain, and various GPs stick out. I remember them. Now. You always remember the ones that got away: Intourist! Dacia! Ogaden! Bromine! The Brabanconne! and more!!! So yes, it still does have some use. A lot of use, in fact. The kind that makes a difference in your competition placing.

The Pears I never could quite remember
So I have to give you a raft of facts. It's what you deserve after such ramblings about a quiz book. A QUIZ BOOK. You big nerd. These are the facts I seem to have circled and underlined two or three times, but still can't remember. These are my "eternally confused" factoids. There is no little amazement, especially after nine years. I lay them here just for one more push into my long term memory.

discovered Niagara Falls ... Louis Hennepin
baseball, 1st pitcher's perfect game, 1904 ... Cy Young
Equestrian events, fence made of poles and hedges ... oxer
althlete drug test, 1st disqualification, 1976 ... Danuta Rosani
Earl Anthony, famous name in sport ... Ten Pin Bowling
Kanamori scale measures ... earthquake magnitude
Petra quote: "Rose red city, half as old as time" ... Dean Burgon
Bazooka name for weapon from musical instrument of comedian ... Bob Burns
airplane nicknamed Whispering Giant ... Bristol Britannia
Joshua Slocum 1st solo-circumnavigated world on boat ... Spray
how many gun salute for opening of Parliament ... 42
Edward Lear's The Book of Nonsense written for kids of ... Lord Derby
other name for bird Little Grebe ... Dabchick
Duncan/Marsh Seedless varieties of plant ... Grapefruit
maiden name of John Lennon's 1st wife Cynthia ... Powell
maiden name of Priscilla Presley ... Beaulieu
wrote cartoon The Fosdyke Saga ... Bill Tidy
Gangster James Cagney played in Public Enemy ... Tom Powers
Kramer v Kramer based on novel by ... Avery Corman
played Pearl Chavez in Duel in The Sun ... Jennifer Jones
discovered Uranium ... Martin Klaproth
1st nuclear power station ... Obrusk, USSR
cigarettes invented by Turkish troops at Battle of ... Acre
Gas caused Bhopal disaster in 1984 ... Methyl Isocyanate
played Colonel Saito in Bridge on the River Kwai .. Sessue Hayakawa
1st Tarzan ... Elmo Lincoln
Zorro's deaf servant ... Bernardo
sculpted Trevi Fountain... Nicola Salvi
painted Flight into Egypt ... Jacopo Bassano
maiden name of Marie Curie ... Sklodowska
Jesse Owens real 1st two names, gave initials for famed nickname ... James Cleveland
location of Correggio's The Assumption of the Virgin ... on dome of Parma Cathedral
designed Rijksmuseum ... PJH Cuypers
term Impressionism invented by ... Louis Leroy
3 English styles of Gothic architecture ... Early English, Decorated, Perpendicular
number of teeth in human child ... 20
Andorra ruled by President of France and ... Bishop of Urgel
Debussy's Clair de Lune from his work ... Suite Bergamesque
Ravel's Bolero written for dancer ... Ida Rubenstein
Hanging Gardens of Babylon built by Nebuchadnezzar for wife ... Semiramis
Oklahoma based on Green Grow the Lilacs, play by ... Lynn Riggs
song A Walk in the Black Forest ... Horst Jankowski
Rectangular US state with Colorado ... Wyoming
Gin made from (flavoured with juniper) ... corn
rulers in Hierocracy ... priests
Treaty of Tilsit (1801) signed in middle of ... River Niemen
said about Richard Nixon: "Would you buy a secondhand car from this man?" ... Mort Sahl
lived at Sutton Place ... Paul Getty
St Alban martyred for ... Sheltering Amphibalus
other name for plant Gypsophila ... Baby's Breath
baby Gnat ... Bloodworm
sportsman nicknamed The Clockwork Mouse ... Niki Lauda
place name changed from Bathurst ... Banjul
(final) Mrs Dale in Mrs Dale's Diary ... Jessie Matthews
song "Big Bad John" ... Jimmy Dean
Battle King Pyrrhus of Epirus won his Pyrrhic victory ... Asculum
Racine's Phedre based on Euripides play ... Hippolytus
fastest stooping bird ... peregrine
male donkey ... Jack
Yucca tree pollinated only by ... Pronuba Moth
The General, train in Buster Keaton film, chased by ... The Texas
Baron Von Richtofen plane ... Fokker Triplane
alternative name for plant Brinjal ... Aubergine
British ambassador in Uruguay kidnapped by Tupamoros in 1971 ... Geoffrey Jackson
Trade Unionists, known as Terrible Twins ... Jack Jones, Hugh Scanlon
Hercules' horse ... Arion
plant Cheiranthus common name ... Wallflower
Goolet boat, from country ... Turkey
nationality Sirhan Sirhan ... Jordanian
Nigerian politician found in crate at Stansted airport ... Umaru Dikko
play No Sex Please, British We're ... Anthony Marriott, Alistair Foot
longest snake ... Regal Python
place inscription on stamp Drzava ... Slovenia
tennis's Four Musketeers (excepting Borotra, Lacoste) ... Jacques Brynon, Henri Cochet
rarest British stamp ... 1904 Sixpence Purple
maker of Stealth B2 Bomber ... Northrop
Sao Paolo on river ... Tiete
malaria carrier ... Anopheles mosquito
Dogs, 1st animals to return safely from space ... Belka, Strelka
most common stitch in needle work ... Running Stitch
Sherlock Holmes's last case ... Shoscombe Old Place
Bourdon Gauge measures ... Pressure
stage name of JP Richardson ... The Big Bopper
poem Curfew must not ring tonight ... Rose Thorpe
poem Barbara Frietchie ... John Whittier
actor played title character in TV's Rhode ... Valerie Harper
oldest tree, nicknamed Old Methusaleh ... Bristlecone Pine
plant family of leek, garlic, onion ... lily
song I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles from musical ... The Passing Show
only no. 1 Chanson D'Amour ... Manhattan Transfer
Toreador in opera Carmen ... Escamillo
1st to land of Pilgrim Fathers ... John Alden
plant in Mexico blooms once in 150 years ... Puya plant
latest Geological Era ... Cenozoic
Mercedes Benz named after daughter of financier ... Emil Jellinek

And, of course, all pedants are invited to correct any of the above. Your powers of veracity can never be undervalued.

BH quiz #43

Here's the Friday quiz. They're all off-cuts from other setting that overshot the allotted space. Heavy on the jazz at the end, but it's something I've always wanted to know more about...

1 Labelled a "degenerate artist" by the Nazis, which German expressionist sculptor was famous for such works as Die Krautpfluckenin (The Herb Plucker; 1894), Der Racher (The Avenger; 1914), Der Geistkampfer (The Ghost Fighter; 1928) and the 1929 Magdeburg cenotaph at Magdeburg Cathedral?
2 Gordon Brown is the longest continously serving Chancellor since which man, who held the post from 1812-1823?
3 The Symphata, an group of insects and taxonomic suborder of Hymenoptera, are commonly referred to by what name?
4 What is the less formal name of Australia's Royal Military College, taken from the property it is situated on in Canberra?
5 Kiko, Fainting and Boer are domesticated breeds of which animal, reared specially for their meat?
6 With a name meaning "her Father's joy" or "fountain of joy", which female Biblical character is described as the wife of Nabal the Carmelite, whose life she saves when David wishes to kill him, and on whose death she becomes the third wife of David, according to Samuel and bores him a son called Chileab or possibly Daniel? l
7 The Agiad and Eurypontid dynasties ruled which city-state until 221BC?
8 Which bestselling author wrote the nonfiction books Having a Baby and His Bright Light, the latter centring on the life her son, the punk rock singer Nicholas Traina who killed himself aged 19?
9 What is a fine-grained, fibrous variety of chalcedony, a playing marble made of the material or a glass imitation ot it and, in printing, a type size that is approximately 5and1/2 points?
10 Which round-the-world, single-handed yacht race was founded by Philippe Jeantot in 1989?
11 What is the only card game that can legally be played for a wager in pubs?
12 What green-skinned grape is also called Aubaine, Beaunois and Melon Blanc?
13 Who married William Morris in 1859 and became Dante Gabriel Rossetti's mistress?
14 Which Spanish artist said he created Harlequin's Carnival while hallucinating due to lack of food?
15 Which English artist and knight painted the portrait "Master Lambton" for Lord Durham for a fee of 600 guineas?
16 Which Lincolnshire-born mathematician and philsopher gave his name to the algebra that is the basis of all modern computer arithmetic?
17 Which bandleader, who billed himself as "The King of Jazz" during the 20s and 30s, commissioned George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue?
18 Composed by Joe Garland and Andy Razaf, what signature tune of Glenn Miller's was played at the funeral of actor Peter Sellers in 1980?
19 I'm Getting Sentimental Over You was which jazz trombonist and bandleader's best known song, and just one of 137 Billboard chart hits?
20 Named LaVerne, Maxene and Patti, which singing sisters were born to a Norwegian-American mother and Greek immigrant Father in Minnesota between 1911 and 1918, and had hit records with Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (1941) and Rum and Coca-Cola (1944)?

Answers to BH #41
1 Ring of Fire - Johnny Cash 2 McLaren 3 The Cross Sums 4 The Design Museum 5 Blackpool 6 Adele Bloch Bauer 7 Cyclone Larry 8 Tod's 9 Aviva 10 Her uncle Osama bin Laden 11 Sir David Gerrard 12 Arms 13 Samuel Taylor Coleridge 14 Gastro-esophageal reflux 15 The Old Country 16 Lariat bag 17 650 18 Atherstone 19 Saparmurat Niyazov of Turkmenistan 20 Jil Sander 21 B-52 22 Alexadner Marnier-Lapostolle, Cordon Rouge (Red Label) 23 Bandai 24 Dave Hemingway and Sean Welch 25 Red Guitars, Everything But the Girl, The Gargoyles 26 Beats International 27 Douglas Mawson 28 Matthew Flinders (Flinders Ranges) 29 Plutons 30 Cleavage 31 Earl of Winton 32 Gozo 33 Four Great Characteristic Melodies 34 Harz 35 Tallest living woman in the world at 7ft7,1/4in 36 Falmouth 37 Benjamin Franklin 38 Tea and coffee 39 Figueres 40 Grattage 41 Exquisite corpse (or exquisite cadaver or rotating corpse) 42 Chayanne 43 Great Western Railway 44 Box Tunnel 45 Charlie Girl 46 Mervyn Noote 47 Sam Snead 48 Rennes 49 Boxing 50 Vespasian 51 Batavian rebellion

Thursday, March 23, 2006

BH quiz #42 with added things called Reflections

I'm So Tired
I have been working myself into a flaccid, destroyed heap trying to get ahead of myself with regards to the self-enforced lay-off that I am taking after my next operation. Yep, it's *fingers crossed, twisted, impossibly entwined* third time lucky in the surgery theatre Friday a week tomorrow. Certain acquaintances will know of the amazingly strung-out travails with regards to a frustrating state of physical affairs that is really, really becoming a saga now, and, the black comic possibilities have meant my taking much glee in relating exactly what happens when the surgical team gets to work. Suffice to say, it sounds bad, nay, appalling, but I don't really feel anything. In truth, it's merely an annoyance I would like to put far behind me; I think I made an unintentional pun. Friends have replied in kind with a multitude of foul but, it has to be said, entirely appropriate Deuce Bigelow name-calling. They have the measure of the situation, unlike the sodding NHS (don't let me start).

Getting ahead of myself and setting for expectant parties means I have a hefty surplus question-wise, from ideas that have gone off from one tangent and bounced off another, or ones that need a little tweaking and public exposure before they are suitable for mainstream quizzing. The first 51 of them are down below. The next lot will arrive tomorrow, along with some quite strange reflections I've been collecting in my little black notebooks with regards to my habits as a teenage quizzer.

Here's the hardest part. The work has taken a lot out of me. More than I have taken out of it.

At this exact moment in time I am feeling as if I have been turned inside out and dragged at high speed over a rock garden pitted with many jagged and cruel specimens; my edges blurred and aura chipped. Then again, you should have seen me four or five hours ago. I was running headfirst into a mental brick wall, and realised I was working far, far slower than I normally would, and this was when I was meant to be concentrating the most, when the day held out no other distractions to me. Yep, Countdown and Deal or No Deal were far in the afternoon's future. I had been setting for what must have been nine straight hours (seriously, I have much to write and edit and on and on and Ariston), and slowly became shocked by how much information there was out there to absorb and then maintain and keep in my increasingly ragged noggin, and how far I had to go before I could be content with the knowledge I had truly embraced every opportunity to be the best quizzer I could be. The price of such a mammoth effort became crystal clear. Then it became a crushing and unbearable weight. Heretical thoughts entered my head. I wrote some of them down, just because I wanted to scare you with them right now: "The facts are crowding me, grinding me into tiny dust particles. I feel dispirited at losing sight of something I am certain will return to me in a competition question paper, with a vengeance. The culprits will stare me in the face and elicit flickers of recognition, but ones insufficient to provoke any correct answers; I imagine it saying to me 'why didn't you take me in when you could? You're paying for it now, aincha?', and some kind of crippling frustration will overcome me."

(Sorry: I have to write this short paragraph to apologise for the unashamed seriousness of this discourse, and would like you to reasssure you that I will get out more, much more, once life's dirty business transactions and work requirements have been completed. I will then frolic with the spring lambs, adorn myself with daffodils and breath in spring's no-doubt still frigid air. Remember that my powers of sarcasm and flippancy are strong. They are mighty - is that my nickname now? Funny how people apply it to me and yet they do not seem to have actually met each other. It could be a communal psychic cloud into which we are all able to tap, or it could be that the name of a made-up beer the NME mentioned a few years ago: and yes, it was called Mighty O... I will now conjure up a self-deprecating pop culture reference. Very soon.)

Then, of course, you stop acting like that manic depressive painter played by Charlie Higson on The Fast Show and once again see the light that encourages and inspires you, and you feel the irresistible and pleasing driving force kick in again, casting off all the lethargy-induced doubt that your body and mind had been riddled with. I realise there is only so much I can do, that you can only go so far, and given the time allotted to my fellow quizzers with 9-5 office existences, I should be truly grateful for the opportunities available to me right now. Cold, hard logic suggests there is a salutary lesson in there somewhere about rationing the work and the learning and the setting, if you are to maximise its effectiveness. You have to let the mind settle and regroup before another big push. For the last ten years or so I have always taken regular breaks of three months or far longer from quiz; completely cutting myself off from the books and files and even tourneys, except for the odd quiz league night (sort of like a top-up or the bridge I still maintain to a world I am never sure I am willing to completely exile myself from ... after all I did consider retirement aged 26, as I've mentioned before and will do so time and time again, as I get older and further away from that cut-off point). It was as if I was subconciously giving myself a fallow period, like a good farmer would, to renew the enthusiasm and therefore my sheer will.

My work routine has changed irrevocably during the last six months for obvious reasons, and quizzing matters do not seem to have been taken off the boil at any time. I have been "on" every day (not helped at all by this blog, but I thought it would be a good way of formalising my research as well as provide a format for huge, gigantic ruminations that might just make me a better and more aware writer. I'm starting to believe it is slowly fulfilling these dual aims) and am therefore embracing my week-long hiatus with a kind of breathless and excited relief. Now I realise I have been all too willing to kill any desire I possess by bowling myself into the ground, so much I am might as well be drilling for oil. I haven't actually finished a real book in a month, and this distresses me, for I am used to knocking off two of the blighters, nonfiction or novels, every week for the last two-and-a-half years. One of my greatest pleasures in life, I enjoy the way I feel a truly good novel engage a part of my brain that is not concerned with the retaining of facts about bones in the human body or 20th century furniture designers. I also see that this endows me with a sense of perspective that is sorely needed. I had been considering devoting myself to reading material designed purely for quiz competition purposes for one whole year, but now realise I am probably incapable of doing so. It would be a form of agonising mental abstinence. Also, the piles and piles of books I have succeeded in accumulating, like some bibliophilic Manhattan I lovingly build in whichever bedroom I pitch up in, wherever it be in LA or London, would make me feel guilty through their substantial presence and the reminder that they are going unread purely because I have issued myself with a fiat that could be couched in any number of queasy terms, among them hardcore, weird and just plain scary.

Conversely, yes, amidst the current flurry of work I am getting lots of things done and am stretching myself far more than before. I have lain dormant longer than I would care to admit. It is teaching me more about myself, and I don't have to smash myself in the face Tyler Durden-style to do so (paragraph non-sequitur: I had an image of a karate Mahatma Gandhi snap in my mind, taken from a scene in the terrible but somehow still amusing and watchable Weird Al Yankovic film UHF, one of those childish and batty movies you seem to watch repeatedly when you are young ... of course I'm wondering if Tyler would have liked to gone to Fight Club with Mohandas. He preached non-violence, but then so did every martial art movie hero, until they had been pushed OVER THE EDGE). It may be merely a matter of acclimatising to this new world.

In matters of work completed, I have now filed the Abbots Langley indie questions and NQSL sets, so they are out of the way and ready to be tackled by the Grand Prix attendees, with what brand of gusto once they see them I am entirely unsure.

I have endeavoured to write questions that are challenging, getable and, if not, forever worth knowing, if forever be the career-span of any decent devoted quizzer. They instill a feeling of Zen contentedness in me. Also, I have written my next batch of mini-quizzes for my employers, and have even found that I am taking more time over them too. Purely, because some senseless perfectionism is becoming even more paramount whenever I set them. I remember when I used to crack them out willy-nilly, and wrote them with the vague belief that they were balanced and far from run-of-the-mill and factually perfect. Now I get far more paranoid, and fearful of errors caused by laziness. My laconic attitude has been razed, perhaps forever. The insistent correctional emails and phone calls that are the result of my mistakes make me feel worse than you could possibly know, even if they could never be properly considered worthy of the angst that they plant in my fragile psyche. However, I am certain that this incipient need for complete professionalism is good for you and me and everyone we know. Good question-setting is the foundation on which so much of what makes the trivia world exciting and interesting and life-enhancing, yet we often lose sight of its importance. Without it, we would all lose interest and go off and play Scrabble and chess and do even more Su Doku puzzles, or any game where the unpredictable human factor of the setter is removed, and whose implacable and age-worn format will never let us down.

Right, let's get on with those questions, I only meant to write two paragraphs wittering on about my hospital trip and the setting work, but it turns out to be another essay discussing the nature of quiz. I must alight to bed and bid you adieu before I start writing a voluminous tracts questioning the existence of God and the insatiable hunger for resources that will surely destroy world civlisation as we know it.

1 Which song did the England team say inspired them at the lunchtime interval before they bowled India out to win the Third Test in Mumbai?
2 Ron Dennis is the chairman of which Formula 1 team?
3 Kakuro, as seen in The Guardian, is which very common type of logic puzzle that is often called a mathematical transliteration of the crossword?
4 The author and critic Deyan Sudjic has been appointed the new director of which London museum?
5 Which town is home to the historic North Pier Theatre, whose closure has been scheduled for this summer?
6 The most famous of the five Gustav Klimt works recently restored to the 90-year-old Maria Altmann, what painting that showcases his gilded style was commissioned by the sitter's husband and Altmann's uncle?
7 What male name has been given to the cyclone that is the worst tropical storm to hit Australia in decades?
8 The man who bought a failing Fiorentina football team in 2002, the Italian tycoon Diego Delle Valle is the man behind which luxury leather goods empire?
9 Richard Harvey is the head of which insurance group, the biggest in the UK, and which is seeking to take over Prudential and merge it with Norwich Union?
10 The California-born 27-year-old Wafah Dufour has hit the headlines due to which of her family relatives?
11 Which knight, property millionaire and former director of Minerva has been revealed to have loaned the Labour party the biggest sum, £2.3 million?
12 BAE Systems is Britain's biggest contractor in which area?
13 Which poet invented the word "intensify", introducing it with a detailed apology because he believed it sounded uncouth?
14 What does the GER stand for in the disease GERD?
15 Newly revived, which 1977 Alan Bennett play concerns a Foreign Office defector called Hilary who had gone east just before his exposure as a Soviet agent?
16 Apparently derisively called The First by the fashion cognoscenti, which once very fashionable £700 bag was originally sent out by Balenciaga as a gift to members of the fashion corps?
17 How many consumer items are used by the Office of National Statistics to measure inflation?
18 Where in Warwickshire is there a traditional violent free-for-all ball game that takes place every Shrove Tuesday and which dates back to 1198?
19 Which president has claimed that his book, the Rukhnama, holds will ensure entry into paradise if it is read aloud three times a day?
20 Born in Wesselburen, which German fashion designer opened her first boutique in a Hamburg suburb in 1967 and founded her eponymous fashion house the next year aged only 24? Disdaining unnecessary details, her trademark look was of a perfectly cut pantsuit, a form-fitting simple but elegant coat of slim blouse made of luxury materials in plain grey, black, blue or white, and helped many a wannabe woman executive look the part during the 80s.
21 What military aircraft gives its name to a layered shot that contains one-part Kahlua, one-part Bailey's Irish Cream, and one-part either Grand Marnier, triple sec or rum?
22 And which man created Grand Marnier in 1880? And what was the name of the original Grand Marnier liquer he created that year?
23 What toy company, whose tin plate toys are highly collectible from their founding in 1950, have the main toy licenses in Japan to popular properties like Godzilla, Ultraman and Gundam?
24 Along with Paul Heaton, which Housemartins drummer and which of the band's roadies became members of The Beautiful South?
25 And who were the three bands they said were better than them in their home city since they were the "4th best band in Hull"?
26 Lindy Layton was a founding member of and vocalist for which chart-topping group that included such other members as MC Wildski and keyboardist Andy Boucher?
27 Born in Bradford in 1882, which Australian Antarctic explorer joined the Shackleton's 1907 expedition as a geologist and turned down a chance to join Scott's Terra Nove expedition, instead leading his own "Australian Antarctic Expedition" to King George V Land and Adelie Land for which he was knighted and which he recounted in the book Home of the Blizzard?
28 Which English explorer gives his name to South Australia's largest mountain range and a national park?
29 Named after a Roman god, what are bodies of magma that solidify underground before they reach the surface of the earth called?
30 Resulting in such named types as prismatic, basal, cubic and octahedral, what in mineralogy is the tendency of crystalline materials to split along definite planes, creating smooth surfaces?
31 Having their family seat at Balhomie near Perth, in 1859, the 13th Earl of Eglinton, Archibald Montgomerie was also created what Earl in the UK peerage, both earldoms being united ever since?
32 Ninu's Cave and Xerri's Grotto (pron. 'sherry') are underground caves on which Mediterranean island?
33 In Chinese opera what collective name is given to Bangziqiang, Huangpiqiang, Kunqiang and Gaoqiang?
34 What is the northernmost mountain chain in Germany and has a name derived from a Middle High German word meaning 'forest'?
35 What world record does the American Sandra 'Sandy' Elaine Allen hold?
36 The National Maritime Museum has a branch in a harbourside building where in Cornwall?
37 His only surviving former home, which American historical figure has a museum in a terraced house in London's Craven Street dedicated to him?
38 A museum dedicated to which two commodities was opened by Edward Bramah in 1992 and is now located in Southwark Street?
39 In which Catalan hometown did Salvador Dali himself create the Teatro Museo?
40 Joan Miro helped Max Ernst pioneer which surrealist art technique involving the trowelling of usually dry pigment on his canvases?
41 Invented by the Surrealists in 1925, what two-word name was given to a method by whuch a collection of words or images are collectively assembled and which was based on the parlour game Consequences?
42 Which Puerto Rico-born Latin pop singer and former member of Los Chicos was born Elmer Figueroa de Arse in 1968?
43 What has been called God's Wonderful Railway, the Great Round Way, Goes When Ready and Holiday Railway?
44 Opened in 1841, what 2939m-railway tunnel between Bath and Chippenham is named after the hill it was dug through?
45 Which musical, first produced in the West End in 1965, features a football pools win and the character Lady Hadwell, an aristocratic widow who is struggling to make ends meet by opening her home to the public, and whose troublesome tomboy youngest daughter gives the work its name?
46 Derek Nimmo made his name playing which Reverend in the sitcom All Gas and Gaiters?
47 Which US golfer won a record 82 PGA Tour events and seven majors (three Masters, three PGAs and one British Open), although his reputation has been somewhat sullied by his failure to win the US Open?
48 What is the capital city of the French region of Bretagne?
49 Melankomas or Melancomas of Caria famously won which event at the 207th Olympiad in 49AD?
50 Which Roman ascended the throne at the end of the Year of the Four Emperors in 69?
51 Led by a man named Civilis, which revolt in the Roman province of Germania Inferior between 69 and 70AD succeeded in destroying four legions?

Answers to BH quiz #41
1 First new cardinal to be elevated by Pope Benedict XVI 2 Longines 3 Darfur in the Sudan 4 Alcohol, tobacco, firearms, explosives 5 Fredrik Idestam 6 Espoo 7 Silvio Berlusconi 8 Thaksin Shinawatra 9 Holy Blood, Holy Grail 10 Estonia 11 Oleg Cassini 12 Blaise Pascal 13 Princeton 14 Ukraine 15 Pozarevac 16 Prudhoe Bay 17 Zheng He 18 Hongzhi 19 Donald McKay 20 Canon 21 Traje de luces 22 Las Ventas 23 Mehdi Savalli 24 Encierro 25 Novillero 26 Shakespeare's First Folio (edited by Henry Condell and John Heminges) 27 "To be or not to be" 28 Kronborg Castle 29 Neuss 30 As You Like It 31 Chandos portrait 32 Maruyama 33 Thomas Middleton 34 Daniel Malan 35 Accra 36 Jackie DiNorscio 37 Toyota 38 Subaru