Thursday, June 29, 2006

One Heck of a BH78

So the deadline for TMQ has passed and 129 brave souls have succumbed to my entreaties. I say thanks to them. The response has been encouraging for all sorts of reasons, the primary one being that people like answering hundreds of questions in some arbitrarily laid down parameters.

It's been a good experience so far. You have to be organised for a start, and it's something I need a lot of practice at. Even if my organising at the moment resembles me trying to make my Freeview box work: cables, tuning, it all came to ahead and we went back to analogue thus annoying Peter Snow and all those digital TV-pushing know it alls at the Beeb ... yes, we know it's far more fun watching BBC3 and mindless pop videos sometimes, but sometimes the situation is completely and irretrievably FUBAR. However, I am sure it will all work out in the end, says Mr Polyanna.

You also have to promote it and inject the right kind of self-deprecation so as not to portray yourself as this oafish idiot who thinks nothing of his own quiz project. Admittedly, promotion has wandered into the "look at me, LOOK AT ME, no, I mean, look at what I wrote" territory, you just have to. Otherwise, the project will wither and die of loneliness.

Errors. That's another thing. Reference books are rubbish I have found. They are full of mistakes and I am the one who pays by being the recipient of emails pointing out something that quite frankly never occurred to me. I trusted the encyclopedia on some occasions and I fell for the certainty of my memory on fewer occasions, admittedly. The silliness of trusting your own mind. It's silly.

I think it's a proven scientific fact that one in ten questions you set are complete baloney, sourced from an idiot who knew a lot less than you and relied on other rubbishy, fact-fragged books, purely because they thought they were meant to.

Yet that is what happens when you set the bulk of it over one night. You think you put something to bed but instead it waits, grinning in the future darkness ready to bite you on the ass. In future I will build the set methodically and gradually, whilst attaining a mastery of categorisation, to prevent such ass-mastication from occurring.

However, I really do like the marking (I have to, there are more than 65,000 answers winging my way). I am consequently checking my Gmail (oops Googlemail account) every five minutes just to see whether any answer sheets have dropped in, ready for the marking. The judgement part of it allows me to act like a God no less and since this is my project I answer to no one. No one! You hear me! Hey, I never said I was going to invest this exercise with the utmost decorum.

It has turned me a bit strange though (okay, strangerer), having reached a slump yesterday in which I thought there is no way I am doing this again (it was when I had my third email from somebody pointing out a question made about as much sense as Dave Cameron's face). I had to tell the MQers and had to type in everyone's name into a group and at about the midway point I felt like getting up and walking away. You know, I was going to be "some time".

But no, I got over that. Now I am more preoccupied by people sending in files in formats far too futuristic for the dirty, smoke-enveloped beige block of rubbishness that I am currently and furiously typing these words into. It doesn't do .wps. I would smack it if I thought it would do any good, but then corporal punishment is good for nothing, not even bashing computers.

So far I have received and marked 11 papers: each of them proffering answers that are very good and worthy of a chorus of enthusiastic clapping.

If you want a score hint and because I am an utter score-whore, even when I am handing them out, I can confirm that first and second place are separated by 71.5 points. But it is early days yet, though I am slightly disturbed by one thing. I thought 501 questions would separate everyone out by dint of revealing their different strengths in general knowledge (no one has the same strength, but you knew that. Of course). Only 501-q's is plainly not enough. Two people have the same tally already. This means that either the questions should have been further fine-tuned or that I am getting too picky and this is really turning into a saga now. Zippp.

I am encouraged by the remarks I've got so far and would like to do a World Knowledge version that doesn't have three separate questions on English soaps (for that I am truly sorry, all my non-UK TMQ brethren, but then I never thought so many of you would do it, if any at all). I am planning my next one once the majority of the work involving #1 has been done. This will have Persian poets and Indian stupas. Or maybe not since i have mentioned them. I will feature some non-Anglo Saxon film directors though. I couldn't believe it when I noticed that there was not one Polish film director question in there. Not one Iranian film star. And certainly, no dizzyingly outre Argentinian auteur. Not one. I can be such a blind little Englander sometimes.

A Triple Gah
At the moment I feel brain-smashed.

In the midst of all the organisation MQ brouhaha. I decided to write a 200-question BH quiz for this here blog, and I did. Took me hours, of course. And now my mind has gone, dispersed into a billion little pieces scattered through the universe, never to be put together again. Metaphorically speaking. The grey matter still resides in my head. It just needs its beauty sleep. Metaphorically, speaking. Again. Ask me who is the British Prime Minister? Go on. Wait, who am I talking to?

But even when I got to 200 I couldn't quite stop. It always happens. So I went to 208, which is the highest Test score of which England cricketer? Come one!??! Boyhood hero, told me to F off at Hove and walks for cancer.

So now I have brought you in one batch, literally hundreds of difficult and nasty questions based on a totally random selection of articles from Wikipedia. I was going to preface the word "batch" with "scintillating", but this would not be true. They will destroy something in you before you even get to question 76. Let's call it the "will to live". Well, I didn't do it for your benefit (when I say bring you, I actually mean, plonk here as if I was putting out the garbage, a bulging ton of intellectual flotsam and jetsam - what's the difference between the two again? Another for my burgeoning List of Confusions). I did it for mine. My quest to take over the world of general knowledge. Ha ha hahee ho ha heee. Ho... ha ... whatever.

Podcast Still Sounds Silly*
Otherwise, I have been amusing myself by listening to the NAQT podcasts from the 2006 Intercollegiate Championship Tournament Division II. Thirteen games of some aspiring Quiz Bowlers trying in vain to find the names "Bertolucci" and "Lucky Jim". Well, you can't blame them. They're not the top notch, just yet.

It takes some getting used to with the strange elongated American quizmaster getting his tongue round vowels with all the elegance of someone trying to shovel a Bigger Mac down their gullet in one go. But that's just the way they talk. We Brits sound pompous and stuttery toffs to everyone else, so they sound like WEIRDOS TOO. I have to tell myself that every few seconds. Being a spacker limey. This I did forget when I shouted out the trumphant answer to a Lolita toss-up shortly after the few words that explained she was dead from the beginning (hey, Tarantino had nothing on Nabokov). You see? Reading proper fictional books is good for your quiz health. If only someone was around to witness it. Awww, is what I want to be hearing from you right now.

Books like: I'm reading Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy at the moment. It is the most depraved retelling of the Old West I have ever come across. Rape, scalping, murder, slittings, slashings and on and on in wave after overwhelming wave of viscera and gore. You wonder when something, anything is going to be killed and two paragraphs later, the scoundrel protagonists be sodomising and stabbing and getting covered in all sorts of ugly muckiness. When a couple of puppies show up you just know they're going to get murderlised, and sure and soon enough, they get chucked in a river and used as target practice before you get the chance to turn the page.

Suffice to say, it is beautiful and brilliant and the best thing I've read in ages. And there should be more wanton puppy killing in film and literature. Just because.

Come to think of it, that would have made a great few scenes in Beethoven's 2nd and both live action 101 Dalmatian movies. Many, many small dogs "blossoming". That being the euphemism for being blown to bloody pieces of canine flesh. Like I said, McCarthy is a genius, though I do wonder, looking at his bookjacket photos whether he has ever smiled or breathed in the scent of a beautiful flower on a misty summer morning. He's probably the sort of guy who likes offal and black pudding washed down with his own home-made moonshine.

However, let's get away from pondering the execution of animal atrocities, the NAQT podcasts are a brilliant idea. Apart from inviting addictive tendencies from freaks like myself (it's junkie talk, just one more and then I'll be okay), people get to listen to questions, contests and the calibre of potential opponents, as well as find out exactly how good some quizzers, or "trivia buffs" (Trivia is one letter away from being Trivial). Most importantly, they spread the gospel AND entertain. It's like buzzer quiz on the radio. With Americans. And some baffling (to British ears) questions about NCAA basketball. And frustrated Americans shouting "Goddamnit!" and "Shit". Come to think of it there should be a warning about the language. It can be quite PG-13 at times.


Here have the words. Thousands of them. If you get to the end you can have my undying admiration. I'll send it over to you in a shiny, golden box embossed with my initials. You'll appreciate such a gesture. I know it as long as this heart beats in my body. Which won't be long owing to this constricted feeling I get after smoking 20 cigarettes in four hours. Just one more, I feel like another five minute excursion into Camel country.

* I get Invasion of the Body Snatchers and pea imagery mixed up in my mind.

Spelling mistakes be damned. Just ignore them wherever they may be
1 Which republic has just become the 192nd member of the United Nations?
2 Israel has launched Operation Summer Rain in the Gaza Strip to free which captured soldier?
3 Which two countries have agreed to allow a referendum in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh to decide its status?
4 The world's two leading steel producers have announced they are to merge. What are they called?
5 Where in June 1922 did France grant 100 hectares "freely, and for all time, to the Government of Canada, the free use of the land exempt from all taxes"?
6 In June 1995 which space shuttle became the first to dock with Russian space station Mir?
7 In which city did the Sampoong Department Store collapse in 1995, killing 501 and injuring 937?
8 What is the only date each year where both the month and day are perfect numbers?
9 Part of the Chmielnicki Uprising, where in Volhynia, Ukraine did the biggest battle in the 17th century take place beteen Polish and Cossack and peasant forces from June 28 to June 30?
10 The first of what kind of judging competition took place on June 28, 1859 in Newcastle-on-Tyne?
11 Romania ceded which region, modern day Moldova, to the USSR on June 28, 1940?
12 Who formed the Organization of Afro-American Unity on June 28, 1964?
13 Best known for her role as Elizabeth Warden in Keeping Up Appearances, who is the cousin of actor John Inman?
14 At what location near Moscow did the world's first nuclear power station open on June 27, 1954?
15 Willy Brandt in 1985, Pierre Trudeau in 1984 and Joseph Rotblat and Hans Bethe in 1992. Which $50,000 "Peace Prize" did they win in those years?
16 Professsor of economics at the Stockholm School of Economics from 1933 to 1947, which Swedish economist and politician published the landmark book, "An American Dilemma: The Negro problem and Modern Democracy" in 1944, thus coining the phrase "An American Dilemma"?
17 Born in 1949, which Chinese American fashion designer is known for her wedding gown collection opened her own design salon in Carlyle Hotel in New York in 1990 and has designed costumes for figure skaters like Nancy Kerrigan and bridal gowns for the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Victorian Beckham and Sharon Stone?
18 A member of The Bells during the late 60s and early 70s, which Canadian musician and pianist is best known for his solo instrumental hit "Music Box Dancer"?
19 Which Roman emperor was killed during the retreat from the Sassanid Empire on June 26, 363, and replaced by General Jovian who was proclaimed Emperor by the troops on the battlefield?
20 According to legend, the Pied Piper lured 130 children of Hamelin away from on June 26 in which year of the 13th century?
21 What vehicle was patented on June 26, 1819?
22 June 26, 1934 saw the initial flight of which helicopter in Germany, seen as the first practical one in history?
23 On June 25, 1974 the Universal Product Code was scanned for the first time to sell a package of what at the Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio?
24 Elvis Presley gave his last concert at the Market Square Arena on June 26, 1977. In which city was the venue?
25 Which Nobel Laureate began her writing career in 1930 with the publication of East Wind: West Wind?
26 What is seen by many to be Willy Messerschmitt's single most important design, which he created in collaboration with Walter Rethel in 1934 and which became the most important fighter in the Luftwaffe as Germany re-armed prior to WW2 and is the most-produced fighter in history to this day with some 35,000 built?
27 In which two events at the 1932 Olympics did Mildred "Babe" Didriksen Zaharias win gold?
28 Which Italain conductor served as Music Director of the Vienna State Opera from 1986 to 1991, as well as principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra from 1979 to 1987 and in 1989 succeeded von Karajan as principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic, retiring from the post in 2002?
29 Having his greatest success with the US and UK number one The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde, which British musician was born Clive Powell in 1943?
30 A one-time Penthouse Pet of the Month from February 1977 under the name Betsy Harris, which singer had her greatest success singing Take My Breath Away with her band Berlin?
31 Famed for his impersonation of Ronaldo and dying at the 2006 World Cup, by what name was the Jewish Brazilian comedian Claudio Besserman Vianna better known?
32 Which wife of Henry III of England died on June 26, 1291?
33 Ornithologist Gilbert White's house in Selborne now contains his museum as well as the Oates Memorial Museum, commemorating Frank and Lawrence Oates. What is it called?
34 Which American jazz saxophonist, who had done a stint in Lionel Hampton's band with "Brownie", wrote the threnody I Remember Clifford to honour trumpeter Clifford Brown's memory?
35 Which Dutch architect designed the De Stijl-influenced Red and Blue Chair in 1918 and designed the Schroder House in Utrecht in 1924?
36 The Spanish Catholic priest Saint Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer is best known for founding which "Prelature" in 1928?
37 The Titanic Express massacre of 2000, which saw 21 bus passengers killed, took place close to which African capital?
38 President Bashar Assad's palace is located in which principal port city of Syria?
39 Which simple steel rocket, filled with explosives of which three models have been used and all lacking a guidance system, was developed by Hamas?
40 What name was given to the final act of the Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe held in the titular European capital in 1975 between the US and Canada, the USSR and countries of Europe that was signed by 35 nations?
41 Apollo turned which nymph, who scratched his face when he tried to rape her, into which flowering plant with about 30 species and which have the common name Bear's breeches?
42 Sharing its name with a cocktail, which small hand tool for drilling small holes, mainly in wood, without splitting, was defined in Gwilt's Architecture (1859) as "a piece of steel of a semi-cylindrical form, hollow on one side, having a cross handle at one end and a worm or screw at the other"?
43 Irving Stone wrote biographies about which men in these books: a) The Passions of the Mind? b) Greek Treasure? c) Origin?
44 Which hilly ski recreation area in the outskirts of Oslo is also the name of a famous eponymous ski jump and Medal that is Norwegian skiing's highest possible award for competitors?
45 Which female singer-songwriter has released the albums All You Can Eat (1988), Angel with a Lariat (1987) and Invincible Summer (2000)?
46 In game theory what is a set of actions or strategies taken by the players, or their payoffs resulting from the actions or strategies taken by all players?
47 Specifying not only a strategy but also a belief for each of the players, what refinement of the Nash Equilibirum for extensive form games was made by David M Kreps and Robert Wilson?
48 In game theory, what "game" is one in which information about the characteristics of the other players is incomplete, and following John C Harsanyi's framework can be modelled by introducing Nature as a player?
49 Which East European country includes the regions Samogita, Aukstaitija, Sudovia and Dzukija?
50 Who became US President following James Garfield's death on September 19, 1881?
51 Living in south and central America, what sort of creature is the Black-throated Mango?
52 In electricity, what term describes an electrical discharge brought on by the ionization of a fluid surrounding a conductor, which occurs when the potential gradient exceeds a certain value, but conditions are insufficient to cause complete electrical breakdown or arcing?
53 Which Serbian geophysicist (1879-1958) is best known for his theory of ice ages, relating variations of the Earth's orbit and long-term change, "cycles" which are now given his name?
54 The Zazas are an ethnic minority of some 2-4 million people living mainly in which country, who speak a language their own language?
55 In Information Techonlogy what are MSPs?
56 The Festa Junina are annual celebrations on key days following the Catholic feast days of St Anthony, John the Apostle and St Peter ,which take place in the middle of winter that are most associated with the northeast of which country?
57 Which Norfolk town lying in the valley of the river Waveney may take its name from the the Saxon for 'lake'?
58 Which 7th centur Indian mathematician and astronomer was head of the astronomical observatory at Ujjain and during his tenure there wrote two texts on maths and astronomy: the Brahma Sputa Siddhanta in 628 and the Khandakhadyaka?
59 What term described each of the twelve legendary chivalrous retainers of Charlemagne, aka the Twelve Peers, in medieval chansons de geste and stories of romance?
60 What two-word name was given to the buffer zone beyond the province of Septimania, first set up by Charlemagne as a defensive barrier between the Ummayyad Moors of Al-Andalus and the Frankish kingdom?
61 Which mayor of the palace and duke of the Franks defeated a Muslim army at the Battle of Tours in 732?
62 Surnamed Ephesius but also called Daldianus, which professional diviner and author is best known for the extant five-volume Greek work Oneirocritica, which is considered the first book on dream interpretation?
63 What is the Bunreacht na hEireann?
64 What mineral is named after a place, meaning "High Hill", in Jingde Town in Jiangxi, China?
65 Which famous German cathedral boy's choir was founded in 1967 by Dr Wilhelm Kempf?
66 Located in northern Queensland, what is the northernmost point on the Australian continent and was named by Captain Cook in 1770?
67 Which large black parrot of the cockatoo family is unique in its kind and is the only species in its genus Probosciger and the subfamily Microglossinae?
68 What is the largest macaw and the largest species in the parrot family?
69 Which country awards the Order of Maximo Gomez?
70 Known as "Shamerim Yisraelism", which religious and ethnic group claim that their worship is the true religion of the ancient Israelites predating the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, though that claim has historically been rejected by normative Judaism?
71 What political party was formed by Oswald Mosley when he became disaffected with the Labour Party when at its 1930 conference it narrowly rejected his "Mosley Manifesto", a document he had written outlining how he would deal with the problem of unemployment?
72 First staged in 1985, Observe the Sons of UIster Marching Towards the Somme is a play by which Irish dramatist?
73 According to Aelred of Hexham, who claimed she was a rebellious teenager who met a lay brother at an adjacent male monastery and became pregnant by him, who was the alleged central protagonist of a drama at a Gilbertine convent in Yorkshire when she had been admitted to the holy life as a toddler in the 12th century?
74 Founded in 1842 in Nauvoo, Illinois with the motto "Charity Never Faileth", the Relief Society is the women's organisation of which religious denomination?
75 What is the current name of The Herman Goelitz Candy Company, named from its most popular products which were favourites of President Reagan?
76 The Kai Ken is a breed hailing from which country where it is a national treasure and has been bred for centuries. What animal is it?
77 A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999, which Chinese mountain range is located at the northern border of Fujian province with Jiangxi province, and is the origin of the true Da Hong Pao tea and Lapsang souchong?
78 In which Mesomerican people's mythology was the alux (Aluxob) or alush a tiny spirit that travelled through the land?
79 Which 18th century mathematician developed elastic theory, a theory of mechanics of materials that allows for very large scale elastic deflections of structures?
80 What is a mechanism by which an agent acts upon an environment and a mechanism that puts something into automatic action and in engineering have types called pneumatic and piezoelectric?
81 A piece of software responsible for the communication between the hardware and software components, what is the core piece of most operating systems?
82 How many Federal States or Lander are there in Germany?
83 The Bundesrat has its seat at which building in Berlin?
84 Giorgio I, born in 1936 as Giorgio Carbone is the prince and head of state of which small town and self-proclaimed principality in the back hills of Liguria near the French border and Monaco?
85 Written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton and John Jay under the pseudonym "Publius" in honour of Roman consul Publius Valerius Publicola, which series of 85 articles argued for the ratification of the US Constitution?
86 The Islamic redaction of which book of the Bible is called the Zabur?
87 What name would Christians give to one of the four the Islamic Holy Books, the Injli, the others being the Zabur, Tawrat and Qu'ran, that is generally held by non-Muslim historians to be an abbreviation of the Greek word sometimes rendered in English as "evangel"?
88 Typically sour and often likened to bouillabaisse, the stewed dish Sinigang comes from which country?
89 Giving its name to a technique where rows of them support a projecting wall or parapet that has been used since Neolithic times, what is a term, also called a console, for a piece of stone jutting out of a wall to carry any superincumbent weight, its name coming from the Latin for "raven"?
90 Veniamin Makarov from Orenburg was the only man accorded which honorary title in the USSR that was awarded from July 8, 1944, for adopting 12 boys?
91 The Chimney Sweeps Islands are a pair of small islands located within which major city?
92 Headquartered in Tokyo and known for its slogan "Inspire the Next", which Japanese global company was founded in 1910 as an electrical repair shop?
93 The pond Anapji is the oldest extant artificial body of water in which country having been built by order of King Munmu in 674 CE?
94 With 46 million viewers, what is the most watched Simpsons episode of all time?
95 Which English architect is less known for his stately furniture designs that complemented his interiors, including furnishings for Hampton Court Palace (1732), for Devonshire House in London, and at Rousham, as well as a roay barge he designed for Frederick, Prince of Wales that can now be seen at the National Maritime Museum?
96 The white water lily is the national flower of which Asian country?
97 Which expedition of 1819-1821, the second Russian expedition to circumnavigate the globe, is named after the naval officer of the Russian Empire who commanded it and who became, during this expedition, one of three people to first see the continent of Antarctica?
98 What name was given to the manned space flight made by Virgil 'Gus' Grissom and John W Young on March 23, 1965?
99 The Jockey is the local pub in which Channel 4 TV series?
100 Which mentor of Queen Victoria was born William Lamb in 1779?
101 Meaning 'the domes', what is the local name for the remains of Roman baths near San Pedro de Alcantara in Andalucia, Spain?
102 In terms of plane movements and cargo traffic, what is the busiest airport in the world?
103 Whose novel South Riding won the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for 1937?
104 Which common food fish, Ophiodon elongatus, is the most commercially important species of the family marine fishes called Hexagrammidae, which incorporates the greenlings?
105 Hart's Corner, Leonard's Corner and Baker's Corner are well-known street corners in which city?
106 Father of the physicist Freeman and grandfather of the historian George, which English musician and composer is known for such works as his 1937 symphony in G Major?
107 Based on the life of the 18th century French poet and first performed in 1896, Andrea Chenier is an opera in four acts by which Italian composer?
108 The Cordillera de Talinay is a mountain range situated in the Coquimbo Region of which South American country?
109 What large genus of Gram-positive bacteria, belonging to the Firmicutes, are obligate anaerobes capable of producing endospheres and have individual cells that are rod-shaped and which take their name from the Greek for 'spindle', and have four main species which cause botulism, gangrene and tetanus?
110 Saguaro National Park is located in which US state?
111 Released in 1988, the fourth film in which horror series has the subtitle The Original Nightmare?
112 Literally "abnormal muscle tone", what generic term is used to describe a neurological movement disorder involving involuntary, sustained muscle contractions?
113 Using the same basic principle as holography, what phrase is used to describe the technique for patterning regular arrays of fine features without the use of complex optical systems or masks?
114 Which observatory at the 4145m sumit of Mauna Kea in Hawaii is home to the two largest optical/near-infrared telescopes in the world?
115 Number 100 Squadron of the RAF is based at RAF Leeming. In which county is the airbase?
116 Due to have its 52nd edition in 2007 and based at a park named the Giardini, which major contemporary art exhibition was first held in 1895?
117 Built in the south-west outskirts of Paris in 1676, which chateau was originally the home of the Lamoignon family and is now famous as an extremely popular plant fair that have been held in mid-October since 1983?
118 Which company introduced the de Havilland DH. 108 Comet on its London-Johannesburg route on May 2, 1952, making it the first regular service flown by a jet airliner?
119 Still used today, Hikuta is an ancient martial art from which country?
120 Remaining a top secret amongs the Asian rulers for over a thousand years until military soldiers found out their secrets, what ancient art was initially developed by the bodyguards of the ancient Pharoahs in Egypt as the most efficient and effective way to defend their king
121 Chairman of Cheung Kong Holdings, which man is according to Forbes Magazine the richest person of Chinese descent in the world (with $18.8 billion) and was named "Asia's Most Powerful Man" by Asiaweek in 2000?
122 Also director of two Jack Nicholson westerns, 1965's Ride the Whirlwind and The Shooting, whose most critically acclaimed film to date is the 1971 road movie Two-Lane Bricktop?
123 Designed by General Electric as their generation III reactor, what is the ABWR?
124 In abstract algebra, what phrase describes an algebraic structure (a collection of elements and operations on them obeying defining axioms) that captures essential properties and logic operations and deals specifically with the set of operations of intersection, union, complement and the logic operations of AND, OR, NOT?
125 Named after an ancient Japanese province, which battleship of the Imperial Japanese Navy was the first built of her eponymous class and was, with her sister ship Musashi, the largest, heaviest battleships ever constructed?
126 Located in Alberta and spanning 10,878 km2, what is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies?
127 Shakti, was the magical dart weapon of which Hindu god that was unfailing at executing its target?
128 How is Duane Chapman, whose firm Da Kline Bail Bonds in Honolulu, better known in the title of a reality TV show?
129 The only species of the genus Betta (splendens), what popular species of freshwater aquarium fish is native to the Mekong basin and is known as pla-kad in its native Thailand?
130 Said to have died aged 90 c.1020 in poverty and embittered by royal neglect, which great Persian poet is known for his epic, the Shahnameh or "The epic of kings", to which he devoted most of his adult life (more than 35 years)? His mausoleum is located in Tus in Iran.
131 Roland Ratzenburger and Ayrton Senna both died at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, but who else was seriously injured in practice?
132 Known for his primary work which is considered to the predominant Kabbalistic study text for our generation, Talmud Eser Sefriot (The Study of the Ten Sefriot), which Warsaw-born Kabbalist who lived in Jerusalem from 1922 until his death in 1954 was also known as Baal Ha-Sulam, meaning "Owner of the Sulam"?
133 Known as "The Intimidator", which NASCAR driver is best known for his success in the Winston Cup Series in which he won seven championships (tied for most all-time with Richard Parry) and died in a crash on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500?
134 Frederick Christ Trump, father of magnate Donald, made his money in what area?
135 In which sport does a "bench jockey" annoy and distract opposition players and umpires with his verbal repartee?
136 In astronomy, what are AGNs?
137 Also the name of a sugary confection, what term describes a galaxy undergoing an episode of very active star formation, in many cases the increae in star formation activity being due to an interaction or collision with another galaxy?
138 Which 19th century German novelist, poet and friend of Sir Walter Scott, wrote about Britain in such books as Ein Sommer in London (1854), Ays England, Studien und Briefe (1860) and Jenseits des Tweeds, Bilder und Briefe aus Schottland (1860), and is also known for the works James Monmouth (1854) and Effi Briest (1896)?
139 Playing boundaries for which sport are 200ft by 85ft with a corner radius of 28.5ft?
140 What Greek and Latin-derived term was coined by American occultists David Michael Cunningham and Traeonna A R Wagener to denote the belief that oneself is a deity without the denial of the existence of other deities?
141 Named after a German mathematician (1862-1943), what phrase describes a generalisation of Euclidean space that is not restricted to finite dimensions and is thus an inner product space?
142 Which German mathematician is best known as the creator of set theory, in which he established the importance of one-to-one correspondence between sets, defined infinite and well ordered sets?
143 Hindu Club is a rugby union side in which country?
144 Which 33-year-old Serbian composer is best known for such works as Zhukov - A Portrait (commissioned from the Russian Federation to mark the 50th anniversary of victory over fascism), the cycle of songs Jesenin (commemorating 100 years since the birth of the author), Remember (for the victims of (9/11) and Lullaby for Baby Jesus (marking the 2000 years of Christianity)?
145 The third son of Charlemagne by his third wife Hildegard of Savoy, who was crowned as king of Aquitaine as a child in 781 then became Emperor and King of the Franks in 814 and was also known as "The Fair" or "The Debonaire"?
146 What are the three Sacraments of Initiation by which one comes to be one of Christ's Faithful?
147 One of six European alphabetic scripts identified in the Unicode standard, what alphabet did St Mesrop Mashtots create in AD 405?
148 Founded in 1776 and based just south of Reims, which independent Champagne House became known as the "Champagne of the Tsars" because Tsar Nicholas II nominated the eponymous owner as official wine supplier to the Imperial Court of Russia?
149 The Shark Island Challenge is now considered to be the most celebrated World Tour event in which sport or pastime since the elimination of the Teahupoo Challenge?
150 Occurring every year since 1974, which town and commune in southwestern France hosts the main comics festival in Europe?
151 The San Antonio Silver Stars and the Orlando Miracle play which sport?
152 Which Italian-French mathematician and astronomer is best known for his two-volume Mecanique Analytique (first ed. 1788) and such other works as Calcul des Fonctions?
153 Which fruit, Myrciaria dubia, is grown primarily in the flood-zone areas of Peru and has been called the fruit with highest vitamin C content of any fruit?
154 Comprising over 7000 different species and also called the Acanthopteri, which order includes 40 per cent of all fish and are the largest order of vertebrates?
155 One of the major divisions of the geologic timescale, which period reached from the end of the Jurassic period (about 146 million years ago) to the beginning of the Paleocene epoch of the Tertiary period (65.5 million years ago)? Also, it constitutes nearly half of era?
156 Produced by Mott the Hoople member Ian Hunter, the 1979 album Valley of The Dolls was by which punk rock band?
157 Which female artist's 1977 club classic Love is You was sampled by DJ Spiller for his UK no 1 Groovejet (If This Ain't Love)?
158 Mainly used for attracting food or confusing predators, what is the light-emitting organ that appears as luminous spots on marine animals like fishes and cephalopods, its character being important in the identification of benthic fishes?
159 Which Hungarian poet and Shakespeare translator (1900-1957) published his first book of poetry in 1922 under the title of Fold, erdo, Isten ("Earth, Forest, God") and wrote the sonnet cycle The 26th Year in memory of his long-time girlfriend Erzsebet Kozati who committed suicide in 1950?
160 Which Coronation street character was so popular that they have him his own spin-off series entitled Pardon the Expression?
161 What Mr Men-accompanying 33-book series featuring female characters did Roger Hargreaves start in 1981?
162 The fjord known as Doubtful Sound is located on the southwest corner of which country, closer to the smaller but more accessible Milford Sound?
163 Sold at carnivals in the US and Canada, what item of food is an "Elephant ear"?
164 Also called St Joseph's Day Cakes as they are traditionally consumed on La Festa di San Giuseppe (March 19), what name is given to a form of ligh, fried dough in Neapolitan Italian cuisine?
165 Deriving their name from the Latin for 'reed', which Italian pastry desserts are also called Turkish hats?
166 Located just below the eastern Himalayan foothills, which northeastern state of India has its capital at Dispur and its commercial capital at Guwahati which form the gateway to the northeastern states, together called the "seven sisters"?
167 John de Lancie played which recurring character on Star Trek: The Next Generation?
168 Later known as the American Philosophical Society, which American established the club known as the Junto in 1727 for mutual improvement?
169 Rung for the first time as the year 2000 dawned, which bell is located in Newport, Kentucky and with a weight of 33,285kg and width of 12ft is the largest swinging bell in the world?
170 On January 24,1848, which employee of Sutter's Mill found several nuggets of gold that would begin the Californian gold rush?
171 Known for her 1943 novel Two Serious Ladies and her play In The Summer House, which alcoholic American writer suffered a stroke in 1957 at the age of 40?
172 Founded by the eponymous man in 1994 with the intention of producing a world-class supercar, which Swedish manufacturer was based initially in Olofstrom before moving to Margretetorp and is known for the slogan "Spirit of Performance" and car model CCR?
173 On what two dates does an equinox occur every year?
174 Which Croatian development critic is known for his 1971 book Deschooling Society?
175 Existing from 1674 to 1818, which Hindu state of India was founded by Chhatrapati Shivaji in 1674 when he carved out an independent zone around Pune from the Bijapur Sultanate?
176 The word frass refers to what kind of droppings or excrement?
177 Lance Armstrong's 1999 Tour de France victory on his Trek bike was the first time that components from which Japanese manufacturer, known for its VIA stamp, had been used to win it?
178 According to romantic legend, the story of which Bohemian dynasty of counts and princes began over 1000 years ago when a beautiful King's daughter was attacked by a pack of wolves when hunting but was saved by a young prince who wsa ennobled by a grateful father and granted a coat of arms featuring three wolves' teeth as an emblem of his bravery?
179 The deepest river in the British Isles at its mouth, which river rises in the mountains of mid-Wales then flows east through Abergavenny and the eponymous town to the Roman legionary fortress of Caerleon and the Bristol Channel at Newport? It has the second largest tidal range in the world after the Bay of Fundy.
180 Which Roman emperor brought to an end the period popularly known as the "Crisis of the Third Century" (235-284) and established an autocractic government and laid down the groundwork for the second phase of the Roman Empire variously known as the "Dominate", the "Tetrarchy" or simply the "Late Roman Empire"?
181 Abbreviated RSV, which English translation of the Bible was popular in the mid-20th century and posed the first serious challenge to the King James Version owing to tis aim to be both a readable and literally accurate modern translation?
182 Which country's government has apparently collapsed over the handling of the Ayaan Hirsi Ali affair?
183 On June 30, 1864, what did Abraham Lincoln grant to California for "public recreation"?
184 Which theory did Einstein introduce on June 30, 1905 when he published the article "On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies"?
185 Which Soviet aircraft depressurised on reentry on June 30, 1971, killing three cosmonauts?
186 Launched on April 19, 1971, what was the world's first space station?
187 Covering more than 600,00km2, the world's largest wetlands are located where?
188 Who did the Immortal Seven invite and to where?
189 Which RL Stevenson story tells the story of Richard (Dick) Shelton during the War of the Roses and how he rescues his lady Joanna Sedley and obtains justice for the murder of his father Sir Harry Shelton?
190 The term "War of the Roses" came into common usage during the 19th century during a fictional scene where opposing sides pick different-coloured roses at the Temple Church in which Shakespeare play?
191 Which English king's reign saw one conspiracy against him, the Southampton Plot led by Richard, Earl of Cambridge?
192 At which battle in Staffordshire on September 23, 1459, did a large Lancastrian army fail to prevent a Yorkist force under Lord Salisbury from marching from Middleham Castle in Yorkshire and linking up with York at Ludlow Castle?
193 Which battle on July 10, 1460 saw the Yorkist army under Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, aided by treachery in the Lancastrian ranks, capture Henry VI and take him prisoner to London?
194 Kelsey Grammer's 20-year stint as Frasier Crane equalled the record for longest running character on primetime US TV with which actor, who played Marshall Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke?
195 The Incompatible-properties argument is the idea that no description of what is consistent with reality?
196 Consolidating its power with efficient administration and strong central bureaucracy, what dynasty expanded outwards annexing the other six kingdoms of the Warring States Period and was the first to unify China?
197 Becoming over time a general term for rural violence connected to secret societies, which 18th century secret Irish agrarian organisation and so-called followers of Johanna Meskill or Sheila Meskill used violent tactics to defend tenant farmer land rights for subsistence farming and derived their name from the smocks its members wore in their nightly raids?
198 What is defined as one joule of energy per second?
199 Taking place annually in Hilo, Hawaii, the Merrie Monarch Festival is a week-long festival that celebrates what?
200 Established at the University of Pennsylvania in 1881, the Wharton School was the first American type of what educational establishment?
201 Known for such hits as "Sorry, I'm a Lady", Spanish-born Mayte Mateos and Maria Mendiola comprised which musical duet?
202 Which German economist and sociologist defined the state as an entity which possesses a monopoly on the legitimate use of physical force, a definition that became pivotal to the study of modern Western politican science, in his 1818 essay Politics as a Vocation?
203 Used to refer to various sections of their religious text in various books, the term "Bani" is used in which religion?
204 Who wrote his Symphony No. 2 in E Minor in 1906-7 and dedicated the score to Sergei Tanayev, the pupil of Tchaikovsky and Russian composer, teacher and theorist?
205 Which two springs at Mount Helicon were sacred to the Muses?
206 What are the Tentative List and Nomination File used to select?
207 What name has been given to the terraces carved into the mountains of Ifugao in the Philippines?
208 Located in Francisco P Moreno National Park in the province of Santa Cruz, in which country is the cave known as the Cueva de las Manos?











Answers to BH78
1 Montenegro 2 Gilad Shalit 3 Armenia & Azerbaijan 4 Arcelor & Mittal 5 Vimy Ridge 6 Atlantis 7 Seoul 8 June 28 9 Berestechko 10 Conformation dog show 11 Bessarabia 12 Malcolm X 13 Josephine Tewson 14 Obninsk 15 Albert Einstein Peace Prize 16 Gunnar Myrdal 17 Vera Wang 18 Frank Mills 19 Julian the Apostate 20 1284 21 Bicycle 22 Focke-Wulf FW 61 23 Wrigley's chewing gum 24 Indianapolis 25 Pearl S Buck 26 Messerschmitt Bf109 27 80m Hurdles, Javelin 28 Claudio Abbado 29 Georgie Fame 30 Terri Nunn 31 Bussunda 32 Eleanor of Provence 33 The Wakes 34 Benny Golson 35 Gerrit Rietveld 36 Opus Dei 37 Bujumbura 38 Latakia 39 Qassam rocket 40 Helsinki Accords 41 Acanthus (Acantha) 42 Gimlet 43 a) Sigmund Freud b) Heinrich Schliemann c) Charles Darwin 44 Holmenkollen 45 k.d. lang 46 Outcome 47 Sequential equilbirium 48 Bayesian game 49 Lithuania 50 Chester A Arthur 51 Hummingbird 52 Corona discharge 53 Milutin Milankovitch 54 Turkey 55 Management service providers 56 Brazil 57 Diss 58 Brahmagupta 59 Paladins 60 Marca Hispanica 61 Charles Martel 62 Artemidorus 63 Constitution of the Republic of Ireland 64 Kaolin 65 Limburg Cathedral or Limburger Domsingknaben 66 Cape York 67 Palm Cockatoo 68 Hyacinth Macaw 69 Cuba 70 Samaritan 71 The New Party 72 Frank McGuinness 73 The Nun of Watton 74 Church of the Latter Day Saints 75 Jelly Belly Candy Company (jelly beans) 76 Dog "Tora Dog" 77 Wuyi Mountains 78 Mayan 79 Euler 80 Actuator 81 Kernel 82 Sixteen 83 Former Prussian Herrenhaus (House of Lords) 84 Seborga 85 The Federalist Papers 86 Psalms 87 Gospels 88 Philippines 89 Corbel 90 Mother Hero 91 New York City 92 Hitachi 93 South Korea 94 Who Shot Mr Burns? 95 William Kent 96 Bangladesh 97 Fabian Gottlieb von Bellinghausen 98 Gemini III 99 Shameless 100 Viscount Melbourne 101 Las Bovedas 102 Paris Charles de Gaulle 103 Winifred Holtby 104 Lingcod 105 Dublin 106 Sir George Dyson 107 Umberto Giordano 108 Chile 109 Clostridium 110 Arizona 111 The Howling 112 Dystonia 113 Interference lithography 114 W.M. Keck Observatory 115 North Yorkshire 116 Venice Biennale 117 Chateau de Courson (Journess des Plantes de Courson) 118 BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) 119 Egypt 120 Kuta 121 Li Ka Shing 122 Monte Hellman 123 Advanced Boiling Water Reactor 124 Boolean algebra 125 Yamato 126 Jasper National Park 127 Indra 128 Dog the Bounty Hunter 129 Siamese fighting fish 130 Ferdowsi or Hakim Abu-I-Qasem Ferdousi Tusi 131 Rubens Barrichello 132 Yehuda Ashlag 133 Dale Earnhardt 134 Developing real estate 135 Baseball 136 Active galaxy nuclei 137 Starburst galaxy 138 Theodor Fontane 139 Ice hockey 140 Suitheism 141 Hilbert space 142 Georg Cantor 143 Argentina 144 Aleksandr Simic 145 Louis (I) the Pious 146 Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation 147 Armenian 148 Louis Roederer 149 Bodyboarding 150 Angouleme (Angouleme International Comics Festival) 151 Women's basketball 152 Joseph Louis Lagrange 153 Camu-camu berry 154 Perciformes or Percomorphi 155 Cretaceous, Mesozoic 156 Generation X 157 Carol Williams 158 Photophore 159 Lorinc Szabo 160 Leonard Swindley (played by Arthur Lowe) 161 Little Miss 162 New Zealand 163 Doughnut 164 Zeppole (singular Zeppola) 165 Cannoli 166 Assam 167 Q 168 Benjamin Franklin 169 The World Peace Bell 170 James Marshall 171 Jane Bowles 172 Koenigsegg (Automotive AB) 173 March 20, September 23 174 Ivan Illich 175 The Maratha Empire 176 Insects 177 Shimano (Dura-Ace) 178 Kinsky 179 River Usk 180 Diocletian 181 Revised Standard Version 182 Netherlands 183 Yosemite Valley (national park) 184 Special Relativity 185 Soyuz 11 186 Salyut 1 187 Western Siberian Lowlands 188 William III to England 189 The Black Arrow 190 Henry VI Part 1 191 Henry V 192 Blore Heath 193 Northampton 194 James Arness 195 God 196 Qin 197 The Whiteboys 198 Watt 199 Hula 200 Business school 201 Baccara 202 Max Weber 203 Sikhism 204 Sergei Rachmaninoff 205 Aganippe and Hippocrene 206 World Heritage Sites 207 Banaue Rice Terraces 208 Argentina

Monday, June 26, 2006

A Brief

I'm almost hitting 100 Monster quiz competitors which is very good. Thanks for all your requests, as for those who have not or offered me good excuses, hmm, don't you love quiz? Do you even like questions. I scold all ye now, I scold you with scalding scoldedness, but it's not too late to be one of those who have scolded a few words ago. Enter it. Email


I have had to mark the first paper already (took me an hour and a half!) and let's just say that anyone scoring more than 300 may well be one of the best quizzers in the entire world.

Also, I am compelled to point you to another quiz blog. Confessions of a Trivial Mind comes from Ken Jennings, he who won so very many shows on Jeopardy last year and became something of a national celebrity in the US, all thanks to his fantastic combination of memory and recall. Suffice to say, the blog is a must read for anyone with the slightest interest in quiz.

And you know what? He's entered The Monster Quiz too (thanks Ken! Hope you don't mind me mentioning it, but I am in the salesman mode at the moment), so you can get a nice little yardstick for your own quizzing abilities as well as other stuff. I would say what, but the brain has dried up.

Oh yeah, thanks to Bananamex for sending me my first junk mail to themonsterquiz address. It didn't take too long did for the address to get in the hands of some cyber-vendors.

And no, I don't want to buy some funky little pills. Thanks for asking though, you wily tosspots.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

A Mite Monstrous BH77

The Monster still wants to eat your brains Mwu-ha-ha-ha. Anyway. Look up the link if you haven't yet found out about a certain 501-question quiz and then maybe email

I think I have about 88 people signed up so far, which is jolly good. Wait til they get a load of it (more maniacal laughing goes here).

Questions, questions, so many more bleeding questions
The BH quizzes have become an occasional series, but fear not here comes a 151-question barrage, pulsating with Algerian novelists and positively rippling with organic compounds (it seems I have developed a liking for sticking ones on to perfectly round question totals).

This evening I thought I might as well write some darned questions from scratch. Just like old times. And darned hard ones at that, I mean, I thought the Bath architect question was too easy, but for whom? Myself, it seems. If they make you cry silent tears inside then I will have succeeded in my quest.

Anyway, get your reading glasses on and your brains in gear, it's question time.

1 What "animal" name will be given to the gold bullion coin that will be the first .9999 fine 24-karat gold coin released by the United States Mint?
2 The John Newbery Medal is awarded in which field of the arts in the US?
3 The 168BC Battle of Pydna saw Roman forces defeat and capture which Macedonian king, who shared his name with a mythical hero?
4 Which Russian resort city, along with Salzburg and Pyeongchang has been named as one of the three candidate cities for the 2014 Winter Olympics?
5 Which chief defence lawyer for Saddam Hussein was recently assassinated in Baghdad?
6 Who have won their first NBA championship, beating the Dallas Mavericks?
7 And in the NHL which team have beaten the Edmonton Oilers to win their first Stanley Cup?
8 In June 1621, 27 Czech lords were executed on the Old Town Square in Prague as a consequence of which battle?
9 In 1734 the black slave Marie-Joseph Angelique was convicted of the arson (and subsequently executed) that destroyed much of which city?
10 June 21, 1798 saw the British Army defeat Irish rebels in which military clash?
11 In 1854 the first Victoria Cross was won during the bombardment of Bomarsund in which group of islands?
12 The New York Yankees announced which player's retirement on June 21, 1939?
13 Which footballer was given the freedom of his home country of Bermuda on June 21, 2000, with the day being declared and named in his honour (as a one-off)?
14 Which Roman general led his forces to victory over Attila the Hun at the Battle of Chalons in 451?
15 Which university received its charter on June 20, 1214?
16 Which US vessel, the first steam-propelled vessel to cross the Atlantic (though most of the journey was made under sail), arrived at Liverpool on June 20, 1819?
17 The US TV programme Toast of the Town debuted on June 20, 1948 and would later rise to fame as whose show?
18 In which city did the Ezeiza massacre take place on June 20, 1973, seeing snipers opening fire on and killing 13 left-wing political followers?
19 In 1269 which French king ordered all Jews found in public without an identifying yellow badge to be fined ten livres of silver?
20 Who reported the completion of the Second Coming of Christ in his 1770 work True Christian Religion?
21 Who did Bryan Smith hit in a car accident in 1999?
22 Which 16th century tutor to the Florentine family of Lodovico Gaddi and Italian poet's most important work was his translation of the Aeneid and was also the author of a comedy called Gil Straccioni?
23 King James I of England and VI of Scotland received the first name Charles in honour of which French king and godfather, and so became the first future British monarch to have more than one forename?
24 Father of composers Carl and Anton, the Czech composer and violinist Johann Stamitz (1717-1757) is generally regarded as the founder and most prominent member of which school of composers (that also included Franz Xaver Richter and Christian Cannabich), which took its name from a city in Germany?
25 What type of weapon is North Korea's Taepadong-2?
26 Who is the Prince of Naples, last Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Italy and the man considered to be the pretender to the defunct throne?
27 The rebel group, the Fighters of the National Liberation Forces, are the last active group in their country and recently shelled their capital with mortars?
28 Who is technical officer Ray Ozzie to succeed?
29 Two specimens of Mesozygellia dunlopi, dating to the Early Cretaceous and the oldest known of which type of spiders were recently discovered in amber?
30 Formed on June 9, what was the first named storm of the 2006 Atlantic hurricane season?
31 On June 8, Greek scientists announced that they had revealed previously hidden ancient Greek letters on what device, thought to be one of the world's first known analog computers?
32 Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has been named as the next Prime Minister of which country?
33 Alan Garcia of the APRA has been re-elected as which South American country's president?
34 The great-grandson of which Apache leader has appealed to President Bush to help recover the remains of his famous relative, which were purportedly stolen over 90 years ago by students including the President's grandfather and used in ceremonies by the Skull and Bones society at Yale University?
35 The Italian Justice Minister, Clemente Mastella, has announced that which left-wing militant and leader of the autonomist movement Lotta Continua ("Continuous Struggle") could be pardoned before the end of the year?
36 Named after a Scandinavian goddess, which chemical element was originally discovered by Spanish mineralogist Andres Manuel del Rio in Mexico City in 1801, who called it "brown lead"?
37 Which class of minerals include such common forms as gypsum, chromate, celestite, selenate and tungstate?
38 Reigning from 625 to 705, who was the only female emperor in the history of China and who founded her own dynasty, the Zhou, ruling under the name Emperor Shengshen?
39 The code of which notable open-source software package became the basis of the Mozilla and Mozilla Firefox web browsers?
40 Which comics company publishes certain books under the Vertigo banner?
41 Which forms of an element that therefore have nuclei with the same atomic number and number of protons, have different mass numbers became they contain different numbers of neutrons?
42 Taking place in Germany and Austria each year since 1952, the Four Hills Tournament is contested in which sport?
43 Planned by Alfred Messel and Ludwig Hoffmann and built from 1910 to 1930, which museum on Berlin's Museum Island houses original-sized, reconstructed monumental buildings such as an eponymous "Altar", the Market Gate of Miletus and the Ishtar Gate?
44 Sometimes known as the 'father of the Latin church'. which church leader and prolific author of the early years of Christianity (c155-230) was born, lived and died in Carthage and introduced the term Trinity, as the Latin term trinitas, to the Christian vocabulary and in his Apologeticus was the first Latin author to qualify Christianism as the 'vera religio'?
45 Who heads a team of young diagnosticians at the fictional Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital?
46 Which minor constituent of opium and naturally occurring opiate is also called paramorphine and is similar to morphine and codeine but produces stimulatory rather than depressant effects?
47 Which city in western Afghanistan in the valley of the Hari Rud river was traditionally known for wine and is probably a descendant of the ancient Persian town of Artacoana, established before 500BC?
48 Known in Persian as Ashkanian, which civilisation situated in the northeast of modern Iran was at its greatest extent in c.60BCE and was led by the Arsacid dynasty who reunited and ruled over the Iranian plateau, taking over the eastern provinces of the Greek Seleucid Empire, beginning in the late 3rd century BCE?
49 Which King of Cornwall, according to tradition, was father of Saint Cybi and probably ruled after Mark, of Tristan and Iseult fame, in the late 5th century?
50 The Patitin Chantarakati, replaced by the solar calendar Patitin Suriyakati in AD 1888, was the lunar calendar of which country?
51 Corgi dogs are believed to be descended from which Swedish dogs that came to Wales with the Vikings?
52 Welsh corgis are generally recognised as which two distinct breeds?
53 Who is the patron saint of Georgia, Bulgaria, Portugal and Catalonia?
54 Located on Rosebery Avenue, Clerkenwell, London, what theatre contains the 200-seat Lilian Baylis Theatre and is the sixth on the site?
55 The maximum figure of 732 for what was set by the Treaty of Nice (signed February 2001)?
56 What in Celtic mythology was a boggart or bogle?
57 In a computer CPU what name is given to a register in which intermediate arithmetic and logic results are stored?
58 Which prize for seaplanes was announced by the eponymous French financier, balloonist and aircraft enthusiast in 1911 with a prize of roughly £1,000?
59 Which aviation pioneer and founder of the eponymous "Aeroplane and Motor Company" was the first person to receive a US pilot's license in 1911 (the Wright brothers were Nos. 4 and 5)?
60 The Sentinel Waggon Works was a British company from which English town that made steam-powered lorries, railway shunting locomotives and later diesel-engined lorries?
61 The Lofoten Islands are in which European country?
62 Often referred to as Jakob, the OV 4 was the first car built by which company in 1927, its name standing for Oppen Vagn 4 cylindrar?
63 In Islamic architecture what name is given to a religious courtyard, which is surrounded by an arcade from all sides?
64 Komi, short for komidashi, is a rule used in which board game?
65 What name has been given to the complex series of battles and shifting political alliances among the Greeks, specifically Epirus, Macedonia and the city states of Magna Graecia, the Romans, Italian peoples such as the Samnites and Etruscans, and the Carthaginians that took place between 280BC and 275BC?
66 What is the name of Japan's largest Yakuza gang?
67 Tharawal, Djirringanj, Thawa and Dhurga are languages spoken by which people?
68 Named after the Italian prince into whose hands it came in the 17th century, what name is also given to the 135.8-carat blue sapphire nearly without flaw, the Wooden Spoon-Seller's Sapphire and Great Sapphire of Louis XIV?
69 The White-throated Needletail is a large example of which bird?
70 From the Greek for "word with four letters", what word is the usual reference to the Hebrew name for God and is the distinctive personal name of the God of Israel?
71 What is the narrow stretch of land between the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga in NW Russia and has the city of Vyborg and town of Priozersk on its northwestern end?
72 What is the name of a popular song recorded by Peggy Lee that featured in the same-named musical written in 1955 starring Sammy Davis Jr. on Broadway, and was also the title of a 1968 album by Fleetwood Mac and a 1993 film directed by Anthony Minghella?
73 Which town in the Potosi Department in the south of Bolivia is primarily a gateway for tourists visiting the world's largest salt flats that share its name?
74 From 2001 figures what is the largest group of foreign-born residents in the UK with 498,850?
75 Part of the Mesopotamian Campaign of WW1, which siege (December 7, 1915 - April 29, 1916) took place at a town on the Tigris and resulted in a very serious defeat of the British Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force by Ottoman forces?
76 Counting among its members Nobel laureate Oscar Arias Sanchez, Dr Deepak Chopra and pop star Ricky Martin, which international network of people from all walks of life who want to see positive change takes place in the world was launched in Puerto Rico in 2003 with keynote speaker, Al Gore?
77 What title in the peerage of France was created in the first half of the 14th century for the eldest son of Robert of France, Count of Clermont and Beatrice of Burgundy?
78 What major opera house in Vienna was built in 1898 as the Kaiser's Jubilee Civic Theatre and has a reputation of being the leading venue for operettas?
79 In Monopoly what happens when you roll three times in succession on a single turn?
80 Pratikraman is a process of repentance of sin or prayaschit during which followers of what religion repent for their wrongdoings during their daily life and remind themselves to refrain from doing so again?
81 In the branch of topology known as knot theory, what is the simplest non-trivial knot?
82 Written by Zahira Hiliman from Sint Maarten and translated into the native Papiamento language by Lucille Berry-Haseth, "The Anthem Without a Title" is the national anthem of which island group?
83 The oldest forum that Rome possessed, what kind of forum venalium was the Forum Boarium?
84 At which of the seven hills of Rome were the Sabines, creeping to the Citadel, let in by the infamous and later punished Vestal Virgin Tarpeia?
85 McCoy Air Force Base became which US International Airport?
86 Said to have been invented by Cicero's scribe Marcus Tullius Tiro, what was the Tironian notes?
87 William A Wellman's 1949 WW2 film Battleground tells the story of a squad of the 101st Airborne Division caught up in which military confrontation?
88 Author of the acclaimed masterpiece Saman (1998), the writer Ayu Utami comes from which country?
89 What "Five Elements" are applied to people according to the year of which animal they were born in in the Chinese calendar/zodiac?
90 What German female name comes from the old German "battle fight" and has been given to two saints (a Queen of Poland and Duchess of Silesia) and a Princess of Pomerania?
91 Michael Cleveland wrote the song Last Night a DJ Saved My Life for which R&B/dance group who released it in 1983?
92 The Ego and Its Own, published in 1844, is the main work by which German philosopher?
93 One of the world's busiest shopping streets, Nanjing Road is the main shopping street of which city?
94 PETN (Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate) or Penthrite is one of the strongest known what?
95 15-year-old Glaswegian Amir Kirolos defeated Paul Hendry to become world champion (and is the current reigning champion) in which game on February 12, 2005?
96 Everglades National Park ranger Porter Ricks and his sons Sandy and Bud were characters in which popular TV series?
97 Found at Angkor Wat what are West Baray and East Baray?
98 The Kylchap steam locomotive exhaust system was designed and patented by which famous French steam engineer, using a second-stage nozzle designed by Finnish engineer Kylala and known as the Kylala spreader?
99 Known for his work in bop, hard bop and Latin jazz, the American jazz musician Al McKibbon played which instrument?
100 Which musical features the songs Light My Candle, You'll See, Seasons of Love and I'll Cover You?
101 Which pioneer in the bus and coach business and subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler introduced its first bus, the Type S 8 in April 1951 at the German International Automobil-Ausstellung?
102 Highly flammable colourless and easily liquefied gases, what is the unbranched alkane with four carbon atoms, CH3CH2CH2CH3?
103 Which merchant, geographer and explorer from the Greek colony Massilia (Marseille) made a voyage of exploration to NW Europe c.325BCE, is the first person on record to describe the Midnight Sun, the aurora and Polar ice and is the first known Greek to come to Britain?
104 Known to his friends as Van, which 20th century American philosopher and logician wrote Two Dogmas of Empiricism; Word and Object; and the 1986 autobiography Time of My Life?
105 Which notorious October 16 - October 18 massacre took place in a town in the district of Lica in Croatia and saw 100-200 local Serbs murdered by members of a Croatian paramilitary unit commanded by Mirko Norac?
106 If she is still alive, Queen Elizabeth II will celebrate her 100th birthday on which date?
107 The Queen is ruler of how many independent nations, known as the Commonwealth Realms?
108 The Hartwall Arena is a large indoor arena in which European capital?
109 Which rock band released the live albums Alive I, Alive II and Alive III?
110 The musical 1944 Higher and Higher saw which major star begin their film career?
111 Whose Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes of Carl Maria von Weber was premiered on January 20, 1944 in New York City?
112 Which influential vocalist and trombonist was brother to notable professional musicians Charlie and Clois "Cub" and sister Norma, and died alone in his room at the Prince Conti Hotel in the French Quarter of New Orleans on January 15, 1964, aged just 58?
113 Which Northumberland town was destroyed in 1216 by King John, who attended the razing in person, and was stormed on March 30, 1296, by Edward I, sacking it with much bloodshed?
114 What name is shared by a photographer who was born Gaspard-Felix Tournachon, and the prize awarded annually for a book of photographs edited in France, and a prominent Tamil caste of India?
115 Also remembered for his poem Savliqman Qal Tatarliq!, which he scribbled on the walls of Simferopol train station on his way to report to military service during WW1, which hugely popular Tatar leader was the first President of the short-lived independent Crimean Democratic Republic, established in November 1917?
116 Henry III was captured in France after which battle of May 12-14, 1264 that marked the high point of the career of Simon de Montfort?
117 Henry III had refused to honour the terms of which agreement which he had signed with his barons in 1258?
118 Which manufacturer of computers, printers and other business machine was founded as a typewriter manufacturer in 1908 in Ivrea, near Turin?
119 What Roman road was called the "regina viarum" or "queen of the long roads" by Statius in his work Sylvae and was named after the censor who built it in the early 4th century BC?
120 Which Italian people occupied a region of the southern Apennines and were a group of Sabellic tribes that controlled the area from about 600BC to c.290BC?
121 Called "fortunate countryside" by the Romans, what region of southern Italy borders Lazio to the NW, Molise to the N, Puglia to the NE, Basilicata to the E and Tyrrhenian Sea to the W?
122 What is the name of the Italian centre-left political party coalition led by Prime Minister Romano Prodi?
123 What international organisation has the motto "Gens una sumus" (We are one people) and has Kirsan Illyumzhinov, president of the autonomous Russian republic of Kalmykia, for its president?
124 What cereal grain is called mealies in southern Africa?
125 Known for its range of small automobiles such as Keicars, which Japanese manufacturing company has main production facilities in 22 countries and has teamed up with local company Maruti in India, having started out as a "Loom Works" in Hamamatsu in 1909?
126 Divided into 100 tetri, what is the currency of Georgia?
127 Located in Ikeja, Murtala Mohammed International Airport serves which major city?
128 Charles de Gaulle International Airport serves which commune in the NE suburbs of Paris?
129 Canadian songwriter and musician, Murray Lightburn has been called 'the black Morrissey" thanks to his work as lead vocalist for which band?
130 Agadja (1708-1732) was king of which kingdom in Africa that was founded in the 17th century and survived until the late 19th century when it was conquered by French troops from Senegal?
131 Who teamed up with engineer Robert Napier, and businessmen James Donaldson, Sir George Burns, and David MacIver to form the British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1838?
132 Which vintage car, designed by Sir Herbert Austin (chassis, suspension) and Stanley Edge (engine) was produced by the Austin Motor Company from 1922 to 1939 and were made and sold in France as Rosengarts?
133 Eboniste is the French word for a master maker of what?
134 Which Algerian author (1920-88) of over 20 novels was best known for such works as Nadjmu (1954), which dealt with four men planning a coup, the novel Etoile (1976) and the play L'histoire du sandales de caoutchouc (1970)?
135 Equivalent to a district, woredas are administrative sub-divisions, or local govenment, and kilils, regional administrations, in which African country?
136 Which city in Haiti is located on the site where the Santa Maria, commanded by Columbus, ran aground on December 25, 1492, who founded Fort Navidad on the site?
137 What is the secondmost populated African country after Nigeria with 77,505,756 people?
138 And what is the least populated African country of the 54 with 81,188?
139 Called Thamugas by the Romans, which antic city in modern day Algeria was built around the 1st century BCE as a colonial town by the Roman Emperor Trajan, its ruins being located about 35km from the town of Batna?
140 In fluid dynamics, what flow regime is characterised by chaotic, stochastic proporty changes?
141 Named for the British fluid dynamics engineer who proposed it in 1883, what number is the ratio of inertial forces to viscous forces and is used for determining whether a flow will be laminar or turbulent?
142 Which half-Thai, half-American outfielder for the New York Yankees wrote Idiot: Beating "The Curse" and Enjoying the Game of Life with Peter Goldenbock in 2005?
143 Also called the Burmese harp or Myanmar harp, what traditional music instrument of that country is made of 16 silk strings attached to a neck by red cotton tuning cords terminating in large tassels?
144 What is the Anglicised name for wines of an eponymous region in Hungary, a type of gecko, the name given to Pinot Gris in Alsace and what sounds like a Japanese word for a time-keeping device?
145 Born in Cairo of Armenian parents in 1949 with the surname Cavoukian, which popular children's entertainer in Canada, the US and Western World is known for such songs as Bananaphone, Baby Beluga and Down by the Bay?
146 Which Yorkshireman (1704-1754) designed many of the streets of Bath, including the Circus, Queen Square, Prior Park and the North and South Parades?
147 A fine-grained silica-rich cryptocrystalline sedimentary rock that may contain small fossils, has such formations as the 3.2-billion-year-old rock of the Fig Tree Formation in the Barbeton Mountains between Swaziland and South Africa, the "Gunflint" in western Ontario, the "Apex" in Australia and "Devonian Rhynie" of Scotland, which has the oldest remains of land flora?
148 Which organic compound contains a terminal carbonyl group and is a functional group also called the formyl or methanyol group, which consists of a carbon atom which is bonded to a hydrogen atom and double-bonded to an oxygen atom (chemical formula -CHO)?
149 Lady Constance Keeble, nee Constance Threepwood, later Constance Schoonmaker, is the formidable sister of which PG Wodehouse creation?
150 Mechanic William France Sr. founded which sporting organisation on February 21, 1948?
151 The key text of Constructivism, The Realistic Manifesto of 1920, was written by which sculptor and co-signed by his brother Antoine Pevsner?








Answers to BH77
1 American Buffalo 2 Children's literature 3 Perseus 4 Sochi 5 Khamis al-Obeidi 6 Miami Heat 7 Carolina Hurricanes 8 Battle on the 'White Mountain' 9 Montreal 10 Battle of Vinegar Hill 11 Aland Islands 12 Lou Gehrig 13 Shaun Goater 14 Flavius Aetius 15 Oxford 16 Savannah 17 The Ed Sullivan Show 18 Buenos Aires 19 Louis IX 20 Emanuel Swedenborg 21 Author Stephen King 22 Annibale Caro 23 Charles IX 24 Mannheim School 25 Long range missile 26 Vittorio Emanuele 27 Burundi 28 Bill Gates as chairman of Microsoft 29 Orb-weaver 30 Alberto 31 The Antikythera mechanism 32 Malaysia 33 Peru 34 Geronimo 35 Adriano Sofri 36 Vanadium 37 Sulfates 38 Wu Zetian or personal name Wu Zhao 39 Netscape Navigator 40 DC comics 41 Isotopes 42 Ski-jumping 43 The Pergamon Museum 44 Tertullian 45 Gregory House 46 Thebaine 47 Herat 48 Parthia 49 King Selyf 50 Thailand 51 Vallhund 52 Cardigan and Pembroke 53 St George 54 Sadler's Wells Theatre 55 Members of the European Parliament 56 A household spirit 57 Accumulator 58 The Schneider Trophy, as in Jacques Schneider 59 Glenn Curtiss 60 Shrewsbury 61 Norway 62 Volvo 63 Sahn 64 Go 65 Pyrrhic War 66 Yamaguchi-gumi 67 Australian Aborigines 68 The Ruspoli Sapphire 69 Swift 70 Tetragrammaton 71 Karelian Isthmus 72 Mr. Wonderful 73 Uyuni as in the Salar de Uyuni 74 Irish 75 Siege of Kut-al-Amara or Siege of Kut 76 Alliance for a New Humanity 77 Duke of Bourbon 78 Vienna Volksoper (Vienna People's Opera) 79 Go to Jail 80 Jainism 81 Trefoil knot 82 Netherlands Antilles 83 Cattle forum 84 Capitoline 85 Orlando 86 System of shorthand 87 Battle of the Bulge 88 Indonesia 89 Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, Wood 90 Hedwig 91 Indeep 92 Max Stirner 93 Shanghai 94 High explosives 95 Pictionary 96 Flipper 97 Reservoirs 98 Andre Chapelon 99 Bass 100 Rent 101 Setra 102 Butane 103 Pytheas 104 WV Quine (Willard Van Orman Quine) 105 Gospic massacre 106 April 21, 2026 107 Sixteen 108 Helsinki 109 Kiss 110 Frank Sinatra 111 Paul Hindemith 112 Jack Teagarden 113 Berwick-upon-Tweed 114 Nadar 115 Noman Celebicihan 116 Lewes 117 Provisions of Oxford 118 Olivetti 119 Via Appia or Appian Way 120 Samnites 121 Campania 122 The Union or L'Unione 123 FIDE (chess) 124 Maize 125 Suzuki 126 Lari 127 Lagos 128 Roissy-en-France or Roissy 129 The Dears 130 Dahomey 131 Samuel Cunard 132 Austin 7 133 Cabinets (cabinetmaker) 134 Mohammed Yacine 135 Ethiopia 136 Mole Saint-Nicolas 137 Egypt 138 Seychelles 139 Timgad 140 Turbulence or turbulent flow 141 Reynolds number 142 Johnny Damon 143 Saung or the saung-gauk 144 Tokay 145 Raffi 146 John Wood the Elder 147 Chert 148 Aldehyde 149 Lord Emsworth 150 NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) 151 Naum Gabo

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

World Cup Widdling

One day later and the take-up for The Monster is 77 people. Which is quite good. I think I've done all the promotion I can do for the moment and will wait for further requests to trickle in.

That thing on the telly
I'm very, very disappointed in Simon Hattenstone. He thinks watching literally days of football has turned him into a moron, or some such. As for me, I can't get enough. Hattenstone is a wuss. Bring it all on. I want more World Cup football now. Talking of which here are the first eleven things that spring to mind about this summer's global sawker jamboree.

1. Carlos Tevez's teeth. They're big. Some are jagged. They are bared often thanks to his caveman smile. He must be a big beef eater back in Argentina (and Brazil, obviously). Stick a unibrow and a straggly mullet on him and he is Cro-Magnon Man.

2. Didier Drogba's "brilliant thug" facial expression. The kind that says: "I'm gonna punch you silly."

3. The Ghana goalkeeper Kinson flapping at crosses like a retarded butterfly during all of the Italian game. Made me laugh with his inept perseverance.

4. Di Rossi's elbow smash KAPOW! to Brian McBride's robo-face (hey, isn't McBride one of the stars of Nip/Tuck?). That's what I call an Ong-Bak special.

5. Robbie Van Persie's gesticulating with joy. Scary. He's probably a bit too enthusiastic sometimes, which might explain some of the inconsistency.

6. Frank Lampard being absolutely bloody useless and rubbish. Shooting like a toddler in a back garden. Shooting repeatedly: hitting and hoping. But they do not go in like magic at the World Cup. Must be something to do with the magnetic fields in operation in the Premiership.

7. I HATE JOHN CHAMPION'S COMMENTARY. You see I'm shouting now. He's like, ach, so urgh, straight and geography teacher-ish and sounds as if he is reading off a script of pre-prepared bon mots that he has spent the last four years perfecting. But it still comes out like pretentious dross. You suck, Champion.

8. Mateja Kezman deciding he can't be arsed with this World Cup thing and trying to cut the legs off an Argentinian player with a two-footed scyther. Chelsea really destroyed him, poor lad. Though my sympathy is distinctly lacking when I realise he still has that mossy underbeard creeping up his chin.

9. William Gallas's furious meltdown punt after South Korea equalised in the 86th minute. He was angry with good cause. There's nothing more disheartening for a defender to see a ball glide and loop over his head, while wondering if it will land on the right side of the line. Oops, it's a goal. And against South Korea! I bet he misses John Terry (and vice versa).

10. Riquelme's perfect pass to Saviola for the second goal against the Ivory Coast. Vision, he has it. I despair when I think that not a single England player could muster such a slice of genius. Nope, they would just welly it up field, shouting "Have it!" as it goes. Hey, maybe this will hit Crouch on the top of his Empire Building bonce, I mean, we've tried it 37 times already. The 38th is sure to work.

11. Aaargh. I hate Kasabian. I hate rubbish covers of Heroes (First exhibit: Oasis's attempt). Combine the two and play snatches of its supreme cackiness every adbreak time, and it's time to wish that ITV never covered the World Cup at all and that Kasabian would spontaneously combust on stage in a torrid inferno that would take out at least 1000 of their swaggering, blowhard fans, screaming as they met their beautiful (to me) fate. Suffice to say, ITV coverage blows. All those adverts. Then there's Steve Rider: "And Ruud, Holland need to be HEROES in this half". He said that. He said that. After he mentioned Kasabian did the Heroes cover.

Steve Rider is blancmange. Milk-flavoured blancmange. He belongs on the fairways and links courses. He's Steve Golfman Ryder Cup Dude. But, of course, ITV have no idea that golf exists: they took him because they give a home to all those who feel the BBC has rejected them. But they have shunned them for good reason. They just are not compelling enough. Because Rider isn't even rubbish good. He's bland rubbish, which irks me most of all. I am well irked. Irked to the max. Could you be mates with him, the way you envision mate-hood with Lynam and Lineker. No way. He's the slightly hoity-toity estate agent who tries to butter you up with words, but ends up really really annoying you with his total lack of character and cliche-ridden schtick.

Now, I will calm down and do some work. I mean, my work here is done. Good night and sweet nightmares.

You can tackle The Monster too. Email: (and see below for details if you have been living in a cave ... actually that was a bit rude ... forget I just said that ... how about: it's mega-fun!!! Embrace it like something you love ... was that better?)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Tending My Monstrosity

The take-up has been going well. I have about 50 people, which is good considering they have no idea what they are letting themselves in for (well, some, my setting scares the bejesus out of some people). That is including eight out of the top 20 people in this month's World Quizzing Championship, and yes, a certain world champ once he has got some major radio work outta the way, so the competition is top notch. If you're in for that sort of thing. If you just want to do a load of questions and have some interesting, educational fun, then this quiz has it in spades. Do it. It's not that bad.

Anyway, there are some notable absentees from the list, so I wonder what the reasons are for these refuseniks. The World Cup? The mammoth size? Too little time? Well, if someone offered me a free 501-question quiz I would jump up at them, chomp their arm off and run away cackling like a cannabalistic madman, the blood spraying in all directions and fleshy chunks going everywhere. But I should add, a cannabalistic madman with a penchant for quizzing.

Let me reiterate. It's free and it's a quiz that takes up 30 sides of A4 when typed out in Arial ten-point. That's a lot of quiz. That's an overwhelming trivia barrage. That's also a lot of effort on my part. Please validate what I do, by taking part.

Look what happened there. I sounded like a desperate soul.

Remember the email address to request the quiz is the

What is the matter with the England football team?
In other news, I went to a Brain of Britain recording today. I will write about it sometime. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe next year. My timetable is a bit wazdoodled at the moment. A mess. I have tomorrow planned, but the rest of the future is a shapeless blur, slopping around like an fathomable blob I can't quite get a grip of.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Unleashing The Beast

Well, I haven't been entirely solipsistic. I've been up to summat.

You might have noticed a distinct lack of questions on the blog, and the fact is it will stay more or less that way until autumn comes.

Instead I have decided to work on another type of quiz.

You see I have often mentioned that I want to do a huge individual written quiz in which people get down to answering something like 500 questions in two and a half hours.

Sadly, I know this just isn't possible at the moment. Doing it in person is logistically impossible because I couldn't really get a good group of people (and I'm thinking more than 25) together to sit down and do it at any decent time.

Instead I had another far more interesting idea, which is also better than reading BH quizzes off computer monitors.


I have set 501 questions for a written test. Since I cannot gather you (I'm really talking here to the people who might be interested in doing it from here on in) together in a physical sense I will use the wonder of electronic mail and cyberspace to conduct it.

Therefore, I will send you the questions and you can do it in the privacy of your own home when you have spare time. Sunday, weekday nights, you know.

Then questions are all general knowledge, some easy, some chestnuts, some hard, some impossible. Some are entirely original ones I have written in the last day of two, while most are taken from my files of Abject Horror. Actually, many seemed to be filled with said Horror in 2002, but they seem pretty tame now. To me, that is.

There is a time limit I want to enforce. Yes, two-and-a-half hours. 150 minutes for 501 questions. Please feel free to take a break at the halfway point, though it should not be done in half hour bursts spread over a week. You might subconsciously look for answers, and that would be a lowdown, dirty shame.

You are not supposed to use any sources or guides or other people or anything. You must do it as if you are in an exam or in an normal individual written quiz. Therefore I am relying on complete honesty here. Please do not look anything up, otherwise all the comparative fun and interest gained from doing a huge individual written quiz will be dissipated through skullduggery. So don't be a skulldugger and stick to the rules. Pretty please with sugar on top.

I cannot really do anything about the time limit (though the idea is to do a sort of dual endurance-sprint type quiz), but if a regular someone starts displaying fantastic knowledge about physics when I know from personal experience that they couldn't even name any chemical elements beginning with P, then certain (mysterious) sanctions will be applied.

You can do it on the computer and simply e-mail it back or you can print it off and do it. If the latter is more desirable, then put in a PDF and e-mail it back, or put it in the mail (I'll give my address in the latter case if you mention it when you do the initial email.)

Sorry, but you have to pay the postage yourself if you want to do it the old fashioned snail mail way. Well, I'm not that sorry. It's a bargain anyway, innit?

If you want to do it then please e-mail the address Having replied to confirm that I have got your e-mail, I will then send an e-mail with the lot in an attachment.

I will send this quiz to whoever wants to do it (you have to do it; I am not going to send it to you purely so you can have a peak and chuck it in the bin). That's anyone at all, not only my British brethren, but the whole world too (such is the wonder of the internet). As long as you do it AND send it back.

I do have to warn you that there is a British bias in the questions. If I do it again, I may do a world knowledge edition, however.

And please don't forward the question set attachment for someone else to do. I have to have a central list of people who have asked for it that I can tick off, so please just e-mail me for the q's and I'll send them over (but then do it, please). However, please feel free to tell people about it if you think they might be interested via e-mail or whenever you see them and give them the e-mail address so they can request it themselves. That e-mail again:

There is a deadline for requests. This is 4pm June 29. I'll start sending out the quizzes nearer that date. The deadline for returns will probably set for another two weeks after that. If all entries are in then I will get on with doing up the results ASAP.

When it is all done, dusted, returned and marked up, then I will post a league table here of the places and scores and also anyone who has got a solo-answer (ie one person has got it and no-one else) as a sort of symbolic thumbs up. You can also use a pseudonym for your league table placing if you prefer, in case the fear of humiliation is too much.

The glittering prize is the respect of your peers. I have been trying to work out a way of charging a small entrance fee and redistributing it into a prize pot and such and such, but this lot is all free for now. I'm sure you won't begrudge me that considering that writing the first 501 questions has taken me a very long time. So think of this as an experiment for me and a taster for you. If I get a good response, then I will crack on and do another, but I thought I would put in the potential (and cursory) monetary demands I will put in in the future.

Just remember this is free and anyone can do it as long as they do it and return it. Do you get me?

The questions are done and dusted and need one more revision and that is that, so let's be hearing from ya.

That e-mail address again
Send your question-set requests to

Remember to respect the rules. The integrity and intrinsic worth of this exercise are dependent on it.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

A Trinity of Trouble

It looks like I have been neglecting this little corner of cyberspace. It's a little bit dusty around here. Of course, the internet has infinite corners making it really spikey and such and such. So I don't think it's been missed. That much.

Factors have converged in the last few weeks to pole-axe my willingness to write to the world, or even leave the house. Just like a Sammy Kuffour tackle across both my Achilles tendons. Yowser. He came at me from behind.

I stayed in for four days (not quite my scary record) and managed in an almost miraculous fashion to miss all the piercing death-ray sunshine, but yesterday I did make it to the bank to pay the London rent (I still live there don't I? Seems so far away ... like Namibia). Even the mere hint of summer sun burned me so. I had wondered if I was becoming a hermit or a vampire, but my allergic reaction to direct sunlight confirmed that I should avoid eating garlic and doing my ablutions in holy water basins for the rest of my life. I think it also screwjacked my brain chemicals somewhat.

(NB. That is the first ever time I have used the word pole-axe. I should hold a celebration party to mark the event.)

Obviously, since shelter was vital, I was forced into the local branch of Blockbuster and was coerced even further by the adverse conditions (Sudden switch from "The air! The seaside air!" to air-conditioned metal whiffage) and the dead, dead eyes of the teen cashiers staring straight through me into the sale-price popcorn, to buy one DVD, then two, oh then five for £25. Ach. There should be warnings on the news about such ordeals. They do it for droughts after all.

However, I was able to assert some control in my flailing desperation But I was this close *an earthworm breadth is signalled with thumb and index finger* to buying Kidulthood and The Libertine.

So you see I've turned into a complete weirdo. Stricken by cabin fever, crazed by the bleak indoors. Hey, let's call it kabin feva from now on. Then again, maybe not. It's a thin line between converting the written English language into the efficient economic machine that George Bernard Shaw envisaged and writing insane gibberish like a textese-spewing teenage twot.

Oh, where was I? Staring into shimmering monitor abyss, wondering about about the passage of time fast-slow, never quite right, thinking about things ... like lunch and the identity of the devious but cunning raspberry and plum thief.

Yes, there's that and then there's getting back to the factors that form a pivot in the crux of the matter concerning my indolence: the tripartite of tumults that have cowed me into the social equivalent of the foetal position.

Got a Lemonheads song in my brain
First, I'm still recovering from my op. Granted, I know this actually takes many months, but I feel I cannot stray too far from home and constant dressing-changes and half-hour salty baths spent reading On Beauty for too long without fear that I won't heal quite as quickly up in the Smoke.

Do you get better in London? Or do people just get away whether via a second home in Aquitaine or small town somnulence or cosmopolitan weekend break, take time to recover and then finally feel ready to take on the polluted, poxy metropolis (that I really do love deep down) before the fumes, black-nose and generally dissolute vibes pull them back into the sick bed. If you do want some bad vibes, however, feel free to mingle among the methadone addicts who have to pop into the Kings Cross Boots branch every day for their gulp of green life support. I get a 20-second preview whenever I get my daily leftist rag, and that is enough to fill me with the sort of introspective wonderment that soon escalates into joining isolated Buddhist monasteries in the Scottish Highlands.

The hospital aftermath is running smoothly though. Flesh is being knitted together and more icky stuff I won't mention for fear of making you expectorate in a undoubtedly sympathetic fashion (forgive me for being a bit manic, a mite tangential, and overloaded with the stylistically lazy interjections; I'm looking at you, bit of my brain that comes forth with the "Oh" and the "Yes", but this is a process of therapeutic catharsis).

The problem is keeping it together and it seems to be best done back in the heart of family life (it helps that mum is a nurse) Even when I popped off to Newport for one whole day and the two nights in London, things went slighlty awry and squiffy. Thus, I stay slightly rooted in my room and pay fealty to the care-jammed healing schedule since even walking for half an hour can have uncomfortable consequences. I have to make this work and comparative inaction seems to be a pre-requisite.

Study Overtime
Secondly, the World comedown is more like a come-up

The unquenchable thirst for reading and writing down stuff of a general knowledge inclination remains. I am still in the revision-cocoon. Inside it is warm and nobody disturbs me. It's quite nice.

Therefore, more page-packing for the files. Much more. This is because the WQC has encouraged me to learn even more and consolidate even more, and organise it all into a regime that makes my endorphins regularly go pop pop in the brain, creating a happy cranial environment that is conducive enough for the coursing sense of well being that makes me want to test myself all the time on everything under the trivia rainbow (it's beautiful I tell thee) again and again. The cycle goes on and on. There's nothing like the sensation of a knackered brain. Like weary delight.

This strange, insatiable urge will wear off in the next few weeks or maybe one month or two; it always does as the compartmentalisation kicks in and the quiz and non-quiz lives start to realign and settle back into normality (this is a good thing, it really is, I like going out). The prolonged convalescence, however, is stretching and expanding it to unforeseen levels.

When the little niggles and regrets about SHKs etc kick in, as they often do, it usually goes a little like this in the thought department: "Aaargh, I could have done so much better. Recall must be shot to pieces. Might as well eat my brain; it's no good for anything else. The difference between me and John Mills in Ryan's Daughter is that he is an actor and (I'll just stop myself before I make any off-colour jokes). I know what I'll do. I'm gonna read me a whole bunch of stuff. Such an admittedly futile act in the bluesy post-tourney period will reassure me that the disappointment will soon be usurped by a dose of good old Scarlett O'Hara optimism. My dreams may have been burned to blackest ashes around me, but there's nothing like the gas of hope to make me feel full when I'm actually really bloated with false expectations yet again."

Then two hours pass: "Sod this, I'm going to the pub for three months. I might even buy some new shoes. Yes, I can always buy more stuff. Now that will make me feel full. For about twenty minutes."

I do not deal with disappointment very well in the ultra-short term. The chin crumbles and the stomach churns and thoughts of varying malice grip me insidiously for a few hours. But the next day, I'll get up and think nearly nothing of it. The agony subsides and disappears with sleep. Life goes on, I think. I'll get over it, and I do because it does you no good to dwell on five-year-plans of revenge. Adopting one certainly worked for the Count of Monte Cristo, but were I incarcerated in Chateau d'If I would have beaten my sensitive parts of my anatomy red and scarlet against the stony walls in a sort of beserker rage til nightfall. I would tire myself into sleep. A new day dawns. Ooh, don't things look better in the morning. Slight satisfaction would gradually grow until I became accustomed to the calorifically perfect daily pot of watery nothingness and the fact that I have a room all my own with seaview and the high ceiling I've always craved, and on a lifetime lease no less. A mini-hurrah would be in order.

With myself time always and eventually douses the emotions that feel too hot to touch in the moment, let alone handle. It induces perspective. Give me a few days and the heart will return to its resting beat; the blazing fires that once stoked it now nothing more than glowing and faintly amusing embers.

But not this time. Not at all disappointed. Contentment and satisfaction reign. Optimism is piled on top of optimism. Sure there are niggles and open goal misses, but this has been helped by my not receiving my answer paper back immediately. If it was returned into my hands I would rake over it for hours and perform an ugly post-mortem, steadily annoying myself in increasing amounts until, well, my head would explode Scanner-style.

Perhaps, it is the tantalising proof of progress that I'm falling for. Once you know it is paying off, why stop there? Why not grab some more? Go nuts. And for the last few days I have.

And yet, the funny thing is by writing these words I have brought myself back into reality. Progress is an illusion. I remember what John Gray wrote in Straw Dogs. It was something like: we're no better than insects headed for a self-inflicted apocalypse. At least that it was I read into it. My family moan about the pessimist in me; the source of a Sahara dry sense of humour that encourages my siblings to punch me repeatedly on the arm when they realise I am making sarcastic and ironic fun of their foibles, and when they catch the bone, I know I will have certainly deserved it.

But I know my little jeremiads, sugared with some non-PC humour of course, are a sign of peace with the world. If you accept that the worst can happen you can be prepared for it and not collapse into a wailing heap when things don't go your way. At least this is what this miserable git me is saying. It appears I am going to end up as an even more twisted version of the senior member of Steptoe & Son, but with more CDs and other (by then ... far into the world of tomorrow, where I will make a living by collecting discarded robot wives and porno-holograph simulators) archaic pop culture detritus piled around me.

So let's just say I need to get some perspective by, perhaps, getting out more. I'm going to regress into a sort of Chauncey Gardner state of catatonia if I'm not careful.

And I would go out tonight but..
Finally, the World Cup is on. The World Cup. The greatest sports event in the world and quite possibly ever. Even better than the naked ancient Olympics. I've watched the vast majority of each match so far (except the one that started at 2pm this afternoon, dagnabbit). Yes, even Togo versus South Korea, which was a lot better to watch than overrated overpaid Ingerland melt in the heat. If I miss any, I feel deficient, bereft. In the same way you accidentally don't eat all day and feel the bubbling, yawning gaps in your stomach start to tell. Transfer that to the head and you may get some approximation of my fear of deprivation.

It has consumed me. And now the memories of when the last time the WC was on and my feelings of going cold turkey after the barrage of group matches come flooding back. I fear that day, and I know it is coming in a few weeks. Let the days go slowly and sluggishly.

Now if it was scheduled in, say, Australia, it would meld perfectly with my work timetable: day= writing, nighthawk time=football. Only it being a few hundred miles easterways, and the time difference is negligible, meaning I get up and watch football, get a snack, watch the next match, get dinner and have a bath, then watch the next match. Then it hits 10pm and what can you do apart from wait for the live feed of Big Brother and gaze in doolally wonderment through the nightvision cameras at a bunch of idiotic numpties snoozing until the Hoobs come on.

(PS A friend of mine lived in a squat with Pete in Brighton. Before he disappeared into the moronic inferno, Pete that anyone with some dirt or even some slightly grimy material should head to a tabloid and exploit it for every possible penny. That's the attitude. Go Pete Go.)

Back to the Refresher puppets: I make a vow at this very moment, before you all as Moloch and Baal are my pagan witnesses, that I will hunt down and gruesomely torture with sharp pointy things, whoever thought up this puppet show: their annoying voices, the moribund plots, the thieving of elements from Sesame Street, Beverley Hillbillies, Mork and Mindy, Rainbow, the reference points go on and on. What's this Hoobapedia they're compiling? It must be even worse than The Da Vinci Code (though it is far from likely, isn't it?). There's Wikipedia for finding out things, cloth-eared, cloth-bodied ninnies.

Therefore I much prefer the Boo-Bahs. Why? There's the psychedelic drug thing in the sky they do (or did if it is still being broadcast) every episode - the highlight - and there is no talking and no plots nicked from The Chuckle Brothers but turned on AN ALIEN TIP. It is like the visual equivalent of the more relaxed sections of Aphex Twin's discography, like Fingerbib. In contrast, the Hoobs are like Black Lace fronted by Timmy Mallett playing Aqua covers. They must surely die.

Now you're saying that the time after 10pm could be spent more constructively instead of giving the Channel 4 twilight schedule a right good seeing over and plotting to murderlise TV twizzlers who only want to keep the kids, who are our future, happy like mental patients who have just been lobotomised; but I would say I'm about as practical as a spanner in a surgery theatre. Once the darkness falls, you know who come out at night. Method actors. Do not fret, do not squeal and certainly don't put in a call. And I assure you that I will reply to texts within a minimum of four days. It's not agoraphobia: it's sheer bone idle laziness.

So it is the World Cup and nothing but the World Cup, and that and the recuperation and reference books converge and go SPLATOWSKIWOORRR leaving me in a collapsed wailing heap (I lied earlier, sometimes weeping heaping is called for) that prevents me from doing anything except stare at a TV, or aim my eyes at some book pages, or, if I'm feeling up to it (and hell, I'm not even sure I can make it to the toilet sometimes without the Sedan chair conveying me there - my Filipino slave staff is slowly coming together thank heavens) I might then move a pen up and down a page like someone who appears to be writing something fit to be read by all of literate humanity, although once you look closer you will be horrified to find a Pollock-esque miasma of violently crude scribblings with vague nouns popping out about the first ever 2000 Guineas winner and what a group of harpists is called. At least Jack Torrance could write one sentient, neatly typed sentence.

Sometimes it just feels great to yield your life and all your time up willingly to a benevolent beast that eats your existence with wondrous ease for a sustained period of time. World Cup month is one such example. Euro2008 will probably be another and so on at a two-year interval. The Olympics are cack by the way.

Remember vast chunks of the population are doing the same; rejecting normal routines for the footy, letting go and falling into the cosy abyss and forgetting about concepts like cooking fresh food (the Domino's number is locked and loaded). 'Tis "a consummation devoutly to be wished", as Mel Gibson once said.

Tomorrow (Though You'll Read This Today)
Been working on a project actually. If I know you in a quiz capacity you might be intrigued, interested then tantalised with what I propose.