Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I like Mogwai. This is Stuart

He is just about the unhappiest but somehow delightful musician I have ever interviewed three times. He doesn't take too kindly to being asked for his opinions on bands like Steps. 'Twas like me spitting in his eye and saying 'YOU LOVE IT, SALIVA BIHATCH!'

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

League Shenanigans Commence

Proud Men, Proud Quizzers: Sean, Jesse and newbie Mark

(This photo was from last week. Not tonight. Their appearance has not changed in the interim.)

The Broken Hearts' quest for the ultimate prize - the Quiz League of London first division title - started in stuttering fashion this evening. You would think there might be more decorum when a new season, our fifth in the QLL (dear Lord, is it really FIVE), but no, we just go straight in at the deep end. Brewis asking questions, people fluffing answers, hand signals going ignored. I thought: yeah, I really missed this over the summer intermezzo. The rock solid certainty that we would be locked in quizzical combat. I mean, I really do need this new distraction because my current obsessions - the TV series Lost and watching poker tournaments on Sky digital and Channel 4 - are starting to take on monstrously insane proportions.

It would have been easy to conclude that we were going to fly like trivia titans after the first round: we led 9-2 after all. However, level terms was soon achieved thanks to a sterling performance from Balls of Steel star Ray Ward and we got that awful feeling that the questions would not go our way. Some examplar errors: I (always assume your capacity to recall facts you actually know is reduced by 25 per cent in a match situation) messed up one on the Sava river (I said Sarajavo rather than Belgrade and thumped the table in hissy fit fashion), while Sean said Selene when he should have said Diana. But as he said, he did get a question on Harold Wilson occupying a lowly Cabinet position. Frankly, I felt so rusty it was like I had left my brain out in the August downpours.

Thankfully, round seven arrived and gave us a comfortable lead. We ended up winning 48-44 and it was weird not having Bayley beside me giving off the aura of a rock steady trivia-spouting machine. Instead, I had Jesse, who scored 15 points like yours truly (a bit below my first season average). Jesse being a naive new captain forgot to order the food. The post-match period was strangely bereft as a result. The sound of masticating sausage sandwiches and chips was absent; the table empty. Naughty Jesse. A black mark was subsequently laid upon his body (in a mental fantasia of my own construction).

The Quizzica questions: hmmm. They seemed a bit chestnutty in texture, a bit predictable. Nothing too surprising or anything that just one player might have got. If the questions were harder, it would have been a far easier obstacle to tackle. This season I get the feeling we are going to get a lot of questions we have heard before. There are so many new ones that could be asked, honestly.

But tackle it we did. Next week we have Aldersgate, another promoted team to give us heart palpitations and doubts about our own general knowledge worth.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Waiting in Vain

So I was waiting on the increasingly scummy red sofa. Eating a Toffee Crumble ice cream lolly. Waiting for this week's Millionaire repeat. It never came. I was disappointed. I was relieved. I was, in truth, a bit of both.

Sadly, the TV schedules in both The Times and The Guardian LIED. I hate liars. They deserve to burn. Instead of the 13.15 repeat of last Saturday's Who Wants To Be a Millionaire, we got The New Adventures of Superman and something aboout rising F1 punk Lewis Hamilton. The London region would not be privy to my phone-spoken words. This non-plussed me in the extreme. Would I ever know the truth? Was I, as one QLL-er commented on Tuesday "a bit quiet"? Did I sound like a gimp?

Therefore, unless I can be bothered to rustle up a DVD recording, I will be left with a few vague memories.

I truly feared that I would do a Jen, as in The IT Crowd episode, where she shagged a trivial fly. This raging paranoia grew in me until I felt sweaty and desperate. Thankfully, the question "What are the main ingredients in stargazy pie"? was straight forward. At least I thought so until AFTER I ended the call on my mobile. Then I thought, my goodness it could be cockroaches or donkey penises couldn't it?

They tell you to allow a certain number of rings and put on a certain kind of performance when you pick up THE call. I disobeyed these two fundamental precepts because a) The number was an actual London number unlike all the Withheld numbers I had been getting b) I therefore picked up the phone to tell whichever London acquaintance to sling their hook cos Chris Tarrant was due to call. Thankfully, I didn't tell the caller to shove off. Because it was Chris Tarrant. Who sounded like he was a pre-recorded message, like one of the Millionaire premium line questions he does. Which freaked me out somewhat (you telling me this is real?). I mean, it didn't sound like he was in a studio. He sounded like he was stuck in a hard drive.

We didn't do banter. I think I just said: "Fish" immediately after I heard the questions without the options, then droned on Dalek-style "It's fish, 100 per cent, fish. I'm 100 per cent certain it's fish". And that was it. Work done.

And that's all I've got to say about that. Sorry, about the lack of booming diction. My voice wasn't pitched right at birth.

(Thanks to James for the opportunity to help him out)

Colossus extension
Yes, sorry to set a deadline (September 26) and then extend it by a whole week, but you have to stay in a state of suspended animation, with regards to the results, because the more results the better. People have been attending to their business and busy-ness and real life and I'm all for that. Sometimes. So next Monday. Or Tuesday. Depends really.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Shhh! I've been reading

Book cover illustrators prove they have a distinct lack of imagination when books about quiz culture with the word "brain" in the title are in need of their artisanal genius.

So I got my copy of Ken Jenning's tale of triumph and trivia culture dissection Brainiac the other day and promptly read it as fast as someone with an all-consuming quiz, no wait, trivia obsession could.

The mind-numbingly detailed New York Review of Books-style is soon to follow (yes, I was making notes as I went along and they were many, but let's just say everyone who has ever loved trivia should read. It's their bag. My bag, your bag, perhaps not a Louis Vuitton bag, though a very nice one that everyone should delve into.) Trivia whores will find things they never knew about their particular satchel.

Oh, and it is completely different from Marcus Berkmann's Brain Men (the other book shown alongside Brainiac above), yet very similar. You'll understand when you get round to finishing it.

The sked
Part 2 of the BQC report is coming, so is QLL first match report (well, once we've played it), Millionaire analysis (when I see the repeat tomorrow afternoon) and hopefully, I was also going to do a links round-up, but was slightly disappointed when I missed the chance to remind everyone of Talk Like a Pirate Day (it was on September 19). All this is coming, I promise.

I'm going to see Mogwai at the Royal Albert Hall. It will only be the 29th time I've seen them.

Now for some obligatory band worship: All hail to the 'Gwai. For they are gods among musicians.

'Tis a pity that Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait didn't come out this weekend instead of the next then we could have got a glorious double whammy. Sigh, never mind. It would have been beyond divine. Ultra-transcendental. And so on into the oblivion of a guitar blizzard or three.

At least I am getting out of the house/flat. I bought World Poker Tournament for my mobile the other day and I have figured that I have already spent in the region of ten hours playing it. Check, check, call, raise, raise, RAISE!!! I would say it's like crack cocaine, but it's not really is it? There are degrees of addiction and degrees of addiction and physical dependency will surely not arise (he says, hoping that these words will strengthen his resolve)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

It begins

I did take some brand new shiny photos of the Broken Hearts, but guess what? I didn't save them and send them to my email address and now they are lost to history forever! Instead, Cheryl Baker wants to tell you about thinning hair.

The QLL phoney war started yesterday with the obligatory pre-season get together last night dahn Stockwell way.

Mark, Sean, Jesse (the new beleaguered Team Sec) and I said our hellos to the familiar faces. It is our fifth season out of the 17 that have ever been, which feels plain weird. Five is a commitment. Five is the first few tentative steps on the road to lifelong devotion. My feeling is get out when you can.

There was a nice little table quiz set by John McDonnell and despite leading at halfway, we stumbled in somewhere, not sure where actually, somewhere disappointing though.

Mark was particularly vexed by the fact that Seven Sisters is not a constellation. I would talk more about the questions, but ... I won't. Our newest playing squad member and Mastermind-runner up, Mark gave me a shiny Mastermind quiz book from 1979, which was awfully kind of him. It is the Aussie version, so let's not be hearing "Oh, I've got that one!", and looks kind good. In fact it even has specially designed yellow card cover for hiding the pages with the answers on it. And, wow, it even has pictures in it. Pictures of Louis Riel and Sir Cecil Hardwicke. Doesn't the thought just turn you on?

And since it was in return for writing the c.6000 questions on this blog, I now expect from others similar payments in kind for the service I have provided. Shares in Google, platinum mining rights in the Congo, more quiz books I have never seen before and deem "acceptable" you know, precious things.

Finally questions: As was mentioned in the Team Times newsletter, can we beat Allsorts? Can a bear beat a shark in a fight? Can I be arsed to get out of bed and do something constructive today? Maybe, not sure and no way.

Monday, September 18, 2006

"I killed a drifter to get an erection"

A Total Lack of Anything

Inertia has taken over my body. I was going to post summat proper on this here blog, but instead I got logjammed marking Colossus quizzes. They take so very long (it was like taking a rubbish time machine five hours into the future). And the marking is so very taxing on the brain. In fact, I am getting slightly worried about my grey matter. I overwork it, feed it with bacon and eggs and then let it rot in the listless slurry of laziness. I think I need to give it a smooth work out. Bananas and apricots instead of Coke and cheesecake. Hmmm, cheesecake. Rhubarb and vanilla cheesecake from Waitrose. Curse, those retailers for having such well-sourced and expensive and desirable food. By Thor's hammer, I verily curse them to the pits of Hades.

Also, I have been wasting massive amounts of my time watching loony old Will Ferrell skits from SNL and toy-puppet show Robot Chicken. In the latter case you should really watch the Napoleon Bonamite sketch, tho that particularly episode I have linked may not actually contain it. Hey, lazy inertia guts, go find it on YouTube yourself. Just like everybody else does. I'm even heading there now, despite it being 3.15am. Me obsessed. Hey. At least it is better than indulging a love of "hardcore barely legal porno."

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha awoogah

Evening Fun

Well, we were going to an internet pop-up millionaire's birthday party in Covent Garden tonight.

Instead, my flatmates and I flopped on the sofas and watched series two and three of Peep Show. It sucked us in and didn't let us go until it finished every last episode. I had to walk to Tesco Express and buy a can of Red Bull and some Summer Fruits cordial to clear my head. I also feel as if it has given me license to amplify already bad thoughts about everything into horribly nasty and black matter liable to turn everything to cancer with a merest touch.

No, not really. I hate everything with a kind of lovely free joy. Hurrah for hate. It gives me peace.

No, that isn't right. I love everything. Absolutely everything. I especially love Paco Rabanne's Black XS which I sprayed all over myself at House of Fraser because I thought it was what Cherry Coca-Cola would smell like if it was in an eau de toilette. Yes, I am happy I didn't buy that pink Ted Baker shirt. £65! Perhaps, I didn't love it enough when I should have. It had pretty patterns on the nipple areas.

It's aural purification that I need. I am now listening to Sigur Ros in order to cleanse my soul and my aura and all the fluffy psychic bits. Ah, children that can fly off cliffs. Lovely.

Even more hilarious
Oh, quiz stuff.

Brewis texted me late this afternoon: "Who is this James Lucy then?" and "Just saw WWTBAM, but didn't know him".

I was wandering around Selfridges trying to find a decent t-shirt. Miles and miles of clothes yet nothing to wear. I tell you.

Obviously, the penny dropped. My debut PAF cameo had been and gone without me hearing it.

I always do this. Miss my TV appearances that is. You could say that I hate the way how my voice makes me sound like a retarded public school French teacher and that I deliberately did not look at the TV guide for today and decided to run away and into the seething shopping mass of Londoness. And you might be right.

And if it was my face appearing on television then I would have gone scuba diving in Cornwall at that exact moment in order to make sure I refused myself any opportunity to glance at my silly grinning visage (grinning because the production staff would be holding some kind of automatic rifle to the back of my head to make me wince in some kind of apparent happiness) on a TV screen. And I would say bingo! Bang to rights. Seeing and hearing myself on television makes me want to turn inside out and then implode in an explosion of bloody guts and embarrassment.

However, there is a repeat next Saturday afternoon. I'll probably miss that too. Must be consistent, if nothing else.

(Nah, I'll watch it then and analyse it in depth. Just like you want me to.)

(And I did buy a t-shirt. It has the logo: drug free. Which is so true if you know me. I thought getting a t-shirt would make this obvious to strangers too.)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Moaning for England

Warning: This post contains high amounts of bitching and whining

I have been bereft of the quiz spirit for the past few days. This means that quiz question writing rate is down, enthusiasm for doing quizzes is sliding towards the non-existent end of the scale and that my wish to do anything to do with quizzes is cast far from my mind into the mental file marked "Blah blah blah". It may be that I just need a holiday where I don't have to think. I see a white sand beach and think of staring at the ocean for hours on end letting the sun rays grill my skin a caramel tan. Such a daydream makes me smile and fills me with a blinding but warm white light. All other thoughts make me feel like a wet, broken lettuce leaf. So, as you might be able to surmise, I'm in a meh frame of mind.

But it hasn't stopped me from starting the quiz book I'm going to do for I reached 75 questions today and having pumped out this middling overture my mental-physical engine went kaput and so I went back to reading normal books and flopped on to my bed to sleep one off for about an hour in the middle of the day. Now you may think 75 questions is quite a healthy start, yet I say PAH! Pathetic! That's nothing. Vaporised diddly squat. It's the equivalent of me booting my laptop, breathing on the keyboard and switching it off after five minutes. Or something like that.

I can see some motivation galloping at me from a spot on the schedule horizon. I'm thinking that the coming quiz league season will provide enough fodder for these here pages and I won't have to make silly excuses as to my utter laziness and ennui, because once you start doing things then things will take care of themselves and I won't have to think about things too much because the things will have taken over and driven me along the tracks of life into the black abyss of the barren, torpid future.

The nights draw in and us quizzers retreat into private pub rooms to numb each other's grating and insipid thoughts with rounds of trivia. I'm wondering: can I sound anymore morose? Can I sound anymore like that painter from the Fast Show? "Black!!! As black as..."

That's not quite how I feel. I only write such bleak things because right now I really should be earning my bread by doing freelance work. Instead I write blog posts and visit every single bookmarked site of mine which I think might waste five minutes of my time in a relatively painless manner.

I was going to do it last night. Then I watched V for Vendetta (horrifically facile), A Cock and Bull Story (flimsy and could have done better) and Inside Man (quite satisfying and twisty) in one go and realised that I was forcing myself to accomplish absolutely nothing.

Okay, deep breath. I'm going to work these noisy, clacky keys in a sentient fashion and get me some writing done. Writing that is not streaked with an unhealthy pessimism.

Remember to send me back your CQs
Oh, I still want you to return your Colossus quizzes. I think I have about 50 in so far and you have about two weeks to get yours in if you still feel like returning it to me so I can tear the rubbish answers apart with red marker pen and cackling evil laughter. How I love doing that.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Nothing to see here...

... please move on

If you don't mind me I think I will just do one of those nothing posts.

No links, no facts, no whipsmart insight.

Bliss. Blank bliss stretching down the page for five or six inches. (there is some sordid innuendo to be drawn out from the previous sentence if you happen to be set that way and happen to read too many obtuse song lyrics)

The truth is I turned on my computer yesterday to find a load of computer warnings as to the presence of filthy spyware and viruses. So I ran an AOL Spyware Protection scan and a Macafee virus scan. Little did I know it would take me five hours and so eat into my working time, so much so I tumbled into bed without doing any proper toil whatsoever.

Today, I was distracted. By ... stuff. You know. The stuff of life. Distractions. And Sky Digital. And especially LA Confidential. Great film. Better than the book with its silly fictionalised Disneyland subplot (yeah Ellroy, you wish Walt committed suicide in some weird love pact).

I was going to do part two of my BQC report but even that is too much. This is because the first half utilised a mere two pages of A5 and still ended up spending three hours writing it and putting in full stops where they were not needed (nope, I am not an innovative literary stylist; I am a rougshod grammarian who values rapidity more than accuracy ... in the end the latter is all that matters). So many comments to translate at the moment, along the lines of "feeling like a rinsed turd" and "I'm as pathetic as a naked obese dancer."

And, well, I did write 300-questions for the BH100. It was too much for everyone.

But like I said, a nothing post.

PS I've had it up to my bloody hairline with Colleen's insufferable "Pretty Woman" ASDA advert. Schoolkid choruses deserve to die in the Antarctic desert, far from human ears.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Yes, *drum roll* ... it's THE BH100

Yes, the BH quizzes have reached the truly momentous number 100! I have written a hee-yooge 300-question quiz for your delectation/torture. In fact the sheer effort may have annulled my desire to write anymore forever (nope, that's just a truly knackered me talking rubbish).

Little did I think back in February that I would write thousands of questions which I would stick in cyberspace for everyone to steal their useful knowledge. If I knew this was going to happen I might have written my first novel instead. However, quiz question writing serves as a perfectly useful time-wasting device in my world. I believe they do me some good, even if they only bestow me with amazingly obscure know-how that evaporates from my brain as soon as it attempts the arduous journey from short-term memory to the long term.

Funny thing is just a few hours aho I realised that I had already used the first hundred questions in BH95. So I wrote another hundred. I think I am now going blind.

But, with thoughts of compassion for those uninterested by German and Austrian dramatists riding through my mind, I have introduced three interludes to break up the quiz. They involve writing on vaguely quizzy things that might interest those who ain't here for the trivia. I hope they might incite the odd inner giggle as you read them.

Anyway. Here read them, take them, copy and paste them. I am done for today and possibly this weekend. Ta ta.

1 Which Polish painter, scene designer and theatre director founded the Independent Theatre during the Nazi occupation and became known for his avant-garde stage design for such works as Saint Joan (1956) and Measure for Measure (1956) and would later form a new experimental theatre named Cricot 2, known for its "happenings", his most famous theatre piece of the seventies being Dead Class (1970) in which he took the role of a teacher who presided over seemingly dead characters who are confronted by mannequins which represented their younger selves?
2 As is the practice in Spain, how does the tenor Placido Domingo's full name read?
3 Whose major works include On the Elements According to Hippocrates describes the philosopher's system of four bodily humours, and the 17-volume On the Usefulness of the Parts of the Human Body?
4 Which company began in Brooklyn in 1849 when Charles Hart and his eponymous partner devised santonin, an effective treatment for parasitic worms that was blended with almond-toffee flavouring and shaped into a candy cone?
5 What does the CS in the musical genre known as CS rap, which includes such nascent stars as MC Frontalot, Sucklord and Beefy and is also known as nerdcore, stand for?
6 Home of the football club FC Schalke 04, which city in North Rhine-Westphalia is located in the northern part of the Ruhr area and was merged with the adjoining cities of Buer and Horst in 1928?
7 Recognised around the world as the trio behind the hit single Everytime We Touch, which group is comprised of singer Natalie Horler and the German DJ/producers Yanou and DJ Manian?
8 Also known for such albums as Just a Little More Love (2002) and F*** Me I'm Famous (2003), which French DJ topped dance charts all over Europe with his single The World Is Mine in 2005 which was made famous by its use in a L'Oreal hair cream advert?
9 The South African resident Vladimir Tretchikoff, who recently died aged 93, produced a painting that became the best-selling commercial print of all time. By what familiar name do we know it?
10 Currently threatened by development, what is the affectionate name that Muscovites have given to the statue of Alexander Pushkin in Pushkinskaya Square?
11 Who wrote the 1982 book Real Men Don't Eat Quiche?
12 Curtains is the last musical to be created by which songwriting pair?
13 Which doyen of literary criticism wrote the 1974 work The Classic?
14 The African hoodia or more specifically Hoodia gordonii has been touted as a remedy for what ailment?
15 The physicist and cosmologist Alan Guth formally proposed what idea in 1981, which states that the nascent universe passed through a phase of exponential expansion that was driven by a negative vacuum energy density or positive vacuum pressure?
16 Sacred Games is the new epic novel centring on the Mumbai underworld by which author, who first gained critical acclaim for Red Earth and Pouring Rain?
17 Who is the designer of the proposed 118-floor, 2,000ft high Moscow City Towers?
18 Known as Huanebu in Egyptian, what two-word term is used for a mysterious confederacy of maritime raiders who sailed into the eastern shores of the Mediterranean, invaded Cyprus, Hatti and the Levant and attempted to enter Egyptian territory during the late 19th dynasty, and especially year eight of Ramses III of the 19th century?
19 One of the most ancient groups of bird, which South American bird family of about 47 species in nine genera look similar to other ground-dwelling birds like quail and grouse and include the White-throated, the Grey, the Great, the Puna and the Variegated?
20 Born of a French mother and a Spanish father who was an attache at the Cuban legation in Paris, which poet and painter started his well-known Dada periodical 391 in 1916 in which he published his first "mechanical drawings" and is famed for such work as his 1929 gouache and watercolour on cardboard Ridens, the 1916-18 oil on canvas Machine Turn Quickly and the 1929 oil on cardboard Hera?
21 A Paris-based collective of Cubist painters active from 1912 to c.1914, which movement began with an exhibition at the Galerie La Boetie in Paris in 1912 and had its title suggested by Jacques Villon after reading a 1910 translation of Leonard da Vinci's Trattato della Pittura by Josephin Peladan?
22 Taking place on a snowy March 29, 1461 about 12 miles southwest of York and two miles south of Tadcaster, which clash during the Wars of the Roses was the bloodiest ever fought on British soil with casualties in excess of 20,000 and saw a decisive victory for the Yorkists led by Edward IV?
23 Known for his social realism work and two periods of exile from his country (1932 and 1940, the latter due to his assassination attempt on Trotsky), which Mexican painter and muralist's notable projects in Mexico City include his collaborative mural at the Mexican Electricians' Union (1939-40), From Porfiriato to the Revolution at the Museum of National History (1957-55), March of Humanity and the Polyforum Cultural _________ on Avenida Insurgentes (1965-71)?
24 Specialising in bold murals noted for their theme of the human versus the mechanical, which Mexican social realist painter is known for such murals as The Epic of American Civilisation at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire (1932-34) and works like Prometheus (1930), Zapata (1930), The Man of Fire (1939) and Christ Destroying His Cross (1943)?
25 Born in Nicaea (modern day Iznik in Turkey) in c.190BC, which Greek astronomer and geographer compiled the first star catalogue of the Western world and may have invented the astrolabe and wrote at least 14 books on astronomy, though only his commentary on the popular astronomical poem by Aratus has been preserved by later copyists?
26 Cheryl Crane was the murderous 14-year-old daughter of which woman?
27 Formed to increase the profile of the leading athletics competitions, what name is given to the annual series of meetings organised by the International Association of Athletics Federations?
28 Along with Asafa Powell and Jeremy Wariner, which Jamaican-born US athlete won her six of six aforementioned events (400m) in the same season this year?
29 Which TV series was inspired by the real-life psychic Allison Dubois?
30 Subject of a recent book by Laura Esquivel and seen as her country's first translator, which so-called "mother of the nation" and indigenous Mexican was born in 1502 or 1505 and became Cortes's concubine at 16 and bore him a son which gave rise to the mixed blood family tree of Mestizaje; her betrayal of Montezuma giving rise to a common expression denoting treachery?
31 Which African writer from Guinea (1928-1980) is best known for his semi-autobiographical tale of childhood The African Child/L'enfant Noir?
32 Which major European river has its source at Barania Gora (1120m-high) in the Beskidy Mountains where it starts with the White Little _______ (Biala Wiselka) and the Black Little ________ (Czarna Wiselka)?
33 What kind of institutions make up the UK coalition known as the 1994 Group?
34 Also called the Psoas major, what part of the cow is the steak cut of beef known as filet mignon taken?
35 Playing for four days on five stages in the city centre, what is the largest free music event in Europe?
36 The oldest Caribbean carnival in Europe swung through Chapeltown and Harehills for the 39th time this year having begun and ended in Potternewton Park. What is it called?
37 What name is given to the area of Tripoli that is the site of 38 mosques?
38 In Cuba, what name is given to private restaurants?
39 Considered to be the greatest Roman city outside Italy, the ruins of which place, a 125km drive from Tripoli in what is now called Al-Khums, were once a port city of 100,000 people that was endowed with much public architecture by Septimius Severus including a triumphal arch in 203AD?
40 Which figure of the Old Testament, whose name means "bearer of martyrs" in Hebrew, is said by some to be buried in Jabal Haroun in Jordan, he is reported to have died and been buried at Mosera in Deuteronomy?
41 The Imam's Palace in Taiz is home to the bizarre collection of Imam Ahmed who kept his country in the Dark Ages until 1962. Which country did he rule?
42 Called "the Great Gladys" by Philip Larkin, which English author is best known for her creation of Mrs Bradley, the heroine of many detective novels and for also writing under such pseudonyms as Stephen Hockaby and Malcolm Torrie?
43 As used in Penelope Lively's latest book Making It Up, what term is used by psychiatrists to refer to the use of imaginary remembered experiences?
44 Consigned to a Siberian gulag in 1938, which Soviet rocket engineer and "Chief Designers"'s pivotal role in his country's space programme was kept a closely-guarded secret until after his death in 1966?
45 Giving his name to the Daoist book that was also known as the Nan hua zhen jing or True Classic of Southern (Cultural) Florescence, which famous philosopher of ancient China came from the Town of Meng in the State of Song and lived around the 4th century BCE during the Warring States Period and the reign of King Hui of Liang and King Xuan of Qi in the span 370-301BCE?
46 Which 2000-year-old city in Spain's Valencia region puts on an annual mystery play or sacral-lyrical medieval drama in its Basilica, which represents the last days of the Virgin Mary's life, death and assumption, with an all-male cast?
47 What was the last number one and therefore the last ever song to be played on Top of the Pops?
48 Known by the acronym BSC, what was the largest covert operation in UK spying history and was launched during 1940-41 in a bid to enlist the US in World War Two?
49 The communist leader Mara Cagol founded what organisation with her husband?
50 Meaning "old geezer", what term describes the baby boomer salarymen in their sixties who have become "leaders of consumption and culture" in Japan?
51 The third-longest reigning monarch in the world is currently King Malietoa Tanumafili II. What country does he rule?
52 Which Gunter Grass novel of 1977 alludes to the German folk tale The Fisherman and his Wife and incorporates the Absurd style in depicting the trial of a talking fish?
53 Set at the time of the G8 summit at Gleneagles, the novel The Naming of the Dead will be the penultimate to feature which detective?
54 Considered the most important literary prize of Germany, what award was created in memory of the eponymous dramatist and prose writer who died aged only 23 in 1837?
55 Which German author published the first of four volumes of his masterwork, the Jahrestage/Anniversary in 1970 and moved to Sheerness-on-Sea on the Isle of Sheppey in 1974 where he died in 1984?
56 What did the American writer Whitney Balliett describe as "the sound of surprise"?
57 Which Carlo Goldoni farce from 1745 has been adapted into the play The Man With Two Gaffers by Blake Morrison in a production at York's Theatre Royal?
58 Joe McGinniss's non-fiction work The Selling of the President concerned the dubious advertising campaign used to promote which man?
59 Which German dramatist's works include the gloomy 1803 tragedy Die Familie Schroffenstein, the 1811 comedy Der zerbrochne Krug/The Broken Jug, the 1811 drama Prinz Freidrich von Homburg and 1808's Die Hermannsschlacht/The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest?
60 Which 1811 novella by the above author centres on a titular Brandenburg horse dealer who launches a military campaign to right wrongs he suffered at the hands of authorities?
61 The Sevenoaks firm of J Salmon Ltd is the oldest surviving British company to produce what?
62 Nihon-buyo is what kind of traditional Japanese performing art?
63 Meaning "ascent" or "going up" in Hebrew, what term is widely used to mean Jewish immigration to the Land of Israel and also refers to the endowment of Israeli citizenship?
64 What term, meaning "descent", refers to the opposite action of Jewish emigration away from Israel?
65 Highly visible on British streets, what company was founded by Sinclair Beecham and Julian Metcalfe in 1993?
66 What item of clothing is "shared" by the Celtic hero Angus and Harry Potter?
67 Ossip Zadkine and Alexander Archipenko are particularly associated with which field of the arts?
68 Which princess has just given birth to the first male heir born into the Japanese Imperial Family for more than 40 years?
69 What mansion, a noted example of Carolean architecture, the only truly vernacular style of architecture that England had produced since the time of the Tudors, was the seat of the Brownlow and Cust family and is located near Grantham in Lincolnshire? It is claimed that its principal facade was the inspiration for the modern motorway signs which give directions to stately homes.
70 What marble sculpture by Michelangelo was unveiled in Florence on September 8, 1504?
71 What year saw the inaugural season of the Football League in England?
72 Which Roman general crushed the Jewish rebellion in 70AD?
73 In one of the biggest battles of the 16th century, where in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania did the Belarussians and Poles defeat the Russian army on September 8, 1514?
74 Seen as the greatest military debacle of the Ming dynasty, which frontier conflict between Mongolia and the said Chinese dynasty led to the capture of the Zhengtong Emperor on September 8, 1449?
75 In which Cambridgeshire village did a barn fire break out during a puppet show and kill 78 people, many of them children, in September 1727?
76 What name was given to the 1951 agreement that saw 48 nations sign a peace agreement with Japan in formal recognition of the end of the Pacific War?
77 Broadcast on September 8, 1966, what was the first episode of Star Trek called?
78 The first ever attempt to collect a sample of solar wind and the first "sample return mission" to return from beyond the orbit of the Moon, what NASA unmanned spacecraft crashlanded on September 8, 2004 when its parachute failed to open?
79 Which King of England was called Oc-e-Non (Yes-and-No) by the troubadour Bertran de Born in his own time?
80 Known for publishing such works as Quaestiones celeberrimae in Genesim (1623) and La Verite des sciences (1624), which French mathematician is best known today due to his association with the eponymous prime numbers that are one less than a prime power of two?
81 Known as "The Great Conde" and "the French Alexander", the brilliant soldier Louis II de Bourbon, Prince de Conde is best remembered for his role in which great French victory of May 19, 1643, which put an end to the supremacy of the Spanish army and inaugurated the long period of his country's military predominance?
82 The French poet and Nobel Laureate Frederic Mistral was a key figure in which literary movement, founded by a group of Provencal writers to defend and promote Provencal language and literature on May 21, 1854 in Chateuaneuf-de-Gadagne, and derived its name from a Provencal word meaning "pupil" or "follower"?
83 Written when he was just 24-years-old, Antonin Dvorak's Symphony No 1 in C minor was later given what subtitle after a village in his native Bohemia?
84 Which American athlete won three golds at the 1904 Summer Olympics in the 200m, the 400m and the 400m hurdles and was one of six athletes injured by an enormous wave that washed over the deck of his ship en route to the 1906 Summer Olympics in Greece?
85 Which renowned French actor, director and mime artist is best remembered for his portrayal of 19th century mime Jean-Gaspard Deburau in Marcel Carne's 1945 film Les Enfants du Paradis?
86 Which English architect's buildings include Fiztwilliam College, Cambridge (1959-60), the core buildings of the University of East Anglia (1962-68) and the Institute of Education and the library of the School of Oriental and African Studies in Bloomsbury?
87 Established under the 1957 Treaty of Rome, what is the EU's financing institution?
88 Which US folk group was formed in 1957 in the Palo Alto area of California by new college graduates Bob Shane, Nick Reynolds and Dave Guard, and had their first hit with the old-time folk song Tom Dooley the following year?
89 The opening night of the first production of which Chekhov play was a famous failure, despite a reportedly astonishing turn by Vera Komissarzhevskaya as Nina and supposedly saw the writer walk out in the middle of the performance, much as Treplyov walks out on the performance of his play-within-a-play?
90 Which radio station named Jody Talbot as composer in residence in 2004, and then Patrick Hawes as the next this year?
91 Which Chinese gymnast is most famous for winning six medals at the 1984 Olympics including three golds (floor exercise, pommel horse and rings) and retired from sporting competition to found an eponymous sports good company in 1990?
92 In which US city is the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame located?
93 Thomas of Woodstock, the 13th and youngest child of Edward III and Queen Philippa, was created the first Duke of where?
94 Famed for composing intensely expressive madrigals that used chromatic language not heard again until the 19th century, which Prince of Venosa and Count of Conza committed what are possibly the most famous murders in musical history when he brutally killed his wife Donna Maria d'Avalos and her lover Fabrizio Carafa, the Duke of Andria, in their beds on October 16, 1590?
95 Chemistry as we know it today was invented by Antoine Lavoisier with which law in 1783?
96 Named after the man who introduced it in his 1916 article The Molecule and the Atom, what diagrams that show the bonding between atoms of a molecule, and the lone pairs of electrons that may exist in the molecule, are also called electron-dot structures?
97 First produced by Eric Cornell and Carl Wieman in 1995 at the University of Colorado using a gas of rubidium atoms cooled to 170 nanokelvin, what is a phase of matter formed by bosons cooled to temperatures very near to absolute zero?
98 Which country has the national anthem Nad Tatrou sa blyska/Lightning Over the Tatras?
99 At which October 17, 1346 battle near Durham did William Zouche, Archbishop of York, defeat David II of Scotland?
100 Also known for his discovery of quaternions, which Irish mathematician, physicist and astronomer (1805-1865) invented a reformulation of classical mechanics in 1833?
101 The Volcan Baru, also called Volcan de Chiriqui, is at 3475m high, the tallest mountain in which country?

Interlude 1
Have you seen Heat Vision and Jack? It's here on, as is everything you could possibly want in the form of short form visual entertainment. It sure hit me back on my coal-mining ass, I tell you.

If you are ignorant of its existence, then get ready for a treat. Heat Vision is a pilot that Ben Stiller shot for the Fox network in the summer of the Phantom Menace (which explains why Stiller goes at the said Lucas film in no uncertain terms in his intro) and its plot revolves around a motorbike with the voice of Owen Wilson and a renegade astronaut played by Jack Black. Nope, what I have just written is not a joke. It's a real TV pilot. Go on and watch it. And be amazed.

I'm only mentioning this on this here quiz blog because Jack Austin, played by Jack Black, is a man whose exposure to abnormal levels of solar radiation have turned him into someone "three times smarter than the smartest man in the world".

His catchphrase is "I know EVERYTHING!". Which is basically what Kevin Ashman's catchphrase should be (he may actually say this to himself every day; I think it's quite likely; I know I would), and which therefore makes Jack the greatest fictional quizplayer the world has ever seen if, that is, he didn't have to to outrun NASA hitmen led by the real Ron Silver and to outwit aliens played by the late bug-eyed Vincent Schiavelli saying things like: "All monkey sluts shall be absorbed."

Other fine lines include: "Someone removed the water from the six missing prostitutes?"

However, you can see why it didn't become a TV series and certainly never will. The show just doesn't look sustainable and is far too knowing for its own good. How long would it have been before we tired of Jack screaming: "Nooooo!". Granted that may have been a couple of seasons, but it would have got a little trying.

Nope, thirty minutes is enough to guarantee its legend.

102 Officially known as "fusil modele 1866", what military breechloading rifle was made famous as the arm of the French forces in the Franco-Prussian War?
103 Formally called the United States Rifle Caliber .30, Model 1903, what magazine-fed, bolt-action rifle was officially adopted as a service rifle on June 19, 1903 and used primarily during the first half or the 20th century
104 Developed by the eponymous chief technician at the Turin Army Arsenal in 1890 and called the Model 91 (M91), what series of Italian bolt-action military rifles wsa introduced in 1891 and was produced until 1945?
105 What was the British Army's standard bolt action, magazine-fed, repeating rifle from 1895 until 1956, and at over 17 million rifles is second only to the Russian Mosin-Nagant M91/30 in terms of the most numerous bolt-action rifles ever produced?
106 What August 4, 1870 was the first battle of the Franco-Prussian War, the French defeat allowing the Prussian army to move into France?
107 Which French poet and English teacher, whose first name was actually Etienne, was famed for his salons; occasional gatherings of intellectuals at his house who eventually became known as les Mardistes because they met on Tuesdays?
108 Which Italian sociologist and philosopher introduced an eponymous "efficiency" or "optimality" that has become an important notion in neoclassical economics with broad applications in game theory, engineering and the social sciences?
109 Which 1876 Delibes opera's title character is a chaste huntress nymph, loyal to Diana and the object of the simple shepherd boy Aminta's desire?
110 Best known for Chopiniana (later revised as Les Sylphides) and Le Carnaval among more than 70 ballets he staged in Europe and the US, who was invited by Diaghilev to become the choreographer of the Ballets Russes in Paris, but having done such works as The Firebird and Le Spectre de la Rose, broke off the collaboration in 1912 since he was jealous of Diaghilev's close relationship with Nijinsky?
111 What was the Kirov Opera and Ballet Theatre renamed in 1992?
112 Awarded the 2006 Polar Music Prize together with Led Zeppelin, which general director of the Mariinsky Theatre was named as the 15th Principal Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra, taking over from Sir Colin Davis as of January 1, 2007?
113 Who composed the ballet Ala and Lolly, which was rejected by Diaghilev and turned into the Scythian Suite?
114 Renowned for his easel painting and portraits of Filipp Malyavin (1899), Andrei Bely (1905) and Zinaida Gippius, which Russian artist and scene-and-costume designer was born Lev Rosenberg in modern day Belarus and took his name based on his maternal grandmother's family name on his first exhibition in 1889 and was appointed Artistic Director of the Ballet Russes?
115 Federico Garcia Lorca based which eponymous play of 1925 on the story of a popular liberal heroine who was discovered with a flag embroidered with the slogan "Equality, Freedom and Law" in a house-search in 1831 and was subsequently executed for conspiracy?
116 Which 1908 Maurice Maeterlinck play concerns the story of a girl called Mytyl and her brother Tyltyl and their search for happiness aided by the good fairy Berylune?
117 Which Italian electrical engineer (1871-1950) invented an eponymous system of measurement that was the precursor to the International System (IS)?
118 First published on July 2, 1914, what was the short-lived journal of the Vorticist movement that lasted only for only two editions?
119 Which artist's daughter "Kitty" Kathleen married Lucian Freud in 1948 and is the mother of two of his daughters?
120 Hugo Gernsback started the modern genre of science fiction by founding the first magazine devoted to the subject in 1926. What was it called?
121 Which Ukrainian-born physicist and cosmologist proposed the model in nuclear physics known as the "liquid drop" model which treats the nucleus as a drop of incompressible nuclear fluid?
122 What term describes the quantum-mechanical effect of transitioning through a classically-forbidden energy state, and which can be generalised to other types of classically-forbidden transitions as well?
123 Known for such aphorisms as "God is in the details", which architect's last work was the Neue Nationalgalerie art museum in Berlin?
124 What was the first name of Anne Frank's father?
125 Generally acknowledged as being the first composer to make music using magnetic tape, which French composer is noted as the inventor of musique concrete and was known for such pieces as 1959's Etudes aux Objets?
126 Also the capital of its Francisco Morazan departement, what capital city's name is derived from the Nahuatl for "silver hills"?
127 Which Argentine War of Independence hero died in 1850 while exiled in France in Boulogne-sur-Mer at the age of 77?
128 Also called Teton or Titonwon, which Native American tribe form one of a group of seven tribes of the Great Sioux Nation and are the westernmost of the three Sioux groups, occupying lands in both North and South Dakota; its seven branches or subtribes including the Brule, Blackfoot, Oglala and Two Kettles?
129 Derived from the Yiddish for "town", what term typically described a small town or village with a large Jewish population in pre-Holocaust Central and Eastern Europe?
130 Renowned painters of the Bolognese school during the late 16th century and early 17th century, what surname was shared by the painters Annibale, Agostino and Ludovico?
131 A lawyer at the Parlement of Toulouse, which French mathematician was the first to evaluate the integral of general power functions and used an ingenious trick to enable him to reduce this evaluation to summing geometric series, resulting in a formula that was a key hint to Newton and Leibniz when they independently developed the fundamental theorems of calculus?
132 Where in the human body is the globus pallidus or "pale body"?
133 Then aged 85, which actress returned to the screen for a final time as Marlo Manners in the 1978 film Sextette?
134 Which German world chess champion became notorious for holding on to his title for as long as possible, repeatedly evading title matches with such contenders as Jose Capablanca?
135 Thanks to FIDE taking control of the world championship in 1948, which world chess champion was the first title holder to be forced to play his strongest opponent every three years?
136 Which pioneering US recording artist among his many achievements served in WW2 as the bombardier (1st Lieutenant) on a B-29 Superfortress flying missions over Japan, had a huge country and pop crossover hit in 1950 duetting with Kay Starr on I'll Never Be Free and took over from bandleader Kay Kyser was host of the NBC TV quiz show College of Musical Knowledge when it returned briefly in 1954 after a four-year hiatus?
137 On February 10, 1962 U-2 pilot Gary Powers was swapped along with American student Frederic Pryor in a spy exchange for which Soviet KGB Colonel, aka Rudolf Abel, at the Glienicke bridge in Potsdam, Germany?
138 As well as being adapted into the animated film The Iron Giant, Ted Hughes's 1968 children's book The Iron Man was the basis for a rock opera of the same name by which musician?
139 Which 1960 Ted Hughes poem takes its name from the cave at the foot of Rome's Palatine Hill that, according to legend, was where Romulus and Remus were found by the lactating female wolf who suckled them until they were found by Faustulus?
140 Detailing the everyday life of a working farm, which 1979 verse work takes its name from the farm that Ted Hughes once ran with his father-in-law Jack Orchard near Winkleigh in Mid Devon?
141 Which Indian revolutionary and Hindu nationalist political leader coined the term Hindutva, used ever since to describe movements advocating Hindu nationalism, in his 1923 pamphlet Hindutva: Who is a Hindu?
142 Named after the city International Book Fair where it is awarded, what biennial literary award "for the Freedom of the Individual in Society" has first handed out to Bertrand Russell in 1963; recipients since including Jorge Luis Borges (1971), Graham Greene (1981) and Susan Sontag (2001)?
143 In which country was the Comision Nacional sobre la Desparicion de Personas (CONADEP) created in 1983?
144 Born Secondo Tranquilli, which Italian author, TB sufferer and founder member of the breakaway Italian Communist Party turned outspoken critic of Stalin was the author of the Abruzzo Trilogy, which included the works Fontamara (his 1931 debut), Bread and Wine/Vino E Pane (1937) and The Seed Beneath the Snow (1940); the first two of which the US Army printed unauthorised versions of and distributed to the native population during the liberation of Italy in 1943?
145 What is South African-born Gordon Murray famed for designing?
146 Which British figure skater won gold in the Men's singles at the 1980 Winter Olympics?
147 Born in Gainsville, Florida in 1966, which professional skateboarder is widely considered to be the most influential skateboarder in the history of the sport, with the majority of the ollie and flip tricks he invented during the 80s - the flatground ollie, the street ollie, the Kickflip, the 360 flip and the Heelflip - still being regularly done in modern vertical and street skateboarding?
148 Kidnapped at the age of ten by Hessian soldiery and thus exposed to military life in the Thirty Years War, the German author Hans Jakob Christoffel von Grimmelshausen is best known for publishing which classic autobiographical Robinson Crusoe-style picaresque novel in 1668 that begins with the hero's childhood and describes his stirring adventures during the aforementioned conflict?
149 Which 17th century Dutch physician and anatomist is best known for having realised the function of the ovarian follicle, which was named in his honour although others such as Fallopius had noticed it previously?
150 Which Russian poet (1703-1768) helped lay the foundations of classical Russian literature with such works as 1735's "A new and brief way for composing of Russian verses", which discussed for the first time in Russian literature such poetic genres as the sonnet, the rondeau, the madrigal and the ode, and 1748's "A Conversation on Orthography", the first study of the phonetic structure of the Russian language?
151 Which 19th century French novelist turned out potboiler historical novels in the manner of Sir Walter Scott, on commission from publishers, but only under pseudonyms, for instance, "Horace de Saint-Aubin", who wrote the scandalous Vicaire des Ardennes (1822), which was banned for its depicition of pseudo-incestuous relations and of a married priest?
152 Which Irish multiskilled scientist, specialising in the microscopic and telescopic fields, died on August 31, 1869, after falling under the wheels of an experimental steam car built by her cousins, an event that may make her the first ever motor vehicle accident victim?
153 What was the 18-year-old bricklayer Peter Fechter trying to do on August 17, 1962, as he was shot dead?
154 Raised in the "Black Pearl" section of the Carrollton neighborhood of New Orleans, which gospel singer moved to Chicago in 1927 where she sang with the The Johnson Brothers, before beginning her solo career recording for Decca in 1937 and having her first major US and European hit with Move on up a Little Higher in 1948?
155 Which 1981 Disney animated film's title characters go by the names Tod and Cooper?
156 In Roman mythology, which god of keys, doors and livestock protected the warehouses where grain was stored and had his festival on August 17, when keys were thrown into a fire for good luck in a very solemn and lugubrious manner?
157 Which US President inaugurated the new transatlantic telegraph cable on August 16, 1858, by exchanging greetings with Queen Victoria?
158 Which August 1869 battle of the War of the Triple Alliance saw a Paraguayan battalion made up of children massacred by the Brazilian Army?
159 Which Cleveland Indian was hit in the head by a fastball thrown by Carl Mays of the New York Yankees in August 20 and died the next day? To date he is the only player to die from injuries sustained in a Major League Baseball game.
160 Made by Ub Iwerks, what 1930 cartoon was the first ever colour sound cartoon to be made?
161 A police raid on Spahn Ranch on August 16, 1969 resulted in the arrest of which infamous figure?
162 Which French essayist and moralist (1645-1696) is best known for his Caracteres, which he published in 1688 and at once, as Nicolas de Malezieu had predicted brought him "biens des lecteurs et bien des ennemis" (many readers and many enemies) due to its attacks on many men and women of letters and of society, all of whom were identifiable by manuscript "keys" compiled by scribblers of the day?
163 Also the author of Principles of Physiological Psychology (1874) one of the most important works in the history of psychology, which widely acknowledged founder of experimental psychology and cognitive psychology died in 1920 having completed his ten-volume masterwork Volkerspsychologie/Social psychology?
164 Which prolific artist and pioneer in the art of comic strips and animation is best known for creating the newspaper comic strip Little Nemo in Slumberland, which ran from 1905 to 1914, and the animated cartoon Gertie the Dinosaur, which he created in 1914?
165 Which Hampshire cricketer and Atsenal footballer set the club record for goals scored in a season in 1933-4, when he notched up 42 goals in 41 league games, as well as two more in the FA Cup and Charity Shield?
166 Which legendary jazz pianist led a trio during at the turn of the 1960s with bassist Scott LaFaro and drummer Paul Motian that recorded four albums, including Portrait in Jazz (1959) and Waltz for Debby (1961) and after LaFaro's tragic death in a car crash recorded the Grammy-winning LP, Conservations With Myself, his first solo album for Verve Records in 1963?
167 Nicknamed Der Boss, which German football player became a national hero for scoring the winning goal against Hungary (3-2) in the final game of the 1954 World Cup?
168 What term was coined by food critics Henri Gault and Christian Milleau in 1972 to describe the elegant and simple cooking style developed by the students of Fernand Point, particularly the brothers Jean and Pierre Troisgros, Paul Bocuse and Michel Guerard?
169 September 14, 326 is the traditional date ascribed to Helena of Constantinople's discovery of what sacred object?
170 Eventually murdered while haranguing a mob on the marketplace, which Amalfi fisherman was the leader of the 1647 revolt against Spanish rule in Naples
171 What was the world's first aircraft to be propelled by a liquird-fuelled rocket, making its first powered flight on July 29, 1930 with Erich Warsitz at the controls?
172 Made by the French Crown jeweller Laurent Ronde, what is the sole surviving crown from the ancien regime among the French Crown Jewels, though it no longer contains the famous Regent diamond?
173 Which Roman Catholic order of monks was founded in the area of Cerfroid, some 80km northeast of Paris, at the end of the 12th century by St John de Matha; the order and its Rule of Life being given church approval by Pope Innocent III with his December 17, 1198 letter Operante divine dispositionis clementia?
174 Designed to be a celebration of Henry VIII's power and grandeur and to rival Francis I's Chambord, Building work began on which Tudor royal palace on the location of Cuddington, near Epsom was begun on April 22, 1538?
175 What in Sweden is the Allsvenskan, in Norway the Tippeligaen, in Iceland the Urvalsdeild Karla, and in Iceland the Veikkausliiga?

Interlude 2
Behold! An article about a journalist failing to get on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in the US. She fails the audition process, probably on that thing called "personality" or "pizzazz". Or as is more likely: because she didn't quite fit into the neat little contestant boxes the show wanted.

It's lucky that in this country it depends on how willing you are to have a gigantic phone bill to become a contestant. Now that's real democracy. I saw the show a few times whilst I was in the States at the beginning of the year and it seemed a bit too placid. Perfect mid-morning entertainment, it most certainly was, but you did get the feeling it had lost some of its freniticism with the Fastest Finger First round. Meredith Vieira was a good host, but like I said, it seemed like the show was on Xanax. I've also come to the conclusion that some of the audience are "Flat daddies."

One day I will write down every show I have applied for and my subsequent failure to get on them. Hilarious, painful memories that have merged into one block of mild resentment. At the moment I can't be arsed.

Anyway, the aforementioned Associated Press article is about quiz show contestants so you really must read it shouldn't you?

(That's another idea: a blog entitled "How I Failed To Get On That Bloody TV Show ... Bastards")

176 Which Greek sculptor is credited with erecting The Colossus of Rhodes between 292BC and 280BC?
177 The veteran Walter Botts famously posed for which drawing?
178 Which ancient civilisation created cuneiform script?
179 What term for a superclass of fish describes a) cartilaginous fish b) skeletal fish c) jawless fish?
180 Considered to be his masterwork, the only extant work of which Roman rhetorician (c. AD35-95) is a 12-volume textbook on rhetoric entitled Institutio Oratoria?
181 Fought on May 11, 1745 near Tournai in modern day Belgium, what battle of the War of Austrian Succession saw forces led by Marshal Maurice de Saxe defeat the Duke of Cumberland in what is considered by some to be the most memorable French victory during that conflict?
182 Officially opened on November 25, 1986, what combined bridge-viaduct connects Khobar in Saudi Arabia with the island nation of Bahrain?
183 The IG Farben building in Frankfurt, headquarters for the highly controversial research projects that led to the development of explosives and Zyklon B before WW2 and the Supreme Allied Command thereafter, was designed by which architect between 1928-30?
184 What sport do the Melbourne Phoenix play?
185 Which renowned Russian-American photographer, best known for capturing Jewish culture in Central and Eastern Europe before the Holocaust, published such works as Polish Jews: A Pictorial Record (1947), Die Farshvundene Velt: Idishe shtet, Idishe mentshn/The Vanished World: Jewish Cities, Jewish People (1947) and Spider, Egg and Microcosm: Three Men and Three Worlds of Science (1955)?
186 Once used by the local university as an anatomical theatre, the Orthodox Cathedral of the Theotokos is in which European capital?
187 Arriving in New Amsterdam on August 22, 1654, who was the first Jewish immigrant to arrive in what is later the US?
188 The 1875 Treaty of St Petersburg between Japan and Russia provided for the exchange of what large elongated island in the north Pacific - currently, the largest of the Russian Federation - for the Kuril Islands?
189 Japan illicitly annexed Korea in 1910, and abolished the name Korea in favour of which ancient name?
190 What infamous jail was closed on August 22, 1953?
191 Pope Paul IV's arrival in which city on August 22, 1968 marked the first visit of a pope to a Latin American country?
192 Which country was expelled from the IOC for its racist policies on August 22, 1972?
193 Issued on August 22, 1988, what was the significance of the Australian coin which was called the koala?
194 Who struck out Rickey Henderson on August 22, 1989 to become the first Major League Baseball pitcher to record 5000 strikeouts?
195 Gaining the favour of Cardinal Richelieu by his opposition to Corneille, which French dramatist and poet wrote a letter to the Academie francaise criticising Corneille's Le Cid, with his play L'Amour tyrannique (1640) being patronised by the cardinal as a result?
196 Which Yorkshire-born locksmith invented the hydraulic press, a machine for automatically printing banknotes with sequential serial numbers and the beer pump?
197 Named the "Lord Chancellor", the first bench micrometer that was capable of measuring to one ten thousandth of an inch was invented by which machine tool-maker and wheelwright in the Royal Engineer who set up his own precision workshop just off Oxford Street?
198 Leopold Zunz and Samuel David Luzutto were proponents of which 19th century movement premised on the critical investigation of Jewish literature and culture, including rabbinic literature, using scientific methods to analyse the origins of Jewish traditions?
199 Now displayed in Abbot Hall in Marblehead, Massachusetts, The Spirit of '76 (previously known as Yankee Doodle, c.1875) is the most famous work of which Ohio-born American artist?
200 Milan I was king of which country from 1882-1889?
201 Which German invented an eponymous "disk", a fundamental component in mechanical television, that is a mechanical, geometrically operating image scanning device, on Christmas Eve 1883 when he sat alone at home with an oil lamp and conceived the idea to use a spiral-perforated disk to divide a picture into a mosaic of points and lines?
202 Whose major orchestral works include three loosely linked Images pour orchestre (1905-11), the largest of which, Iberia, is itself a triptych?
203 First poposed by the Dutch chemist JH van't Hoff in 1884, which simple but remarkably accurate, formula for the temperature dependence of a chemical reaction rate, is named after the chemist who provided a physical justification and interpretation for it five years later?
204 Active in the USSR from 1917 to 1925 and opposed by Trotsky, which movement aimed to provide the foundations for a truly proletarian art devoid of bourgeois influence and had for its main theoretician Alexander Bogdanov and included such influential figures as Anatoli V Lunarchsky and Aleksei Gastev?
205 From the Sanskrit and Puli, what Buddhist term describes one of many different types of non-human beings who share the characteristis of being more powerful, longer-lived and in general, living more contentedly than the average human being; synonyms in other languages including Iha (Tibetan), tian (Chinese) and Japanese (ten)?
206 Coined by the medieval Scholastics to describe a concept of "substance" they encountered whilst translating Aristotle, what philosophical term refers to the essential "whatness" of a thing, or the ultimate substance of which that thing is made?
207 Called by the Jose Ortega y Gasset "the first man of philosophical paradise", which German philosopher extended the phenomonological method to include a reduction of the scientific method too, thus questioning the idea of Edmund Husserl that phenomological philosophy should be pursued as a rigorous science and unwittingly influenced Catholic circles to this day including his student Edith Stein and Pope John Paul II who wrote his Habilitation on his philosophy? Suppressed by the Nazis five years after his death, he also advocated an international university to be set up in Switzerland and married Marit Furtwaengler, sister of the noted conductor, in 1912.
208 Born in a light-skinned Creole of colour family in New Orleans in 1880, which American cartoonist is best known for his comic strip Krazy Kat?
209 The subject of a Modigliani painting with his wife Berthe, which Lithuanian-born Jewish Cubist sculptor experimented in the 1920s with abstract forms he called transparent sculptures is best known for such works as Bather (1916-17), Reclining Nude with Guitar (1928), Prometheus Strangling the Vulture (1944) and the bronze Birth of the Muses (1944-50), in memory of Jerome Wiesner, the science advisor to Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy?
210 Though born in the West End district of Long Branch, New Jersey, where her parents had a summer home, which writer liked to say that her parents got her back to their Manhattan apartment shortly after Labor Day, so she could be called a true New Yorker?
211 Which German philosopher (1775-1854), often made the midpoint in the development of German Idealism between his mentor Fichte and Hegel, his erstwhile mentor and friend, argued in his work Naturalphilosophie that Nature must not be conceived as merely abstract limit to the infinite striving of spirit (as it was by Fichte), as a mere series of necessary thoughts for mind?
212 Coupled with "Sally May" on its US release on November 3, 1948, Boogie Chillen began the recording career of which blues musician?
213 First published in 1957, which semi-autobiographical novel by Ray Bradbury about a 12-year-old boy called Douglas Spaulding takes place in the summer of 1928 in the fictional town of Green Town, Illinois (a pseudonym for his childhood home of Waukegan) and has a title that is a metaphor for packing the joys of summer into a single bottle?
214 Which Santos and Corinthians footballer, who was selected to be part of his country's team in four straight World Cups (1954-66), was considered the best goalkeeper in Brazilian football history prior to the emergence of Dida?
215 Postcards, a novel about the life and travels of Loyal Blood across the American West, was the first novel from which Pulitzer Prize-winning writer?
216 Who played Shirley Feeney opposite to Penny Marshall as Laverne De Fazio in the US sitcom Laverne & Shirley?
217 Which male tennis player won three of the four Grand Slam events in 1988?
218 Tainted by his non-Roman background and Arian religion in the eyes of imperial courtiers, which high-ranking general and Patrician of the Western Roman Empire was brought down by such rumours as his planned assassination of the Rufinus, that he invited the Barbarians into Gaul in 206 and planned to place his son Eucherius on the imperial throne and was taken into captivity at Ravenna and executed on August 22, 408?
219 Commonly regarded as the greatest Polish poet prior to the 19th century, which Polish Renaissance figure (1530-1584) established poetic patterns that would become integral to Polish literary language and is known for such works as The Dismissal of the Grecian Envoys/Odprawa postow greckrich (1578) and Treny/Threnodies (1580), which was translated into English in 1995 by Stanislaw Baranczak and Seamus Heaney as Laments?
220 Written during the 12th and early 13th centuries, what compilation of the medieval music known as organum is attributed to masters of the Notre Dame school of music, most notably Leonin and his successor Perotin?
221 Sometimes used more loosely to refer to all European music of the 14th century, what two-word Latin term describes the stylistic period in music of the Late Middle Ages, centred in France, which encompassed the period from the publication of the Roman de Fauvel (1310 and 1314) until the death of Machaut?
222 Born in Norton, Leicestershire in 1667(-1752), which Arian-influenced divine and mathematician is probably best known for his translation of Josephus's Antiquities of the Jews and his 1696 book A New Theory of the Earth, in which he presented a description of the divine creation of the Earth and a posited global flood?
223 Which painter won the Prix de Rome in 1752 with Jeroboam sacrificing to the Idols and later gained renown with the tender beauty of his colour and the virtuosity of his facile brushwork in works like Serment d'amour/Love Vow, Le Verrou/The Bolt and Le Chemisee enlevee/The Shirt Withdrawn, as well as his decorations for the apartments of Mme du Barry and the dancer Marie Guimard?
224 Also known for poems inspired by his love for the wife of a friend Sophie von Lowenthal, which Austrian poet published his epic Savonarola in 1837, in which freedom from political and intellectual tryanny is insisted upon as essential to Christianity but eventually died in the asylum at Oberdobling near Vienna in 1855?
225 One of the most prominent representatives of Czech Realism and a member of "the May school", which journalist, writer and poet's most memorable prose work is the 1877 short story collection Providky malostranske, which was translated into English as Tales of the Little Quarter by mystery writer Ellis Peters in 1957?
226 Which English physicist, also noted for his work in trhe development of the wireless telegraph, gave the Royal Institution lectures, The Work of Hertz and Some of His Successors in which he coined the term "coherer" (as in the first device used to detect radio signals) and gained the "syntonic" (or tuning) patent from the US Patent Office?
227 Father of the British academic Lisa Jardine, which Polish-English mathematician is best known for presenting the BBC TV documentary series, The Ascent of Man?
228 Styled a "critic of genius" by Sir Frank Kermode, which English literary critic and poet wrote his first major work, 1930's Seven Types of Ambiguity, when he was not yet 22?
229 The British painter and fabric designer Nancy Nicholson married which poet in 1918, thouh the marriage eventually broke down and he took up with the US poet Laura Riding?
230 The Swiss-born Arnold Gerschwiler was a world renowned coach in which sport?
231 Particularly noted for his tape music, which French composer's 1970 work Presque rien No.1 "Le Lever du jour au bord de la mer" is seen as a classic of its kind and involved him taking a day-long recording of environmental sounds at a Yugoslavian beach which he edited into a 21-minute piece?
232 Sometimes mistakenly described as Muhammad's horse, which creature, according to Islamic tradition, carried Muhammad from Earth to heaven and back during the Isra and Miraj or Night Journey?
233 The American Jesse Douglas and Finn Lars Ahlfors were the first recipients of which award in 1936?
234 What plant with the scientific name Arabidopsis thaliana was one of the model organisms used for studying plant biology and was the first plant to have its entire genome sequenced?
235 What town in Perugia is best known for its palio, the Corsa dei Ceri, a spectacular race held every year on May 15, in which three teams, devoted to the town's patron saint Gubaldo, S. Giorgio and S. Antonio run up much of the mountain from the main square in front of the Palazzo dei Consoli to the basilica of S. Ubaldo?
236 Mastro Giorgio Andreoli or Mastro Giorgio is considered to be the most important figure of which field of the arts in the Italian Renaissance?
237 Inhabitants of which Belgian city are nicknamed Maneblussers, meaning "Moon Extinguishers", for their heroic attempt to fight the fire high up in the Saint-Rumbolds Tower - where the Gothic windows had shown the flaring of only the moon between the clouds - since 1687?
238 Which people, descended from Nigerian slaves shipwrecked on Saint Vincent mixed with Carib islanders, later moved to Central America and are now most numerous in Belize, are renowned for a style of music and dance that combins African and indigenous elements?
239 Featuring headdresses worn by men who masquerade as women to placate the elder women of the tribe, which annual festival celebrates the wisdom of mothers and female elders among the Yoruba people during the dry season (March-May) in southwest Nigeria and southeast Benin?
240 Now an annual festival held before Lent and lasting for ten days, what carnival in Bolivia takes its name from a ceremonial site used during the pre-Columbarian era that was refounded by the Spanish in 1606 and is now a Christian celebration wherein ancient Andrea gods were recast as saints and has the entrada, a 4km procession of more than 28,000 dancers and 10,000 musicians that lasts for more than 20 continuous hours, as its most important event?

Interlude 3
I had much interest in the most recent Perrier comedy awards shortlist (no way am I going to call it the if.comeddies prize or whatever its silly name is). The appearance of Russell Howard and Marek Larwood (as part of mad sketch ensemble We Are Klang) meant that I had met two of the five nominees. This was because I and a three other quizzers did a Green Inc pilot with them a few months ago for the Channel 4's vacant morning slot.
As is the way of the pilot, nothing came of it because Channel 4 decided to stick with US comedy repeats like Everybody Loves Raymond (I would have preferred Everybody Loves Hypnotoad to be honest) and leave the morning a barren wasteland where the likes of Will and Grace roam with inane jokes and horrible set-ups. Although, MediaGuardian said on August 28 that "Green Inc is now developing its interactive live comedy show idea for an evening slot for Channel 4", so we'll see what happens.
However, I would like to say that Russell and Marek were brilliant in their presenting and sidekick roles and deserve to have television moguls chuck sizeable sums at them to work their comedic chops on a truly national platform. Perhaps, the Edinburgh recognition may help them do so. Even if Russell was nicking my material about "how in hell do you decide who wins a food fight?" by the end of our time together by the end. I did stifle the urge to shout out "Thief!" whilst we were recording, though it naturally sounded a lot better coming out of his mouth than my mumbly face.

Also, I saw the eventual If.comedies (sic) winner Phil Nicol at uni once and must say he probably deserved it. The guy is a genius and everyone should see his subtle variations on the song I'm the Only Gay Eskimo. The Billy Bragg rendition was especially life affirming and poignant.

Right, we're almost done with the questions...

241 The oldest extant form of Chinese opera, what form of opera evolved from Kunshan melody and dominated Chinese theatre from the 16th to 18th centuries and utilises a stock cast of two leads, one male and one female, an old man and a number of comic roles?
242 Dating back to the 16th century, the Brotherhood of the Holy Spirit of the Congos of Villa Mella is an organisation of musicians who specialise in the conga drums and which has become an essential part of which country's culture?
243 What name is given to a kind of transverse trumpet as well as the performances which utilise them and the song and dance among the Tagbana people of the Ivory Coast?
244 Noh and the Kyogen are the two different types of which form of theatre, which is the primary form of Japanese theatre today?
245 The Jamaa el Fina square has been a symbol of which African city since its founding in the 11th century?
246 Which Asian country is home to the Ifugao community, known for the ancient hudhud chants that date back from at least the 7th century, there being more than 200 chants in total, each composed of 40 episodes, with only one melody for all of the verses?
247 The "Old Believers" in the 16th century orthodox cult, which community settled in their remote modern home in the Transbaikal region under Catherine the Great and have retained many archaic elements of their culture, including their South Russian dialect?
248 Which Confucian shrine in Seoul is home to an annual rite performed on the first Sunday in May by descendants of the Korean royal family?
249 Long part of a cultural crossroads and one of the oldest inhabited areas in the world, the region of Boysun is in which country?
250 Characterised by a high degree of both structure and improvisation, the form of classical music known as mugam is traditionally played by instruments such as the daf (a large tambourine), the kamancha (a four-stringed spiked fiddle) and the tar (an 11-stringed long-necked lute) at wedding feasts and intimate gatherings called majles in which country?
251 Which group of indigenous Bolivians found in the Bautista Saavedra region are renowned for ancient medical techniques, which include a number of ceremonies that form the basis for the local economy and culture, and their exclusively male priest doctors who are found throughout South America?
252 Which country's royal ballet, part of traditions for more than a millennium, utilises four stock characters: Sva the monkey, Yeak the giant, Neang the woman and Neayrong the man?
253 The Oriente province of Cuba is most well known for what fusion of Dahomean West African music and French musical styles, that is led by a lead singer called a compose?
254 The only epic of its kind to continue to be performed in its traditional form, what ancient poem tells the story of a Bedouin tribe who migrated from the Arabian peninsula to North Africa in the 10th century and is performed by poets who sing while playing percussion of a two-stringed spike fiddle called the rabab to celebrated circumcision ceremonies and weddings?
255 Wayang Puppet Theatre originated on which island?
256 What rural town in Jamaica is inhabited by the descendants of Maroons, runaway slaves who escaped into the interior Blue and Johncrow mountains, and who waged war against the British colonialists, who eventually signed a treaty recognising the Maroons' autonomy in 1739 and are known for such traditions as the Kromanti Play?
257 Known for performing such works as the Manas trilogy (Manas, Semetey and Seitek) accompanied by a three-stringed lute called the komuz, the akyns are the epic storytellers of which people?
258 The Zafimaniry community is the last on which island to retain knowledge about traditional woodcraft which was once widespread?
259 What two-word name is given to the two-stringed horse head fiddle that has been part of Mongolian culture dating back to at least the 13th century Mongol Empire?
260 The lakalaka tradition, which includes music, dance and oratory and is performed at coronations and anniversaries of the constitution, belongs to which Pacific nation?
261 Which group of mystic minstrels from the Bengal region, now divided into Bangladesh and West Bengal, are thought to have been influenced greatly by the Hindu tantric sect of the Kartabhajas and travel in search of the internal ideal, Maner Manush (Man of the Heart)?
262 From the Malay for "dagger", what distinctive, asymmetrical dagger, indigenous to Malaysia, Indonesia and the southern Philippines, is considered to be both a weapon and a spiritual object with an essence or presence that can possess good or bad luck?
263 The Pansori Epic Chant, a kind of performance that uses a vocalist-storyteller accompanied by drum and can last more than eight hours, originated in the southwest of which country in the 17th century?
264 Including such songs as Coffee in a Cardboard Cup, I Don't Remember You, The Grass is Always Greener and Mr Cellophane, And The World Goes Round is a revue of which songwriting duo's work?
265 Established in 1978, Theodore Roosevelt National Park is in which US state?
266 What was the "Monte Carlo trolley"?
267 Jacob Wilson Parrot was the first recipient of which award?
268 What are you suffering from if you have "fasciculations"?
269 What term meaning "Warring States period" described the period of social upheaval and constant military conflict in Japan that lasted roughly from the mid-15th century to the early 17th century?
270 What set of social economic rights and obligations was established by the Hojo clan, a family of regents of the Kamakura shogunate, in 1232?
271 Literally "single-minded leagues", what mobs of peasant farmers, monks, Shinto priests and local nobles rose up against samurai rule in the 15th and 16th centuries?
272 Generally regarded as the last major conflict of the Warring States period and popularly known as the Realm Divide, what victory by the forces of Tokugawa Ieyasu on September 15, 1600 marked the end of the Toyotomi reign?
273 Depicted along with his master in a 1780 painting by John Trumbull, which valet (c.1750-1828) was the only one of George Washington's slaves to be freed outright by him in his will?
274 Myrton Wagtail is the lead singer of which rock band in the Harry Potter series?
275 Voiced by Mel Blanc, which enemy of Bugs Bunny made his debut in 1948's Haredevil Hare?
276 Kilinux or Klnx is a computer project to create an operating system in which language?
277 Which (1970-72) BBC TV series dealt with a group of scientists led by Doctor Spencer Quist (played by John Paul), who work for the government in investigating and combating new ecological and technological dangers to mankind?
278 What two-word name is given to a tendency within French foreign policy in Africa giving importance to asserting French influence in areas which may be becoming susceptible to British influence?
279 In a contract of carriage, what term describes a person sending a shipment to be delivered whether by land, sea or air, though some national postal carriers use "sender"?
280 First taking place in Pasay City in Manila from December 26 to December 30, 2005, what annual competition amongst the most prestigious companies in the world is the largest international fireworks competition?
281 The Brazilians Marcelo Branco and Gabriel Chagas are famous names in which game?
282 What nuclear medicine tomographic imaging technique using gamma rays is known by the acronym SPECT?
283 Rising on Axe Edge Moor near Buxton and flowing south to its confluence with the River Trent near Burton upon Trent, what principal river of the southwestern Peak District forms the boundary between Derbyshire and Staffordshire for most of its way and is a famous trout stream: Charles Cotton's Fishing House, which was the inspiration for Walton's The Compleat Angler, stands in the woods by the river near Hartington?
284 Probably the oldest book in the German language, what manuscript dictionary of 3.670 synonyms from Latin to Old High German dates from 765-775 is named after the first entry called "modest, humble" and survives in one copy in the library of the Abbey of St Gallen in Switzerland?
285 Which Bishop and member of the Benedictine order (c.723-784) is often counted as the first named author in German and is sometimes credited with writing the above-mentioned bilingual vocabulary?
286 In what activity or pastime would you use the techniques known as dry-tooling and front pointing?
287 Tidewater, plateau, valley and temperate are all types of what geographical feature?
288 John William Strutt predicted the existence of surface waves now named after him and gave his name to the scattering of light or other electromagnetic radiation by particles much smaller than the wavelength of light. By what title was he better known?
289 Which Italian city was first settled by Greek sailors from Rhodos, who founded in the Megaride islet - the modern Castel dell'Ovo (Castle of the Egg) - and in the neighbouring hill of Pizzofalcone, the merchant colony of Parthenope?
290 Whose first goal for his club, scored in December 2000 in a 3-3 draw away to Bradford City, was scored in ten seconds, thus setting a Premier League record?
291 Which visually distinctive trombone was popularised in military bands in France between 1810-1845 which subsequently faded into obscurity, but not before Berlioz scored for the instrument in the Kyrie and Resurrexit of his Messe solennelle of 1824?
292 What English play, first produced in 1916, was the basis for the 1966 Broadway musical Walking Happy, which starred Norman Wisdom as Will Mossop?
293 Lake Fitri is one of two lakes in which African country?
294 What are the two living species of Alligator?
295 First performed in 1838, which tragic drama by Victor Hugo takes place in 17th century during the reign of Charles II and took its title from the commoner who dares to love the Queen?
296 Referred to by John Irving in The World According to Garp, which Austrian dramatic poet (1791-1872) made the first representation of his gruesome fate-tragedy Die Ahnfrau in 1817 and depicted Jason's quest for the Fleece in Die Argonauten, part of the 1821 Das goldene Vlies trilogy that also included Der Gastfreund and Medea, but failed with his only comedy Weh dem, der lugt (1838)? He is honoured in Austra in the name of a pastry.
297 The order of about 600 insect species known as Mecoptera (Greek for "long wings") are sometimes called what, after their largest non-flea family, Panorpidae, in which the males have enlarged genitals that look similar to stingers from a certain creature?
298 Literally Clear and Bright Festival, what traditional Chinese holiday happens on the 104th day after the winter solstice - usually on April 5 of the Gregorian calendar - and sees people burn paper gifts for the departed?
299 Poppy milk or aguonu pienas is a traditional drink or soup served as one of the 12-dishes Christmas Eve Supper Kucios in which country?
300 Later made into a cult film, Diva is a 1979 Paris-set crime novel by which French writer, whose real name is Daniel Odier?

Answers to Q1-101
1 Tadeusz Kantor 2 Jose Placido Domingo Embil 3 Galen or Claudius Galenus of Pergamum (129-200AD) 4 Pfizer (the partner being Charles Pfizer) 5 Computer science 6 Gelsenkirchen 7 Cascada 8 David Guetta 9 The Green Lady, (properly known as The Chinese Girl) 10 PamPush 11 Bruce Fierstein 12 Kander & Ebb 13 Sir Frank Kermode 14 Obesity 15 Cosmic inflation 16 Vikram Chandra 17 Norman Foster 18 Sea Peoples 19 Tinamou 20 Francis Picabia (full name Francis-Marie Martinez Picabia) 21 Section d'Or or The Golden Section 22 Towton 23 David Alfaro Siqueiros 24 Jose Clemente Orozco 25 Hipparchus 26 Lana Turner 27 Golden League 28 Sanya Richards 29 Medium 30 La Malinche aka Dona Marina or Malintzin (the expression being Malinchismo) 31 Camara Laye 32 Vistula 33 Universities 34 Tenderloin 35 Mathew Street Festival in Liverpool 36 Leeds West Indian Carnival 37 The Medina 38 Paladar 39 Leptis Magna 40 Aaron 41 Yemen 42 Gladys Mitchell 43 Confabulation 44 Sergei Korolev or Sergey Korolyov 45 Zhuangzi 46 Elche or Elx 47 Shakira's Hips Don't Lie 48 British Security Coordination 49 Red Brigades 50 Oyagi 51 Samoa 52 The Flounder 53 Rebus 54 The Georg Buchner Prize 55 Uwe Johnson 56 Jazz 57 Il servitore di due padroni or The Servant of Two Masters 58 Nixon 59 Heinrich von Kleist 60 Michael Kohlhaas 61 Postcards 62 Classical dance or mixture of dance and pantomime 63 Aliyah 64 Yerida 65 Pret a Manger 66 Cloak of invisibility 67 Cubist sculpture 68 Kiko 69 Belton House 70 David 71 1888 72 Titus (later emperor 79-81) 73 Battle of Orsha 74 The Tumu Crisis or Battle of Tumu Fortress 75 Burwell 76 Treaty of San Francisco 77 The Man Trap 78 Genesis 79 Richard I 80 Marin Mersenne 81 Battle of Rocroi 82 The Felibrige 83 The Bells of Zlonice 84 Harry Hillman 85 Jean-Louis Barrault 86 Denys Lasdun 87 European Investment Bank 88 The Kingston Trio 89 The Seagull 90 Classic FM 91 Li Ning 92 Oklahoma City 93 Gloucester 94 Carlo Gesualdo 95 Conservation of mass 96 Lewis structure (as in GN Lewis) 97 Bose-Einstein condensate 98 Slovakia 99 Battle of Neville's Cross 100 William Rowan Hamilton as in Hamiltonian mechanics 101 Panama

Answers to 102-175
102 The chassepot 103 Springfield M1903 or '03 Springfield 104 Carcano or Mannlicher-Carcano 105 Lee-Enfield 106 Battle of Wissembourg 107 Stephane Mallarme 108 Vilfredo Pareto 109 Sylvia 110 Michel Fokine 111 Mariinsky Theatre 112 Valery Gergiev 113 Sergei Prokofiev 114 Leon Bakst 115 Mariana Pineda (Mariana de Pineda) 116 L'Oiseau Bleu/The Blue Bird (as in The Blue Bird of Happiness) 117 Giovanni Giorgi 118 BLAST 119 Jacob Epstein 120 Amazing Stories 121 George Gamow 122 Tunnelling or Quantum tunnelling 123 Mies van der Rohe 124 Otto (Heinrich Frank) 125 Pierre Schaeffer 126 Tegucigalpa 127 Jose de San Martin 128 Lakota 129 Shtetl (pl. shtetlach) 130 Caracci 131 Pierre de Fermat 132 (A sub-cortical structure in the) Brain 133 Mae West 134 Emanuel Lasker 135 Mikhail Botvinnik 136 Tennessee Ernie Ford (real name Ernest Jennings Ford) 137 Vilyam Fisher 138 Pete Townshend 139 Lupercal 140 Moortown Diary 141 Vinayak Damodar Savarkar 142 Jerusalem Prize 143 Argentina (National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons) 144 Ignazio Silone 145 Formula 1 race cars (and the McLaren F1 roadcar) 146 Robin Cousins 147 (Johnny) Rodney Mullen 148 Der abenteuerliche Simplicissimus (Teutsch), also known in English as The Adventurous Simplex 149 Regnier de Graaf (Graafian follicle) 150 Vasily Trediakovsky 151 Honore de Balzac 152 Mary Ward 153 Cross the Berlin Wall 154 Mahalia Jackson 155 The Fox and the Hound 156 Portunes (festival: Portunalia) 157 James Buchanan 158 Battle of Acosta Nu 159 Ray Chapman 160 Fiddlesticks 161 Charles Manson 162 Jean de La Bruyere 163 Wilhelm Wundt 164 Winsor McCay 165 Ted Drake 166 Bill Evans 167 Helmut Rahn 168 Nouvelle Cuisine 169 True Cross 170 Masaniello (an abbreviation of Tommaso Aniello) 171 Heinkel He 176 172 Crown of Louis XV 173 The Trinitarians or The Order of the Holy Trinity 174 Nonsuch Palace 175 Top football divisions in the country

Answers to Q176-240
176 Chares of Lindos 177 Uncle Sam (by James Montgomery Flagg) 178 Sumerians 179 a) Chondrichthyes b) Osteichthyes c) Agnatha 180 Quintiian 181 Battle of Fontenoy 182 King Fahd Causeway 183 Hans Poelzig 184 Netball 185 Roman Vishniac 186 Vilnius 187 Jacob Barsimson 188 Sakhalin 189 Joseon 190 Devil's Island 191 Bogota 192 Rhodesia 193 The first platinum coin 194 Nolan Ryan 195 Georges de Scudery 196 Joseph Bramah 197 Henry Maudslay 198 Wissenschaft des Judentums ("the scientific investigation of Judaism") 199 Archibald MacNeal Willard 200 Serbia 201 Paul Nipkow (as in the Nipkow disk) 202 Debussy 203 The Arrhenius equation (as in Svante Arrhenius) 204 Proletkult (a portmanteau of "proletarskaya kultura" meaning "proletarian culture") 205 Devas 206 Quidditas 207 Max Scheler 208 George Herriman 209 Jacques Lipchitz 210 Dorothy Parker 211 Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling 212 John Lee Hooker 213 Dandelion Wine 214 Gilmar (dos Santos Neves) 215 E Annie Proulx 216 Cindy Williams 217 Mats Wilander 218 Flavius Stilicho or Stilicho 219 Jan Kochanowski 220 Magnus Liber or Magnus Liber Organi (Latin for "Great Book of Organum") or Magnus liber organi de graduali et antiphonario pro servitio divino 221 Ars nova 222 William Whiston 223 Jean-Honore Fragonard 224 Nikolaus Lenau 225 Jan Neruda 226 Sir Oliver Joseph Lodge 227 Jacob Bronowski 228 William Empson 229 Robert Graves 230 Figure skating 231 Luc Ferrari 232 The Buraq 233 Fields Medal 234 Thale Cress 235 Gubbio 236 Pottery 237 Mechelen 238 The Garifuna 239 Gelede 240 The Oruro Carnival

Answers to Q241-300
241 Kunqu Opera 242 Dominican Republic 243 Gbofe (The Gbofe of Afounkaha) 244 Nogaku Theatre 245 Marrakesh 246 Philippines 247 The Semeiskie 248 Jongmyo Shrine 249 Uzbekistan 250 Azerbaijan 251 The Kallawaya 252 Cambodia 253 La Tumba Francesca 254 The Al-Sirah al-Hilaliyya Epic or the Hilali epic (of Egypt) 255 Java (it has spread throughout Indonesia) 256 Moore Town 257 The Kyrgyz 258 Madagascar 259 Morin khuur 260 Tonga 261 Bauls 262 Kris or keris 263 Korea (South Korea) 264 John Kander and Fred Ebb 265 North Dakota 266 An analog computer invented by Enrico Fermi to aid in his studies of neutron transport 267 US Medal of Honor 268 Muscle twitches 269 The Sengoku period or sengoku jidai 270 The Joei Code 271 Ikko-ikki 272 Battle of Sekigahara 273 William Lee, aka Billy Lee or Will Lee 274 The Weird Sisters 275 Marvin the Martian 276 Swahili 277 Doomwatch 278 Fashoda syndrome 279 Consignor 280 World Pyro Olympics 281 Bridge 282 Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography 283 River Dove, Derbyshire 284 The Abrogans or Codex Abrogans 285 Arbeo of Freising 286 Rock climbing 287 Glacier 288 3rd Baron Rayleigh or Lord Rayleigh 289 Naples 290 Ledley King 291 Buccin 292 Hobson's Choice 293 Chad 294 American Alligator and Chinese Alligator 295 Ruy Blas 296 Franz Grillparzer (Grillparzertorte) 297 Scorpionflies 298 Qingming Festival or Ching Ming Festival 299 Lithuania 300 Delacorta

Thursday, September 07, 2006

What I did at the British Quiz Championships Part 1

Here it is! Part one of a report with very short sentences about the British Quiz Championships. Ooh, I remember my first. It was 1999. We were all worried about the Millennium bug and how we were going to celebrate New Year watching a "River of Fire" on the Thames. Ended up more like a ... whoops, going into I Love 1999 mode. I'm sure there will be many more opportunities for pointless nostalgia in the coming years.

Back to the very recent past.

I was in Shropshire. Lord knows where...

Friday 20.54
We have just begun the Pairs competition. I am partnered with Gareth, reigning UC champion with Manchester, but other thoughts are taking over. I feel rubbish. Brain is sluggish. There's no TV in my cabin! There's another one. What to do? Apart from read books, socialise and act like a normal, talkative human being.

I'm glad I brought my laptop and a few DVDs (Primer, Nine Queens, Rag Tale), though as always I get very paranoid about thieves taking my precious shiny Powerbook from me.

But let's cast thoughts of skilled midget burglars rifling through my stuff far from my mind, there's a quiz on. Questions must be answered or paired with abysmal guesses.

First, there is a five-part question to decide our start positions on the top, intermediate and basic levels for the competition. The sooner we get it the better position we get. We don't even offer an answer and find ourselves at table 12.

Unfortunately, I didn't identify the person from the debut novel clue. It was Jigsaw so it must have been Barbara Cartland. This is not a good sign. If the brain is not working on such foundation subjects as literature then this will be a very dispiriting weekend.

Then on the first round of questions. I put Cherbourg when I know it is Rochefort for a Jacques Demy film starring Catherine Deneuve. I have even written a question about it on this blog. I even reminded myself on how to differentiate between the two. Yet, it was all in vain.

It is a team competition: always go for the more obscure answer in such situations.

More brain-farts. The Pussycat Dolls are playing. It is the song Bleep. The PDs have become quite the quiz subjects now since they burst on to the scene with one of those massive global girl group hits that get into your head and proceed to drive you insane like some musical brain parasite (I know the term is ohrwurm or thereabouts)

The competition is slow to start. Lots of waiting around. Pairs is difficult to comprehend without the sure hand of a super-efficient organiser, I guess. Or maybe it is just my head. A heavy August has taken its toll. If I get through this weekend it will be a miracle.

Our combination is working and we have made it to the top tier of three teams. We get to sit on perches looking down on everyone else.

Wild guesses going in and being rubbish. We put down answers we know are wrong. Obviously, they do not come out right. There's a Stan Boardman dance track (don't worry there was classy music on display). Make of that what you will.

I make a jokey complaint to Chris about his not having any film questions (I conveniently forget the Les Demoiselles de Rochefort) without a classical music/instrumentation connection. This is because I am narked off with myself for not getting Master and Commander or The Alamo. Little did I know this was an egredious error. A very egredious error.

There is a question asking for the seventh largest city in Germany. Naturally, we write down every single one in the top ten. Except for Dortmund. *Bite knuckles in frustration*

It won't finish at 22.30. Schedules for inaugural events are often written more in hope than taking into account the reality of people. They always overrun run run run (great song by Phoenix).

Relegated to Table 4. We saw this coming.

Bah. Knew I should have put "Epsilon". It's Greek letter is on the page! It could never be delta. Shoddy.

The last round is 25-questions. We fill all the spaces. Aren't we blessed with great filling ability? But I do wish I had read through my BH quizzes beforehand. I had decided not to, and then saw that there were at least three questions they would have helped with.

We get 17 out of 25. Bayley and Pat get 21 which is the top score. They win the competition by a few country miles. On aggregate we get the third highest total of all the pairs, so not a bad job. When Moby and Kevin announce their total of 16, I go "Yes!" and do the fist-thrust. It's tongue-in-cheek, I tell myself. Kevin disconsolately tells me that he never went back to change Aeneid to Illiad for one question.

In something possibly called the Lodge. It is like a university junior common room. Everything here reminds me of school/uni, as it should. It's a PGL centre (whatever that stands for: "for when Parents Go Livid", I dunno) where kids shoot arrows and sing songs in happy unison away from home.

As ever conversation is a relentless barrage of trivia questions lubricated by beer, which is heaven in a way.

A feeling of slight satisfaction descends on me. As does a feeling of slight numbness. I am tired. Train journey, taxi etc takes its toll. John Frith, I believe shouts out Museums & Categories. Some wag, is it Barry?, shouts out "Ashmolean", as is his perfectly cromulent guess. 90 per cent of museum questions do demand that Oxford institution's name for their answer.

I notice for the first time in my life that the year 1847 is emblazoned on Carlsberg cans: containers for alcoholic being great sources of trivia if you can concentrate on them long enough to overcome any incipient drunkenness. Of course, I could have noticed this before but may have suffered from predictable alcohol amnesia afterwards.

Bayley is firing out questions on The Movie Book. Strings of them on Faye Dunaway and Robert Duvall and so on. Film questions that play to my strengths are always welcome when one is fading.

Saturday 01.35
I retire to bed but decide to watch some of Rag Tale. It is diabolical. Tabloid editor has affair with deputy editor Jennifer Jason Leigh, wife of the paper's owner, and decides to save his ass when the said owner finds out.

Filled with brilliant character actors - Bill Paterson, John Sessions and Simon Callow - but apart from that it uses crazy camera angles, slips into monochrome when it feels like this and has a plot about as believable as Dan from Roseanne becoming the King of England. Er, wait.

What I am doing watching this crap at two in the morning? I think I am actively trying to ruin myself. The smoking is obviously not enough.

Fire alarm! The initial reaction is to think it is part of some annoying nightmare, but no, it is bad early morning reality. I had fallen asleep dagnabbit! The noxious piercing sound fills my room, which has begun to remind me of some of the choice scenes from Friday the 13th, and forces me out into the cold and to the sports hall where we gather like extras for a George Romero movie. This is what we look like in the middle of the night and it ain't pretty. Hair is a particularly unruly sight.

Beth starts hitting Ian because he has got The Movie Book out again. I'm not entirely sure where my sympathies lie but it is something I don't mind one bit.

Whoops. I seem to have set off the fire alarm with my extremely steamy shower.

It was a bloody ordeal getting it going in the first place. Pulling, turning, squeezing the shower things for about five minutes and then finding out all I had to do was push.the main blighter in. Thing is once I do so it doesn't want to stop. It's a fricking runaway shower. A desperate sweat breaks all over me and I just get dressed. The fire alarm then goes off.

We gather in the sports hall again. The hair situation has improved, though everyone has cemetery eyes.

I don't confess my fire alarm starting to anyone. I keep schtum and feel sheepish.

When I walk back to my cabin I notice a PGL guy leave my room and think "I don't want him to think I'm the guy who started it". So I wait around looking ... sheepish. I go back in when he is a safe distance away and in absolutely no danger of looking back at me and staring me down with nasty accusatory eyes.

The Euroquiz begins: 180 European-style non-British biased questions. They are terribly hard. In fact they are some of the hardest questions I have ever seen. I seem to have reaped what I sowed, what with all those very very hard questions I send out into cyberspace. Damn myself for being so hard.

Also, some say that this is too early for a quiz. The "some" were right. The "some" are probably on a beach in Barbados. Still partying the night before away.

However, there are quite a few SHKs that I cannot for the sheer lovely life of me recall. The star of Whale Rider for instance. I can see the DVD case. I can even remember her two-second cameo in Revenge of the Sith. Yet it still doesn't come. I ask Moby. He says: "Keisha Castle-Hughes". My knuckles are getting quite mashed by now.

Just realised there's no Coke I can buy anywhere on site. Is it because feeding such highly concentrated amounts of sugar into the packs of children who roam the site will turn them into a bunch of wild, rushing nutjobs hellbent on pyromania and annoying adults? Neither is there any sugar for the coffee. It's Sweet 'n' Low or some pathetic non-sugar replacement. I blame the kids for my incompetent performance. Yes, the kids. Those darn pesky kids.

Then again listening to the cacophony of insane monkey noises emanating from the sports hall suggests they are already hyper enough to start embarking on a wave of petty crime and vandalism. Yep, they're definitely the ones who started the fire alarm at 08.50 this morning. Not me.

Chris says: "You have one minute to write down your guesses"

Eric replies: "I started with guesses".

Oh we laugh heartily because it is SO true.

We mark up. I ask Pat to put the answer Neo-realism and cross out Vittoria di Sica (because I hadn't read the bloody question properly) before it is read out. He doesn't and quite rightly so.

I finish 4th, which is okay. I suppose. Everyone has found it tough. This is good because while you are doing an ultra-difficult quiz and you are coming up with nothing, it is all too easy to assume that everyone else is speeding through it with the ease of a child prodigy doing a Maths A-Level. Then you find out the quiz made everyone want to cry too, and all is right with the world again.

Part 2 (The Individuals! The Team! Oh the Pain!)