Sunday, November 18, 2007

Get Yer Red Hot League and Cup Action!

QLL update
Disaster. We suffered a dispiriting one-point loss to Aldersgate ending an unbeaten run that ran back to February when Allsorts kicked our behinds till they were sore with mildly sickening disappointment. Behinds that were already slightly moist from the drip drip of the permeable catacomb rock ceiling. Thankfully, our behinds have recovered.

However, the blame game always turns inwardly when it comes to self-flagellating reflection. Frankly, I should have taken a chance on a few questions like the Elizabeth I portraits for the 2-pointers, but alas I was playing it SAFE (obviously, forgetting that entirely truthful SAS motto). Naturally, such a policy is usually the best policy. UNLESS the other team is hammering out 2-pointers at lightning speed and regular intervals whilst brimming with ever increasing confidence and pulling inspired guesses from places I have no knowledge of, and you and me - the capitulators - feel the rub of the question balance has rubbed up the away team far better than those with home advantage.

Yet having said that, Aldersgate played an exceptional game and the momentum was with them all the way. We felt the match slipping away from us as soon as the second round scores had been announced in a mock-French accent (no, somebody actually did that). Our faces sagged and once colourful eyes went deader with every passing moment that took us closer to the grim finale. Their early lead was far too substantial to overcome when we, or more pertinently and honestly, I still shied away from going for the full points on my own questions. So well done to them and especially to Rudy Noriega for a highly impressive full house (but aren't they always? Achieving that perfect synergy of the contents of your brain and the questions you are destined to come your way. What are the chances, eh?).

Not Quite a Downward Spiral
This week saw us return to winning ways against Barb, but I can't help but feel it was an anticlimax after the EQC weekend's championship festivities and complete brain-overload. Stumbling into the room late (as is my apparent want at the moment) I felt slightly bored and far from acclimatised enough to cope with questions like what's "perm" (hairstyle and football pools pair) short for and chestnuts on stuff so mundane my brain went MURRRRRR delivering a kind of static-meshed white noise that made me think of snoozing off or surreptitously jumping out of the window. This was only natural, of course.

We hardy Blackpool visitors had been subjected to thousands of questions on Nicaraguan authoresses, Islamic hardcore punk, tilapia (aargh, I went to a Vietnamese restaurant on Friday night and lo and behold those darn tilapia were everywhere, aargh), comic book hero Corto Maltese, Swedish hurdling twins, zeta functions, Ukrainian sculptors, video games with idiotic names like Serious Sam, Italian film directors that weren't Benigni or Bertolucci, and never forgetting the multitude of rivers and straits I had never heard of in my entire life. This may explain why I got one point in the first half. The brain was dysfunctioning. Boredom and quiz-induced ennui may have caused this scoring low as my thoughts harked back to the hardest of the hard that I had grappled with a few days before; the beautiful anti-parochial question content that I am now mourning. On the other hand, I may have just been a lazy pillar of crap who couldn't be bothered - it was a funny day ... and night. Having said that: Nah. Ennui sounds better, even if it is just as a useless excuse as laziness.

In far happier President's Cup news
Concerning my other quiz team loyaly. My county! Well. Wow. Woah. We are top of the table. We have a 100 per cent record after three games, with no other team registering more than one win. I am surprised; even slightly gobsmacked. Pride swells in me (whilst obviously preparing me for a heinous fall). But perhaps it is a further year of extra-honed Quizzing GP, WQC and EQC competition that has helped us chuck that wooden spoon of disgraceful underachievement into the gutter of the past (when the quiz gods well and truly had it in for us), and the judicious introduction of Stainer and Bayley into the key games that has resulted in a trio of satisfying victories over the Mastermind Club, London and Beds & Herts (to Charly, Ann and Gareth ... sorry about the distracting smooth jazz that the barmaid refused to switch off, or turn down even a smidgen).

The Beds & Herts win at 48-18 was our biggest margin of victory, like evah. However, Fred Filby was absent and the scoreline would have no doubt changed drastically had he been playing. For Fred is one of the true masters of sweeping up facts that no one else gets. He's a bit like the Cleaner Jean Reno plays in La Femme Nikita. He's that good. Much respect is eternally due. Er, except he doesnt chuck half dead people in the bath and chuck acid all over them.

Instead it was three-on-three and apart from a weird lull in the middle where no 2-pointers were scored for 3 rounds (some crazy obscure questions coming in there) my increasingly finely P-Cup honed quiz-mates Kathryn and Nic racked up the points in a contrastingly confident manner to previous seasons when glum and glummer faces and howls of despair were regular endgame features. I think they are starting to like the questions and the cup. I know I am. We all got double figures, which is a very good indicator of all-round team contribution and our own ascendancy in terms of quality. (Sorry, if that sounds like banal psychobabble, but I am scrambling around for reasons why we seem to be on the rise ... maybe, we just know more stuff one season later).

The Fall
Of course, I am jinxing it and am inviting hubris to smash my dreams of moderate cup glory (moderate meaning we won't want to finish bottom). Truth be told (my catchphrase arises yet again) I would settle for top half. A good platform for next season when I believe Sussex will have gained in far more confidence and acclimatised themselves fully to the President's Cup sets (idiosyncratic, sometimes badly in need of a thorough proof read, but always good material for a decent, testing quiz match) The Challenger Deep environs of the league table invite a mildly soul-corroding sensation which is none too pleasant after two years scraping the bottom of the table and having enough draws and down-to-the-wire matches that never went in our favour to make me feel like fate's fickle hand has loaded the deck against us. It's nice to be on top and surveying the other sides from such a respectable position. Very nice. Very inner glow-y.

However, we have Cambridge up next - today in fact! - and despite the absence of my BH compadre Jesse taking a sabbatical from our opposition they remain thorny and highly talented adversaries. P-Cup questions suit their strengths so very well. It's gonna be close. I just hope I don't get a whiskey and brewery question sat in the exact same position (how could the quiz-setter let that happen? An unfortunate oversight). I also hope I don't get lost trying to find their venue the Oakdale Arms like I did the first time I went there. An hour and a quarter's aimless walking with Nic and nary a clue as to where we were going.

President's Cup friendly 4/11/07
Here's the friendly I should have posted many weeks ago. It was those darn European Quiz Championships that blew me off my blogging course.

It scored 31-28 to Beds & Herts. The set suited them far better than the other friendly and the main event. I was also glad that it did not invite bewilderment, bemusement and that awful silence that makes quiz-setters think they have failed in their true mission in life.

Unanswered questions marked * as well as I can remember (it's been some time).

Round 1
1a Which barbaric-sounding nickname was given to Erik Haraldsson, the King of Norway who was deposed by his younger brother Haakon I and was killed in battle at Stainmore, Yorkshire in 954?
1b Found in bathrooms, what device was invented by William Addis in 1649?
2a Used in the retail industry, the first patents for which machine-readable representations of information were issued to Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver in 1952?
2b According to the Old Testament book 2 Kings, what did God inflict on Uzziah the King of Judah because he had allowed incense to be burned in the temple?
3a Which treacherous character, mainly inspired by Kim Philby, was played by Ian Richardson in the TV series Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy?*
3b Murder Rooms was a BBC series that fictionalised the relationship between a young Arthur Conan Doyle and which medical mentor, played by Ian Richardson, who was the alleged chief inspiration for Sherlock Holmes?
4a According to Exodus, what was the first of the ten plagues to be inflicted upon Egypt by God?*
4b Son of Harold Bluetooth, what facial feature-based nickname was given to the Danish king Sweyn I who became King of England in 1013?

Round 2
1a Which Somerset cathedral is known for its twenty four hour clock?
1b Who sculpted the figure of Nelson for Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square?*
2a Which two-word phrase brings about Gordon Jackson's downfall in The Great Escape and completes the proverb "Diligence is the mother of ..."?
2b Which currency of Armenia shares its name with an imperial unit of volume?*
3a Which currency of Costa Rica shares its name with a punctuation mark?
3b Which Hertfordshire cathedral has the longest nave in the country at 275 and a half feet?
4a Who designed the column for Nelson's Column?*
4b What length of time links the duration of the 1926 General Strike and completes the proverb "A wonder lasts but ..."?

Round 3
1a Which 19th century literary heroine marries Edgar Linton?
1b Australian actor Heath Ledger will play which role in the forthcoming sequel to Batman Begins, The Dark Knight?
2a The first avatar of Vishnu was Matsya. What sort of creature was it?*
2b In American football, what word is used to describe a voice signal or tactic used by quarterbacks to change a play at the line of scrimmage?*
3a Michael Caine, Michael Gough and Alan Napier have all played which Batman-related role?
ALFRED Pennyworth
3b Incarnated in the avatar Varaha, Vishnu formed India and Himalayas whilst battling the demon Hiranyaksha. Varaha took on the form of which mammal?*
BOAR (accept HOG/PIG)
4a In American football, what word describes the manoeuvre where defenders rush the quarterback; the defence sending more players than the offence can block?
4b Which 19th century literary heroine marries Rawdon Crawley?

Round 4
1a Australian Prime Minister John Howard recently announced funding of $6.5 million for the building of a museum dedicated to which man in his home town of Bowral?
1b Put on trial by Pope Clement V in 1308, which order was set up by veterans of the First Crusade to defend Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque?
2a Which veteran British musician has released a new solo album titled Working Man's Cafe?
2b Cricketer Shane Warne represents which Australian state?
3a Which French king, nicknamed "the Fair" is said to have pressured Clement V into destroying the Knights Templar because he owed them huge amounts of money?*
3b In Holst's suite The Planets, what is the "Bringer of Peace"?*
4a In Holst's suite, which planet is the "Bringer of Jollity"?
4b Which long-running American rock band have released a new album called Long Road Out of Eden?

Round 5
1a Which American author has followed up her bestseller The Lovely Bones with the novel The Almost Moon?
1b Give the full name of either of the men who hold the position of chairman of Manchester United.
2a Which European city is the only national capital that borders two other countries?*
BRATISLAVA (Austria and Hungary)
2b Which beer company adopted the advertising slogan "Probably the best ... in the world" in 1973?
3a Who is the chairman of Arsenal football club?*
3b Sepulchre is the follow-up to which female British writer's best-selling novel Labyrinth?
4a Which beer company adopted the slogan "Reassuringly expensive" in 1981?
4b There is only one place in the world where two national capital cities are on opposite banks of a river in sight of each other. Name either African city.

Round 6
1a On which date in October of 1066 was the Battle of Hastings fought?*
1b Which popular Italian pasta dish derives its name from a Greek word meaning "chamber pot"?*
2a Which Wham song was held off the top spot by Band Aid in 1984 and remains the biggest selling single not to become a number one, selling 1.42 million copies?
2b On which date in June of 1815 was the Battle of Waterloo fought?
3a Also the brand name of an Italian-style sauce, what Italian term for a meat-based sauce is derived from a French word meaning "to revive the taste"?
3b Who played Matlock in the namesake US TV legal drama?
4a Who played Nash Bridges in the eponymous US TV police drama?
4b Originally a top ten single in 1983, which New Order song is the biggest selling track only to reach number three in the UK charts when its remix charted in 1988?

Round 7
1a The BBC cameraman Charles de Jaegar is most famous for originally coming up with the idea of which April Fool's joke in 1957?
1b In which country was the spaghetti supposed to have been harvested?*
2a Which Welsh designer was allegedly thrown down the stairs to her death in 1985?
2b The third largest in Italy, which lake in Lombardy is shaped much like the letter Y and is fed in large part by the Adda River?
3a Researchers from Bangor University recently determined a specimen of which marine mollusc, also called the Icelandic cyprine, to the longest-lived animal on record, estimating its age to be between 405 and 410 years old?*
OCEAN QUAHOG (Arctica islandica)
3b Which Italian fashion designer was shot dead outside his ocean-front mansion in Miami in 1997?
4a The second largest lake in Italy, which body of water has the river Ticino for its outlet and is home to the Borromean and Brissago island groups?
4b Felled in Nevada's Great Basin National Park in 1964, a tree of which species (nicknamed "Prometheus") was found to be about 4,900 years old, making it the longest-lived single organism ever?*

Round 8
1a Established in 1877, which English art gallery is located on William Brown Street?*
1b The 9th century Shi'a Muslim, Geber, or Abu Musa Jabir ibn Hayyan, is often considered to be the "father" of which field of scientific study?*
2a Often called "the father of modern chemistry", which French scientist developed his law of Conservation of mass in 1789?
2b William Kemmler became the first person to be executed by which method in 1890?
3a Operating for 22 years, SAVAK was the name given to which country's secret police?*
3b Later transformed into a section of the NKVD called the GPU, what was the popular five-letter name of the first Soviet state security organisation founded by Lenin in December 1917?
CHEKA (The All-Russian Extraordinary Commission for Combating Counter-Revolution, Speculation, and Sabotage)
4a In1982, Charles Brooks Jr became the first person to be executed by what method of capital punishment?
4b Constructed in 1831 and completed in 1836, which English art gallery occupies Bush House, a Grade II listed tea warehouse?*

1 Who created the long-running comic strip The Katzenjammer Kids in 1897?
RUDOLPH DIRKS (based on Max und Moritz by Wilhelm Busch)
2 Paddock was the servant or sidekick of which literary hero?
3 Emperor is the largest and Pott is the smallest. What are they?
4 Kalology is the study of what physical attribute?
5 Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor comes from which West African country?
6 Located beyond the eastern suburbs of the commercial capital Colombo, what is the administrative capital of Sri Lanka?
7 Which sport has its Hall of Fame at Canastota?


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