Monday, October 29, 2007

BH135 & 136: All Hail the Gerbil King!

Burning 'em off

I've just spent the last four days in relative seclusion driving myself completely bonkers and a little bit doolally. Basically through the medium of "GK Learning & Revision" and being forced to have Channel 4 simmering and wailing in the background for the entire time because it is the only TV station that has decent reception on my television set (a promise: if I watch another episode of Dubplate Drama or The Hoobs I will smash the cursed device to pieces). The sacrifices I make, eh? Though, admittedly, I quite enjoyed it in a perverse way. I wouldn't do it if I hated it or found it boring would I?

Anyway, some quizzes I have to get rid of, by casting them to this here place of knowledge and what not...

1 The construction of the Oriental Pearl TV Tower was recently revealed to have involved cement production that released 540,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide last year. In which Asian city is it located?
2 Tretyakov Gallery is a state-owned gallery in which city?
3 Which Russian art duo produced the highly controversial and banned photograph Kissing Policemen (An Epoch of Clemency)?
4 Which president has renamed October 12, "indigenous resistance day" in protest at the historical significance placed upon Christopher Colombus's "discovery" of the New World?
5 Rafael Correra is president of which country?
6 Where is the Palestinian Authority headquartered?
7 Cate Blanchett has secured which fashion designer as patron of the Sydney Theatre Company of which she is co-artistic director with her husband, Andrew Upton?
8 Known for being the subject of an eponymous "Puja" festival, who is the Hindu goddess of valour?
9 Which company, set to become Madonna's new record label, is the largest promoter of concerts in the world and the second-largest entertainment venue management company?
10 Tony Hayward is the chief executive of which major company, having taken over from John Browne in May?
11 Ian McGregor is the new editor of which British newspaper?
12 Established six years ago, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation has Russia and China for two of its members. Which other countries make up the "Shanghai Five"?
13 Which composer of such TV theme tunes as Are You Being Served?, The Rise and Fall of Reginald Perrin, Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em, Last of the Summer Wine, Blankety Blank and Yes, Minister recently died of a stroke aged 79?
14 Which Canadian rock trio, whose current album is titled Snakes and Arrows and whose major songs include A Farewell to Kings and 2112, is made up of the members Geddy Lee, Neil Peart and Alex Lifeson?
15 Celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, which orchestra's musical director is Vladimir Jurowski?
16 Founded by the Ghanaian producer Charles Thompson, the fifth annual edition of which awards - known as the "Black Baftas" - took place on October 15?
17 Which ex-girlfriend of Jack Kerouac went on to publish the novels Come and Join the Dance, In the Night Cafe and Bad Connections, and two memoirs: Minor Characters and Missing Men?
18 Which US sitcom, now in its second season Stateside, centres on the travails and neuroses of Liz Lemon?
19 Set in northern China in the winter of 1944, which 2000 Wen Jiang film sees the director play a villager led into danger during his country's occupation when a gunman leaves two hostages, a Japanese soldier and Chinese collaborator - in his care?
20 Laura Jeanne are the first two names of which recent Best Actress Oscar winner?
21 In Islam, what is the "azan"?
22 What sort of musical instrument is the Chinese "zheng"?
23 The home-recorded Domestic Songs is the latest album by which Norwegian musical artiste, whose work straddles the line between pop and jazz?
24 Which Czech composed the opera Katya Kabanova?
25 The counter-tenor Max Emanuel Cencic hails from which country?
26 Written in 1710 and first performed on December 6, 1730, in Hamburg, whose opera The Fortunes of King Croesus received its UK premiere on October 17 of this year?
27 Brave is the latest album by which massive R&B star?
28 Which Australian film director first found fame with his videos for Duran Duran before going on to helm Razorback and Highlander, but is now sadly to be found making the latest Resident Evil sequel Extinction?
29 Which King of Queens TV actor voices the titular rat in the computer animated movie Ratatouille?
30 Later the wife of Jean-Luc Godard and author of the new autobiography Jeune Fille, which actress got her big breakthrough when, as an 18-year-old, she was cast as Marie by Robert Bresson in his 1966 film Au Hasard Balthasar?
31 Which space probe detected a magnetic field around the moon of Ganymede in 1996?
32 Serekunda, Bakau and Georgetown are major towns and cities in which small African country?
33 Where in County Kildare did Arthur Guinness set up a brewery in 1752 with £100 of inheritance money, before moving it to Dublin in 1759?
34 In which Central American country were 27,000 killed and one million people made homeless by an earthquake in 1976?
35 Known for its fine landscaped gardens, which port and capital of Zhejiang province was capital of China during the Sui dynasty (1127-1278)?
36 Which Pop artist combined oil paint with the photographic image in his Portrait of Gaitskell as a Monster of Filmland (1963)?
37 Hannibal's siege of which location near Valencia in Spain precipitated the Second Punic War with Rome?
38 Who was the last monarch to reside at Hampton Court Palace?
39 Which animal, scientifically known as Potamochoerus porcus, lives in Africa, south of the Sahara?
40 Executed in 1947, what position was held by Rudolf Franz Hoess from 1940-43?
41 Lying on the river Mataniko, which port on the north-west coast of Guadalcanal Island is the capital of the Solomon Islands?
42 Who composed the 1910 musical fairy opera Kongiskinder/King's Children?
43 Known for being passive traps, what common name is given to the insectivorous plants Nepenthes and Sarracenia?
44 What was renamed the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1965?
45 The female "pheasant-tailed" Asian species of which wading bird, also called the lily trotter, has a "harem" of 2-4 males?
46 Given the Latin name Panthera onca, what is the largest species of cat in the Americas?
47 The Karamanli dynasty established the virtual independence of which country from the Ottomans in 1711, though control was reasserted in 1835?
48 Which German chemist (1803-73) introduced the theory of compound radicals and discovered chloroform and chloral, and demonstrated that plants absorb minerals and water from the soil and postulated that the carbon used by plants comes from carbon dioxide rather than the soil?
49 Which constellation on the celestial equator adjoining Scorpius was once considered part of it, and was seen as the scorpion's claws?
50 The compound, mercury fulminate, is primarily used for what?





Answers to BH135
1 Shanghai 2 Moscow 3 Blue Noses 4 Hugo Chavez 5 Ecuador 6 Ramallah 7 Giorgio Armani 8 Durga 9 Live Nation 10 BP 11 Sunday Telegraph 12 Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan 13 Ronnie Hazlehurst 14 Rush 15 London Philharmonic 16 Screen Nation awards 17 Joyce Johnson 18 30 Rock 19 Devils on the Doorstep 20 Reese Witherspoon 21 The call to prayer 22 Zither 23 Solveig Slettahjell 24 Janacek 25 Croatia 26 Reinhard Keiser 27 Jennifer Lopez 28 Russell Mulcahy 29 Patton Oswalt 30 Anne Wiazemsky 31 Galileo 32 Gambia 33 Leixlip 34 Guatemala 35 Hangzhou 36 Richard Hamilton 37 Seguntum (now Sagunto) 38 George II 39 River hog 40 Commandant of Auschwitz concentration camp 41 Honiara 42 Engelbert Humperdinck 43 Pitcher plants 44 The Inquisition 45 Jacana 46 Jaguar 47 Libya 48 (Baron von) Justus Liebig 49 Libra 50 Explosives (used in detonators and percussion caps)

1 A disciple of occultist George Gurdjieff from 1914 but with whom he broke in 1924, which Russian mystic expanded his former mentor's ideas in terms of dimensions of space and time and published such works as In Search of the Miraculous?
2 Which dynasty established Parthia as the leading power in the Persian empire from 250BC to 230AD?
3 The Polish Slavic tribes under which ruler and leader of the Piast dynasty adopted Christianity and united the region around Poznan to form the first Polish state in 966AD?
4 In music, what form of 1950s serialism, in which melody and harmony are replaced by complexes of isolated tones, was inspired by Webern and adopted by Messiaen, Boulez, Nono, Stockhausen and Stravinsky?
5 Pik Pobeda is the highest peak (at 7439m) in which mountain range?
6 Which Scottish Neo-Classical architect was responsible for much of the design of Edinburgh New Town in the early 19th century, including such Greek-style buildings as the Royal Scottish Academy (1822) and National Gallery of Scotland (1850) that helped make the city the "Athens of the North"?
7 Launched in the US in 1845, the Rainbow was the first ship of which type?
8 Which French ship became the first boat to be powered by a diesel engine in 1902?
9 What is the Gaelic name for the goal in shinty?
10 Who retired in February 1990 after finishing 4th on Patchy Groundfog at Santa Anita, California?
11 In which winter sport might a competitor adopt "The Boklov"?
12 Standing on the site of an ancient town destroyed by an earthquake in the 5th century and reduced to rubble yet again by a 1963 earthquake, which city was taken in 1282 by the Serbian king Milutin, who made it his capital?
13 The US space station Skylab was launched on May 14, 1973 and was made from the adapted upper stage of which type of rocket?
14 The protagonist of Jack Kerouac's 1958 novel The Dharma Bums, which US poet's works include Earth House Hold (1969) and the Pulitzer prize-winning collection Turtle Island (1974)?
15 What sort of dessert are Portugal's pasteis de nata?
16 Anibare Bay is said to be the best beach found in which Pacific nation?
17 From what is the clear Korean alcoholic drink, soju, made?
18 Which South Korean location was the ancient capital of the Silla kingdom?
19 What is the traditional dress of the Korean people called?
20 What is the earliest eon in the history of the earth, from the time of the accretion of planetary material c.4600 million years ago to the date of the oldest rocks and hence the start of the geological record c. 3800 million years ago?
21 What sort of electrical activity recording is an EOG?
22 Where in the human body are the glands known as the "crypts of Lieberkuhn" found?
23 Covering the dentine of the root of a tooth below the level of the gum, what thin layer of bony material fixes teeth to the jaw?
24 Which Pope proclaimed the Fourth (1202-4) and the Fifth (1217-21) Crusades?
25 Originating in Malaysia, which yellow fruit has the scientific name Citrus maxima?
26 In which city are the newspapers, Apogevmatini and Avriani, published?
27 General Juan N Alvarez international airport serves which Mexican city?
28 In which modern day country is Stagira, the birthplace of Aristotle (in 384BC)?
29 A leading member of the Vienna Circle of logical positivists who dismissed traditional metaphysics as a source of meaningless answers to pseudo-problems, which German-American philosopher (1891-1970) published the works Der logische Aufbau der Welt (1928), Logische Syntax der Sprache (1934), Meaning and Necessity (1947) and The Logical Foundations of Probability (1950)?
30 Portrayed in Plato's eponymous dialogue, which Greek philosopher, born in Leontini, Sicily c.485(-380BC) advocated an extreme form of scepticism/nihilism that contended nothing exists, that if it did it would be unknowable, that if it were knowable it would be incommunicable to others?
31 Which old man and wife were the only ones to entertain the Greek gods Zeus and Hermes when they visited earth to test people's hospitality, and were saved from a flood and made priest and priestess in return for their kindness?
32 Represented as a young girl wearing a rubber mask and a crescent-shaped ornament in her nose, Tlazolteotl was the Aztec goddess of what?
33 Consort of Zeus and mother of the Horae and the Moerae, who was the Greek goddess of established law and justice?
34 Which Icelandic director's film Children of Nature tells the story of an elderly couple forced into a retirement home in Reykjavik?
35 The Hungarian dish, toltott kaposzta, consists of the leaves of which vegetable rolled and stuffed with rice and meat?
36 Author of The Getting of Wisdom (1910) and Ultima Thule (1929), what male pseudonym was adopted by the Australian novelist Ethel Florence Lindesay Richardson?
37 The Australian, Layne Beachley, won the first of many women's World Professional Championship titles in 1998 in which sport?
38 Which Norse god of the sea was a giant who collected dead sailors in his hall on the island of Hlesey?
39 Which of Jesus' disciples is called "the Canaanite" in Matthew and Mark?
40 In which European capital can you visit the Gellert Thermal Baths and Szechenyi Baths, as well as cross the Chain Bridge and visit the Blaha Luiza Square?
41 Which major immovable Christian feast day is celebrated on September 8?
42 By what English name do we know the Japanese festival "Oshogatsu"?
43 The Islamic festival of Laylat al-Qadr falls on 27 Ramadan and commemorates the sending down of the Koran to Muhammad. What name is it commonly given in English?
44 The Norwegian men, Peter Thoresen and Bjornar Valstad, and their fellow countrywomen Annichen Kringstad Svensson and Hanne Staff, are all former individual world champions in which sport?
45 In which year was the Monte Carlo Rally, the world's leading rally, first held?
46 In the 1969 Tour de France, who won the major prize in all three sections - overall, points classification and King of the Mountains?
47 Setting 16 world records, which German woman athlete broke the 400m world record seven times (the last of which still stands)?
48 Ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky finished his playing career with which team in 1999?
49 Increasingly common during the 1960s, which two-word phrase describes the illegal practice of sending unsolicited goods through the post and invoicing the recipient if they are not returned within a specified time?
50 Which movement was introduced into Britain in 1915 by a Canadian, Mrs Alfred Watt, who founded a branch in Anglesey?



Answers to BH136
1 Peter Ouspensky 2 Arsacid 3 Mieszko I 4 Pointillism 5 Tian Shan 6 William Henry Playfair 7 Clipper 8 Petit-Pierre 9 Hail 10 Willie Shoemaker 11 Ski-jumping (aka V-style technique) 12 Skopje 13 Saturn V 14 Gary Snyder 15 Custard tarts 16 Nauru 17 Potatoes 18 Gyeongju 19 Hanbok 20 Hadean 21 Electro-olfactogram 22 Small intestine 23 Cement 24 Innocent III 25 Pomelo 26 Athens 27 Acapulco 28 Macedonia 29 Rudolf Carnap 30 Gorgias 31 Philemon & Baucis 32 Lust 33 Themis 34 Fridrik Thor Fridriksson 35 Cabbage 36 Harry Handel Richardson 37 Surfing 38 Aegir 39 Simon the Zealot 40 Budapest 41 Birthday of Virgin Mary 42 New Year 43 Night of Power 44 Orienteering 45 1911 46 Eddy Merckx 47 Marita Koch 48 New York Rangers 49 Inertia selling 50 Women's Institute

Thursday, October 25, 2007

England Place Retention and President's Cup Meanderings

European Championships National Selection
Selected for the England quiz team again. Gosh, it makes me feel like Theo Walcott before the 2006 World Cup. Nope that was last year. Actually, that's a complete lie, it just makes me feel honoured and slightly relieved to have retained my place as that fella in the so very baggy green polo shirt I felt like I should have been selling vials of dope on a Baltimore street corner and who ought to have known his dead Smashing Pumpkins and floral Powerpuff Girls a lot better (I have cited those two examples many times before in a hilarious, pop culture whizz-kid really knows bugger-all when it matters kind of way and, hopefully, they will be the last two examples I do cite, like ever, once the European Nations side of things at the EQC is decided this time round).

Hopefully, this time we will have got to grips with relative subject strengths, the three-point jump and tactics. Steven De Ceuster, of the nation that constitutes our very friendly Belgian quiz nemeses, has mentioned their underdog status to me, but I'm not so sure. This is their format after all and they play for the team, all contributing something definite and delineated to the side. Because us Englishmen are perhaps a teensy bit afraid of doing anything differently, and because our chosen quarter grabbed the top four spots at the Worlds in June, we have gone for the individualistic Galactico approach, which frankly, did bugger all for Real Madrid, at least in the David Beckham years. However, it must be said we - as a foursome - are getting better and better at the international subject matter (according to the empirical data) and the shock of the lack of parochialism our predecessors (though, of course, two of us were these predecessors) first encountered all those years ago in our first tussle with the Belgians. As I've explained before.

Sunday President's Cup Shenanigans
As I mentioned in the previous post we managed to win a game we would have lost or just as believably drawn in the past against London. For the first time each "Sussex" player scored in double figures, which means we fully achieved that elusive blighter called Consistency.

As for the questions, they ranged from the nutty to the nice: the usual delightful confection we get on Sundays. Though the less questions we get on Welsh geography and Crosby school alumni, the less likely I will go "UHHHH??!!" (admittedly, that is my personal preference and you know how peculiar and high-minded they can be).

But they also got me wondering are the usual QLL questions getting closer in standard to the President's Trophy sent down to us from the Merseyside Quiz Leagues? Apart from a half-dozen insane ones that make us think yep, it's Sunday afternoon and I am in a pub team-quizzing the old fashioned way, the vast majority would not appear out of place on a Tuesday evening in London (after all, our Allsorts-Broken Hearts match yielded a smaller aggregate on Tuesday - oh we won ... NICE - with, in my opinion, teams of a higher calibre) Anyway, just a personal reflection made in the heat of the moment. And not really a complaint either. Only you do notice the same questions coming up on "pesto" and "Rebus" and wonder about Quizzica-MQL mind melds. Still, both London and Sussex missed getting Kings Markham as Inspector Wexford's regular stomping ground. After all these years of quizzing - unforgivable.

On a final personal preference note: you know what? Not a single brewery question in sight. Hallelujah and pass us some fancy, foreign cocktails from the Americas (though, alas, in actuality we didn't get questions on mojitos and the like either.)

Friendly Time
Right, enough nattering. Here's the friendly. I think it scored 50-32 to Sussex with Stainer getting 23. I am quite possibly biased towards my own team's strengths. No, I am. I am SO blatantly biased, but in a very subconscious, innocent way. Unanswered questions marked * as per usual.

President's Cup friendly 21/10/07

Round 1
1a Which German founder of the Bauhaus school designed such buildings as the Harvard Graduate Centre, the University of Baghdad and the US Embassy in Athens?
1b Who has won the 2007 Man Booker Prize for her novel The Gathering?
2a Jefferson Farfan, Juan Manuel Vargas and Jose Paolo Guerrero are among the more famous names who play football for which South American country?
2b Who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in the 2005 film Million Dollar Baby?*
3a In 2001, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Traffic?
3b Which Bauhaus director found fame with his 1929 Barcelona Pavilion, and later designed the IBM Plaza skyscraper at 330 North Wabash and the Farnsworth House, both in Chicago?
4a Before Anne Enright, who was the last Irish novelist to win the Man Booker prize in 2005 for his book The Sea?
4b Juan Manuel Pena, Juan Carlos Arce and Jaime Moreno are some of the more famous footballers in which South American country's national side?

Round 2
1a A great success that established his reputation as a composer of Italian opera in 1710, Agrippina was the last opera to be composed in Italy by which man?
1b Which woman is celebrated in a public holiday every year on October 19 in Albania?
2a In Edward Creasy's 1851 book The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World of which 331 BC clash did he write: "the ancient Persian empire, which once subjugated all the nations of the earth, was defeated when Alexander had won his victory"?*
2b Which Italian composer's 1733 work, La serva padrona or The Servant Mistress, became a model for many of the opera buffas that followed it, including those of Mozart?
3a The Guinness Premiership team London Irish play home games at which ground?
3b Guinness Premiership side Saracens use which stadium for their home games?
4a Which man is traditionally and perhaps controversially celebrated every year on October 12, on a day also known as Dia de la Raza in many Latin American countries?
4b In Edward Creasy's aforementioned book, of which 732 AD battle did he write "the great victory won by Charles Martel ... gave a decisive check to the career of Arab conquest in Western Europe"?

Round 3
1a Which former Times newspaper staff member is Tory Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families?
1b Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler formed two-thirds of which chart-topping band during the late 70s and early 80s?
2a Though Koror is the largest city, Melekeok is the capital of which tiny Pacific republic?
2b Who opened his first Habitat shop in Chelsea with his third wife Caroline Herbert in 1964?
3a Active during the late 70s and early 80s, which chart-topping musician's ever evolving backing band included such members as Matthew Ashman, Leigh Gorman, Marco Pirroni and Gary Tibbs?
3b South Tarawa is the largest city and the capital of which Pacific republic that borders the International Date Line to the east?
4a Terence Conran's sister Priscilla is the wife of which leading chef and restaurateur, whose books include An Invitation to Italian Cooking and Southern Italian Feast?
4b Which woman barrister and former member of the European Parliament for the London constituency is Tory Shadow Secretary of State for Transport?*

Round 4
1a What Italian musical term refers to a solo section, usually in a concerto or similar work, that is used to display the performer's technique, sometimes at considerable length?
1b Which high street retailer, known for selling electrical and home entertainment goods, had its first shop opened by its eponymous founder Henry at 271 Belgrave Gate, Leicester in 1888?
2a On May 8, 1790, the French National Assembly decided that the length of which new unit of measurement would be equal to the length of a pendulum with a half-period of one second?
2b An musical term Italianised from a French word, what word describes a continuous sliding from one pitch to another in its so-called "true" form, or an incidental scale executed while moving from one melodic note to another in its "effective" form?
3a In which field are Joaquin de Luz, Angel Corella, Miyako Yoshida and Leanne Benjamin renowned performers?
3b What unit of mass, equal to 200 mg, was adopted by the 4th General Conference on Weights and Measures in 1907?
4a Named after its founder Tim after his sacking by WH Smith, which bookshop chain opened its first store in Old Brompton Road, London in 1982?
4b In which field are Roland Mouret, Margaret Howell and Roberto Cavalli are current famous names?

Round 5
1a Later known as Lady Charles Cavendish, what was the first name of Fred Astaire's elder sister who was his dance partner from 1905 to 1931?
1b Mozart's only sibling who survived past birth was his sister Maria Anna. By what name was she affectionately known?
2a To within five either way, how many London Underground stations are there?*
275 stations (accept answers between 270 and 280 stations)
2b Maria Bicknell is the subject of an 1816 portrait by which English painter whom she married in October of that year?
3a The American physicist and patent attorney Chester Carlson is best known for inventing what process?
3b To within five miles either way, what is the total system length of the London Underground?*
253 miles (accept answers between 248 miles and 258 miles)
4a What designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the Essex-Suffolk border comprises the area the River Stour between Manningtree and Bures, and is the eponymous subject of a famous 1802 painting by Constable?
4b The Hungarian physicist Dennis Gabor is most famous for inventing which science?

Round 6
1a In which American TV series was the hero aided and abetted by his buddies, helicopter pilot Theodore "TC" Calvin and playboy and members club manager Orville "Rick" Wright?
1b Which country were the last winners of the Olympic rugby union event?
2a The Bolsa de Madrid is the largest and most international of four such regional corporations in Spain. What type of organisation is it?
2b In which US TV series was our hero helped by Vietnam Vet Albert "Al" Calavicci and a sentient supercomputer called Ziggy?
3a Which country are current men's field hockey Olympic champions?
3b Which Japanese car company's models include the Cherry, the Armada and the Frontier?
4a Which car company began production of its first model, the Saga, in September 1985 at its first manufacturing plant in Shah Alam in the state of Selangor?*
4b The BSE Sensex is the name of the stock exchange in which major Asian city?

Round 7
1a Which daily and Sunday comic strip ran from October 2, 1950 to February 13, 2000, the day after its creator's death?
PEANUTS (by Charles M Schulz, of course)
1b The 240-km long Canal du Midi connects which French river with the Mediterranean Sea?
2a Spaghetti, snipe, sawtooth and witch are types of which fish?
2b Which 12th century King of England was married to Edith of Scotland and then Adeliza of Louvain?
3a The Caledonian Canal connects the Scottish east coast at Inverness with the west coast at Corpach near which town - the largest in the west highlands of Scotland - that lies at the southern end of the Great Glen?
3b Bramble, prickly, nurse and goblin are types of which fish?
4a Which 11th century King of England was married to Edith of Wessex?
4b Often featuring cows since they were its creator's favourite subject for humour, which surreal American comic strip was launched on January 1, 1980 and ended on the same date in 1995?
THE FAR SIDE (by Gary Larson)

Round 8
1a The first antibiotic remedy for tuberculosis, which drug was first isolated by researchers at Rutgers University on October 19, 1943?
1b Which Barbadian fast bowler finished his West Indies Test career in 1987 with 259 wickets at an average of 20.97 runs?
2a Which Michael Caine revenge film was based on the 1969 Ted Lewis novel Jack's Return Home?
2b Given the brand name Lipitor, Atorvastatin is the generic name given to the bestselling drug in the world, having more than double the dollar sales of its nearest rival. What is it used to combat?
3a Which controversial Chief Constable of North Wales and speed camera fan recently called for all classified drugs to be legalised in the UK?
3b Michael Caine last played which character in the 1967 film Billion-Dollar Brain?
4a Which Antigua-born fast bowler ended his Test career in 1983 with 202 wickets at an average of 25.61 runs?
4b The UK's most senior openly gay police officer, which Deputy Commissioner in the Metropolitan Police Service is in line to become the Liberal Democrat candidate for the coming London Mayoral Elections?

1 What was Magnum PI's first name?
2 Applied for example to a special tremolo effect on the harp where a chord or note is rapidly repeated at a low volume, what does the musical term "bisbigliando" literally mean in Italian?
3 How many yards are there in a chain?
4 What is the heaviest planet in our solar system?
5 Who was the leader of the "Individual Psychology" school and also proposed the "inferiority complex"?
6 Which American heavy metal band, known for their wild antics, originally considered calling themselves "Christmas"?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

BH134: A Quiz Nation, Certainly Not A Bloody Sporting One

It was a weird weekend, indeed. A wonderfully fun double birthday celebration back in LA that took a shocking turn late in the boozy evening after much fun with Red Leicester cheese, tin foil and model sheep, seasoned so piquantly with some classic British sporting failures characterised by the usual hype and crushing letdown cycle. There's nothing like reading press previews bristling with optimism, brio, posturing bravado and that sometimes silly thing called hope AFTER the all important events have passed. They seem so pointless and pathetic you wonder why they even bothered putting any words on the page, not to mention fill entire 12-page pull-outs. Tear imprints of grieving fans, vomit and beer spatter, photos of St George cross-painted faces doing their best Munchian Screams and transcribed howls of pain would have been more suitable pre-final reading and picture material. Because that is exactly what the end result was always likely to be for our country. No need for the usual acres of type comprised of fairground-worthy clairvoyant analysis and interviews filled with inane optimism and unalloyed "hunger" about the coming game. Why not just cut to the grisly aftermath and soften the hammer blow to our pride?

Mind you, we didn't even deserve to win the rugby World Cup. HEARTBREAK! scream the headlines of Middle England's press, when in reality, I thought "Oh, that's a slight disappointment but never mind. Beer me." and that we should give ourselves a pat on the back (or the forwards, as was the actual case) for reaching the final and think that yeah, South Africa did deserve to win the thing and maybe they should have topped off their triumph by taking the opportunity to drop Thabo Mbeki on the ground Steve Morrow-style in the midst of their ecstatic and very bouncy celebrations.

As for Lewis, it was never going to happen was it? His Brazilian GP was the very definition of the word "anticlimax". Every time over the past few months a bedazzled hack mentioned his becoming the youngest ever Formula One champion and marvelled at his coolness under pressure in prose both purple and excessively fat was another damning curse upon his title charge. And to top it all off, Everton lose to none other than arch-bastards Liverpool in the last minute thanks to a penalty by their albino striker. It all went so swimmingly did it not? (Let us not speak of the international football. Let us forget about Euro 2008 before the eviscerating pain of our inevitable absence from next summer's football jamboree rips us in two).

So instead of moping about silly distractions like grappling senselessly with our inflated national sporting aspirations, in the meantime let's just stuff ourselves with a different kind of silly distraction, i.e. more quiz questions.

(Anyway, at least Sussex won our President's Cup tie against London this afternoon back at The Castle. We have a 100 per cent record. It's unprecedented! Even if there have only been two matches so far. More on this tomorrow. Or, perhaps, just more quiz questions. I have many BH quizzes to burn off before the week is through; a week that involves a QLL clash with Allsorts on Tuesday. Yes, 'tis time to battle the Ashman-Fuller alliance once again. It has become quite the bristling rivalry over the past few years, of that there is no doubt. Actually, make that a kind of triangular rivalry with the also Ashman-enhanced Milhous Warriors (we always have to take down "The Man" to win nearly every team competition and monumental respect is his due as a result. Though at least the Broken Hearts can lay claim to being "arguably the most formidable non-Kevin Ashman affiliated team in the country". "Arguably" being the adjective officially known as the Dermot Murnaghan Proviso that prevents serious litigation from the likes of us and other very strong quiz league teams. Come to think of it, would any television production company out there like to use us highly talented quizzer personnel for an Eggheads rip-off? I don't think we'd mind too much.)

* since corrected

1 Which social scientist published Rites of Passage in 1909, thus ensuring his permanent fame in the field, but left the topic to move into other areas of anthropology?
2 Which Wiltshire house was designed by Robert Smythson in 1572?
3 Alison and Peter Smithson designed the London headquarters for which magazine 1962-65?
4 Chopin's "Funeral March" comes from which work he composed at the age of 29?
5 Begun in 1549, Palladio's first building - a basilica - was constructed in which Italian city?
6 The architect James Gandon is perhaps best known for designing which Dublin building in 1781?
7 Who produced the artwork Vertical Planes III (1912-13), considered by some to be the first true abstract painting?
8 In which 1864 work did Herbert Spencer first use the phrase "survival of the fittest"?*
9 The politician Robert Walpole built which gigantic country house, using profits gained from the South Sea Bubble?
10 Which French composer wrote La Fille aux cheveux de lin and La cathedrale engloutie in 1909 at the age of 46, three years after he saw the birth of his only child, Chouchou?
11 Which architect married the 25-year-old Mary Ann Bradley in December 1798, who had five children by an unknown other man, possibly the Prince Regent, at the time?
12 Which Nobel Laureate published the novel, More Pricks Than Kicks, at the age of 28?
13 Which architect received commissions from both IBM and Bell Telephone to design research campuses in 1956, and also started work on the TWA building at Kennedy airport, New York?
14 Which composer died in Vienna in 1910 with his "Ninth Symphony" unperformed and his "Tenth Symphony" not yet finished?
15 Errol Flynn's last film was appropriately about which other famous acting wreck?
16 Which Japanese writer published The Narrow Road to the Deep North in 1694?
17 Which Swiss mathematician (1707-1783) developed the theory of differential equations and the calculus of variations, as well as spherical trigonometry?
18 Which Paris-born Prince of Savoy expelled the Turks from Hungary in 1697 thanks to victory at the Battle of Zenta?
19 Flystrike is an infestation of the flesh of which living animals by blowfly maggots (especially of the blue blowfly)?
20 What element, atomic number nine, is the first member of the halogen group?
21 What was the title of Carlos Fuentes's first novel, published in 1958 and known in Spanish as La region mas transparente, which encompassed the history of Mexico from the Aztecs to the present day?
22 Which Canadian literary critic published the highly influential, Anatomy of Criticism, in 1957?
23 Fuad I, assumed the title of king of which country in 1922 when it was declared independent?
24 The word fruit comes from the Latin word meaning what?
25 JS Bach's fugue, Das musikalische Opfer/The Musical Offering (1747), was composed on a theme of which Prussian ruler?
26 Which Japanese electronics combine then became the world's second biggest computer manufacturer, behind IBM, after its purchase of the British firm ICL in 1990?
27 Discovered in 1985, fullerene is a form of which element?
28 Which French romantic poet was known for the perfection of form and the polished beauty of language and imagery he displayed in such works as Emaux et camees/Enamels and Cameos (1852), and also wrote such novels as Mademoiselle de Maupin (1835)?
29 Which South African province derives its name from the Sotho for "Place of Gold"?
30 Also known as furze or whin, what is the common name for plants of the genus Ulex?
31 Which South African writer's first novel, The Lying Days, appeared in 1953?
32 Which US writer and social critic studied young offenders for his work Growing Up Absurd (1960)?
33 For what reason do we best know the brothers, Edmond and Jules, who published the compendium L'Art du XVIIIeme siecle/18th Century Art (1859-75)?
34 Juan Vicente Gomez was dictator of which country from 1908-35?
35 The French skier Franck Piccard became the first ever Olympic gold medallist in which event in 1988?
36 What Japanese name is given to the first grade in judo?
37 Which Cameroon football club became the first winners of the African Champions Cup in 1964?
38 Which Montevideo team were the first winners of the Copa Libertadores in 1960?
39 Which Premier League team won their first English league title in 1891?
40 In which sport did the Briton, Gillian Sheen, win Olympic gold in 1956?
41 Nicknamed "The Professor", which French cyclist won the 1983 Tour de France by over four minutes and repeated the feat in 1984, beating Bernard Hinault by 10 minutes and 32 seconds?
42 Known as "Homicide Hank", which American boxer was the first and is still the only boxer to hold three world titles - becoming undisputed featherweight champion in 1937 - a feat unlikely to happen again due to the lack of undisputed champions?
43 The French engineer Pierre Trosanquet developed a new method of building what in 1764?
44 What conflict between the papacy and the Holy Roman Empire lasted from 1075 to 1122 and centred on the right of lay rulers to appoint prelates?
45 In music, what term describes the pitch difference between two notes, expressed in terms of the diatomic scale, e.g. a fifth, or as a harmonic ratio, 3:2?
46 Which Himalayan mountain on the Nepal-Sikkim border has a name meaning "five treasure houses of the great snows"?
47 In Hinduism, what name describes each of the four "ages" that make up one cycle of creation, the last of which is the "Kali-____"?
48 Kathak, Bharat Natyam, Kathakali an Manipuri are the four main Indian styles of what?
49 Known in Russian as Kavaskoye More, which part of the Arctic Ocean off the north coast of the Russian Federation is bounded to the north-west by the island of Novaya Zemlya and to the north-east by Severnaya Zemlya, and has Novy Port on the Gulf of Ob for its chief port?
50 In which country will you find the Royal Aal al-Bayt Institute for Islamic Thought?





Answers to BH134
1 CA van Gennep 2 Longleat 3 The Economist 4 Sonata in B-flat Minor 5 Vicenza 6 Customs House 7 Frantisek Kupka 8 Principles of Biology 9 Houghton Hall 10 Debussy 11 John Nash 12 Samuel Beckett 13 Eero Saarinen 14 Mahler 15 John Barrymore 16 Matsuo Basho 17 Leonhard Euler 18 Eugene (full name Francois Eugene de Savoie Carignan) 19 Sheep 20 Fluorine 21 Where the Air is Clear 22 Northrop Frye 23 Egypt 24 To enjoy 25 Frederick II 26 Fujitsu 27 Carbon 28 Theophile Gautier 29 Gauteng 30 Gorse 31 Nadine Gordimer 32 Paul Goodman 33 Prix Goncourt 34 Venezuela 35 Men's Super Giant Slalom 36 Ikkyu 37 Oryx Douala 38 Penarol 39 Everton 40 Fencing (foil) 41 Laurent Fignon 42 Henry Armstrong 43 Roads 44 Investiture contest 45 Interval 46 Kangchenjunga 47 Yuga 48 Dance 49 Kara Sea 50 Jordan

Thursday, October 18, 2007

BH133: "The M************ Saga Continues..."*

QLL Recap
Tuesday saw a tight, tight Quiz League of London game against Nomads, with the result being that the Broken Hearts emerged victorious and the only undefeated team left in the championship. I mucked around with positions (Stainer 1, Bayley 2, myself 3, Mark 4) and it worked out pretty well. Either that or positions are completely meaningless and the only thing we can rely on is the content of our quiz character.

I was also quite content that my post-match, self-made sandwiches (mozzarella and milano salami making possibly their first ever QLL appearance) didn't result in an outbreak of food poisoning. It seems I have Butlin's to thank for my old catering skills (ah, such sweet, sun-dappled memories of taking up smoking and pilfering massive amounts of food from their kitchens - well I was paid £99 for a 39-hour week. £99! And yet, at the time, that weekly pay packet made me feel like the richest 16-year-old in the world. Pity I spent most of it on designer clothes that got stolen by nefarious Armani Jeans-loving beings and cigarettes to feed my burgeoning ciggy-chaining habit).

Anyway, I'll leave it to Stainer to sum up the match in his own inimitable style: "Broken Hearts made it four wins out of four tonight with a close-run victory over Nomads.  Our opponents' team, combining Lea and Steeples, formerly of Animals, with Frazer and Bennett, boasted four of the stronger players in the league.

And so it proved.  Broken Hearts eked out a two-point lead over the first four rounds but Nomads regained that ground on round five.  It was level at the end of round six, but Nomads chose the worst possible time to turn in two four-point rounds, and we capitalised to win the game 52-46.  Individual scores were Mark with 11, Ian with 12, me with 14 and TQG with 15.  Each Nomad scored 10 or more as well, so (unusually) each player will be "mentioned in despatches" by Rob Willer when he returns from his sojourn in Barbados.

TQG also deserves credit for his sandwich making skills which will be remembered fondly by all present. Finally, thanks to Jenny who braved a bout of queasiness to read the questions and then entertain us with her friendly set (except for me, as I only scored 5 points).

1 What word for a mass of metal, such as gold or silver, cast in a mould takes its name from the Old English for "to pour in metal"?
2 "Ingress" is the act of what?
3 What name for an elementary particle postulated as a constituent of neutrons and protons was coined in c.1969 by physicist Richard P Feynman?
4 The ancient kingdom of Parthia was located in the north-east of which modern day country?
5 Now the name of a rector or vicar or other clergyman holding a benefice, who was originally the legal person by whom the property of God or the church in the parish was actually held?
6 Coined in 1832 by French geologist and mineralogist Francois Beudant, smithsonite is the name given to a carbonate of which metal?
7 The name for which air-breathing gastropod probably comes from the Norwegian dialect word for a "large heavy body" or "heavy slow person"?
8 The roots of which climbing shrub yield sarsparilla?
9 Which season shares its name with a heavy horizontal beam or glider that itself ultimately derives its name from the Greek for "packsaddle"?
10 Which dish of thin slices of meat and vegetables derives its name from the Japanese for "spade roasting"?
11 Which word for a Muslim pantheistic, philosopher and mystic comes from the Arabic word for "woollen", so named from the rough woollen garment associated with ascetics?
12 Which Italian/Spanish dance characterised by sudden skips comes from the Spanish "to leap" or "to dance"?
13 Which Czech gymnast won the Olympics Women's All-Around title in 1964 and 1968?
14 Which golfer won the Open Championship at Hoylake in 1947 becoming the only Ulsterman to take the title?
15 Which football club became the only non-league team to win the FA Cup since the League began (1888-89) in 1901?
16 Nicknamed "Lights Out", which Michigan-born boxer knocked out Michael Nunn in round 11 to become IBF middleweight champion in 1991 and later that year beat Mike McCallum to become WBA champion?
17 The American, Chet Snouffer, became the first individual world champion of which sport in 1989?
18 The first final of which tournament in 1949 saw Malaysia defeat Denmark 8-1 at Preston?
19 Who left athletics for an acting career after he won the decathlon at the 1976 Summer Olympics?
20 Which freshwater fish, whose maximum length is 40-45 cm, has the Latin name Scardinius erythrophthalmus?
21 Beginning as quarterback with the Chicago Bears and finally announcing his retirement as an Oakland Raiders player in 1975 shortly before his 49th birthday, whose 26-year career is the longest in pro-football history?
22 Which German won her eighth Olympic canoeing gold in 2004. having started at Moscow in 1980?
23 Which famous Olympian was born in Onesti, Moldavia on November 12, 1961?
24 The Dutchman Willem Ruska, the Frenchman Angelo Parisi and Japan's Hitoshi Saito all won Olympic gold in the Heavyweight category of which sport?
25 Captain Edward "Chicken" Hartopp of the 10th Hussars organised the first English match in which sport on Hounslow Heath in 1869?
26 The most successful modern racing pigeons were developed in which country, where the first long distance race of more than 100 miles took place in 1818?
27 Which Australian rugby league club won the first World Club Challenge in 1976, beating St Helens 25-2?
28 Which French king (1423-83) is often credited with first playing billiards indoors on a table?
29 By what Japanese name is the referee in sumo wrestling known?
30 The most prestigious form of powerboat racing is organised by the UIM, whose name stands for "Union Internationale" what?
31 What term describes a plant accidentally introduced into an area during cultivation of another species?
32 What name for a conical, sharply pointed fossil shell of a cephalopod, allied to the cuttlefish, comes from the Greek word for "dart"?
33 What phrase for a red dust storm takes its name from a town in Queensland, Australia?
34 Derived from the Old French for a "bib", what name describes the lower part of a visor?
35 Deriving its name the man of Messenia in Sicily who formulated it c. 300BC, what theory states that the classic gods are merely deified kings and heroes, and their fantastic feats exaggerated traditions of actual events?
36 In which German city was the first cigar factory opened in 1788?
37 In the world of cinema, what was the name of the earliest colour film, patented in Britain by George Albert Smith in 1906?
38 El Cid got his name from the Arabic word "sayyid" meaning what?
39 The Australian double drummer is a species of which insect?
40 The female politician Tansu Ciller became prime minister of which country in 1993?
41 Reappearing in 1992, which comet is the parent of the Perseid meteors?
42 In which cathedral is Christopher Columbus buried?
43 Which artist and school founder painted the watercolour Greta Bridge, Yorkshire - on display in the British Museum - in about 1805?
44 Which Italian philosopher's Filosofia dello spirito/Philosophy of the Spirit (1902-1917) was a landmark in idealism?
45 Which river port and industrial city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, at the confluence of the Rhine and Ruhr rivers is the largest inland river port in Europe?
46 In which Irish county is the monastery of Kells, where the illuminated gospel book was produced in the 8th century?
47 The title of duke was created in 1337 when Edward III created his son Edward, Duke of where?
48 Which daughter of the Spanish count of Montijo married Louis Napoleon, who had become emperor as Napoleon III, in 1853?
49 Which architect designed Belgrave Square, London, in 1825?
50 Which composer died from typhoid at the age of 31 on November 19, 1828?








Answers to BH133
1 Ingot 2 Entering 3 Parton 4 Iran 5 Parson 6 Zinc 7 Slug 8 Smilax 9 Summer 10 Sukiyaki 11 Sufi 12 Saltarello 13 Vera Caslavska 14 Fred Daly 15 Tottenham Hotspur 16 James Toney 17 Boomerang 18 Thomas Cup (badminton) 19 Bruce Jenner 20 Rudd 21 George F Blanda 22 Birgit Fischer 23 Nadia Comaneci 24 Judo 25 Polo 26 Belgium 27 Eastern Suburbs 28 Louis XI 29 Gyoji 30 Motonautique 31 Anthropophyte 32 Belemnite 33 Bedowrie shower 34 Beaver 35 Euhemerism (as in Euhemerus of Messenia) 36 Hamburg 37 Kinemacolor 38 Master 39 Cicada 40 Turkey 41 Swift-Tuttle 42 Seville 43 John Cotman 44 Benedetto Croce 45 Duisburg 46 Meath 47 Cornwall 48 Eugenie, Marie Ignace Augustine de Montijo 49 George Basevi 50 Schubert

*NWA quote. Much beloved of my gangsta rap dayz

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Soft Launch

The Blockbuster - the next 502-question quiz - is pretty much ready to go, but I am waiting on one or two people to come back with their answers and feedback. This means I won't be doing a huge intro-essay thing just yet, but will, as if I were opening a rather swish new nightclub, instead be e-mailing previous participants in the Behemoth and Colossus to ask if they wish to have a go before everyone else rather than let it languish in obscurity closer to the European Quiz Championships, just to get it going. You know, get some momentum going.

I'll be getting in contact with the "previous participants" very soon...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

BH132: The things that haunt us

What has happened will happen again and again
Eagle-eyed BH quiz tacklers, quite a few of whom have copied and printed off this particular quiz series in its entirety, will have probably noticed a little sloppiness creeping into my question selections recently. BH quiz perusers will have no doubt recognised one or two questions being repeated, even if they were first posted in this blog's ancient history (the dark days of February 2006), though they have been slightly amended or drastically jiggled about enough to bypass my powers of recognition.

The archives are starting to bulge and my increasing ignorance of questions I set and posted myself a few months before is increasing exponentially. Er, unless I start to seriously use my "Search Blog" facility in a far more methodical manner, which I have done. Though admittedly on about three paranoid-driven occasions. So yes I could be more diligent. Especially when I look back at the typically murderously obscure questions I have laid at the feet of the world where they are no doubt ignored due their murderous obscurity (though my raison d'etre with many of the questions I set is that if you write a GK question about a hitherto shrouded topic and stick it on the internet, it becomes less obscure by dint of its exposure and, opens interested parties' eyes to the possibility of such a question being asked; the process resulting in the said impossible question hopefully entering mainstream quizzing events in, oh, about 25 years. I hope. Call it normalisation if you will.)

Nevertheless, I throw up my no doubt scurrilous setting hands and lift up my shame-shaded face in readiness for a modicum of mild ire displayed by BH devotees and willingly declare myself guilty as charged of self-plagiarism, (Really, I don't think you care about this concern of mine much, but you know it sure bugs me. The burden of a unwittingly unleashing potential Groundhog Day-style fusillades of repeat questions lies heavy on my creaking shoulders, reminding me of my written files and their tendency to throw up the exact same question I have written once every year for seven years without fail.)

Having said that even though I've really only been repeating questions a rare few times, each one stares out like a scarlet-shamed swollen thumb, reminding me that my mind is becoming an increasingly fickle box of mysteries. I realise the omens for committing further blunders multiple every time I come across them. This in itself is a classic question-compiler rule, one set in stone and one that must always be kept uppermost in one's thoughts. Never forget ground already trodden and, subsequently never repeat and steal from yourself. If you don't it makes you feel very silly and makes you consider what other perceptive devotees of your question output might think of you ("He's already written that! Idiot! Respect is no longer due"). Also, they might just think you are becoming one hell of a lazy arse.

Making a bold, hyperbolic statement, I love the "art" of original question-writing. For if you use quiz books you will surely have a place reserved in the ninth circle of Hell. Research, originality and an eye for either the universal or at least interesting, stand-out fact will stand every quizmaster in very good stead. That and an understanding of clauses and crucial grammar. It's just a pity that most numpty pub QMs asking the questions have about as much affinity with their material and understanding of their potential impact on the gathered punters as a Helen Keller would have had with a Rolls Royce Silver Phantom. Know your stuff inside and out. It is your only defence. When one 25-year-old twit, who at first everyone thought was actually a member of the Dalston Bicycle Thieves Club and was about to sell his latest "find", claimed that Carry On Up The Khyber was the first Carry On film because he "looked it up on a website", so outraged where the 60 or so gathered participants that nearly everyone jumped up in furious unison and screamed : "BOLLOCKS!" and then shouted the word again, until everyone in the pub appeared to be wearing facial expressions of simmering anger. (Did he back down? No way. He was the quizmaster and that was "the answer down on his sheet". Wax-haired git.)

Perhaps, there are mitigating factors for subconscious repetition. So here is another excuse or two. I do it differently. Writing thousands of one-line to gargantuan length questions - I often feel I must pack everything into the questions out of lunatic compulsion and a fear of ambiguity - at 75WPM speeds can bring most people who read them to the brink of despair, lovely despair, For writing so many and in such a manner scrambles my memory circuits.

The medium-to-long BH quizzes are all written in a couple of hours at the very most (except BH100 and the UN quiz ... I said I would never do it again, after 12 hours of strange, eclectic hell, but in hindsight it did cover the world and, as all quizzers know, the world, replete with countries and cultures, it is huge and fantastic place which will always yield more amusing and educational facts than this tiny island of ours. So yeah, a repeat may be on the cards before the EQC. Because I am mad me.)

Stocking up on coming BH quizzes, I seem to have written 350 questions today for blog publishing (word lengths 8 to 40), as well as proofed three or four quizzes I am preparing for non-Quiz Blogger purposes. Shhh, who knows where they will end up?

Anyway, it's only a blog and I am most certainly making a mountain out of a molehill all in the name of serving my trivia-loving readership. Thank whichever of the gods that look over us, that the best blogs are on the whole either a) waystations with links to far more interesting sites and webpages a) moaning and opinionated gits c) Photogenic women who have ingeniously exploited their social calendar/sex life/helter skelter career and men's sexual proclivities to garner book deals d) Arts/films/music/football team obsessives e) Celebrity-obsessed gossip vampires or f) people with lives or jobs which force confrontation with the baffling and beautiful panoply of mankind. And they all serve their loyal and tiny-to-giant readerships by often making mountain ranges out of mole fortresses. Many ramble, but rambling, in many cases the self-centred indulgent kind (me? pot and kettle and you know what), is what the finest bloggers do and are rewarded for, if their tidbits, diatribes and opinions are written well enough (though I'm not sure where I stand in the whole category thing: the fact-obsessed, quiz addict, questions galore niche perhaps?)

But then one welcome side-effect to my incipient repetitive weakness (forgetting my hackneyed writing style tics "innit" being one recent inexcusable example). If you didn't learn the question last time, then you get another bite at the apple, or blueberry, or whatever lovely reduced punnet of fruit you have come across at your local M&S. And if I forget it, there is hope for everyone surely? (I'm already thinking that statement is the culinary raw tripe served on a bed of bull's testicles).

And yet I say, twas was just another Bastard Hard quiz: I aim for the supramundane aspects of quiz knowledge to which only the most devoted triviaholics pay homage. The harder you play, the better your results become. And to paraphrase Gary Player in a far less smug fashion, the more you practice, the luckier you become. Work, work, work and give up all semblance of a well-rounded life. Give yourself to the geek side.

One more thing. Keep in mind that the BH quizzes have always been written in the HST Gonzo-style: prone to excess, improvised, overblown, with nary a thought as to rhyme or reason (except in special cases) linked only by a primal devotion to hardcore randomness and a guarantee of new discovery. And I would never find them so fun were an editor or proofreader happen to peak over my shoulder. After all, this is my domain and mine alone. Always remember that.

1 An inspiration for Aesop's fables, which collection of Buddhist legends collected before 400AD contains 547 stories in its oldest and most complete version?
2 Destroyed c.1520, Majapahit was the last Hindu kingdom of which island?
3 Chief minister to several popes before his election to the papacy in 1073, which Pope had the monastic name Hildebrand and was driven from Rome before his death in exile in 1085?
4 Which director's lesser known films include Broken Blossoms (1919), Orphans of the Storm (1921) and The Struggle (1931)?
5 What plateau is known as Jawlan in Arabic?
6 Chiefly active in Ghent, which Flemish painter (c.1440-1482) most notably produced the Portinari Altarpiece (c.1475, on display in the Uffizi) that he executed for the agent of the Medici at Bruges, Tommaso Portinari?
7 Which ballet extravaganza, from which US vaudeville and musical comedy developed, began its run of 474 performances in New York in 1866?
8 The town of Darlington lies on which river near its junction with the Tees?
9 In 1924, which Australian-born South African palaeontologist and anthropologist discovered the first fossil remains of the australopithicenes, early hominids, near Taungs in Botswana, that he named Australopithecus africanus?
10 Containing the painting known as the "Black Madonna", which basilica in the Polish city of Czestochowa is a centre for Catholic pilgrims?
11 Which singer-songwriter gave Marcia Murphey, a former television production assistant, £75m at the end of their 25-year marriage in 1994?
12 Which naturalised British citizen won the 1981 Nobel Prize for Literature for work "marked by a broad outlook, a wealth of ideas, [and] artistic power"?
13 Which car company's latest models include the Auris TR, Verso SR and RAV4 XT-R?
14 Which creatures have the highest population of any animals on earth?
15 Which person has held the Order of Merit longer than anyone else having been awarded it in June 1968?
16 Which 15th century Italian artist painted the towering Assumption of the Virgin altarpiece (c.1474) of the Church of St Agostino in Asciano, recently reunited and reconstructed to form the highlight of a new National Gallery exhibition?
17 Descended from the residents of ancient Urartu, Armenia became the first Christian nation in 301AD when which king converted it from paganism?
18 Which former dentist, known as Burma's Charlie Chaplin, was seized after supporting his countrymen's recent protests against the military junta?
19 Which stadium is home to the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team?
20 The "LA Live" Los Angeles building plan is the brainchild of which reclusive Colorado-based billionaire, who owns the AEG entertainment group?
21 Born in Russia in 1905, whose collection of essays The Virtue of Selfishness has been described as the extreme capitalist's handbook?
22 Said to be one of his most moving works, who wrote the play Love Letters on Blue Paper (1977) at the age of 45?
23 At the age of 47, the former Egyptian Irrigation Service employee Constantine Cavafy wrote which sad but persuasive poem on the impossibility of changing one's life?
24 James McNeill Whistler's Nocturne in Blue and Gold is a painting of which London construction?
25 Which statistician invented the product-moment correlation coefficient in 1897, and also made the first use of the terms "standard deviation" and "chi-square"?
26 Author of Systems of Consanguinity and Affinity of the Human Family, which then railroad business lawyer accidentally hit on the subject of examining kinship terms (equivalent of our "uncle" or "aunt") in native American tribes in 1858?
27 Which cleric published Hymns Ancient and Modern in 1861?
28 Which architect's Pavillon de l'Esprit Nouveau (1925) was virtually his first project to be built?
29 In a famous 20th century novel, which 37-year-old moves into 342 Lawn Street, somewhere in New England, where he fatefully meets a mother and daughter?
30 Which "younger" architect designed London's Newgate Prison in 1768?
31 Lee de Forest invented what device in 1906, making the tube/valve into an amplifier?
32 The 16th and last of the Ming Emperors, who wrote the message "I, feeble and of small virtue, have offended against Heaven ... Ashamed to face my ancestors, I die" and committed suicide by strangling himself as the Manchus entered Peking in 1644?
33 In 1979, Alan Reeter broke which distance record, by travelling 67 miles in Nevada?
34 The war correspondent JA McGahan famously reported Turkish atrocities in which country in 1876, leading to its liberation?
35 Regnier de Graaf first used which widely known anatomical term in 1673?
36 Whose 1918 design for a chair - made of timber without any joints and painted in primary colours - is seen as the definitive De Stijl chair?
37 Which famous car pioneer was killed in a plane crash in June 1910?
38 Which Latin-named Leonardo Fibonacci work of 1202 caused the switch from Roman to Arabic numerals?
39 In which year did William Bradford and other members of the Plymouth colony have the first Thanksgiving dinner?
40 As worn by a Highlander, what is a "dirk"?





Answers to BH132
1 Jataka 2 Java 3 Gregory VII 4 DW Griffith 5 Golan Heights 6 Hugo van der Goes 7 The Black Crook 8 Skerne 9 Raymond Dart 10 Jasna Gora 11 Neil Diamond 12 Elias Canetti 13 Toyota 14 Ants 15 Duke of Edinburgh 16 Matteo di Giovanni 17 King Drtad 18 Zarganar 19 Staples Center 20 Philio Anschutz 21 Ayn Rand 22 Arnold Wesker 23 The City 24 "Old Battersea Bridge" 25 Karl Pearson 26 Lewis Henry Morgan 27 Rev. HW Baker 28 Le Corbusier 29 Humbert Humbert (in Lolita) 30 George Dance 31 Triode 32 Ch'ung-chen 33 Hang-gliding 34 Bulgaria 35 Ovary 36 Gerrit Rietveld 37 Charles S Rolls 38 Liber Abaci 39 1621 40 Dagger

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Four Days

Four consecutive days. Four different quiz-things. Well, it gives me something to do and somewhere to go doesn't it?

First up...

Saturday: Quizzing GP
It was a light and not-very-cloudy day in Oxford. I had arrived at the Beefeater pub venue late having forgotten that the Underground has a devilish tendency to muck your travel plans up on a weekend. Did I feel ready for the imminent GP? Hmmm probably, I thought, as I sucked on a lung-stripping filterless duty free Lucky Strike on the pavement like a now typical tobacco refugee *COUGH-HACKING-COUGH.*

Sat in a Jesse-Sean triangle, I didn't really have a problem with the individual questions and I can say that because I still haven't brought myself to running over the glaring screw-ups in the comfort of my own home. It turned out that it just wasn't my day. Crossing out correct answers (Dawn French! NOT Catherine Tart ... I mean, Tate - Freudian slip?), complete brain-farts (where was Gabriel Byrne? Dagnabbit: I would have got that a decade ago!) taking gambles on sheer silliness (whatever) and smudging certain words just to enable my getting away with stuff (slightly naughty) was the order of the day. Sometimes you realise things won't always come together. They stay scattered like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle destined never to be solved that day. So that's what I realised. Indeed, Jesse and Sean's hugely impressive one-two showed they had pounced on the areas I had come apart on (despite Jesse commenting that my British geography was improving ... I said it was osmosis thanks to his team-presence, which could be right. If I was a plant) and I dribbled away points on ill-thought reflex answers.

Knowing that J&S had cleared my score by at least ten points, I was a tad relieved to find that ninth was my final position. That was before I remembered my past GP form. Because this was my worst position in time immemorial (I seriously cannot remember the last time I had ... oh wait, there was Uttoxeter a few years ago. Didn't even make the top ten on that occasion *shudder*) and my worst since last year at Slough.

Does this mean I get one bad result every year (where Jesse deservedly, and in a sure sign of things to come, rises to the top like excellent quality cream ... and is it pure coincidence he does so magnificently at the same event where I tumble from the near-top positions ... hmmm ... he must be into voodoo!)? Thank God then, that this particular mini-disaster came with ten months of the year gone and only global-themed GK events remain for what is left of 2007. I'm very happy to leave the clutches of British bias for the moment.

After seeing the first half of the England-Australia RWC match, the afternoon team competition eventually came with its random member lottery, which I am beginning to find very sociable and fun. I did better with the obscure answers this time, though we continued my infuriating habit of crossing out correct answers and replacing them with too-clever-by-half drivel. To my surprise we were tied at the top with two other teams by the end of an excellent, searching table quiz and so subjected ourselves to a female breast-ligament then when nobody had a sodding clue about that anatomical one, passenger airplane record guess-the-number tie-break.

In tie-break situations, I resign myself to defeat before they even get a chance to commence. I am, admittedly, about as much use as Polish cavalry against a Panzer division when it comes to guessing numbers and records, never being a Guinness fact fan, and in classic self-fulfilling prophecy style our estimate of flying Falasha Jews came up woefully short. Never mind. We should never have rid our answer sheet of "philogyny", and I should always remember that such mistakes in judgement and ill-fated swaps happen all the time and to everyone else in the room.

Rounding off the day, a lovely little ceremony was performed in aid of the new Order of Merit. I received my badge of honour, hilariously defacing-potential certificate and the applause-accompanied confirmation that I had attained Grand Master status by racking up more than 5000 ranking points (but where were the showers of rose petals for the GMs? And the promise of personal bathers? Eh and double eh?). Which was nice. And quietly satisfying. Then, I thought, I may be attending too many of these events, confirmed later by my new national ranking of number two - (now, how did that happen?) and mulled over other quiz-related existential dilemmas? (Please don't retort; I know only too well). Maybe, there is an underlying need to ration attendance and ensure quality control. Don't want to spread myself too thinly, like a too little slither of butter trying to cover slice of bread do I?

On the bus back, as well as discussing which quizzers possessed "The Gift" (nah, not the Cate Blanchett does psychic DVD), Stainer and I debated the reasons as to why the placings were so out of sync with previous form, but we won't mention them here. Question discussion, no matter the innocence of the actual context, published on the web can result in unnecessarily and needlessly offended parties getting in touch, so I'll keep them to myself. Suffice to say, they were pretty obvious conclusions coloured by my acknowledgement that they certainly delved into GK areas I hadn't previously bothered to reach in competition, or had only brushed lightly with the gaze of my attention.

Though, in a "this report must be concluded with laurels galore way": a whole-hearted, gilded set of congratulations goes out to my esteemed colleague Sean's runner-up spot (I marked his paper; startlingly good) and even more so to Jesse on his first Grand Prix win, something I have never achieved. Much admiration is forthcoming and has already forecame (sic). When the questions fall in the right places for my esteemed colleague, he is relentlessly efficient and spot-on. That's a compliment by the way. I was also grateful that Oxford is so close to London. Yep, us selfish London-centric types demand more events closer to the country's major metropolis. I mean: we do live in London: the capital of the world. Why should we visit provincial destinations with nary a Wagamama's and Lush in sight?

Self-flagellating Note: My Perfect Score, dropping Sport & Games, was 124 (with 20 tie-breakers). Bad, bad burn rate this one.

Next, the EQC, where the questions are of large, European portions with a suitably changed content pitch. I am really looking forward to it. Gimme obscure foreign novelists and film directors any day. For they will fill me up and make me moderately happy.

Sunday: President's Cup
Back to the leaky catacombs of The Old Star in Westminster for the start of a new President's Cup season. Last time we played the Mastermind Club, my team - Sussex (yep, just like the triumphant county cricket side he says unconvincingly and in full knowledge that he hasn't seen them play live since he was 12-years-old) - had been comprehensively smashed 51-24, so excuse me for thinking that this time we were going to aim for a modicum of respectability rather than the kind of result that makes you mutter jokey inanities, feel a kind of weird, ghostly shame and want to forget that these damned things called quizzes ever existed.

I decided to muck around with the positions. I thought, why should I always sit at four and always get the butt-end of the question-setter's whimsy? So I put myself at 2 (it sure was weird being sandwiched between two other players; as if I didn't know where to put my now constricted hands and couldn't lounge around legs akimbo at the end. The freedom of fourth comes with unsaid benefits) and stuck my esteemed colleague Bayley on the end. Nic was number one and Kathryn took third. And I think it worked out pretty well.

Now I am aware of the Sussex habit of building a five-to-seven point lead at half-time, then somehow conspiring to completely blow it in the second period, purely because we like shooting ourselves in the foot over and over again. This knowledge was always loitering in my mind, sowing nasty doubts, even when we won one round 10-0. Call it my natural paranoia (what did William S Burroughs say? "Sometimes paranoia's just having all the facts" Perhaps I should aim to be even more paranoid), despite such an astonishing score (astonishing for the teams of the calibre that play President's Cup at least, but maybe not if the questions set are preternaturally suited to one side of the table). But such a lead-spurt was never going to be overhauled and never was. Sure, there were some idiotic answers from yours truly - for one, I took a punt on one of Botticelli's living years and came up at least ten years too recent - but the other side were making more (uncharacteristic) blunders.

Finishing victorious 44-30 it was an excellent all-round performance from the entire team - 16 moi, a crucial 12 from Bayley, 8 each for the others - which makes a bloody welcome change. I still shiver in remembrance of my non-contribution to our crushing Quizzerdamerung defeat away to Cambridge last season, and was thankful that this set hadn't ganged up on my beery and aircraft-related P-Cup frailities, and hadn't thrown up more questions requiring answers like "Alfriston Clergy House" (English heritage? I have too much heritage already to keep a decent handle of all of it matey). Phewey indeedy.

So a hugely satisfying overture to the President's Cup season, which I always enjoy on account of scoring more on the harder subject matter (Tuesdays? Mild bah! There was an "action painting" question last Tuesday! Who do you think the answer was? Joan Mitchell? Jack Tworkow? Albert Kotin? You're joking aincha?). Now I just have to remember to book our venue for the next round, something that I tend to characteristically and unfortunately (in the case of our penultimate 2006/07 fixture) leave to the last minute, like the silly bastard I am capable of being on very regular occasions.

But one thing is for sure: I shall never utter the word "cadenza" in front of Kathryn ever again. I'll leave the musical terms up to her and others who know what the hell they are talking about (me and my stupid scan-hearing for key words rather than absorbing the question in its entirety).

The Friendly, MY Friendly, Oh Yes
And you know what? My infamous, specially written and completed a mere hour before friendlies have been softened up somewhat, something emphasised by Gavin when he commented that the combined match total was 41 points at the halfway stage. Am I dumbing down? Well, you have to if people aren't going to start shrinking from you in confusion and horror. I really hate the moments when you get total silence from eight players, so I have worked concertedly to make sure this doesn't happen too often in the future. Except when I am compelled to ask questions on Japanese castles and the prefectures they are located in. Despite my knowing that hardly any quizzers know any of Japan's prefectures. I felt I had to do it. Just had to. Nothing could stop me. Not even good old reason could prevent from typing things of which no-one had a bally clue.

(Sussex won by a fair distance thanks to Gavin taking my place. Unanswered questions are marked *)

President's Cup friendly 7/10/07

Round 1
1A Married to fashion designer Nicole Farhi, which English playwright's early dramas include Slag from 1970 and Knuckle from 1974?
1B Which veteran actor played Professor Yana in the latest series of Doctor Who, who was later revealed to be the title character's nemesis "The Master"?
2A Which 37-year-old actor played "The Master" in the same series when the Time Lord was forced to regenerate, going on to assume the name Harold Saxon and the post of British Prime Minister?
2B Welsh rugby union legend Gareth Edwards played in which position?
3A Which of the sciences derives its name from the Egyptian word for "earth"?
3B David Hare worked with which controversial English dramatist on the 1973 play Brassneck, whose other early works include Christie in Love and Magnificence?*
4A Welsh rugby great JPR Williams mostly played in which position?
4B Which of the sciences gets its name from the plural Greek word for "of nature"?

Round 2
1A Known by a single-word name, which American female pop singer had a 1982 no. 1 with I've Never Been To Me?
1B In which Prefecture is Himeji Castle, the most visited castle in Japan?*
2A Also known as the 1st Baron Crathorne, which Tory politician was forced to resign as a result of the Crichel Down Affair in 1954?
2B Known by a single-word name, which German female singer had a 1982 no. 1 with A Little Peace?
3A Which actor is associated with the famous misquotation "Judy! Judy! Judy!", though the closest he ever came to saying it was "Come on, Judy" and "Oh, Judy" in the film Only Angels Have Wings?
3B Formerly the 6th Earl of Durham, which Conservative MP was forced to resign due to his involvement in a prostitution scandal revealed by the News of the World in 1973?
LORD LAMBTON or Viscount Lambton or Antony Lambton
4A Designated a "National Treasure" by the Japanese government, Matsumoto Castle is in which Prefecture?*
4B Which actor is associated with the famous misquotation "Oooh, you dirty rat!", though he did say "Mmmm, that dirty double-crossin' rat" in the film Blonde Crazy?

Round 3
1A Which Ethiopian athlete recently set a new marathon world record in Berlin with a time of 2 hours, 4 minutes and 26 seconds?
1B Set in 2003, the women's marathon world record is held by which athlete?
2A Who was chosen as Time magazine's first non-American Person of the Year in 1930?*
2B The world's largest particle physics laboratory, by what name is the Swiss-based European Organisation for Nuclear Research commonly known?
3A Which Italian composed such operas as Alfred the Great, Emilia of Liverpool, Anna Bolena and Roberto Devereux during the 1820s and 1830s?
3B Who was the first female to be deemed Time magazine's Person of the Year in 1936?
4A Most of the current activities at CERN are based around the building of the so-called "accelerator of the future", the LHC. For what do the letters LHC stand?
4B Which Sicilian composer produced such operas as Bianca e Fernando, Zaira, La sonnambula and I puritani during the 1820s and 1830s?

Round 4
1A As seen on a t-shirt sold by the website, which French existentialist philosopher said: "In football everything is complicated by the presence of the other team"?
1B Who is the current Governor of the Bank of England?
2A Mark Elder is Music Director of which British symphony orchestra?
2B According to a t-shirt, which French post-structuralist thinker, who died in March 2007, said: "Power is only too happy to make football bear a diabolical responsibility for stupefying the masses"?*
3A Depicted on a £50 banknote issued in 1990, who was the first governor of the Bank of England?
3B Named from the Tahitian word for "good" though the spelling of the drink is two words, which rum-based cocktail was supposedly invented at the Trader Vic's "Polynesian-style" restaurant in Oakland, California in 1944?*
4A Which gin and brandy-based cocktail was invented by Ngiam Tong Boon for the Raffles Hotel between 1910 and 1915?
4B The Russian opera company director Valery Gergiev joined which British orchestra as principal conductor this year?*

Round 5
1A The 1978 film The Last Waltz documented which rock group's final concert at the Winterland Ballroom, San Francisco on November 25, 1976?
1B In which West African country did Mathieu Kerekou become the first black African president to step down after an election in 1991?
2A Which 17th century Italian physician gives his name to the renal corpuscles found in the nephrons of the kidney and white nodules or splenic lymphoid nodules found in the spleen?
2B Owner of German company Beiersdorf, Oskar Tropowitz gave which skin and body-care brand a name meaning "snow-white" in 1911?
3A Yahya Jammeh recently claimed he could cure HIV and AIDS with natural herbs. No one would listen to him if he was not president of which West African country?*
3B Which Italian physician identified the eponymous "apparatus" in 1898, whose primary function is to process and package the macromolecules such as proteins and lipids that are synthesised by the cell?*
4A The chemist Graham Wulff gave which name to a Procter & Gamble brand of facial moisturiser skin products in 1949, chosen as a spin on the word "lanolin"?
4B The 1984 concert movie Stop Making Sense edited together footage from three gigs played by which rock band?

Round 6
1A Which professional body, whose motto is "Est modus in rebus" meaning "There is a measure in all things", are known by the abbreviation RICS?
1B Which Apollo 8 crew member became the first Asian-born astronaut in 1968 because he was born in Hong Kong?
2A With which well-known writer did Charles Dickens collaborate on the stage play and novel No Thoroughfare in 1867?
2B Becoming mandatory on August 1 of this year, what does the acronym HIP stand for in a property context?
3A Who became the first citizen of an African country to fly in space as a paying spaceflight participant in 2002?
3B The structural formula of which organic acid is represented as CH3COOH?
4A The simplest carboxylic acid, the formula of which acid is represented as either HCOOH or CH2O2?
4B Dickens published his travel book American Notes in 1842 and another travelogue four years later about which country, the title including the words Pictures from ...?

Round 7
1A Which London street has been acclaimed as the world's most expensive shopping street in a recent survey by Colliers International?
1B And which street in Manhattan did it only just pip to first place?
2A Which lovely-named Hungarian footballer became the first substitute ever to score a hat trick in a World Cup match in 1982?
LASZLO KISS (against El Salvador)
2B Which British rock group's albums include Machine Head, Who Do We Think We Are and Burn?
3A Which London train station was designed by Lewis Cubitt and built in two years from 1851 to 1852?
3B Which Hungarian footballer was the first player to score two hat tricks in World Cup matches, doing so in the same tournament in 1954?*
4A Which British rock group's albums include Master of Reality, Sabotage and Never Say Die!?
4B Opened in 1854, which London train station was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and was the original western terminus of the Metropolitan Railway, the world's first underground railway?

Round 8
1A Founded in 1917, which Dutch art movement is also known as "Neoplasticism"?
1B Which county cricket team have the one-day name, the "Steelbacks"?
2A Which county cricket team have the one-day name, the "Royals"?*
2B On this day - October 7 - in 1571, which naval battle saw the Ottoman Empire decisively defeated by the Christian West for the first time?
3A In the nursery rhyme, Hey Diddle Diddle, who or what "laughed to see such a sight" as the cow jumping over the moon?
3B The name of which Parisian art movement of the 1890s, meaning "the prophets" was coined by the poet Henri Cazalis?
4A On this day in 1985, which Mediterranean ocean liner was hijacked by the PLO while sailing from Alexandria to Port Said?
4B In the nursery rhyme, what did Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son steal?

Spares I would never ask in a match situation and certainly didn't after the eight rounds were done
What is the second-largest known dwarf planet in the Solar System?
Which financial services company sponsors the cricket's county championship?
Which American scientist has just announced that he has built a synthetic chromosome out of laboratory chemicals, thus creating artificial life?
Which Austrian paediatrician gave his name to a severe autism spectrum disorder after he discovered children in his practice in 1944 who appeared to have normal intelligence but lacked non-verbal communication skills and failed to empathise with peers?

Monday: Pub Quiz
(Sorry, Chris. When I said I was "going to Putney to see a friend" I meant I was going to try and win a pub quiz jackpot and fill my pockets with much spare change, like a very lucky and inviting beggar)

A change of venue for my usual trivia-related Monday night stop-off, Stainer and I headed down to The Fox, Putney, on his informing me that QuizQuizQuiz had a roll-over jackpot in the region of £150 going. As my esteemed colleague had mentioned, he never usually won the specialist round despite his undisputed pedigree. Teams with names like "Splinter Cell" would score maximums in the music, film & TV rounds, whilst we would lag behind by two or three every time, making us doubt our own intelligence and yelp theatrically in frustration. Every time.

Happening every theme round, this was incredibly annoying, a sensation made even more grating by our tendency to cross out right answers (Thorpe Park, the blue flag for the safety car in F1) and swap them with complete bollocks conjured up from our increasingly addled minds. Starving since I hadn't eaten since lunch, the only prizes we contented ourselves with were the mini-Crunchie and Caramel bars we won through merely getting our sheets to the markers faster than anyone else in the pub, and which I ravenously gobbled up, even though I haven't eaten Cadbury's miniature chocolate bars since I was aged, oh, about 14.

But the real raison d'etre of why we found ourselves doing a quiz which Stainer thought was probably beneath me (erm, maybe ... I had expected worse and more vulgarity if I am honest) was the general knowledge jackpot round. Get more than 17 and we would be getting a sizeable haul of pound coins. This was, he said, the round he always did best on.

With the self-induced pressure on I yielded two vital answers (Begbie from Trainspotting's first name and the Queen of Sheba's country of origin) while we worked out, with mighty good fortune, that farming was the subject of the first Radio 4 broadcast. We only screwed ourselves on, naturally, my bete noire among many other nasty beasts, Monopoly, with our obliterating a written-down £200 for the cost of a train station and substituting £250 instead. Would this cost us? Would bloody Monopoly and its tragic tendency to appear in quizzes I did do us in, well and truly? Won't people please stop asking bloody questions on bloody Monopoly? "Not bloody likely" comes the certain response from Pygmalion fact fans.

In the event we scored a very satisfactory 19 with every one of our dodgy answers yielding a surprising point, but had tied at the top with a far larger gang of suited and booted blokes seated to the back of myself. Thus, the tie-breaker, in which the a member of one of the teams would quiz-duel with the other in a first-answer-shouted-out and first-to-three correct-answers situation would decide the booty's final destination.

I know my speedy shouting skills do not compare (see the blasted TPQ final; I know I haven't and never will) with Stainer's buzzer prowess (and my already acknowledged rubbishness in a tie-break pub situation), so he went up, putting the matter out of my relieved hands. And ye gods, he was fast on the first two before latching on to a mistake by our opponent (Seneca's Roman emperor: he said Claudius, Stainer then dived in with the guess Nero), making it three and home.

We were enriched to the tune of £164, though, as always the sweet tang of mere quiz victory made the thought of all that excess coinage slightly more insignificant. We also won, as I noticed, because the jackpot round was the one part of the quiz where a need for relatively obscure, all-round general knowledge skills was needed. The time-worn quiz know-how did out in the end. I was worried that I would spend the whole evening whacked upside the head by the trashiness of all that had come before (not that trash is bad; you know I love it. But when young teams of eight are massed against your lonely duo, you are far more likely to lose crucial points thanks to their paying attention to the cartoon series Dungeons & Dragons and new Sugababes number ones, whilst your mind wandered onto far more rocky GK terrain. Random reflections: How I missed the George with its requirements for the only double landlocked countries. The strange thing is that I realised we would more or less score the same on our own).

And there's nowt like wandering through Putney getting horrible Fifteen-to-One flashbacks (for East Putney was the Regent TV Studios' underground stop) whilst weighed down with coins in every possible pocket. And there's nowt like paying debts back to people with silly change over the next few days (well, it is practically free money, but it is still money. That's why it's called money). Therefore, Jesse received my league subs in his predicted "I knew you were going to pay me back in your own twatty" way. This particular quizzer was only too happy to fulfil his twatty expectations of my good self with a plastic bag of representative brass, silver and gold. It's lucky he doesn't like hanging around arcades or it might have been money completely lost to gambling and video games. Or maybe, that's just my recalling my own seaside youth misspent in such glorious locales as Smart's glued to Final Fight because I thought my Amiga version sucked. TO THE MAX. These blog ravings always come back to me, don't they?

Tuesday: Quiz League of London
QLL top of the table clash. Down in Streatham, south of the river. A big one. We were all very nervous going into this match on account of our previous not-so-top form and tendency to gabble when the opportunity to answer on our own questions arose. So we took it slow. We chewed the cud a bit more. And lo, we didn't lose our nerve and resisted all easy incitement to surrendering to the pressure.

Atletico had been in sterling form during the start of the season, racking up scores of which we were incapable of reaching in our first two matches. We feared we could lose if we had been as sloppy as we had been at the Carpenter's Arms (um, could it be an atmospheric thing? THAT staircase odour). Instead, with Bayley switched to two and scoring a mighty 19, we eagerly took the bonuses and feasted on their errors (Fischer and Karpov? Nooo, Stuart!!). When the shadow of a few cack-handed jitters started affecting our game, thankfully it was too late: the match had long been decided in our favour.

It was over pretty quickly too. Good then, that we let out a collective sign of relief that suggested we had been holding our breath the whole time. The final scoreline was 53-39. My contribution was 14. Comprehensive is one tame adjective that could be used to describe it. Perhaps, we were lucky. Perhaps Brian's flashing 60th birthday badge played havoc with Atletico's mojo. I dunno. Yet I was thinking after two rounds that going first with this question set was a blessing indeed. Sometimes, that's how the question pairings go.

Anyway, next up is the second form team, the formidable Nomads. My esteemed colleague Jesse is missing, gallivanting somewhere fatuous and lovely quite possibly, so this is one instance we get to find whether he has become the BH talisman. Now that is a scary thought. Are we going to miss him when he's gone, the 13th Floor Elevators could sing if we specially commissioned Roky Erickson to write a QLL Tuesday night specific theme? In other team and far less tangential news, he who found Jesse in a random pub and inducted him for better or worse into the Trivia Life as Samuel once anointed David, Stainer, re-emerges from his Alex Ferguson-style retirement like a phoenix rising from the digital ashes of a large e-mail bidding farewell and wishing good luck to the BH squad, while Mark returns to the team hoping that he isn't bemused by stuff of a British hue. Pray godspeed classical composer and military history questions to wherever he may sit.

Assuming captain duties in his place and being the oh so gleeful recipient of a passing-the-baton-hee-hee-see-how-it-feels-to-organise-it-all-for-once e-mail from the aforementioned vacationing quizzer, I must sort out the post-match sandwiches (oh yeah, I'll sort them out. In ways you couldn't possibly imagine! Ha ha ha and chortling maniacally on and on ... like a rogue caterer) and ponder player positions and our gosh-darned tactics. Has Bayley proved that the second berth is where he is most effective? Do you even give a crap and am I boring you into sleepiness with such blog-meanderings? Let's not chance it. Ta ta.

Friday, October 12, 2007

BH131: Lyrics for Inspiration

Yet again, the critical, op-ed stuff is still brewing (or so he says). In the meantime, here's another quiz I wrote possibly years ago, or perhaps yesterday. Who knows? It's a mystery ... all my life has been a mystery. Then again, I have an ailing heart and am telling many a criminal lie.

1 In 287, St Crispin and his brother St Crispinian were martyred by being thrown into what?
2 Whose book, The History of the Standard Oil Company (1904) sparked antitrust reform?
3 Which sea once separated Laurasia from Gondwanaland, but closed up to become the Mediterranean, the Black, the Caspian and the Aral seas?
4 Probably born in Syracuse, which Greek poet (c.310-c.250BC) spent much of his life in Alexandria under the Ptolemies and wrote the Idylls, models for later pastoral poetry?
5 Hugues Aubriot was the first person to be confined in which building?
6 Which branch of electronics deals with the emission of electrons from matter under the influence of heat?
7 Which French author (1900-44) wrote the autobiographical Vol de nuit/Night Flight (1931) and Terre des hommes/Wind, Sand, and Stars (1939)?
8 Charlestown is the largest town on which Caribbean island, part of a country that styles itself as a "Federation"?
9 Thought to be the highest road in the world, which road links the Indian town of Leg with the high altitude military outpost on the Siechen Glacier at an altitude of 5401m/17730 ft in the Karakorams?
10 Named after a French chemist (1839-92), what primary electric cell consists of a carbon cathode covered with manganese dioxide, all in a porous pot, and a zinc anode dipping into ammonium chloride solution?
11 The name of which Irish political party translates as "Warriors of Destiny"?
12 From the Old Norse for "hole" or "opening", what word for a narrow passage between sandbanks or a strait can also be slang for a gun?
13 From the Persian for "charge holder", what word describes a sergeant of an Indian regiment of infantry?
14 What word for the part of the body between the ribs and the thigh comes from the Low German for "hind leg of a horse"?
15 On an insect or crustacean, what sort of organ is a "haustellum"?
16 What word for a non-European official, formerly employed in Anglo-Indian courts, comes from the Arabic word for "superintendent" itself derived from the word for "vision"?
17 What word, now used to describe something dropping quickly, comes from a weight that was attached to a line used for sounding?
18 From the Greek "to strike", what instrument is used as a hammer to examine the chest by mediate percussion?
19 Derived from the Latin for "wood", what is a tropical rain forest in the Amazon basin called?
20 Meaning "to use force", what Italian musical term is used to denote the direction, emphatically, with sudden vigour?
21 Meaning "two and a half" in Latin, what ancient Roman silver (afterwards bronze) coin and money of account was worth 2 1/2 asses or 1/4 denarius?
22 Which fish of the genus Raja is distinguished by having a long pointed snout?
23 Which three-handed card game resembling piquet takes its name from the Italian for "cards laid aside"?
24 To which order of mammals do the seal and walrus belong?
25 Where would you find concentrations of dense material named mascons just below the surface?
26 Which boxer was married to the Austro-Hungarian-born film actress Anny Ondra, also known as Anna Sophie Ondrakova, for 54 years?
27 Demirkazik Summit in Nigde Province is the highest peak in which mountain range?
28 Calo, originally Zincalo, is a Romani dialect spoken in which country?
29 Which poker player from Madison, Wisconsin, holds the record for most bracelets won at the World Series of Poker, a total of 11?
30 Which cricketer from Pakistan is the current youngest Test cricket debutant at 14 years and 227 days?
31 What is Shaquille O'Neal's US shoe size?
32 Which Canadian socio-political thinker's latest book is The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism?
33 Pamela Des Barres, Cynthia Albritton, Jenny Fabian and Bebe Buell were all famous for being what during the 60s and 70s?
34 Which car company's new flagship car, the F430 Scuderia, will cost £150,000?
35 In which semi-autobiographical Emile Zola novel follows the travails of a gifted young painter called Claude Lantier, who runs with the emergent Impressionist crowd during the 1860s and 1870s?
36 Who is credited with inventing modern robotics thanks to his inventing the first programmable robot - the Ultimate - in 1954, which was put to work on the General Motors assembly line?
37 Which composer's almost too perfect last words were "Friends applaud, the comedy is finished"?
38 The Spanish scientist Ramon Y Cajal (1852-1934) made his name in which branch of medicine?
39 Adapted into a film starring Will Smith and Donald Sutherland, the play Six Degrees of Separation was written by whom?
40 What are the two Alsatian departements of France?




Answers to BH131
1 Molten lead 2 Ida Tarbell 3 Tethys Sea 4 Theocritus 5 The Bastille 6 Thermionics 7 Antoine Marie Roger de Saint-Exupery 8 Nevis 9 Khardung Pass 10 Leclanche cell 11 Fianna Fail 12 Gat 13 Havildar 14 Haunch 15 Sucking organ 16 Nazir 17 Plummet 18 Plexor 19 Selva 20 Sforzando 21 Sesterce 22 Skate 23 Skat 24 Pinnipedia 25 The moon 26 Max Schmeling 27 Taurus Mountains 28 Spain 29 Phillip J. Hellmuth Jr. 30 Hasan Raza 31 Twenty-three 32 Naomi Klein 33 Music groupies 34 Ferrari 35 The Masterpiece 36 George Devol 37 Beethoven 38 Neuroscience 39 John Guare 40 Haut-Rhin, Bas-Rhin