The last in my File Series, for now. Apologies if you thought it tedious, but you know what? A change of direction once in a while is always good for the mental faculties. And yes, the questions have to keep moving, like a shark, even if it is a retrograde step. Because we wouldn't want a dead shark on our hands, would we? Another warning:
There may be some unconscious plagiarism from old Fifteen-to-One quiz books (they were very, very good, much like the programme itself ... Channel 4 cancelling buffoons) and bits of Trevor's A-Z, and other staples of the quizzer's quiz book collection. So I don't want you spluttering hey, this sounds familiar. Disgustingly familiar. How dare he pilfer in such a brazen fashion! Burn the plagiarist! BURN HIM!Yet another warning:
You will probably find errors, exacerbated and exaggerated by my tendency to churn out illegible questions in unthinking, industrial amounts long ago. Once again, I implore you to make use of the comments section to make your voice heard and put right what I have typed wrong.
So. Things to say. The conclusion of this jolly exercise in revision:
My God. My Sweet Lord. I wrote so many boring, stultifying questions I am surprised I persevered for years (YEARS!) and wrote so many more in a kind of deranged, blind mania. Talk about the destruction of limitations caused by obsession (because that is what it was, and remains so, albeit in a more level-headed and discerning way). I am surprised I didn't drive myself completely round the bend; if I stood back just to look at them piling up in such astonishing, self-defeating quantity I may have stopped to think (and probably gone on anyway. Because that's the way I am programmed). I mean, all that precious time wasted. Gone. Hundreds of hours (er, that may be an understatement) writing tepid, listy rubbish. When I could have been carrying out a sustained decade long assault on "International and World Knowledge"; the far more satisfying fact motherlode. Or written books of astonishing Nabokovian, Bellovian, Wolffian and Chabonian pastiche (that's where my fiction is heading if truth be told ... a place where I still have not found my own voice and am still shamelessly pillaging my heroes with idiotic flourishes and ambition-sickened prose). Or indulge my New Journalism worship in an utterly tragic fashion (which would have been fun, come to think of it. Mild regret. Though there is still time). Go with the Flow
A point about obsessive traits. I was reading an article ("Improving Job Performance By Taking Up a Hobby", 16/12/07) in the New York Times supplement of The Observer about hobbies ("[they] can enhance your creativity, help you think more clearly and sharpen your focus") and my heart was gladdened to think that, yes, that quizzing is the hobby I have chosen to take over my life. God. Did I just write that? Oh well. Carol Kauffman, a professor at Harvard Medical School
, went on to say that when you are really engaged in a hobby "you love, you lose your sense of time and enter what's called a flow
state, and that restores your mind and energy."
In this work mode "you are submerged in an experience, requiring a high level of concentration. Research shows strong correlation between flow states and peak performance". Gulp. Something sounds familiar.
This must have been what happened when I was writing file after file question, secluded in my little mental nook, completely shut off from the world and human contact; stuck in the "flow state" for days on end. Thank the transcendent powers that be, that I, erm, don't do that anymore. Right? But has this hobby actually been good for me? Or has it gone completely beyond that and turned into an essential component of my life, which isn't a bloody hobby at all is it? No, you realise how your emotions have mutated. This is a kind of compulsion that induces a mild sensation of emptiness when I am not engaged in it. Albeit one that provides me with a living of sorts. So, really, I am perfectly happy with it, oh yes sirrreee.Done with the Bad and Ugly. Now the Good
However, just maybe, I am seeing it all wrong: the constant question writing dosed me up good and proper and kept me fresh, well-drilled and sharper. I worked my mental faculties hard, trained them up to the point where I feel far sharper than I have ever been in my entire life, despite my tendency to eat trash and smoke cancer fumes. But now I realise: I have seen the folly of my veteran quizzer ways with crystal clear quality. I prefer much longer questions; indeed, questions that induce hoots of laughter in those people who try to recall their contents and languid length in public (eh, Jesse and Jen, eh? Eh?). Those are the ones I love, full of crushing material. The kind that makes you stronger mentally. Put quite simply, I've changed. Evolved. I've just realised that is a hideously obvious thing to write, but hey I'm leaving that DEL button well alone.
Having said that, looking at the trivial teasers of old, it's also easy to believe that, yikes, these are exactly the sort of obscure, short and snappy questions that come up in President's Cup. Here's hoping some of these be winning lottery tickets in the game of quiz ...Final File Quiz
1 Which creatures can be described as murine?
2 Founded by Julius Caesar, what was the Acta Diurna
3 By what name are or were "circular notes" better known?
4 The telephone codes 0131 and 0141 link which two cities, also linked by the M8?
5 Which country is the largest producer of tobacco in the world?
6 What is the chemical symbol for plutonium?
7 What kind of farm animals are "gilts"?
8 What is the oldest book in the New Testament?
9 Britten, Sullivan, Debussy and Prokofiev all wrote musical works based on which New Testament parable?
10 Taking its title from the Greek for "freedom", what was Samuel Beckett's first play written just before Waiting for Godot
in 1947, but which was not granted publishing permission until 1995?
11 Which Czech-born composer wrote the operetta Rose Marie
12 Which man instituted and opened London's first public library?
13 What was Elvis Presley's first record?
14 Who was the 19th century Philadelphia bishop proclaimed the first American male saint by Pope Paul VI in 1977?
15 Which screen cowboy was played by William Boyd (b.1898)?
16 What female name originally meant "manifestation of God" in Greek?
17 In Islam, what is an "Irade"?
18 In which Wessex town is Tess of the D'Urbervilles
19 Which European explorer "discovered" Fiji in 1643?
20 What is the fur of a polecat called?
21 Long staple, medium staple and short staple are types of what?
22 What did Chinese poets call the "concentrated essence of love"
23 Who wrote the 1829 prize poem Timbuctoo
24 What was a prince to a Kaiser called?
25 Which Scottish dukes live at Floors Castle?
26 Which Canadian political scandal toppled Prime Minister John Macdonald's conservative administration?
27 In which musical do the songs If They Could See Me Now
, Rhythm of Life
and I'm a Brass Band
28 What sort of republic is Brazil?
29 Canonis Descriptia
was the work that first introduced which mathematical concept?
30 Who is the composer of The Passing of Beatrice
(1892), thought to be the first symphonic poem by a British composer?
31 Where is the University of Abertay?
32 What word disappeared from British coins after 1981?
33 On which bay is Miami located?
34 Which pair wrote the musical Stop the World, I Want to Get Off
35 What is the capital of the British Virgin Islands?
36 What game is played on a court measuring 18m/59ft long by 9m/29ft 6in wide?
37 What is sphragistics the study of?
38 What is a "spall"?
39 What sort of information does a balloon known as a radiosonde collect?
40 Originally, what was the first or lowest note in Guido d'Arezzo's scale, corresponding to G on the lowest line of the modern bass stave?
41 Who is the premier duke of Scotland?
42 "Rogallo" is a mainly alternative American name for what form of transport?
43 Who painted Rocky Mountains and Tired Indians
while teaching in Boulder, Colorado in 1965?
44 Which water monster supposedly inhabits the Okanagan Lake in British Columbia, taking its name from a 1920s music hall song sung by Davy Burnaby?
45 Who first wrote "The pen is mightier than the sword"
46 In the title of a British novel turned TV series, who was Ruth Patchett?
47 Which king founded St Bart's hospital?
48 Which US philosopher invented "radical empiricism"
49 Which Wiltshire-born naturalist of poetic persuasion wrote Gamekeeper at Home
and The Life of the Fields
50 What colour is something if it is described as "lake"?
51 In which opera are Peter and Gertrude parents of the two eponymous characters?
52 In fencing, what is the stamping or beating of the foot during a contest?
53 In squash, what is the line above which a served ball must strike the wall?
54 What town in Scottish Borders takes its name from the Celtic for "bare moor"?
55 Which society of 16th century Florentine musicians and poets developed opera?
56 What was the profession of Shakespeare's father?
57 Joseph Hill was famous for making what during the 18th century?
58 With what four-word inscription is the Cenotaph inscribed?
59 In which place did the Lord first appear to Moses?
60 Which senator was Elizabeth Taylor's seventh husband?
61 What title is held by the ruler of Bahrain?
62 In which Dickens novel does the attorney Sampson Brass appear?
63 Which famous poet's body was buried in Hucknall parish church?
64 What is the "Venice of Japan"?
65 Burghley House is in which county?
66 What name is given to the Sunday before Palm Sunday?
67 In which cathedral was Sir Walter Scott married?
68 How is the ring dove otherwise known?
69 Considered the founder of his country's music, whose operas include The Brandenburgers in Bohemia
, The Secret of The Kiss
and Two Widows
70 What term describes a painting of the Virgin and Child entwined with saints or angels?
71 Which composer appropriately died on St Cecilia's Day in Westminster Abbey in 1900?
72 What broke out on April 28, 1789?
73 Which martial art has a name meaning "master of merit" in Chinese?
74 On which river is Salford?
75 What word refers to the scenes of domestic interiors painted by Edourd Vuillard and Pierre Bonnard in the late 19th and 20th centuries?
76 Which Old Testament figure had children by the slave girl Bilhah?
77 What is the final, quick section of an aria or duet called?
78 In which island group is Patmos?
79 From the Latin for "least of the brethren", what term of self-abasement was assumed by a mendicant order founded by St Francis of Paula in 1453?
80 Which Lord Mayor of London stabbed and killed Wat Tyler?
81 In what year did Whitaker's Almanac
82 Which British physicist coined the terms "scientist", "electrode", "cathode", "anode", "Eocene" and "Miocene"?
83 Which Japanese island's name means "the nine provinces"?
84 Which football team play at Somerset Park?
85 Which Italian island group is made up of Lampesuda, Linosa and Lampione?
86 What is the chief town of the island of Skye?
87 In botany, what are "scandents"?
88 By what other bird-related name is the flower, ragged robin, also known?
89 Who did Edward III marry in 1328?
90 Which English mathematician gave his name to the rule which simplifies the calculation of areas under graphic curves?
91 Which British motor-racing team were the first winners of the Formula One Constructors' Championship in 1958?
92 In which London building is the Wallace Collection on display?
93 What type of broadcast was first seen on British TV screens on July 29, 1949?
94 How many seats are there in the Welsh Assembly?
95 Who played Ophelia to Laurence Olivier's Hamlet
in the 1948 film?
96 What in common parlance was a Bradbury from 1914 to 1928?
97 Which bowler-hatted police detective did Peter Lovesey create in his crime novels?
98 What cinema chain did Sydney Bernstein open in 1930?
99 Which European mammal has the scientific name Capreolus capreolus
100 What plover with black and white plumage is Vanellus vanellus
101 What Italian phrase, meaning "in the breast", refers to when a cardinal is selected by the pope but not yet announced?
102 What name is given to a crystalline deposit of ice formed on objects exposed to wet fog at the same time as frost?
103 Who composed the opera Zaza
, about a music hall singer?
104 What is the lowest part of the Earth's atmosphere?
105 What is the last day of Lent?
106 What is the birthstone for May?
107 Which King instituted the Order of the Bath?
108 Which US state is the Treasure State?
109 What name is given to a table showing the predicted positions of a celestial body such as a planet, comet or asteroid?
110 What did the EB in writer EB White's name stand for?
111 Wagner's opera Das Liebesverbot
was based on which Shakespeare play?
112 Which US photographer started his career whilst teaching English in New York in 1932 and whose collections of the Depression, Dead End: The Bowery
and Harlem Document
, show as much concern for pure design as for the plight of the subjects?
113 What were made compulsory in horse racing in 1924?
114 Lugnaquilla is the highest peak in which mountain range?
115 Which Indian-born sportsman was the only British Olympic gold medallist to escape from Colditz, going on to win in 1956 with the Three Day Event team?
116 "Laggard" is a business slang expression for what?
117 Which island is the centre of the Cyclades?
118 Commissioned by Fernandez Varela, what religious work was Rossini's first major composition for 12 years and the last he ever wrote?
119 What small songbird, species Sylvia atricapilla
, is nicknamed "the monk" in Germany because of its grey plumage and distinct head?
120 Which French philosopher wrote Creative Evolution
121 What is Yves Saint Laurent's real name?
122 Which car company produces the Accent
and Santa Fe
123 Launched in 1822, what was the first iron steamship?
124 What pointed tuft of whiskers on the chin is named in honour of Napoleon III?
125 What is the northernmost of the Shetland Islands?
126 Which cinematic magician and hypnotist is Werner Krauss most famous for playing?
127 Which Turner Prize-winning English painter, active in New York from 1964, coined the term "Superrealism" for his work in the 1960s?
128 Who devised a law code for Hungary in 1486?
129 Which British novel begins: "I returned from the city about three o'clock on that May afternoon, pretty well disgusted with life"
130 What is the capital of Baden-Wurttemberg?
131 Which English conductor, composer and horn player founded the Chelsea Symphony Orchestra in 1944?
132 Zeppelin was the code-name given to a German plot to assassinate whom in July 1944?
133 What is the highest peak in the Dolomites?
134 Who created Fanny, the heroine of a trilogy of plays set in Marseilles?
135 Which French poet (1621-95) is known for his Fables
, including Le Chartier Embourbe
, Le Chene et le Roseau
, Le Coq et le Renard
, La Mort et le Mourant
and Democrite et les Abderitains
136 In Greek myth, Perithous was the king of which people of Thessaly who invited the Centaurs to his wedding with Hippodameia?
137 Which Irish musician and songwriter wrote Irish Melodies
138 The 17th century politician and essayist George Savile - nicknamed "the Trimmer" - was known by what title?
139 In which song did Flanders and Swan sing: "Mud! Mud! Glorious mud! Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood"
140 Which Spanish nobleman title of the lowest class and gentleman by birth means "son of something"?
141 Where would you find "daglocks"?
142 What word for a conceited chattering fop comes from the original sense of parrot and alludes both to the bird's gaudy plumage and its mechanical repetition of words?
143 What does the word "Wight" mean?
144 Prokofiev's first symphony, premiered in Petrograd in 1918, was nicknamed the "Classical Symphony" because it was deliberately written in the style of which composer?
145 "Wrenning Day" is a former name for what day because it was a local custom among villagers to stone a wren to death on that day?
146 What five-word phrase, used by Lord Derby the Prime Minister of his government's policy in promoting the 1867 Parliamentary Reform Act, refers to a step or action where the consequences cannot be foreseen?
147 What ship was wrecked on Norman's Woe near Gloucester, Massachusetts in 1839?
EAnswers to BH147
1 Mice 2 Newspaper 3 Travellers' cheques 4 Edinburgh & Glasgow 5 China 6 Pu 7 Pigs 8 Mark 9 The Prodigal Son 10 Eleuthia 11 Rudolph Friml 12 Dick Whittington 13 That's All Right 14 John Neumann 15 Hopalong Cassidy 16 Tiffany 17 A written decree of a Muslim ruler 18 Sandbourne 19 Abel Tasman 20 Fitch 21 Cotton 22 Jade 23 Tennyson 24 Pfalzgraf 25 Roxburghe 26 Pacific Scandal 27 Sweet Charity 28 Federative Republic 29 Logarithms (written by Napier) 30 William Wallace 31 Dundee 32 New 33 Biscayne Bay 34 Anthony Newley & Leslie Bricusse 35 Road Town 36 Volleyball 37 Seals & signet rings 38 Stone fragment or chip 39 Weather 40 Gamut 41 Duke of Hamilton 42 Hang-glider 43 David Hockney 44 Ogopogo 45 Bulwer Lytton 46 She-Devil (The Life and Loves of a She-Devil) 47 Henry VIII 48 William James 49 Richard Jefferies 50 Crimson 51 Hansel & Gretel 52 Appel 53 Cut line 54 Melrose 55 Camerata 56 Wool dealer 57 Violins 58 "To the Glorious Dead" 59 Horeb 60 John Warner 61 Emir 62 The Old Curiosity Shop 63 Byron 64 Osaka 65 Cambridgeshire 66 Passion Sunday 67 Carlisle 68 Cushat 69 Smetana 70 Maesta 71 Arthur Sullivan 72 Mutiny on The Bounty 73 Kung fu 74 Irwell 75 Intimisme 76 Jacob 77 Cabaletta 78 Sporades 79 Minims 80 Sir William Walworth 81 1868 82 William Whewell 83 Kyushu 84 Ayr United 85 Pelagian 86 Portree 87 Climbing plants 88 Cuckoo flower 89 Phillipa of Hainault 90 Thomas Simpson 91 Vanwall 92 Hertford House 93 Weather forecast 94 Sixty 95 Jean Simmons 96 £1 note 97 Sergeant Cribb 98 Granada 99 Roe deer 100 Lapwing 101 "In petto" 102 Rime 103 Leoncavallo 104 Troposphere 105 Holy Saturday 106 Emerald 107 Henry IV (1399) 108 Montana 109 Ephemeris 110 Elwyn Brooks 111 Measure for Measure 112 Aaron Siskind 113 Crash helmets 114 Wicklow Mountains 115 Frank Weldon 116 Underperforming stock 117 Delos 118 Stabat Mater 119 Blackcap 120 Henri Bergson 121 Henri Donta Mathieu 122 Hyundai 123 Aaron Manby 124 Imperial 125 Unst 126 Dr Caligari 127 Malcolm Morley 128 Matthias Corvinus 129 The Thirty Nine Steps 130 Stuttgart 131 Norman Rene Del Mar 132 Stalin 133 Marmolada 134 Marcel Pagnol 135 Jean de la Fontaine 136 Lapiths 137 Thomas Moore 138 Lord Halifax 139 The Hippopotamus 140 Hidalgo 141 On a sheep's behind (it is dirt) 142 Popinjay 143 A person 144 Haydn 145 St Stephen's Day 146 "A leap in the dark" 147 Hesperus