Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wikipedia errata

Slightly self-aggrandising request

I'm assuming that whoever did my Wikipedia Medal Record (which is very nice of you, anonymous table constructor) reads this blog. It is, however, riddled with errors and falsehoods and I am not one to mess around with my own entry. Personal Wikipedia pages belong to everyone, except the person it is about, and granted, any consistent lie-spreading enemies they have. It is my Golden Rule (otherwise, who knows what a stunning biography I could construct, filled with amazing details and eyewitness testimony that might be true.)

So please amend the table in light of the following information:

For a start, I never went to Ghent so was not part of the fine European Nations title-winning effort. That gold therefore shouldn't exist. The same goes for Tallinn. I was part of 'Young England' and didn't get a silver. Do Aspirational Cup medals count? Because that would be a gold for Blackpool 2007, yet I suspect they don't because the word is too long to fit in the space and it has a bit of a UEFA Cup vibe about it. Having said that perhaps, they should make a table appearance because it is no easy task to win it and because it does have a UEFA Cup vibe about it. After all, England B - we so ruled! - got the same engraved silver dishes/platters/plates/shiny flat things as the winners of the Club competition. Which was the Broken Hearts, of course.

Talking of which, with further regards to Blackpool and the Club competition, that bronze should be a Gold (you know, it didn't take too long for Spandau Ballet's 'Gold' to start whirring in my mental jukebox after writing it a few times ... you're indestructible la la la). Because, Gold ahhh! I mean, Hey! How come Bayley gets one I didn't? No fair. Treated like a third-class citizen in my own team!

Then, Bayley gets a Gold for winning the Pairs title at the 2006 IQA British Championships.

Well, if he and Pat gets one, what about my and Gareth's Pairs Gold (2007) and, what I seem to recall, as our Bronze this year? Them's two medals that be missing, or ain't the British Quizzing Championship's Pairs competition what it used to be, back in the glory days of its immediate infancy all those years ago? Back in 2006. When we were so young and carefree. Sigh.

I'm just saying, that's all. Maybe, it has something to do with this grotty headache I've just woken up. I was so confused I thought it was Sunday and I'd completely overslept for the President's Cup match, which instantly sent shivers down my spine and thoughts of at least seven people wanting to kill me with varying degrees of murderous brutality. Then I had a blessed Phileas Fogg moment and realised - sweet jaysus - I should forego the ways of the daysleeper.

Perhaps, I'm also bringing up the medal thing because dozens of people have been trying to 'correct' me, so to speak, on a surprising variety of factual matters these past few weeks, which might have something to do with the onset of November rubbishness and the darkening mood of our nation; let's all have a moan about summat and try to put it right. In my case, some have succeeded, some have failed. Anybody else want to chance their arm? If so, I therefore I decree the Statute of Limitations to be one month. Respect the Law of Me*, I say.

* Thoughts of linking to Cartman saying "respect my authority" being discounted on account of, my word, that is going way back and am I really getting that old?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Last Year's Gift to Merseyside

You See Me Compromise

(Psssst? Is the coast clear? I have to ask, has the Mayor of a Northumberland town been asking around for me? It's because I wrote the question 'What is the county town of Northumberland?' and stated the answer to be 'Morpeth'. The Mayor disagreed strongly and got in touch to say it was their town. Now I'm a bit scared, even though I verified it twice before I sent it in, and then after I got the query email five more times. Then I rang my close friend Ben, who happens to be from Morpeth, who seems to agree it's Morpeth, after all what's that County Hall doing there in the middle of the town. Only you press him for admissible court evidence and hard, concrete fact that will protect me and he starts to umm and awww. Despite being from Morpeth. And says he might have to call his mum. So who knows what might transpire? Probably nothing at all actually, but fleeting moments of panic never do you any good, no matter how fleeting they may be. In fact, I've just taken out all mention of the Northumberland town's actual name having written them in about 20 minutes ago because of the fear steadily growing inside me)

I have three drafts in the Blogger draw that are wild, unruly and not ready for this cruel and chilly world just yet, including the annual PEN Quiz "Ooh look at me getting the repeated thumbs up from the Shadow Education Secretary and having a right old larf with The Guardian's 'Friday Review' editor about the 'unique passion' and mild derangement of my ex-flatmate Alex" Report.

Instead, there be a set of year-old questions.

Did I hear you say "Most excellent, party on dude"? No I didn't think so. But it will have to do.

I'm guessing that it's safe to post my 2007 President's Trophy submission since I wrote it 13 months ago. I softened my vengeful core, forgot all about the notorious Three Bs and dropped my radical view that my set should be payback in the form of anti-trad-quiz subjects. I would go for what I envisaged was the centrist ground, even if my attempt at envisioning was severely impaired by my GK prejudices. After all, even I realised soon enough that I was going so over the top with my subject matter that I was swiftly resurfacing then repeating the rotation, as if I was caught in an invisible, superspeedy tumbledryer.

I'm glancing at it now ... I'll type out the stuff I believe to be beyond the scope of a usual quiz league player: economist Jeffrey Sachs, The Wire, H&M, Zara, Francis Fukuyama, Oz, Ice Cube, 50 Cent, crystal meth, ketamine, Facebook, Bebo, Orkut, Daily Motion, Akira Kurosawa, models Noemie Lenoir & Stella Tennent, artists Richard Hamilton & Robert Indiana, Daredevil, the film Iron Man (18 months before it came out, furcrisaches), novelists Michael Chabon & Tobias Wolff, Virginia Slims cigarettes, Chick Corea.

And, um, totting it up, that is quite a high percentage of the questions.

I have to say: what the heck was I doing? Setting a quiz for the Newsnight Review Quiz League?

Roger was right, it was way too hard. But did I cut my cloth to fit the appropriate fashion and therefore redo it for the sake of the game? Nah, I said, LET 'EM 'AVE IT! I'm the daddy, now. I mean, that's what my id was doing - channelling powerful Borstal-infused Ray Winstone vibes. I didn't change a word and now hold a strong belief it was dumped, which is fair enough.

But a year later I was no longer blinded by the missi0nary zeal for the things I liked. You realise that people like quizzes because they like answering questions, and they don't do it so they can be tortured and left silenced by either pointlessly obscure questions or those that have been set specifically as didactic lessons or a means of terrible REVENGE!

You realise too that the drip-drip, softly-softly method works better. Slip in new seams of pop culture (e.g. the comics Watchmen and Sandman) with amongst the reliably chestnutty and traditional cornerstones (history, geography and so on). Just don't get a stonking JCB and shovel tons of the stuff down quizzers' throats and shout: " This is for your own good! You don't know what you've been missing, you poor sheltered wizened folk. You gotta know your South Korean film directors and luxury jeans manufacturers!"

We Britishers don't like sudden breaks, instead preferring the slow bend, the increasingly noticeable creak and then the eventual crack because everyone gets used to it by the end.

Long-winded intro over. This is what I sent in last year. The contrast with my previous effort is somewhat stark, you'll agree. Even mildly hilariously so. Ha ... haha ...hahahah ... hahahahaha (And he says to himself: "Hey man, you used to be cool")

President's Cup MQL Submission
Set by Sussex 11/10/07

Round 1
1a The Bengali traveller and entrepreneur Sake Dean Mahomet is thought to have invented what bathroom or personal care product during the 18th century?
1b The libretto of which 1953 Benjamin Britten opera was based on Lytton Strachey's book Elizabeth and Essex?
2a Often mixed with Colby cheese when sold, which cheese takes its name from the Californian location where Franciscan monks first made it in the 1800s and the businessman who first mass-marketed it?
2b Which country hosted the 1938 football World Cup?
3a Which country hosted the 1954 World Cup?
3b Which London-born hairdresser is known for an eponymous Proctor & Gamble brand of shampoos and conditioners, as well as inventing the geometric, wash-and-wear perm and "Nancy Kwan" hairstyles?
4a "Affectionately inscribed to the children of John and Jean Maud", which 1945 Britten work has the subtitle "Variations and Fugue on a Theme of Purcell"?
4b Made in Latium until 1884 when a city council law forced many producers to move to Sardinia, which hard, salty Italian cheese suitable for grating, partly derives the first word in its name from the Italian word for "sheep"?

Round 2
1a Which German physicist, after whom an SI unit is named, discovered radio in 1888?
1b Completed in 1931, which building is the most famous work of architectural firm Shreve, Lamb, and Harmon?
2a Which group had a no.1 with 'You're Driving Me Crazy' in 1961?
2b Which American sprinter recently relinquished the five medals she won at the 2000 Summer Olympics after admitting to use of anabolic steroids?
3a Completed in 1977, which building is the most famous collaboration of architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers?
3B Which group had a 1960 no.1 with 'Shakin' All Over'?
4a In June 2003, athlete Marion Jones gave birth to a son by which American sprinter who broke the 100m world record in 2002 and was banned from the sport after he admitted using performance enhancing drugs?
4B Which English physicist, after whom an SI derived unit of energy is named, stated the law of conservation of energy, in the form of heat as well as mechanical energy, in 1847?

Round 3
1a The official residence of the Austrian president, which Viennese palace is the location of the Schatzkammer or treasury that holds the imperial jewels of the Hapsburg dynasty?
1b In Greek mythology, which daughters of the evening star guarded the Golden Apples together with the dragon Ladon?
2a Which 405BC naval clash was the final battle of the Peloponnesian War and saw the Spartan fleet under Lysander defeat the Athenians under Conon?
2b Also known as the "Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo El Real", which building complex about 28 miles north-west of Madrid was designed by King Philip II and architect Juan Batista de Toledo as a "perpetual home for the Catholic Crown of Spain"?
3a 'Gimme Shelter', 'Midnight Rambler' and 'You Can't Always Get What You Want' are tracks on which 1969 Rolling Stones album?
3b 'Brown Sugar', 'Wild Horses' and 'Moonlight Mile' are tracks on which 1971 Rolling Stones album?
4a Which character from Greek myth made a deal with her father that she would marry anyone who could beat her in a foot race and was eventually defeated by Melanion or Hippomenes who used three golden applies given to him by Aphrodite to distract her?
4b Which September 52BC battle was the last major engagement of the Gallic Wars and resulted in a decisive victory of Julius Caesar over Vercingetorix and his confederation of tribes, and the final conquest of Gaul?

Round 4
1a Which South Africa winger was one of the five nominees for IRB 2007 World Player of the Year award?
1b Which Austerfield-born comedy writer is best known for creating Last of the Summer Wine, and also wrote Keeping Up Appearances and Open All Hours?
2a Recipients of which literary award are given a bronze figurine designed by Griznel Niven known as the "Bessie"?
2b Though Yamoussoukro was designated the national capital in 1983, most government offices of the Cote d'Ivoire are still located in which city?
3a Who wrote the TV comedies Are You Being Served?, Come Back Mrs Noah and 'Allo 'Allo! with partner Jeremy Lloyd?
3b Which flanker was only All Black nominated for the IRB 2007 World Player of the Year award?
4a Which city remains the constitutional capital of its country, although the federal administrative centre was moved 30 km south to Putrajaya in the late 1990s?
4b Who won the first Orange Prize for Fiction in 1996 for her novel A Spell of Winter?

Round 5
1a Which late German-Austrian actor links the films The Longest Day, The Enemy Below, The Spy Who Loved Me and the TV series Smiley's People?
1b The horse Mister Baileys won which of the British Classic Races in 1994 in a record time of 1 minute and 35.08 seconds?
2a Born in 1933, which American novelist's latest work is entitled Exit Ghost?
2b Which 76-year-old German actor links the films Veronika Voss, Music Box, Shine and the new David Cronenberg movie Eastern Promises?
3a Allabaculia, the first winner of the St Leger Stakes, was owned by which Whig Prime Minister who was styled The Honourable Charles Watson-Wentworth before 1733?
3b Jonathan Evans is the current Director General of which intelligence agency?
4a Robert S. Mueller III is the current Director of which domestic intelligence agency?
4b Born in 1936, which American novelist's latest book is called Falling Man?

Round 6
1a Aside from humans, which Old World monkeys comprise the most widespread primate genus, ranging from northern Africa to Japan and have types like the Rhesus, the Crab-Eating and the Barbary?
1b Housing more than 30,000 long-tailed macaques, Nafovanny is the largest captive-breeding non-human primate facility in the world. In which Asian country is it located?
2a Celebrating an eponymous doctrine, what is the first Sunday after Pentecost in the Western Christian liturgical calendar called?
2b In the TV comedy series, what was the first name of Seinfeld?
3a As seen in the film Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, which chain of convenience stores was founded by entrepreneur Fred Hervey in El Paso, Texas, in 1951?
3b Celebrated by many English-speaking countries on the Sunday after Trinity Sunday, on which Christian feast day held in honour of the Holy Eucharist is it customary to hold processions with the Host followed by Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament after Mass?
CORPUS CHRISTI (This question may be erroneous)
4a In the TV medical drama, what is the first name of House?
4b Founded during the 1930s by a member of the Schwarz family, which German discount supermarket chain takes its name form a retired teacher and uses the slogan "Where quality is cheaper"?

Round 7
1a In which county are the rural market towns of Tavistock, Tiverton and Bideford?
1b Which jazz composer and pianist's film work began in 1929 with the short film Black and Tan Fantasy, and went on to score such soundtracks as Anatomy of a Murder in 1959 and Paris Blues in 1961?
2a What location specifically links the artists Louise Bourgeois, Anish Kapoor, Olafur Eliasson, Rachel Whiteread and Carsten Holler?
TATE MODERN or TURBINE HALL (all have exhibited specially commissioned
work in the Turbine Hall)
2b Also known as the "rare earth metals", which group of chemical elements includes cerium, promethium, holmium and thulium?
3a Which series of soft, low-density metals comprises Group 1 of the periodic table and includes such elements as lithium, sodium, potassium and caesium?
3b The latest installation to be seen in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern is an artwork entitled Shibboleth by Colombian artist Doris Salcedo. What is it?
A (548 FT LONG) CRACK in the floor
4a Herbie Hancock won an Oscar for Best Music for scoring the 1986 Bertrand Tavernier film Round Midnight, but which jazz pianist and composer wrote the original song of the title in 1944?
4b Billingshurst, Hurstpierpoint, Cuckfield and Pulborough are large villages in which county?

Round 8
1a The medical doctor Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor recently became the first astronaut to come from which country?
1b Introduced in July 1940, which British "Aeroplane Company" gave its name to the Type 156 Beaufighter aircraft?
2a By what name do we best know the current Earl of Merioneth and Baron Greenwich?
2b In 1985, Rodolfo Neri Vela became the first astronaut to be born in which country?
3a Which British aircraft company introduced the Whirlwind fighter in June 1940?
3b In which century was the medical text book Gray's Anatomy first published?
19TH (1858)
4a In which century was the genealogical guide to the British aristocracy, Debrett's, first published?
18TH (1769)
4b Apart from Edinburgh, Prince Philip is also Chancellor of which university?

Which Persian-born British novelist has won the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature, thus becoming the oldest ever person to be given the award?
Which British brewery first sponsored the Guinness Premiership when it was founded in 1987?
Apia is the capital of which Pacific nation?
Which former pop star presents the BBC2 quiz show Identity?
What term was coined in 1957 by composer Gunther Schuller to describe a musical genre which is a synthesis of classical music and jazz?
By what name is the current Brazil and AC Milan footballer Nelson de Jesus Silva better known?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

One More Time

First some quiz article links

Katy Guest on pub quizzes v. Simon Hoggart on pub quizzes (2nd item)

(Commentary on the above to come in due course. As it must)

The Joys of Visiting Questions Past

I've started two posts already that have descended into typical four in the, no wait, FIVE in the morning logorrhea. Words that just went on and on into the distance veering far off the relevant course I had envisaged. So I stop and I start again.

It must be a symptom of re-editing and sprucing up all my old Big Quizzes, as I realised that though they were once in a saleable state, now many questions are rusty as hell and in need of radical remodelling since some people want to buy the 'back issues' as it were (ya gotta shill in times likes these! Remember, three squids for either of the first two/seven-fifty for any of the last four!)

Several are now outdated (e.g. "Who won his fourth consecutive Wimbledon men's singles titles this year?" "Who bought Elvis's first house last month?"), while others were written in a fit of stupidity ("What was the score in that Soccer Aid match?") and many are littered with grammatical and factual misdemeanours (the crime of mispelling both parts of the Test Card F Girl's name, badly). Though some have changed answers, as if by magic! ("Who was the last British Prime Minister not to be elected to that office"?)

And then there are the quiz questions so boring I wondered whether I was catatonic or devoid of all original thought when I set them (who cares what colour sardonyx is?), but then again it was summertime and I seem to remember that in 2006 we had these things called sunshine and heat, always beckoning us outside with their pleasant partnership. Except during World Cup month. A kind of voided state could be explained by my being blitzed on my post-operation painkillers, though competing in the WQC three days after I was discharged was nowhere near the disaster I thought it was going to be. Despite being all bandaged up and very, very fuzzy ("We're in Wales????"). I'm not sure what the moral of that story is. It may not be very moral at all. Digression stop.

Therefore, the crappy must be swapped out for newies or dramatically rewritten and lengthened with new interesting factage I have unearthed. However, it just didn't quite compute until now that proofing 50,000 words is a lot of proofing and as a result my brain feels like it may pop.

As for The Giant

You can still enter at

The deadline is becoming as flexible as the finest bungee cord in the world. However, the three "provisional" score tables (Giant Part 1, Giant Part 2, Giant Total) for anyone who's already handed in either or both parts will be posted here on Monday or Tuesday next week. Latecomers will have their scores sneaked in (don't worry). I have recognised the problem with a 1002-question quiz and a now 3-month (!!!) window to answer them and it may well be Parkinson's Law related. Also, regular reminder emails would've been a good idea. And lots of physical nudging, perhaps.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

BH154: The French Connection

Specialist Quiz Looking Forward to You Know What

Suffering from a damn head cold, which is making me sneeze every few seconds, I've just realised in the fog and haze of nasaloral spray (I know what you're thinking "Nice!), I've had one of my BH quizzes lying dormant in my hard drive yet to be released. Thus, I am letting it go.

It is the first in a series of putative series of nation-based specials, which - funnily enough - will not include such countries as Belgium, Norway, Finland, Estonia, the UK and India. And by the way, it is meant to be extra BHard. Even I didn't know the answer to a single question before I started writing them.

Also, with regards to The Giant deadline (yep, it's still open to all and sundry and yep, I know it has been going on since August), it is now the last day of this month. November that is. In case, you're wondering.

(Please excuse the lack of accents and cedillas. I wrote it in a bit of a rush and you know how us Englanders are so indifferent to them)

BH154: France, or as we say in English, France
1. Which 46-year-old French writer, who made his debut as a film director with the recently released I've Loved You So Long, is the author of eight novels including the 2003 bestseller Les Ames Grises/Grey Souls, published in the US with the title By a Slow River?
2 Which seaside town, a commune and a sous-prefecture of the Vendee departement, is the starting port for the Vendee Globe round-the-world yacht race?
3 Which French artist, who finished his studies with the Jesuits at the College de Navarre in 1751 and entered the atelier of the sculptor Michel-Ange Slodtz, spent 11 years in Rome, some of which were in the circle of Piranesi, whose capricci of romantically overgrown ruins influenced him so greatly that he gained the nickname '______ des ruines' and on returning to France was received by the Academie royale de peinture et de sculpture, with a Roman capriccio, The Port of Rome, ornamented with different Monuments of Architecture, Ancient and Modern?
4 One of the leading expatriate figures in Paris between WW1 and WW2, which Maryland-born woman originally published James Joyce's Ulysses in Paris in 1922 while it was banned in the US?
5 Albert Camus said of this man "in the history of French theatre, there are two periods: before ______ and after ______". Which influential theatre director, dramatist, critic and actor (1879-1949) founded the famous Theatre du Vieux-Colombier in Paris and worked at the Georges Petit Gallery where he organised exhibits of artists' works and helped found the Nouvelle Revue Francaise in 1909, along with such writer friends as Andre Gide and Jean Schlumberger? He emphasised training an actor to be a complete person and rejected the Italian stage for something closer to the Elizabethan model.
6 An assistant of Andrzej Wajda, which Polish film director's second film Diabel/The Devil (1972) was banned in his homeland leading to his emigration to France where he made L'Important c'est d'aimer (1975) with Romy Schneider, and has since produced such films as On the Silver Globe/Na srebym globie (1987 - based on a book written by his great-uncle) and Szamanka/The Shaman (1996)?
7 As of 2007, France had four FIA world champions. Alain Prost in F1, Jean-Louis Schlesser in the World Sportscar Championship and Sebastian Loeb in rally driving. Which former ambulance driver from Montpellier became the first Frenchman to become World Rally Champion in 1994?
8 French basketball player Boris Diaw played for Pau Orthez, his country's top league team, before joining the NBA in 2003 when he was drafted 21st overall by the Atlanta Hawks. Which team did he leave the Hawks for in 2005, where he collected the Most Improved Player award for his first season?
9 Which late Capetian King of France was victorious at Bouvines on July 27, 1214, and thus annexed Normandy and Anjou into his royal domains?
10 Named after a region in the west of France, what name was given to the feudal dynastic encounter in 1242 between Louis IX and Henry III of England, having arisen became some vassals of the French king were displeased with the accession of his brother Alphonse as count of Poitou?
11 Known by the title 1st Duc de Magenta, which royalist general, politician and Marshal of France (1808-1893), whose Irish name came from ancestors who had settled in Limerick, served as Chief of State of France from 1873 to 1875 and as the first president of the Third Republic from 1875-79, but resigned due to the 16 May 1877 crisis?
12 Which French manufacturer of optical filters for photography is particularly noted for their 'Creative Filter System', invented by photographer Jean _____ (after whom the company is named) and introduced in 1978?
13 David Belle (b.1973) is considered the founder of which discipline or sport?
14 Lending his name to a monastery where a number of noted illuminated manuscripts were produced in c.1000, who became the first bishop of Limoges sometime during the 3rd century and was according to a lost vita of Saturnin, first bishop of Toulouse, which Gregory of Tours quotes in his History of the Franks? His feast day is June 30.
15 French people often refer to Metropolitan France by what nickname because of the geometric shape of its territory?
16 With Bernardino Osio as its current Secretary-General, which international organisation of 37 nations (plus three observers) that use a Romance language was created in Madrid in 1954 and has its HQ in Paris?
17 Which chateau, named after a small village in the Indre-et-Loire departement, was built on the site of an old mill on the River Cher sometime before its first mention in writing in the 11th century? Its current manor was designed by the Renaissance architect Philibert Delorme and has Diane de Poitiers' gardens in its grounds.
18 Which French Gothic Revival architect (1814-79), famed for his "restorations" of medieval buildings, was considered by Sir John Summerson to be one of "two supremely eminent theorists in the history of European architecture" with Leon Battista Alberti? His restorations include Notre-Dame de Paris, to which he added such grotesques as Le Stryge/The Vampire; Saint-Nazaire Castle in Carcassonne, Narbonne Town Hall, and such castles as Roquetaillade in Bordeaux, Pierrefonds and Chateau de Vincennes, Paris.
19 Designated a Ramsar site in December 1968, which vast plain is Western Europe's largest river delta (technically an island, as it is surrounded by water) and is located south of Arles between the Mediterranean Sea and the two arms of the River Rhone delta? It is also the lowest point in France (2m/6.5ft below sea level)?
20 Which conflict (1683-84) between Louis XIV and Charles II's Spain was fueled by the French king's long-running desire to conquer new lands, many of them comprising part of the Spanish Netherlands along France's northern and eastern borders, and as such was a direct sequel to the War of Devolution and the Franco-Dutch Wars?
21 Which French sculptor, painter and filmmaker, who died in May 2002, was particularly influenced by Gaudi's 'Park Guell'; the garden complex convincing her to one day create her own garden work that would combine both art and nature, and in 1961 became known around the world for her Shooting paintings - works consisting of a wooden base board on which containers of paint were laid then covered with plaster and then raised so she could shoot at it with a .22 calibre rifle?
22 First located at Lyon in 1879 and handed over to the state and transferred to Paris in 1885, which museum of Asian art is located at 6, place d'lena in the 16th arrondissement and is named after its industrialist founder, Emile Etienne ______?
23 What year is associated with the 'Diplomatic Revolution of ____', a term applied to the reversal of longstanding diplomatic alliances which were held until the War of Austrian Succession and then reversed in the Seven Years' War, with France forging an alliance with the Hapsburgs after centuries of animosity?
24 Which 350km-long portion of the Antarctic coast between Pourquoi Pas Point and Point Alden is one of five districts of the French Southern and Antarctic Lands and since January 1956 has had a permanently staffed French research base at Dumont d'Urville Station, the capital (winter population 33; 78 in summer) that is named after coast's discoverer Jules Sebastien Cesar Dumont d'Urville, who gave it his wife's name?
25 Based on a Charles Spaak short story, which 1935 French historical romantic comedy was made by Jacques Feyder immediately after his dark psychological drama Pension Mimosas because he wanted to relax by producing a farce far removed from the present day, setting it in 1616 in the Spanish-occupied town of Boom and featuring Francoise Rosay as Cornelia de Witte, Madame la Bourgmestre?


Answers to BH154
1 Philippe Claudel 2 Les Sables-d'Olonne 3 Hubert Robert 4 Sylvia Beach (b. Nancy Woodbridge Beach) 5 Jacques Copeau 6 Andrzej Zulawski 7 Didier Auriol 8 Phoenix Suns 9 Philip II Augustus 10 Saintonge War (named after Saintes) 11 Marshal MacMahon or Patrice de Mac-Mahon or Marie Edme Maurice de Mac-Mahon 12 Cokin (Jean Coquin) 13 Parkour 14 Saint Martial 15 "L'Hexagone" 16 Latin Union 17 Chateau de Chenonceau 18 Eugene Viollet-le-Duc 19 The Camargue 20 War of the Reunions 21 Niki de Saint Phalle (b. Catherine-Marie-Agnes Fal de Saint Phalle) 22 Musee Guimet 23 1756 24 Adelie Land 25 Carnival in Flanders/La Kermesse heroique

Monday, November 17, 2008


The Correction

And so the Monday flood of emails and letters and pigeon post came as predicted, with the following being an atypical example:

"Question number 4 in the Times2 Quiz of 14 November is incorrect. I have worked in Baku and have visited the Shirvanshah Palace, both of which are on the shores of the Caspian Sea, not on the shores of the Black Sea."

Atypical in that, I don't usually get eyewitness testimony from a former Soviet republic (you must think I am obsessed with them. Could be).

Printed grovel to be printed in the next couple of days. (I went back and checked my latest lot and found one silly ambiguity and one wrong year. I should stop verifying my questions at 4 in the morning.)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Previously on ...

... the President's Cup

(The QLL? Wassat? Some sort of futuristic failed transport system? Come ahn.) So we lost to the MMers by a whisker, then we beat up on Oxford and Beds & Herts and so we came to today and a match with London, who had the only 100 per cent record left in the cup. Well, we sure showed them huh?

No, actually, we didn't.

We got smashed 45-28.

How did we lose? Let me count the ways (and forget about Robert Willer's absence).

First I blame the rail infrastructure of our nation. You bastards. You engineering bastards. For it was on this poxy Sunday that Nic was prevented from joining us since all trains from Milton Keynes were cancelled. They'll say it was "planned". Like that's some sort of bloody excuse. Though being one person down and watching the other side getting enough two pointers to soon rip the match from your reach when we couldn't get our own is an excellent excuse for our defeat. However, I'm not entirely sure Nic would have made it close enough for us to go WOOOOOHHH that was close.

All I can think of are my dastardly mistakes: Moldovan flag? WRONG. Staying stchum during the Guernsey .gg internet domain thing. IDIOT. And finally, for my coup de grace, claiming Slough is the home of the Tesco HQ when it asked for a Hertfordshire town. I am certainly not blaming it on the fella who set them, who goes by the mysterious codename 'Teflon'.

(Hey, at least we comfortably won the friendly that happened to be the President's Cup season opener from 2005. Our memories are long and they rule.)

So the season record is 50/50. We'll be lucky if ... I was going to twist some old movie quote into new surreal hilarity here, but I just cannae be arsed. I knew we should have taken a sabbatical year.

Once again I blame the trains for everything. I also blame the trains for my unwillingness, some might call it bone idle laziness, to write original President's Cup friendlies. They used to be a weekend ritual of frenetic despair and sadistic obscurity. I have, however, held back the one I did for the time Oxford visited The Castle. Pity they left before they could do it because I was so unbelievably, shockingly, disgracefully late (hmmm, was that almost an hour?). Guess whose fault that was. Hint: they used to go CHOO-CHOO. Now they hum like the devil having a nap in a power station. OF EVIL.

But you know what? This will cheer you up. It makes me cry with strange, undiluted happiness every time I watch it.

Here's that friendly from last month...

President's Cup Friendly 19/10/08

Round 1
1a Born in Vienna in 1804, which Romantic composer wrote the polkas Seufzer-Galopp ('Sighing'), Jugenderfeuer-Galopp ('Young Spirit') and the Indianer-Galopp ("Red Indian Galopp")?
1b Frank Langella reprised his Tony-winning stage role as which US president for a forthcoming Ron Howard film?
RICHARD NIXON (in Frost/Nixon)
2a Which sports trophy, a silver bowl of Paul Revere design, was donated by Harriot, the winner of the 1906 United States Women's Amateur Golf Championship and her sister Margaret, the winner in 1907, 1911 and 1912?
2b Which Austrian composer completed his first symphony, a work he nicknamed "the saucy maid", in 1866, but had his first great success with Symphony No. 4 in E Flat major, commonly known as the Romantic Symphony?
3a St Augustine of Hippo was born in Tagaste in 354. Since renamed Souk Ahras, it is in which country?
3b Which biennial tournament for women golfers is named for Karsten ________, the Norwegian-American golf club manufacturer, who was the driving force behind its creation?
4a Josh Brolin took on the role of the 43rd US President in a forthcoming Oliver Stone movie. What is the film called?
4b The Roman Emperor Septimius Severus was born in Leptis Magna in 145. Now called Al Khums, it is in which country?

Round 2
1a Who designed the cover for the Velvet Underground & Nico so-called 'Banana' album, and also conceived the artwork for the Rolling Stones's 1971 LP Sticky Fingers?
1b Which cartoonist was hired by his friend Janis Joplin to draw the artwork for the cover of her band's album Cheap Thrills, but rejected the chance to do one for the Rolling Stones because he hated their music?
2a Author of the novels Beautiful Star and The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, which Japanese writer committed ritual suicide at the Tokyo HQ of the Eastern Command of Japan's Self Defence Forces in 1970?
2b Which bird's name links a captain in Are You Being Served?, the author of Nightmare Abbey, and the Leeds Rhinos prop whose autobiography is called No White Flag?
PEACOCK (Stephen, Thomas Love, Jamie)
3a Which bird's name links the lawyer-hero of To Kill a Mockingbird, David Brent's obnoxious friend and travelling sales rep in The Office, and the only posthumous winner of a Best Actor Oscar?
FINCH (Atticus, Chris, Peter)
3b Having had a top three hit in 1996 with 'You're Gorgeous', which British band's 2000 single 'The F-Word' later became the theme tune for Gordon Ramsay's cookery TV show of the same name?
4a Formed in Jacksonville, Florida in 1969, which group was formed by brothers Duane and Gregg and released the rock instrumental 'Jessica' in 1973 that later became the theme tune for Top Gear?
4b Which Japanese writer's bestselling novels include The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Norwegian Wood and Kafka on the Shore?

Round 3
1a What word do the chemical symbols for copper and tellurium form (in that order)?
1b Set up as a 'Wine Lodge' by eponymous founders Peter and Simon in Oldham in 1884, which pub chain went into administration on March 27 of this year?
2a Some Yates's had already been converted to pubs in which chain, known by a three-word name, and owned by the Luton-based Bay Restaurants Group?
2b What word do the chemical symbols for iron and argon form?
3a The Chinese-French-born American, Yo-Yo Ma, and the German, Maria Kliegel, are world-renowned players of which musical instrument?
3b Winner of the 1999 Turner Prize, which video artist has made his debut as a feature film director with the Bobby Sands IRA film Hunger and shares his name with a star of The Magnificent Seven?
4a The 1998 film Love is the Devil recounts the relationship between petty criminal George Dyer and which Irish-born painter, whose works include the Study After Velazquez series and Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion?
4b The Japanese woman Kieko Hashiguchi, and Bangladesh's Bari Siddiqui are virtuosos on which musical instrument?

Round 4
1a In which country were the following people born: Marxist cricket writer CLR James; the first peer of African descent Learie Constantine; news presenter Trevor McDonald; footballer Dwight Yorke, and cricketer Brian Lara?
1b Housed in three Washington DC buildings, which library holds the largest number of books in the world and is the world's largest library in terms of shelf space?
2a The terrorist groups Harakat Mujahideen and Lashkar e Tayyaba seek independence for for which Indian-administered region?
2b The books Eight Men Out by Eliot Asinof and Summer of '49 by David Halberstam centre on which sport?
3a Named after the area of the south-east London borough of Southwark where it is located, which library won its designers Alsop and Stormer the 2000 Stirling Prize?
3b The Islamic Army of Aden's aim is to establish a state under Sharia Law after overthrowing which country's government?
4a Which sport is central to The Miracle of Castel di Sangro by Joe McGinniss and Provided You Don't Kiss Me by Duncan Hamilton?
4b In which country were the following people born: the singer Rihanna; novelist George Lamming; sprinter Obadele Thompson, and the cricketers Frank Worrell and Garry Sobers?

Round 5
1a Creating a massive observatory on the island of Hven in 1577 nine years before the invention of the telescope, which astronomer was the first person to map the stars?
1b In which year did the Acts of Union become law and unite the English and Scottish Parliaments to form the Parliament of a united Kingdom of Great Britain?
2a The French physician Ernest Duchesne became the first person to study the anti-microbial capabilities of which mould in 1897?
2b An amateur astronomer from Toxteth, Jeremiah Horrocks was the only person to predict, observe and record which event of 1639 that led to such crucial breakthroughs as the accurate measurement of the distance of the Sun from the Earth?
3a In 1707, Roger Elliott was appointed by Queen Anne to become the first British Governor of which overseas territory?
3b Which Manchester backing group - comprised of Mike and Tony Mansfield and Robin MacDonald - became chart-toppers with a new lead vocalist from Liverpool in August 1963?
THE DAKOTAS (as in Billy J. Kramer)
4a Who formed a future chart-topping group in 1959 with his brother Fred, Les Chadwick and Arthur McMahon?
4b In 1829, Johann Buchner of Munich and Frenchman Henry Leroux became perhaps the first scientists to discover that which extract from willow trees provided pain relief for headaches?

Round 6
1a Which West Yorkshire village is home - now a museum - to the Bronte family's parsonage at the top of the steep cobbled Main Street?
1b Which current Premier League football club won the first of their two First Division titles in 1936-37 season?
2a Which capital city of Central Asia has been previously known by the names Akmola, Akmolinsk, Tselinograd and Aqmola?
2b Stepping down as Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council, Baroness Ashton took up which position on October 3?
3a She replaced Peter Mandelson who is now the Secretary of State for what?
3b Charles Dickens died on June 9, 1870 in which mansion - the place he called his dream house - in the Kent village of Higham?
4a Which Premier League football team won their first First Division title in 1894, starting a run of six successive championship victories?
4b From the 1917 Russian Revolution until 1927, which Central Asian capital was renamed Poltoratsk after a local revolutionary and now has a name believed to derive from the Persian for "the City of Arsaces"?

Round 7
1a Elected in 1993, Christian Ude is the current mayor of which city?
1b Jamie Oliver's new TV show Jamie's Ministry of Food is his attempt to educate the nation about eating healthily. Starting at the local level, he has therefore been patronising the people of which South Yorkshire town?
2a Which bird, known by the scientific name Sturnus vulgaris, topped the annual RSPB survey for the most common birds in London gardens in March?
2b However, the "Big Garden Birdwatch" at the end of January revealed the top garden bird is the Passer domesticus. What is its common name?
3a The tragedy Oedipus has been revived at the National Theatre with Ralph Fiennes in the title role. Which ancient Greek playwright wrote it?
3b Assuming office in 1994, Michael Haupl is the incumbent Mayor of which city?
4a What title is shared by a 1974 BBC documentary series about the Wilkins and a current Channel 4 reality show about the Hughes?
4b The play for actors and orchestras Every Good Boy Deserves Favour is another forthcoming National Theatre revival. Which Czech-born playwright co-wrote it with Andre Previn?

Round 8
1a Which rugby club is struggling with the RFU's decree that all Guinness Premiership teams must play in minimum 15,000-capacity stadiums by 2010 because its home, the Recreation Ground, can only hold 10,600 spectators?
1b The country's leading retailer of car parts and bicycles, which company was founded by Frederick Rushbrooke in Birmingham in 1892 before he moved to a store on the Leicester street that it is named after?
2a Fought between two parties of the Clan Donald sometime during the early 1480s, the naval clash the Battle of the Bloody Bay took place on the coast of which island two miles north of its chief town Tobermory?
2b The electrical retailer that claims "We live electricals", which 250-store chain was originally founded in 1933 by George Hollingberry with a name that originally preceded the words "... Battery Stores Limited"?
3a Taking place on October 2, 1263, which battle between King Hakon Hakonsson's Norwegian army and Scottish forces led by Alexander III takes its name from a North Ayrshire seaside town, whose original name means "the slopes" in Scots Gaelic?
3b Porto Santo is one of the only two inhabited islands in which Portuguese archipelago in the north Atlantic Ocean?
4a The site of a nature reserve formed in 1988, the Formigas are eight islets of which archipelago in the Atlantic Ocean?
4b Which other Guinness Premiership teams may have capacity problems in 2010 since its stadium Kingston Park can only hold 10,200 people?

Comedy character Alan Partridge named his son after which ABBA song?
What is Alan Partridge's middle name?
Who did Alan Partridge call "the band The Beatles could have been"?
Which crazed lunatic, who claims to be his "number one fan", nearly kidnaps Alan who duly calls him a "mentalist"?
Partridge presented which military-based quiz show on the cable station UK Conquest?
Which Archbishop of York led the victorious English forces against David II, King of Scotland, at the Battle of Neville's Cross on October 17, 1346?
Errol Walton Barrow was the first Prime Minister of which country?
Mike Nolan and Jay Aston were the bloke half of which British pop group, formed in 1981?
Which international rugby union team are known as "Los Teros"?
Agnes Dunbar was a mistress of which Scottish king, who was taken prisoner at the Battle of Neville's Cross in 1346 and kept as a prisoner in England for 11 years in London, Odiham Castle in Hampshire and Windsor Castle?
Administratively part of Shetland, which island is called Eileann nan Geansaidh in Scottish Gaelic, has a name derived from the Norse for 'sheep island' and is the most remotely inhabited island in the UK, with a population of 70?
Which English soldier was raised to the peerage as Duke of Albemarle, Earl of Torrington in the county of Devon, Baron Beauchamp and Baron of Teyes by Charles II?
The Goldstein Brothers opened which major healthy and beauty chain in London in 1964 as "Leading supermarkets limited" until it got its current name during the same year its first outlet opened in Putney?
Which system of social reorganisation advocated by an eponymous French socialist (1772-1837) was based on the principle of natural affinities?
What term for the scientific study of the relationship between workers, their environment and macinery was introduced in 1949 by the English industrial adviser KFH Murrell?

(Ohmigod. I actually got the 'David II' question asked today and got it wrong. I said 'James I' - moron. Maybe the memory ain't so good. Maybe, it can't be trusted and is one with the scoundrels and tricksters of this realm. And come to think of it, I got, the Superdrug question wrong in QLL this week too. Like, what the ...)

Yes, I know the following, among many other events that rank with the first Apollo moon landing, have happened: EQC2008 and AYAE, or as I like to call it AYAYAYAYAYAH. They will be commented and analysed upon in due course.

I would also like to sincerely apologie for claiming that Baku is a "Black Sea port" in a quiz that was published last week. I didn't verify it because I just happened to add it in at the very last microsend - and that's no lie - to make it more interesting than merely saying "capital city". Cos you know, it spices it up no end (i.e. makes it far more guessable ... DOH)

Sunday, November 09, 2008

So So Much To Write About ...

... But not right now

Instead, here are the 25 qualifying starters I did for the little buzzer-quiz thingy I did at the EQC. (FTP = For Ten Points, even though it was actually for One due to the vagaries of my far more complicated than I realised system; * = went unanswered in the qualifier I read out)

1. It is the favourite film of Kevin Costner’s character in The Bodyguard, which is itself an in-joke because it was released in the USA with exactly that title. Remakes include Last Man Standing and Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars, which was made only three years after the original. In it, Toshiro Mifune plays Sanjuro, a crafty ronin who enters a rural town in 19th century Japan, and plays one criminal gang off against another to his advantage. FTP - name this 1961 movie, directed by Akira Kurosawa.

answer: Yojimbo

2. Assigned the Diseases DataBase number 27829, the World Health Organisation has recommended the vaccines Vivotif Berna and the injectable Vi capsular polysaccharide vaccine for its prevention. Diagnosis can be made with the Widal Test, a demonstration of salmonella antibodies against antigens O-somatic and H-flagellar, and its Patient Zero has been cited as Mary Mallon, an apparently healthy carrier who infected 47 people whilst working as a cook. Transmitted by the ingestion of food or water contaminated with faeces from an infected person. FTP – which disease is also known as bilious fever and enteric fever?

answer: Typhoid fever or typhus (accept ‘bilious fever’ or ‘enteric fever’ before they are mentioned)

3. He retired in 2002, almost 30 years after winning his first belt when he beat Kenny Buchanan for the WBA lightweight title. Stepping up to welterweight, he defeated Sugar Ray Leonard to win the world championship, yet his most notorious moment came in the New Orleans November re-match when he turned his back on the referee Octavio Meyran with 17 seconds of the 8th round left, saying the words “No mas” and giving Leonard the win on a technical knockout. FTP - name this Panamanian boxer, whose nickname is “Hands of Stone”.

answer: Roberto Duran

4. Growing up, he listened to Latin folk and pop music and has named Cuban singer-songwriter Silvio Rodriguez as a favourite artist. His first band was the Gothenburg hardcore punk band Back Against the Wall and he later played bass guitar in another hardcore act, Renascence, between 1993 and 1998. His latest album In Our Nature featured such singles as ‘Down the Line’ and one of his trademark cover versions in the form of Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrop’. However, he is best known for an acoustic cover of a song by The Knife that appeared on his 2003 debut album Veneer and a Sony BRAVIA commercial. FTP – name this Swedish indie folk singer-songwriter of Argentine descent, who rose to prominence with his version of the song ‘Heartbeats’.

answer: Jose Gonzalez*

5. This man began his career at the age of 16 when Bata, the shoe company for whom he worked in the city of Zlin, ignored his protestations of being weak and not fit to run and entered him in a 1500m race in which he finished 2nd out of 100 competitors. At his first Olympics he won gold in the 10,000m and silver in the 5,000m, the same Games where his wife Dana Ingrova won gold in the javelin. Nicknamed 'The Locomotive' - FTP - which Czech athlete achieved legendary status when he won the 5,000m, 10,000m and the Marathon in the space of eight days at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics?

answer: Emil Zatopek

6. Premiered at the Imperial College of Music in the Little Theatre on March 29, 1879, the singer Lavrovskaya recommended the creation of what would be the fifth opera written by its composer. Having hesitated, he set the ‘Letter’ scene straight away and at the time wrote that he loved Madame Larina’s daughter Tatiana and was terribly indignant with the title character, who seemed to him a cold, heartless coxcomb. This man, who shoots the poet Lensky dead in a duel, rejects the youthful Tatiana but is left in despair when she does the same to him many years later. FTP – which Tchaikovsky opera is based on a novel in verse first published by Aleksandr Pushkin in serial form between 1825 and 1832?

answer: Eugene Onegin

7. Created by Marc Okrand in 1984 - the author of a dictionary and a book of proverbs in the language - it contains many pecularities such as Object Verb Subject order. Its word for the bridge of a ship is meH and transporter ionizer unit is translated as jolvoy. Common phrases in this tongue include “Heghlu’ meH QaQ jajvam” or “Today is a good day to die” and the extreme insult, “Hab SoslI’ Quch”, meaning “Your mother has a smooth forehead”. FTP — what is the name of this language spoken by a warrior race in the Star Trek unverse?

answer: Klingon

8. Born into a farming family in Mooswald, he dabbled in car racing when his active career ended in 1985, but returned to professional racing in the US in 1988. Yet this man, who recognised the event commonly regarded as his greatest career achievement in a 2006 interview but claimed his victory at Kitzbuhel in 1984 was very special to him because he hadn’t won there since 1977, did not add to his 25 World Cup circuit wins and record five World Cup downhill titles. FTP - which Austrian alpine skier won gold in the men's downhill in scintillating style at the 1976 Innsbruck Olympics?

answer: Franz Klammer

9. Previously known by such names as The New Originals and The Thamesmen, their first single 'Listen to the Flower People' was released in 1965. Polymer Records boss Sir Denis Eton-Hogg vetoed the original album cover for the follow-up to their 1980 flop Shark Sandwich due to its sexist nature, meaning a completely black sleeve was used for Smell the Glove instead. FTP - Derek Smalls, Nigel Tufnell and David St. Hubbins are members of which heavy metal band, the subject of a 1981 documentary by Marti DiBergi?

answer: Spinal Tap [from This Is Spinal Tap]

10. A top secret government project experimenting in teleportation goes wrong at the Black Mesa Federal Research Facility, resulting in aliens invading the office of theoretical physicist Dr. Gordon Freeman, who must fight his way out of the underground complex in order to survive. Developed by Valve Software and released in 1998 - FTP - this is the plot of the original computer game in which first-person shooter series?

answer: Half-Life

11. Gaining his doctorate degree from the University of Ferrara, he invented the Alphabet of the Magi for engraving angelic names upon talismans and devoted several sections to astrological talismans for curing disease in his Archidoxes of Magic. In around 1530, he developed the study of iatrochemistry, a subdiscipline of alchemy dedicated to extending life and thus laid the roots of today’s pharmaceutical industry. Thus, he has been credited with being the first person to use the term ‘chemistry’, as well as coin the word ‘zinc’. FTP – what one-word name was given to the Swiss physician and scientist Philippus Theophrastus Aureolus Bombastus von Hohenheim and meant “equal to or greater than” a Greek encyclopaedist from the first century known for his tract on medicine?

answer: Paracelsus (from Celsus) (accept Hohenheim before it is mentioned)

12. Hymn; The Golden Calf; A Thousand Years; Lullaby Spring; Mother and Child Divided; For the Love of God; and Beautiful revolving sphincter, oops brown painting. FTP – these are all titles of works by which British artist with a liking for preserving animals in formaldehyde, the most famous being the tiger shark that features in The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living?

answer: Damien Hirst

13. Advertised with the slogan "Friends for a Lifetime", its many makes include the Midnight Weave Emblem Black Ice and 1941 Replica High Polish Sterling Silver. This company was founded in Bradford, Pennsylvania in 1922 by George G Blaisdell when he obtained the rights to an Austrian model, which he redesigned by making the case rectangular and surrounding the wick with a windhood. So-called because Blaisdell liked the sound of a Whitcomb Judson invention - FTP - name this brand of windproof cigarette lighter.

answer: Zippo

14. It interacts through all four fundamental interactions and may interact electromagnetically in two ways: the first due to its magnetic moment and the second due to its electrically charged components. Its spin is 1/2. Classified as a baryon, it consists of two down quarks and one up quark. Its antiparticle was discovered by Bruce Cork in 1956, a year after the antiproton was identified. Discovered by James Chadwick in 1932 - FTP - name this subatomic particle with no net electrical charge.

answer: Neutron

15. The 13-storey, highrise quadrangle of masonry with gilded roofs consists of two separate areas accessed via stairways. The lower and outer portions of the White Palace encase the Red Palace that rises above the centre. Within the White Palace are the Great East Hall on the 4th floor of the western wing and two small chapels, the Phakpa Lhakhang and the Chogyal Drubphuk, while the Saints’ Chapel on the north side of the Red Palace’s Great West Hall is its holiest shrine. Perched on Marpo Ri Hill, it was completed in around 1697 and therefore dates from the time of Lozang Gyatso. FTP – name this Tibetan palace, the former Lhasa residence of the Dalai Lama.

answer: Potala Palace

16. Its members claimed to have discovered new elements of consciousness including Gedanken (Thoughts) by designing experiments in which the subject was presented with a complex stimulus, such as a logical problem, and after processing it for a time reported to the experimenter all that had passed through his consciousness during the interval. Working with younger colleagues like Karl Buhler and Ernst Durr, a former Leipzig assistant of Wilhelm Wundt’s named Oswald Kulpe founded the laboratory in 1896 where they worked. FTP - what school of psychology is named after the university that housed this lab, which is located in the namesake city of Bavaria’s Franconia region where the foundations of a famed Residenz designed in the Baroque style were laid in 1720?

answer: Würzburg School

17. Yotvata Hai-Bar Nature Reserve is breeding them for possible release in the Negev desert, although this is outside their natural range. Standing about 1 metre tall at the shoulder, their coat turns completely white in the summer and their head is marked with brown or black patches that form an X over their nose. Also having a scraggly beard and prominent red nostrils, this critically endangered species – of which there are fewer than 500 left in the wild - live in isolated regions in the Sahara and differ from other members of the antelope family due to their large, square cattle-like teeth and the lack of typical facial glands. Closely related to the oryx – FTP – which species is also known as the screwhorn antelope?

answer: Addax nasomaculatus (accept “screwhorn ...” before it is mentioned)

18. Born into a Prussian military family, his wanderlust took him to Paris with his sister Ulrike, six months on a Swiss island, a stay with veteran author Christopher Wieland and a trip to Dresden which led to him being imprisoned by the French as a spy. One November morning in 1811 this author of the tragedies Penthesilea and The Schroffenstein Family visited Lake Wansee with his terminally ill friend Henriette Vogel where he shot her and then himself. Lending his name to an annual literature prize – FTP – name this German dramatist, whose works include Prinz Friedrich von Homburg and the novellas The Marquise of O and Michael Kolhaas.

answer: Heinrich von Kleist

19. Its location became an official national memorial site on the 450th anniversary of this event when the architect Gyorgy Vadasz was commissioned to design the Battle Monument. A native saying, beginning with the words “more was lost at ...”, is now associated with moments of bad luck, since many people of the defeated country still regard it as marking the traumatic end of an independent and powerful nation, which initially led to to the partition of Hungary for several decades between Austria’s Habsburg Monarchy, the Principality of Transylvania and the victorious empire. Taking place on August 29, 1526 – FTP – in which battle were King Louis II’s Hungarian forces defeated by the army of Suleiman the Magnificent, ruler of the Ottoman Empire?

answer: Battle of Mohacs or (German:) Schlacht bei Mohacs or (Hungarian:) mohacsi csata or mohacsi vesz/Bane of Mohacs

20. Its name means ‘sudden’. The source of the river with which it shares its name is located at Mont-Aux-Sources. Located in the Drakensberg in the Royal Natal National Park in KwaZulu Province, it has a total height of 948 metres with the tallest of its five single drops being 411 metres, and has an average volume of 50 cubic feet of water per second. FTP – name this South African waterfall, the second tallest in the world.

answer: Tugela Falls

21. In 1881, he moved to New York where he served as joint consul for Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina and mobilised his country’s exile community, especially in Key West and Ybor City, Florida, to revolution and independence. A distinguished poet and author, he published the Manifesto of Montecristi together with Maximo Gomez in 1895 which proclaimed independence, but was killed in the same year fighting Spanish troops at the Battle of Dos Rios only a month after returning to his homeland. His ‘Memorial’ dominates the Plaza de la Revolucion and Havana’s International Airport was named after him. FTP – name the “Apostle of Cuban Independence” and national hero of Cuba.

answer: Jose Julian Marti Perez

22. It was originally written as the part of a larger work that included Arrow of God and its sequel No Longer at Ease. Much of the action takes place in the village Umuofia and centres on a flute-player’s son who rises from nothing to a high position through his skill in battle and a fortune gained from the farming of yams. But when Christian English missionaries arrive among the Ibos of Nigeria bringing European ways of life and religion, Okonkwo’s attempts to show how the cultural imperialism of the white man will destroy his society leads to his downfall and suicide. Named after the three words that precede the line “... the centre will not hold” in WB Yeats’s poem ‘The Second Coming’ – FTP – name this 1959 novel by Chinua Achebe, a major milestone in African literature.

answer: Things Fall Apart

23. It is the name of a range of digital audio and portable media players made by the Singapore company Creative Technology, previously called the NOMAD Jukebox. The surname of an Italian detective created by Michael Dibdin, it also features in the titles of albums by DJ Krush and Husker Du and books by Shunryu Suzuki and Robert M. Pirsig. Otherwise known as ‘Chan’ – FTP – what three-letter name is given to the school of Mahayana Buddhism said to have been established in China by the Indian monk Bodhidharma?

answer: Zen

24. His father, grandfather and great grandfather were all rabbis. He went to Bordeaux in 1887, which had just started France’s first teacher’s training centre, and from this position reformed the nation school system and instroduced the study of social science into the curriculum, later becoming the chair of education at the Sorbonne in 1902. However, he is best remembered for founding the journal L’Annee Sociologique and publications like The Division of Labour in Society. The sociologist who introduced the concept of ‘anomie’ into his field of study – FTP – which Frenchman wrote the 1897 study Suicide?

answer: Emile Durkheim

25. Born in Banat, a region assigned to Romania by the Treaty of Trianon, he is a multi-linguist who learnt Russian to read Dostoevsky in the original. He was 13-years-old when he heard Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony and was inspired to become a composer, but it was not until he was aged 33 that he decided to give his works opus numbers. His early choral work Beads displays the influence of Bartok and Jatekok/Games for piano was inspired by his former teacher Milhaud, while his international reputation began to take hold with Messages of the Late Miss R.V. Troussova for soprano and chamber ensemble. FTP – name this Hungarian composer, whose works from the 1990s include Samuel Beckett: What is the Word; Lebenslauf and Ligatura-Message for Frances-Marie, as well as the 1994 orchestral piece Stele?

answer: Gyorgy Kurtag