Wednesday, April 15, 2009


FA Cup Analogy Headline Failure

So we have made it to only our second ever All London Cup. For that we can partly thank other teams who overcame the sides with humungous handicap start scores in earlier rounds (and, er, us not winning the league and having that important two-point advantage. Slim mercies indeed). We have managed to play teams who have been within a manageable reach of 10-14 points or thereabouts.

Still, the handicap ensured that it got rather hairy at the end last night, what with it being 51-51 and my having to answer the last, crucial question on Annie Get Your Gun. Now, given that the song titles were the most obvious ('Anything You Can Do' etc), this was straightforward enough, no, really shockingly straightforward, and if I got it wrong, oh lordy, would I give myself a right old face-punching.

But having just finished a second season marathon of Deadwood only hours before and seen Robin Weigert do her stuff as the ultra-profane, dipsomaniac filthmonger Calamity Jane in such a brilliant fashion that the performance and colourful expletives had been embedded in my mind and was doing a highlight reel at regular intervals -"that burnt ma snatch!" the sewer-mouthed scuzzbucket says jumping out of the first bath she's probably had in 20 years - so it got me a bit confused. Because I could have sworn before this very moment (checking on IMDB) that Doris Day was in Annie Get Your Gun, twirling her Colts while flashing her candyfloss smile, when in fact that was Betty Hutton and Miss Kappelhoff played Martha Jane Cannary-Burke.

Thankfully, the Calamity Jane fusillade of f-bombs only lasted for about 1.23 seconds and I went with Annie, thus ensuring our defeat of Barb 54-51. There, I got there. Finally.

But let us take a minute and reminisce about the first ever cup final we got to and say the words of pain: "hansom cab". Hansom. Cab. As ye who are not aware of what transpired that night, just look at the honour roll and see that we lost. All those years ago (sweet Jesus! 2003-2004!! Has it been that long? And if it has been why can't I get league staples like wedding anniversaries right? Oh I know why. Because they're so boring I would rather try and shovel a Chupa Chup up both nostrils with outstanding violence than diligently sit down and learn them and yield to the listology). What it didn't say was that we lost in the most agonising way possible, with the three-point turnaround on the very last question (what is it with me and "last questions"? They flock to me and torture me so).

Jesse was saying that he was in the BHs at the time, which was weird because he wasn't. I am sure Stainer found him (or maybe, hunted him down, like a sort of trivia-driven bloodhound, as is his recruiting M.O.) in a pub AFTER our sickening disaster in that cup final (oh why oh why did I pass? Was it safe? No. Gutless). It's been five years, though. We should do slightly better. Maybe.

Mildly Insane Quiz Work
For some reason, like a fire in my gut that must be quenched with 100,000 word text files, I have been lifting questions off the Belgian quiz archives and have used Google Translate and my burgeoning Christopher Hampton skillz to knock them into readable shape. And I have to say, there is no end of brilliant, relevant stuff that can be weaponised for future battle. Also, I swear if you did it for 12 hours too, you'd think you picked up a rudimentary knowledge of Dutch vocabulary. Which is a bit worrying because surely the sponging up of words like 'naam' and 'hoofstad' results in less room for the precious GK.

I've also been cutting down the ACF Nationals 2008 questions into useful bitesize bits of quiz, rather than keep the mountain of crushing detail that has been sunk into every toss-up and bonus (except when it's a question on say, Armenia or Angola, and they've thrown a lot of interesting random stuff in there willy nilly). I have to say, yes, the academic focus is far narrower than what is required for the sort of international all-round quizzing that I engage in, but the questions are absolutely, positively, the hardest in the world.

They could make you weep like Niagara if you were of a fair and brittle disposition. I hadn't seriously read them for about 2 and a half years, and I naively thought that my deeper GK had been built up to make me at least feel substantially more at ease with, say, the literature and history. I was wrong. Even going over toss-ups on novels I've read, and the exultant electic pop that an answer makes in your head when you just know you know didn't come until I'd got to the last line but three with Ragtime and and the final line(!!) of Humphrey Clinker. Or maybe I wasn't paying much attention with the Smollett. I have to say there were some great jokes in there. Pity I could remember sod all about the plot, which is what matters quiz-wise.

Only thing is standards and question content always evolve. Which means that everything gets harder, 'tis inevitable (just compare UC to yesteryear and see) and the ACF stuff has still stayed well ahead of the superficial likes of me. Mind you, listening to podcasts of actual matches from ACF Nationals (BTW, the appalling sound quality may drive you a little nuts) has assured me that there are very few of our American cousins who are superhuman UC-format masters on the ACF material. Many questions are missed and many get to the FTP line before the buzzers go off. Thus, we can all wallow in our shared feelings of slight mediocrity and smile wistfully.

Apologies for the gratuitous use of exclamation marks. It's a disease of inexpressiveness. Wait, is inexpressiveness even a word? *resists urge to go question/exclamation mark crazy*

1. Having originated in Kongo and Angola, the dance known as bomba was brought to the place it is most associated with during the colonial slave trade. A maraca accompanies low-pitched hand drums, which create a base rhythm, while a higher pitch drum accentuates the beat with improvised patterns and sticks known as palitos and cuas that are struck against any wooden surface. Rafael Cortijo is regarded as its most famous exponent, having had mainstream success in the 50s and 60s with his “Combo”. He came from which self-governing unincorporated territory, the home of the said musical style?
2. Inspired to take up his calling after seeing Robert Motherwell's painting Elegy to the Spanish Republic, he specialised in found art collages and gave his works such generic titles as Still Life #20. Which Cincinnati pop artist’s series Great American Nude (begun 1961) first brought him to the attention of the art world?
3. It came first out of 79 breeds in Canadian psychologist Stanley Coren's 1994 book The Intelligence of Dogs, just about beating the poodle to be deemed top of the very brightest dogs. Which highly energetic British dog is also often considered the world's best sheep herding dog?
4. Its initial development was motivated by problems of statistical physics. A central aspect of the theory is the behaviour of a dynamical system when it is allowed to run long, which is expressed through theorem such as those of Birkhoff and von Neumann. Which branch of mathematics studies dynamical systems with an invariant measure and related problems?
5. Now under Turkish control, it was established in 1945 in Nuremberg by its eponymous founder. After WW2, he recognised the need in Germany for radios and in 1947 produced a kit. In 1951, the first televisions were manufactured at the new facility at Fürth and by this time it had become the largest radio manufacturer in Europe. Later it produced the Satellit 2100 radio receiver. Name this German manufacturer of consumer electronics for home entertainment.
6. The Garma Festival of Traditional Culture is an annual celebration of the 40,000-year-old cultural inheritance of the Yolngu people. In which country is it held?
7. Named for its engineer-polymath designer (1853-1939), which broadcasting tower in Moscow is a 160m-high free-standing hyperboloid structure that was built in 1919-1922 during the Russian Civil War? Its street address “Shabolovka Street, 37” gives it its informal name, the Shabolovka tower.
8. According to Egyptian mythology, this ancient city of Upper Egypt was the holy city of Osiris, who was buried there himself, as were many pharaohs. Standing 11km/6mi west of the Nile, the Greeks named it after their city on the Hellespont, while the modern Arabic name is el-‘Araba el Madfuna. Which sacred city was the site of many temples, including a Umm el-Qa’ab (‘Mother of Pots’) a necropolis of the Early Dynastic kings and the memorial temple of Seti I, which contains an inscription from the 19th dynasty known to the modern world as the “_______ King List”?
9. Though Valletta is the capital, what is the largest and most populous town on Malta and consists of four autonomous parishes: St. Helen, St. Joseph, Our Lady of the Carmel and St. Mary?
10. It is a fusion of Semba (samba’s predecessor) with the Zouk music styles from the French Caribbean styles with influences from other Lusophone countries. Famous Angolan exponents include Neide Van-Dúnem, Don Kikas, Calo Pascoal and Irmãos Verdades, and Bonga. Which dance and music style was created in late 1989 and the early 90s in Angola, but is now often regarded as Portuguese due to it being sung in Portuguese and its popularity throughout Portugal?
11. The German Prussian educator and nationalist Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778-1852) is commonly known as Turnvater Jahn, roughly meaning the “father” of which sport?
12. Invented by the French watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1796, what addition to the mechanics of a watch escapement counters the effects of gravity by escaping the escapement and balance wheel in a rotating cage in order to negate the effect of gravity when the timepiece is rotated?
13. Located in the Indonesian province of Papua, it is home to Puncak Jaya (formerly Carstensz Pyramid), the tallest mountain between the Himalayas and the Andes at 4,884m. Named for the Dutch explorer Hendrikus Albertus, who passed through the area on his 1909-10 expedition, what is the largest national park in South-East Asia?
14. Which lager brand was a soft drink manufacturer when it was incorporated on July 31, 1918 by Eugene Peter Desnoes and Thomas Hargreaves Geddes, with the first eponymous drink being brewed in the Surrey Brewery in 1928? An ale-style beverage too heavy for local tastes, the current formulation was first produced from a recipe developed by Paul H. Geddes (son of the founder) and Bill Martindale in 1938 and the modern brewery was opened at Hunt’s Bay in 1958.
15. Olympic champion in the individual sabre event at the 1968 Mexico City Games, which Polish fencer and double agent was declared the best fencer of all time by the IFF in 1967 and was arrested in 1975 and sentenced by a military court in Warsaw to 25 years’ imprisonment for committing espionage on behalf of an unnamed NATO country? It was later revealed that he had been a double agent for the CIA from 1964 and for Polish intelligence from 1950.





Answers to FE:XXXXI
1. Puerto Rico 2. Tom Wesselmann 3. Border Collie 4. Ergodic theory 5. Grundig (named after Max Grundig) 6. Australia (Arnhem Land) 7. Shukhov radio tower (from Vladimir Shukhov) 8. Abydos 9. Birkirkara 10. Kizomba 11. Gymnastics 12. Tourbillon (meaning 'whirlwind') 13. Lorentz National Park 14. Red Stripe (brewed under license in the UK by the Bedford firm, Charles Wells) 15. Jerzy Pawlowski (1932-2005; refusing to be included in one of the spy exchanges at Berlin’s Glienicke Bridge ten years after he was jailed, he chose to remain in Poland and spent the rest of his life as a painter and faith healer)


Anonymous SPQR said...

I would like to invite you to join my group in facebook in battling the cheaters in pub quizzes using their phones. It's a little unfair that if you've got the money to own one, that you can cheat and receive all the glory of winning your local pub quiz.

Let's get united to Stop Pub Quiz Rascals

8:12 PM  

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