Monday, September 28, 2009

BH161: 79 Swap-Outs

Boring to Me

This is Part 2 of all the questions I have swapped for ones I thought were, like, way better man, in the QB. Some are new; others are embellished versions of Qs I have already put on this blog many years ago (about three actually); a whole load of others clashed mildly with other questions, so instead I put in something completely different.

Here you go...

BH161: They Didn't Quite Make It
1. Which company manufactures the i-MiEv electric car (pronounced “eye-meev”), a saloon capable of carrying four adults and reaching a top speed of 87mph, making it the first automobile of its type capable of breaking the UK speed limit?
2. A member of the Bamana ethnic group, which high-born Malian singer released her debut album Mouneïssa (on Label Bleu) in 1997, and her second, Wanita, in 2000?
3. Which company makes the luxury "man bag" known as the Nomade Keepall?
4. The music scholar William Waterhouse (1931-2007) was a renowned player of which instrument?
5. What common name is given to the Symphysodon genus of three species of freshwater cichlid fishes (the common, the Heckel & Symphysodon tarzoo), which are native to the Amazon River basin and are noted for their laterally compressed and markedly rounded body shape?
6. A German-speaking Mennonite community in Filadelfia, originally founded by Russian Mennonites who had fled from the USSR in 1930, is found in which country?
7. The Georgian director Géla Babluani is due to remake his French-language 2005 debut film, - regarded as one of the most original European thrillers in recent years - in New York City. What is its title?
8. Made from chopped tomato, onion and chilli peppers, which fresh condiment in Mexican cuisine has a name meaning ‘rooster's beak’?
9. Sonny the Cuckoo Bird is the mascot of which breakfast cereal in the US?
10. Tom Singh, elder brother of science writer Simon, founded which clothing chain in Taunton in 1969?
11. Members of which genus of Spiny-tailed lizards is eaten in North Africa where it is called dhaab or ‘fish of the desert’ and India, one writer saying “the meat is said to be excellent and white like chicken ... the tail is considered a great delicacy”?
12. Which French Resistance fighter is perhaps the least remembered member of “Les Six” and wrote his only opera L'Occasion while working at his home in St. Tropez?
13. What two-word term was coined by social psychology founder George Herbert Mead in an eponymous 1969 book to describe a major sociological perspective, which he summarised as people act toward things based on the meaning those things have for them? These meanings are derived from social interaction and modified through interpretation.
14. The British artist Emma Woffenden (b.1962) principally works with what material?
15. Sachin Tendulkar plays for which team in India's domestic first-class championship?
16. Rodgers & Hart are said to have pioneered the realistic musical, complete with squalid titular hero, in which work of 1940 that was based on a 1939 epistolary novel by John O’Hara?
17. Which well-known coin was first minted in 1140 by Roger II of Sicily?
18. The man who gave his name to a 565m-tall mountain in the Marseille-Cassis calanques, which French artist and architect executed his caryatids for the balcony of the Hotel de Ville of Toulon (1655-57)? His last work, an unfinished bas-relief of the Plague of Milan, was placed in the council chamber of the town hall of Marseille, his birthplace.
19. First broadcast on TF1 in 1996, what is the title of French soap opera that centres on the Saint-Tropez-based lives of Laure (sensitive doctor), Caroline (wilful singer-lawyer) and Jessica (beautiful American blonde bartender-model-dancer) in its native land?
20. Acquired by Elisabeth Murdoch's production company Shine Limited in early 2007, what is the television company behind such hit series as Life on Mars, Spooks, and Hustle?
21. The last ruler of a united Roman Empire, which Spaniard became sole emperor on defeating Eugenius and was succeeded by his sons Arcadius (East) and Honorius (West)?
22. Now available in a new digital version, which letter denoted the legendary Leica camera series favoured by Henri Cartier-Bresson?
23. As seen in Catalonia, what type of festival is denoted by the word Correfoc?
24. One of the oldest in the world, what is the national airline of Columbia?
25. Premiered in St Petersburg in 1913 at the Lunar Park and written in the language Zaum, Victory over the Sun was the first ever opera in which genre?
26. The 3rd Earl of Burlington built which London street in 1735, naming it for his wife Dorothy?
27. Which US state shares its name with the river on which Philadelphia stands?
28. The London station Radio ORLA broadcasts in which language?
29. In the world of finance, what is an I.P.O.?
30. The Inka Terra Association (ITA) is a conservation NGO based in which country?
31. The Bang Bang Club, near the Mitte district's Hackescher Markt station, is one of which city's top venues for indie music?
32. King Juan Carlos inaugurated which building on October 17, 1997?
33. What does the Chinese-language Hong Kong newspaper name Kung Kao Po mean?
34. The subject of several Goya portraits (e.g. The White Duchess), which Duchess and grandee (1762-1802) is believed to have modelled for his twin naked and clothed "Majas"?
35. Who composed an opera on the traditional Helen of Troy, Paride ed Elena, in 1770?
36. Distinguished from other creatures of the same name by their small size; round, rather than vertical eye pupils; and each digit terminating in a single, round adhesive pad or scale; Sphaerodactylus (‘round-finger’) is a genus of which lizard?
37. Born Jessé Gomes da Silva Filho, which Brazilian samba and pagode musician has made 15 albums, including Patota de Cosme (1987), Pixote (1991), and Uma prova de amor (2008)?
38. Known for her extensive use of a JamMan pedal, which French singer, born in Grenoble in 1976, recorded her first album The Cheap Show (a pun on “peep show”) live in January 2004?
39. Named after a people of Finnish origin who were conquered by Ivan the Terrible and annexed to Russia in 1552, which Republic or federal subject is situated between Nizhny Novogorod and Kazan on the left bank of the Volga? Its capital is Yoshkar-Ola.
40. What is the maximum numbers of characters allowed in a Twitter message?
41. In drag and modified car racing, what term is used to describe the extremely dangerous practice in which drivers deliberately spin out and skid sideways at high speeds?
42. Who painted the c.1514-15 portrait of Baldassare Castiglione in the Louvre?
43. The successor to the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis, which music awards are doled out every year by the Deutsche Phono-Akademie and are determined by the previous year’s sales (which makes them very boring)?
44. King George V gave the first broadcast to the Empire by any monarch on Christmas Day 1932. Which famous author scripted it?
45. Dobdrovody is a 4th millennium BC site of the Trypillian culture that is believed to have been the home of up to 10,000 citizens. It is in which modern day country?
46. Sometimes called Cerro Chaltén, after the Tehuelche (Aonikenk) word for ‘smoking mountain’, it is situated near the village of El Chaltén in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, on the Argentine-Chilean border. First climbed in 1952 by French alpinists Lionel Terray and Guido Magnone, it has the reputation of being “ultimate” not due to its elevation (3,375m/11,073ft), but because of its sheer granite sides. Which mountain?
47. How did African-American Gertrude Baines succeed Portugal’s Maria de Jesus in January 2009?
48. The first production vehicle to feature the Integrated Motor Assist system, the Insight was based on the J-VX concept car and is a hybrid electric car manufactured by which company?
49. Which concept of an impersonal force that resides in people, animals and inanimate objects is common to many Oceanic languages, including Melanesian, Polynesian and Micronesian?
50. While on the Third Crusade, Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I drowned in which Turkish river in 1190?
51. First published in The Guardian as a weekly comic strip, Posy Simmonds’ 2007 graphic novel Tamara Drewe is a modern reworking of which 19th century novel?
52. Italy invaded Ethiopia following Menelik II’s repudiation of which treaty, signed by the said emperor and Count Pietro Antonelli on May 2, 1889, in an eponymous town?
53. With a Superheavyweight gold at Atlanta and a then 59-0 record, which Russian Greco-Roman wrestler became the first man to win the same division three times in a row?
54. The newspaper, La Capital, was founded in 1867 by Ovidio Lagos. It is Argentina's oldest newspaper and is based in which city in the province of Santa Fe?
55. The first Chinese inductee into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame (in 2000), which gymnast won six medals at the 1984 Olympics, including three golds (floor exercise, pommel horse, rings), and ignited the cauldron at opening ceremony of the Beijing Games?
56. Which American expat (1887-1962) opened the Paris bookstore Shakespeare and Company at 12 rue de l'Odéon in 1919, and was the first person to publish Joyce’s Ulysses in 1922?
57. Named for the woman who formed the Berkshire String Quartet in 1916, which prize was established for “eminent services to chamber music” in 1932?
58. Susi Susanti, Mia Audina and Maria Kristin Yulianti were/are noted players in which sport?
59. Which US Vogue magazine editor-at-large wrote the autobiography A.L.T: A Memoir (2003)?
60. Created by “gastronaut” Rud Christiansen of Copenhagen’s Royal Cafe, which new culinary phenomenon is a fusion of Japanese and Danish food?
61. Which muckraking journalist wrote History of the Standard Oil Company (1904)?
62. Khon is the most stylised form of which country’s classical dance drama? It is performed by non-speaking dancers as the story is told by a chorus at the side of the stage.
63. On which date did Napoleon return to France and overthrow the Directory in 1799?
64. What does the EU agreement known as the “The Dublin Regulation” ensure?
65. Luah, Bodger and Tao make which eponymous trip in a 1961 children’s book?
66. Which linguistic-related organisation of 37 member countries was established in Madrid in 1954?
67. Set in the Alps, which downbeat Swiss feminist road movie of 1979 – described in some quarters as "the original Thelma and Louise" - from director Alain Tanner shares its title with a month of the French Revolutionary calendar?
68. Traditionally said to have been inspired by watching a glass of beer (though he has refuted this story and said he used beer in experiments on prototypes), what device won the American scientist Donald A. Glaser the 1960 Nobel Prize in Physics?
69. Author of "The Banana Trilogy" (1950-60), which 1967 Nobel Laureate and Guatemalan writer, diplomat and exile wrote Hombres De Maiz / Men of Maize (1949), in which he combined Mayan mysticism and social awareness in order to indict dictatorial rule?
70. Similar looking to the far larger Komondor, which ancient Hungarian dreadlocked sheepdog is believed to ultimately derive its name from the German word for a poodle?
71. Derived from the Greek for ‘near the Earth’, what word describes the position of the Moon in its orbit when it is closest to the Earth?
72. In American football, what was approved following a campaign by college coach John Heisman began in around 1906?
73. Apart from his gold medal in the division, the Ukrainian featherweight Vasyl Lomachenko won which award at the 2008 Olympic Games?
74. Where will you find the Rettifilo Tribune, Curva Grande and Curva di Lesmo?
75. Allah delivered which holy text to Moses, although this was superseded by the Qu’ran, while most modern Muslims believe it to be corrupted by Jews?
76. Which bird undergoes the longest regular migration by any known animal (c.25,000mi every year)?
77. What is the only South American country to have coastline on both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea?
78. Liverpool FC and NASCAR’s Richard Petty Motorsports co-owner George N. Gillett Jr used to own which NHL team? And which MLB and NHL teams are owned by Tom Hicks?
79. The 27th edition of the Fadjr international festival took place in Tehran in 2009. What is its artistic theme?








Answers to BH161
1. Mitsubishi. The first Mitsubishi company was a shipping firm established by Yataro Iwasaki in 1870. The name has two parts: mitsu means ‘three’ and hishi means ‘water caltrop/chestnut’, and hence ‘rhombus’, which is reflected in the company’s logo.
2. Rokia Traoré (b.1974). From Kolokani in Koulikoro, she plays (unusually for a female African musician) acoustic guitar, ngoni (lute) and balafon (wooden-keyed percussion idiophone).
3. Louis Vuitton (founded in 1854). People who have exclusively ordered LV baggage include 4 Congo explorer Savorgnan de Brazza, who ordered a combined trunk and bed.
4. Bassoon. Music historians generally consider the dulcian to be its forerunner.
5. Discus. It is a popular aquarium fish, in contrast to similar cichlids from the genus Pterophyllum. Extended finnage is absent, thus giving them a more rounded shape.
6. Paraguay. Filadelfia is the capital of Boquerón Department in the western area of Gran Chaco and is the centre of the Fernheim Colony.
7. 13 Tzameti. Tzameti is the Georgian word for ‘thirteen’. The film also marked the acting debut of Babluani’s brother Georges, who played the immigrant protagonist Sébastien.
8. Pico de gallo. In Mexico, the tomato-based condiment is better known as salsa picada (‘minced/chopped sauce’) or salsa mexicana because the colours red (tomato), white (onion) and green (chilli) correspond to the Mexican flag.
9. Cocoa Puffs (manufactured by General Mills, who make Kix cereal (Rice Krispies in the UK))
10. New Look. Boasting 600+ locations, it is now headquartered in Weymouth
11. Uromastyx. Better known members include Mastigures or Dabb Lizards.
12. Louis Durey (1888-1979). He was the oldest member and his decision not to take part in the group’s 1921 collaborative work Les Mariés de la Tour Eiffel greatly irritated Jean Cocteau.
13. "Symbolic interactionism"
14. Glass. She is known for her ambiguous, androgynous forms and themes of origin.
15. Mumbai (home ground: Wankhede Stadium, near Churchgate railway station)
16. Pal Joey. The title character is Joey Evans – played by Frank Sinatra in the 1957 film - the small-time womanising MC and dancer-singer who dreams of owning a nightclub. Songs include ‘I Could Write a Book’; ‘The Terrific Rainbow’; ‘Happy Hunting Horn’; ‘Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered’(as sung by Posner in The History Boys); and ‘I Still Believe in You’.
17. Ducat
18. Pierre Paul Puget (1622-94)
19. Sous le soleil. Created by Olivier Brémond and Pascal Breton, it features Bénédicte Delmas, Adeline Blondieau and Tonya Kinzinger in the said roles.
20. Kudos
21. Theodosius I the Great (aka Flavius Theodosius; r: 379-395). He succeeded Valens in the East and Valentinian II in the West, and made Nicene Christianity the official state religion.
22. M, as in the M-Series Rangefinder
23. Fire-running. They are celebrations where "devils" play with fire and the people.
24. Avianca. Founded in Barranquilla in 1940, its name is an Spanish acronym for Aerovías del Continente Americano, formerly Aerovías Nacionales de Colombia.
25. Futurist. Aleksei Kruchonykh wrote the libretto, the music was written by Mikhail Matyushin, the prologue added by Velimir Khlebnikov, and the stage designed by Kasimir Malevich.
26. Savile Row. Located in Mayfair, it runs parallel to Regent Street between Conduit Street at the northern end and Vigo Street at the southern. The Matthew Brown Gallery and Laurent Delaye Gallery are both at no.11.
27. Delaware. It constitutes the entire boundary between New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Named, like the state, after Thomas West, 3rd Baron De La Warr (1577-1618), the Native American tribe of the Lenape is also known as the Delaware.
28. Polish
29. Initial Public Offering. It is also referred to as a "flotation".
30. Peru
31. Berlin
32. The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao
33. ‘Catholic newspaper’. Launched on August 1, 1928, it is a weekly paper owned and published by the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong.
34. Cayetana de Silva (aka Maria del Pilar Teresa Cayetana de Silva Alvarez de Toledo y Silva Bazán, 13th Duchess of Alba). Goya executed most of his portraits of the Duchess at Sanlúcar de Barrameda, which is one of the Andalusian country seats of the House of Medina-Sidonia.
35. Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714-87)
36. Gecko. The 16mm-long dwarf gecko Jaragua Sphaero (S. ariasae) is one of the world’s smallest known reptiles. The other is S. parthenopion, and is native to the British Virgin Islands.
37. Zeca Pagodinho (b.1959). He had a hit with ‘SPC’. Its title refers to a blacklist of bad debtors from which it is hard to get one’s name removed - SPC stands for ‘Credit Protection Service’.
38. Anaïs (surname Croze)
39. Mari El Republic
40. 140. Twitter was founded by Jack Dorsey, Noah Glass, Biz Stone and Evan Williams in 2006.
41. Drifting (as in the film title, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift)
42. Raphael. Castiglione has been called "the epitome of the Renaissance humanist and gentleman"; and as well as writing Il cortegiano (1528), served as a renowned ambassador.
43. ECHO awards. 2009 pop winners - announced in March - included Udo Lindenberg (National Male Artist), Stefanie Heinzmann (National Female), Paul Potts (International Male), Amy Winehouse (International Female), Ich + Ich (National Group), Coldplay (International Group).
44. Rudyard Kipling
45. Ukraine. The Cucuteni-Trypillian culture flourished c.5500BC-2750BC in the Dniester-Dnieper region. Archaeologist Vicenty Khvoika uncovered almost 100 of their settlements in 1884.
46. Cerro Fitz Roy / Monte Fitz Roy (named in honour of Robert, the Beagle captain, who journeyed up the Santa Cruz River in 1834 and charted large parts of the Patagonian coast)
47. As the world’s oldest living person. A Los Angeleno, Baines was born on April 6, 1894.
48. Honda. It introduced the second-generation Insight in Japan in February 2009.
49. Mana. In Hawaiian, mana loa means ‘great power’ and can be obtained through birth or warfare. People or objects that possess it are accorded respect. In Maori, a tribe that has mana whenua is considered to have demonstrated their authority over a given piece of land.
50. The Saleph. Both its sources arise in the Taurus Mountains and it is now called the Göksu.
51. Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy (anyone who did the Brits Highbrow Quiz can see why this question went on the scrapheap). It's a good read. Far better than I had expected it to be, and thus a very good Xmas present from Chris. Cheers, matey.
52. Treaty of Wuchale / Treaty of Ucciale. The First Italo-Ethiopian War climaxed at the Battle of Adwa on March 1, 1896, where Ethiopia defeated Oreste Baratieri’s forces.
53. Aleksandr Karelin (b.1967). He took silver in Sydney, with American Rulon Gardner winning. Nic answering this correctly in the pub ensured its excision from the QB. Mwa-ha-hee-tee-hee. Should really stop with the textual laughter. I'm doing far too much of it at the moment. I've realised, it just ain't funny.
54. Rosario. It is known as "Decano de la Prensa Argentina" - ‘Dean of the Argentine Press’.
55. Li Ning (b.1943). Resident in Hong Kong under the "Quality Migrant Admission Scheme", he founded an eponymous footwear and sports apparel company (Li-Ning Company Ltd) in 1990.
56. Sylvia Beach. The shop was ordered shut in 1941 after she denied a German officer the last copy of Finnegans Wake. It never reopened, though George Whitman opened an S&C in 1951.
57. Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Medal (after the US pianist (1864-1953)). Britten was a recipient.
58. Badminton. They are all Indonesian. Susanti won the Olympic singles in 1992.
59. André Leon Talley (b.1949). He is the gay African American right-hand man of Anna Wintour (if she could be considered to have a "right-hand man"), who introduced Michelle Obama to Jason Wu, from whom she bought her inauguration evening gown.
60. Smushi. It combines traditional Danish smørrebrød with a contemporary sushi twist.
61. Ida M. Tarbell (1857-1944)
62. Thailand. Tradition dictates the costumes, while "demons" wear coloured masks.
63. 18 Brumaire / November 9-10. Boney boy established his own Consulate and restored Catholicism.
64. An asylum application submitted in an EU nation is handled by one, and only one, country (got this one from the Nobel Peace Centre. Then I realised it bored me a bit, then a bit more, until I was utterly senseless from the boredom of it all. I mean, EU regulation questions. PAH!)
65. The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford. Luath is a Labrador, Bodger is an English Bull Terrier, and Tao is a Siamese cat. They are owned by the Hunter family.
66. Latin Union (its member nations all use a Romance language). Argentina, the Holy See and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta are "permanent observers". Site:
67. Messidor. The original name comes from the Latin messis, meaning ‘harvest’.
68. Bubble chamber. It is a vessel filled with a superheated transparent liquid (most often liquid hydrogen) used to detect electrically charged particles moving through it.
69. Miguel Ángel Asturias Rosales (1899-1974). Asturias’s other notable novels include El Señor Presidente (1946), which explored the nature of political dictatorship.
70. Puli (from Pudelhund; pl. Pulik). Introduced to Hungary about 1,000 years ago by the Magyars, its most characteristic colour is a unique dull black.
71. Perigee. In celestial mechanics, "perigee" and "apogee" refer to orbits around the Earth, while "perihelion" and "aphelion" both refer to orbits around the Sun. During the Apollo program, the terms "pericynthion" and "apocynthion" were used when referring to the Moon.
72. Forward pass
73. Val Barker Trophy (awarded to the outstanding and most stylistic boxer of each Olympic Games since 1936 and established in honour of the first Honorary Secretary of the Federation Internationale de Boxe Amateur in 1920)
74. Monza Grand Prix motor racing circuit. Officially named the Autodromo Nazionale Monza and located in the namesake city on the river Lambro in Lombardy, 15km north-east of Milan.
75. Tawrat (the Arabic transliteration of the Hebrew word Torah, aka the the Pentateuch)
76. Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea)
77. Colombia. It is the second largest country in South America, after Brazil, and has the third largest Spanish-speaking population in the world after Mexico and Spain.
78. Montreal Canadiens; Texas Rangers & Dallas Stars
79. Theatre

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Note on The Giant

That quiz I set a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

It's been over a year now since The Giant was released and paid for by at least 60 (by now very long-suffering) participants.

Apologies once again for those who have waited and waited and waited and probably forgot it ever even happened.

Thus, I have come up with a little compensation package for everyone who ponied up the £15/£7.50 fee and not seen hide or hair of even a suggestion of things like, you know, top ten table and stuff like that.

Therefore, everyone who paid the full £15 for the 1002 Giant questions will get a £4 discount - on a "more than £12/certainly less than £19.99" price yet to be decided - off my Quiz Book. Everyone who paid £7.50 will get a £2 discount.

What's more, EVERYONE who paid to do one or both parts of the quiz will - in the next couple of weeks - be emailed a free 40-page representative sample of The Quiz Book (with question blocs cut from across the entire book) that will equate to 400 quiz questions, amounting to 28,000 relatively fact-packed words (I think).

With regards to the results and the other Giant stuff, I will get on to compiling the final placings, even - eek - marking the remainder, and emailing out the bonus quizzes, once I get the first box of books back from the printers - it's gonna be like the endscene of Back to the Future, without the "oh man, that's sooooo lame" cover illustration; I'm going black&white minimalist and will certainly not spray it with obese question marks and an offensively icky array of primary colours - hopefully, very hopefully, by the end of next month and before the EQC in Dordrecht.

And then - finally! - it will be done, finito, etc, and my increasingly gnawing sense of guilt will recede into oblivion and I will stop apologising at tri-monthly intervals for doing things I should have done about 10 months ago.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


If these have finally bored me senseless, I will pray for you

I am painstakingly - emphasis on the pain - making my way through my final final draft. And I'm getting there. Soon the final notes will be done and the closing ceremony of me sitting in front of the computer for four days straight putting in my corrections and rephrasing and double-verifying will soon commence.

The hearts skips a beat at the mere thought of the delicious ordeal to come.

The ordeal would probably envelope me sooner, if I hadn't decided to do things like add another two pages and another 1200 words this morning because I felt the world would be a better place if there were more questions about German luxury "steam irons" and designer ironing board cover specialists (you think I'm joking? I am not - look up "Rowenta". They're like irons ... from the future! They also look kinda stabby).

But also, to stop myself from drifting into a terminal boredom coma, induced by looking at the same Qs again and again, I have been writing dozens of other sparkling, exciting newies during the drafting in order to swap them out with toddler-age oldies that I couldn't hack looking at any longer together with embellished, spruced-up old blog questions from long ago, whose pointlessness (to me) has now become all too apparent. Most, however, just could not take a 67th reading without a rash of annoyance breaking out all over my face.

So forgive me for this relative detritus. This is Part 1 of the swap outs (you'll notice there are a lot of recent-ish and new automobile questions; I think I realised something: THEY GLAZE MY BRAIN WITH A KIND OF DULLING MENTAL POTTERY SLIP and, more crucially, tend to be a bit too time-sensitive). But they and all the others have to go somewhere, you know. Somewhere down below.

Boring BH160: Apologies for your imminent boredom
1 Which Nikon camera model series was launched in 1959 and has since undergone only six revisions? It now utilises a high precision shutter unit created from DuPont Kevlar and a body made of aluminium and magnesium.
2 Founded in 1979 and named after a type of wild sheep who live in their native mountains, I Muvrini is a folk music group from which island?
3 Also called Mikeyir, which endangered language is spoken by about 600 hunter-gatherers in south-west Ethiopia? They live in the westernmost part of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region in three Keficho Shekicho Zone areas: Anderaccha, Gecch'a and Kaabo.
4 What shrub or tree of the tropical American genus Plumeria takes its name from the Italian nobleman, who had the first name Mazio, who invented a perfume made from the plant for scenting gloves?
5 Effectively dividing the south of the country from the north, which Uruguayan river flows south to the west to meet the River Uruguay on the Argentine frontier?
6 Occurring on March 25, 1911, in the Asch building, the "Triangle Shirtwaist" fire was the most serious factory fire in the history of which city?
7 What South African term described the removal of urban Black Africans to rural areas as part of the official policy of apartheid?
8 Sharing its name with the 13-domed oaken church in Novgorod that may have inspired its construction, which 11th century Kiev cathedral is famed for its sparkling domes and was the first Ukrainian patrimony to be inscribed on the World Heritage List?
9 Established in 1850 by the Robert Morris, a lawyer and educator from Boston, Massachusetts, what is the largest fraternal organisation in the world that both men and women can join as long as they are aged 18 and older?
10 Which British engineer, the technical mastermind behind Michael Schumacher's Formula One world titles, left Ferrari after 10 years as technical director of the team shortly after the German driver retired? He returned to F1 as Team Principal of Honda for the 2008 season.
11 Used by Le Corbusier to describe his choice of material, the name of which architectural style comes from the French word for ‘raw concrete’?
12 Delivered on January 25, 2006, what was Deus Caritas Est / God is Love?
13 The American Glen Tetley, who was 80-years-old when he died in January 2007, was an innovator in which field of the arts?
14 The Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art at the Brooklyn Museum is the permanent home of which artist's key work, The Dinner Party (1974-79)?
15 The London alderman, Richard Martin, because the first person to offer what arrangement to willing buyers in 1583?
16 Felicitas Wolf won a Best Sitcom Performance Rose d’Or in 2004 for playing Lolle, a girl who moves to the city with her boyfriend Tom after leaving school, in which German TV show?
17 A dual nationality holder (French & Moroccan), which single mother was appointed France's Minister of Justice on May 18, 2007, becoming the first woman with a non-European immigrant background and the first Arab to hold a key ministerial position in the French cabinet?
18 Dating back to 1847 when Queen Isabella II agreed to a cattle market proposed by councillors Jose Maria Ybarra and Narciso Bonaplata, which fair officially begins at midnight on the Tuesday two weeks after Easter Holy Week and goes on for six days, thus ending on the following Sunday?
19 A fatwa led to two Islamic fundamentalists from the Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya group shooting dead which 56-year-old Egyptian writer and intellectual in his office on June 8, 1992?
20 The 1999 film Forever in Our Memory deals with the starvation of up to three million people during the 1990s in which country?
21 Established on June 22, 1792, by King Stanislaw August Poniatowski, what is Poland's highest military decoration for valour in the face of the enemy?
22 Founded in St. Petersburg in 1725 by Catherine the Great, which civil, self-governed, non-commercial organisation has been responsible for such achievements as Sputnik?
23 A proxy mechanism that allows client PCs to gain access to hosts outside their local network while providing a high degree of security for the local network, SOCKS is an abbreviation for what word?
24 Milli İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MIT) is the government intelligence agency of which country?
25 Featuring such characters as Jupiter and Juno, which 1950 Cole Porter musical comedy is based on Plautus’s comedy Amphitryon?
26 Which emirate unveiled plans in February 2007 for a $13 billion arts hub, including a Frank Gehry-designed art museum and Zahia Hadid-conceived performing arts centre? It is being built on Saadiyat, an uninhabited island of 10 sq mi.
27 Sharing his name with an English comedian, which US athlete (b.1947) set the world record for the men's 400m at the 1968 Olympics?
28 Which Formula One world title winner, who began racing in his "home-made" Mini, became a champion breeder of budgerigars?
29 What is the commonly known acronym of the "General Electricity Company", a producer of electronics and electrical equipment that was founded by Emil Rathenau in 1883 after he bought some patents from Thomas Edison?
30 Named from the Latin for ‘corn’, what French dish consists of wheat boiled in milk and flavoured with spices and was traditionally served with venison or porpoise as a pottage?
31 What nickname did Billie Holliday give the tenor sax player Lester Young (1909-59)?
32 Which luxury automobile brand, known for its slogan "The pursuit of perfection", has produced what it calls the world's first high performance hybrid SUV, the RX 400h?
33 What name do the Turks use for their side of Cyprus's divided capital Nicosia?
34 Developed at the Advanced Design Studio in Coventry, the XKR is which car manufacturer's latest luxury model?
35 First published on November 7, 1914, which US opinion magazine was founded by Herbert Croly and Walter Lippmann through the financial backing of heiress Dorothy Payne Whitney and her husband Willard Straight?






Answers to BH160
1. F series. The Nikon F introduced the concept of the 35mm single-lens reflex camera system. 2. Corsica. The group was formed by the brothers Jean-François Bernardini and Alain Bernardini, who were born in the village of Tagliu-Isulacciu in the north of the island. Their first studio album was Ti Ringrazianu (1979).
3. Shabo
4. Frangipani. Related to the Oleander (Nerium oleander), both possess poisonous milky sap, similar to that of the Euphorbia genus (aka Spurges).
5. Rio Negro. The headwater is near Bagé, Brazil.
6. New York City
7. Endorse
8. Saint Sophia Cathedral (Ukrainian: Sobor Sviatoyi Sofiyi). The name may come from the 6th century Hagia Sophia (‘Holy Wisdom’) in Constantinople.
9. Order of the Eastern Star
10. Ross Brawn (b.1954). He owns the coincidentally named Brawn GP team, which he acquired from Honda in 2009.
11. Brutalism. The term gained currency when British architectural critic Reyner Banham used it in the title of his 1966 book The New Brutalism: Ethic or Aesthetic? to identify the emerging style. Example buildings include the Leeds International Pool (1967), which was designed by disgraced architect John Poulson; and the Barbican Centre, the work of Chamberlain, Powell & Bon.
12. Pope Benedict’s first encyclical
13. Ballet/modern dance choreography. He made his choreographic debut in 1962 with his work Pierrot Lunaire, which he based on music of the same title by Schoenberg.
14. Judy Chicago. Born Judy Gerowitz in 1939, her written works include Through the Flower: My Struggle as a Woman Artist (1975) and Holocaust Project: From Darkness into Light (1993).
15. Life insurance policy
16. Berlin, Berlin
17. Rachida Dati (b.1965). Demoted from her ministerial post, she was elected an MEP in 2009.
18. Seville Spring Fair / La Feria de abril de Sevilla. First held at Prado de San Sebastian, it is known for its parades, trajes de flamenco dress, men’s cordobés hats and numerous casetas (tents).
19. Farag Foda (author of Before the Fall, The Played With, and We Be or Not to Be)
20. North Korea
21. The Order Virtuti Militari (Latin: ‘To Military Valour’). The Order of the White Eagle / Order Orla Bialego is the highest decoration awarded to both civilians and the military for their merits and was instituted on November 1, 1705, by Augustus II the Strong.
22. The Russian Academy of Sciences / Rossi’skaya Akade’miya Nau’k (or the PAH/RAN)
23. SOCKetS
24. Turkey. Formed in 1965, the name means ‘National Intelligence Organisation’.
25. Out of This World (featuring the tunes ‘I Got Beauty’, ‘I Sleep Easier Now’ & ‘Nobody’s Chasing Me’)
26. Abu Dhabi (transliteration: Abū zabī, meaning ‘Father of gazelle’)
27. Lee Evans. He added a 4x400m relay gold at the same Olympics.
28. James Hunt (1947-93; champion with McLaren in 1976 in his first year with the team)
29. AEG (Allgemeine Elektrizitäts-Gesellschaft). Having been wholly integrated into DaimlerChrysler and then split up, its brand name was bought by Electrolux in 2005.
30. Frumenty. In England it was often eaten on Mothering Sunday, the 4th Sunday of Lent, when servants were allowed to visit their mothers and were often served the dish to celebrate.
31. "President" (which became "Prez"). He came to prominence in Count Basie’s band.
32. Lexus (a division of Toyota Motor Corporation first introduced in 1989 in the US)
33. Lefkoşa (or Lefkosia)
34. Jaguar Cars. Founded as the Swallow Sidecar Company in 1922 by Sir William Lyons and William Walmsley, the SS was dropped from the name in 1945 due to WW2.
35. The New Republic. TNR: the magazine where Stephen Glass of Shattered Glass film fame caused a massive 1998 scandal with his made-up stories, which were aided by the publication's no-photograph policy.

Friday, September 18, 2009

So Foolish It Would Be Silly Not to Laugh

To Spend All That Time...

As anyone who might have taken a peep in the comments for my previous post will have realised, the mysterious "radinden" was actually someone I know very well quiz-wise. He was just having a bit of a festive larf with mean, bad words about how hard my quizzes were. And my word, Mr Linham found and hit the right buttons; picking out a couple of my ripe insecurities then punching them with just the right choice of vocabulary - "petty obscurities". Why I oughta!!!

Not knowing his nom d'internet and therefore assuming he was an anonymous mischief-making git who deserved a verbose takedown, I launched my somewhat "disproportionate" response, thinking this'll show the populist bugger! I have THE TRUTH. He wants to know The Truth? He couldn't handle The Truth!!! Or a number of TRUTHS, all so very devastating in their truthocity that I would be setting these truths upon the self-righteous tittering truth-ignorant troll like a pack of ravenous hounds. Who each happen to be named Trude, T. Ruth, Verity, and have other Truth-related monikers. Because they are called THE DOGS OF TRUTH.

And then I got THE REVEAL. "Oh it's you!"

Suffice to say, I did not hesitate in bloody well laughing my big stupid head off.

The following things hit me: the rancid stench of my supreme self-righteousness, a general "I am such a massive tosspot" feeling and the surreal realisation that I was aiming my attack at an invented foe constructed of my own deeply held quiz-related prejudices.

And there was no other choice than to giggle at my own silliness.

Anyhoo, let us never speak, quote, think or remind me of this ever again (c'mon, I'm asking for it ain't I? Hit me with your random quiz question criticisms written under names that make no real sense, at least to me, then sit back and watch the pride try to reassert itself in a torrent of astounding bollocks spittering-spluttering from my enraged self).


Buzzer quizzes, eh? Remember the pure form that lasted all day and invariably ended in victory for the team containing Bayley. Ah, wonderful days (apart from the typical losing to Bayley's team in the semis bit).

So lo and behold ... Rob has revealed in the comments that there will be a another Masoquizm - Masoquizm The Third if you will - on Saturday November 21. This year.

Unless, of course, Rob is lying and he is having another laugh! Oooh, he is such a card!

But let's assume not and praise be hallelujah. I miss you buzzer quiz (especially now I'd be a lot better at it ... mwah-hahahehe). I know a lot of you guys out there feel the same way too. Pining for the buzzer quiz like a lost, imperfect love.

Yet, of course, MQ's a different kind of buzzer quiz (the "bad love" kind) and if anything is the most marathon-like death - oh wait, the mots justes have just entered my mind EXTREME TO THE MAX X-PERIENCE- you are likely to encounter in British quiz competition. (Well, across the Atlantic it's par for the course really. They do this kind of thing all the time. We're just mighty grateful if the odd day-long buzzer quiz tournament happens every three or four years).

In its previous two guises MQ took medium-level (I think, but it wasn't uppermost A division standard) toss-ups and boni from the American NAQT ICT championship and then dumped them on us Brits in all their lonnnnnggggggggg-question form glory packed into match-after-match-after-match of occasionally, insanely unrestrained Americanness. You won't quite believe it until you've played it and are on the receiving end of a giant fist-like clump of tangentially trivia-related madness you could never hope to understand. Never ever. Ever.

I did the first one and by the end - when I watched my previously unbeaten in 14 matches team capitulate in the semis in a kind of weird silence induced by sheer exhaustion; well, I think they lost; my vision was all fuzzy, me mind fogged up and I had to run to get my train; run actually being more like "make racing tracks like a snail and try not bumping into lampposts ... and other pedestrians" - I felt like I wanted to die, but in a good way. I mean, not good, but maybe the kind of feeling that people sinking relievedly into hypothermic death feel ('I'm dying, but I can't feel a thing. Lost all sensation in my head. Yes. It's ok to sleep forever. Sink into the black') Know what I mean? Nah, me neither.

So I am blissfully happy knowing that I will be back for more - along with the Broken Hearts - to give the old brain a good battering. With heard words. Not baseball bats with nails driven into the business end.

And all the more so because Bayley has already confirmed that he's up for it. Along with Mark. We're waiting on Jesse and Sean and maybe a few others we might have to ask.

We could do alright, I suppose.

Going Way Back. Back to radinden

About my Quizzes

I was meant to reply to the following comment "radinden" (found on this post) made about my Times 2008 Arts quiz for The Knowledge supplement back in December, but I thought it needed a bump, so to speak, and that such "question difficulty/audience" issues and dirty battles will always remain pertinent:

Went through the Times one, with frequent cries of "bloody typical" and "oh god, another of his pet obscurities". You know, it would be interesting to see if you could actually set a good quiz for ordinary folk (you know, people who haven't spent ten years writing questions, or who don't revise GK every day) - I think it might kill you.

Oh it could kill me. I can't bear to think of the devastating consequences if I did write "good" pub quiz questions that have been written a thousand times before, rather than try and create new quiz Qs from ORIGINAL material that hasn't been pilfered word-for-word from another quiz book owned by hundreds of people you know.

But seriously. My belated reply, because you deserve an explanation of my modus operandi:

radinden, I forgot to say: I actually love your critique-quote in my own silly way. In fact, I love it so much (seriously!) that I'm going to put it on the back of my Quiz Book. You are quite right in some respects; there were a few "pet obscurities" and I like me challenging questions. As for the ordinary folk thing (do they live in Ambridge?), hmmmm ... here we go (as Aidan Moffat once said):

With regards to the set you went through and aggrieved you so mightily, the Times end-of-year Arts quiz - incidentally, comprised entirely of material taken directly from the newspaper that published it, i.e. Knowledge cover stars (you know the Saturday supplement the quiz was in), interviews, featured overnight reviews, critics' top recommendations and other Times articles of the said year - was designed to encompass all of the arts (performing or otherwise) and everything the supplement covered, and was therefore aimed at eclectic music fans, film buffs, theatregoers, expo/museum visitors etc who read the magazine on a regular basis - I'm wondering, did you read what was then The Knowledge every week? Or did you just look at the internet link, read the Linear B-like wording and though BAH! HE'S DONE IT AGAIN! THE OBSCURIST SWINE!? Do you actually take "The Thunderer" as part of your daily paper-reading routine? Or even just the Saturday edition?

Once again I must reiterate, it wasn't aimed at the general quizzer, pub or otherwise, but at readers who knew their 2008 Times-approved arts stuff (I certainly didn't get any complaints from my editors, who published it practically verbatim). Also, modern thingy questions - the kind of stuff that has just happened - can be hard on the not-so-up-to-date quiz fan. If it's not in a trivia companion reference book, how obscure! Etc. No, it's just "recent". Brand shining new.

So keep up at the back and learn summat current by reading a paper and magazine or two. Or three or seven.

More generally, specialist end of year quizzes - especially those found in the broadsheets - are near impenetrable to the casual reader who has no long-standing interest in the subject they concentrate on. Go look up some "Books" quizzes. How do you like them apples? And my word, some of the business ones at the end of last year! They did my head in because they were completely devoid of any questions I could cope with. I thought, how could "ordinary folk" cope with such a calamity, if I was coming up with nada answers!

Moreover, and pre-emptive sincere apologies for sounding like an ego-bloated boastful prig, you'd actually be surprised at the thousands (yes, 1000s) of gettable questions I've written that regular quiz fans, such as yourself, would be very happy to answer and think to be perfectly reasonable that have been used on about at least half-a-dozen TV quiz shows during the last 18 months (though admittedly, and apologies once more, a couple of hundred were terribly hard and impossible and liable to verily frustrate your good self).

Without knowing it, if you happen to be a regular quiz show fan, you will have seen and heard them and not instantly thought ("Good god that is such a TQG question. So many petty obscurities, and in just one question! How could such a thing be possible? What an elitist, uncomprehending rotter!"). Oh, you should have seen some of the 250 or so I wrote last week. Soooo easy. Well in my biased view (as you know).

Course you wouldn't know which ones, due to things like the show host not remarking "This question was written by TQG. Be prepared" and the small matter of confidentiality contracts. But this particular point is concerned with the fact that different audiences get tailored quizzes. I always write more or less according to the brief I have been given; and none of these briefs at the moment include the writing of a regular pub quiz or weekly quiz league set for normal folk who like a bit of manageable quiz. Neither have I ever done these particular kinds of jobs, except for the rare one-offs. Therefore, who exactly am I wronging so?

PS. Don't make false assumptions about how I prep, matey, or for that matter, about quizzers who you think have got to the top/top-ish of their field by being a uniform mass of unimaginative fact-learning drones with bad fashion/hygiene issues - all of us are different. You'd be surprised at the ways of the exemplar quiz autodidact.

Personally speaking, I've only been writing questions for six years and don't revise GK every day. I don't even do the kind of revision I assume you have in mind, a la looking at mindnumbing lists or reading encyclopedias for the sheer bloody fun of it (not since, say 2006); that's just way too boring. Brain-death would set in after 10 minutes and those types of trivia-bore books can only take you so far. The fact-absorption I indulge in has become a neat byproduct of the question-writing jobs: killing two birds with one stone, as it were. So there.

I do like reading novels and non-fiction books every day, however. Currently (as of September 18, 2009): Mao II by Don DeLillo and Headlong by Michael Frayn. Both brilliant works, as far as I can tell after about 100 pages of each. How you do feel about the "future belonging to crowds", the explosion of Middle East terrorism, reclusive authors and Brueghel's lost works, as well as provenance and attribution issues in the world of art?

But anyways, I'm serious about the quote, radinden. Love love love it! It's going on the blurb! (Penny) royalties will be in whichever PO BOX number you choose.

What I've said may be perceived as downright pissy mockery; its facetiousness overwhelming what I hope are worthwhile points, but it is a like-for-like reciprocation of your comment. Sorry, if you think I've overstepped the mark ... by a few kiloparsecs. These things can get very heated. But this is my right of (very long delayed) reply.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

It Must Be Said

When the Brain&Mouth Alliance Disintegrates

This week poor little indie boy - well, he does kinda look like one - James Link of Durham University became the most terrified University Challenge contestant I have ever seen on the show.

Surges of sympathy duelled with near hilarity as his stream of incorrect starter buzzes descended into a pit of head-in-hands despair.

There's an unwritten rule I've just devised a few moments ago: you should never ever put your head in your hands on UC. Then repeat the "what have I done?" gesture on at least two more occasions. Or at least you shouldn't do it while the camera is still firmly aimed at your swiftly bowing head.

Ducking under the desk, as if dodging an incoming Spartan spear or Iraqi brogue, is a safer option.

But, having said that, he perservered, his confidence untattered itself ever so slightly and he got a couple right (resulting my saying "Go on, James!"), and for that he must be both congratulated and saluted (and at least he didn't make an oh-dear boo-boo on the scale of the Virginia Woolf/Middlemarch???!!! answer the otherwise impressive Chen of St. John's blurted out).

However, the heads down/hands up image - reminiscent of a frightened little rabbit shying away from an hunter's giant shotgun - will live forever in my memory.

Henceforth, visibly terror-stricken UC contestants will be known as "James Links", as in "The James Linked demeanour of the opposition suggested they were doomed from the outset". (Sorry James, it was obvious you tried your best. TV recordings can make fools of the finest minds. Just look at me. On about, er, 13 deeply regretful occasions. Oh the pain of a bad incorrect answer - for there is a scale spanning good ones and bloody awful seriously WTF? ones - will always linger. That dull eternal pain eating away at me from the inside and, trying to kill the resurgent memories: la-la-la-la-la ... rigged Spanish Eurovision Song Contest winner ... la-la-la-la).

Nice Starter

Early early morning silliness

A nod to the ever excellent Weaver's Week and its particularly excellent analysis of what made this the "Good [but really Excellent] Question of the Week":

Q: The French army captain Charles Barbier invented "night writing", a 12-dot code designed for sending messages during battle in the 1820s. It was modified by an eponymous schoolboy into what form of communication for the blind?
Imperial, Gilad Amit: Braille

Mr Iain Weaver, ace chronicler of UK quiz lore, continues: Why is this a good question? If someone knows the answer, they can get it half-way through, the answer is obvious by the end, and there isn't the terrible swerve that so dogged the quiz earlier in the decade.

Yeah, damn right. Whoever wrote it is a certified bloody starter-writing marvel who deserves all the glorious garlands in the land going for such a magnificent, skillful question construction, if such honours actually existed.

I'll congratulate him (or her, who knows? Could even be an intersex hermaphroditic blokette. Who can be sure these days?) when I see him/her next and give him/her a citizen's knighthood. Whoever they may be.

(Feel free to smack me lightly in the chops for writing the preceding auto-encomium when you next see me. I probably deserve it. Though I really do mean everything I say about the predictable brilliance and expertise-packed content of Iain's columns. Plus, he praised The Chase. Which I believe to be the mark of a highly evolved and discerning human being)

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


A Brief [sic]Word on the Brits

Hurrah! I came 21st= in the British Quizzing Championships. 'Twas a blood-red letter day. And to think I came 8th in my very first one. TEN YEARS AGO.

(you know whenever I write "Hurrah" I almost always write "die Butter ist alle!". Thank you John Heartfield. And I really do mean that with all the sincerity I can muster)

But seriously, I don't mind so much. Because I have a veritable legion of excuses/mitigating factors crowding out all disappointment.

Number 1: A concerted focus on the World Knowledge side of things has obviously had a detrimental effect on my ability to get a decent hold on the British Bulldog domestica.

Then, ah yes, the exhaustive book drafting process.

A design whim took hold of me last week and it took me four and a half hours just to bold up half the question numbers. Do you know what it's like to spend 270 minutes highlighting and clicking the little b icon?

This weird creepy crawly kind of madness starts to spread and ... well, it's over now. Not a word more about bolding up stuff.

Another thing that is driving me nuts is the poor sentence-structuring of questions written two or three years ago. How could I be so grammatically incompetent? Ach and grrr. (Yes, these are the kind of thoughts that strike me during the proofing process on a regular basis. Thoughts that disturb me with their ferocity. Thoughts that then become bloody hilarious when remembered in tranquility)

Wait up. There's more of the post-mortem to come...

Oh, and missing about 23 kinda 50/50s (e.g. pineal or pituitary/pistil or stamen) due to my impressionistic - as opposed to stringent and serious - attitude to tackling the paper.

And not reading recent UK news stories in a sure enough way to remember the names that matter. For quiz purposes. If only more of these one-off wackos/criminals/record-breakers/local heroes/entrepreneurs were called Smith or Jones (I always go for Smith. And I know this is bad, but whenever an Irish national is required and I haven't even got a stinkin' miniscule clue to go on, I put "O'Reilly").

And reading proper novels in the run-up to and during the championships (but it was worth it in the case of Replay by Ken Grimwood - the fastest, most compelling read I can remember in a long time).

And getting caught in a weird time window where work is drowning me in a flash-flood fashion; meaning I have concentration issues and am indulging in sleep patterns that feel as if they are wrecking the very core of my soul. Well, the "very core" bit may be overdoing it a touch. But you know, sometimes it feels that way.

It galls me all the more when I remember that I missed Rob Hannah's brilliant August GP paper (let's just say I would have finished somewhere in the top two and averaged 7 tiebreakers per genre). That's my kind of set. Boohoohooo...

Hilariously, Jesse marked both my papers and found that I was getting everything he was getting wrong and vice versa. Only the proportions of wrong/right fell heavily in his favour. Obviously.

However, in terms of the Broken Hearts team dynamic this is a brilliant thing and all the more so because he will be coming to the Euros in Dordrecht. 'Tis painful to part with David on team terms, but he's a pericardigan now. Though he and I have agreed - or shouted slightly beerily across a Flitwick pub table as the Capital Connect trains rumble-zipped past the garden - that our amusingly effective, but ultimately self-destructive Pairs tournament campaigns will continue. (You know, how always we hover around the summit then drop precipitously at the last. This tumble was minimised in Oslo, but still. We didn't get things like Furtwangler - things that would have taken us to the very top - simply because I wasn't paying attention to all the words my partner was saying.)

I think I've reached this weird juncture where I score about the same on every paper, no matter the difficulty. Same thing happens with the President's Cup where my 2-point average is almost identical to my QLL one. Me and my mercurial mind, eh?

I really should sweat the easy stuff, because I have found it can be very damaging to my competition placings. Even though - and this is a truth so divine - I really do find Iranian cinema 500% more interesting than British reality TV.

On the bright side
At least I came 5th=equal in sport. Despite the fact that I made five idiot mistakes on that category too. Sport comes pretty easily now; helped by the fact that I find it extremely interesting and, as a result, this makes things like Chinese diving legends a lot easier to remember. Also, newspapers are very helpful with their wanton and wild allocation of infinite daily column inches to sport (well in relation to say, something like, books. Jus tink 'bout it).

Because let's face it, sport is only a lovely pointless distraction in which the extreme dexterity of one or two physical traits, allied with optimum mental acuity, has brought its finest exponents fame and fortune beyond all reason; the fame/fortune being abetted by our fellow man's weakness for gawping in awe at the things they can't do themselves - like chucking darts in precise tiny areas, or lobbing pickled onions into distantly placed thimbles - and the urge to pay money in order to watch it. It is all very silly when I think about it.

One or two sports remain kind of blecchy; kinda double-meh; mentally insoluble. British ones that is (not Dwile Flonking though; I love that sozzled Suffolk madness). And if I name the ones that induce a glassy bored fog in my brain, people will surely come after me. Me? Paranoid? Nah...

Sheeeeedddd, work to be done. It really was meant to be a brief word, like "Ko". Didn't notice the day was almost finished. Which reminds me...

Commenting on the commenters
There are time management issues too. I must stop leaving vituperative defences of things that need defending in website comment sections. This often happens in the wee small hours of the morn.

Funny thing is that I never ever leave an original comment; it is always an enraged vocab-bloated reaction to some thick twazmuppet who has made the kind of outrageously ignorant outburst super-facilitated by the beautiful concealing cloak of Web anonymity. And there are so many of them out there. Twazmuppeting in the cybervoid.

My goodness. I even used my maximum word allowance on Have Your Say to tell people in the Evans4Wogan to basically stop being such goddarned judgemental internet-crazed frugbluckers; the insinuation being that the BBC were smothering Terry in his bed in a Ginger Whinger-instigated coup as Step 1 in the Beeb's all-out bid to destroy the Radio 2 breakfast audience.

Reading the views of those angry enough to leave comments on a website also made me ponder whether there is a literary term for a part-eulogy/part-Philippic. A "eulippic" perhaps?

So I commented on the comments again in the name of fairness! reality! compulsion!

And you know what? I haven't even listened to the radio for 9 years.

Makes me think that I might be turning into one of those other internet nutters - not the angry web crazies I described above - who leave utterly pointless and uninformed wibbles on heartfelt blog tributes to, say, a recently deceased author: "I haven't even heard of the guy, or his really really famous novel. I have no personal connection to him; whether gleaned from his work or a solitary encounter in the street. But he sounds like a bit of a dick and you make his books sound wayyy boring. I thought I should just write something - anything to join in the busy looking "dialogue" - that makes me feel about a 1/200th more important than before I left the faecal trail of my facile flaccid words on this patch of interweb (IT'S MY PATCH NOW). It makes me look like an idiot; an idiocy of which I will remain blissfully ignorant. This enclosed state of mind means that I will continue polluting the eyes of strangers with my supreme powers of banality. If there's one thing that the internet is good for it is munificent freedom of expression. Even if that expression comes in the form of the most god-awful, stupid, angrifying vehicles for idiocy you could NOT possibly imagine. Because there are far too many of them. As Einstein asked himself, what's the difference between stupidity and genius? Genius has its limits."