Monday, September 03, 2012

Random 'The Quiz Book' Sample

Just because...

The love of my quiz life ... the burden of my dreams ... the provider of many European Championship title-winning answers (that ain't no lie) ... THE PROJECT. 

I wish I had the time - pure days full of beautiful empty nothing - to overhaul THE QB; and when I mean "overhaul", I mean seal myself in a room filled with my digital/scribbly-wibbly notes / pages of new question material / or "nuggets" as Pat defines them so perfectly, wi-fi, gallons of coffee, a few cartons of cigarettes and a mind-tankful of pure mental will, so I can spend at least a MONTH crafting it into the thing I want it to be. 

One month and, lo, The Quiz Book will be truly born - as soon as I send this beautiful thing, in reality, a PDF to the printers and yadda yadda waiting, reality, boredom. The Blah of Time. Time you didn't think would be needed to finish the task.  

Because it needs that fantastical, fantasy-fuelled Month. 

Because with every single passing day, decay in its many idiot/logical forms go to work on this book's increasingly bloated Yo Mama joke-worthy ASS. 

These are the crazy ways; the routes its 1000s of question-constituents could take to the Trash Bin: some minor imperfection becomes unbearable because my mind amplifies it on every further viewing; a question becomes dated and therefore marked for death; another suddenly becomes 'boring as hell' due to pure whimsy on my part and is hated from thence forth, for all time ('what did I ever see in you?'). Others are cursored with the red "execution highlighting" because they have appeared in an EQC or WQC; their erasure having been ensured because their usefulness to me/my team/my partner has been proved, and their place can be taken by a bright, shining new Q. Also, er, it stops people from thinking "oh, so that's how he knew it" - IT WAS IN HIS BOOK! Some mangled form of mystique must be maintained. Therefore, their deletion will ensure no-one will ever know just how much the book has helped me as a training tool. Mwahahaha *major imaginary moustache twirling action* and more mwahaahhooohockough *imaginary smokers' cough*. 

Though admittedly, unable to stop myself every single time, I have used the phrase "it's in my Book!" so many times now that I know it makes me look like a colossal, massively smug bell-shaped appendage. And that reaction-tic has been going on for almost four years now. A quadrennial. An Olympiad-length phase of increasingly dong-tastic behaviour!

Therefore, I swear I will never say those words out loud ever again. This is a promise, pure and true.

And this vow will be snapped into splinters galore by that preening quiz-demon lurking inside the deviant bit of my brain. The rogue "cerebell-end" that feeds on quiz victory endorphins and makes me go YES!!! whilst thumping the nearest hard surface.  

Somewhere in the Future...
So the QB is in stasis; the coma nearing its first birthday. Which is just plain ridiculous. 

And the truth is, I won't have any weekend/evening time for QB-finishing until next year, and that's that. The heart sighs on accepting this alternate yet equally rubbish dose of reality. 

In the mean time, this post has a dual purpose: a) it says to me: get a move on, you blithering idiot; you could always do a little work before the year of 2013, FINISH IT for the love of all the gods in every pantheon you mention in Mythology I - XVII b) for you, the Reader: here's 40 of the near 6000 Qs that constitute it in their 'newest' iteration. They were selected at random: going up and down with the bar thingy, until destiny stopped me and beckoned with a Copy and a Paste. They constitute slender yet tangible proof that work has been done, and impressive Roman numeral combinations have been formed through sheer, bloody hard work (I mostly did in 2009).  

Another memo to myself: the Quiz Beast needs 2011 and 2012 material. It's so hungry, and a bit bulimic. So, those newies will take the place of the five Qs below that are dead questions walking. That's about the average proportion I want to replace: FIVE / FORTY  X  WOAH BIG NUMBER. And I've just made a statement whose ambition has skipped far beyond the realms of reality.  

(At least, I've stopped adding pages. Adding them eats the days and the nights: a single 20 Q&A page taking on average about four hours to write-up. But then I think, oooh, it could do with a few more; few more dozen; couple of hundred ... that's how it used to escalate. That's how a 200-page book became a 520-pager with a quadrupled word count. That and a late, lamented Magnus giving the world two quiz books with an eerily similar format to my own).

Anyway, enough of the whine. Here's the beef. Of course, if you've already seen them in this exact state (perhaps they formed part of a sample I had previously emailed out and haven't checked), it will be the ground-up Taco Bell kind you read about in books like Fast Food Nation. Last warning: the automatic spell-check-correct may have also ruined your factual experience. It can't help itself, the know-nothing sod.

General Knowledge XCI
1. In a Kazuo Ishiguro novel, what is track three on the 1956 album Songs After Dark by the singer Judy Bridgewater?
2. The bartender Giuseppe Cipriani opened which dining-and-drinking establishment in 1931?
3. Which popular heat-resistant, wipe-clean plastic laminate was invented by Westinghouse employees Daniel J. O’Conor and Herbert A. Faber in 1912?
4. The North Face and Napapijri’s corporate sibling, which San Leandro, California-based company is known for its lifetime warranties and is the world’s largest backpack maker?
5. On a film set, who or what is “the Abby Singer”?
6. Which 90mi-long, 10mi-wide district in Cuba’s Pinar del Rio Province is famed for a microclimate that produces tobacco that cigar aficionados claim has a flavour like no other?
7. The subject of a 2009 play by Rona Munro, which Scottish woman became the last person to be executed for sorcery in Great Britain when she was burned alive in 1727?
8. Meaning ‘to cut’, what name was given during medieval times to a piece of stale bread that was sliced into a suitable shape by a carver and then used as a plate? After meals, it was eaten, but was more frequently given as alms to the poor.
9. Inspired by a 19th century ballad about a beautiful woman named Mary, which competition is held every August and began in 1959 on a tiny budget of £750? It was the idea of tourism-hungry business folk, who met at Harty’s Bar and were led by late newspaperman Dan Nolan.
10. Run over a distance of c.90km/55.9mi between the Kwazulu-Natal capital Pietermaritzburg and Durban, which race is said to be the world’s oldest and largest ultramarathon?

Architecture & Design XIII
1. Founded in 1946 by Sir Ove Nyquist ____, which design and engineering consultancy has contributed to such projects as the Angel of the North, Beijing National Aquatics Centre (designed by its Sydney office), Sydney Opera House and the Centre Pompidou?
2. Described as “an Italian working-class version of Portmeirion”, which 20th century architectural gem lies outside Rome’s city walls and is renowned for its fairytale red cottages?
3. Sited on Chestnut Street between 5th and 6th Streets, it was completed in 1753 as the Pennsylvania State House. Which Georgian-style building features on the $100 bill?
4. Bearing an eagle and certain edicts of Peter the Great, which three-faced glass pyramid stood on the desk in every government office in Imperial Russia?
5. Based around the marshes of the river Giscle on the bay of Saint-Tropez, which seaside town was created in the Venetian style by architect François Spoerry in the 1960s?
6. Located in the modern state of Gujarat and dating from 2400BC, which Indus Valley civilisation city is home to what is believed to be the world’s earliest known dock?
7. Which Italian graphic designer (1926-2006) headed design at Penguin Books from 1962 to 1971, and was responsible for creating some of the most iconic book covers in history?
8. Which company first produced the Picardie glass, the “ultimate drinking vessel created by man” in around 1927? The design and specification has remained almost unchanged since Saint-Gobain introduced their patented glass tempering process to the said French firm in 1939.
9. Which US architect designed the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin (2005)?
10. The career of which then 28-year-old Swedish furniture designer (1888-1972) was launched when he won 1st and 2nd prize in a competition to furnish the newly built Stockholm City Hall?


General Knowledge XCI
1. ‘Never Let Me Go’ (the source of the 2005 novel title). In a key scene, a young Kathy (our clone narrator) dances alone to the song (her favourite), as Madame, an overseer of the clones, watches and crys as she ponders a cruel adult world poised to reap Kathy’s fresh organs.
2. Harry’s Bar, Venice (named for Cipriani’s rich young Bostonian patron, Harry Pickering)
3. Formica. They originally conceived it as an electrical insulator substitute for micarta.
4. JanSport (founded in 1967 in Seattle by Jan Lewis (for whom it is named) and Murray Pletz)
5. The second-to-last shot of the day (named for a 1950s/60s production manager, who supposedly misled cast and crew into thinking the penultimate shot of the day was the last)
6. Vuelta Abajo (or Vueltabajo). It is found in the west of the island, in the southern part of the Organos Mountains. Its tobacco industry dates back to c.1830.
7. Janet Horne. Horne and her daughter (who escaped) were arrested and jailed on the accusations of her neighbours in Dornoch. Horne was accused of using her child, whose hands and feet were deformed, as a pony to ride to the Devil, where she had her shoed.
8. A trencher (from the Old French tranchier). A “trencherman” is/was an excessive eater.
9. The Rose of Tralee (founded by Rank Organisation accountant Billy Clifford, The Kerryman owner Nolan, shopkeeper Jo Hussey and Ted Healy). Alice O’Sullivan of Dublin was the first winner in 1959, who was deemed to be the most “lovely and fair”, as in the song.
10. The Comrades Marathon. First run on May 24, 1921, competitors have 12 hours to finish it and must tackle “The Big Five” hills: Cowies Hill, Field’s Hill, Botha’s Hill, Inchanga and, finally, Polly Shortts. It was conceived by WW1 vet Vic Clapham as a memorial to the war dead.

Architecture & Design XIII
1. Arup. Pre-recession figures claim it has over 10,000 staff based in 92 offices in 37 countries.
2. Garbatella. The “poor man’s garden city” was created in the 1920s.
3. Independence Hall, Philadelphia. Designed by Andrew Hamilton and Edmund Woolley, it is on the reverse of the $100 bill, as well as the bicentennial Kennedy half dollar.
4. Zertsalo (meaning ‘mirror’)
5. Port Grimaud. This mainly traffic-free town is popular with boat owners, as most properties come with their own berth. It is in the Var department. Spoerry wrote L’Architecture Douce.
6. Lothal. Discovered in 1954, it linked the city to an ancient course of the Sabarmati on the trade route between Harappan cities in Sindh and the peninsula of Saurashtra when the surrounding Kutch desert (of today) was a part of the Arabian Sea.
7. Germano Facetti. He introduced phototypesetting, the “Marber grid”, offset lithographic printing and photography to their paperbacks, and the Penguin Classic black cover from 1963.
8. Duralex (“the original toughened glass tumbler”). The Duralex Picardie is celebrated as the quintessential French bistro glass. Other Duralex designs: Provence, Gigogne, Lys, and Prisme.
9. Peter Eisenman (b.1932). Built by Buro Happold, it consists of a 4.7 acre site covered in 2711 concrete slabs/stelae, which are designed to create an uneasy, confusing atmosphere.
10. Carl Malmsten. He submitted two chair designs; a classic Malmsten chair being the Vår Fru. He also founded two schools, the Carl Malmsten CTD and Capellagården on Öland (in 1960).


General Knowledge V
1. Defined by the US academic Irving Janis (1918-90), what theory in social psychology is used to describe the cause of such symptoms as the rationalisation of bad decisions and the illusion of unanimity and invulnerability when collective decisions lead to systematic errors?
2. What form of pest control was patented by William C. Hooker of Abingdon, Illinois, in 1894?
3. Which UNESCO prize is named after the Korean king who created the ‘Hangul’ alphabet?
4. Created by the Catalonian government, what is Spain’s and Europe’s leading savings bank and, due to its nonprofit status, controls the largest charitable foundation in the country?
5. Which bairro (neighbourhood) is the undisputed capital of Rio de Janeiro’s samba scene?
6. She corresponded with Guy de Maupassant and died of TB aged only 25 in 1884. This woman painted a portrait of Paris slum children, The Meeting, and In the Studio (1881), a work depicting fellow artists at work. Which Ukrainian-born Russian diarist, painter and sculptor is best known for the journal - published with the title I Am the Most Interesting Book of All – which she kept from the age of 13, and in which she detailed the struggles of women artists?
7. One of the world’s leading cosmetics suppliers, which Procter & Gamble brand was originally a company founded in 1880 by Franz Stroher, with its HQ in Darmstadt, Germany?
8. Depicting an eponymous lake, which photograph by Mel Allen (b.1965) has become an inexplicably popular art print that sometimes has “...Glenridding, Cumbria” in its title?
9. Sonora Louise Smart Dodd (1882-1978) conceived the idea for the official observance of which day in 1909? The first was celebrated on June 19, 1910 in Spokane, Washington.
10. Born in Cleveland Heights, Ohio, in 1936, which free jazz saxophone pioneer was nicknamed "Bicycle Horn" and debuted with Something Different !!!!!? Thinking the survival of his mother and kid brother required a sacrifice, he drowned himself in New York's East River in 1970.

History II
1. Which Chinese dynasty was founded by Emperor Wen, also known as Yang Jian, in 581AD?
2. Which nomadic Persian horsemen emerged from the northern Zagros Mountains in c.700BC, and dominated the Pontic-Caspian steppe throughout Classical Antiquity (600BC-300AD)? They were comprised of the Auchatae, Catiaroi, Traspians and Paralatae or the “Royal ________” and in c.676BC, when they were led by Ishpaki, attacked Assyria in alliance with the Mannaens.
3. Sundiata Keita’s decisive victory over which Sosso king at the Battle of Kirina in 1235 guaranteed the preeminence of the Mali Empire over West Africa for the next 350 years?
4. Reformed in 275BC, what union of most of the cities of the northern Peloponnese managed to repel Sparta, but was later defeated by the Romans in 146BC?
5. The Donner Party resorted to cannibalism after being snowbound in which range in 1846-47?
6. Which battle took place on April 21, 1526, and resulted in the defeat of the Sultan of Delhi by Babur (aka Zahir ud-Din Muhammad), who then established the Mughal Empire?
7. Also known as Khair ad-Din Pasha, what was the popular name of the Turkish privateer Yakupoğlu Hızır, whose greatest achievement was the taking of Tunis from Charles V in 1534?
8. While in American exile from the apartheid regime, which South African poet (1930-2006) wrote Emperor Shaka the Great (1979) – an epic poem that recounts the life of the Zulu ruler?
9. King Henry VIII, Peter Paul Rubens and John Wesley shared which astrological star sign?
10. In March 1562, Henry I, duc de Guise, ordered a Huguenot massacre where in Normandy? This has been described as the crucial event that precipitated the French Wars of Religion.


General Knowledge V
1. “Groupthink”. The term was coined by sociologist and author of The Organization Man (1956), William H. Whyte, in Fortune magazine in 1952 with reference to a “rationalized conformity ... which holds that group values are not only expedient but right and good as well”.
2. Mousetrap. British inventor James Henry Atkinson invented a prototype in 1897, which he called the “Little Nipper” and which may have based on the Hooker trap. Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim (1840-1916) invented the traditional mousetrap, as well as the eponymous gun.
3. UNESCO King Sejong Literacy Prize. It “honours the outstanding contribution made to literacy over 500 years ago” by the king. The prize rewards governments that fight illiteracy.
4. “la Caixa”. HQed in Barcelona and formed in a 1990 merger, it has over 10.7m customers.
5. Lapa. The “gracefully decaying” district’s most recognisable landmark is the slave-built 18th century Arcos da Lapa or Carioca Aqueduct. Samba fans should head to the Avenida Mem de Sá and the Rue Joaquim Silva, which are lined with bars and performers playing the real thing.
6. Marie Bashkirtseff
7. Wella. Represented in over 150 countries, the brand’s under-25 styling product ShockWaves! regularly annoys TV viewers with ads featuring smug cool kids mussing up their hair with gunk.
8. Ullswater – the 2nd largest lake in the Lake District. Allen was born in Oldham.
9. Father’s Day. Dr. Robert Webb observed Father’s Day the year before at his Methodist church in Fairmont, WV. Dodd was the daughter of US Civil War veteran William Jackson Smart.
10. Albert Ayler. He is known for his trio and quartet records of 1964, Spiritual Unity and The Hilversum Session, and his ecstatic, Sally Army brass band-imitating pieces of 1965-66, among them, ‘Spirits Rejoice’ and ‘Truth is Marching In’. His Impulse! LPs include In Greenwich Village.

History II
1. Sui. Following the Southern and Northern Dynasties, its capital was Chang’an (modern Xi’an). It was marked by the building of the Grand Canal. Gong (r: 617-18) was the last Sui emperor.
2. Scythians. By Late Antiquity (c.300AD-600) they were dominated by the closely-related Sarmatians, who migrated from Central Asia to the Ural Mountains during the 5th century BC.
3. Soumaoro Kanté. He had seized Koumbi Saleh, the capital of the then recently defunct Ghana Empire, and then tried to conquer the Mandinka people in what is now Mali. In the Epic of Sundiata, Mali’s national epic, Kanté is portrayed as an evil sorcerer-king.
4. Achaean League (first joined by the city of Sicyon, which provided its great leader Aratus)
5. Sierra Nevada (highest point: Mount Whitney). Of the 87 members of the party, 48 survived to reach California. It is named after its leader, the farmer George Donner.
6. 1st Battle of Panipat (the 2nd occurred in 1556 and the 3rd in 1761)
7. Hayreddin Barbarossa. Ottoman Navy Fleet Admiral, he inherited the Barbarossa name from his older brother Baba Oruç (Father Aruj), who was killed while fighting the Spanish in Algeria.
8. Mazisi Kunene. The UCLA teacher was made Africa’s poet laureate in 1993. In 2005, he became the poet laureate of South Africa. He also wrote Anthem of the Decades: A Zulu Epic.
9. Cancer (all born on June 28). Cancerians are apparently loving, sympathetic and cautious.
10. Vassy - the seat of a canton of the department of Calvados in the Basse-Normandie region.


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