Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Wizard of Oz

It's never easy having to step into someone shoes is it? No matter how big or trivial the situation, you are always conscious that someone has set the bench mark that you will be measured against and there is damn all you can do about it apart from trying your best.

As I blogged last month, Ian, our expat quiz master, abandoned us and returned to England (or at least Yorkshire) leaving in his stead, Chris to take on the challenge of concocting a perfect quota of quiz questions once a month. 25 questions that should be the right combination of huh? and ah! and uh? and YES! They can't be too hard (because we'd get too demoralised and not want to play again - yes, we are that fickle) and yet can't be too easy (because Lesley doesn't want to have to give everyone a prize) but also the demographic of the group is so varied and so variable, one month there might be 8 people, another 28, aged from 28 to 58 and coming from pretty much every continent in the world - the only common determinator is the language and even the English spoken is diverse, at times American English can be as different from British English as Dutch is from German and let's not get started on those for whom English is a second language despite the fact that they speak it fluently.

There was a faint whiff of grease paint in the air at Lulus last night and Chris was very keen to get the show on the road, I doubt it was first night nerves or stage fright seeing as his day job is being tenor opera singer, I think he just wanted to get going and put his mark on the quiz.

The quiz was the same 'bingo' format as usual but Chris had added a special Antipodean twist, a joker, whichever team got closest to the right answer for the joker question would win the right to play the joker during the answers and request the question number that they wanted next, so allowing them to complete a row and possibly win (the answers are read out in a random order, you see*). The joker question was;
- how many churches were burnt down during the Great Fire of London?
We** had no idea, I stopped doing history at school as soon as possible, Jason wanted to go low, I wanted to go high so we compromised with the number he plucked out of thin air, 111. And we won the joker because we were closest to the answer of 87 (which is the random number that Sing wanted us to put...)

And onto the quiz itself, here are a few of the questions that we had to puzzle over;

1. What is the oldest alcolholic drink?
2. What is a chukka?
3. Rose Tyler and Sara Jane Smith wer companions to whom?
4. On which continent are there the fewest inhabitants?
5. Which came first the photograph or the bicycle?
6. What do the letters 'C+M+B' represent when written above a doorway in chalk?
7. In which civilization is L greater than XL?

A great mix of questions, made even better by the fact that we were the first team to get a row (thanks to having a Joker to play) and we were one of the four teams to get the top score of 19/25 - failed the tie break question though;

What year was the founding of the Spanish Inquisition?

We plucked a number out of the air, none of us having a clue and 1623 was way out of the ballpark, the actual answer is 1480.

I think Chris can be quite satisfied with last night, the quiz was a great succes, with at least seven teams playing (some of whom were Germans, who hadn't got a clue what they were agreeing to at the beginning) and I for one will definitely be back for more next month, although I shall have to find a new team as my co-conspirators are taking off for a month on Friday. Maybe I can play with Emma***?

1. Beer, which we put and then crossed out as Jason deemed brewing too complex a process to have been the first, we went with cider.
2. This was a multiple choice question and we had a,b,c & d to choose from, I didn't hear the other options, because having read Jilly Cooper's 'Polo' and being a keen reader of OK & Hello**** (when I can get my hands on them) I wrote down 'polo' before he'd got as far as 'c) a period of play in the game of polo.
3. The whole bar collectively went "huh?" and we all stared about vacantly, Chris read the question again and I had a lightbulb moment. Doctor Who of course! Smug doesn't even come close to describing that feeling!
4. In this particular round everything began with 'A', Antartica.
5. Jason wanted to put bicycle, but I can smell a trick question a mile off (or at least last night I could) so I wrote down photogrpah, a good job I had control of the pen.
6. After living in Germany for four years I know this because I've asked about it, it's the three kings - Caspar, Melchior and Balthasar.
7. I recognised this as Latin numerals but it was Jason who pointed out that in Latin L is greater than XL, I can just about remember that X=10 & C=100...

* it makes sense when you're there and playing along, honest.
** our team last night was me, Jason & Sing.
*** Emma always wins, but was unable to attend last night - shall have to remember to thank her husband for arranging to be away so that she couldn't come out to play!
**** all my guilty secrets are coming out.

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