Sunday, 8 September 2013

Elephants don't really get drunk from fermented fruit

The attendees
1) The statistician
2) The doctor

The ones that got away
1) Which Beatles song features in the lyrics to Don McLean's American Pie?
2) Who was the first Hollywood actress to feature on a United States postage stamp?
3) Whose unmanned submarine-like vehicle Argo discovered the wreck of the Titanic in 1985?
4) True or false: the Indian elephant is endangered.
5) Which land animal has the longest tail?
6) Which country produces 'blue mountain' coffee, one of the most expensive coffees in the world?
7) In which decade was the first Indy 500 race?
8) Which film is based on the non-fiction book Wiseguy, chronicling the story of an individual named Henry Hill?

The answers

Poll results! 7 votes with 1 scoring 6/8, 2 scoring 3/8, 1 scoring 2/8, 2 scoring 1/8 and 1 joining us on zero.

The average voter scored 2-and-a-bit out of 8.

The excuses
1) This question taught me that I know far more of the lyrics to American Pie than I realized. Unfortunately it also taught me that there are some Beatles songs I've never even heard of.
2) Something of a crapshoot for us, although there was an exhibition at a local museum about Grace Kelly at the time, so a fair question.
3) Bit of a weird question, I thought, and we had no idea. The background to the discovery is quite a fun read though, as Ballard was on a semi-secret mission to look for two sunken nuclear submarines.
4) The flawless logic of "it's obviously true, so you wouldn't ask the question unless the real answer was false" scuppered us once again. (Although I stand by my rule that 'true or false' is guaranteed to be a Bad Question.)
5) Strangely I suggested the correct answer as a joke during our discussion (we both thought giraffes had particularly short tails for their size).
6) The only thing I know to put down when I hear 'most expensive coffee' is kopi luwak (AKA 'civet coffee'), so we took a punt on Indonesia.
7) Quite often going for the roaring 20s will stand you in good stead for this sort of question, but not this time alas.
8) I'm not entirely sure I've given this question a fair retelling, but in any case neither of us has seen Goodfellas (somehow), so not particularly frustrating.

The alternative questions
1) How many films are there in the American Pie franchise? (For a bonus point, name all of them.)
2) Which country was Grace Kelly the princess consort of from 1956 until her death in 1982?
3) Ballard also discovered which German battleship, sank by the British in 1941? Its sinking was the subject of a 1960 British film.
4) What is the name of the elephant character who first appeared in a 1931 children's book by Jean de Brunhoff? He would later feature in an English-language version of the same book by A A Milne and, perhaps most famously, a late 80s/early 90s cartoon series.
5) What is the closest extant relative of the giraffe?
6) The exceedingly rare 'blue bear' originates in which mountain range? It is thought to be one possible explanation for yeti 'sightings' in the area.
7) To what does the 500 in Indy 500 refer?
8) Goodfellas comes in at number 12 on Wikipedia's list of films that most frequently use the word `fuck'. Which other De Niro/Scorsese collaboration features at number five?

The answers

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