Friday, 7 March 2014

Ones That Got Away First Anniversary(ish) Mega Quiz Spectacular!

It's (just over) a year since the birth of The Ones That Got Away, and what a year it's been! Since I first decided to share my regular pub quiz failings with the Internet I've moved to Canada, won a series of Only Connect, and written lots (and lots) of questions. To mark the occasion regular reader and occasional team-mate 'the programmer' has looked back over 12 months of pub quiz failure and selected 50 questions that he thought stood out. There's a mixture of Ones That Got Away - those factoids that evaded our combined intellects - and my own alternate questions (which I started writing because so many of the ones we got wrong were bloody awful), so it's very much a mixed bag, but a fun mixed bag.

The quiz is split very roughly into four rounds, with answers after each to save you some valuable scrolling. But as interesting as it is to discuss the merits of preserving one's scroll wheel, let's get on with the quiz!

The programmer's preamble

Reading and now re-reading the entire archive of Ones That Got Away quickly lead me to one conclusion: there are a lot of bad questions out there. At least half of all the questions the teams missed in the last year were badly phrased, ill-defined, boring, arcane, or all of the above. Nevertheless, sorting the occasional grains of wheat from the oceans of chaff proved quite rewarding. I've assembled this list of my favourites from both the main questions and the famous bonus questions, although I had to be stricter with the latter because their general standard was much higher. Any list like this is subjective, but hopefully my justifications will be at least a bit illuminating.

Round 1: mass debate stimulators

I particularly enjoy questions which stimulate good debates within a team as people home in on the right answer. Here are a few likely to have that effect.

1) The Great Seal of the United States features an eagle holding an olive branch in its right talon, and 13 of what in its left?
2) Familiar to any bookworm, since 2007 how many digits are there in an ISBN (that is, an International Standard Book Number)?
3) Which cigarette brand sponsored the World Snooker Championship from 1976 until 2005 before advertising legislation halted the practice?
4) Which two countries sit either side of Ireland in the UN General Assembly? (You need both for the point.)
5) In which city is Dirty Harry set?
6) Name the four UK number ones from the 1980s with the word 'Town' in the title. (A whole quarter of a point for each.)
7) In which country is the northernmost point of South America?
8) What links The Great Escape and the winner of the 1999 Turner Prize?
9) Since Arthur Balfour's election in 1902 there have been 21 different Prime Ministers. Of these, just two had surnames in the second half of the alphabet (that is, beginning with N-Z) - who? (You need both for the point.)
10) How many US States begin with the same letter as their capital?
11) Which is the only band to have held the UK Christmas number one spot twice with the same song, topping the charts in 1975 and 1991?
12) What is the most northerly station on the London Underground network?
13) What word is spelled Tungsten Indium Darmstadtium Uranium Rutherfordium Erbium?

Round 1 answers

Round 2: Things that make you go hmmm

It has been said that a quiz question should make you go "ooh, I know that" or "ooh, I didn't know that". Here are a few that fit the latter for me.

14) Ciabatta bread is named after which type of footwear?
15) In Futurama, what is Bender's full name?
16) What word derives from the Greek for 'sharp dull'?
17) Which god gave Midas the power to turn things into gold?
18) In January 1953 over 70% of US television sets were tuned in to watch Lucille Ball give birth in which TV show?
19) What does John Major only have one of when most men have two?
20) According to the novel, which city has 'A room with a view'?
21) What German football team are owned by the company that discovered asiprin and heroin?
22) To what does the 500 in Indy 500 refer?
23) Which African city's name means 'new flower'?

Round 2 answers

Round 3: OTGA's miscellany

And here are a few others which struck a miscellaneous chord with me.

24) Robert Redford founded which international film festival in 1978, which has been held annually in Utah ever since?
25) Malbec is a variety of which fruit?
26) Were sea levels to rise due to global warming, which country in the Indian Ocean is expected to be the first to be completely submerged?
27) Which US State is known as the Beef State?
28) What is the principal psychoactive constituent of marijuana? (Its common three letter abbreviation is enough for the point.)
29) What is the name of Channel 4's longest running sitcom? Airing during the 90s, it was set in a Peckham hairdresser.
30) Cardiff stands on which river?
31) What was the currency of the Netherlands prior to the Euro?
32) Which country produces 'blue mountain' coffee, one of the most expensive coffees in the world?
Question 33
33) Suffolk only boasts one professional football team, whose (slightly modified) badge is pictured. Can you name them?
34) Which 1972 novel was Dahl's sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?
35) Which country was formally known as British Honduras?
36) Which novel opens with the sentence "You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings."?
37) Identify the film from its tagline: "You won't believe your eye".
38) Which Dickens novel features a malicious moneylender named Quilp?
39) In what year did the Wright brothers take their first flight?
40) While currency questions are boring, it is nevertheless vital to know the ones that sound a tiny bit rude. If you wanted to spend dongs and colons, then, which two countries should you visit? (Half a point each.)
41) What is the term for animal pancreas when served as food?
42) What fruit comes from a blackthorn?
43) Which musical is based on the life of a survivor of the Titanic?

Round 3 answers

Round 4: So bad it's funny. And bad.

And finally, there's a certain kind of question that's so bad it becomes funny. This could easily have been the largest section, so these are just a few.

44) Identify the London station from this cryptic clue: "Bacon or pastries upon high."
45) Is John McEnroe left- or right-handed?
46) Brain teaser: What does an island and the letter T have in common?
47) Swansea City were formerly known as Swansea what? Town, Miners, Academicals or Athletics?
48) What was Kevin Keegan's birth name?
49) Meadow, Sheep's Fescue, and Quaking are all types of what plant?
50) Identify the London station from this cryptic clue: "Some grassy fields in a line are doomed to die by fingers on my hand".

Round 4 answers

Phew. Hope that wasn't too much of a slog. No poll to show off how you did this week, but feel free to Tweet at me @statacake if you can't fight those sharing urges. The Ones That Got Away will be back to normal next Friday!

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