Sunday, 31 August 2014

A week in the world of quiz

To be honest there's not much on my mind this week. Tomorrow is the 1st of September, which will hopefully mean attendence on quiz nights start to increase after the lull over summer.

Tomorrow also sees the return of Only Connect, this time on BBC2, for a run of 27 shows! The Monday night schedule is now packed with quizzing content.

Currently the 3pm slot on Radio 4 is being filled by Quote... Unquote, but that is due to end its run soon. I was wondering if that means Brain of Britain will soon be back with us?

This weeks Mastermind sees the contestants answering questions on Champagne, the Manhattan Project, the photographer Tina Modotti and the TV series The Prisoner. The only one there that stands out for me is the Manhattan Project, so it will be interesting to see how I fare.

I'll leave you with a few questions that got away from us over the past couple of weeks.

1 This photo appeared in a picture round of people called Sam.

2 The birch tree is a member of which genus?

3 Which Scottish city has football teams that play their home games at Dens Park and Tannadice Park?

4 Highland Park Distillery is located on which Scottish island?

5 Which 2014 film is based on a Marvel Comics superhero team led by Starlord aka Peter Quinn?

6 What was the name of the American businessman who helped to revive the Thai silk industry during the 1950s and 60s? He famously disappeared without trace in 1967.


1 Sam Wanamaker. Annoyingly his name was on our list of possibles before receiving the handout.
2 Betula.
3 Dundee.
4 Mainland, Orkney. Apparently it is the northernmost whisky distillery in the British Isles.
5 Guardians of the Galaxy.
6 Jim Thompson.

New set of questions

1 Since 1976 the English band Fairport Convention has hosted an annual festival of folk and rock music outside of which Oxfordshire village? The name of the village is incorporated into the name of the festival.

2 Named after Baron Walter von Saint Paul-Illaire, who discovered the plant in what is now Tanzania in 1892, the genus of herbaceous perennial flowering plants, Saintpaulia, is more commonly known by what name?

3 The 1993 European Grand Prix was the first and to date only Formula One race to be held at which motorsport circuit in Leicestershire?

4 Originally coined during his earlier struggles in South Africa for Indian rights, what term for  nonviolent resistance was used by Mahatma Gandha during the Indian independence movement against British rule in India?

5 Pictured above. The original lost and known today only through numerous Roman copies, the Diskobolus or discus thrower was a work by which Athenian sculptor?

6 Recorded in the wake of his career reviving 1968 Comeback Special, what was the title of Elvis Presley's seventeenth and final number one single in the United States?

7  Running weekly throughout the year, except for a summer break, what is the name of the Radio 4 discussion series, presented by Melvyn Bragg since October 1998? Each programme covers a specific historical, philosophical, religious, cultural or scientific topic and features contributions from two or three academic experts on the subject.

8 In 1965 fifty eight years after Florence Nightingale became the first, which Nobel Prize winning British chemist became the second woman to be admitted into the Order of Merit?

9 The lingerie retailer Agent Provocateur was co-founded in 1994 by Joseph Corré, the son of which fashion designer?

10 Which composers Symphony No. 45 in F-sharp minor is known as the 'Farewell' Symphony? During the finale of the symphony, the musicians cease playing one by one and leave the stage until only the two principal violinists remain at the close.


11 Pictured above. Maman, the familiar French word for Mother, is a sculpture of a giant spider by which French artist? Commissioned for The Unilever Series (2000), in the Turbine Hall at London's Tate Modern, a further six castings were made for museums around the world.

12 The Tydings–McDuffie Act of 1934 was a United States federal law that led to the independence of which country in 1946?

13 What was the name of the first actress to win the Oscar for Best Actress in consecutive years? She did so for her roles in The Great Ziegfeld and The Good Earth, released in 1936 and 1937 respectively.

14 Olisipo was the Roman name for which modern day European capital city?

15 Sharing its name with the most southern state of the Malaysian peninsular, what is the name of the strait that separates Singapore from the mainland?

16 Which acid was first isolated from apple juice by the chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele in 1785? Although occurring naturally in all fruits and many vegetables its name is derived from the Latin for apple.

17 The Jupiler Pro League is the  top football league competition in which European country?

18 Upon gaining indepence in 1947 which city was chosen as the capital of Pakistan, a status it held until 1958?

19 What is the name of the rich pastry made from layers of filo pastry, sandwiched with a filling of chopped nuts and honey or syrup?

20 At the Australian Open in December 1977, which British male tennis player became the first to contest the final of a Grand Slam singles tournament since Bunny Austin at Wimbledon in 1938? He eventually lost in five sets to the American Vitas Gerulaitis.

1 Cropredy
2 African Violet
3 Donington Park
4 Satyagraha
5 Myron (of Eleutherae)
6 Suspicious Minds
7 In Our Time
8 Dorothy Hodgkin
9 Vivienne Westwood
10 Joseph Haydn
11 Louise Bourgeois
12 Philippines
13 Luise Rainer
14 Lisbon
15 Johor Strait
16 Malic acid
17 Belgium
18 Karachi
19 Baklava
20 John Lloyd

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Quiz show returns?

Over on LAM David Clark has been talking about entrants for the Quizzing Hall of Shame. Which got me thinking along similar lines but in the opposite direction.

But whilst trying to decide whether I preferred Mastermind over University Challenge or vice versa, I struck upon another idea. Namely is there a quiz show no longer running which I would like to see brought back to our screens?

Now if I'd asked myself that question approximately one year ago, I would have replied in an instant, Fifteen to One, but as that has returned I had to try and come up with something else.

So then I thought of Are You An Egghead?, which ran for two series back in 2008/09, with the winners of both series gaining a place as an Egghead on the actual show.

The format of the show as I remember it was this:

 - 2 contestants per show, each with a runtime of 45 minutes.

 - 5 rounds of 3 multi choice questions each on a topic which featured in Eggheads, so Sport,     Geography, Politics etc. The winner of each round got to choose one of the Eggheads onto their team to help them in the final round.

 - The final round then consisted of 5 multi choice general knowledge questions, where the contestant could ask for help from any of the Eggheads on their team.

As I remember them the questions were of a good standard, and I really enjoyed it. I reckon the format could work without the carrot of a place on the parent show for the series winner. 

Does anyone have any other views or ideas?

Third set of questions

I've tried to be a little less verbose in writing this set, see what you think.

1 What is the family name of the Dukes of Somerset, whose ducal seat is Bradley House in Wiltshire?

2 Edinburgh of the Seven Seas is the main settlement of which island located in the South Atlantic?

3 Pictured above. The centrepiece of the Helix Park in Falkirk, The Kelpies, two 30-metre high horse-head sculptures, were created by which Glasgow artist?

4 Who recorded the album Music for Supermarkets? Originally conceived as the background music for an art exhibition in 1983, the only copy was sold at auction and the master tapes destroyed.

5 What was the name of the medieval tax levied for the building or upkeep of town walls in England and Wales?

6 A collection of 28 poems, Child Whispers published in 1922,  is the first published work of which English children's author?

7 The year of 1797 saw two mutinies by sailors of the Royal Navy,  one was at Spithead in the Solent, the other was at which anchorage in the Thames Estuary?

8 In 2008 cricketer Shane Warne captained which franchise to victory in the inaugural season of the Indian Premier League?

9 What's the name of the hill in Gloucestershire where an annual cheese rolling competition takes place every Spring Bank Holiday?

10 Pictured above. In 2014 he broke Sergey Bubka's 21 year old indoor record when he cleared 6.16m at an athletics meeting in Bubka's home city of Donetsk, Ukraine. What is the name of this French pole vaulter who is the current Olympic, World Indoor and European Champion?

11 Due to its distinctive shape, what is the nickname of the London building whose official address is 20 Fenchurch Street?

12 Made into a multi-Academy Award winning film in 1966, the play A Man For All Seasons was written by which playwright?

13 The Inspector Montalbano series of novels and short stories are the work of which Italian author?

14 Several species of which genus of fungi are responsible for the veins in blue cheeses such as Stilton and Roquefort?

15 The Last Night of the Proms staple 'Rule, Britannia' was originally included in which masque first performed in 1740?

16 Which central Asian capital city was known as Stalinabad from 1929 until 1961?

17 The sand dance was the highlight of which British musical hall act popular during the middle decades of the 20th century?

18 What creature is depicted on the badge of the British Army's 7th Armoured Brigade, better known as the Desert Rats?

19 Which opera by Bizet is based on a novel by Sir Walter Scott?

20 Published in 1932, The White Fokker was the first story to feature which character?


1 Seymour
2 Tristan da Cunha
3 Andy Scott
4 Jean Michel Jarre
5 Murage
6 Enid Blyton
7 Nore
8  Rajasthan Royals
9 Cooper's Hill
10 Renaud Lavillenie
11 The Walkie-Talkie
12 Robert Bolt
13 Andrea Camilleri
14 Penicillium
15 Alfred
16 Dushanbe
17 Wilson, Keppel and Betty
18 Jerboa
19 La jolie fille de Perth (The Fair Maid of Perth)
20 Biggles

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Question setting/writing

Blimey, am I the only one who thinks that question setting is actually really difficult and time consuming? It makes you realise how much hard work someone like Alan, who runs the weekly Monday night quiz I attend, really puts in week after week.

In one respect I'm lucky because on here the only person I have to satisfy is myself. The flipside of that is that I'm a real perfectionist. I'll look at something I've written and think is that too easy or too hard, can I phrase it better? I also seem prone to go overboard with detail, so that when I just ask a simple one line question it just doesn't look right and I end up scrapping it.

Anyway enough of all that, only one quiz to report on from last week. Here are a few questions from Monday night, some of which we failed on totally or which I didn't know but a teammate did. Answers are of course supplied at the end plus a little self justification!

1 Translating into English as 'An ornament and a safeguard', where would you find the Latin inscription Decus Et Tutamen?

2 North Western and Wallgate are two railway stations that serve which town?

3 The nickname of which football league club is 'The Glovers'

4 Which was the first book in the Mr Men series of books written by Roger Hargreaves? As this came up during a round called Choices, you have the choice of a) Mr Happy, b) Mr Bump, c) Mr Tickle or d) Mr Messy

5 What is measured by a galvanometer?


1 On the edge of a pound coin. How we got this chesnut wrong I've no idea, somehow we got hooked on the idea that the translation meant the object in question was both an ornament and safeguard and from there our thinking just spiralled into all kinds of madness.

2 Wigan. Alan really loves his train trivia, so this type of question comes up far more regularly than it should in my opinion. However, this time we struck trainspotter gold when it turned out that Sandra was brought up near Wigan, well just outside Blackpool, though surely that's the same thing isn't it?

3 Yeovil Town. The home grounds and nicknames of football clubs, particularly those in the third and fourth tier, are something you should probably take the trouble to know, in this instance we hadn't.

4 Mr Tickle. Not much to say really is there?

5 Electric current. From my school days I narrowed it down to voltage or current, and went with voltage...

There was no Mastermind this week because of the European Athletics Championships. It returns on Friday with the specialist subjects including The Thick Of It, Eric Clapton, British Poetry and T.E. Lawrence. Now I've never seen The Thick Of It, and British Poetry seems an awfully big subject to take on to me, so I'll be hopeless on both of those. I reckon I could rustle up a few points with no preparation on Slowhand, so I may just set myself a little Wiki challenge on Lawrence of Arabia.

Have a good week.

Second set of questions

Last week was fairly hectic, so only fifteen questions for you to have a go at this time. I hope you enjoy them!!

1 Which broadcaster left the flagship BBC Radio 4 arts programme Front Row in 2014, after presenting the show since 1998?

2 In the title of the bestselling book by Jonas Jonasson, how old is the 'Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared'?

3 Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy John-117 is the protagonist of which video game franchise?

4 Written between 1888 and 1894, and first performed in 1895, Symphony No. 2 popularly known as the Resurrection Symphony is the work of which composer?

5 The temporary public sculpture House, a concrete cast of the inside of an entire Victorian terraced house, won the 1993 Turner Prize for which artist, the first woman to win the prize?

6 The Cholmondeley Award is an annual award for which field of the arts in the UK?

7 Housed in a Grade II listed Art Deco building designed by Robert Atkinson, the Barber Institute of Fine Arts is an art gallery and concert hall located on the campus of which English university?

8 The 1982 British comedy feature film The Boys in Blue, loosely based on the 1938 Will Hay film Ask a Policeman, was the only cinema outing for which double act?

9 Baseball's Black Sox Scandal took place during the 1919 World Series,  when players of the Chicago White Sox conspired with gamblers to intentionally lose the series against which team?

10 The music from the Irish folk song 'She Moved Through the Fair' was used for which song by the group Simple Minds? It featured as the lead track on the 'Ballad of the Streets EP', the group's only release to top the UK singles chart.

11 Named after a Haitian Creole mythological bogeyman who kidnaps children and eats them for breakfast, which feared paramilitary force were created in 1959  to extend and bolster support for the regime of Haiti's President François 'Papa Doc' Duvalier ?

12 Pictured above. In 2009 the Guardian art critic, Jonathan Jones, wrote that it was "for better or worse, probably the most enduring vision of the crucifixion painted in the 20th century." Known as the 'Christ of Saint John of the Cross', because its design is based on a drawing by the 16th-century Spanish friar John of the Cross,  it was painted in 1951 by which artist?

13 What is the name of the soft cake which originated in the north of England and is traditionally eaten on Bonfire Night?

14 Pictured above. She is one of just six women who have won in all five World Cup disciplines. In winning the World Cup overall title in 2013, she scored a record number of points beating the legendary Hermann Maier's record. What is the name of this Slovenian skier who became a double Olympic champion at the 2014 Sochi Games?

15 With an Arabic name  which translates as 'the follower', because it rises in the night sky after the Pleiades star cluster, what is the brightest star in the constellation of Taurus?


1 Mark Lawson
2 100
3 Halo
4 Gustav Mahler
5 Rachel Whiteread
6 Poetry
7 University of Birmingham
8 Canon and Ball
9 Cincinnati Reds
10 Belfast Child
11 Tonton Macoute
12 Salvador Dali
13 Parkin
14 Tina Maze
15 Aldebaran

Sunday, 10 August 2014

My quizzing week

I don't intend to do this every week, but mentioning the names of quizzes that I attend, may lead to new teams wishing to check them out too, in the slim chance that anyone local reads this of course.

The past week has been a successful one for team Hollybush, with wins on both of our outings.

Monday night saw us at our regular haunt of the Hilton House Hotel in Hilton, funnily enough! The quizmaster Alan sets what is in my view the best quiz in the area, consisting of sixty questions, split into twelve themed rounds each of five questions. One of the reasons I enjoy Alan's quizzes is that he regularly includes topics that just don't come up in other pub quizzes I've been to,  Mathematics for example.

It being the holiday season has meant attendances down over the past few weeks, so it was heartening to see a good turnout on Monday. It was tight at the top with just three points covering the top three teams, with us scraping into the winner's enclosure by a single point.

On Friday night we took part in the monthly charity quiz at the Constitutional Club in Burton Upon Trent. Attendance here was pretty good too, with all the big guns turning out for the first time in a while. This meant it was a pretty tight affair all the way through, with only a point or two in it at any stage. we finally prevailed but only by one and a half points.

Which just about wraps the week up, except to welcome back Mastermind to the tv schedules.

First set of questions

1 In a Test match versus the West Indies at Sabina Park, Kingston in 1930, the English cricketer Andrew Sandham achieved what Test match first?

2 Belvoir Castle in Leicestershire is the ancestral seat of which dukedom?

3 Which board game was was created in December 1979 by Canadians Chris Haney and Scott Abbott?

4 With a name meaning two or double onion, which curry dish is cooked with onions and then garnished with raw or fried onions?

5 The 1956 film Somebody Up There Likes Me is based on the life of which middleweight boxer, played in the film by Paul Newman?

6 The Affluent Society, famous for coining the term 'convential wisdom', is a work of 1958 by which economist?

7 Taking its name from  Jan van Eyck's 15th-century painting in the National Gallery, the Arnolfini is an international arts centre and gallery in which English city?

8 In 1956 where was the first area in the United Kingdom to be designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty?

9 Patented in 1902 the Ostwald Process is a chemical process for manufacturing which acid?

10 Meaning without a tail in Greek, the order Anura consists of amphibians known commonly by what name?

11 The boxer Nicola Adams won gold medals at the 2012 Olympics and the 2014 Commonwealth Games in which weight division?

12 Which 1960s group, whose members included Stephen Stills and Neil Young, took their name from an American steam roller manufacturer?

13 Which US General, nicknamed 'Black Jack', was the commander of the American forces in Europe during World War 1?

14 The The Hoboken-Verzeichnis is a work, published in 1957, by Anthony van Hoboken which  catalogues over 750 works by which composer?

15 Dramatized on TV as the detective series Vera, with Brenda Blethyn starring in the title role, the Vera Stanhope novels are the work of which author?

16  The soundtrack to the 1985 BBC television drama serial Edge of Darkness, was provided by the  American composer Michael Kamen in collaboration with which English guitarist?

17  Allowing ships to bypass Niagara Falls, which canal connects Lake Ontario and Lake Erie?

18 The model village of Stewartby in Bedfordshire, was originally built for workers in which industry?

19 Thought to have originated in China, what name is given to the puzzle consisting of seven pieces, all of which must be used to form a specific shape?

20 What is the name of the restaurant run by the chef René Redzepi in Copenhagen, Denmark, that has been voted Best Restaurant in the World by Restaurant magazine in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014?


1 First batsman to score a triple century
2 Rutland
3 Trivial Pursuit
4 Dopiaza
5 Rocky Graziano
6  J. K. Galbraith
7 Bristol
8 Gower Peninsula
9 Nitric Acid
10 Frogs or Toads
11 Flyweight
12 Buffalo Springfield
13 John J Pershing
14 Joseph Haydn
15 Ann Cleeves
16 Eric Clapton
17 Welland Canal
18 Brick manufacture
19 Tangram
20 Noma

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Testing testing 123!!

I'll probably be the only one reading this but whatever, everyone has to start somewhere right???

With regard to the Hollybush of the title I needed a name for this blog and everything I could think of with the word quiz in it was taken. So I chose the name of the quiz team I'm in, which in turn was taken from the name of the pub in Linton, Derbyshire, where all four of us on the team used to quiz. Sadly this pub like so many others has now closed and is in the process of being turned into housing.

So onto business. For a while now I've had the feeling that I ought to be storing all the otherwise useless bits of trivia I've picked up on my quizzing journey somewhere. Hence the existence of this blog!! I may even post some original questions of my own.