Monday, March 11, 2013

Bring back the missing Trophy!


Hello All!, Duncan Disorderley here. The Waters Green Phoenix team is away on a bonding course prior to their final push for a promotion spot. They’ve gone on one of these self-help courses called “Tap Dance Your Way to Social Ridicule” so Nick has asked me to pen a few words for the Blog.

Actually, I’m glad of the opportunity to say more than a few words. As someone who has been on the Macclesfield Quiz League Scene for 27 years since I first started playing for the Limping Whippet, I feel it my duty to point out that some of the questions setters are taking liberties. Questions are being asked that only the most devoted geek could answer and you can take it from me as a keen observer that this is not going down well. Mind you, this is nothing new. Let me tell you a true story. Those of a certain age may remember in the early 1990s that a spate of smart-arse questions came to a head when four whole leagues of unsuspecting teams were given this question:

What is the only creature, apart from man, that can catch leprosy?” (I’ll pause here whilst you rack your brains)......................


Thought not.

The answer is the Nine-banded Armadillo. No, not the fourteen-banded or the triple-banded – they are immune. Just the nine banded variety.

Complaints were made, results were checked and NOBODY in all four divisions (the league was bigger then), got the question right. Following lots of discussion and accusations of stopping rival teams from scoring, my old mate Peter Cole introduced the “Nine-Banded Armadillo” Trophy for the worst question of the season. This was actually awarded, (amongst much good humour, I might say) for two years running. It did have an effect and the smart-Alec questions diminished. They are back.

Yes, I KNOW that the quiz league can be an object lesson in obscurity. I’ve never forgotten my own embarrassment in my first year when I was told amid much chuckling that Stanhope, Phaeton and Brougham were types of horse-drawn carriages and not a firm of Macclesfield solicitors, and that the Transuranics are elements and not a rock group.

I KNOW the time-worn arguments that are tripped out at a time like this – “the only hard questions are the ones YOU don’t know the answer to” is my particular favourite.

I KNOW we’re still burdened with stupidities like Collective Nouns and Phobias which we blacklisted years ago (apparently Gallophobia is fear of the French, not of hanging), but we can’t get it ALL right.

I KNOW that they are legitimate questions but the clue is in the world General Knowledge, not Geeky Knowledge! There have even been WHOLE ROUNDS on obscurities. If I have never watched Corry or think that rap should be spelt with a silent ‘c’ then that’s my tough luck for the odd questions that come along on those subjects, but not eight of them! All these questions do is spoil a good evening’s entertainment.

Off my soap box now, but I’m going to ask to Blogmeister Nick when he comes back, if the light-hearted Nine-banded Armadillo Trophy can be re-introduced. We’re near the end of the season but we could use the remaining matches as a trial and kick off properly in the new season. I’m hoping Nick will agree to have an Armadillo League Table to which I will send contributions and I hope that others will. There should be a suitably daft prize for the winning setters!

If you want to send me nice comments or better still money, please leave a message with Nick.

Bye for now


After Duncan’s comments above The Phoenix were Question Masters propting Bob to add te following:

“"It was question-master time for the Phoenix last week, so Bob Langstaff has sent in this brief report:
Hi All, and thanks to my old comrade-in-arms Duncan Disorderley for his  contribution to Nick's brilliant blog.
Lots were drawn as usual and I ended up refereeing the Plough Horntails versus the Robin Hood. The Plough is a great pub with what I would vote the most friendly staff anywhere outside of the beloved Tavern. Not only that, having a rubbish sense of direction, I can see the pub lights from miles away so I don't get lost!. To anyone who has not read the novel "Titus
Groan" then you should have. Those who have read it will be reminded of one of it's best chapters - "In A Lime-Green Light".    Every time I go to the Plough I think of the evil Swelter sharpening his axe!
All that aside the teams and the evening were a treat.  Both teams were a bit put-out when they discovered that a packed pub were not cheering them every five minutes but were watching Man United against Real Madrid!  They soon swallowed their pride, and a few pints and got on with the quiz. The questions generally went down well except for the round on Red Dwarf which went down like a rattlesnake in a lucky dip/fart in a submarine. All were in
good humour and the Robin Hood ran out winners. A lovely supper provided by the friendly hosts!
I believe that quiz guru Duncan has asked Nick to re-introduce the
Nine-banded Armadillo Trophy. He has seen the questions and would like to make his first submission.
Question Setters: Prince of Wales (from a round called "The Smeg It Is"
Question: The actor David Ross played the original Kryten before being replaced. However he returned to voice the character of which annoying kitchen appliance?
Answer: Talkie Toaster.”



Anonymous said...

The questions were not submitted to the Harrington for vetting - fortunately, otherwise I fear I would have been lynched.
An Oxfford C team member knew the answers to all of the Red Dwarf questions; the Dolphin team knew none - but were able to guess the only guessable answer, Gaspacho

Dave P

Anonymous said...

On the subject of vetting,Oxfford C and the Dolphin agreed that Paul Revere's ride took place in 1775 -
which is rather more likely than the given answer of 1735, when he wasn't born until 1734. This was followed by the question relating to the Battle of Pharsallus, where Julius Caesar was the victor and Pomper defeated.

Anonymous said...

Yes - he would hardly shout the British are coming at a time when the Americans considered themselves British! A typo that slipped through, I suspect.
I think the trophy is a good idea - there's nothing wrong with an obscure question if it makes you say Oh - that's interesting! But we get far too many which are just obscure. Years ago Steve Higginbottom threatened a round on Dead Pubs of Macclesfield, and I said I could always do English Prosody. The point is, as Duncan Disorderly said, to confine these to the occasional appearance in General - not whole rounds!
Liz H

Nick said...

Yes keep these coming (sorry about the typos in the original - was out of town using a knackered laptop!!

Jon Thompson said...

It was deeply frustrating to be asking questions that we'd flagged to the setters as being far too hard and in one or two cases just plain wrong. Their response was that they'd be changing very little, and that the Red dwarf round was fine!

Anonymous said...

The "how many different nationalities have won the US Open Golf" was bizarre - nearly as bizarre as the "how many Cook Islands are there" question. Some people in the Cook Islands might scratch their heads! Overall, just too difficult and / or wrong as outlined by others here.

Anonymous said...

Amazed to read Tomo's comment above as I had assumed these questions had not been vetted. Maybe the question setters would like to comment on why they believe the question setting and vetting guidelines do not apply to them? When your vetters go to the trouble of correcting errors and making constructive suggestions it could be seen as quite an arrogant response to refuse to take these on board.
I believe it's the responsibility of ALL teams to do their best to provide a fair and entertaining quiz for everyone else, but maybe not everyone agrees.

Anonymous said...

I've said for some time that nothing will happen in terms of improving the standard of questions until a meaningful sanction/reward is introduced. My idea would be to add the average score of individuals on the night to the scores of quiz setters (or at least some sort of similar idea. For example, Teams getting average score of their division added to their scores).

Jon Thompson said...

Maybe instead of vetters merely suggesting changes, they should have some teeth. The setters could give the questions to one vetting team to edit. These would then go on to the second vetting team to suggest any changes to the editing team, and when OK they would print them off. The system as it stands clearly allows for the setters to make a mockery of everything the vetters say.

Peter McB said...

Duncan Disorderly has said it all, and very clearly. Specialist round does not mean as in Mastermind; it means "specialist" general knowledge (if that's not a contradiction in terms!). The set specialist rounds give the clue; History, Geog., etc are wide areas of GK. And while I'm on my hobby horse, History does not have to be confined to the 20th C, still less the 2nd WW! I propose the Cook Islands Q for the 9-Banded Armadillo Trophy.
Peter McB.