The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Mar 6, 2011


People, I gotta tell you, it's been nearly two decades since I did any serious quizzing, where by 'serious' I mean attending quizzes where glamorous girls from Mount Carmel College participated. The brain has since atrophied, and even if it knows the answer, it realises the fact far too late for any success in competition.

Anjali Jay

I hoped to redeem some self-respect at a recent quiz organised by one of our counterparties. A colleague organised the team outing, and five of us hied to the venue determined not to come last. A quick poll amongst us revealed that one of us had some expertise in sport facts, another in nature facts, a third in film, a fourth in music, and myself in nothing in particular.

Just how deep my ignorance (or, to be more precise, lack of recall) was, was amply demonstrated in the very first round. We were to identify famous people from their pictures, extract their names from anagrams, and decipher famous expressions from off-tangent clues. From among the fifteen pictures, I was able to identify only Ian Duncan Smith and Snoop Dogg; after years of drools over Kim Basinger, I couldn't recognise her, or Patsy Kensit; worst of all was Forest Whitaker, who I recognised at once as the actor in The Last King of Scotland but whose name just wouldn't occur to me. The film expert insisted his name was Laurence something, and when long last I remembered it, he said, 'Well, Forest does sound a bit like Laurence.'

It was more or less downhill after that. By the time the first buzzer round came up, we had each of us downed so much beer and wine that it proved impossible even to locate the button on the buzzer. Questions such as 'Which country is bigger - Kuwait or Qatar?' baffled us, and 'Identify the concocted name from among 'Stiletto Snake', 'Dog Faced Water Snake', and 'Umbilical Snake' was beyond the nature-lover. 'What were the decades of Jesse James's life?' fell by the wayside, as did 'Who was England's goalie in the 2006 World Cup?' - much to the discomfiture of the sports fanatic.

Did I answer any questions? I'm happy to say I did - not that they mattered in the end. I knew the year of the Wright Brothers' first flight (1903), and I knew the easternmost country in the European Union (Cyprus). After that brief burst of brightness, the candle flickered out.

The winning team was cunningly named 'Your Mum'. They won paper crowns. The team that placed last got chicken hats. The hats were far better than the crowns.

We came joint fifth - out of eight teams. Small mercies there.

(PS: Whose diabolical mind is able to figure out that the phrase XMASCARA can be deciphered as 'Kiss and make up'? If it's yours, please shout. If it's not, please don't.)


Space Bar said...

Surely XMASCARA is a no-brainer?

Also, your friend who thinks Forest is like Laurence? Glad to know other people have my bimari.

Fëanor said...

SB: I confess - that no-brainer eluded this no-brainer. Even knowing the answer, I wake up occasionally, puzzled.

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