Monday, September 18, 2006

On an Old School Quiz (and running around naked)

Ok, the second part was just to trick the search engines, nobody ran around naked in the quiz

Apparently the convoluted directions were meant to keep out potential Darwin award winners... but after a lot of calling, querying and searching the participants managed to track down Cathedral High School.

In keeping with desire for high thinking, the room available for the quiz was on the top floor of the structure (it was a nice school although it reminded the author of priests with deep voices, and sundry punishments he had faced for various transgressions a long long time ago..)

All the effort was worth it, when we heard the answer to question 0 of elims.

Question 0 - What are the awards for the National Remodeling Industries called? or something similar - answer here

The elims started with two member teams ended with 6 4 member teams participating in the finals - comprising of the 6 top qualifiers and 2 members from the 'audience'.

Team 3(Dhoomketu, Naveen (Unni), Vibhendu, Anand) and Team 4 (Amit, Leslie, Sarat and Arjun) set the early pace, especially after cracking the theme in the connect round, with Team 1 (Rohit, Prasann, Saurabh and Ravi) playing catch up.

Naveen (V) had a brilliant crack for "Wellington radio personality Grant Kereama was treated as a hero in NZ in 2004, for something which was broadcast live, what was the funda? " The answer, he donated his kidney so that Lomu could return to the All Blacks - of course the answer was somewhat spoilt by 'someone' who added something about running around naked.

Overall a good quiz by Siddhartha Vaidyanathan and Pradeep Ramaratnam, although some of us were of the opinion that some of the trivia required for working the answers out was really arcane, but then again - you can never please everyone all the time, can you?

The quiz ended with a feast at Yoko's sizzlers. And to round it off, here is a question for you - Which one of the 2 quizmasters is slated to run around Juhu naked as a consequence of losing a bet on the famous 434 Aus SA match? (He said he would run nude on Juhu beach if SA won the match)

Watch this space for answers.

Standings at the end:

1st with 15 points: Dhoomketu, Naveen (Unni), Vibhendu, Anand
2nd with 15 points: Rohit, Prasann, Saurabh and Ravi
3rd with 14 points: Amit, Leslie, Sarat and Arjun
4th with 9 points: Sathya, Aswath, Vipul and (4th name not there)
5th with 7.5 points: Rishi, Shiju, Naveen (Venkataraman), Ashish
6th with 7 points: Arvind, Nandan, AP Alagarsamy, Satyiki

(scores courtesy Amit)

~ cross posted here

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The joys of quizzing

Often when I tell people that I'm going to a quiz or just returning from one, they groan and go, "Oh no, how boring." And I feel like picking up the nearest car and plonking it down on them and screaming, "It's not boring! You're boring! Boo!"

Many people have the impression that quizzing is about how much you know, and that questions like "What is the capital of Pretoria?" or "How many Maigret books did George Simenon write?" predominate. If you know it, you're cool. If you don't, it's boring. Well, it's not like that at all.

Quizzing, the kind I enjoy, is not about knowing stuff but about working out stuff: as Dhoomketu says in his post here, about "lateral thinking" and "problem solving." A good question is framed in such a way that even if you don't know the answer, you have a chance of guessing what it is. Typically, the question itself will have some clues. And that process is great fun, especially the Eureka moment when you crack a question, or even hear the answer.

J Ramanand, the former Mastermind winner, made three great posts on it which are recommended reading if you enjoy quizzing, much of it reproducing a primer written by the genial Pune quizzer, Niranjan Pednekar. Check them out: 1, 2, 3. As an example of what I mean by a good quiz question, let me take an example from the first of those posts:
This product was originally called 'Bib label lithiated'. To rename it, six alternative names were considered. What is it called now?
Now, chances are you won't know the answer to this. (I didn't when I first heard it.) But can it be worked out? Look for clues in the question: the most important information it contains is that 'Bib label lithiated' was one of seven names considered for the product. Seven? Eureka moment: Could it be 7 UP? And indeed, that's the answer.

As Niranjan writes, consider how boring the question would have been if framed thus: "What was 7-up called initially?" No way of working that out if you don't know it.

And that's why a good quiz can be so much fun: if it contains 60 questions, that's 60 problem-solving exercises for you, often in collaboration with one or two or three other people. You also get to see the way other teams solve these problems, and even if you don't win, the intellectual stimulation it provides is worth the few hours you spend at a quiz.

While I've been doing much of my quizzing in Pune, over the last few months much activity has taken place around the Bombay Quiz Club. We have two interesting quizzes coming up (Armageddon, which I won three years ago thanks entirely to my choice of partner, and a sports/entertainment quiz), and you can see some reports of past quizzes here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. If you're in Mumbai and wish to check out what it's all about, drop in at any of our forthcoming quizzes: the Bombay Quiz Blog will generally have latest details, as will our mailing list, which you're welcome to join.

I shall end this with an easy trivia question that I'm sure you will work out: Sometime in early December 2004, J Ramanand became the first person to blogroll two particular blogs. One of them was The Middle Stage. Name the other one.

Cross-posted on India Uncut.