Sunday, December 24, 2006

Cover Stories

Facts which I saw printed on the plastic carry-bags in which Landmark book store in Bangalore gives out stuff in!

* At the nearest point, Russia & America are less than 4 km apart.
* 5 piranha fish can chew up a horse and its rider in 7 minutes.
* The syllable OUGH can be pronounced in 9 different ways. `A rough, dough-faced thoughtful ploughman emerged from a slough to walk through the streets of Scarborough, coughing and hiccoughing.'
* A newborn Kangaroo is small enough to fit in a teaspoon.
* Hot water freezes quicker than cold water.
* Half the world's population has seen at least on James Bond movie.
* Earthworms have 5 heads.
* Nine out of every ten living things live in the ocean.
* Goethe could write only if he had an apple rotting on his desk.
* Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg address was just 267 words.
* Eskimos use refrigerators to keep their food from freezing.
* Brazil, Argentina, Australia and New Zealand all have more cattle than people.
* If you put a raisin in a glass of champagne it will keep floating to the top and sinking to the bottom.
* The colour RED has been found to trigger the hunger reflex in humans. That is why most fast-food restaurants use the colour in their logo and decor.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

KQA December 2006 Open Quizzes

KQA dished out their monthly serving of quizzing on December 10, 2006. There were two open quizzes at Daly Hall -
1) Hubbubba - Quiz on Bangalore
QM: Arul Mani
2) The regular Open Quiz
QM: Members of the team "Yaake"

(I am writing this after one month; hence this post might be short on details.)


The Bangalore quiz was a snorter - would have been really tough for a non-Bangalorean (I, wisely, chose to not participate :-)- was tough even for Bangaloreans. The quiz was quite entertaining all the same - with the usual dose of Arul Mani quips and shockingly relevant pieces of trivia about everyday Bangalore.

The range of the questions was quite astounding; there were 50 questions spanning different areas. The quiz was won by (I think) Thejaswi Udupa and partner with a whopping score of...I forget how much... The name Hubbubba was a take (and spoof) on the Bangalore Hubba (very much derided by the QM) that takes place every year.

Trivia tidbits picked up:
There is a Bangalore Square in the city of Minsk
Prabodh Chandra - Manna De used to stay here(?)
Esplanade, boulevard

Open Quiz
The open quiz by Team Yaake was a disappointment. The set of the questions for the prelims was of a very good standard but the the spread of questions for the finals was a big letdown, I would say. The final round was way too long, boring and somewhat repetitive. The questions were too much based around the QMs's special interests - mainly films and songs.

The hightlight of the quiz was the Stage 2 kinda question in the prelims based on the radio stations in Bangalore. The question drew oohs and aahs from the vast majority of those present. It was uncracked I think. It involved the identification of songs (Red Hot Chili Peppers ==> Radio Mirchi, House Of The Rising Sun ==> Soorya or something and so on. Somebody fill me in you can as I've forgotten)

The proportion of weighty trivia, literature, geography, history, politics, etc was too low in order to sustain interest. Even the onstage participants were taking more than the usual number of breaks in between! And yes... there is such a level as being "too trivial"! Some of the questions were set, as it seemed to me, not to be answered but as if to prove a point regarding superiority of knowledge.

Trivia tidbits picked up (finals only, misplaced my notes of the prelims):
polak - game in X-box ad
Dead Lesbian and the Fibrillating something - Scissor Sisters
Mistress Of Spices - Chitro Banerji
Names 911, Steps --> VH1 Return Of The Boyband
MJ Gopalan Trophy - Madras vs Sri Lanka. MJ Gopalan also bowled the first ball in Ranji trophy.
Holla, Mohalla - some funda about the meanings of these words
Comic strips shown - drawn by ??? - from the movie Unbreakable
Stage2 Connection question of a string of visuals - Satyajit Ray
Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog, Easy - old Phonetic alphabet - also names of nurses in MASH
Tudor Hall - residence of John Wilkes Booth - family of actors

Personal Experience
My teammates were Vivek and Pavan. We called ourselves "The Corporate Soldiers". We missed out on qualification (oh no, there he goes again!) by a whisker. But it was a very much improved performance - the misses were few, but there were also wild shots that compensated. I missed out on a question on the naming of Trainspotting but that was made up by an effort on an "I Shot Andy Warhol", a movie I hadn't even heard about but still ended up guessing! There were similar hits-and-misses from my teammates too.

But it was just as well that we did not qualify as we wouldn't have been great shakes onstage for the reasons mentioned above and because there was very little correlation between the prelims and the final round questions.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

ITC ClientLogic Open 2006

The ITC ClientLogic Open quiz happened today at the ITC campus in Cox Town, Bangalore. The QM for the day was Sutanu Mukherjee. The top eight teams made it to the final round after a written preliminary round which featured 40 questions and around 20 teams. The quiz was won by QED from Chennai with 102 points while WALTO (We Are Like This Only) finished a very close second on 98, in a near repeat of the Landmark Open.

The questions for the prelims were of very good standard barring three or four absolute sitters, recliners(!) if you may. The prelims did the job of elimination pretty well. My 50% rule for judging the quality of a preliminary round held good, with the standard of the questions in the finals also being on par with that of the questions asked in the finals. The quiz ended with a Stage 2 round, themed with questions about people featuring on the Beatles' Sergeant Peppers album.

The quiz was enjoyable even though it should have been rendered boring by the sheer length of the questions being asked in the final round. They were a wee bit too long and texty, way too long in fact. The questions should have been made crisper; a little bit more of effort should have been invested in the framing of the questions. Perhaps the QM should have taken a cue (a Q? ;-)) from my book, instead of bombarding everybody with insignificant detail after detail ?

I'd like to make a general comment about the carrying over of prelims' scores to the finals, . The points from the prelims were carried over into the finals in this quiz too. I think this is very fair, as it favours a "conquest for the best", and a quiz is very much about who is the best on the day. But, I also think the score is carried over into the finals must be in integral multiples of the value of a question in the final. How about a formula like:
Carried over score = (PrelimScore*ValueQuestionInFinal)/(PrelimsFinalWeightFactor).
(I will be writing more on this soon)

The ITC campus is very good indeed - green and clean. The quiz was held in the cafeteria/food-court, with the questions also being projected on to 4 screens. The atmosphere was very relaxed, and smoke-filled too (it being ITC and all, what else would you expect!)! Almost everybody was smoking a cigarette...the QM included, and that too, on stage! My friend informed me that in any ITC office worldwide, one was allowed to smoke whenever and anywhere. How about that?

Trivia Tidbits
Richard Grossman - a minister in the British cabinet used to maintain diaries ==> Yes Minister
Diff readings of a chinese ideogram which entered into diff languages - ti and cha - for tea
Esperanto = Hopeful
Shape of a particular wine-glass after the left breast of Marie Antoinette/Madame Pompadour
Blind something band's album cover shown - two members of that band inspired the name Pink Floyd
Ribengmo - land of mountains or something - Chinese name for - Japan
Visual of city with factory on lake - Nokia
Farlane, member of the Syndicate wrote Ghost of the ____ ____ . == Hardy Boys
Origins of the name Britain and London - Aeneas's son Brutus, city he founded, New Troy or something
NCNS in BPO slang = No Call No Show
Max Yasgur - speaking at Woodstock video (We got this!)
Honoured with Tibetan award in June 2006 - Tintin
Montgomerie martini - 15:1 martin:vermouth
Mojo Priest album by - Steven Seagal
Flemencos - originally from the Americas
"There is only one ___ ____" - lady - Coco Chanel
Visual of Don Bradman with Babe Ruth

We called ourselves Quearthake, a play on "earthquake", this time around. Our team comprised of me, Lloyd Colopilly, Rajesh Mohan and Anoop Bhat. We got Anoop into our team at the venue; he didn't have any partners and we were one person short. Anoop, it turned out, was an old friend of Sutanu's and an erstwhile avid quizzer from Mumbai/IIM Calcutta. He proved to be a valuable addition to our team, coming up with important inputs and answers.

Quearthake didn't manage any great shakes this time either though. We did not cause any earthquakes though we nearly managed a small tremor; we failed to qualify by just a single point (We managed 16, the cutoff was 17 I heard). Does the margin really matter? Is it just binary - on stage/ not on stage? But I still managed to get an audience-prize.... Things are picking up... I hope! :-)