Friday, 22 May 2015

alphabet aerobics....

My team does a quiz every Friday afternoon. The questions are always the same, but we draw a different letter from the alphabet each week and every answer has to start with that week's letter. The questions are things like: Country, TV Programme, Boy’s Name, Girl’s Name, Famous film star, alcoholic drink, fruit or vegetable, capital city, London Underground station, dessert…. Twenty-six questions in all. You get two points for a unique answer (i.e. no one else playing has the same one), one point for an answer anyone else has, and minus one for an incorrect answer or a blank.  Maximum score is 52 and the lowest possible score is -26.  Quite a range.

As you can imagine, it usually gets quite heated. This week’s letter was “F”, and almost every question prompts a debate.  Do you accept “A Fish Called Wanda” for film or do you think it technically begins with an “A”? If you say it starts with an “A”, does that mean that, when we draw “T”, you’ll accept anything beginning with “The”?  The Halloween Fancy Dress costume always provokes conversation too: Frankenstein was fairly obvious this week, but we also had Frank Sinatra and Flipper suggested. We're fairly relaxed about the "Halloween" part of the question and usually settle this one by searching google images: if “Flipper Fancy Dress” brings up a picture of someone wearing the costume on the first page of results, you can have the points. If not, then you’re shit out of luck. Likewise, if you’ve clearly guessed the answer to your restaurant, you have to say where it is…. You can’t just put Bob’s Diner unless you know it’s in Sioux Falls.

One big area of discussion is adjectives. You can’t just preface everything with an adjective and expect to get the points, but when does the adjective become a key part of the thing you’re describing? We wouldn’t accept “filthy pictures” as an answer for something you keep hidden, but we did accept “failing memory”. We also learned that flambé is a technique and not a dessert, so we wouldn’t accept that as an answer… but someone else had “flambéed bananas”. Is the word “flambéed” being used there as an adjective or as a key part of the dessert’s name?
 It’s a minefield.

Here’s one for you: Famous Band or Artist. Would you accept “Five” or would you insist that it was correctly “5ive”? This obviously led to a conversation about where you would file it in your alphabetised record collection. A theoretical discussion, obviously…..

I won, by the way.

41. Next nearest score was 26. The only negative I got was for failing to name a capital city. Mind you, everyone got a blank here: apparently you could have had Freetown (Sierra Leone), Funafuti (Tuvalu) or Flying Fish Cove (Christmas Island). ..then again we all missed “Washington DC” when we drew “W”, so we can't even get the easy ones.

Yes, you guessed it: it is usually me that kicks off these debates. I just can’t help myself.
But you all knew that.

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