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Round Britain Quiz
September 5, 2012 8:12 AM   Subscribe

The world's hardest radio quiz is back.
posted by Paul Slade (41 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Not that hard.
posted by MartinWisse at 8:18 AM on September 5, 2012


Well, I could figure out one of them. These seem to be very pun-heavy.
posted by kafziel at 8:21 AM on September 5, 2012


Are these clues like the clues to those crazy Cryptic puzzles? Because they don't make a whole lot of sense.
posted by Renoroc at 8:40 AM on September 5, 2012


I'm assuming that this is just one of those British things that an American will never understand.
posted by octothorpe at 8:48 AM on September 5, 2012


Thankfully Jeopardy! is currently doing its Teen Tournament so I can recover some self-confidence later today.
posted by yerfatma at 8:50 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


octothorpe: some are Brit-centric.

The answers (and it usually is answers, plural) have some common theme or element. I've listened (though not analytically) to the discussion of the first question a few minutes ago and can't for the life of me remember the 3 parts of the answer. People who say "that's easy" are either very, very bright or kidding themselves.
posted by epo at 8:58 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


For a second I thought the FPP was going to be about the Bear's Really Tough Contest. I'm glad it isn't.
posted by asnider at 9:06 AM on September 5, 2012


3. (Music) Why would you summon Murray, Aykroyd and Ramis to Down Street Station and play them these pieces?

Because you have ghosts. ONE DOWN.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:07 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually, not "bright", more possessed of a vast store of general knowledge and having the ability to draw links across that knowledge.
posted by epo at 9:08 AM on September 5, 2012


I'm assuming these are in the family of cryptic clues because I get the sense that I wouldn't understand these either even if they showed me the answer and explained it carefully to me.
posted by cmoj at 9:14 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


They're like cryptic crossword clues in that the answers don't actually answer the questions, just flesh out the allusions in it.
posted by Dysk at 9:16 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


There's a tv version of it called Only Connect which is actually harder, hosted by Victoria Coren.
posted by MartinWisse at 9:16 AM on September 5, 2012


Look, it's easy†. Lets start with the first one:
Where would you be most likely to find a durable Welsh-language soap opera, a plant with bell-shaped flowers, and a highwayman hanged in 1670?
A "durable Welsh language soap opera" is "Pobol Y Cwm" (People of the Valley).
A plant with "bell shaped flowers" is probably either a foxglove or more likely lily of the valley. (Valley, hmm: there's a theme here?)
The highwayman executed in 1670 is probably Claude Duval, famous for being extremely polite whilst robbing his victims. Du Val is the valley in French.

The answer to the first question is clearly "the valley".

Repeat, until your brain hurts. Encyclopaedic general knowledge and the ability to make connections between apparently random facts required.

If you have access to Wikipedia and Google and a general sense of how these questions are structured. I wouldn't stand a chance in the studio.
posted by pharm at 9:19 AM on September 5, 2012 [7 favorites]


Three people that have never been in my kitchen.
posted by kmz at 9:19 AM on September 5, 2012 [6 favorites]


1. A valley

(The "durable Welsh soap opera" is Pobol y Cym, which means "people of the Valley"; the hanged highwayman is Claude Duval, which means "of the valley" in French; and the flower is the lilly of the valley")
posted by clorox at 9:22 AM on September 5, 2012


Should have previewed. Oops.
posted by clorox at 9:23 AM on September 5, 2012


Radio 4's listen again feature is a godsend for this - you can hit the pause button to have a think google and resume when you're ready. Like pharm, I'd be useless in the studio but it's great fun at home.
posted by humph at 9:25 AM on September 5, 2012


Number 2:
Why could you find the greatest cattle rancher in Texas, and the President of Nigeria, watching a film by George Clooney?
The President of Nigeria is "Goodluck Jonathon".
Films *by* George Clooney. IMDB tells me that he wrote "Goodnight and Goodluck" Ah ha!
Greatest cattle rancher in Texas might be Charles Goodnight.

So there you go, Charles Goodnight and Goodluck Jonathon would be watching "Goodnight and Goodluck" by George Clooney.

And so on.
posted by pharm at 9:29 AM on September 5, 2012




Question 6 must be a list of meals: Gently's Long, Dark Teatime of the Soul, Manet & Renoir is Le déjeuner sur l'herbe, Holly has Breakfast at Tiffany's before Sing-Sing and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? Why, it's Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn!
posted by jack_mo at 9:36 AM on September 5, 2012


Damn you clorox!

The Jane Austen one is a bit fiendish, though: are we thinking football stadia? Highbury is the village in Emma, and the former name of Arsenal's ground, now The Emirates (as in the airline). And 'a valley to become sanctified' could be Southampton - their ground used to be The Dell (as in valley), but I can't remember what they changed it to - Saint Somethingorother, presumably...
posted by jack_mo at 9:38 AM on September 5, 2012


Well, Southampton are nicknamed "the Saints" ...
posted by phl at 9:43 AM on September 5, 2012


Meanwhile More or Less has jumped the shark by getting Johnny Ball to count sweets and repeating an interview with the Count.

I guess the BBC are allocated a fixed amount of erudition that can be used every week, and they've blown the budget on Round Britain Quiz.
posted by Talkie Toaster at 9:44 AM on September 5, 2012


These are harder than the Bugle's Audio Cryptic Crossword, for which the answer is always "What weird thing would Andy Zaltzman think of?"
posted by jb at 9:44 AM on September 5, 2012


I think you're on to something jack_mo: Southampton football club's current stadium is St.Mary's. I have no idea how the C19th penny reversed fits into this scheme: presumably a football club is involved somewhere?

(Some searching of Wikipedia later...)

Ah ha: Stoke City currently play in the Britannia stadium, but used to play in the Victoria stadium. So the answer to "what moved" is clearly football clubs.
posted by pharm at 9:47 AM on September 5, 2012


I think you're right. Highbury -> Emirates, The Dell -> St. Mary's, Victoria -> Britannia. Not sure what the sinful summer sport is. Cricket, maybe?

The key to #7 is that amber in German is bernstein.
posted by clorox at 9:49 AM on September 5, 2012


People who say "that's easy" are either very, very bright or kidding themselves.

I'm not sure about that. It is easy - speaking as someone who definitely isn't very, very bright! - assuming you know at least one element of an answer off the top of your head, which you almost certainly will if you're the sort of posh British person who listens to quizzes on Radio 4 and/or did General Studies A-Level.

It's not like the King William's College Quiz, say, which as far as I can tell can only be completed by an omniscient god.

Ah ha: Stoke City currently play in the Britannia stadium, but used to play in the Victoria stadium.

Oh, that's lovely!

The 'sinful summer sport' bit must be baseball, as in The Baseball Ground where Derby used to play. I can't remember what their new stadium is called.

I would've got them all if it were teams currently or recently residing in League One, I swear!
posted by jack_mo at 10:05 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


I gave up and Googled: Derby play at Pride Park, as in 'sinful'. I assumed the questioner was just slagging off baseball.
posted by jack_mo at 10:07 AM on September 5, 2012


The most fun comes with the Listeners' Teaser Question each week, which gives you a full seven days between the question being posed and the answer being revealed.

For the past five years or so, my RBQ buddy and I have set ourselves the task of solving these each week. We award ourselves the full six points only if we manage to solve every aspect of the question without any recourse to the internet. That's the real challenge.

RBQ also accepts questions set by its listeners. I've managed to get two broadcast so far, one of which the panelists cantered through with almost insulting ease. This one gave them a little more pause for thought: "The first begged to repeat itself, the fourth hoped to dispose of its makers, the seventh took a deadly spin and the last proposed inaction. But what colour was the tenth? And why isn't that strictly true?"
posted by Paul Slade at 11:30 AM on September 5, 2012 [5 favorites]


The text of that one is slightly different on the website Paul:
5) The first begged to repeat itself; the third was a diurnal contradiction; the fourth offered to dispose of its makers; the fifth was a mayday. Why would the seventh put you in a deadly spin; and what are they all?
Question submitted by listener Paul Slade
Did you offer them a few variants?
posted by pharm at 1:11 PM on September 5, 2012


RBQ hasn't been the same since the days of Gordon Clough, John Julius Norwich and Irene Thomas (who reputedly had a mock-up made of herself, naked, on the cover of the Radio Times, and got it printed as a poster) with the wonderful double-bass theme tune rather than the overly jaunty concoction currently doing duty.

When I was... oh, eleven or so... I Fixed My First Radio. It was a 1950s valve FM radio which some friend of the family had given me, and for reasons I cannot recall it had no case. 1950s valve radios are notably full of dangerous voltages, and this particular sort of radio could easily have 240v on the chassis. Yet I survived finding the broken component with a screwdriver heated on the gas ring in the kitchen as a soldering iron, putting the whole monster on a wooden tray, all bits flying, and having it on my bedside table.

I have the strongest memory of listening to it late at night, the bulbs glowing behind the glass scale and soft yellow overspill casting patterns on the bedroom walls, the valves with their cherry-red filaments hidden behind mesh electrodes in their glass envelopes - two of which also had a gorgeous blue glow where the electron beam hit the inside of that envelope - and that supple, quirky theme tune quietly playing away.

It was, entirely and unquestionably, a device of magic thrust into my world and at my command. And RBQ was the music it sang to me.

Couldn't answer any of the questions then or now, mind. But that was entirely right.
posted by Devonian at 1:29 PM on September 5, 2012 [2 favorites]


Did you offer them a few variants?
posted by pharm at 1:11 PM on September 5 [+] [!]


No, but I do remember the programme's producer rewrote the question a bit before broadcast. I felt my original wording was better (still do), but perhaps I'm not the best one to judge.

I think the version I gave above, which I found in my own computer's files, must be the question as I submitted it and the version you unearthed was the wording actually used in the programme.
posted by Paul Slade at 1:50 PM on September 5, 2012


So ... what's the answer, Paul?
posted by kafziel at 2:42 PM on September 5, 2012


Eureka! The original music is here - http://www.dewolfe.co.uk/musicsearch/cd_tracks.php?pageNum_rstracks=3&cdnumber=DEWEB%2001 - track 33.

And yes, that is the entire De Wolfe catalogue online for streaming. It is very worthy of a FPP, but my evening does not contain enough room to do it justice.
posted by Devonian at 3:23 PM on September 5, 2012


8. Who might have travelled Hopefully to: the Lion City, Unguja, Rabat, Amaurote, Cidade Maravilhosa, Denpasar and the Fragrant Harbour?

Bing Crosby in the Road to _________ series? I recognized the Lion City as Singapore, Rabat in Morocco, Cidade Maravilhosa as Rio, Denpasar as Bali, and Fragrant Harbour as Hong Kong. That leaves Zanzibar and Utopia for the other two, but by now I'm cheating.
posted by missouri_lawyer at 5:51 PM on September 5, 2012


Paul's answer: The tenth is white, except it isn't really, because it's actually called "The Beatles". (And/or because it's slightly off-white.)
posted by Casuistry at 7:12 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]


When I saw this post I thought it was referring to this contest... ;-P
posted by theartandsound at 7:13 PM on September 5, 2012


Paul's answer: The tenth is white, except it isn't really, because it's actually called "The Beatles". (And/or because it's slightly off-white.)
posted by Casuistry at 7:12 PM on September 5 [1 favorite +] [!]


Quite right. I'm using the British releases here, of course, which include 1966's stopgap Oldies But Goodies in their list. Taking my original question's wording step by step:

"The first begged to repeat itself."
Please Please Me.

"the fourth hoped to dispose of its makers."
Beatles For Sale

"The seventh took a deadly spin."
Revolver

"And the last proposed inaction."
Let It Be

"But what colour was the tenth?"
White - as in The White Album.

"And why isn't that strictly true?"
Because that was never the album's official title.

One more - this one was rejected by the programme's producers when I sent it in - then I'll leave you all in peace:

Novels by Bret Easton Ellis, Ken Kesey, Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Charles Dickens follow one man’s order. But who is he? And which work by Anton Chekov should come next?
posted by Paul Slade at 1:38 AM on September 6, 2012


Fibonacci. (Less than ZERO, ONE Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, ONE Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, A Tale of TWO Cities,) THREE Sisters.

I appreciate that you stick to things I've heard of!
posted by Casuistry at 9:34 AM on September 6, 2012


Hah. that's good. I suspect the producers thought that the range of possibilities was a bit broad, plus of course the average BBC team probably thinks that Fibonacci is really obscure.
posted by pharm at 2:39 AM on September 7, 2012


Well done, Casuistry - quite correct.

I can sympathise with the producers who sometimes have to reject or rewrite listener questions. Ideally what they want is a question that's challenging, but not so ridiculously obscure that every episode ends in a nil-nil draw. It's perfectly possible to write RBQ questions that would be almost impossible to solve, but that wouldn't make for very good radio.

The other thing that always strikes me is how the older panelists frequently canter through any question built on the requirements of a classical education, but are utterly baffled by the simplest reference to any form of popular culture. They don't quite rise to the stereotype of the elderly High Court Judge, but some of them aren't far off.
posted by Paul Slade at 4:14 AM on September 7, 2012


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