Saturday 20 February 2016

The Norman Conquizt

Dau.I has gone back to England <snif!> after a flying visit to visit her ancestors. The Beloved has shipped off to bunk in with Pat the Salt for the weekend.  I've been left to defend the farm from apocalyptic zombies for the weekend. But last night was the unmissable annual Killedmond Table Quiz fund-raiser, so I dodged the zombies and drove into the Step House Hotel to make one leg of a table to support the local, and slightly beleaguered, protestant parish. The team we field could be called the Normanly Conquest because of the polymathic and compendious memory of the team captain. Eeeee, I do love a Pub-quiz, but only come into my own with questions about 19thC railways "LNER, GWR, West Clare, Orient Express . . . " and South & Central American capital cities "La Paz, AsunciĆ³n, Tegucigalpa . . ." I am an acknowledged dunce on the picture round [no telly, no interest] and am hopeless at sporting statistics - although I did know that a cricket pitch is 1 chain = 22 yards long. Here's a flavour of what you need to know in rural Ireland on a Friday night in Winter:
Name the geographical features identified on the map of Ireland. The county and provincial borrrders are put in to make it easier.
Q1. County
Q2. "Mountain" [hill really]
Q3. Island
Q4. Sea
Q5. Lake
Q6. "Mountains"
Q7. Big two-parted river
Q8. Point, headland
Q9. Largest town in that county
Q10. Largest town in that county
You can also use the map to answer another question: "Is Cork further from Limerick or Waterford?".  Here's another: "What did we call Q10 100 years ago?" And another "In which county is the geographical centre of Ireland?". I've agonised about where the geographical centre of Britain lies. Another geography question from foreign "How many countries share a borrrder with the People's republic of China?" We did rather badly on the last one, not least because we dissipated our time wondering a) whether Tibet was part of the PRC and b) whether the quiz-master thought so. It makes a difference, because Nepal and Bhutan N=2 only connect with Tibet N=1.  And I had a total blank about the break-up of the USSR. ANNyway we plonked for Borders=10 and the answer is Borders=14, the largest number for any state. Russia also borders 14 countries.  I know you need to know what those 14 countries are alphabetically. Afghanistan 76 km; Bhutan 470 km; India 3,380 km; Kazakhstan 1,533 km; North Korea 1,416 km; Kyrgyzstan 858 km; Laos 423 km; Mongolia 4,673 km; Myanmar (Burma) 2,185 km; Nepal 1,236 km; Pakistan 523 km; Russia 3,645 km; Tajikistan 414 km; and Vietnam 1,281 km. I've written about how Afghanistan came to share an absurdly short border with China.

And how did we do?  After a muddled start with less than perfect scores in the initial rounds, we found our balance and surged into the lead, which we held despite dropping 4 points tsk! on the last one of the 10 rounds. >!huzzah!< and like Go Team!!  It's not about the prize money, of course, which gave back to the cause. We were nowhere on the raffle and the spot-prizes, so didn't come away with a sack of coal, a bag of dog-nuts or a tin of chocolate biscuits.

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