Bliz or Quog?

Creating a challenging quiz on-line is quite difficult. They end up being either too hard or too easy. Generally graphical quizzes are hard as they are more difficult to to research on the web, but achieving this makes composing them difficult, word quizzes tend to be much easier to research. Thinking about this reminded me of the ‘Round Britain Quiz’, which unfortunately is not yet available on the BBC iPlayer. 

The following is an abbreviated synopsis of the RBQ copied from ‘UK’

Amongst the most erudite radio panel games, Round Britain Quiz grew out of the wartime Transatlantic Quiz. For many years, two representatives from London would travel to each of the BBC’s Regions, and each team would be faced with very difficult questions posed (until 1995) by two different quiz masters.

The format has evolved over the years as have the questions. Originally, the material covered basic you-know-it-or-you-don’t stuff such as this one posed by Gilbert Harding in June 1954:

“Eight infantrymen raised their rifles and fired, a volley for each wound: Ball’s Bluff, Antietam and Fredericksburg. Who received these wounds, and on what occasion were these volleys fired?”

The answer was “The funeral of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes.”

Here’s an example from 1982:

“What contribution to opera is made by a segment of The Divine Comedy when accompanied by ten times a unit of sound?”

The answer was: Bel Canto.

It has been suspected that, in the past, contestants may have had some prior knowledge of the questions or even (shock, horror) some access to reference materials before recording began.

The ‘either you know the answer or you don’t ‘ hardly applies to on-line quizzes where “The answer is out there” in an ever expanding matrix. I guess that there could be a cryptic clue in that sentence (but not to the pilot quiz below)? The RBQ questions tended to be quite convoluted but you were able to take some comfort from the fact that the panel rarely achieved very high scores. I have been dabbling for a while with games and puzzles and it occurred to me that a take on the RBQ, which required web research to complete the answer may work.

Here is my ‘pilot quiz’ – on a common theme:-

a. What did he threaten to do if he was rejected one more time and what is the connection with a popular ‘new red wine’?

b. Why is John Hume Ross the wrong man with the right name?

c. How does a ‘noble gesture’ fit in with this theme and why?

d. What connects ‘blue’ to a. and c?

e. Why might Fort Cazemajou and the number nine be linked to this theme?

f. What film roles played by Brian Donlevy and Ernest Borgnine had a brutal connection and how are they both connected to some of the answers in this quiz?

PS You can start anywhere, theme is a ‘give away’ in at least one question.

Author: Peter

Web researcher

42 thoughts on “Bliz or Quog?”

  1. Hi Peter, I need to think about this. But I have to say the Round Britain Quiz was the most challenging quiz I have *ever* heard. Completely beyond my ambit most of the time, I have to say. 🙂

  2. I can confidently state that I don’t understand the quiz, am befuddled by the questions and fear that, in my case at least, the answer is a lemon. 😦

    I shall watch with great interest as the more erudite of the Charioteers provide the solution(s) – if I can comprehend them. 🙄

  3. Hello Janh – That’s why I have tried to construct a quiz that can be researched on-line, which I guess Araminta has done, but has yet to answer a question. It’s a bit like a jig-saw puzzle and ‘I think’ that there’s only one ‘either you know it or you don’t’ question, but even here the theme is a give-away.

  4. Hello Bearsy cryptic crosswords confound me, but I do a lot of general knowledge ones. This theme came out of my on-line research into something else and the notion that a search of the web could provide the answers, made simple once the ‘theme’ was found.

    Perhaps what’s needed are ‘charades’ type clue i.e book, film, play, etc.

  5. Hi, PB.

    I am a great fan of RBQ. Taking this off to friends who are like-minded and with whom we are lunching and bridging. Once I introduce your fine bliz/quog to them, it might be a while before we get round to playing the bridge.

  6. Thanks Bearsy, you no8 has reassured me – that I’m not the only one entirely lost!

  7. Hello John – as it says the quiz is a ‘pilot’. I was concerned that I may have made it too easy, but of course this is me seing it when I know the answers. Given the responses so far, I would change: –
    a. “What did he threaten to do in the song if he was rejected one more time and what is the connection with ‘gamay'”. (I thought beaujolais would be recognised but of course nouveau presents an unintended ‘red herring’).

    I also forgot to include a clue, which should have been added:-
    g. Why would we say that Marty Feldman made the last ‘noble gesture’?

  8. So would the answer to d. be “water”? Or do we have to give all the answers at once?

  9. g. Marty Feldman directed and starred in “The Last Remake of Beau Geste”

  10. Hello sheona – it wasn’t intended that you should give all the answers in one go. It was intended that the answers would be a small narrative and, ideally, with some media links. Certainly water figures in the answer to d, but why? And why would it link to a? No it’s not water into wine, it’s more to do with the song in the question a I revised in response to John.
    Certainly Marty Feldman and ‘The Last Remake of Beau Geste’ is correct, but what’s the connection with a noble gesture?

  11. “Beau geste” is the French for noble gesture as well as the name of the hero, Beau Geste, brother of John and Digby.

    The noble gesture was to steal the Blue Water because he knew it to be a fake, thereby sparing his aunt the shame of having to admit she had already sold it to keep her rotten husband’s estate going – another noble gesture.

  12. My answer to e. seems to have got lost. Fort Cazemajou was built just outside the town of Zinder. Add the French word for nine and you have Fort Zinderneuf which was the name given to the French Foreign Legion fort in the P.C. Wren novel “Beau Geste”. So far the only theme I can see is sand.

  13. f. Brian Donlevy played the villainous Sergeant Markoff in the film Beau Geste and Ernest Borgnine played the equally unpleasant Sergeant “Fatso” Judson in “From Here to Eternity”. Bearing in mind the iconic scene in the latter featuring Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr on the beach, I’m still on the sand theme.

    a. I can’t believe Major de Beaujolais started singing the blues because of his hopeless love for Lady Brandon!

  14. Hi again sheona – thanks for the laugh out loud moment (singing the blues). Spot on so far except the song is ‘The French Foreign Legion’ so does that make the ‘blue’ connection any easier?

    PS the theme is ‘Beau Geste’.

  15. I didn’t know Ol’ Blue Eyes sang about the Foreign Legion. So there’s one “blue” and I think the rookies were known as “les bleus”.

    But where does Lawrence of Arabia come in?

  16. Back to Beau Geste by CP Wren, “And the story, which Major Henri de Beaujolais found so intriguing, he told to George Lawrence as follows:– ” (Wrong man right name)! I thought you had the ‘blue’ connection when you mentioned ‘water’, and especially the ‘Blue Water’ (Blue Water – Ol’ blue eyes). I wasn’t aware of ‘les blues’ connection.

  17. Thank you for4 an entertaining Blizz/Quog. It reawakened recollections of Beau Geste, or as Private McAuslan would have it “Bo Geesty”. But what about Ernest Borgnine’s character?

  18. I’ll join Bearsy and Pseu in sitting this one out!

    Can I suggest that you edit your post to include your amendments and additions – they’ve rather got lost in the comments!

  19. Hello Boadicea – I had thought of posting a blog with the solution and appropriate links if it was thought worthwhile. I’ll do this regardless. This pilot was posted to see how such a quiz would be received and to try and find a question formulation that engaged and did not intimidate people. Obviously some work required here.

  20. Well done, Sheona.

    I didn’t manage to answer any of the questions, but I do feel I was on the rights lines, Peter.
    I seem to have managed to stumble upon the theme, even though I couldn’t spell it correctly!

  21. Anyone who had not read Beau Geste would definitely have found this hard, PB. So that’s a bit limiting to begin with. Even the film, made in 1939, would not provide all the answers.

  22. Good Morning Peter!

    I loved your comment about you finding your quiz easy – I always find mine incredibly simple!

    I wouldn’t worry about trying to please everyone – we’re such a mixed bunch here that that would be impossible!

  23. Thanks for all the comments. I will post ‘my solution’ and I am open to suggestions. The intention is to ‘encourage web research’. A search for the appropriate words taken from the question will always provide a link on the first page of, in this case, a ‘google search’. For example; “The answer is out there” in an ever expanding matrix.
    A search for “The answer is out there” ( I assume the use of quotes is understood)AND ‘matrix’, provides the answer.

    Trinity: I know why you’re here, Neo. I know what you’ve been doing… why you hardly sleep, why you live alone, and why night after night, you sit by your computer. You’re looking for him. I know because I was once looking for the same thing. And when he found me, he told me I wasn’t really looking for him. I was looking for an answer. It’s the question that drives us, Neo. It’s the question that brought you here. You know the question, just as I did.
    Neo: What is the Matrix?
    Trinity: The answer is out there, Neo, and it’s looking for you, and it will find you if you want it to.

  24. Hi Peter.

    I’ve just been reading the thread. I’m surprised that you are not a cryptic crossword fan, because in some ways this is quite similar.

  25. As I understand it there is a ‘format’ to cryptic clues, which if followed leads you to the answer. However, my wife and I are more ‘trivial pursuits’ inclined. Nevertheless, I have never forgotten the clue, ‘He goes coasting down the road of religious disbelief'(8).

  26. There is a format, Peter but it isn’t always quite so clear cut as your example, which is a simple anagram of “coasting”.

    I used to do the Telegraph Crossword regularly for years but I haven’t done it now for a while. I might start again, when I have more time.

  27. Perhaps I should stop at ‘coasting’ and ‘agnostic'(34). “Time for bed”. Goodnight Araminta, Pseu, Bearsy, Boadicia, sheona, John, Jahn, Florence, Dylan, Dougal, Ermintrude, Brian, Mr McHenry, and of course Christopher Robin and friends.

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