If it wasn’t for bad luck…

April 30, 2013 in Quizzes

On Sunday night, at around 10.20pm, I lay down on the couch.  My intention was to watch Match of the Day 2, which was about to begin.  However, I never did manage to turn on the television.  Next thing I knew, it was 4.40am! Such was the effect of the fantastic weekend I had at the first Celtic Nations Quizzing Championships.

The Irish C Team, ready to quiz (l-r): Derek Cray, John O'Sullivan, Michelle Coyne and Ger Slattery.

The Irish C Team, ready to quiz (l-r): Derek Cray, John O’Sullivan, Michelle Coyne and Ger Slattery.

It was fun.  It was friendly.  It was full of quizzing.  Here’s a run-down of Saturday’s timetable, for instance: 10am Irl v Sco; 11am Irl v Wal; 12.30pm Individual quiz; 3pm Social quiz; 5pm Wal v Sco; 7pm dinner; 8.30pm Social quizzing (buzzers!). No wonder I was bushwhacked by the end.

The Irish team was 14-strong.  We had teams in the A, B and C divisions.  Alas, I must now admit that we didn’t win a single match.

In the cold light of day though, I don’t think we’re that far off the pace.  True, our A team were hammered on both occasions they took on Scotland, the eventual winners.  However, Wales beat Scotland in one of their matches and we could have beaten Wales in BOTH of our matches against them.

It’s always the ones that got away that sting the most and, for me and the A team, those defeats against Wales were the cruellest things.  In both matches, decisions made in the last round of questions cost us.  In the first game, we were two points ahead and facing a set of questions called ‘Euro snacks’.  In the second half of these matches, questions are worth three points each.  We got the first and third ones right but we were stumped by the second: “Caponata is a tomato and aubergine dish, native to which Mediterranean island?”.  It sounded Italian so we were between Sicily and Sardinia, obviously.  We plumped for Sardinia.  Incorrect.  Our opponents, strangely, didn’t go for Sicily either but that is indeed where it is from.  So we were eight up, and they had to face three questions on the remaining category ‘Judith’.

Blow me over if they didn’t go and get three-out-of-three!  And they weren’t easy either, being about a character from the Biblical book of Judith, a renaissance sculptor and a piece of music by Thomas Tallis.  So, a one-point defeat (and admittedly 10 losing bonus points) were our only reward.

In the return leg, we were once again in contention (just three points behind) and facing the second-last set of questions.  We were torn between two categories: ‘Stupid celebrity baby names’ and ‘Perchant to dream’.  In hindsight now, I don’t know why we did it but we went for the baby names.  Here are the questions:

  1. What were the two first names of the film director son of Sylvester Stallone who died in July 2012? Click for answer
  2. What are the first two names of the only child of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love? Click for answer
  3. What is the Superman-inspired name of Nicolas Cage’s son, born in October 2005? Click for answer

We didn’t know the first one at all but, thankfully, neither did our opponents.  We did know the second and took a 50/50 punt on the third.  Unfortunately we got it wrong and the other side got it right.  Our go was over and we were still three down.

Now it was Wales’ turn.  Here are the questions from ‘Perchance to Dream’:

  1. ‘Radio Free Europe’ is the debut single and ‘Murmur’ the debut album by which band? Click for answer
  2. R.E.M. is an acronym for what set of seventeen elements in the periodic table, including the fifteen lanthanides? Click for answer
  3. The members of which order of animals are the only mammals which do not go through R.E.M. (rapid eye movement) sleep? Click for answer

I could have cried.  As I said to the Welsh guys when I was congratulating them after they’d answered those three in about 10 seconds, I knew the answers to these ones on my own.  My team-mates could have headed to the bar!  Ah well, it would probably have ended up a draw if we’d chosen that topic instead – but that would have been a fairer result than the 12-point defeat that went on the record. 🙁

I’m hoping the other members of our group, who took part in the other competitions will have reports for you over the next day or two. We will also have a report on the weekend’s individual quiz, which was very enjoyable.  At the end of the weekend Scotland, whose defeat to Wales in the final A match was the only one the home nation suffered in any division, were deserved champions.  I also need to compliment them on the great job they did in hosting the event.  Let’s hope it becomes a regular feature on the calendar.

If you’d like to sample the standard of questions from the weekend, please check out the question pack I prepared for the weekend’s first Scotland-Wales match.  You can view it here: JN question set. (Note the answers are also in this file, as it was designed for calling out.)

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