We like walking and we like eating and, judging by the turnout this evening, we like quizzes. About fifty turned up for the event. We started with food (always popular) and then arranged ourselves into groups of six or seven at seven tables ready to answer questions devised by our two quiz masters. Some fortified themselves for the mental exertion with fish & chips followed by large ice cream sundaes; others were abstemious and settled for fewer calories.
There was a good mix of questions (none on football or TV soaps by general demand) all of which had been carefully checked by the setters to ensure that none were ambiguous. However, they did allow half a point for stating that Woking was the landing place of the Martians in HG Wells’ The War of the Worlds. Those who knew the exact place, Horsell Common, were quick to complain about the generosity.
The first question required a simple Yes or No answer to get our brains in action. The most easterly point in England is in Suffolk. Those at my table struggled. We tried to picture the coastline. More by luck than judgement we got the correct answer.
What five African countries have a coastline on the Mediterranean? Our confidence increased.
What bush cultivated for its dark red acidic fruit was known as fenberry? We agonised over this but eventually wrote down the right answer.
If Mercury, Venus and Earth are numbers one, two and three, what is number six? Several knew there was a mnemonic to remember the order of planets orbiting the sun but none could remember it. We hit on Saturn by chance. There are many mnemonics; a simple one is My Very Educated Mother Just Showed Us Nine Planets.
We’ve all seen it, we were told. What was created by Harry Beck in 1931? That floored us.
Who wrote the lyrics and who wrote the music to Land of Hope and Glory? We managed only the composer.
Which Dickens’ novel featured a cricket match between the All-Muggleton team and the Dingley Dell Cricket club? None of us had read Pickwick Papers.
What did Hiram Bingham discover in 1911? We thought the tomb of Tutankhamum (Howard Carter 1922) but when the correct answer was given (Machu Picchu) there was a slapping of heads.
In poker what would a hand with three kings and two sevens be known as? Two ex-poker players at my table knew straightaway.
In the song The Twelve Days of Christmas what are there nine of? We sang (quietly) and reached five easily but our memories failed us beyond that.
In January 2018, Britain’s Rob Cross and Lisa Ashton became world champions in what? None of us were darts enthusiasts.
In the 18th century, Charles Hutton, English mathematician, invented what? We were given a clue: useful for reading maps. No help at my table.
The final question (out of 30) was The ancient Romans called London Londinium; what was Lutetia? We guessed correctly.
It was a good evening. We came away feeling ready for more.