Sunday, February 22, 2009

Landmark Pune Quiz 2009 - Report

Date: 21 Feb, 2009
Venue: Ganesh Kala Krida Mandir, Pune
Conducted by: Dr. Navin Jayakumar
Turnout: ~260 teams

(unfortunately, this blogger lost his notes with team info and scores etc, so please add corrections if possible)
1st: Samanth Subramaniam, G. Swaminathan, V.V.Ramanan, ('QED')
2nd: Gopal Kidao, Vinod Ganesh, Rajen Prabhu ('Absolute Bindaas')
3rd: Jayakanthan, J. Krishnamurthy, Diwakar Pingle ('?')
Other finalists: Sumant+Rajiv+Vibhendu ('Travelling Pillsburies'); Pradeep Ramarathnam+Gaurav Grewal+Nitish Khadiya ('Misal Pav-er...'); Niranjan+Ramanand+Avinash ('Amnesia International'); Amit Garde+Anand S+Meghashyam ('Hoist by their own quizzards'); Amit Varma+Ananya Deb+Anil Kothuri ('Jai Santosh Ki Maa')
Cutoff seems to be 29 or 30 on 40

Best Corporate Team: Infosys
Best College Team: BITS Pilani
Best School Teams: 1st: Abhinava Vidyalaya; 2nd: Army Public School
Best Team Name: 'Consortium of Loose, Forward and Quiz-going Women'

It was a new look Pune Landmark Quiz, now in its third year: a bigger venue, a change in quizmaster, and a flood of teams from places outside Maharashtra. The first was because the quiz has seen increased participation each year and threatened to burst out of last time's venue; we've heard all sorts of reasons for the second; the third seems to be because of the introduction of the "national round" (the top 2 teams from 4 landmark quizzes get to face-off in it).

For many of us, it was the first experience of Navin and team, who have received much acclaim in other centres. In terms of questions, it was a great improvement from last year. The prelims were populist, with a significant bias towards contemporary and local questions. Most of the questions were interesting to attempt, though a few of them just came down to a couple of choices to pick from - something which could be a little excruciating.

The final had a fairly simple format: 2*15 rounds of infinite rebounds/bounce/bounds in either direction interspersed with 2 buzzer rounds (16 & 10). QED took an early lead (which they never relinquished) by virtue of picking up the theme (5 questions spread over the quiz) on the very first question. The rounds went by speedily because several questions were answered on the very 1st or 2nd attempt (the ones that weren't usually went all the way to the audience who did nail some good answers).

We had been told to expect a no-unnecessary-frills quiz, which was the case - no gimmicks, and a good mix of content. Perhaps someone and who was in the audience (regular as well as casual quizzer) can provide their point of view as to how they viewed this experience.

Some of the negatives:
There were a few 'repeats' - stuff that is well known in the quizzing community. This made some of the directs more valuable than others. The theme was contrived, IMHO, and some of the elements were either lexically connected or tenuous. Also, some parts of the quiz's content seems to be somewhat formulaic (teams seemed to expect certain types of local questions and contemporary events ), thus making it vulnerable to prior preparation. This is not to diss any of the teams that took advantage of this (they were also better in other respects), but I wish the setters would find a way to make the quiz more unpredictable, even while staying within the self-stated constraint of keeping it friendly even for the lay quizzer.

A minor point was that the usual tradition of introducing the teams on-stage was omitted. Also, wonder if there could have been two projection screens instead of one, because it was a little difficult to see the screens from the corners.

On the positives: the quiz was well-conducted, and the organisation was better than last time. Another omission was welcomed (particularly by me!) - that of choosing the "Best Quizzer". The process of doing so never seemed fair or interesting to me, so we were spared all that.

Back to the results: QED were deserving winners with some fine answers, but it was a tight race among the rest of the teams. Many thanks to Landmark, especially the industrious organisers from the Pune store. The Landmark Quiz now moves on to Mumbai for the first ever such quiz there, to be held on the 1st of May.

Postscript: This blog certainly seems to have raised the profile of the word "Interrobang" in the Indian quizzing community. The question has become a frequent visitor in quizzes (especially Pune-related ones), with sightings in two BCQC Open quizzes (this one and that), at KQA's ASKQANCE last year, and now at this Landmark quiz. It is perhaps time to retire the question, because if I see the name Martin Speckter once more at a quiz, I shall scream :-). This has also fueled a great deal of personal interest in Mr. Speckter, for he has become reduced to a single claim to fame in these parts! (read why the name was chosen for this blog.)


Gaurav Parab said...

From the audience's point of view:

I was there at the first edition of Landmark in 2007 and this was definitely an improvement.

Lets start with Navin's no nonsense attitude. After surviving an hour of Derek's sad attempt at humor ( Are you sure you are from Bishop Cotton and not from Infosys ? - which he repeated a gazillion times) I thought Navin was like the headmaster in school who you can respect, unlike that overdressed English Professor who hits on the young computer teacher.

Even to my inexperienced eye, it is quiet obvious that the quiz should be about the content and not the Quiz master. If I were looking for outlandish entertainment - the Nigerian dancers at Rambo Circus, Deccan Gymkhana are a good starting point. Not to say that Navin was bland, I think he was pretty well balanced.

Now regarding the audience prizes. I got the once about the Stunt Grammy's and Obama and look what i won. Two CDs. Each of Corporate the movie. I had heard about the movie ofcourse, but didnt know they bothered to make CDs. And Two ?

And to think that someone wrote a corny poem in 2007 about the quiz in the audience and got tons of gift vouchers.

Ok, enough being nasty.

I think the quiz went a long way in popularizing quizzing in Pune. Kudos to Landmark.

Especially the young kids. Better to see them shouting VP Singh than MMSing each other.

Yeah, QED from Chennai were deserving winners. They just outgunned everyone with awesome answers. I am not even sure if the honorable PMC knows about Pune's hundred sister cities - and to think they got it right in the first connect. Did they sleep with a map of Pune on the ceiling for the last month?

KRWFan said...

In my view, a key difference between Derek and Naveen (and most other QMs) is that Derek always gives you (whether you are the quizzer or spectator) the impression that he has only contempt for you. And of course, his questions are terrible.

That is a terrible combination - a vain man who thinks too highly of himself who is also a lousy compiler or quiz questions.

We all encounter bad quizzes and quizmaster every now and then and tolerate and empathise with them, but it is mixture of things that makes Derek absolutely intolerable.

Yash Marathe said...

You seem to have conveniently left out the new JR Fan Club in your report :)

Anonymous said...

Where are the questions man???

Yash S said...

I found the quiz to be really good. This was my first time at the Landmark Quiz and the elims covered all categories and appealed to everyone. Finals were a bit oriented towards historical events and the theme connect was kinda weird. But it was a good entertaining quiz with some great trivia. Anyways I compiled a list of the questions from elims. Finals is much more hard work but I can do that as well.

1. Full form of SIM? Subscriber Identity Module
2. Which FM has presented 8 full budgets and 2 interim budgets including one on his b’day on 29th Feb, 1986? Morarji Desai
3. Which country does not have a border on the Arabian Sea – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Maldives? Saudi Arabia
4. Which scientific word means ‘un-cuttable’? Atom
5. What was the name of the hero in Vikas Swarup’s Q&A? Ram Mohammad Thomas
6. Which TV show has the highest Nielsen ratings since 2005 and may beat All In The Family’s record of having the highest ratings for 5 years? American Idol
7. Which letters were removed from the name of Asus to give it a higher alphabetical ranking? PEG
8. Which term was coined by Fourier with respect to environmental sciences? Greenhouse Effect
9. Big 3 Carmakers of Japan are Toyota and? Honda, Nissan
10. Symbol designed Martin K. Speckter also known as rhet, exclarotive, and exclamaquest? Interrobang
11. Which two prime-ministers are alumni of FC College, Pune? P.V. Narsimhan Rao and V.P. Singh
12. Fort in central India having historical significance and derived from cowherd? Gwalior
13. Introductory lines of a book? The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald
14. Gamboge pigment is extracted by tapping resin from various species of evergreen trees. Where is it from? Cambodia
15. DNA of scientist matched from hair cell and dental records. Used to recreate picture. Visual. Who? Copernicus
16. What is the pouch of a kangaroo called? Marsupiam
17. First England all-rounder to be picked up in the IPL? Dmitri Mascarehnas
18. Who is Daniel Craig voicing in upcoming Tintin movie? Red Rackham
19. Question about type of sari, mixture of silk and zari? Paithani sari
20. Video. Identify singers. Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
21. Malay name for southern third of Vietnam same as Indian coastal town. China added as suffix to differentiate from Indian town. Which town? Cochin
22. First person to knock out Mohd. Ali while he was still heavyweight champion? Chuck Wepner.
23. If Jihad means struggle, what means someone who struggles? Mujahideen
24. Quotes about instrument. Sound evokes hundred colours. Which instrument? Sarangi
25. Phrase given by Charles Darwin to explain why some genetic traits are not passed on? Natural Selection
26. Boastful city. Hosted world expo in 1893. Some more facts. Identify? Chicago
27. Name of most popular medicine in the world. What is it used to remove from blood? Cholesterol
28. Bilingual movie about which painter? English title is ‘Colours of Passion’? Raja Ravi Varma
29. Who finished joint 9th in Olympics on basis of number of gold medals won ahead of several countries? Michael Phelps
30. Name of which tribe in the Mahabharata means forest dwellers? Vanaras
31. Which religious ceremonies are ship captains allowed to perform? Baptism and Funeral
32. Which cricketer appointed ambassador for UN AIDS in Nov 2008? Sanath Jayasuriya
33. Complete list Beheaded, Divorced, Beheaded, Died of Fever, Divorced, Beheaded, _________ ? Survived (Wives of Henry VIII)
34. Origin of DC in DC Comics? Detective Comics
35. Who was born here? Visual of The White Elephant café in Edinburgh? Harry Potter
36. Visual. Cover of Amar Chitra Katha. Identify? Tanaji
37. Visual. Connected to 36. Name of pet? Yashwantri
38. Video from Johnny Gaddar. Performer name of Taranjeet Dhillon? Hard Kaur (-ve points to all school children writing Hardcore :P)
39. Video of floating turtle with 3 elephants holding a flat world. Identify? Discworld
40. Ad featuring aliens sucking out gravity. Ad for what? Fevicol

ishwar said...

1.The quiz was great but I thought that Landmark cud've used a bigger screen. Hopefully Landmark rectifies that...

2."Also, some parts of the quiz's content seems to be somewhat formulaic (teams seemed to expect certain types of local questions and contemporary events ), thus making it vulnerable to prior preparation."

I dont think there is anything wrong about having a few questions on Pune and Maharashtra .Probably if Raj Thackeray was there he would be complaining about the lack of Maharashtra questions!! :P

Ramanan QED said...

Nice writeup..And thanks for the nice words about my team..

As regards the view about us getting the connect early on, it was just down to simple preparation..the answer is there on Wikipedia page on Pune..It was just a question of making the obvious a little twisted.. could have done with two screens..

And Navin is certainly streets ahead of the previous QM..

We had a nice time and the hospitality was good. Thanks Pune

Yash Marathe said...

"As regards the view about us getting the connect early on, it was just down to simple preparation..the answer is there on Wikipedia page on Pune..It was just a question of making the obvious a little twisted.."

That's what we figured...

"Damn its"
--Mahesh Kothare

Karthik Narayan said...

Nice review of the quiz for those who could not make it :)

Thanks for highlighting the good n the bad. Very often people get carried away with the quiz that they forget to hit the button when it matters most. A very balanced report. Thanks again.

Congrats to the winners!!

Anonymous said...

Shouldn't the prelims be a little harder? What is the value addition to a team that scores 36/40 in the prelims. Ultimately,quizzing is about learning new fundaes and the prelims disappointed on that front.

Navin was a couple of light years ahead of No Brien and did his best to keep the school kids interested.

The quiz was very well organised. This is the first time I've attended a quiz where the organisers have adhered to the time advertised on the posters.

Looking forward to Mumbai Landmark. Hope the Chennai boys let us win something this season :).

Anonymous said...

Hi, my take on the event.
Starting off with some great guava- snacking, and a restaurant that espoused tardiness and very poor food quality ensured we arrived late and full. A brief dekko around the venue confirmed that that this would be an unbelievably competitive field with folks who would not make it on stage themselves being good enough to win Regional if not National Finals.
The usual Hanif Md.ian concert by a wailing Somebody predictably gave me a headache which stayed long after I reached home in Bombay. I am not sure why they play it, but they do—some copyright issues etc. I am told, but C’mon if I had a broadcast right over say, Ring a ringa-2, would I want everyone to know about it ?
Anyway, the Elims, being semi-workout-able or repeats saw an insanely high Cut-off exacerbated by the fact that it was a 3-member affair and 2 local fauna questions. We made one mistake and could not have done more really—and found that three other teams were within half pt. Statistically, it should rank as my second highest Elims score ever ( with only that obscene 29 on 30 with Prasann in a Biz q higher !) –still the threshold score would have been just at 30 or a notch lower even with eight teams on stage.
The finals while purporting to have 30 questions of IR would have two full rounds of a needless buzzer melee. I can safely say that the standard of questions were below expectations with a lot hinging on the order of the teams to whom it was put to. The framing of the questions did not help matters. The buzzers while meant to enhance excitement levels merely served to assist teams more familiar with the format & the kind of stuff dished out.
Thanks to the rather tenuous connect ( “sister cities”—Huh ? ), the one team that cracked the theme on the first try ( another superhuman effort by the great QED ) effectively ended the contest on the third question- a la Hayden scoring 18 in Zaheer’s first WC 2003 finals over. Was all catch-up post that and perhaps anyone could have placed 2 to 8. Some good answers—but am still wavering about how many were workouts. QED won deservedly in a canter scaling another Yeshwanti-like height.

I do believe that the day quizzing gets constricted to predictable patterns, preparations and formats, it’d be a sad one for those who quiz for the love of it. As an individual, I love the breezy nonchalance that the likes of Mahesh, Bala, Sundip now and Ved, Saif earlier effortlessly used while being very successful quizzers. Isn’t it sad enough that chance favours the prepared mind, or is quizzing a reflection of the effort and assiduous grunt that is needed in “real” life ?
PS-The fantastic Ramanan would know that while wiki-ization of contemporary quizzes is complete, the page on Pune saying sister cities further include a Pickford and Chaplin would not have rendered it a better and more wholesome connect q.

anand s