Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Extentia Year-Ender Quiz X, Dec 2010 - quiz report

Date: Dec 24 2010, at Extentia, KP, Pune
Set and conducted by Suraj Menon/BCQC
Theme: General

Event held a week earlier on account of New Year’s weekend next week.

As always an email quiz was sent to Extentians earlier in the week. Answers and winners announced ahead of Fri's quiz.
Winners determined by # of correct answers and timestamp of email. Winner: Vcat

Decent turnout. Teams were again formed from the Extentia houses. Five in all.

Teams: Spartans, Royal Brigade, Parikrama, Constant Variables and Infinity.
Format: IR with 25 questions.

* Keenly contested quiz with all the usual shrill sledging between teams
* The Royal Brigade led from the beginning, and the Spartans ran them close.
* Most questions (22/25) were answered and all teams had points on the board mid-quiz.
* Several connect questions were worked out by the top three teams
* Topics currently in the news featured in many questions
* Several new faces among participants!

Winners: Royal Brigade (Surbhi, Soumava, Rahul D, Vcat...)
Runners Up: Spartans (Chetan, Sandip, Sarang, Aditi...)
Prizes: Crossword gift certificates, and chocolate bars for team members

At the end: Note of appreciation for BCQC from the teams and Chetan Shetty, EVP, Operations, Extentia.

Report by Vcat

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bubbling with ideas : Fancy question formats from a pub quiz far, far away

OK, so this is the deal. I used to quiz with same folks who bore you with all the inane details of their latest mercenary exploits at some gender-confused engineering college in town -- hell, I even used to go to those quizzes. Religiously. And lose. But, hey, that's not the point. I was one of the cool folk, the creator of the Centaurian Scoring System  rivaled in length of existence only by the sperm whale and the bowl of petunias.

So that's by way of introduction. Since having quit my self-carpentered chair of crazy-new-quizzing-ideas (Chief Innovation Officer?) at the BCQC, I have to moved on, to frankly more useful endeavors. In an effort to distance myself from the effluvial delights of the boat club and its charmingly green waters, I have drained myself and my brain to the US. To MIT, Cambridge, USA more specifically.

Old habits die hard, so my Wednesday nights are spent quizzing. Or trying to quiz. You see, a hankering for mind numbingly pointless convoluted-ness is hard to satisfy, or so I am finding out. But I try. How you ask? Well Boston, in all its efforts to act Irish, has a number of bars that do the whole "pub trivia" thing and I attend one of these gigs. In fact the bar is on campus -- "The Thirsty Ear" is the name and a fairly passable evening can be had quizzing at that waterhole among fellow nerds who will happily argue about escape velocities of imaginary planets and match imaginary guns to first-person-shooters (we got a full 10/10 on that question I think). Anyway, the point is, give the hosts a chance, and add some beer and tasty tacos and you should be fairly set for the evening.

Some evenings are more passable than others, and in particular there is this British trivia host who will go that extra mile to add that wonderful word we all love to associate with quizzes -- "workability"! Now, not all questions are workable and not all the workable questions are good -- but there are a couple of innovations that the Indian quizzing scene would do well to copy. These would fit in perfectly with our scheme of things!

I was first alerted when the guy did the old guess the Google Doodle round that we all love so much. I mean, when everyone else is asking "who was the first person to achieve a .300 batting average" or something of the sort, this guy independently discovered one of our beloved question formats. Ever the able scout, I was seeing some talent here. Then he puts on the Google Trends type question, another format that I like a lot -- and which I saw used for the first time in India by Google's very own Suhel Bannerjee. This QM will not just put up Google trends and ask us to guess events, he will often have a "match the google trends line" to a list of proper nouns. Again something that we've done -- but not enough. A recent one asked us to match a bunch of google trend lines to "GMail", "Google Wave", "Google Earth" and so on, something that was worked out by people following the ups and downs of these products.

A really cool innovation is his usage of the Joseph Decruex meme. The meme essentially involves imposing the lyrics to current songs in old english and pasting them on a picture of this old french philosopher, lolcat style. So for example the song "Fuck Bitches Get Money" becomes, well see for yourself:

More such joy can be found here, and what's more there is no limiting the number of songs, english or hindi that can undergo Decreux-ization all under the name of workability! I dream of the day when I can stand up on stage and ask someone what song is referred to in "I CRAVE THY MATRIARCHAL STARE, YOUR OFFSPRING WITHERS" [1]

The second innovation that I particularly like is about listing pictures that have something in common and simply asking people to identify the reference (instead of long unwieldy "connects" which can occasionally get tiresome). So one recent example was this question that had famous make-outs in movie history, where you could only barely identify the protagonists of the lip-locks and we were asked to identify the actors and the movie in question. I mean, this was fairly entertaining, could be worked out and required quizzing acumen without being excruciatingly obtuse at the same time. There is something about the pub-trivia format that forces QMs to err on the side of the inane, and this is definitely one instance when this bias probably leads to a nice entertaining question format. Another example lists pictures of places that have a famous monument, and there was an interesting round where we were shown street pictures of the neighbourhood we live in and were asked to mark them on a map we were provided. This could potentially be done for a number of types of maps of various sizes, even perhaps a map on screen where teams choose to place a marker much like in the game Traveler IQ.

Last example innovation for the day is similar in spirit to innovation two. This is the "odd one out" format. What the QM will do is compile an often amusing list of things and ask you to pick the odd one out. This includes stuff like -- "Which of these is a not a real movie?" and there will be a list of titles you would hardly think were movies ("The Conquest of the Silken Beaver") and insert a fake one in there. Again, the possibilities are endless -- are there not lots of towns, people and food items with random names? Granted that this is not the most cerebral of question formats, and will probably appeal more to Derek and his ilk rather than us, but there is something to be said about making questions fun, even to the idiot who tunes in to watch Bigg Boss everyday! (wait, that's me. or at least was)

Anyway, that was me and my worthless gyaan from this part of the globe. I have not written a blog piece in a while -- let alone one about quizzing! If this is interesting do chime in on the comments and I'll try and write more about the quizzing scene at the bars (and questions even!) -- but given my extremely "light" academic schedule that might be hard to do, just yet.

Thanks for the attention, and keep quizzing!


The author was a quizzer who has passed on, who has ceased to be, who bereft of life lies in peace. An ex-quizzer if there ever was. Within his little cubby cage of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology he tries to mould himself into a social scientist who studies technology, all while trying to spell "mold" in the american way and trying not to think of the green stuff that reminds him of the BCQC so much. You can pay condolences at abhishek.mit.edu 

[1] That was this song for those unwilling to think.

KQA Mega-Whats 2010 - Pune results

Date: 12 Dec, 2010
Venue: COEP
Conducted by: Vishwajeet Narvekar for the KQA

No. of Teams: 10

Open Category winners: Suraj, Ramanand, Harish, Suvajit: 32 points
College winners: Rohan Prabhu, Omkar Moghe, Shreevallabh Gharote, Sameer Patil (COEP): 12 points

Thanks to Aadinath and Mohit of COEP for making the arrangements.

sponsored by Tender Leaves (Pune's newest Book Service++) and BCQC.

Update: 30 Dec 2010
The overall results and the questions+answers are available at the KQA site here.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

KQA Mega-Whats 2010 - Pune details

Team of (upto) 4 people
Venue: Seminar Hall II (Next to main Auditorium), College of Engineering, Pune (COEP), Shivajinagar, Pune-5 College coordinator: Mohit Karve (9890777964 ; mohit@bcqc.org)
Timing: 2:30 to 5:30 on 12th December (Sunday)
General Written Quiz* Prizes for the top 2 best teams, college teams, school teams (sponsored by BCQC)
Entries received so far will appear on http://bit.ly/ezwhDq

Please read below for the details. Since the venue can only accommodate about 30 teams, you are advised to register in advance by writing to the organisers as given below.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Arul Mani <arul.mani@gmail.com>

This is to announce the second edition of Mega-Whats, our National Open Quizzing Championship.

The quiz will be held across nine cities simultaneously. Apart from Bangalore, we have  venue confirmations from Chennai, Hyderabad, Goa, Thrissur, Mumbai, Pune, New Delhi and Kolkata. More information on venues soon.

The details:

Date: Sunday, 12 December 2010

QMs: Kiran Vijayakumar and Arul Mani

   1. General quiz, open to all.
   2. Teams of FOUR members (or less).
   3. Prior registration is essential.
   4. To register, please email Mahaquizzer@gmail.com with Mega-Whats 2010 and the city you are competing from in the subject-header.
   5. Please provide the names of the four people who comprise your team in the email–also indicate whether you are taking part in the school, college  or open categories
   6. Email registrations will close on Tuesday 7th December 2010.  Centre coordinators will allow entries after the cut-off date at their discretion.
   7. Please note that the quizzing community in your city may charge an entry fee to meet venue and equipment hire expenses.
   8. The school category is open only to teams comprising students from Std. VIII-X .
   9. School teams ( Std. VIII-X) are allowed free entry. A school may field ONE team.
  10. Please report by 1430hrs at the venue in your city. Since we need to ensure a coordinated start nationwide, the quiz will start at 1500hrs sharp. The doors will be closed five minutes before we begin.
  11. Contesting teams will answer in writing a quiz of six sections and about sixty questions, inclusive of audios, videos and visuals.
  12. Answers and scores will be announced immediately after the event–prizes will be given out for Best School Team, Best College Team, and Best Open Team.
  13. The prizes aren't small--they are insignificant.
  14. We will rank the top 100 teams across the country–this list will go up by the 25th of December.
  15. The rankings will be announced after adjudication. The decision of the quiz-masters will be final and binding on all participants.
16. The city-winners will face off in June 2011 as part of the KQA 28th Anniversary.

For more details, please call 97312-14519