Friday, November 13, 2015

Why Everyone Should Try Quizzing

“Quizzing?! That’s not for me. My GK is very poor”
“Who really remembers what year the battle of Waterloo was fought in or what the capital of Romania is?”

I have been quizzing for over twenty years and been goading people for as long to participate in quizzes. It has been one of the great passions of my life and I have always made it a point to preach the good word of the activity to all and sundry. There are always going to be good quizzers. There are always going to be great quizzers. Many choose not to quiz at all because (a) they think they’ll never win and (b) they think this is an obscure activity to be pursued by geeks. That is a pity because when you do that, all you are doing is limiting your ability to participate in a great activity to build mental muscle and enjoy the thrill of solving a puzzle or two. Yes, you heard me right. Quizzing is nothing but solving puzzles.

The formula is pretty simple. Put in a dash of information, add in a hint of mystery, tease your audience with breadcrumbs of a hint, and there you have it … a quiz question. The best of quiz questions are those to which the answers are known. Asking obscure questions does the quizmaster and more importantly, the quizzers great disservice.

Let us take a simple example. Consider this question.
“”The Polyester Prince”, by Hamish McDonald is a banned book in India. It is an unauthorized biography of X. Name X.”

Now one could look at this and wonder how on earth one could solve this. You might not know who Hamish McDonald is, let alone know any book written by him. Look closely and you’ll find the breadcrumbs right there.
(a) Given that the book is set in India, most likely it is an Indian person
(b) The person in question is likely very famous or controversial if the book warranted a ban
(c) The title ‘Polyester Prince’ hints at someone who is famous for their standing in the business of polyester

All of these leads to one possibility, ‘Dhirubhai Ambani’

Note that the problem was solved without ever knowing who Hamish McDonald was and without ever having heard of the book.

Quizzers build on this basic skill and get better. They don’t sit around reading the newspapers from the front to the end of gobble up pages of Wikipedia. They simply hone the skill of piecing together the puzzle from the breadcrumbs of hints a question provides. Anyone can be a quizzer. Everyone should be a quizzer.

There’s joy to be had in solving a question and learning a fact. There’s joy to be had in quizzing. Get over your fears. Try it sometime.

I leave you with another question to solve. Happy quizzing!

“In a 2012 Hindi movie, the closing credits had the following line: ‘We would like to thank Jayesh Desai for the use of X’s Y. Y was central to the movie and probably more expensive than the lead actor’s fees. Name X and Y.”


Anonymous said...

Sachin Tendulkar's Ferrari?

that is X is Sachin Tendulkar and Y is Ferrari

i love such qs!


Parth said...

@Anon: Absolutely correct :)