Universally Challenged?

Was listening to the radio this morning and there was a competition on, the bloke who had called in needed to answer five general knowledge questions to win a trip to Norway.

Question one was ‘what other name are the Aurora Borealis known as?’. Amazingly the bloke didn’t know the answer, I’m shouting at the radio thinking the stupid bugger is going to somehow hear me, as thick as two short planks as we’d say at home, (actually we’re more likely say as thick as champ but you lot won’t understand that one), if you were that bloke on the radio this morning, here’s a clue, the answer’s in the title of this well known (in the UK) song..

We seem to have our fair share of dimwits this side of the pond which is a bit ironic as the Irish are considered the butt of stupid jokes in much the same way the Polish are in the States. On ‘Perfect Recall’ a contestant was asked “which Duke resides at Woburn Abbey?” and he answered “Hazard” (ouch!), and a lottery quiz contestant finished Eamonn Holmes’s question of “there are three states of matter: solid, liquid and . . .” with the word: “jelly”.

A possibly apocryphal story about an Australian radio ‘Mr and Mrs’ style quiz. Young wife is asked the rather personal question “Where did your husband last make love with you?”, the husband having previously answered “In the kitchen”. Young wife giggles nervously and says she couldn’t possibly say on the radio, her mum might be listening. The host persists, pointing out the incredibly generous prize on offer if she answers correctly. Nervous wife finally answers “Oh alright then, in my ass”…

And from the very same programme featuring a young, obviously excited/nervous newly-wed couple as contestants. In an effort to relax them the host asked them about their wedding and then moved onto the honeymoon from which they’d just returned.
“Did you enjoy it?” the kindly host enquired.
“Oh, yes” came the reply from the excited bride, “Every inch of it!”
(Cue collapse into hysterical laughter of host and audience).

We had 3-2-1 years ago with Ted Rogers asking;

What is a Bison ? is it

a) a north American animal
b) a hatstand
c) something you wash your hands in

The contestant answered c) and lost.

(If you say ‘bison’ with a very posh accent you will understand why the contestant choose something you wash your hands in..)

From Cross-Country Quiz in Ireland back in the eighties, if not the seventies, where the contestants were chosen at random from the audience:

Q: Where is the Taj Mahal?
A: Across the road from the Dental Hospital

True, because back in the day it was a famous Dublin landmark – the restaurant, that is, and was indeed situated across the road from the Dental Hospital. And this is funny..

But best answer was on Jeopardy in the States, the question was along the lines of “This garden implement is also a promiscuous person.” Correct answer – rake. Answer given – ho.
(Completely valid answer. Should have accepted it, actually.)

We have a long running quiz show on the telly once a week, University Challenge. Two teams of four University students take part and some of the questions can be a bit challenging. It’s been running since ?1962.

WONDERFUL accents that could cut glass.. and did you notice some members of the audience were smoking pipes?

The quiz is known primarily for two things these days:

1) The extreme difficulty of the questions compared to most game shows, to the point where among many people, getting one right in an episode is a point of pride
2) The rather irascible temperament of the current host Jeremy Paxman

During a 2007 quarter-final between the University of Manchester and Oxford, teams were asked “Which distribution emits a probability density function f (x) equals 1 over square root of 2 pi times e to the power of minus x squared divided by 2?” The Manchester captain Kieran Lavin very deliberately asked “Could you repeat the question please?” and amidst the laughter Jeremy Paxman adamantly said “No!”

However, not all questions are so high brow, during one episode Paxman asked the teams, ‘The names ‘Cheesemongers’, ‘CherryPickers’, ‘Bob’s Own’, ‘The Emperor’s Chambermaids’ and ‘The Immortals’ are or have been used for which groups of men?’ One unfortunate contestant buzzed in and said, “Homosexuals”.

Paxman’s (somewhat shocked) response was, “No! They’re regiments in the British Army – and they’re going to be very upset with you!” I suspect adding in The Gay Gordons would have muddied the waters further..

And then there was this classic;

Jeremy Paxman: “Thuma, Towcher, Long-man, Lech-man, and Little-man are Old and Middle English names for which parts of the human body?”
Contestant from Kings School of Medicine and Dentistry: “Penis?”.
(The correct answer is fingers’)
Paxman: You’re a medical student! How many penises did they teach you we have nowadays?