I think I’ve mentioned before that my friends and I enjoy nothing more than participating in pub quizzes.
For the uninitiated, these battles of wit and wisdom are a popular feature of pub life. Teams huddle in groups around tables and attempt to gain the highest number of correct answers to trivia questions with the aim of winning a meagre monetary prize. We all give ourselves names which we consider amusing. Last week we went to the Red Lion to play against a bunch of nurses going by the name Bedside Manners, a team from the local lawyer’s office called Brief Encounter and five other assorted hopefuls. We were representing our local, The Bicycle so we chose the name Chain Reaction. Get it?
Well, we got off to an inauspicious start. We were pretty useless in the music round, lost for answers in the history section and a bit adrift in general knowledge. Throughout it all, my friend Rosey sat looking thoughtful, and wearing a pair of her mother’s glasses which she thinks makes her look super intelligent and intimidates our competitors. Unfortunately, she can see very little through them and ended up knocking my drink over and talking at length to a vase of flowers which she mistook for one of our friends.
But then something remarkable happened. We had a round of word questions, and suddenly Rosey was in her element.
Question – what is the longest word in the English dictionary? Rosey leapt to her feet and yelled ‘antidisestablishmentarian’. Our initial amazement and delight was soon quelled when we realised she had given the correct answer to every team in the bar! Anyway, someone called out ‘Bet you can’t tell us what it means then Rosey’ to which she replied ‘they were people who were opposed to proposals to remove the Church of England’s status as the official religion of the realm’ That wiped the smiles off their faces! She then went on to say that the longest word in the English language has 1906 letters, but it’s a technical expression which does not qualify for inclusion in the dictionary.
Question – spell millennium. Rosey whispered her answer. I for one said she was wrong, but it was me that was incorrect!
Question – what is at the top of the left-hand column of page 168 of the Oxford English Dictionary? Rosey was on the ball again ‘one six eight’ she hissed. A trick question, and of course she was right again! And so it went on. Ten-word questions and ten correct answers from Rosey.
Then it was back to general knowledge and Roseys moment of glory was over.
Question – What is the King of Swaziland called? Rosey answered ‘Your Majesty?’ Wrong Rosey, the answer is King Mswati the third.
We didn’t win. We never do, but at least we are consistent as once again we came last! Rosey’s final word on words was to point out that the shortened form of World Wide Web somewhat ironically has three times the number of syllables!