The Landmark Quiz is hosted at the Music Academy in Royapettah, Madras. There were 900 teams this year! The number is mostly boosted by school teams, to put things in perspective. This year, the quiz was organized by Derek O Brien, unlike previous years where it has been done by Naveen Jayakumar. Naveen did half the prelims this year.
Some of the questions were
“What constitutes almost 80% of a banana?
The currency of Botswana is named Pula, after the local word for something precious …What is Pula?
Over 20% of the earth is covered by this species of plants. Which one?”
We scored 26/40 and were the last team in. In fact, I had thought we were out and messaged 2 friends that we were leaving and when Derek announced the last team as “Answering Machine” I thought it must be a different team. While I was wondering whether to go and check the team composition, Derek started counting to 3, before the 9th team (8 teams in finals) would be let in. I had to scream out his name and get on stage. In fact he didn’t take kindly to the fact that all our team members didn’t get on to the stage from the same end. He thought we wanted to make a show of being late to arrive and also make an entry!
Anyways the rules were that the difference between the top team in the prelims and last team(us) would be added to the score after being multiplied by 5, as their starting score. We started on 0 and the top team started on 15 and the rest started on 5, 7, 10, etc.
We were a little rusty to start with and the other teams, especially one IIT team (There were 2 on stage) were off to a great start. We opened our score with me identifying Madonna reading something! And then there was a question about “Which actor won the best actor and best supporting actor at the Filmfare awards in 1985?” Now, I believe that all Filmfare award related questions can be answered with 1st choice as Kamal Hasan since he’s won so many of them. Right I was!
Then there was a video clip from the movie “Fahrenheit 451.” This one passed right round the stage before it came to us and I rocked! I had not seen the movie, but I have the book and have read it too!
The rules also stipulated that after 32 questions, the bottom 2 teams would leave. Suddenly we found that we were in the last 6. One of the IIT teams named IIT42 departed alongwith another team. Similarly 2 more team would leave after the solo round, in which one quizzer from each team would participate in a buzzer round of 15 questions, after which the individual score would add/subtract from the team score and the bottom 2 would leave again. I represented my team and got 2 right and 1 wrong. Questions here -> Which is the most abundant mammal on earth?! I can’t believe no one else went for this. The answer in case, you are still wondering is humans! Suddenly another good team QED (Samanth’s team left the stage since Samanth had an unusually bad day. Samanth, a freelance journalist is an amazing quizzer and much respected in Madras and elsewhere. He cracked one excellent question which went around all teams before he cracked it It was a visual, which had what appeared to be painting of Krishna and Radha in medieval Indian garb. Turned out that it was the cover of Amartya Sen’s new book – The Argumentative Indian. The solo round was won by Ramana, who’s another legend in Madras quizzing circles. He is a journalist for the Hindu. He rocked too and kept the audience and Derek (who insisted that he wear dark glasses and even borrowed a pair from the audience just for this!) amused.
Similarly one of the IITians answered an amazing connect between a composition sung by DK Pattammal (of Muthuswamy Dikshitar) and another of Tyagaraja’s whose name I can’t recall – The answer being Tsunami! Apparently both were composed in Nagapattinam as requests to the rain gods to protect the city from storms! Derek bowed to this guy! We were all mightily impressed. Sadly, the team came 4th.
We were 20 points behind. We took 1 plus, 1 minus, 1 more plus,1 more minus and finally 2 more plusses to tie the score on the penultimate question. Two teams on 100! One of the questions was on the Canadian postal code HOHOHO. I cracked it as the location for Santa Claus. Then Paul identified Frank Tyson after the visual had passed around all teams left.
Now, we were down to 2 teams – Rajiv Rai’s (Know Brainers) and mine (The Answering Service). Rajiv Rai is IITM, IIMA (as is Sumo, his team mate) and is also the winner of this year’s Brand Equity Quiz. He works for Citibank and makes the trip to Bangalore for weekend quizzes. He’s one of those rare quizzers who are good at business, business quizzing and trivia quizzing! What we call a pedigree quizzer.
The last question was, “Which organization (appropriately enough) hosts the World Fair Play Day?” (the 2 words in brackets were Derek’s remarks and we answered IOC as we felt that that was the most likely answer.
Turns out that the answer is FIFA. Made a difference of 5K worth of Landmark vouchers as the winner took home 10K each, while we got 5K (Who’s complaining!?) We also got the Kaleidocope puzzle and a tshirt each!
Phew! Haven’t had a more exciting outing in years. And I have a year’s supply of books. And doing what I love best.
The past 2 weekends have marked 2 highs. The Sunday before last, I did 21 km in 1:55:48. (Click on 'Timings' and then on 'August')And last Sunday, I had a great outing at my other pursuit. It’s a good feeling having fun at what you like doing.
Tribute to Gunjan Sharma, a young student and our lucky charm and team mate, who cracked quite a few questions, in the prelims and in the finals, both Paul and me had no clue about, including the original English song, from which the song that is picturized on Rekha in Parineeta, is based. To think, we picked him from the venue, while he was waiting in the line for waitlisted teams!
November 2nd is the date for the Bangalore edition of the Landmark quiz. Hope we qualify!
Closing. Although the best team name prize went to a Tamlish name, my favourite was a variant of the Spiderman quote, “With Great Power comes A Large Electricity Bill!