I like quiz shows.
If it is a ‘proper’ quiz like “Only Connect” presented by Victoria Coren Mitchell or “University Challenge ” hosted by Jeremy Paxman it is for the challenge of getting a question right. A successful answer whilst watching one of these will be celebrated, sometimes with a small fist bump (probably, but not always, including one of us, ok alright I make the sound Beymax makes in Big Hero 6) or occasionally with a Tim Henman-esque fist pump, although lacking the raw emotion to be an Andy Murray-esque version.
“Pointless” is another favourite the fun can come from the banter between Richard and Xander, from being able to get all the 7 options in a pass on “Pointless”, or even a pointless answer.
Now I am aware of vast gaps in my quizzing knowledge. The sinking feeling as a question on 15 to 1 begins “I need a name and a regnal number…” or if it is a question about current pop music or a soap or a reality TV show.
So please believe me I am not having a dig at this recent contestant on Pointless.
I am here to celebrate what must be the best wrong answer ever. Full stop.
The question was about books. The contestants had to name the book which contained three named characters. A date of publication was also given.
Here are the 7 options.
Jean Valjean, Cosette, Fantine (1862)
Yossarian, Dr Daneeka, Milo Minderbinder (1961)
Elizabeth Bennet, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Charles Bingley (1813)
Maxim, Mrs Danvers, Mrs De Winter (1938)
Athos , Porthos, Aramis (1844)
Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox (1979)
Jack Torrance, Danny Torrance, Dick Hallorann (1977)
I was happy enough, as although I have read only one of these books, from the knowledge gleaned from quizzes and TV/film adaptations, I could name the first six.
Enter our hero.
He has the first crack at the board. He is studying journalism at university, so he has presumably read a book or two in his time or maybe watched some TV.
“I don’t know any of them.”
“I’ll have a guess…. Pride and Prejudice.”
One of these annoying contestants who claims to know nothing and then ‘guesses’ a great answer. But no. Our hero is hewn from the rock face of quiz legends.
Xander prompts him to say which three characters he thinks are in the book ‘Pride and Prejudice.’
A tiny pause.
“Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, Zaphod Beeblebrox”
I can’t remember any of the rest of the show, I was laughing so much. Anyone can give a wrong answer; it takes a special kind of skill to give such a perfect wrong answer.
I think about the famous first line from ‘Pride and Prejudice’:
“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a two heads, an extra arm, a spaceship powered by the Infinite Improbability Drive and a robot called Marvin, with a brain the size of a planet and a pain in all the diodes down his left hand side.”
Woman everywhere swoon as they recall the iconic moment from the BBC adaptation of Arthur Dent emerging from a dip in the lake, in his wet dressing gown and asking for a cup of tea.
Un-named Pointless contestant I salute you.
Best. Wrong. Answer. Ever.