After a fairly robust performance over the past few days thanks to questions that played to my personal strengths, I was due for some comeuppance. It came in the form of today’s brutally difficult lineup (again, to me at least). I was worried about racking up my first-ever goose egg until I read the last question.
1. The airport known during WWII as RAF Speke is today named officially after what native Liverpudlian?
I can name four native Liverpudlians, all fab. Two of them are still alive. Assuming the airport was more likely to be named after a deceased person, the first to die has had far more time than the second to receive this tribute, plus he’s an iconic figure whom one might expect to receive such an honor. I wasn’t sure whether I was right, but I guessed John Lennon and it was correct.
2. This audio clip (30 seconds) is an excerpt from the finale of a symphony which is most commonly known by what name (not number)?
Sigh. Another question where I knew something about the subject, but it did nothing for me. The “what name (not number)” said Beethoven. “This audio clip” told me I was about to hear “Ode to Joy” even before I clicked on it, and indeed I did. I knew it was a key phrase from the Ninth Symphony, but I didn’t know what No. 9 was commonly called (I knew Eroica was No. 3 but that didn’t help). Lacking a better guess, I went with “Ode to Joy.” The correct answer was the Choral Symphony. I assigned this a 0, which was probably another mistake.
3. In Russia, this war is also known as the Eastern War (Vostochnaya Voina), and at the time of the conflict, in Britain it was known as the Russian War. By what name is it best known today?
No clue. All I could hope for was to make a decent guess, by which I don’t even mean a guess that might be right, but rather a guess that would be credible enough not to embarrass me on this blog. Something tells me I fell short of even that lesser standard. Correct answer: Crimean War. My guess: World War I.
4. In the sport of cricket, there are a number of ways a batsman can be dismissed. One of them is abbreviated LBW — what do the letters in LBW stand for?
Can’t tell you much about cricket, other than the one in Times Square. Too bad the abbreviation wasn’t WG, because then my only cricket lingo (“wicked googly”) might have helped. I knew there were wickets in cricket, so I guessed “left by wicket,” which doesn’t even make sense. This would have been a good place to go for a Best Wrong Answer, but as usual I preferred to try to hole out from 340 yards. The correct answer was “leg before wicket.” I gave this one the 3.
5. In medicine, the term bradycardia is used in general terms to refer to a slow resting heart rate. What is the accompanying term for an accelerated resting heart rate?
I didn’t know a prefix that would be the opposite of “brady-” so I guessed a word I associated with an unusual heart rate: arrhythmia. An even better guess would have been tachycardia. Of course!
6. While this famous serial killer and Wisconsin native is believed to have murdered only two people (still two more than normal, it must be noted), his mother-dependence and woman-suit-making provided the inspiration for Psycho, The Silence of the Lambs, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
This one I knew because as a misguided youth I occasionally listened to Chicago radio shock jock Steve Dahl, whose poor taste ran to making jokes about noted local serial killer John Wayne Gacy. Ed Gein, a less prolific but more creative murderer over the border in Wisconsin, would also come up from time to time.
Today’s opponent was one of the best players in my rookie division last season and is having another strong campaign. With just two correct answers I don’t like my chances against him, particularly with my suspect defense, but who knows, maybe he had as hard a time as I did.
Postscript: Ugh. Sure enough, my lousy defense cost me a tie. I was intimidated by the sight of RAF Speke and WWII, and gave this question way too much respect. By giving 1 point for John Lennon, the gimme of the day at 66% correct, and a 0 on Choral Symphony, the hardest question of the day (and presumably one of the hardest in league history) at 9% correct, I let my opponent score 2 points to my 1, both on two correct answers. In league parlance, I lost 1(2)-2(2).