In a keenly contested competition, Rohit Shenoy and Steve Jacob Mathew of Rajagiri Public School, Kalamassery, piped the other five teams in the fray to emerge as the Kochi regional champions of the 14th edition of The Hindu Young World Quiz held at A.J. Hall at Kaloor on Wednesday.

The victory was emphatic as their tally of 135 points was 44 points more than what their nearest rival managed. The winners walked away with a cash prize of Rs.10,000, cycles, certificates, trophies, and gifts from various sponsors. The team will now represent the city in the grand finale to be held at Mangalore on November 18.

M.D. Valsamma, former Asian gold medal winner in 400 m hurdles, gave away prizes to the winners.

Vishnu P.K and Vaishnavi K.N of Bhavan’s Varuna Vidyalaya came second with 91 points while Adit Vishnu and Ashwin Varkey Ajay of Hari Sri Vidya Nidhi, Thrissur, emerged the second runner-up with 80 points. The first and second runners-up were given a cash prize of Rs.5,000 and Rs.3,000 respectively besides trophies, certificates, and gifts.

Aditya Deepak and Harikrishnan V. of Bhavan’s Vidya Mandir, Elamakkara, came fourth with 65 points, Sidharth Suresh and Gouri Prashanth of Bhavan’s Vidya Mandir, Eroor, fifth with 52 points and Sanal Simon and Sunil Simon of Assisi Vidyaniketan came sixth with 49 points. The three teams in the bottom half received a cash prize of Rs.2,000 each and certificates.

The quiz was buzzer driven and had a set of 24 questions arranged in a matrix with each question revealing a portion of the face of the personality hidden behind the matrix. Split into four rounds, the questions were categorised into five different categories – Plain Villa that entailed plain questions and answers, Topsy-Turvy whereby the contestants were asked to frame a question, Click based on visuals, Bharateeyam featuring questions on India and Son-Et-Lumiere involving questions based on audio-video clippings. The quiz, as usual, was anchored by V.V. Ramanan in his inimitable style.

The eventual champions Rajagiri Public School had a head start over their competitors from the very outset. They led the pack with 42 points – a good 16 points ahead – at the end of the first round. The team kept on building on it in the next three rounds with the lead progressively increasing by 22 points, 30 points, and eventually capping it at 40 points.

For the team from Bhavan’s Varuna Vidyalaya that emerged the first runner-up, the 36 points they bagged in one go at the end of the first round by correctly guessing the personality behind the matrix proved crucial. The team had negative 10 marks against its name when they came up with the right answer of Hrithik Roshan. Thereafter, the team maintained its second position throughout the competition except for momentarily ceding ground to the eventual second runner-up.

For the team from Hari Sri Vidya Nidhi, 20 negative marks on getting it wrong after going for the buzzer twice in the second and third round proved crucial as they slipped to the third position.

The quiz open to students from Classes 7 to 9 witnessed the participation of 224 teams from various schools. The finalists for the regional final were decided based on a 25-question written preliminary.

The presenting sponsor of the event was Britannia Milk Bikis Future Minds and the associate sponsor was Firefox Bikes.

The gift partners were Success Note Books, Reynolds, Kerala State Cashew Workers’ Apex Industrial Cooperative Society Ltd (CAPEX), and Encyclopaedia Britannica. The energy partner was Gold Winner while the beverage sponsor was Real Fruit Juice.

Some of the questions stumped the audience and the contestants.

If a plate of seafood had four crabs and three lobsters on it, how many legs would be there on the plate excluding the claws?

This was one of the five questions that completely stumped all the six teams at the Kochi regional finals of The Hindu Young World quiz held here on Wednesday.

The answer eluded the audience as well with everyone resorting to guessing. At the end of it, a smart young chap had the entire audience in splits when he came up with the answer that there would probably no legs on the plate as all of them would be plucked out before preparing the dish.

The quiz master V.V. Ramanan wanted the volunteers to gift the youngster not one but two mugs as gifts for what he described as an ‘intelligent’ response. Incidentally, the plate, he said, would have 62 legs - 32 of crabs and 30 of lobsters.

The question to name the film, its director and music composer based on a song from Chemmeen also failed to get the complete answer from the finalists. While the team from Hari Sri Vidya Nidhi secured part points by naming the film and identifying Ramu Kariat as its director, they couldn’t come up with the name of the composer. It took a student from among the audience to name the legendary composer Salil Chowdhury.

Surprisingly, for a generation presumed to be fed on a daily diet of cartoons on television channels, the question to identify the character Shocksquatch from the popular animation series Ben 10 went unanswered by all regional finalists. The answer eventually had to come from the audience.

The question to identify a folk dance form and the place where it is being performed left both the finalists and the audience clueless. The participants named everything from Yakshaganam to Vadakkanppattu only to be told that it was Kanyarkali dance performed by the Nair community in Palakkad.