SUNDAY MAGAZINE

Sure-fire mix

LOOKING at the number of quizzes being held all over the country, one could possibly modify an old nursery rhyme and go around singing: "Here a quiz, there a quiz, everywhere a quiz, quiz." Given the number of events, it's not surprising that there are more books on quizzes now than before. And those who have been holding quizzes for sometime now have come up with the bright idea of compiling these quizzes into books to get others into the act.

The latest in this line is The Penguin-Landmark Quiz Book by Gautam Padmanabhan and Navin Jayakumar. The Landmark Quiz, of which the authors are quizmasters, has become a regular annual feature in the Chennai circuit over the last 11 years and the book is basically a compilation of the best questions that appeared over the years.

With 70-odd chapters, it offers a wide variety of information from fields as diverse as history, science, cuisine, literature, films, cartoons and what have you.

This is not a book that can be read from cover to cover. Instead dip into it, flip through the pages, check out your favourite topics first and then move onto the rest. One who's reasonably well informed and interested in general knowledge would find this book interesting. "Serious" quizzers may, on the other hand, turn up their collective noses at how easy this one is (or are we rating them too high?). Here's an interesting sample of questions: 1. Sharks attack humans in a case of mistaken identity. How? 2. How did Hans van Megereem — accused of treason for selling Holland's national treasures including a Vermeer to Hermann Goering — prove his innocence? 3. One of the rules of netiquette is "not to shout". How does one "shout" on the Net? 4. Which is the only "pedestrian" hill station in Asia where no cars or vehicles are allowed? 5. After saffron, which is the world's most expensive spice or extract?

Just one bone to pick. While it may be difficult to have an audio-video section in a book, couldn't the authors have had a visual section?

Answers: 1. Looking from below, sharks mistake paddling humans for turtles or seals. 2. Megreem confesses that he had faked the masterpieces but the authorities refused to believe him till he painted another "Vermeer" on the spot.3. USING CAPITAL LETTERS. 4. Matheran. 5. Vanilla.

R. KRITHIKA

The Penguin-Landmark Quiz Book, Gautam Padmanabhan, Navin Jayakumar, Penguin, p.202, Rs.199.