I read this really cool piece of trivia in the papers about how Brett Lee's nickname came to be Oswald. Apparently, Steve Waugh is the man behind it. He was calling out the batting order for the day - in which Shane Lee (Brett's elder brother) and Ian Harvey were supposed to be followed by Brett. So, Waugh called out "...Lee, Harvey...", paused and completed the last name of the most infamous person in modern American history, "...Oswald."
Lesson 1: Steve Waugh has a decent sense of humour (not seen when Sourav was making him wait for the toss)!
Lesson 2: Australians fix their batting line-up beforehand unlike Mr Chappell's experimentative processes.
So, I tried to put together some random bits of trivia I had collected over the last two decades, the first of which was spent in the periphery of the most competitive quiz circuit of the country. And Bangaloreans / Chennaiites - don't smirk, it's Calcutta.
These kind of arbit trivia questions violate the basic rule of quizzing - that one should be able to work out the answers even if you don't know the answer. But they are pardoned because of the sheer novelty of the answer! (For a fantastic series of Workoutable questions, take a look at this.)
Starting off with a series:
- Which is heavier - a horse's liver or its gall bladder?
- What is the first line of dialogue Amitabh spoke in Reshma Aur Shera?
- What is the filament of a neon light made of?
- How did Ashwatthama die in the Mahabharat?
- Who played the title role in Hitchcock's Rebecca?
These are all examples of a very aptly named weapon in quizzes called the Googly. Like its cricketing counterpart, it is a decoy and you have to spot it (either from the bowler's arm or the quizmaster's grin)!
Yup. All of the above are decoys.
- A horse does not have a gall bladder.
- AB played a mute person in R&S.
- A neon light does not have a filament.
- Ashwatthama (along with Balaram and Hanuman) are among the Immortals of Hindu mytholgy.
- And, we never see Rebecca on screen but only hear of her.
General Charles Napier, in 1842, sent back a one-word message to his headquarters - PECCAVI after conquering Sindh province. Why?
Because, in Latin, this word means "I have sinned." And his message was a pun on the name!
Number Three. This one is taken from the Neil O'Brien quiz column which used to appear in The Telegraph main years ago. (Now his son, Derek, writes the column and the questions are about 360-times easier. Though, Derek looks much more handsome!)
Complete this WW II rhyme:
"Hitler with his Brown shirts, riding for a fall.
Mussollini with his Black shirts, back against the wall.
De Valera with his Green shirts, caring not at all..."
Which other hero can fit in the above scheme of rhyme? Well, the last line is:
"Three cheers for Mahatma Gandhi, with no shirt at all!"
There was a pub called The Eagle on City Road of London. This area had a lot of tailors, many of whom pawned their tailoring irons to get a drink there. Unfortunately, most of them could not pay off their debts in time and lost their irons. What is the nursery rhyme around this?
Hint: Colloquially, their irons were known as weasels. Now, that makes it easier!
Up and down the City Road
In and out The Eagle
That's where the money goes
Pop goes the weasel!
Which trivia chest can be complete if it does not touch Bollywood?
So, Number Five is...
The title song of Yaadon Ki Baraat - sung by the three brothers and their mom while their pop plays the banjo as if a mouth organ is stuck up his wrong end - is performed in playback by Lata Mangeshkar and two child artistes. They are Padmini and Shivangi Kolhapuri. Padmini gained fame by acting in an impressive body of films and Shivangi did her bit by marrying Shakti Kapoor.
On a related note, the kiddie version of the Parinda song - "Kitni hain pyaari yeh dosti hamari" - was performed by two siblings called Sagarika and Shantanu Mukherjee. The latter one has now dropped the Tanu from his name and gained fame first as the topper of Loveology, then as the feet-toucher of Sa Re Ga Ma and finally as the voice of Shah Rukh Khan!
Watch this space. I will be Back.
A long time ago, three of us had a quiz team which was aptly named Just Joking. All of the above are gleaned from a decrepit green diary I have from that age, where I used to jot down interesting questions during quizzes. Two of us are in Delhi now. But the third member is a bit too far away for having those quiz-jam sessions. Pity, because the diary still has a few pages left...