The All New University Challenge Quiz Book: Questions, Answers, Facts, Figures and everything in between by Steve Tribe

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The All New University Challenge Quiz Book: Questions, Answers, Facts, Figures and everything in between by Steve Tribe

Category: Entertainment
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A hard quiz book. A hard quiz book to get out of it what you want.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: October 2015
Publisher: Quadrille Publishing Ltd
ISBN: 9781849497015

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[Cue theme music. Lights up on presenter, who waffles on about establishments providing contestants – De Montfort University, local pub, family unit. Contestants don't, for once, introduce themselves as it's probably a given that they know each other. Contestants imbibe nervous sips of 'water', and settle back.] You all know the rules, so let's not waste time – here's your first starter for ten.

Yes, this book throws no punches and attempts to put you in the spotlight of one of the nation's most superlative televisual institutions – but does it manage it?

Well, yes and no. Certainly the questions are as erudite, taxing and wide-ranging as on BBC2 of a Monday evening – get one right regarding Sri Lanka-born pop stars and you're into three further questions about hormones, Trier begets Russian literature, and pachyderm biology leads to The Iliad. If anybody still plays at googlewhacking they will be recharged with some of the terms here. The formats of all the types of questions on TV are replicated here – although for obvious reasons with no picture or music rounds. The book is presented as in fifteen 'episodes' of thirty question rounds each, being both starter and bonus triad, before the whole 'episodes answers arrive.

But here's the thing. As closely as this book conveys the seriousness and gravity of the original programme, it still remains a pig to replicate in real life. The book owner cum reader sees all the questions then all the answers, and ideally the answers should come one by one, as so often the answer to the first in the triad forms part of the basis to the others. The quiz master is then flicking to and fro, and not partaking beyond being a voice. Nor can he really go solo and write his answers down, four at a time or more, for the same reason – he needs to check the first bonus before getting the tip-off from the following question, which is impossible when he can see all the future answers en masse.

If you do have a generous book owner willing to be Jeremy (or Bamber) you have the obvious quandary that you will be breaking away from the TV format – you probably don't have buzzers, and with the many unanswered starter questions the show gets through you don't need three bonuses for every one, as you have here. So while I did have a generous questioner investigating my knowledge, and while I scored solo enough by going through the first chapter A-Z to give myself a tally of 305, it's not like being a contestant. You don't have the competition to be first on the buzzer, but instead get everything given you with no time pressure, and the chance if suitably knowledgeable to rack up a much higher score than I did (you don't need much telling that that 305 is out of 750).

Still, I can see this selling. After all, previous editions have done well. It's just so many other quiz books can be found with a decent spread of knowledge base required, and they are a heck of a lot more easily performed at home, either solo or as the book reader versus one or more fellow contestants. Here it's too plain awkward to resemble either a great time or the original programme. I wasn't expecting the urgent, disembodied voice announcing the answering contestant, but I did assume some way would have been found to bring the format to the dinner party a lot more easily.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

Quiz books per se have been very rare visitors to the Bookbag shelves – although the bibliophiles kept (with some caveats) Sonnets, Bonnets and Bennetts: A Literary Quiz Book by James Walton.

Buy The All New University Challenge Quiz Book: Questions, Answers, Facts, Figures and everything in between by Steve Tribe at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The All New University Challenge Quiz Book: Questions, Answers, Facts, Figures and everything in between by Steve Tribe at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The All New University Challenge Quiz Book: Questions, Answers, Facts, Figures and everything in between by Steve Tribe at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The All New University Challenge Quiz Book: Questions, Answers, Facts, Figures and everything in between by Steve Tribe at Amazon.com.


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