[img]http://hits.guardian.co.uk/b/ss/guardiangu-feeds/1/H.20.3/61591?ns=guardian&pageName=We+get+answers+from+the+stars+of+We+Need+Answers%3AArticle%3A1310992&ch=Television+%26amp%3B+radio&c3=Guardian&c4=Television+%28Culture%29%2CTelevision+and+radio%2CCulture+section%2CComedy+%28TV+genre%29%2CComedy+live+%28Stage%29&c6=Will+Dean&c7=09-Nov-28&c8=1310992&c9=Article&c10=Feature&c11=Television+%26amp%3B+radio&c13=&c25=&c30=content&h2=GU%2FTelevision+%26amp%3B+radio%2FTelevision[/img]Tim Key, Mark Watson and Alex Horne from TV's silliest quiz face the sheer randomness of Wikipedia
If a snail and a pigeon were to meet in Nottingham and race around the world in opposite directions, where would they meet?* It's not a hugely important question, but it is one that a member of the great British public deemed puzzling enough to spend 98p on texting an SMS answer service to find out.
We Need Answers has taken the funniest, dumbest and smartest questions posed by texting Britons and turned them into Britain's silliest new quiz show – back for a full series on BBC4 this week, after starting as an after-hours free-for-all at the Edinburgh fringe. Hosted by comedians Tim Key, Mark Watson and Alex Horne, the show takes minor celebrities and asks them questions that people have been wondering about, like, "How many grapes can most people stuff into their mouths?" (Jay Rayner managed a hardy 23.) Meanwhile, Germaine Greer, in a literary round, was asked what Dennis The Menace's dog was called. As Mark puts it: "We want people to feel thoroughly quizzed."
So, to turn the tables, we used Wikipedia's Random Article button to provide inspiration for a quiz of our own. It was also a good chance to ask some stupid questions. Hurray! Alex kindly agreed to judge proceedings and provide some helpful slides. Now let's see how Tim and Mark fared ...
* They'd meet in Nottingham. The slug would only move three miles by the time the pigeon had circumnavigated the globe. Take that, slug!
RANDOM ARTICLE 1:[b] SPORT IN CORNWALL[/b]
Q: WHAT ARE THE TWO SPORTS FOUND ONLY IN CORNWALL?
TIM: It might be one of those dickhead sports where they chase cheese or pull faces.
MARK: Maybe Cornish pasty throwing?
THE GUARDIAN: Incorrect! But it is quite anarchic.
TIM: Cornish wrestling?
THE GUARDIAN: Cornish wrestling is correct!
MARK: Oh, look at that. (Suddenly) Pig throwing?
THE GUARDIAN: Incorrect. The other one is Cornish hurling. Do you know the first rule of Cornish hurling?
TIM: I'd guess men only.
THE GUARDIAN: It's actually that there are no rules.
MARK: So it's really just a load of men with stick and a ball.
ALEX'S VERDICT: Tim got one right and also receives two bonus marks for being slightly less cynical about this sort of thing and for mentioning the great sport of face–pulling (first contested at the Egremont Crab Fair in the year 1297).
SCORE: MARK 0, TIM 3
RANDOM ARTICLE 2: THE GRIMSBY CHUMS
Q: WHAT OR WHO WERE OR ARE THE GRIMSBY CHUMS?
MARK: Grimsby's a fishing town, so I've got to go for a guild of fishmongers.
TIM: The Grimsby Chums are a style of fishing net.
THE GUARDIAN: It's actually a first world war pals' battalion. But bonus points for your favourite chums ...
MARK: (Quickly) Jennings and Derbyshire [from Anthony Buckeridge's Jennings Goes To School]. Because in those days people were genuinely chums.
TIM: I'd go for Brian Clough and Peter Taylor. They were such good chums that even though they fell out for quite a long time, there's still a statue of them.
MARK: Yeah, and Clough was really upset when Taylor died.
ALEX'S VERDICT: Mark gets two points for speed and accuracy, and also because I watched that Brian Clough film with Tim and neither of us thought it was very good. Yes, Taylor and Clough were chummy and cuddled quite a bit, but we would have preferred a bit more grit. We liked all the football bits though.
SCORE: MARK 2, TIM 3
RANDOM ARTICLE 3: BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN'S ALBUM, MAGIC
Q: WE ALL KNOW BRUCE'S MUSIC IS MAGICAL, BUT IF THE BOSS HAD MAGIC POWERS WHAT WOULD THEY BE?
TIM: I think he should have the ability that when he licks he can corrode things. He could lick the lock of a door to open it. So ... (proudly) acid lick.
MARK: Well there's a bit in one of his songs ...
TIM: … Oh don't
MARK: Look, I need the points ... In Born To Run he goes, "I'd die with you in an everlasting kiss", so I think a good power would him being able to do perpetual kissing. But still get on with other tasks.
TIM: I suppose to do that you'd have to create some kind of harness.
MARK: Yeah, so less a magical power and more just judicious use of a harness.
TIM: (Fits of laughter) … use of a harness!?
MARK: Whereas acid tongue, by contrast, no one can dispute.
ALEX'S VERDICT: Exactly. No dispute here. Two points. My only reservation is that acid tongue might lead to stomach acid and tummy ache which isn't a great look for a superhero.
SCORE: MARK 2, TIM 5
RANDOM ARTICLE 4: GERMAN SPA TOWN BAD FRANKHAUSEN
Q: SO THE QUESTION IS, WHAT IS THE BADDEST TOWN YOU'VE BEEN TO?
TIM: Mine wasn't that badass, but there was a military tattoo there while I was there. I guess if you're somewhere for 24 hours and there's a military tattoo you get an impression. My experience of Ilfracombe was that it was just absolutely superbly military.
MARK: A lot of people think Edinburgh is the toughest place in Britain for that reason. Mine is Mount Isa in Queensland. Everyone was a miner and they all came out of their pit and straight to our show. The reception was riotous because they were all so pleased to just not be underground.
ALEX'S VERDICT: It simply can't be argued that Ilfracombe is badder than The Isa (as the locals refer to it). According to Wikipedia, the Aussie town is "arid" and "industrial" while Ilfracombe is a "seaside resort" and a "civil parish". Two points.
SCORE: MARK 4, TIM 5
RANDOM ARTICLE 5: THE GOLDENEYE DUCK
Q: CAN YOU NAME ANY OTHER BOND BIRDS?
MARK: Like the You Only Live Twice Goose for example?
TIM: I'm going to go for Roger Moore–Hen.
THE GUARDIAN: You could have had Dr Crow.
MARK: From Russia With Love Birds?
TIM: (Thinks for a second) You could have George Lazenbeak.
ALEX'S VERDICT: Very poor from both. I'll give Key a half point for Lazenbeak but I was hoping for things like Dunnocks Are Forever, Goldfincher, A View To A Killdeer, The Shrike Who Loved Me, The World Is Knot Enough or The Lapwing Daylights.
SCORE: MARK 4, TIM 5.5
RANDOM ARTICLE 6: THE INDIAN MINISTRY OF POWER
Q: THE INDIAN MINISTER OF POWER IS SUSHILKUMAR SHINDE. BUT WHO SHOULD BRITAIN'S BE?
THE GUARDIAN: What about Phil "The Power" Taylor?
TIM: Ugh, I hate him.
MARK: I think he might get a bit up himself. I don't mind him being called "The Power" while he's still in darts but …
TIM: I might have Terry Jenkins, just to piss him off.
MARK: Well I'll have (Raymond van) Barneveld.
THE GUARDIAN: So a full darts–playing ministry?
TIM: Got it! I know who my minister of power is ... Jeff Stelling.
MARK: I was thinking of Stelling because he's got a boundless capacity for information.
TIM: Oh, he's immense.
MARK: He commands enormous respect. I think we'll do a joint answer for this.
TIM: Oh? Do you?
ALEX'S VERDICT: I'm also an enormous fan of Stelling and would certainly vote him in as British minister of power. He should probably replace Shushilkulmar as Indian minister of power too. He's that good. Points all round (so I'm now off the mark too).
SCORE: MARK 5, TIM 6.5, ALEX 1
RANDOM ARTICLE 7: THE JANE AUSTEN CENTRE IN BATH
Q: WHICH AUTHORS DESERVE A CENTRE IN THEIR HONOUR? AND WHAT WOULD YOU PUT IN IT?
MARK: I think Flann O'Brien. I was obsessed with The Third Policeman at university. And the whole book is sort of about a bloke getting hopelessly lost. So I'd build a centre that was a like maze and you can't figure out what's going on that reflects the book. And you could do it in rural Ireland.
TIM: I think ... it'd be me. I've got a book out at the moment so I've probably have a nice little centre. I'd try and capture the essence of my book.
MARK: I'd be a big supporter of the Key Centre.
TIM: I don't know exactly what would be in there. There's some stuff in my book about what animals people could fit into and what they can't. So I think it would be quite nice to have some animals with some people stuffed in 'em.
THE GUARDIAN: What's a borderline animal that you could fit inside?
TIM: There's a category called Animals That You Would Be Able To Fit Into But With The Aid Of A Helper, and in that there's things like tapir and baboon. It would be quite uncomfortable because I think I'd be slightly abashed that there was this centre in my honour that I'd set up for myself.
THE GUARDIAN: Could it just be your flat instead?
MARK: You can have someone sleeping on the floor and the fridge full of food. In fact exhibitions are often made of authors' homes, but rarely when they're still alive and living in the place.
TIM: Rarely, in fact, where they're telling you to "ssh" 'cause they're working.
ALEX'S VERDICT: Because of the flagrant product placement I'm going to have give two points to Mark. But I should also state that I've never heard of Flann O'Brien and would hate to visit his proposed centre.
FINAL SCORE: MARK 7, TIM 6.5, ALEX 1
ALEX'S CLOSING REMARKS …
Personally. I'm pleased to have come third in what was a compelling but disappointingly amiable battle. As is often the way in his ludicrous life, Tim seemed to gradually lose interest before throwing the thing away halfway through. Dreadful, really. But let's not underestimate Mark's achievement. After a shaky start, he out–thought, outmanoeuvred and outplayed Tim.
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