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Dracula Bites Back

PostPosted: January 7th, 2019, 9:46 am
by toucana

An unlucky Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? contestant threw away £93,000 last night after following the audience's advice on a tricky literature question.

Oli, from Canterbury, had successfully made it as far as £125,000 in the popular quiz show and could have walked away with the cash.

But he faced a question about opening lines from great works of fiction which could have doubled his money to £250,000. He was asked which novel begins with the words: '
3 May. Bistritz. Left Munich at 8:35PM.'

The four options were Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Dracula, Heart of Darkness and Frankenstein.
The confused contestant admitted to not having read any of the four novels.

Talking through the options he found himself unable to hazard a guess, so he asked presenter Jeremy Clarkson if he could use his '50/50' lifeline to remove two wrong answers.

The computer removed the novels by Joseph Conrad and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley leaving him with just Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Dracula to choose from.

Knowing he could still walk away with £125,000 - and that he would lose £93,000 and drop to winnings of just £32,000 if he got it wrong - Oli went a step further and asked the studio audience.

The audience overwhelmingly voted for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, with 81 per cent giving him that answer.

Even at the that point, the rules of the game stipulate Oli could still have walked away from the podium, refused to give any answer, and taken home a massive £125,000 in prize money.

But with the audience seemingly so sure, he took a risk.
He said: 'I think let's go with... let's do it. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, final answer.'

The opening line in question comes from the head of Chapter 1 of Dracula, the classic epistolary Gothic horror novel written by Bram Stoker and published in 1897

Re: Dracula Bites Back

PostPosted: January 7th, 2019, 11:03 am
by PaulN
if you haven't read any LeCarre, then you wouldn't recognize how that opener is not his style. I've read all those novels, which is making me feel like a dinosaur in these times when fewer people read books. I have noticed that contestants on quiz shows like Jeopardy who do well are old fashioned readers. Makes me wonder if I should give it a shot.

"The Nellie, a cruising yawl, swung to her anchor without a flutter of the sails, and was at rest."

Re: Dracula Bites Back

PostPosted: January 7th, 2019, 11:44 am
by toucana
It might have been slightly easier if the question had given a more complete version of that opening sentence

(Kept in shorthand.)
3 May. Bistritz.—Left Munich at 8:35 P. M., on 1st May, arriving at Vienna early next morning; should have arrived at 6:46, but train was an hour late”

The bit about "Kept in shorthand" might have tipped off a more alert contestant that this was the 19th century. (How many men could do shorthand nowadays ?)

The most worrying part is that 81% of the audience clearly hadn't ever read any of these novels either, and wouldn't have recognised the opening lines of any of them - most especially:-
The truth is, if old Major Dover hadn't dropped dead at Taunton races Jim would never have come to Thursgood's at all

Re: Dracula Bites Back

PostPosted: January 13th, 2019, 8:12 am
by -1-
Bistrica is a town in Transylvania. Or village. A community. They mine gold there. Or used to. The Hungarian name for this town is Beszterce, or Besztercebanya.

I used to collect antique maps, and one of my (so far unfulfilled) goals was to build a complete map-mosaic of the old Austro-Hungarian empire from pre-WWI military maps, on the 1:75,000 scale. I had such a map of Bistrica and area.

But I would have failed on the first however many trivia questions on the show, because my mind is mush when it comes to trivia.

Similarly when I was asked to report the material verbally to the teacher in school and high school; I knew the answers to the most complex, involving questions, but I never got to that point, which could have earned me high marks, because the teachers always asked first some trivia-type questions at the beginning of a verbal report (feleles) and I failed there, so they thought I was an idiot, and made me sit down with a bare passing mark (Kettes, vagy elegseges, felelet).