The tricky Round Britain Quiz

I continue to be in awe of the panellists in “Round Britain Quiz” on Radio 4 as I catch up on the new series - fluently pulling out pieces of obscure “general” knowledge and tracing the connections which the question-setter had woven together. (But if they are stumped, as sometimes happens, then the host mercifully - both to the panellists and the audience - gives hints and nudges - at the cost of the points to be awarded at the end.)

Questions from the episode of 18 March 2024 (from the programme notes for the episode on the BBC Sounds web page) are below - I was pleased that I got much of the first question, but then it got harder…

Q1 (from Barbara Jennings) Which gas has the following effects? Applied to a tree, it makes a mess. Applied to a limb, it causes damage. Applied to a bird, it produces a cry of pain or a famously controversial American poem. And applied to everything, it makes room.

Q2 Why might a short story by Gogol give Bradley Cooper, Nicole Kidman and Gerard Depardieu a wry smile?

Q3 Music: Can you name the four people in the spotlight here, and why are they still burning?

Q4 (from Derek Evans) Who are these: a radio acknowledgement, what Americans find in the bathroom, ericaceous compost, and an actress who was to the manor born.

Q5 (from Simon Meara) A girl with an auric device, a girl fleeing an alien invasion and a woman who didn’t see things in black and white all share their name with the 39th and the 40th - although we don’t know which is which. Can you explain?

Q6 (from Rob Webb) Music: How might the first three be heard in the fourth (with a minor spelling correction)?

Q7 In which Moroccan city might you have found, at a particular time, the inhabitant of a plastic box, a saintly King of Hungary, an Italian car and a French car?

Q8 Why do a player piano, a grumpy person, a protective plate for a keyhole and a Karmic reptile all take a very long time indeed, in the end?

(The programme notes don’t have the answers though - you’d have to listen to the episode for those!)

I would occasionally be able to help on rare moments where other panellists stumble… On another recent episode from 14 April 2024 when they swiftly identified the connection between the lover of Mikhail’s writer hero, a suite of violin concertos, and Jagger’s man of wealth and taste but then struggled to finish it off - I knew where “Book ‘em Danno” comes from!

At the start of each episode of Round Britain Quiz, it is made clear that this is the first sight the panellists have had of the questions. This is presumably to quash suspicions of the sort of green-room assistance which I read in the cutely-titled Independent article I’m sorry, I’ve been given the clues was not unheard of in some other quizzes - at least back in 1999…

(The answer for that final question? The link is pizzas: (The Master and) Margarita, Four Seasons (I should have got that, I could once almost play one of them!), (Sympathy for) the Devil, and Hawaii (Five-0).)

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