Eldritch McGonagall Evangelism

July 26, 2007

The ability of quizzes to bring about the dawn of an age of horror and eternal insanity has already been commented upon.

In an awful moment of coherence and utter illumination, I saw the execrable truth: not content to wait for the stars, in their aeons-long drift, to come into alignment, these quizzers seek to recreate the abnormal, non-Euclidean incubus that is R’lyeh in the minds of men. The strange angles, the alternate topography ne’er imagined, will become a stronger and stronger vision, a message of power that will penetrate Cthulhu’s endless sleep and resurrect It upon this earth. To the winners of the league will go the honour of being eaten first, while the rest of humanity plunges into shrieking torment for an age and an age.

And yet, all is not well. As quizzers, we strive relentlessly to raise the Great Old One into this world. But there is only so much we can do. A quiz comes only once a month. It has limited questions. Indeed, without a continuous supply of fresh initiates, the ability of the Master of the Cult to recreate horror and madness dies out. We need a fresh tactic to being about The Tentacularity.

It is here that the poetry of William McGonagall comes to our aid. As Wikipedia informs us,

McGonagall has been widely acclaimed as the worst poet in British history. The chief criticisms of his poetry are that he is deaf to poetic metaphor and unable to scan correctly.

I shall demonstrate the point of the incorrect scanning with examples:

And as she approached his body the hissing fuse burst upon her ears,
But still the noble girl no danger fears;
While the hissing of the fuse was like an engine grinding upon her brain,
Still she resolved to save Jack while life in her body did remain.


And when the day of his trial draws near,
No doubt for the murdering of his wife he drops a tear,
And he exclaims, “Oh, thou demon Drink, through thee I must die,”
And on the scaffold he warns the people from drink to fly,

Not to mention:

Then Shere Sing fled in great dismay,
But Lord Gough pursued him without delay,
And captured him a few miles away;
And now the Sikhs are our best soldiers of the present day,
Because India is annexed to the British Dominions, and they must obey.

And, one last before I get carried away:

In my opinion, what a man pays for he certainly should get;
And if he does not, he will certainly fret;
And why wouldn’t women do the very same?
Therefore, to demand the parliamentary Franchise they are not to blame.

Right. Enough examples.

With their bizarre and unconventional structure, the poems of McGonagall clearly follow Non-Euclidean metre. The odd turns of grammar are reminiscent of the unnatural and profane rantings of the Cthulhu cultists, while the way in which words are piled up over each other is a literary parallel to Cyclopean architecture. Clearly, a century and more before the Bombay Quiz Club began its pitiful efforts, McGonagall was attempting to rouse the Dread One.

The Bombay Quiz Club has stagnated. It remains unable to attract more than forty or fifty at a time. No matter what horrors the Master may attempt to summon, there is not enough fresh blood being brought in1. It is time to change tactics. Quizzing is no longer enough. To bring about the Age of Horror, we must move from quizzing to public recitals of McGonagall’s poetry. Schoolchildren must be exposed to its eldritch rhythms in morning assembly, and FM stations must play it during peak commuter hours. Broadcast to the masses, it will induce collective agony and spasmodic writhing in those who hear its unimaginable cadences. Those who endure the agony of reciting it themselves shall discover release in Being Eaten First, while the rest of the world shall find itself plunged into a madness far greater.

It’s a very pleasing thought.

1: Even after the infant sacrifices.

Down with The Hindu

February 10, 2006

The pseudo-secular, crypto-leftist rag for indolent IAS aspirants seems to have decided that since it can’t match the Slimes in circulation, it will match it in abysmal journalism.

Day two saw one of the big events in the fest, the quiz, turn out to be remarkably low-key. Even though the number of participants was high, the presentation did not meet the standards set during the business fest, Vista, held earlier in the year. [link]

Our presentation couldn’t match up to Derek O’ Brien’s? Derek, who chucks teams off the stage and destroys any chance of fightbacks? Derek, who despises fundaes, and whose quizzes will never have those aaahhhh moments that only fundaes can bring? Derek, who doesn’t know his participants personally, and can’t banter with them? Our presentation was worse than his? This is surely enough provocation for me to pull a TTG and offer Anand Sankar creative additions to his diet.

Our pal continues with his woeful disregard for facts and goes on to say

Jal… have a very rock sound rather than a pop one

And people still claim that the Hindu is reliable. Astounding.

The Unmaad Open Quiz 2006

February 4, 2006

Was conducted today, to general appreciation. Here are the quizzes:

Prelims, 5.7 MB


Finals, 10.8 MB

We also used three questions as tiebreakers (though there was still a tie even after we used them, so the teams split their prizes). These were:

  1. Who is the first chief minister of J&K from Jammu rather than Kashmir?
  2. There is an online game called Stick Cricket. The animation for getting out hit wicket is a tribute to what?
  3. The producers of this TV series were not sure how popular it would be, and if it would last more than a season so they came up with a gimmick for the last episode of the first season. This was to reveal that one of the characters was just a figment of the male lead’s imagination, and so for the entire first season, this character talked to nobody except the male lead. By the time the season ended, the show was a hit and in no danger of cancellation. So in subsequent seasons the character started interacting with other characters. Identify the series.

Answers can be submitted to me using the contact form.

The Downside of Tull

January 29, 2006

Jethro Tull is the main act at Unmaad, IIM Bangalore’s cultural fest.

This does flip Unmaad into a league well above any other college festival- Euphoria or Parikrama just don’t compare to Tull. But it does have its downside.

The main downside is that the Tull show is soaking up sponsorship money like nobody’s business- seating, sound and security don’t come cheap, and the budget for prizes has been slashed by 4 lakh rupees.

What this means is that the Open Quiz, which I was conducting along with SKimpy and Kodhi will no longer have a first prize of thirty thousand rupees. It will instead have a prize of nine thousand rupees- still much better than what any other festival gives, but not the Landmark/ Odyssey killer we had fondly dreamt of. If you had decided to come to Unmaad based on my pitching of the prize money, I most humbly apologise, and can only promise to try and give you a quiz that is worth your ticket to Bangalore.

On the positive side of things, the events team has been highly apologetic, tried its darndest to bring in decent kind prizes, and have been refreshingly transparent about the whole thing. Amd when you’re doing something pathbreakingly different like getting an international band over, I suppose budget slippage is forgivable.

Finally, I know nine thousand isn’t as tempting as thirty thousand, but if you’re a quizzer do come to IIMB for our quiz. It’s on the fourth of February, and will feature questions we’ve been working on since July. There shall be no chimps, no peters and very little floyd.

Update: Prizes increased to 15000, 12000 and 9000!

Somebody please help Skimpy out

November 22, 2005

He’s found what could be the love of his life, and lost her.

If you have any clue about who the attractive girl sitting in the second row of Chowdiah Memorial during the Landmark Quiz Bangalore finals was, please let me know immediately. This could be Wimpy’s last chance to escape the shackles of an arranged marriage.

The Government as Shopkeeper: A Hint

November 18, 2005

As nobody has cracked the question about the government being a shopkeeper yet, I am providing a hint.

Quite some time after this person made this statement, he/ she became a member of parliament. However, while in parliament he/ she did not really bother about government being a part of all the stuff mentioned: cooperatives, corporations, airlines, et cetera. Instead, he/ she focused largely on the welfare of schoolgoing children, arguing that they were overburdened.

Try now.

The Government as Shopkeeper

November 15, 2005

A quiz question for you, especially if you are an Infamous Cartel Member. Who said/ wrote the following?

Among the multitudinous avatars of our Government, the latest one is that of a shopkeeper. I wonder if the red-tapist at the counter is going to appreciate the psychology of an average shopper and treat him with the considerateness he is accustomed to at his favourite shop. People on their side have no reason to expect that multi-storeyed, multi-purpose, super markets and mighty ‘price-line’ holding establishments will ever do better than our State Banks, Telephones, Airlines, Railways, Cooperatives, Corporations or Coffee Boards, where a customer is reduced to the rank of a supplicant or petitioner, unless he proves influential or aggressive in one way or another.