The iQuiz final: Warwick's quiz titans tick every box (nearly)
It's the student test so grand one team nearly missed an exam for it – but still lost
Which city's new cycle-hire scheme has been nicknamed Mike's Bikes? Which cathedral is the subject of a painting by Constable that has just been sold for £23m? And which piece of music inspired a riot in Paris 100 years ago last Wednesday?
If you can believe it, those are questions from the easiest round of last week's iQuiz final; at least with the "In The News" round, you can swot up from that day's paper. You've no such luck with the other five rounds, which more closely resemble mankind's efforts to find the Higgs' Boson than they do "general knowledge".
So when you're trying to answer them in direct competition with nine other teams of the best student brains in Britain – with big prizes at stake – the pressure is intense. For many students, it's exam season right about now – one of the teams, in fact, had to dash back to Durham that night for an exam at 11 the following morning – and when tomorrow's essay questions seem more relaxing to answer than curiosities dredged from the febrile depths of the quizmaster's twisted mind, you know you're not in Kansas any more...
In the end, it wasn't even close. The combined brain-might of an all-conquering team from Warwick brushed the rest of the field away as playthings to the gods, killing them for sport. Birmingham's gorgeous Ikon Gallery has almost certainly never seen slaughter on this scale, intellectual or otherwise.
Believe us when we tell you this: a score of 102 out of a possible 115 across six rounds of outlandish trivia is the very opposite of a mean feat, and "Ukip if you want to" are thoroughly worthy winners, and, honestly, more than a little terrifying in their success. How worthy? Well, Southampton runners-up "Hips Don't Lie" came in a very respectable second with 67 points – Warwick used them to wipe the floor.
It's a victory made so much the sweeter when you consider that these guys were pipped heartbreakingly by a single point in the very last round of the first iQuiz. Vengeance is now theirs in satisfying style, but there'll be a huge target on their back when the iQuiz returns next term.
So what have they won? Four VIP tickets to Latitude in Suffolk this July for a full, no-holds-barred glamping experience: double-mattresses, side-stage viewing and a palatial pre-erected tent. They earned it. The runners-up didn't go away empty-handed; their efforts have won them four standard weekend tickets, while the third-placed team from Sussex, "Here For The Beer", battled their way to four day tickets with a still-impressive tally of 65.
The winning teams will see the likes of Kraftwerk in 3D, Bloc Party, Foals, Hot Chip and Alt-J, as well as top comedians like Eddie Izzard and Dylan Moran, and luminaries from the worlds of art, dance, poetry and literature.
Travel to and from Birmingham was kindly provided by National Express, who'll also be shuttling the winners to Suffolk. Thanks too must go to Latitude for their generous prizes, to the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham for being such gracious hosts, to Simon O'Hagan for the mental monstering that constituted the 65 quiz questions, and to the teams for putting themselves through a mental challenge more like the Chinese civil service exams than a pub quiz…
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