When we look back at these uncertain COVID-19 times, there are many things we will remember. The wearing of masks, the importance of R numbers, the meaning of exponential growth, and the benefits or otherwise of hydroxychloroquine have all become part of the national conversation. But another more benign feature of the lockdown has been the inexorable rise of the Zoom quiz.
Return of the Quiz
For a while, it looked like the popularity of quizzes might fade because the emergence of the Internet seemed to reduce the value placed on the possession of general knowledge. After all, what was the need to know the capital of Kazakhstan (sorry Borat!), the currency of Peru (apologies Paddington), or the UK girl group with the most number 1 singles, when a quick Google search could reveal the answers to all these and much more.
But quizzes haven’t gone away. University Challenge, Pointless, The Chase, and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? remain staples of the TV schedule. So maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised that quizzes have come to fill part of the void in all our social lives in recent months.
Various hypotheses have been put forward to explain the explosion in popularity of the Zoom quiz during lockdown. Perhaps they provide a means to channel our competitive spirit when virtually all sports and competitions have stopped. They also serve as something of a social outlet when it has become so difficult to meet up with family and friends. Perhaps there is something comforting in these uncertain times about having definitive answers readily available to difficult questions. Or perhaps it is a combination of all of these.
On the evening of May 21, the team at TWi and many other friends and supporters around the world settled down in their respective homes to do quiz battle. Honour was at stake as well as the not insubstantial prize of a Just Eat voucher. Over seven rounds, accomplished quizmaster Neil Mahony took us on a geographical, historical, and cultural tour.
We ranged from Mozambique to North Korea, from The Clash to Ed Sheeran, and from the Teletubbies to Stephen Hawking. After a highly enjoyable 90 minutes in which brains were challenged, brows were furrowed, and wine glasses and sweet bowls were filled and refilled, we ended up with a winner. Congratulations Therese Tuohy! But much more importantly, we had raised money for TWi’s designated charities, Cork Simon and Pieta House.
Well done to all involved!