The Joy of Quiz

Penguin UK

A jaunty journey into the world of the quiz, from the question editor of BBC2's Only Connect, sometimes in the form of 300 excellent quiz questions

In 1938 Britain started to quiz. Since then, quizzes have become ubiquitous entertainment from pubs to primetime, suffered major criminal investigations, created unlikely folk heroes and been subjected to the rigours of question checkers. The Joy of Quiz tells the history of quiz and its makers, wonders how we came to make a game out of remembering scraps of information, looks at the tactics of professional quizzers and reveals the shadowy worlds of setters and checkers. Along the way, it asks questions such as 'What is a fact, anyway?' and 'Whatever happened to prizes like sandwich toasters?'
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About the author

Alan Connor is the question editor of BBC2's Only Connect and writes quizzes for various newspapers. He cannot see a new fact without wondering how to make it into a piece of quiz. Alan is a screenwriter, journalist and the author of Two Girls, One on Each Knee, about the puzzling world of crosswords. His favourite quiz question is: What word was intentionally omitted from the screenplay of The Godfather?

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Additional Information

Penguin UK
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Published on
Nov 3, 2016
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Games & Activities / Quizzes
Games & Activities / Trivia
History / Social History
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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A journalist and word aficionado salutes the 100-year history and pleasures of crossword puzzles
Since its debut in The New York World on December 21, 1913, the crossword puzzle has enjoyed a rich and surprisingly lively existence. Alan Connor, a comic writer known for his exploration of all things crossword in The Guardian, covers every twist and turn: from the 1920s, when crosswords were considered a menace to productive society; to World War II, when they were used to recruit code breakers; to their starring role in a 2008 episode of The Simpsons.
He also profiles the colorful characters who make up the interesting and bizarre subculture of crossword constructors and competitive solvers, including Will Shortz, the iconic New York Times puzzle editor who created a crafty crossword that appeared to predict the outcome of a presidential election, and the legions of competitive puzzle solvers who descend on a Connecticut hotel each year in an attempt to be crowned the American puzzle-solving champion.
At a time when the printed word is in decline, Connor marvels at the crossword’s seamless transition onto Kindles and iPads, keeping the puzzle one of America’s favorite pastimes. He also explores the way the human brain processes crosswords versus computers that are largely stumped by clues that require wordplay or a simple grasp of humor.
A fascinating examination of our most beloved linguistic amusement—and filled with tantalizing crosswords and clues embedded in the text—The Crossword Century is sure to attract the attention of the readers who made Word Freak and Just My Type bestsellers.
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