Chatting to pub quiz host Sarah Toporoff about her love of trivia, and asking each other quiz questions about history, geography, literature, language & pop culture. Can you answer the questions and follow the conversation?
- The Paris Quiz Mistress Podcast
- Go to one of Sarah’s pub quizzes in Paris (Pub Quiz in Paris on Meetup.com)
- Do you really know? Podcast (BaBaBam Studios)
Introduction Transcript & Notes
Hello listeners! I hope you’re well. Welcome back to my podcast for learners of English around the world. That’s you, I assume. You are a learner of English and you are around the world.
Welcome to another episode of my podcast. This is where you can get English into your life in the form of some regular listening practise. This time you’re going to hear me in conversation with a guest and the guest in this episode is my friend Sarah Toporoff who also goes by the name The Paris Quiz Mistress.
This is the first time she’s been on the show and that means this one will probably be a little more difficult for you to follow, but that’s alright – it’s all good practice.
Sarah is originally from the USA (so you will be hearing an American accent from her, and a British accent from me in the same conversation – and yes, we actually understand each other of course) Anyway, Sarah is from the states, but these days she lives in Paris like me and basically – Sarah loves pub quizzes. In fact, she loves them so much that she decided to run her own pub quiz nights here in Paris, in English, which she does every Sunday evening.
She writes questions and reads them out in a local pub for teams of people to answer in competition with each other. Sarah also has her own podcast in which she quizzes her friends on various bits of trivia relating to their interests. Her podcast is called The Paris Quiz Mistress Podcast.
So, in this episode I thought I would chat to Sarah about her love of quizzes, and then we could quiz each other with some fun questions, and you can see if you know the answers and generally try to keep up with the conversation and develop your English in the process.
So that’s what you’re going to get – and this is a swapcast, which means that both Sarah and I are publishing this on our respective podcasts.
Before we continue I think I should give you a little bit of support before I throw you into the deep end and make you listen to this fairly fast conversation between two native speakers.
So, let me just clarify a couple of bits of vocabulary and some culture which are key concepts for this episode, and I also have a few questions for you to consider, in order to help you prepare to understand this episode more easily.
Some words and concepts
(Forgive me if I am stating the obvious here) A quiz is a fun game or competition in which someone tests your knowledge by asking you questions and you compete with others to answer those questions. Quizzes are usually done just for fun, unlike tests or exams for example, which are done not for fun. They usually involve questions relating to trivia…
Trivia (noun) / Trivial (adjective)
…and trivia basically means trivial information or facts which are interesting or amusing but not really presented for a specific purpose. “Oh, that’s quite interesting isn’t it?” ← that’s usually as deep as it gets. That’s trivia.
It’s just random bits of general knowledge, just for fun – facts and figures, names, dates, places, moments in history, pop culture and so on.
A pub quiz
As the name suggests, a pub quiz is a quiz done in a pub. Big surprise there. But pub quizzes are a very common feature of normal life in the UK where any good pub will have a quiz night. If you’ve ever spent time living in the UK you might have noticed this. Perhaps on a weekday evening in the local pub you might see teams of people sitting at tables competing against each other to answer questions which are read out by a host who might be speaking into a microphone. It’s sort of an excuse to just be in the pub and have a few drinks, but it’s also a really fun way to spend an evening with other people.
A good host will prepare some tricky but achievable questions that make you think and that could spark some conversation later in the evening, and the host might throw in some funny comments here and there just to keep things light. The questions are often quite convoluted and might sound more difficult than they actually are. At the end, the answer sheets from each team are marked and the winning team wins a prize, typically a bottle of wine or something like that. Pub quizzes are also known as trivia nights in some places.
Does that sound familiar? This is the world of the pub quiz. Are they a common feature in your country? Do they happen in pubs? Do you have pubs? Do you have questions? Do you have facts where you live? Are there other people? I don’t know where you are.
Fun quizzes like this also take place in other situations – and I’m talking about the UK and other English speaking places too and often things are similar in our cultures. I’m sure it’s the same for you, but is it? I don’t know. Anyway, where I’m from quizzing is sort of part of our DNA. Any excuse for a quiz – in pubs but also at family get togethers, at school or even at work Christmas parties and things like that.
Sorry for rambling here but seriously – thinking about this stuff might help you to focus your attention on the topic of this conversation bit more closely and follow things more easily, and therefore learn more English from this and as a result get a feeling of accomplishment which you carry with you in your life, bringing extra positivity and confidence which ultimately helps to make you a more successful and fulfilled person in your life, which then impacts on other people in similar ways and the benefits spread out from you in concentric circles improving the lives of other people around you and they start smiling a bit more and ultimately the world becomes that bit better which makes all the difference to the global balance of everything and basically I save the world with my podcast. That’s all I’m trying to do, so don’t stand in my way, ok? The fate of the world depends on this, alright?
Now, just in case this introduction wasn’t long enough, I am now going to quickly read out the questions that Sarah and I are going to ask each other in this episode, just to give you a chance to understand them in advance so you don’t get lost in the conversation.
You see, I am COMMITTED to helping you learn English and that means I am willing to make these episode introductions at least 3 minutes longer than they should be in order to give you a helping hand in understanding fast-paced and naturalistic dialogues between native speakers of English. That is how much I care.
Quiz Questions in this Episode
So listen to these questions, understand them, can you answer them? You’ll be more prepared. Listen to the episode to get the answers.
- How many countries make up the UK and can you name those countries?
- Which Eastern European country shares zero of the same borders with countries that it shared borders with in 1989 although its physical borders have not moved? (note: I hope you don’t mind the term “Eastern European country”)
Sarah’s Questions for me
These might seem a bit random, but Sarah is a great quiz mistress and there is a link between all the answers to these questions, and it’s a link that is tailored to me somehow.
- For which film did the MPAA refuse to allow use of Ben Stiller’s character’s last name in the title, unless filmmakers could find an actual person with that last name?
- What 2nd novel by English author Charles Dickens is alternately titled “The Parish Boy’s Progress?”
- What film series began in 1988 and stars Bruce Willis as John McClane?
- In British English it means “eraser”, in American it means “condom”. What is it?
- What is the type of gun that features as a weapon in the board game “Cluedo”?
- “Scar Tissue” is the name of Anthony Keidis’ autobiography as well as one of his hits, with which band?
- PD James, Edgar Allan Poe and Gaston Leroux are all writers specialising in what genre?
- The flags of Romania, Colombia and Moldova all primarily feature which 3 colours?
- The first episode of what television drama opens with the news that that RMS Titanic has sunk?
Luke’s Questions for Sarah
My questions are really quite stupid and in fact I am not listing them here because they are too silly and I will let you discover them in all their glory as you listen to the episode. So just listen on if you want to hear my questions for Sarah – but to give you a heads up they focus on music, movies (well, one movie) and British English slang, so there is definitely some vocabulary to learn here!
MMMBop by Hanson
Mmm Bop – Lyrics
Can you tell me any of the lyrics from the first verse?
You have so many relationships in this life
Only one or two will last
You go through all the pain and strife
Then you turn your back and they’re gone so fast
Oh yeah (so much wisdom from someone so young)
And they’re gone so fast, yeah
Oh, so hold on the ones who really care
In the end they’ll be the only ones there
And when you get old and start losing your hair
Can you tell me who will still care (Hair was important to them)
Can you tell me who will still care? (interesting discussion point)
Mmmbop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba duba dop
Ba du, oh yeah
Mmmbop, ba duba dop
Ba du bop, ba du dop
Ba du bop, ba du dop
Ba du, yeah
Said oh yeah
In an mmmbop they’re gone
Plant a seed, plant a flower, plant a rose
You can plant any one of those
Keep planting to find out which one grows
It’s a secret no one knows
It’s a secret no one knows (Is it really a secret?)
Oh, no one knows
MMMM MMMM MMMM MMMM by Crash Test Dummies
Anaconda – 1997 (Trailer)
Luke’s British Slang Questions
- If you describe something as pants, how do you feel about it?
“That film was pants. Total pants.”
- How would you feel if you’d run out of bog roll?
You’d feel gutted of course.
Answer: Bog roll means toilet paper
- Can you give me a reason why you might feel “chuffed”?
Answer: chuffed means pleased, delighted, happy
- What would a British person probably say if they wanted to claim something, like perhaps a chocolate biscuit or a comfortable chair?
- If someone needed to get some kip, how would they probably feel?
Answer: You’d feel sleepy or tired, because kip means sleep (noun)
- What F word is used to say that someone is physically attractive? (It’s like saying “hot”)
- What L word is a generic sickness – like the flu or a bad cold? (a pre-covid expression)
Answer: The lurgy
- Where do you put suitcases in a car in the UK?
Answer: in the boot
- What about the engine?
Under the bonnet
In any case, whether you can answer these questions or not, I hope you enjoy listening to this conversation about trivia and that you manage to keep up with it all and pick up some English. I will chat to you again very very briefly at the end, but it’s now time to get started properly and here we go…
Listen to the episode to get all the answers to the questions!
In other news…
My pod-room still isn’t ready but it should be connected to electricity and internet in a couple of weeks.
I’m still waiting to get a WIFI internet connection at home.
My shelves haven’t fallen down yet :)
I am working on LEP Premium series 33 parts 3 and 4 and they should be uploaded soon.
Video versions of episodes will return when I have a decent internet connection (and a new computer which is coming too…)