The Name That Squid Problem
I was woken early one morning by a hammering on my back door.
I quickly rushed downstairs where I found Alun in an excited state.
"I'm on Name That Squid, Jed," Alun said.
"Really," I said, "That's a big deal," Name That Squid is the high-profile radio show on Squiddy Squid Island, everyone in the archipelago listens because of the lucrative cash prizes. "When are you on?"
"This afternoon Jed, I'm catching the lunchtime boat. Are you coming with me?"
"It wouldn't be much of a story if I wasn't there to write it, would it?"
We caught the lunchtime boat to Squiddy Squid Island where we were greeted by Geoff McSquid, the sole resident, quiz show host, studio manager, quizmaster, and general gofer of Name That Squid.
"I hope you're ready to be beaten by the toughest quiz on the archipelago," he said in greeting.
"We'll see," said Alun.
Entering the studio, Geoff donned his quizmasters hat and started the quickfire, Name That Squid round.
"Which squid, found primarily in the Caspian Sea, are named after their ability to hear over 2,000 miles away?"
Alun's answer was immediate: "The Big-Eared Squid."
"Which squid is mentioned in a poem by Keats, was Lenin's nickname for Stalin and is the title of a song by Elton John?"
"The Little-Eared Squid."
"Correct. And which seriously ill sea-creature revived the American blues scene in the early 2000s."
"Sick Squid Steve."
"Well done, 100% in the Name That Squid round. We'll have a break for a record then return for the General Knowlsquids round."
Geoff changed into his DJ hat and put on Lionel Bart's top ten hit 'Consquider Yourself'.
"That was really good quizzing," Geoff said, wearing his genial bloke hat, "But you'll do well to keep it up, nobody's ever got full marks on the General Knowlsquids round. Right, time to change hats," he said changing into his quizmasters hat.
"Why did the squid cross the road?"
"Squids are capable of free will, so only the squid itself will ever know the true reason."
"Correct. Now a biblical question - how many squid did Noah take onto the ark?"
"None. The squid built their own ark and sailed alongside Noah's boasting about the amount of room they had without elephants and rhinos stomping around everywhere, and teasing Noah about forgetting to pack the dinosaurs."
"Correct. How many squid does it take to change a light bulb?"
One squid, provided it has a clear set of instructions and all the necessary equipment - viz on motorised squid-carrier, one squid-sized ladder and one lightbulb."
"Fantastic, that's the best ever score," said Geoff. "You win the first prize, ten squid."
The success, the fame, the fortune, all led to Alun becoming a quiz addict. The next morning I was woken by a hammering on my back door. It was Alun, with more quiz-related news.
"I'm on Name That Duck, Jed."
"The Duck Island quiz show? Fantastic."
We were greeted off the Duck Island Ferry by Geoff McDuck, sole resident of the island, DJ, quizmaster, etc, etc.
"Which duck shares its name with a vodka-based cocktail, a Nordic cheese so strong it's banned in seventeen countries, and the name of a series of porn films?"
"Correct. Which duck is mentioned in Dickens, was the inspiration for a Norwegian children's party game and is the title of a song by Elton John?"
"The Duck With The Inexplicably Complex Walk."
"Correct. And in the gay version of the bible, what did Jesus say ..."
Alun interrupted. "Hello Duckie."
Alun scored another 100% success, as he did with Name That Leopard, on Leopard Island, The Odd Bits of Pottery Quiz, on Odd Bits of Pottery Island and The Odd Bits of Poetry Quiz, on Odd Bits of Poetry Island. Soon there was only one quiz he hadn't attempted, The Happy Island Quiz on Happy Island.
"Alun," I said, wearing my genial host hat, "Welcome to the Happy Island Quiz. I hope you've been preparing."
"It's as if my whole life has been leading up to this."
"Right, that's enough cheerful banter, first question: "Where does the name Happy Island Derive?"
"From a Celtic god of isolation and misery, Jed," Alun said.
"Which Happy Islander invented ..."
"Alun, Jed," Alun said.
"Correct. Which Happy Islander discovered ..."
"Alun, Jed," Alun said.
"Correct. Which Happy Islander found a cure for ..."
"Alun, Jed," Alun said. "These are easy, it's always an Alun who does the discovering, inventing and curing, frankly I sometimes wonder what the Jeds do."
"We're the quizmaster, and on that topic, "What invention did Alun Davies patent on 6 June 2017?"
"I don't know, Jed," Alun said.
"You don't know? I have a copy of it here, I could read it out. It would be a shame to lose your 100% record though."
"Oh, all right, I patented a quiz question stealing device, that enabled quiz contestants to hack into quizmasters' computers and steal their questions."
"You knew all along, Jed," Alun said, when we were off air and I was wearing my 'Jed again' hat.
"Of course I knew," I said. "Nobody could possibly be that knowledgeable about squid without cheating.
"Now everyone knows I was a cheat, Jed," Alun said.
"You're forgetting," I said, "Nobody ever listens to the Happy Island Quiz, your secret's safe with me.
"How can I ever repay you Jed," Alun said.
"Have you still got the ten squid?"