Special Sub-Topic: The World of Wodehouse
|One of Wodehouse's most memorable characters is Bertie Wooster, employer of Jeeves, one of the brighter sparks of the Drones, winner of a prize for Scripture knowledge and hapless fiance of some fearsome women. What is his middle name?|
Wilberforce. One wonders if he was named in honour of the Hull man who was such a force in the British abolishing slavery? William Ewart Gladstone was a British Prime Minister in the Victorian era and General Montgomery the leader of the 'Desert Rats' of the Second World War. You may have seen the excellent Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry 'Jeeves and Wooster', but please believe me, the books are immeasurably better!
|Bertie Wooster was always getting engaged (normally without his desire, consent and sometimes even knowledge). Who is the lady he has been affianced to several times, who thinks that 'every time a fairy hiccoughs a wee baby is born'?|
Madeline Basset. Honoria Glossop and Florence Craye were both very strong-minded women who want to change Bertie, and Bobbie Wickham is a lively red-headed lady with all the temperament you would expect from that shade. Madeline Basset, on the other hand, was described by Bertie as 'from topknot to shoe sole, The Woman Whom God Forgot'. Because of a hideous mix-up, Madeline thought Bertie was proposing to her, when he was pleading his friend Gussie's case. For a long time Bertie felt he was in the hideous position of a US Vice-President - if anything happened to the main man, Bertie would be in the hot seat.
|Anatole, often described as 'God's gift to the gastric juices', is the French chef for much of the time at Bertie's Uncle Tom's house at Brinkley Court. However, they keep losing him. Which is not one of the reasons for this happening?|
He was a good cook, as cooks go and as cooks go, he went. Anatole is the only person Bertie's Aunt Dahlia has found that can feed her dyspeptic husband Tom 'without starting something like Old Home Week in Moscow under the third waistcoat button'. But they are in constant terror of him leaving, whether wagered at cards by Dahlia, bribery or fearful skulduggery by his admirers or someone upsetting him. The scene where Gussie Fink-Nottle, pursued by someone anxious to disembowel him, hid on Anatole's skylight, made me laugh until I cried. The '(S)he was a good cook as cooks go..' quote is from another brilliantly funny author, Saki (H. H. Munro).
|Jeeves, Bertie's estimable manservant (or, as Bertie's terrible Aunt Agatha would have it, Bertie's Keeper), often does not see eye to eye with his employer over Bertie's choice of clothes. What was not something that Jeeves objected to Bertie wearing?|
Bunny slippers. I don't know why Bertie argues, he must know Jeeves will win the end! The offending article is always destroyed, lost or taken away from him when he is amazingly grateful to Jeeves for getting him out of another pickle. The Alpine hat brought out some of Jeeves' best invective: Bertie: 'If you really want to know, several fellows at the Drones asked me where I had got it'. Jeeves: 'No doubt with a view to avoiding your hatter, sir'. As far as I know, Bertie has never tried to wear bunny slippers, but I have no doubt Jeeves would not approve. Bertie is also not allowed to grow a moustache.
|Aunts are pervasive in Wodehouse's books. In 'The Mating Season' Esmond Haddock, the young squire (helped by Bertie, Jeeves and Corky Potter-Pirbright) finally stands up to his five aunts. What does he not say to them in his stirring speech?|
Shut up, Aunt Agatha. Aunt Agatha is Bertie's aunt, not Esmond's. The valiant speech by Esmond includes his warning that the aunts' behaviour to the head of the household in Turkey 'would have led long before this to your being strangled with bowstrings and bunged into the Bosphorus'. Bertie is so bucked by Esmond's rousing words that he actually nerves himself to face his own Aunt Agatha.
|Animals feature greatly in Wodehouse books. Which of these 'dumb chums' is the odd one out?|
Augustus. Augustus is the resident cat at Brinkley Court, who according to Bertie, suffers from 'traumatic symplegia', which seems to mean, whereas most cats are satisfied with eight hours sleep, Augustus needs twenty-four. The others are all dogs. Bartholomew is a fierce Aberdeen terrier who belongs to Stephanie Byng. Bottles belongs to the Rev. Beefy Bingham and Poppet is a dachshund, who, like all of that breed, wears his ears inside out.
|There are many animals in P. G. Wodehouse books. One of the most famous must be the Earl of Emsworth's 'Empress of Blandings'. What is not a fate this noble porker has suffered in her time? |
Being made into bacon. The very idea is unthinkable! Lord Emsworth loves his flowers and his pig. I have merely sketched out some of the adventures this animal has been through - she's also been hidden in cottages and drunk 'Slimmo' (nearly jeopardising her chances in the Fat Pig class). The episode where she stops eating because of the temporary incarceration of her pigman is covered in the wonderful short story 'Pig-Hooey', which was nodded to in Terry Pratchett's 'The Hogfather'.
|P. G. Wodehouse was born in 1881 and went to school at Dulwich College. He has written school stories. One of his idiosyncratic heroes, Psmith, met his henchman, Mike Jackson, at which fictional public school?|
Wrykyn. Mike Jackson, inarticulate cricketer, became the unlikely best friend of monocle-wearing bon viveur Rupert Psmith. Rupert's wealthy father paid for Mike to go to university after Mr. Jackson lost all his money and then, after an unhappy episode working in a bank in 'Psmith in the City'(P.G.Wodehouse worked in the Hong Kong & Shanghai bank for two years) Mike became a professional cricketer and land agent. By the time of 'Leave it to Psmith', Mike is married and seeking to buy a farm, whereas Psmith is working as a 'do anything' service (providing it has nothing to do with fish). Eton and Harrow are genuine English public schools (Note for Americans: In the UK, public schools are the posh, fee-paying ones, state schools are for the hoi-polloi like me). If I have to explain what Hogwarts is, welcome to the planet!
|Another of P. G. Wodehouse's lesser-known characters has an amazing fund of nephews, most of whom work in Hollywood. He tells tales about these nephews over a drink at 'The Angler's Rest'. What is his name?|
Mr. Mulliner. P. G. Wodehouse worked in Hollywood himself, and his stories about those days, recounted by Mr. Mulliner, are a joy and an education. All the wrong answers are P. G. Wodehouse characters who deserve a quiz for themselves. Ukridge (note: Featherstonehaugh is pronounced Fanshaw - it's a British thing) is a perpetually broke character with a host of unlikely get-rich quick schemes. Galahad Threepwood is an elderly ex-Pelican club member who apparently never went to bed before he was sixty. Being the Earl of Emsworth's brother, he is often found at Blandings castle (see 'A Pelican at Blandings'). Frederick Altamont Cornwallis Thistleton-Thistleton is more familiarly known as 'Uncle Fred' and is a constant thorn in the side to his nephew Pongo (see 'Uncle Fred In The Springtime').
|This dog breed has been kept by Mrs. Bingo Little, Mrs. Spottsworth, Lady Alcester, the Honourable Mrs. Tinker-Moules and Uckridge's Aunt. Significantly, it was also Wodehouse's favourite. What breed is this?|
Peke. P.G. Wodehouse was a lifelong Peke fan and many of his stories feature these engaging little dogs.
|A lot of betting goes on in P.G. Wodehouse's books. It is an excellent dramatic device for getting people into trouble and for skulduggery and trickery. Which of the following was a genuine event bet on in a P.G. Wodehouse book?|
The Great Sermon Handicap. The Great Sermon Handicap is covered in 'The Inimitable Jeeves' (needless to say, Jeeves is on the winner, a rank outsider). Other things betted on include 'Ugliest Baby', 'Egg and Spoon Races' and many other village fete events. Losses on bookmaking lead to some hilarious situations.
|Which of these pairs of Wodehouse characters and their stately home is correct?|
Earl of Worplesden - Bumpleigh Hall. Although the rumour that 'its chatelaine conducts human sacrifices at the time of full moon' can probably be taken with a pinch of salt. To sort out the mixed wrong answers: Esmond Haddock - Deverill Hall (full of aunts); Earl of Emsworth - Blandings Castle (Home of the Empress of Blandings, wonder pig)l; and Thomas Portarlington Travers Esq - Brinkley Court (home to Bertie's Uncle Tom and Aunt Dahlia).
|P.G. Wodehouse uses wonderfully colourful and descriptive language. What do these expressions all mean: fried to the tonsils, boiled, full to the back teeth, ossified, scrooched, whiffled and woozled?|
drunk. A frequent state of Wodehouse characters, whether drowning their sorrows, celebrating Boat Race night (when policemens' helmets are frequently stolen) or just an ordinary night at the Drones or Pelican clubs.
|If you had a complete collection of P.G. Wodehouse's work on your shelves, you would have a great amount of work. What would you not have?|
You would have all these. P. G. Wodehouse collaborated on musicals with Jerome Kern and Guy Bolton. I haven't even mentioned his golf stories (as told by the Oldest Member). During WWII P.G. Wodehouse was incarcerated by the Germans and he (naturally) wrote about this too.
|P.G. Wodehouse died at the age of ninety-three in February 1975. He was working on a book which was unfinished, but published posthumously. What is the apt name of the last masterpiece from the Master?|
Sunset at Blandings. Yet another book about Blandings. I hope you have enjoyed this quiz as much as I've enjoyed writing it - and if it turns just one of you onto this author, I'll be delighted! Please let me know if you would like to see more of these quizzes (it'll give me an excuse to read the books all over again).
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