Answer me do


Oh dear, it’s another night when I’m feeling too sleepy to write out my planned book review (and it’s a Virago Modern Classic… there, that’s whetted your appetite).

Instead, I’m going to break all sorts of BBC confidentiality thingummies, and offer a quiz question which I heard whilst seeing Radio 4 programme ‘The Write Stuff’ being recorded on Sunday. It won’t be broadcast for a few weeks, I don’t think, so when it’s on you can pretend you always knew the answer…

It’s an odd-one-out question. They gave characters from these books, and people had to work out what the book was, but I can’t remember the character names and I’m skipping that bit. Seeing The Write Stuff made me realise how little I really know about books… but, once they’d got as far as the book titles, I cottoned on to this one. And it’s rather nice.

So, without further ado – which is the Odd One Out from this list? And why, of course…
The Canterbury Tales – Geoffrey Chaucer
The Return of the Native – Thomas Hardy
The Waste Land – T S Eliot
Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell

Bonne chance! (And no cheating, now)

19 thoughts on “Answer me do

  • February 2, 2010 at 11:05 pm
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    1984 as the odd one out, because Chaucer, Hardy and Eliot were all poets and Orwell was not?

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  • February 2, 2010 at 11:33 pm
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    What about this – all of those except the WasteLand feature or include characters who don't have actual names (ie we don't find them out).

    That is to say – Canterbury Tales has the Knight, the Pardoner etc, 1984 has Big Brother and the Hardy book has a character called Grandfer.

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  • February 2, 2010 at 11:36 pm
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    How about… 1984 because the others were not originally published as a book? i.e. i think Return of the Native was printed as a magazine serial, I imagine that the Canterbury Tales was only collected into a 'book' later, and the Waste Land I seem to remember was also in a magazine first?

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  • February 2, 2010 at 11:40 pm
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    These are some great answers, but not the one I was looking for… which will seem obvious once you know!

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  • February 3, 2010 at 2:06 am
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    I have an idea now, but I've already given it my shot! Drat. And it's very obvious, if I'm correct.

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  • February 3, 2010 at 5:23 am
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    Hmm just woke up, but is Return of the Native the odd one out because the other books have famous April quotes? (At least I can't remember any quote from Return of the Native!)

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  • February 3, 2010 at 7:08 am
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    Ugh, this is killing me. It's times like this when I realise I know nothing. I'm sure I'll have a *palmface* moment when the truth is revealed.

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  • February 3, 2010 at 12:12 pm
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    Hmmm…all but the T.S. Eliot are usually included in the list of "Great Books"?

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  • February 3, 2010 at 1:23 pm
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    Is it Nineteen Eighty Four because all the others have 'the' in the title? Well you did say it was obvious!

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  • February 3, 2010 at 1:55 pm
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    1984 is the odd one. All the other books are firmly located in specific geographical areas.

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  • February 3, 2010 at 2:57 pm
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    Waste Land doesn't belong because Eliot is the odd man out not being English

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  • February 3, 2010 at 2:59 pm
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    1984 is the only title in numerals; the other three all contain the definite article?

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  • February 3, 2010 at 3:14 pm
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    I'm not sure if this counts as cheating, since I confirmed my answer on Google. I also stole the crux of the idea from someone who's already commented.

    Well, I don't want to spoil other people's fun, so I won't say it. I'll just let you know on Facebook.

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  • February 3, 2010 at 3:34 pm
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    Simon, you're killing us!!!! Has anyone gotten it yet? Someone gave the answer I thought must be right, after my first wrong answer… Won't tell which!

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  • February 3, 2010 at 3:41 pm
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    Haha, I'll update tonight – but I will say that someone has got more or less the right answer…!

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  • February 3, 2010 at 4:40 pm
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    My first guess was that Canterbury Tales is the only one frequently read by English readers in translation, rather than the original Middle English.

    But now I see that someone has indeed got it. I had to peek at the text of the odd one out to see what its corresponding element was. But I'll keep mum for now.

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