Could You Win an Episode of “QI”?

By: Zoe Samuel

Could You Win an Episode of “QI”?
Image: BBC

About This Quiz

One's goal on "QI" is generally to survive and score higher than Alan Davies. Once that bar is met, the strategy needed for victory varies depending on one's strengths and how one fits into the panel.

It may appear that guests on "QI" match wits with Stephen Fry or Sandi Toksvig, respectively, but in fact, the show uses a team of researchers to summon up the quite interesting facts needed to make the QI Master seem like a genius. Of course, knowing the right answers does not guarantee victory. Most "QI" victors rely on a blend of raw knowledge and the ability to poke fun at one's own ignorance. When a panelist does not know the answer, their best course of action is to be funny about it, and perhaps elicit a clue from the QI Master so they can win.

Alan Davies is both very funny and very smart, but something about the format of "QI" somehow manages to trip him into the traps set by the researchers, earning frequent klaxons and even more frequently, dismal scores. Striking the right balance of correct answers and the right type of incorrect answers is thus the key to winning an episode of "QI." Do you have what it takes?

QI guys You can choose one of your opponents. Who do you choose?
Jimmy Carr, obviously.
David Mitchell. He's so funny!
Phill Jupitus. I think he'll improve my odds.
Brian Cox. I'll cream that fool!

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People laughing at dinner When you go a dinner party, what is your go-to anecdote?
I once met this idiot at the Oxford Union ...
I once observed some very odd animal behaviour.
I heard a startling rumour about how people behave in hotel rooms.
I have a friend who can break glass with the sound of his whistling.

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Sandi Toksvig How would you win over Sandi Toksvig?
I would come armed with some Danish expressions.
I would come to play with a Danish anecdote ready to be shoehorned into any situation.
I'd not make any jokes about coming up short.
I would just be friendly and normal, like with anyone.

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QI Spiders An image has come up on the big screens and you find it very distracting! What is it?
A very excellent photo of something very hard to photograph, like the surface of a comet
An awkward picture of an animal that makes it look like a human doing something embarrassing
A Hieronymus Bosch painting
Spiders! AH!

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Latin book What is your favourite Latin phrase?
Mundus vult decipi, ergo decipiatur.
Ex post facto
Senatus Populus que Romanus
Veni, vidi, vici

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Watching documentary What was the subject of the last documentary that you watched?
Overlooked behaviours of ordinary animals
The formation of the universe
The complete history of football
Do historical dramas count as documentaries?

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Man studying How do you prefer to learn knowledge?
I frequent classes and lectures.
I bury myself in books.
I listen to podcasts.
I learn things from the television.

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Couple visiting museum What sort of holidays do you like to go on?
I prefer to learn new things wherever I go.
I love visiting museums.
I just like to go someplace pretty.
I like to sleep on the beach.

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Playing articulate When you play "Articulate," how often do you say the word?
I never say it!
I rarely say it.
It usually comes out of me eventually.
I can't stop myself from saying it!

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Mum's the word.
I can usually adhere to omertà.
If it's a really cool secret, I'm not going to hold it in forever.
Oh! Oh! No, but tell me anyway!

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The Magic Circle Are you a Member of The Magic Circle?
No. I'm a Member of The Inner Magic Circle.
Yes, but only that
No, but I'd love to apprentice for them!
I don't like magic, or creativity, or happiness.

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Tree sloth What is the fastest living thing in nature?
It's a kind of mold spore.
Tree sloth
Hummingbird
Cheetah

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QI Buzzer How do you train to hit your buzzer promptly?
I have a friend play "Simon Says" with me, with a buzzer.
I play a lot of "Cat's Cradle."
I watch some old episodes of "QI" and yell a lot.
Practice?

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Nerds The nerds have come and their live demo has gone wrong! What do you do?
I step in to help explain because I know exactly what they are trying to communicate.
I ask if I'm correct in my theory about what they're trying to demonstrate.
I make a joke about how I was correct about the ridiculous joke I made about things earlier, like how dogs can't look up.
I play with their props and act silly.

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QI audience Someone in the audience calls out what they think is the answer, but no one else on stage has noticed. Do you take credit for knowing it?
No, but I expound on it a bit.
Yes! And when anyone questions me, I tell them off in a funny way.
Yes, but in a jokey way.
No, I point it out!

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Encyclopedia What is your secret weapon?
I read an entire encyclopedia once, and I've retained most of it.
I'm pretty well informed. I read all about current events.
I have a good education.
I've heard a lot of interesting things over the years, some of which I actually sort of remember most of on a good day!

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Graduates How would you describe your education?
I'm a Professor Emeritus in the University of Life.
I have an advanced degree.
I'm educated, but for the most part, I've learnt things from being an adult in the world, not a child in a classroom.
Unpleasant! I'm so glad to be free of it.

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QI players hugging Would you make an alliance with another player to win?
No! It doesn't work that way!
I might, given the right player ...
Yes! We will divide and conquer, and then, Thunderdome!
No! Where's the fun in that?

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QI moons How many moons does the Earth have?
It depends on who you ask.
Five
Two
One

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Girl raising hand in class Were you that kid who always puts their hand up in class?
Of course not. I'm no fool.
Only in one subject
Only in certain subjects
Oh! Yes! Me! Me! Me!

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Kid talking to teacher When you forgot your homework, how would you tell your teacher when you arrived at school?
Space aliens abducted me, and when they learnt that I study statistics, they insisted on taking my homework.
It was taken from me by highwaymen.
It fell into a well.
My dog ate it.

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Chemistry teacher What is the most challenging job you've ever had?
I was a secondary school chemistry teacher.
I was a caterer.
I worked in banking.
I worked in a comedy club, as a janitor.

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QI show How did you come to be on the show?
My publicist had me on because of my new book.
I'm a regular on the show.
I got some good press at the Edinburgh Fringe, and so now I'm here.
I'm in every episode because I am brilliant.

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Telling jokes Do you know any clean jokes?
None, but I can try to choke through some good jokes without using bad words.
Only one, and it's very childish.
I have a few clean jokes.
I have an arsenal of half-remembered clean jokes.

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QI show Someone gives the answer you were about to give! How do you feel?
Bastard! I will come up with a clever joke to add to this that demonstrates further insights!
Show-off! I will make a joke about my own ignorance, as though I did not know the answer.
I will claim I already said it!
I will joke that I always go for the obvious answer unless it is correct.

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Scientist In which area are you an expert?
Science. All of it.
Literature
History
Sweets

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Sheeps running A field full of sheep has freaked out. What is the most likely explanation?
One of them became spooked.
Aliens!
They're sheep! What do you want from them?
An earthquake!

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Trivia night How often do you go to the pub on trivia night?
Rarely, because my club has a special pub quiz night for super-geniuses like me.
Every now and then, when I can be pried from my books.
Once a week!
I can never remember when they have it, so I only go rarely and only by accident!

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Crib sheet Where on your person would you conceal a crib sheet for the show?
I would have it sewn into a hankie.
I would write it on the cloth I use to wipe the lenses of my glasses, which I do not need.
I would write it on my palm with a felt tip marker.
I wouldn't bother. What's the point? It's not going to help me anyway.

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Klaxon You set off the klaxon three times in a row. Would you give up at that point?
Never!
At this point, I'll just have fun and if I come back, then I come back.
I'll see if I can find a moment to shine, but mostly yes, I'm calling it a day.
The klaxon means a bad thing?

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