Quiz Tip - Being Flexible

What does BMW stand for?

Yes, this is one of our questions, and we ask it here because one of our team was asked this in a pub quiz. Being quite a linguist he knew both the German original and its English translation. But which to put as the answer. After some discussion the team reasoned that as BMW is a German company, strictly speaking the German version must be correct, whereas the English version might not be allowed. And if both answers were allowed, nothing would be lost by using the German version.

However, the answer that the quiz master had was the English version, with the German version conspicuous only by its absence. As you can probably guess, the quiz master took the stance that “the answer on the sheet is the answer”, and refused to allow the German version. Even when other teams suggested that the German version should be allowed as well, he was unmoved.

We have always advocated sticking to your guns even if the answer turns out to be wrong, but what is the correct approach in this case? There are a surprising number of acronyms that are originally non-English with an accepted English version, so this can crop up more often than you’d think.

We would go with a bit of flexibility in the above case, but you might decide to be strict.

Also, we have tried to give answers in both languages in our questions whenever they occur.


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