So, who are you going to text? AQA 63336!

Watchdog test shows AQA 63336 is the most accurate text Q&A service in the UK

31 March 2009

BBC's Watchdog has undertaken an independent test of text question and answer services in the UK, setting AQA 63336 up against its competitors 118118 and Texperts.

Secretly texting 20 different questions twice to each company, Watchdog then invited celebrities to see how they would compare and released the results in a programme broadcast on Monday 30, March at 7.30 pm.

AQA 63336 was the clear winner, and, according to Watchdog, scored 92.5% in the test. The celebrity team, consisting of Keith Chegwin, Iain Lee, and Konnie Huq came second with 90%. Third and last were 118118 and Texperts, both owned by American company KGB, who only got 72.5% and 65% of the answers right.

"We're delighted with the Watchdog result. It demonstrates the clear leadership that AQA 63336 has in correctly answering questions from the British public," said Colly Myers, CEO, AQA 63336. "We've now had five years' experience in providing brilliant answers, and we continue to focus on providing a high quality customer service."

You can watch the episode on BBC's website. (The segment is 20 mins into the programme).

Here are the actual questions texted by Watchdog, together with answers from AQA 63336:

Q. The fabric denim derives its name from which city?

A. Legend has it that denim was invented in the French town of Nimes, hence "de Nimes". The word 'jean' derives from a similar fabric invented in Genoa. Finally, welcome to AQA. Please save 63336 in your phone for when you next need us. Sign up to see your Q&As at aqa.63336.com. Texts cost £1.

Q. In 1998, Which country became the first in the world to issue a synthetic bank note rather than paper?

A. Synthetic polymer bank notes were 1st issued in Australia in 1988. They were developed by the Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Org.

Q. In a standard british game of draughts a player has how manu possible openings?

A. In a British game of draughts there are 7 possible first moves. There are 7 possible responses to the first move, making 49 possible openings.

Q. The melody of the rugby anthem world in union, is taken from which of the planets in the orchestral suite by holst?

A. The tune for "World in Union" is from Jupiter, a part of Gustav Holst's Planets Suite, & was originally adapted for the hymn, 'I Vow To Thee My Country'.

Q. What were the saucy peepshow machines traditionally found at the seaside called?

A. The mutoscope was a free–standing, motion picture device, operated by depositing a coin. They were often referred to as 'What the Butler Saw' machines.

Q. What was the name of rembrant's mistress?

A. After the death of his wife, Saskia van Uylenburg, in 1642, Rembrandt had relationships with Geertje Dircx and Hendrickje Stoffels.

Q. In a painting by caravaggio who is shown with his finger in the wounds of christ?

A. Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio painted The Incredulity of Saint Thomas, which depicted "Doubting Thomas" touching Jesus' crucifixion wounds.

Q. Which composer reputadly carried a container of polish soil around with him?

A. Fryderyk Chopin was the composer who carried around a container of Polish soil with him. He was exiled in France after the November Uprising.

Q. Where did matthew web, first man to swim the channel, die?

A. Captain Matthew Webb drowned in 1883 at the age of 35 trying to swim the pools below Niagara Falls, eight years after his English Channel crossing.

Q. When was the first insane asylum in england founded?

A. The first mental asylum in Britain opened in 1751 at Upper Moorfields, opposite Bethlem. It was Europe's first and most notorious psychiatric hospital. (Incorrect, see answer note (1) below)

Q. Who made the first mass produced british car?

A. Vauxhall's 10 hp H–Type of 1938 was the first mass–produced British car of integral construction. In 1948 this was replaced by the Wyvern & Velox models.

Q. What does the name alcatraz mean?

A. The word Alcatraz is derived from the Spanish 'alcatraces', meaning 'pelican' or 'strange bird'. Over time, the word was Anglicised to Alcatraz. (Correct, although Watchdog wrongly marked an alternative answer also provided, incorrect. See note (2) below)

Q. Where did the queen and prince philip live in the 1940s?

A. The Queen and Prince Philip married on 20 Nov 1947. Their first house was Windlesham Moor, until 1949, when they took up residence at Clarence House.

Q. The royal opera house offered all the tickets for the opening of don giovanni to the readers of which newspaper?

A. The Royal Opera House offered all the tickets for the opening of Don Giovanni to readers of the Sun newspaper. Tickets were £30 or less.

Q. Which painter was anthony blunt and expert on?

A. Anthony Blunt was an expert on the French painter Nicolas Poussin. He was curator for a very successful exhibition of Poussin at the Louvre in 1960.

Q. Who wrote the book called the history of the world, and where did they write it?

A. Sir Walter Raleigh wrote part 1 of The Historie of the World while imprisoned in the Tower of London. He was executed before he managed to write part 2.

Q. What show did jodie prenger make her debut in?

A. Jodie Prenger's TV debut was on The Other Half in July 2000. It was a game show in which contestants tried to guess a celebrity's mystery partner.

Q. What was ian botham's other nick name? Not including beefy

A. Ian Botham's nickname is Guy the Gorilla. Guy the Gorilla was one of London Zoo's best–loved animals, who died in 1978 of a heart attack.

Q. The leaves and bark of which tree or shrub were used for a traditional treatment of bruising?

A. The Mohawks use the bark and leaves of the witch hazel tree to treat bruising. They boil and then cool them before applying to the bruised area.

Q. What was the name of playboy going to be originally?

A. Playboy was originally going to be called Stag Party, but there was already a magazine called Stag. Playboy was founded by Hugh Heffner in 1953.

Q. When brad pitt landed the role of the hitchhiker in thelma and louise, he beat which future star to the role?

A. In Thelma & Louise, George Clooney auditioned 5 times for for the part of J.D. that went to Brad Pitt. Cher was also offered the role of Thelma.

Q. When was the first written use of the term cricket?

A. The first use of the word 'cricket' in reference to the sport was in 1598, except it was spelt 'creckett'. The spelling has altered over time.

Q. Who did agatha christie base miss marple on?

A. Agatha Christie based the character of Miss Marple upon her grandmother. Both characters had the trait of suspecting the worst in people.

Notes to answers

1. This was the one that AQA 63336 got wrong. The first psychiatric hospital in the UK was the Bethlem Royal Hospital, which was originally opened in 1247 as a priory, but then admitted psychiatric patients from 1357.

2. AQA 63336 also provided an alternative answer to this question, stating that Alcatraz is derived from gannet, which Watchdog marked as incorrect. However, showing that even BBC–researched programmes aren't infallible, further research by AQA 63336 shows that Alcatraz does mean gannet too. Interestingly, Juan Manuel de Ayala, who named the island Isla de los Alcatraces, really saw cormorants.

Notes to Editors:

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