The Coldest Stone: The Best Curling Quiz in the World

Also: the only curling quiz in the world

bonspiel curling terminology end house ice

Is this man taking part in a bonspiel? Or is he about to embark on a dinosaur telegraph?     Photo: Bruce McKay Yellow Snow Photography/Flickr

I am a beginner with all of this, and so are you. (If you are not, then, man, I apologize.) And so, the basics of this sport are simple enough: one slides a stone, two others sweep, and you try to get your stones as close to the middle of the house. Then, the other team goes, and it alternates from there, kind of like frozen bocce ball. One team wins the end (consisting of eight stones from each team) and gets however many points they've earned. Ten ends are played, and then it’s over so long as it’s not tied.

This is the crudest of explanations, and it is so because it is without any real native-curling lingo. Therefore, and in order to avoid the almost-inevitable universe theorizing/philosophizing that’s come to characterize this, I present to you a quiz concerning some of the more obscure curling terms.

One definition is correct; the other is not. Anything less than 100 percent and you will be locked inside an igloo with a bristle-less broom and the cellmate that is your own mind.

1) Biter:
A) A slightly more vivacious nibbler.
B) A stone that just touches the outer edge of the outside circle of the house. 

2) Dinosaur Telegraph:
A) An imaginary method of communication in which letters are transported between human beings, generally by way of pterodactyl.
B) An unimaginative move, generally by an older curler, that provides an obvious path to victory for the opposing team. 

3) Bonspiel:
A) A curling competition or tournament.
B) An extended monologue concerning a frozen desert of chocolate and ice cream.

4) Burned Stone:
A) Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, et. al.
B) A stone in motion touched by a player or any part of a player’s equipment.

5) Hog Line: 
A) A row of swine.
B) A line extending across the width of the sheet that is parallel to and located 21 feet from each tee line.

6) This Little Chicken Didn’t Go to the Market: 
A) A weakly-thrown stone that does not reach the house and therefore has no effect on an end.
B) An errant toe on a child’s foot.

7) Hack Line:
A) A row of (generally) white, overpaid sportswriters, seated in a press box.
B) A small line of 1.5 feet, parallel to the tee line, at each end of the center line. 

8) Ice Surface: 
A) Traditional Bahamian apocalyptic imagery.
B) The complete ice area that is within the perimeters of the curling sheet.

9) Quilted Turn:
A) The switching of directions by one adorned with a pieced-together blanket. 
B) A final, curled shot that earns maximum points and covers the center of the house. 

10) Swingy Ice:
A) Ice, the surface and appearance of which inspires married couples to forsake their relationships—by mutual consent—for a single night. 
B) The condition of the ice or stones causing the stones to have excessive curl.

11) Blank End:
A) An end resulting in no score for either team.
B) A lack of a rounded buttocks.

12) Displaced Stone: 
A) The often-painful discharge of crystalized dietary minerals from one’s kidney.
B) A stationary stone that has been moved to a new location. 

13) Broken Broom:
A) A sweeper who is unable to get his tempo down over the course of a tournament. 
B) The result of a superstitious NBA basketball player not wanting his team to lose every game during a specific playoff series.

14) Delivery Stick:
A) A device which attaches to the handle of the stone and acts as an extension of the arm/hand during the delivery process.
B) A robotic arm used by certain mailmen and -women that allows packages to be dropped off from the driver’s seat of a mail truck.

15) Hit and Roll:
A) The motion of smacking a pig with your right hand and then tumbling down a hill. 
B) A stone that knocks an opponent's stone out of play, and then rolls to another position in play.

Answers: 1. B; 2. A; 3. A; 4. B; 5. B; 6. B; 7. B; 8. B; 9. A; 10. B; 11. A; 12. B; 13. B; 14. A; 15. B

Definitions courtesy of the World Curling Federation.

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