January 18, 2012 – AND THE WINNER IS:  NOBODY.  Unfortunately, all 174 contestants answered all questions correctly.  Qatar Airlines will not fly more than one person to Qatar for what is now referred to as “initiation”.  So, we had to provide a tie-breaker question in order to cull the population of smart alecks.  The question was presented yesterday and we do have a new winner for this week’s Brainteaser.  The question was:

11.  What is the best tasting Arak for the money in Lebanon?

a.  Rayyan;
b. Al-Masaaya;
c. Touma;
d. Abi-Saada;
e.  Ghantous-Abu-Raad

And the lucky winner turned out to be none other than:

SHEIKH YOUSSEF QARADAWI, Al-Jazeera’s host of “Shari’ah and Life”.  The Egyptian-born cleric and rabblerouser demonstrated vast knowledge of Lebanese hooch with the only correct answer.  But like all things in life, the victory was accompanied by a dose of bitterness.  That’s because the grand prize is a trip to Qatar where the fire-breathing Sheikh Qaradawi already lives!  This has put SyrPer in a very embarrassing situation.  Qatar airlines will not give value for the ticket nor issue another one to Thailand, Qaradawi’s favorite vacation spot.  The good sheikh has vowed “massive lawsuits and retribution.”  But congratulations anyway Sheikh Youssef!

As a note, the correct answer to the tie-breaker question was “Ghantous-Abu-Raad” which our panel of experts deemed the “best for the money” after a long night of excess and debauchery.