Ever since discovering the joys of AQA and 82ASK we must confess to something of a question addiction. 'Why am I here?', 'whose round is it?' no question is too large for these pound-a-throw omniscient oligarchs. But now there's a new pretender in town promising answers inside ten minutes for a cut-price 50p.
Which poses a question in itself: which service should we use when struck by ignorance in drunken moments? AQA's 63336, 82ASK's 82275 or new boy ANSA's 83773.
There was only one way to find out. We sent this self-referential poser to all three: 'Which SMS Q&A service will give us the quickest and wittiest answer to this question?’
Job done we sat back to watch the results unfurl. And we didn't have to wait long. Just 15 seconds in and this expectation-lowering message appeared in our inbox from ANSA: 'ANSA is a fun service. Whilst every effort is made to provide you with correct information, we cannot guarantee the validity of the answer provided.'
We've barely begun and already ANSA's wracked with self-doubt. Still, it was quick on the draw. It was to be another finger drumming minute until another beep and: 'In all head to head independent tests 82ASK has come out ahead of AQA. We also don't charge every time people send messages when we can't find an answer.'
Commendable speed from 82ASK, just one minute 17 seconds, but sorely lacking in essential wit. The others, though, are conspicuous by their silence, especially when 35 seconds later we receive another text from 82ASK. Has it found its comedy side after all? No, it’s just an advert for its new book. Next!
It was to be another screen blinking minute and a half before our inbox was again awoken. ANSA: 'We suppose it depends on the wit. At ANSA we have wit, but we have to dish it out with a sugar lump on a plastic spoon. Today I didn't get mine.'
Ooh, cryptic. And do we detect a slight tetchiness? A text back service that bites back – interesting. And at three minutes 17 seconds it's well under its 10-minute target. Now then, where is AQA?
We didn't have to wait long. Another 30 seconds precisely and the Any Question Answered team trundled in: 'AQA is always first, best and original. If AQA were a person it would be a mix of Stephen Fry & Leslie Phillips - clever, and smooth as an otter's pocket.'
Muchos mirth points for the otter quote, but demonstrable barefaced deception in the opening remarks. Still, we asked for speed and wit. 82ASK may have been first, but such a stony-faced response clearly failed our second criteria. AQA raised a smile, but, at three minutes 37, couldn't hold true to its claim of being first. Instead it's bargain basement ANSA that's come out on top. Cheap, speedy and with a slightly unhinged sense of humour, it gets the Stuff seal of approval.