What is a quant? And a rigger jigger?! All the items in The Apprentice’s buying task, explained

From a snaffle to Toad, here are exactly what The Apprentice teams need to buy in Oxford and Cambridge

Quant the apprentice

It’s back! The classic Apprentice buying task is returning to screen, and this year the candidates stormed Oxford and Cambridge to purchase nine items for the lowest price.


But there’s one problem: nobody’s actually sure what they all are. Although there are some entries on Lord Sugar’s shopping list that wouldn’t even confuse an Apprentice candidate (12 eggs), other items may leave you scratching your head (we’re looking at you, ‘quant’).

So, to help out, you can find the full definition of each shopping task item below and then enjoy the candidates flounder in complete ignorance.

Don’t say we do nothing for you…



No, it’s nothing to do with quantitative analysis. A quant is essentially a barge pole, a lengthy post that punts boats along in Oxford and Cambridge. A barge quant should also come with a metal prong at one end to stop it from sinking into the ground.


The apprentice

Despite what some candidates suggest, a mortarboard is not related to building works. Instead, it’s one of those square-shaped hats students throw in the air during their graduation day.

A book from the Alice and Wonderland collection (Specification: Pre-Second World War)


Let’s get this out of the way now: World War Two took placed between 1939 and 1945. That means, despite what one team suggests, candidates must pick up a Lewis Carroll book published 1938 or earlier.

Works in the collection include:

  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (originally published 1865)
  • Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There (originally published 1871)
  • The Hunting of the Snark (a lengthy poem published in 1976)
  • Alice’s Adventures Underground (a small manuscript of Carrol’s that eventually became Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland)

Snaffle (specification: eggbutt)

Snaffle horses

Although sounding like an imaginary animal, a snaffle is a device used in horse riding. It’s essentially a mouthpiece for the horse – while the centre part is inserted into the mouth, the rings hold the reins.

And, since we’re here, we should probably explain there are generally two types of snaffle: loose ring and eggbutt. The rings on an eggbutt snaffle are fixed in place, while the loose-ringed variety are – shock! – loose.

Rigger jigger

Rather than your grandparent’s equivalent of the twerk, a rigger jigger is a rowing tool: it tightens and loosens boat bolts.

A bushel of apples

Bushel of apples

Basically, the candidates have to search for a basket of apples. A bushel is actually an old imperial unit, equivalent to about 125 apples.

University plate (specification: 31 college crests)

The Colleges of Cambridge, BR poster, 1948-1965.

To find this item, candidates will have to rely on their Cambridge teams: Cambridge university has 31 colleges, while Oxford has 39.

Toad (specification: rye, half a dozen)

 It’s not an amphibian or loaf of bread (sorry, Carina). This item is a rye vodka, a spirit produced at Oxford’s Toad distillery.

12 free-range eggs – (specification: freshly laid today)

Free Range Hens And Livestock At Mulloon Creek Natural Farms

Eggs. 12 of them. Free-range. Surely none of the candidates could mess this up. Not even Thomas.


The Apprentice is on BBC One, Wednesdays at 9pm