Withington Pub Quiz League

QUIZBIZ - 11th January 2017


The Shrimps, the Dunkers, Albert and Ethel prosper whilst the Opsis slip up (again) against the resurgent Charas

The Results

The Bards of Didsbury just can't relocate their 2015/16 mojo, losing again to steady Albert.  Tony was a missing Bard last night as Mike O'B reports....

"The Bards played 3-handed because Tony was indisposed.  Somewhere along the way someone had forgotten to tell the Cricket Club that there was a match on so it was shut.  But never fear we were able to repair to The Didsbury Hotel and, as the great James Elroy would have put it in LA Confidential: 'Hush hush; by the by; whisper it softly; on the QT; the Bards were able to return to the establishment which had banned them so many years ago' - an incident which gave rise to their current identity.  They are much mellower now, and rarely threaten to approach the same level of disorder as they did in the old days."

Compulsory Mantis Shrimp greeted the New Year with a comprehensive victory over The History Men.  Rachael gives the victors' side of the story....

"After a very enjoyable evening with The History Men at the Turnpike we ended 13 points ahead.  The final score does not adequately tell the tale of what was very much a game of four quarters.  We were trailing for most of the match, being six points behind at one stage.  By the end of Round 6 we had managed to close the gap to 3 points.  However Rounds 7 and 8 were very good for us and it was here that we really pulled ahead to a comfortable victory."

....and Ivor the losers' side....

"Sadly the Christmas break has done little to restore our brain power, or our fortunes in the season’s campaign, as the Mantis Shrimp did the double - this time winning by a 13-point margin.  We were in fact three points ahead after round 6 but then scored 2 points in the last two rounds to the Shrimps' 18.  We cannot even claim we got the harder questions as the Shrimps managed 5 steals in those rounds."


The Men They Couldn't Hang kicked off their New Year with a defeat at the hands of the visiting Ethel Rodin.  According to Graham the home team got the bulk of the twos scored - but neither side really enjoyed the paper.


The Electric Pigs lost to the invincible Dunkin' Dönitz outfit at The Fletcher Moss.  Kieran was on the spot to tell us how it was all done....

"Relocation, relocation, relocation.  The disruption and general sense of things being not right from last year has spread into 2017.  A private party in one room and the AGM of the Manchester City supporters club (Didsbury branch) in the other, meant that we were forced to move from our normal Fletcher Moss turf to the bench seats at the right of the bar - where ex-Amboss leader Rebekkah Ottaway is frequently to be found (without her own personal Wild Willy Barrett as far as I've ever been able to discern).

The Fletcher Moss performed slightly better than the Griffin did in the reverse fixture pre-Christmas in that the beer was drinkable and there wasn't an audio terrorist murdering classic songs anywhere to be heard.  But only two bar staff had been rostered to work despite several weeks advance notice of the party and the AGM, and they struggled to cope.  Service was very slow.  Not their fault at all and they tried their best with good humour but whoever is running the pub now needs to rethink their customer service.

Super-sub Simon appeared for the fifth time this season as Barry was supposed to be on a romantic birthday break in snowy Sicily.  'Supposed to be' because they missed the plane.  Oops!  But he sat out the evening anyway and Simon yet again demonstrated exactly why we are performing so much better this season.  We now have five players and can cover any of the absences which have caused us to drop so many points in recent seasons.

Eleven wins from eleven games and onward to the Charas in a (hopefully) on form Griffin next week.  Huge anticipation over which Swinton terrorist faction Bob will choose to honour with his signature cap."

The Opsimaths completed 'The Charabancs of Fire double' by losing to them in the last game before Christmas, and the first game after Christmas.  I know I've said it before, but how come the Charas have done so badly this season so far?  They were on the ball throughout this match and won, not by any streak of luck, but by virtue of being the better team on the night.

I was QM for the evening, ably assisted by Jitka who muttered dark threats to her Opsimaths colleagues as they managed to talk themselves out of a number of correct answers (for instance George of Denmark suddenly changed into Frederick of Denmark at the last moment).  Even the 'Michael Clarke cricket' question falling  (inevitably) to Roisin was not enough to put the visitors off their stride.  Expect to see the Charas climb steadily up the table over the coming months!

....and here's Damian's take on the evening....

"Carrying on from where we left off at the end of the first half of the season, the Charas decided they like winning ways so much that they'd chance another one to open up the second half of the season.  Too bad the poor old Opsis were yet again in the firing line for this re-acquired habit of ours - but there it is.  It only served as the icing on the cake for what, for us and I daresay most of us in the league, is an experience to relish, that is playing a quiz in the Albert Club against a team as esteemed and as fun to socialise with as the Opsimaths (although they may now be forgiven for being grateful to see the back of us for the rest of this season)!"

The Paper

This week the paper was set by The Prodigals.

The average aggregate score was a shade below the season's average (71.0 against 73.4) but this average disguises a wild variety of scores.  At the Parrs Wood they could only muster an aggregate of 57 points whilst at The Turnpike the Shrimps contributed a massive 49 points towards an aggregate of 79.  So very 'Marmite'.

At the Albert Club we were pretty happy with the offering clocking up 74 points between us.  The balance in each round did seem to veer a bit dramatically with the team going first in Round 1 suffering rather badly in Round 5 (though that might just have been down to Opsimathic ignorance!).  Overall there were 9 unanswered questions breaking 6-3 to the detriment of the home team (who won the toss and went first).  Opsimath Clare and myself did agree afterwards that the 'Only Connect' round was a little unfair to the team going first (the Charas in this case) since by the time the second of each pair was asked the type of connection had been established.  So I'd recommend that future Only Connect rounds of this sort do not have questions paired.

Other niggles?  Well a number of the great Mancunians in Round 3 were actually Salfordians which would probably have led to some sort of Prodigal topping had the round been asked the other side of the Irwell.  Also some of newspaper suffixes (e.g. 'Cake') were totally unguessable (unless you happened to come from Royston, say) whereas others were reasonably guessable and acted the way themes should by nudging you towards the answer.  On the plus side the Fibonacci sequence round and the final University Challenge Bingo round were very well received.  And best answer of the night was John's offer for Lenin's definition of 'Imperialism' as "Doing capitalism to someone else in their own country."  Far better than Lenin's own definition!

Reaction elsewhere?

First Kieran from the Fletcher Moss....

"The Pigs were their usual intensely competitive selves, and friendly as ever, as we set about the Prodigals paper which I understand to be entirely the work of University Challenge winner, historian and cricket buff Michael (ED: According to Ivor below just 5 of the 8 rounds were Michael's doing).  A slow burner maybe but some excellent ideas.  The 'Fibonacci sequence' round made no sense at all until we twigged it on the last question when mental arithmetic confirmed the half-remembered notion that Boney had indeed carked in 1821.  Starting with an 'either Goneril or Regan' question wasn't such a good idea though since inevitably we went for the wrong one and the porkers greedily took the pass over without having to think. That stroke of luck came back our way however when Dave went for Harper Lee and Dario Fo as the first pair of 2016 literary stiffs, and then we got the point for Umberto Eco (though we knew it anyway - honest!).

To his everlasting shame, David scored a two in the 'Only Connect' round for Achtung Baby but in mitigation we all knew the answer.  I even own a copy, gathering dust in a dark place somewhere.  Somebody I didn't know very well bought it for me as a birthday present.  I don't speak to them anymore.

Only twelve twos and eight unanswereds.  Not a crowd-pleasing points-fest but it had its charms and both teams had to work hard to score.  But there was very little that was uninteresting.  The 'newspaper suffixes' was a theme that didn't really work but on the plus side I now know that there is a Crow and a Chad competing with the Guardian and the Daily Hate for custom.  Pig, and Guardian page 3 pin up, Andrew is also clued up now as to a whole load of new forums for his splendid Emmeline Pankhurst statue project."

....and less than enthusiastic Graham....

"Poor Saint Gilly, our QM, struggled with this one.  Both teams felt it was a pretty boring set of questions.  Mind you I'm a slave to Dave Barras and the Hangers so you can't put me off that easily."

....and not-so-owlish Ivor....

"QM and Prodigal setter, Michael, was on hand to see how we got on and whether we enjoyed the paper.  He was coy enough not to reveal which were the five rounds he set but overall the quiz did get the thumbs up.

 We did quite like the Fibonacci series round (where it certainly helped to be sitting in seat 4) and the Booker prize winners round (where an impossible Danish-derived Mancunian place name sprung to mind when I recalled what was described as the most unreadable book ever to win - The Bone People by the New Zealander Keri Hulme).  Despite my 'owlish ways' not even I have read it.

 QotW was the French sound-a-like Mancunian keyboard composer with the Smiths who may possibly be remembered long after the other French composer of the night, Pierre Boulez."

....and cryptic Mike O'B....

"As the score suggests this was a good quiz with very few unanswerables.  A real effort had been made to tweak the traditional forms of themed rounds.  Our favourite question, even though we got it wrong, was the cryptic clue concerning the Morse character."

....and ecstatic Damian....

"Tonight's paper from the other Albert Clubbers, the Prodigals, was a thoroughly enjoyable affair running the gamut of practically every form of quizzing known to Withquiz; with themes, both hidden and announced, pairs, a bingo round and an Only Connect round thrown in for good measure!  The subject matter of the questions was nicely balanced and well varied.  The way the scoring panned out seems to suggest that the team going first in each half may have had the slight advantage, with the Opsis consistently ahead in every round in the first half, and then the Charas grabbing the lead at the start of the second half and (remarkably for us) managing to hold on to it right to the end.

Nomination for Round of the Night: Only Connect;

Nomination for Question of the Night: The English-sounding French phrase for 'I'm fed up' (at least I think that's what it was)."

....and lastly Yuleophile Rachael....

"Over all, we all enjoyed the paper very much, especially the 'Only Connect' round.  There was plenty of variety and some well thought out themes. Our question of the night was the question about the French phrase in the Manchester celebrities round."

Question of the Week

This week the clear winner was Round 3 Question 7 (in which the surname of a celebrity born in Manchester had to be hidden):

Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before, but which French idiomatic phrase translates into English as 'I’m fed up'?

For the answer to this and all the week's questions click here.

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