Withington Pub Quiz League

QUIZBIZ - 22nd March 2017


On the sad day of Dave's funeral there were wins for The Dunkers, The Opsimaths, Albert and The Prodigals

(see below for the draw for this year's Val Draper Cup)

The Results

Dunkin' Dönitz beat The History Men at the Griffin.  Kieran sends this report....

"So tonight we secured the two points which confirmed our first league title success in four seasons regardless of results in any of the other matches (particularly of course last week's 'non-game' between the Opsimaths and TMTCH).  We're very happy to have won our eighteenth title in a season in which there were six realistic contenders well into the second half.  It should have been seven but the Bards' curious homage to 'Chelsea 2015/16' and 'Leicester 2016/17' rather left them stranded at the starting gate and they could never really get going - except on the occasion when they managed to put their first team on the pitch, bind and gag Antonio Hammond Ranieri, and soundly thrash us a few weeks' back.  Who's Jamie Vardy?  We need answers.

David was at Macclesfield Crematorium this afternoon along with many other WithQuizzers to pay respects to the irreplaceable Dave and he brought the order of service with him to the quiz.  Great photo of the man and a great suggestion from Mike Wagstaffe to name the pre-season inter-league trophy after Dave as a permanent memorial.

I paid my own tribute today by walking in Dave's beloved Derbyshire hills - I hope he would have approved.  It was a mate's birthday - the sort of thing you can't rearrange even when the Peak District decides that incessant rain, knee-deep mud, dangerously fallen trees and swollen, very fast-flowing rivers shall be the order of the day.  For anyone who loves that part of the world I can heartily recommend The George in Alstonefield as a lunch stop with splendid food and and a remarkable variety of drinks.  Sadly I was driving but the choice of gins and many other drinks looked extraordinary.

Tonight the three-handed Historymen, Anne, Tim and Ivor, were their usual funny, agreeable and still competitive company despite the paper playing rather more to our strengths than theirs.

Our final game of the season next week is against The Albert in the - no doubt - furnace-like front room at The Griffin and we want to end with a win so we'll see if we can still perform when only pride is at stake."

....and from the opposite corner of the same match Ivor gives the History Men's verdict....

"Not a good night for us in our last game of the season.  We won the toss - and Round 7 - but apart from that the only success was foiling the Dunker’s bid for a 50+ points score.  We can't blame uneven pairing either as there were only six unanswered questions breaking 3-3.  The Dunkers got 9 steals to our one and 12 twos to our 6.  Strength in depth and a good defence!  That is why they are league champions.

It was just not our kind of quiz tonight.  Next week’s quiz will be - because we are setting it!  We shall watch from the sidelines to see whether we end up a good solid 7th in the league, or a good solid 8th, which is still a little better than our all time low of 9th last season."


The Opsimaths beat The Bards of Didsbury at the Albert Club to assure themselves of a top four finish.  Howell QMed magisterially with Jitka and Chara John looking on. There was some sporting give and take between the teams over a couple of disputed answers (the name of the Scottish National Park and the Lew Grade quote) on a day that was dominated in our minds by the funeral at Macclesfield which four of those present had attended.

After the match we spoke about the various proposals to commemorate our good friend Dave and his immense contribution to our league.  To date these seem to be:

  • introducing a  'Question of the Season' trophy and naming it the 'Dave Barras Cup' (most of us agree Dave is the best question setter WithQuiz has ever had)

  • renaming the 'A-Trophy' in his honour (I know Mike Wagstaffe from the Stockport league is happy with this)

  • renaming the pre-season WIST Cup in his honour (remembering Dave's contributions both to this annual competition as well as his memorable WIST question papers)

Perhaps we can mull this over and decide amongst ourselves at the End of Season evening (which we dearly hope Gilly is able to get to).

Turning to other matters....late in the evening we completed the draw for this year's Val Draper Cup competition.  Howell had left his velvet bag at home so the 'balls' had to be pulled from my own cloth cap.  You can see the outcome on the Fixtures page.  This evening's Albert Club match will be repeated as the first game of Round 2 with the Opsimaths taking on the question setting role for Round One.  Howell suggested that the other 4 teams with a bye in Round One should be invited to play each other in Friendlies using the Opsimaths' paper.  We'll leave this for the four teams to arrange if they wish, but we'll facilitate it by leaving two extra papers at the Red for the teams concerned (i.e. The Bards, Albert, Compulsory Mantis Shrimp and Ethel Rodin).


Dave's funeral had been held during the afternoon out at Macclesfield with the wake at the Shady Oak pub on the Long Hill road just outside Whaley Bridge (perhaps still in progress as tonight's matches kicked off).  Naturally, therefore, the Electric Pigs v The Men They Couldn't Hang match was called off (as happened last week for the Opsimaths v The Men They Couldn't Hang game).  Andrew who had spent the afternoon at the Macclesfield Crematorium with quite a few other WithQuizzers reports poignantly....

"The Electric Pigs v TMTCH match was a dead rubber and we decided to treat the result in the same way as the Opsimaths match last week - that is as an abandoned game with no points awarded.  However, we took the quiz as a good opportunity for the team to split into two and go head-to-head as a two-strong 'Electrics' against a two-strong 'Pigs'.  The final score of this friendly was 34-38.

P.S. I would like my funeral to be something like Dave's today!"

Compulsory Mantis Shrimp dropped to fourth place in the table by losing on home turf to The Prodigals.

Ethel Rodin lost a tight encounter at the Ladybarn palace to close rivals Albert.

The Paper

This week the paper was set by The Charabancs of Fire.

'An excellent paper with a higher than average points aggregate (77.3) and plenty of interesting subject matter' - this seemed to be the overall verdict.

Certainly at the Albert Club we enjoyed the challenge.  Our only point of contention came with the Scottish National Park question (Round 2 Question 8).  Tony fielded this one and answered "Loch Lomond".  The QM passed it over and I answered "Loch Lomond and The Trossachs".  Again Howell as QM called it wrong.  In fact (as later Googling proved) I did have my answer correct but the question paper gave "The Trossachs" as the answer.  We agreed that no points should be scored by either team on this one.  No sweat.

Yet again our faces lit up when we found that Round 4 was of the 'two answers run together' variety.  I think this has become the most popular innovation of the season.  Might we eventually run out of viable answers?  I think it's the surreal images that can be conjured up (such as 'Dirty Harry Rednapp') that take everybody's fancy.

Kieran reports from the Griffin on some pretty favourable reaction to the question paper....

"The Charas produced a paper on which we managed to storm to 31 points at half time before slowing up significantly towards the end - but we liked it a lot.  The Charas have made a speciality of the 'second part of the first answer is the first part of the second' format and we thought they had peaked when we scored for the most perfect of these answers ever - the magnificent 'Dirty Harry Redknapp'.  Then we discovered the completely brilliant 'In Memor I Am Your One And Only' causally discarded amongst the spares.  What a mind came up with that one!

The six unanswereds broke three each and there was enough in the paper to pique the interest of all seven of us engaged in the game - and as an added plus even the beer was more or less on form."

Mike O'B sums up from the Ladybarn club....

"In spite of the morass of perversion which exhibited itself in Megson's obsession with underwear this was a very entertaining quiz with never more than a couple of points between the teams all the way through.  We liked the question about Sir Lew Grade's comment on the film Raise The Titanic - it was good that what has been a very sad day for the League ended with some laughter.  As for Megson surely The Avalanches put it best with 'That boy needs therapy.'"

....and finally Dave puts the Prodigals' views....

"Great variety of questions with something for everyone.  My only objection was that the definition of Robbie Savage included the words 'footballer' and 'pundit'."

Question of the Week

This week both the Pigs and the Opsimaths opted for Round 7/8 Question 13 (the boy's name Bingo questions):

Which popular Italian boy's name became even more popular in the late 1930s and early 1940s as fascist households were encouraged to to celebrate the three main cities of the Axis powers?

For all this week's questions and answers click here.

....and also

The Val Draper Cup & WithQuiz Plate

After this week's match at the Albert Club between the Opsimaths and the Bards we held the draw for the Val Draper Cup competition that starts on April 5th.

The resulting ties and other details are shown on the Fixtures page.

The approach this year will be the same as last year.  In each Cup or Plate match handicap points will be added or subtracted to/from a team's end of match score to determine the result.  The handicap points will be based on the team's performance in the league (as per the end of season table published immediately after March 29th's round of league matches).


  • ROUND 1: Six of our 11 teams will play in Round 1 with the questions being set by the first team 'out of the hat' that gets a bye straight into Round 2 (The Opsimaths earned the honour in this year's draw).  The 3 Round 1 losing teams will go forward to the Plate semi finals and the lowest scoring Round 1 loser will set the questions for Round 2.

  • ROUND 2: The 3 Round 1 winners plus the remaining 5 teams will play Round 2 matches with the highest scoring losers becoming the fourth team to make up the Plate semi final line up, and the lowest scoring losers setting the questions for the semi final matches.

  • Questions for the finals will be set by 'Knocked Out United' - that is a round from each of the 7 teams not involved in the final plus a round of paired questions with each pair selected from submissions from the same 7 teams (I will appoint an editor-in-chief for 'Knocked Out United' nearer the time).  As in previous years the finalists will vote for what they believe to be the best of the 7 'Knocked Out United' non-composite rounds.

  • A team's Cup Handicap Score is calculated as that team's average points score across all their League matches (tenth column from the left on the website League table) compared to the average points scored by all the teams in all the League matches

  • Handicap points (to be added to/subtracted from each team's scores) will be shown on the website fixtures page before the matches and should be included in the scores submitted to me after each match.  As well as determining the match results, scores including handicap points will be used to determine which teams are the Highest and Lowest Scoring Losers, but will not be included in the calculations leading to the average aggregate for the week's paper.

  • Question setters for all papers used in the Cup competitions must provide a means of overcoming tied results so that there is a clear winner for each match

....and finally

This beautiful description of yesterday afternoon, and fitting words as a fond farewell to Dave, were posted by Gerry on the Message Board.  I hope he doesn't mind me reprinting them here....

It was dark, dreich and dismal at Macclesfield crematorium yesterday as many of us gathered to say goodbye to Dave.  A sullen contrast to the rich and colourful patchwork that had been Dave's short life as we heard described in an eloquent ceremony.

One thing that stayed with me (apart from the grief etched into Gilly's face) was the description of the little bits of paper left lying around the house when Dave took to setting quizzes.  I recently heard Seamus Heaney's widow saying that she still missed her husband's untidiness about the house; his clutter of little jottings and phrases that might one day be nurtured and coaxed into poetry.

Good quiz questions are maybe more ephemeral than good poetry but they have this in common: they don't just happen, they both need a lot of work, a lot of teasing and wheedling before they can be published.  Above all they both need inspiration.  Dave had that inspiration.  An inspiration that made us realise that there is more to knowledge than knowing the answer; that knowing how to ask can yield a still more rewarding pleasure.

Quizzing, by its nature, will always be about the trivial and the banal.  But so is life oftentimes.  So take a leaf out of Dave's jotter and make the most of both.

Rest in Peace, Darlo lad.  You are and will always be missed.

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