Withington Pub Quiz League

QUIZBIZ - 22nd February 2017


In an evening where the top 6 were all matched against each other....

The Shrimps edged closer to the top beating the Dunkers whilst the Opsimaths and Ethel beat close rivals Albert and the Prodigals

The Results

The Electric Pigs lost to The Charabancs of Fire at the Fletcher Moss thus providing the visiting team with a welcome two match unbeaten run as Damian observes in his report....

"The Charas (mini) winning roll progressed this week with our second victory of the season over the Electric Pigs.  In so doing we achieved probably our biggest winning margin yet.  How 'mini' or 'maxi' this winning roll will prove to be is anyone's guess but the type of questions set by the last two quiz setters can only help our cause.  Papers like this remind us nostalgically of why we used to regularly occupy a position in the top half of the league table instead of grazing the bottom as we have been doing in the last few seasons.

We grabbed the lead in the first round and never let it go opening up a big gap at the start of the second half that enabled us to coast to victory.  A more disciplined approach to conferring combined with some lucky guesses (once again) aided our cause confirming one of the golden rules of quizzing: if you don't know the answer, guess it right!"


Early reports from Ladybarn indicated the thrill of a tie but later reports (questioning Roddy's keyboard dexterity and his ability to tell the digits '2' and '3' apart) confirmed that Ethel Rodin had beaten The Prodigals by a single point in a very tense finish.  Roddy fills us in....

"I am sorry about the mistake with the score but the '2' and the '3' are very close to each other on the keypad.  The quiz itself came down to the 'African city' question at the end of Round 8 with the Prodigals needing one to win and having a team vote on whether the answer was Lagos or Cairo.  The team voted 3-1 for Cairo - with the 'one' being team captain, Anne-Marie who thought the answer was Lagos.  As Anne-Marie says on the message board, that's the sort of thing that happens when you give people a vote.

Ethel started out with a 6-0 lead on the difficult science round but went into the last round two behind after being virtually level from Round 3 onwards."

Occasionally on our WithQuiz Wednesday evenings it seems like you're playing the same opposition every other week so familiar are the faces sitting opposite.  Well that's the way it seems this season between the two teams that slugged it out at the Albert Club.  This time the Opsimaths came out on top beating Albert in a close contest.  Indeed Albert were ahead, or on level terms, from Round 2 until the second half of the very last round.

This time I was playing whilst Howell did the honours as QM - and quite a job he had too.  The trials and tribulations of being a QM came to a head in Round 6 on Question 4 (the one about the team that had been relegated from the Premiership four times, and its Directors).  The question fell to Ashton who gave what seemed a perfectly valid answer (but not the one given on the paper).  The matter was disputed at the time by the Albert team and, after much debate, and a bit of googling, was resolved by both teams agreeing that Ashton should indeed have two points.  I think the key point was that the answer on the paper was challenged at once before we moved on to the next question.  Had we moved on, and then Albert retrospectively challenged the answer, it would have been unfair to the Opsimaths as any decisions the Opsis had subsequently made based on the score at the time (say to go for a conferred answer rather than a two) may have turned out to be misguided (ref: the case of The Bards v Pottery Motor Transport/Traction in 2015).

There were 16 unanswered questions (breaking 8-8 between the teams) and this contributed towards quite a protracted match and - for what I think is the first time this season - we strayed well past the 10.30pm watershed.  It was just shy of 11pm when we finally wrapped things up.  On this occasion I think it was the nature of the paper rather than any dawdling by the teams that caused the delay.  Perhaps we shouldn't gripe about this too much since by and large this season has been free of very late finishes.

Lovingly Mike O'B adds his own losing observations....

"Amidst the angst of defeat (with a pitiful 29 points) I am pleased to report that, after our recent personal difficulties, the Albert has reunited in love and understanding.  Acknowledging this I have (with apologies to The Fifth Dimension) adapted their famous paean to love as you can see below.  From now on this will be sung before every match that Albert participate in.  As for the quiz we lost because we didn't know enough correct answers although we put a great deal of enthusiasm into our wrong answers.

'This is the age of The Albert,

When the Prods are on their Seventh pint,

And Charas fistfight with the Bards,

Then peace will guide The Albert

And love will steer the stars.

This is the dawning of the age of The Al-bert,

The Al-bert, The Al-bert.

Harmony and Understanding,

Sympathy and Trust abounding,

No more falsehoods or divisions,

Golden living dreaming of its visions,

Mystic quizball revelations,

And the mind's true liberation.

The Al-bert, The Al-bert.

Let Eveline in, Eveline in, Eveline in.'

In the standout result of the evening (at least as far as the top of the table is concerned) Compulsory Mantis Shrimp beat Dunkin' Dönitz quite convincingly at The Turnpike.  Shrimp James tells us the story....

"It was a case of déjŕ vu at the Turnpike as we played Dunkin' Dönitz for the second time in two weeks, following our 'European' clash at the same venue.  We forged a four-point lead after the first round and were able to increase that lead incrementally throughout the night, managing to win seven of the eight rounds and thereby keeping our very slim title hopes alive.  Dunkin' Dönitz were very good company, as always, and this made for a convivial night's quizzing that finished around the 10.30pm mark."

The Men They Couldn't Hang lost to The History Men in a very low-scoring match at the Parr's Wood Hotel.  Though there were far too many unanswered questions to make for an interesting evening the result was nailbitingly close with just three points in it at the end.

The Paper

This week the paper was set by The Bards of Didsbury.

This was a tough paper with an average aggregate about 10 points below the season's overall average.  As a result matches seemed to last a bit longer than usual for this season.

There was an admirable effort to redress the perceived 'anti-science' bias of our quizzes by including some very thoughtful (and rather lengthy) science questions as the opening round.  On the downside however there were one or two questions later on where answers were open to dispute.  The best example of this was the 'relegation' question (Round 6 Question 4).  Not only does it emerge that a number of teams (rather than the one asked for) have achieved the feat of being relegated from the top flight of English football on 4 separate occasions (Norwich, Crystal Palace from the Premiership, plus others from the old Division One as Andrew mentions below) but the question then went on to ask for the names of two Directors of this team that had gained fame in other spheres.  Well pretty well every Director of every Football Club has gained fame in some other walk of life - that's why they get invited onto the Board.  Another quibble came in Round 3 where the hidden theme was included in the question text for question 1 but in the answer text in all the other questions of that round.  This breaks the usual convention and meant that the very first taste of the 'hidden theme' wasn't hidden at all.

At the Club the home team's gobsmackery quotient rose to record levels when Hilary got a pop music question right and shortly afterwards I managed (to my eternal shame) to know that Colleen Nolan had won a recent Big Brother contest.  Being a retired gentleman with a slightly prominent girth I am minded to visit the gym once or twice a week.  While suffering the incredible tedium of walking nowhere for 20 or so minutes I like to watch the TV screen in front of my nose showing some rubbish daytime programme or other (with subtitles switched on for the earplugged viewing keep-fitters).  The other day some Loose Women were interviewing a rather large lady called Colleen who was beaming at her success at winning Big Brother.  Bingo!

What did the rest of you think?


"We found tonight's paper from the Bards generally suited our tastes far more than it did our opponents.  Nonetheless we rated it tough going at times with some uneven pairing and, by my reckoning, 11 unanswered questions that broke fairly evenly between us.

QotW: The consensus (at least from our side) fell on R6/Q4 about the team relegated most often with Directors that have achieved fame in other spheres."

James from Ethel Rodin....

"Whilst it can be extremely frustrating to get questions with either a wrong answer, or two different right answers, my view is that the burden should be on the setters to be more diligent, at least until the end of the season....

I set a question last week where there was perhaps some ambiguity: 'On 15th February 1923 which European country was the last to adopt the Gregorian calendar?'  An answer given by one team was 'Turkey'.  If we accept that Turkey is in Europe then indeed it was the last to adopt the new calendar.  But that was in 1926, and not the date given in the question.  As such there was a specific factor to the question that avoided ambiguity, so 'Greece' was the only right answer.

Last night's quiz contained at least three questions where there were 2 different answers which could have worked: the Norwich City relegation one, where Palace have been relegated just as often; the broadcaster /poet / bowler link where 'Clark' could have been an acceptable answer; and its pair, the singer / Wimbledon Crazy Gang / Antichrist question where 'Jones' seemed to us an acceptable answer.  All these questions needed was one more fact to make them watertight.  For example saying it was a bowler who took 'x' number of wickets, or a poet who wrote poem 'y'.  Having said that, these issues balanced out fairly in our game last night.

It feels like a dangerous precedent to have allowed a challenge (as happened in the Opsimaths / Albert match) and it's a situation we need to clarify at the end of year meeting.  What higher authority was consulted?  A blog?  Wikipedia?  The Crystal Palace website?

Those members of the league who have competed in Mastermind or University Challenge know that there are rules for this kind of thing.

If we are to introduce a rule on challenges then there's a risk of the games getting longer again, and people checking every single answer.  Perhaps we should consider a parallel to the situation in cricket and tennis, where you have one review.  If it's correct you get the points, if not you have no more reviews?"

James from the successful Shrimps team....

"There was consternation about some of the paired questions on the night.  The by-election pairs were too closely related to make a good pair.  Also two of the football questions caused debate: when City were relegated as champions, they did not just have a positive goal difference, they were also uniquely the highest scorers in the top division that season.  Both teams sussed out that Norwich City had been relegated four times from the Premier League.

However, these were slight quibbles with what my teammates and I felt was a varied and entertaining quiz.  In particular the Bards did a wonderful job of including science in the quiz (of course I would say that as an applied maths PhD student).  On the negative side it's disconcerting how much we Shrimps know about Justin Bieber, Take That and Reality TV."

Andrew from the Fletcher Moss....

"At the Fletcher Moss last night I was QM and was quite taken with the 'relegation from the top flight four times' question which initially looked like a 'Question of the Week' contender.  Unfortunately a cursory look at my Rothmans Football Year Book revealed that teams like mine, Preston North End, have been relegated from the top flight 5 times and Burnley, 6 times.  Nonetheless John was in inspired form for The Charabancs of Fire and got it right with Norwich City!"

....and finally Dave from The Men....

"Disappointing paper.  We gave a match to young Josh in Graham’s absence.  Don’t think he’ll bother again (and he was going for 2 on Justin Bieber, conferred and we went for Bowie).  On such small margins....."

Question of the Week

This week the Shrimps vote for Round 5 Question 5:

Torquemada, Mary Tudor and Lucretia Borgia were all subjects for this historical novelist, but his most famous works were turned into several films and a blockbuster musical.  Who was he?

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

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