Withington Pub Quiz League

QUIZBIZ - 21st March 2018


Results & Match Reports

Charabancs lost to Prodigals

Bards beat Electric Pigs

Ethel Rodin lost to Mantis Shrimp

Albert lost to Dunkin' Dönitz

The Charabancs of Fire looked like winning their encounter with The Prodigals at a canter after the first few questions of the evening.  Then came the reckoning for their breakneck start as they were pegged back and ultimately overtaken in a high-scoring ding-dong, affair at The Turnpike.

I was privileged to be a spectator (The Opsimaths were this week's sitters) as two very good teams from the bottom half of our table racked up a feast of points.  The display of knowledge was awesome but in the end only a backdrop to the performance of Graham in the QM chair.  Jitka our league's longest-serving QM frequently encourages teams by urging them not to "sleep on the roses"; Graham's equivalent is a chortle followed by "plump up your cushions you're going to love this one".  The acme of his act came in Round 3 when, for the East End question, his accent veered between Arthur Mullard and Phil Mitchell.  What's more the volume of his delivery was enough to make the hearing aids of the regulars at the saloon bar vibrate with pain.

As for the teams the star performer early on was Chara John who knew all about Bernstein and Nabokov's other lives - but in the end the 16 twos that John, Michael, Jimmy and Danny ground out could not be matched.  A really enjoyable evening with a massive 81 point aggregate that pleased everyone.

The Bards of Didsbury beat The Electric Pigs in another 'foot of the table' clash.  The Bards have been an enigma this season; hovering near the bottom of the table yet upsetting the applecart a fortnight ago by thumping the Dunkers and effectively setting up the mother of all league season finishes.

Bards' QM Mike reports on last night's drawn out contest....

"Much time was spent conferring and the first half didn't finish until after 9.45.  Coincidentally there were two questions about pop singles I remember buying 'back in the day' when I was working at Butlin's: Lord Rockingham's skiffle number and Forty Shades of Green, sung by some Irish colleagues .

Nevertheless a very good 9 point win for the Bards, even though they lost Round 7 by one point to the Pigs' 6.  There were a few instances when both sides talked themselves out of the right answer (frustrating to a QM who hears the right answer but has to keep quiet while the teams carry on conferring).  Altogether there were 6 twos for the Bards and 9 for the Pigs whilst the 14 unanswered questions broke fairly evenly (8 - 6).  Ultimately therefore the Bards won it on 'steals'.


Ethel Rodin have faded somewhat towards the closing stages of the season and this week were roundly beaten by Compulsory Mantis Shrimp.

Victorious skipper Rachael gives her account....

"I sat out tonight's match so I'm bringing you my report from the sidelines.  This match was always going to be a crucial one as we fight to keep our slender title hopes alive.

The first half proved particularly tense as Ethel kept up the pressure, at one stage sitting just a single point behind us.  Our luck changed significantly in the second half as we pulled ahead to finish 17 points in front.  I believe this puts our combined scores in the range The History Men predicted in their intro to the paper!  Both teams put up a great performance, with some impressive conferring leading to correct answers being dragged from the depths of our collective memories."

James from the losing side of Ladybarn's premier watering hole echoes Rachael's remarks....

"Ethel were heavily beaten - after being just one behind at the halfway point.

There was an uncanny stream of about 8 questions in a row, where all three other members of our team knew the answer, but the person being asked didn't.  This was then compounded by a series of six or seven 50/50 answers where we unerringly chose the wrong option."


Albert capitulated to a Dunkin' Dönitz team who are now locked in a desperate end of season scrabble with the Shrimps.  Kieran offers his take....

"Our first visit to the refurbished Fletcher Moss and we're sure that the staff will have got the hang of this pub malarkey by the time we return to play the Pigs in three weeks.

Amateur hour behind the bar aside we rather enjoyed the evening.  The Albert had won four of the last six against us so we were far from confident going into the game.  But we caught Eveline and co. cold and were ten points ahead after two rounds.  From then on it was down to game management and a four round slog saw us still ten ahead at the end of Round 6.  Round 7 went, appropriately enough, seven nil to us and we were home, hosed, feet up blowing smoke rings.

Highlight of the night was Jeremy, in the absence of any support from the rest of his team, deciding that Kriss Akabusi was a reasonable punt at a North African 1500 metre world record holder.  How we laughed!  Actually we all did, including Jeremy, who along with the rest of his team played the match in a tremendous spirit even though the paper and the 'unanswereds' didn't favour them.

Ivor was guest QM and I think he'll be happy enough with the reception for the History Men's paper although the random facts bingo round at the end didn't live up to the preceding rounds.

With the Shrimp beating Ethel then, whatever the result of our game against the Pigs in three weeks, the title will be decided in the final match of the season against the Shrimp at the Turnpike.  Shades of Arsenal going to the Theatre of Total Delusion in 1989 and no pressure Mr Wagstaffe (who is the Guest setter for the final round of matches on April 18th).  Before that though we have a very important encounter with the Pigs on a paper set by the Shrimp.  If there are eight rounds on the history, geography, flora and fauna of Coventry I'll cry foul - for all the good it will do me.

And before all of that there's next week's birthday party and a handily arranged week off so David and I can watch World Cup winners, Copa America winners, African Nations Champions, Champions league winners, multi Premier League champions and serial domestic cup collectors become utterly terrified and freeze on the spot at the onslaught of a bunch of anachronistic fantasists with very bad hair and the greatest African player in the history of the last six months of the Premier League.  They might win the game, they might win the tie though I doubt that even Grobelaar would bet on it, but derision and contempt is all they'll get from this end of the East Lancs and they've earned every drop of it.

Football rant over, for now, see you all next week.

Oh and....

'Michael Thomas, it's up for grabs now....'.

Beautiful.  Have money on it did you Bruce?"

Somewhat less 'off on one' over the forthcoming City v Liverpool Euro encounter a becalmed Mike O'B reports for the losers....

"Ah another defeat!  I'm looking forward to giving the team a pep talk in which I will misquote Vitas Gerulaitis by announcing that 'no team beats The Albert seventy eight times in a row'.  We were rather thrown by pulling two unanswerables in our first four questions and sadly never recovered."

Quiz Paper Verdict

This week the paper was set by The History Men

The average aggregate was 71.0

A wide range in the aggregate scores on this paper from 81 points at The Turnpike between two bottom half teams to a paltry 63 between two top-flighters at the Fletcher Moss.  The overall average aggregate worked out at 71 points - a tad below the season's average to-date.

Sitting looking on at the Turnpike I really enjoyed the knowledge stretch that Ivor's team had concocted.  It elicited plenty of tip-of-the-tongue moments from the two teams (exactly the opposite to Gary's experience against the Bards - see below).  In particular the announced Prime Minister theme in Round 3 gave just the right scope for helpful sideways hints to some excellent general knowledge questions.

Oh, and by the way, in researching which pictures to load up to this page I discovered that the Hitchcock cameo featuring him alighting from a train with a cello case was in Strangers on a Train and not in North by Northwest as stated in the paper.  Tut! Tut!

Elsewhere views were mixed....

First from Mike O'B....

"It was a clever paper - we loved the question about the elections in the marginal constituency which included Dukes and felons.  Unfortunately much of the time it was too clever for us."

....and from Rachael....

"While we felt that the paper was a solid effort with lots of interesting material which generally played to our strengths, the fact that we finished quite late demonstrates that a lot of the questions were tricky and involved long-winded conferring.  There was much complaining from all quarters about 'the pope surname' question.  Generally, however, it was a tough but fair paper which provided plenty of food for thought."

....and from James....

"Some good rounds and questions.  By the way I actually think all paired rounds should be reverse-paired 'abcddcba' rather than 'aabbccdd'.  Naming the two popes by their papal names would have been hard enough for most pub quizzes - finding their Italian surnames was somewhat ridiculous."  (ED: Er, excuse me James - at The Turnpike Father Megson got both names spot on for a magnificent two points!)

....and finally from an underwhelmed Gary....

"Sorry,  but consensus tonight from both teams was that the quiz was below average.  One measure of what constitutes 'good' has been described by Mike Bath as 'questions with tip-of-the-tongue tantalising moments as you work towards an answer'.  Another, 'questions with a logic which can be worked out as you fathom your way to an answer.  Not enough questions answering to those descriptions tonight.  Too many 'straight up and down' stuff which you either knew the answer to or didn't.

And (an old complaint from me, but I'll give it another airing).....

When it is the ANSWERS that share a theme, THAT has a purpose; not so much to make the questions easier (though it may well do) but more to provide a further puzzle, additional to, and running concurrently with, the questions themselves - so adding to the gaiety of nations and quiz teams. That's what you CALL a theme round, that is!  Can anyone explain to me the purpose of a theme which links QUESTIONS?"

....and the Dave Barras Question of the Week award this week has been nominated by Albert and goes to the final question of the evening, Round 8 Question 13:

Which UK highly marginal constituency was represented by eight men between 1955 and 1983?  These eight included a solicitor, a teacher, a farmer, a publican, two future Dukes (of Westminster and of Abercorn) and two convicted felons.  Three of these men were 'Babies of the House' at their time of election.

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

'WithQuiz at 40' News

Make sure you've got Wednesday March 28th in your diaries as this is when we will be gathering to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the formation of our Quiz League.

The event will take place at The Didsbury Sports Ground, Ford Lane, Didsbury and will start at 8pm.  The bar will be open until midnight.

See you all next Wednesday at the Didsbury Sports Ground!

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