The Withington Pub Quiz League


5th October 2011


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The Bards remain unbeaten whilst Albert score a famous victory over the Smoke Fairies

Results & Match Reports

The Charabancs lost to the team whose title odds are, week by week, being slashed by South Manchester bookies, namely The Bards.  With an air of resignation Damian reports:

"There seems to be a new rule emerging whenever the Charas play.  Our opponents score 40 points and we score 2 less than we did the week before.  Perhaps not quite the sort of new rule we were hoping for as the 2011/12 season got underway.  We are keeping our gnarly old fingers crossed that it will actually prove to be more of a statistical fluke than a new rule!  No doubt Ivor will have something to contribute on that score if the same thing happens when we play his lot next week."

Smoke Fairies are looking increasingly vulnerable as they lost to Albert in their own Griffin backyard.  Both Mary and Kieran reported that they found the quiz a stiff challenge, Mary admitting that the Fletcher Moss visitors did get the rub of the green more often than not.  Never mind that!  After 12 years of a Griffin-inspired hoodoo and the Opsimaths dramatic efforts last season, a number of league title outcomes now look feasible.

Ethel Rodin lost to the Opsimaths in a slow but absorbing match at the White Swan.  It was Geoff's turn to sit out and fill the QM boots and he did a magnificent job (confirmed by the full-on approbation he received from visiting OfQuiz inspector, Jitka McClintock).  If there is a more courteous and sympathetic QM in the league than Geoff I'd be most surprised.  Ethel's team was the classic mix of James, Lloyd, John and an increasingly assertive Roddy, who now seems to have got the knack of authoritarian captaincy down to a fine art.  Happily I was able to take a few notes on his technique myself which may prove useful later in the season when the Opsimaths' team discipline starts to wane.

For the visitors it was a first opportunity to sample the Stadium of Murk following the departure of Fr Megson and his acolytes.  Two things struck me as different.  When I entered the pub at 8.15 the TV was playing Waterloo Road.  "No football tonight?", I asked.  It appears that the brave stand taken by his counterpart in Portsmouth defying the leviathan forces of the Premier League and Sky TV, have been counterproductive for Sean.  The Italian outfit who provided him with his diet of TV football sniffed the legal victory in advance and slapped a hefty £1,000 on the annual cost of their set-top box.  So for the Swan's viewers it's Freeview or nothing from now on.  The other surprise was discovering that Sean had become a local rep for Ladybarn's latest anti-sexism campaign.  When I asked for a packet of nuts with my BA Pilot pre-flight approved pint of Robbie's I noticed how the shapely form of a semi-clad woman became slightly more visible on the card behind the bar to which the packet of nuts had been attached.  "Wouldn't have that down at the Albert Club", I suggested.  "The female Committee members have requested that the nuts cards are stripped bare in the cellar out of view and the packets brought up to the bar in a basket in order not to offend the ladies of West Didsbury."  "Blatant discrimination against men - no f***ing chance of that here!!", was the rejoinder.

Wandering back from the Swan to the Club to taste a refreshing pint of Timmy Taylors laced with a dash of alcohol, I received my usual match result message beeps, or were they just this once, sobs?  Little did I know that over the other side of the world iGone.  RIP, Steve Jobs.

When I reached the Club The Prodigals had just wrapped up a victory over TMTCH.  It was good to see Dave Rainford on duty for the Proddies and also Dave Barras for TMTCH weathering his treatment at Christie's so well.  TMTCH have been strengthened by the addition of ex-Pussycats Karen and Graham.  So glad they are still part of our Wednesday evenings.

Electric Pigs have a new recruit called Simon and he announced his entrance to the world's quizzing stage with an impressive run of 4 twos in what is probably going to be one of the toughest papers this season.  As a result The Pigs just squeaked home against The Historymen at the Fletcher Moss.  A philosophical Ivor comments:

"It was too good to last.  After two consecutive victories we met our nemesis side who got their season going after two defeats.  We were actually five points ahead after the first half but as in many hard quizzes it doesn’t take long for the wheel of fortune to turn."

Quiz Paper Verdict

This week's paper was set by Compulsory Meat Raffle.  Pretty tough was the overall verdict with 23 unanswered questions at the Griffin and 24 at the Fletcher Moss.  I thought the themes were well done but quite a lot of the questions could have been worded more succinctly.  Mary's verdict from the Griffin:

"Not enough general knowledge - no geography, natural world or science questions at all and some very obscure stuff.  For instance the inventor of the coffee percolator comes to mind (or rather doesn't)."

From the same venue, Kieran bemoaned the abundance of film and TV questions and has offered to take CMR team members on an outdoor ramble when the weather improves.

Ivor comments:

"Theme rounds were well thought out with confounders in abundance.  Tim had a lucky guess with the Norse squirrel (“well what else could run up an ash tree?”) but when it came to obscure Russians and obscurer philosophers not to mention proper literature (pre 19th century) no one had any luck at all.  I put my own dire performance in the last few rounds down to my brain seizing up with unwelcome imagery generated by the phrases 'bikini bottom' and 'crusty crabs' in the Spongebob question.  That attachment I did in genitourinary medicine in 1982 has a lot to answer for."

From the Bards/Charas battlefront Damian reviews the paper thus:

"Tonight's quiz paper was an enjoyable offering, read out in the presence of Rachael.  The hidden theme rounds went down well and we managed to work most of them out fairly quickly.  Only quibble was the convoluted length of some of the questions.  Poor old Eric, who generously offered to act as QM for us tonight, seemed to nod off half-way through reading a few of them, and we had to shout the magic word "Bismarck" to get his attention.  At the end we asked our new landlady at The Turnpike if she'd like to take the quiz questions away with her.  "Oh yes", she replied, "I can throw them away for you if you like!"  Sean the Barsteward would have been proud of her!!"

.....and so Piggies we all feel we deserve a slightly easier ride next week!!

The Question of the Week

This week Opsimath Nick opts for Round 7 Question 1:

Whose 'What the Tortoise Said to Achilles', an amusing article discussing problems related to the foundations of logic published in philosophy journal Mind in 1895, has thankfully never been adapted into an interminable film starring Johnny Depp?

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

Father Megson

 Saint Oliver Plunkett had it easy

A Chairde,

The world of Withquiz was thrown into a state of chaos last night with the news that Fr Megson is coming home.  Early - far too early - in the opinion of most.

A Home Office spokesman confirmed this evening that he was being released on humanitarian grounds.  He denied that they had been forced into this move by the recent 'either he goes, or we go' ultimatum by prison warders at HMP Strangeways.

The burly prelate (13 stones of raw testosterone in his stockinged feet), and mediocre quiz team manager, has always protested his innocence and had at one stage gone on hunger strike, refusing all solids except 'Butcher's Choice' rashers served with mashed Maris Pipers....and maybe just a small helping of cabbage.....oh, and a dollop of Kerrygold on top would be nice........and don't forget the brown sauce.  Further self harm was only prevented by the eleventh hour intervention of Home Secretary, Theresa May, who reluctantly agreed that Fr Megson, and all the other Reekish priests held in the secure wing, could wear their own chasubles and would be free to opt out of exercise in the prison yard whenever there was a nip in the air.

Fr Megson has always been adamant that his arrest and imprisonment had more to do with institutional racism and Britain's enshrined and virulent anti-Papist laws than with any desire to protect the nation's toasters.

"I was a hapless victim of fate and circumstance on that balmy Summer evening", he opined through his nose as he swilled his slop bucket out.

"I would never even have made that bloody sick visit if there had been anything half decent on the box.  Turned out to be a bloody waste of time in any case as the old codger had spent half his life chatting up Protestant lap dancers.....Yes, my son, I know that we worship a God of infinite mercy but there are limits.

"Anyway the daft old tosspot took hours to pop his clogs and by the time I made my getaway it was too late even for the White Swan.  It was still a bit too early to go straight home so I decided to spend a pleasant half hour mooching around the wine dark ginnels of Ladybarn drinking in the aromas of the night and perhaps offering some pastoral succour to any fallen woman I might chance upon.  It was then that I noticed the local Comet emporium was lit up as if by fire.  As I drew closer I saw a large crowd had assembled inside so I joined them, assuming quite naturally that they must be having their New Year's day 'Everything Must Go' sale a bit early this year.

"In contrast to the half-naked young lumps you normally encounter in shopping centres my fellow shoppers were modestly attired in scarves and hoods.  They were boisterous but good natured and were possessed of a certain joie de vivre which is sadly lacking in the lives of the feral underclass who lay siege to the Didsbury fish shop of a Saturday morning and belabour about the head any priest who unwittingly jumps the queue for the reduced monkfish giblets.

"Emboldened by their almost religious fervour and camaraderie I decided on the spur of the moment that now might be a good time to replace the toaster that I had borrowed on a sine die basis from the seminary refectory in the 1960s and which lately has been in the habit of bursting into flames every time I turn it on.

"I carefully scrutinised the prices before choosing a nifty little stereo number that was not only capable of doing two hunks of Mother's Pride at a time but also of jet-propelling them out and safely across the room before they get burnt to a cinder.  (You know, my son, the Nazis were far from perfect but just think, if the Yanks had gone ahead and hanged Wernher von Braun as a war criminal we might still be living in a society that has to eat burnt toast for breakfast.  It makes you realise just how meticulously God plans World Wars).

"Proudly clutching my new status-enhancing gizmo I queued at the checkout for about half an hour before realising that there was nobody serving.  I was just on the point of dashing off a stiff letter to the Daily Mail about the incompetency of modern store managers who allow all five comptometer operators to nip out the back for a fag at the same time, when I noticed that all the other customers were simply hoisting their purchases onto their shoulders and walking out.

"'That's damned clever', I thought, as I lofted my toaster above my pate allowing, as I supposed, the overhead scanner to read the barcode and automatically debit the sum of £7.99 from my Bank of the Southern Reeks credit card.  I must admit I did wonder at the time how the scanner would manage to link up with, and read, my card which I always carry in a sock concealed in my boxers,  but I just assumed that if Nazi-inspired technology was capable of firing toast across the room it would have little difficulty in penetrating a nylon sock and underpants.

"And the rest is the stuff of Kafkaesque nightmare.  The dawn raid; the refusal to let me make a bit of toast before being frog-marched down to Police HQ deep in the killing fields of Longsight; the constant questions and the refusal to let me confer before answering; the intrusive swabbing of my pyjama bottoms for incriminating  toast crumbs.  What choice did I have in the end but to plead guilty and ask for one hundred and forty four counts of frottage in the outsize department of British Home Stores to be taken into account ?"

Fr Megson is planning a quiet homecoming and has asked to be left alone for a time with a large bottle of Bushmills while he comes to terms with the loss of his confiscated toaster.  He is due back in court next month to answer charges of gross frottage in a public place.  He is confident of acquittal but Tony, who has an O-level in jurisprudence, reckons the verdict will be touch and go.  Let's hope he doesn't rub the jury up the wrong way.