The Withington Pub Quiz League


15th April 2015


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Victories for The History Men, Albert and Dunkin Dönitz; Plate semis in a fortnight for The Opsimaths, The Bards and The Pigs

The Val Draper Cup - Round 1 Results

The History Men got their own back for a couple of league defeats earlier this season with a victory over The Opsimaths.  Even without the plus five advantage bestowed by the handicap they would have come out on top.

Though the Red was relatively quiet (no big football matches on the box) we decided to decamp to, what we expected to be, the lamb-like silence of The Turnpike.  As it turned out The Turnpike was buzzing with the tail-end of what seemed like an all-day birthday party for a local pensioner.  So for the quizzers hearing some pretty intricately worded questions was a challenge.  In the event stand-in QM, Eleanor Cartmill, did a sterling and down to earth job weighing into Round One Question One oblivious to the asterisks and the presence of her Dad!  Eleanor got us through to the end of the evening with much patience and understanding.  How often this season have the website match reports observed that the exquisite wording of the quiz paper has been lost in the noisy ambience of a Manchester boozer on a Wednesday evening?

As ever Ivor provided statistical insights at the close of play......There were 10 unanswered questions, which fell 5 to each team (so a well-balanced paper), and an equality of twos and ones scored by the two teams.  The difference in the final score was almost completely attributable to the 'steals' that the History Men gained.  With 5 twos Hilary was the Opsimaths' MVP, and Tim the History Men's with 4 twos.

Assistant University Challenge producer and Opsimath star, Clare, was on hand to receive some valuable feedback from History Woman, Anne, as to the social background and personal habits of the players that had taken part in the UC series just completed.  Somehow I don't think she'll be sharing it with her boss and certainly not with Paxo!  Anne did have a point though.  In the past UC could occasionally remind one of the way the British educational system nurtured talent from the most disadvantaged background.  These days it appears more than ever a bastion of the middle classes.  Have the Labour Party missed out on a vote-catching election pledge here?


Meanwhile at the Griffin Dunkin' Dönitz weighed into The Electric Pigs winning by a healthy margin (13 after handicap - 20 before).

Kieran sends this assessment....

"It was a good evening with the Pigs in the irritatingly overheated front room at the Griffin.  The quiz was rattled through in fairly quick time allowing much post match discussion of the likely outcome of May 7th.  We were none the wiser at the end of our musings but all agreed that we were likely to be taking May 8th off work, and, after several bottles of red wine, pork pies and ham buffets, still be glued to the TV with no clear winner by 6pm on the Friday.

We also discovered that Councillor Simcock clearly takes no notice of his surroundings every time he enters the Town Hall since Ford Madox Brown passed him by completely.  I imagine he's always too deep in thought about the problems of his constituents to wonder at the murals he's walking past."

.... and in the closest match of the evening where the handicap system swung the result, Albert beat The Bards of Didsbury by a single point.  Pre-match Tony had muttered dark words about the handicap system penalising the Bards' high-scoring season, whilst ignoring their generosity in habitually letting their opponents do pretty well on the scoresheet (I seem to recall Dave Barras advising him to use the summer break to acquire some big effective defenders).  Well it came to pass.  Before handicaps the Bards would have sneaked a 3 point victory but their high-scoring season has left them with a minus 6 handicap which they couldn't overcome.

In Tony's words....

"It was a closely fought contest throughout and was finally decided on the last question.  When I left to go to the gents (I couldn't wait any longer) we were all square and waiting for Albert to admit they didn't know a Lib Dem councillor from Oxford who became Minister for Transport.  I was assured by Steve that he knew it was Lord Adonis.  I came back to find that Albert had dredged up the answer.  I kicked myself for blurting 'Grand Central' instead of 'Great Central' Railway, but that is the joy of quizzing."

Quiz Paper Verdict

This week the paper was set by Compulsory Meat Raffle.  With an average aggregate of 81.0 this was clearly full of highly accessible material and was, by some way, the highest scoring Meat Raffle paper of the season.

As reported above the wording of many of the questions was exquisitely compiled and jammed packed with interesting information, occasionally lost in the melee of a Wednesday evening 'down the local'.

Mike O'Brien's thoughts....

"Meat Raffle produced an imaginative paper which led to a contest where the gap was never greater than 2 or 3 points all evening.  The themes for the Bingo rounds were very original and amusing.  The Planets round suffered from a shortage of available planets - very helpful to those going last on each side,  but not so good for those courageously playing first.  But, all in all, an excellent quiz full of interest."

....and Kieran's....

"We thought this was the best Meat raffle paper to date with plenty of twos on offer but also a good number of questions where the answer could be achieved after a lot of team work.  However, as well known music aficionados, they should at least be admonished for reminding the entire league of two of the most appalling, not to say sacrilegious, cover versions in pop music history.

 The 'Well I never knew that' moment of the quiz?   The town founded by a Welshman with a street plan based on Merthyr Tydfil!"

....and Tony's....

"It was a most enjoyable and testing quiz set by the Meat Raffle who really do try to raise the interest level every time they set. The 'Pick Your Own' section for the last two rounds deserves my usual castigation.  We were each kicking ourselves for not choosing particular options but as 'Pick Your Own' rounds go this was random, but not as random as other setters can produce."

Finally some observations from myself at the Turnpike match....

The themes were terrific, and well executed.  A pity the only bit of 'Orkney and Shetland' that means 'island' is the last two letters of Orkney whereas the other tautological place names were more substantial - but otherwise this round kept us guessing as to the theme well beyond the halfway point of the round.  Like Mike above we greatly enjoyed the punny titles to the 'Pick Your Own' questions - favourite for me being 'Bridget Jones Daiquiri'.  Clearly a lot of thought not to mention a contorted mind had gone into these.  A final ponder....What on earth was the back story behind the second tiebreaker question asking for the distance between the Red Lion and Jodrell Bank.  Is there a point here about the late Sir Bernard?

Well done the Meat Raffle!  And because we were the most abject failures of the evening The Opsimaths have the pleasure of setting for next week's Round 2 matches.  I hope we can do as well as CMR did tonight.

The Question of the Week

This week Kieran's choice gets the nod....Round 3 Question 8: 

Which Ukrainian city of roughly a million people, much in the news in recent months, was founded by Welsh businessman John Hughes in 1869 and was designed around a street plan based on that of Merthyr Tydfil?

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


Please everyone note a change to the Fixtures page....owing to a prior booking at the Albert Club the End of Season Presentation evening has been put back from May 20th to May 27th.  May 20th will now be a blank week.

Sorry for this change - I hope it doesn't prevent anyone coming along and celebrating the close of another terrific season.  James (Ethel Rodin) has kindly agreed to compile a quiz for the evening.  Any of you who have been to one of his local Labour party fundraising quiz evenings will know we are in for some excellent puzzling.


Finally I have had a communication from the Ladybarn presbytery.....

"Fr Megson is rumoured to have made an offer to the supporters of  Newcastle United FC for their iconic banner from last season.  He feels that, with a little bit of tampering, it could be hung outside The Turnpike as a fitting tribute to the Charabancs' valiant but ultimately hapless efforts to lift the WithQuiz league title this season.

Sadly his negotiating skills are likely to go unrewarded as it seems the banner will still be needed at St James' Park for at least the next ten seasons."