The Withington Pub Quiz League


12th October 2016


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A welcome return for Father Megson (below) who blames his team's recent woes on Dave, Gilly and The Men

Wins for The Opsis, The History Men, Ethel, The Shrimps and the Dunkers - but still no joy for the Bards, the Charas and The Men

The Results

The History Men beat The Charabancs of Fire at WithQuiz's ancient citadel, The Red Lion, thus prolonging Father Megson's woes.  Ivor is our guide to the events as they unfolded....

"A rare visit to the snug at the Red Lion tonight to take on one of our oldest and most respected - even cherished - opponents, the Charabancs (we both used to be league title contenders in the mid noughties).  In a high scoring contest we were level at the end of Round 6 and only managed to move ahead on the final 10 questions.  The Charas got 17 twos between them to our 14, and the 'unanswereds' broke 3-3.  We only won therefore because we got 5 steals to their 1.

There was plenty of time after the match for chat since there was hardly a 'constipater' question all night.  Unfortunately for me this chat included a discussion on the nature of blurts.  The perfect blurt, it seems, must occur within a second of the question being asked.  All three fellow team members must instantly bury their heads in their hands, and all four opponents must have a happy smile on their faces that indicates an instant steal.  Sadly Anne recalled my blurt of last season.  To the question 'Which famous Mancunian had a female body guard trained in martial arts?' (in which I misheard the word 'Mancunian' as 'Manchurian') I blurted 'Fu Man Chu' rather than 'Mrs Pankhurst'.  I suspect this will not be forgotten for some time."

....whilst Damian puts the losers' spin in things....

"So on we jolly well go with our unbroken losing record this season. I guess some of us must have really upset the quiz gods at some point.  I wonder if it's too late for a sacrifice?  In the absence of any young virgins, maybe an elderly Irish cleric would suffice?  We're open to any suggestions.

It was the usual story.  Another high scoring encounter in which we led in the first 2 rounds, then got pegged back but held our own up until Round 7 when the Historians forged ahead and never looked back.  Not even the fact that we scored more twos than our opponents (17 v 14) could help us over that damned elusive finishing line.  Mind you, we enjoyed so many laughs in the company of the Historymen that we almost didn't care who actually won in the end.  Notwithstanding the outcome it was a thoroughly entertaining evening all round."

Compulsory Mantis Shrimp beat The Bards of Didsbury at The Turnpike.  Is this going to be the Shrimp's season as they keep their 100% record intact?  Rachael reports....

"Another convivial evening at the Turnpike playing our worthy opponents the Bards.  We sprinted to an amazing 9 point lead by the end of the first round, a lead which we clung on to for the rest of the game."


Dunkin' Dönitz are full of beans right now.  Three games - three wins.  Kieran was absent last night - away on holiday, it was reported, but rumours are swirling round Heaton Mersey that he has been demoted to the bench by his fellow Dunkers.  Risky strategy dropping the team captain?  Well an enormous 63 scoreline for the home team suggests otherwise.  I'm not sure but I think this is an all-time WithQuiz record.  Meanwhile The Men They Couldn't Hang (like Malcolm Nash at Swansea all those years ago) could only relish their place in the history books as 'the other team'.  Apparently Martin notched up 7 twos during the evening whilst stand-in captain Barry scored 6.  Barry sends in this account....

"Tonight, a Kieran-less Dunkers (he's currently embarked on an all-you-can-drink cruise around the Ionian Sea) managed to succeed where other teams have failed - winning big without the captain.  Our score of 63 points represents the first time (at least as far as any of us could recall) we have ever managed to break 60 points.  Someone suggested that our absent skipper could be dubbed the 'Wayne Rooney of Withquiz', although we're not at liberty to disclose this person's identity.  The evening was, as is usual whenever we meet The Men, a highly entertaining affair and was happily concluded well before 10.30.  The high point came when Dave B ventured 'Grachmaninov' as the answer to the question about the Russian composer who had an added 'g' to their name.

So, thank you to The Men for their convivial company, and to Bob for his usual imperious QMing."

(ED: BTW I have entered the TMTCH score as 25, as reported by Graham, despite Barry reporting it as 27 points).

The Opsimaths kept their own 100% record running in the first of the season's Albert Club 'Orkney Dark Trophy' derbies against The Prodigals.  Brian acted as QM and managed to manoeuvre us to a 9.50 finish leaving loads of space for 'postplay'.  As elsewhere last night, this was a vey high-scoring affair with 19 twos for the Opsis, 12 twos for the Prods and just 6 'unanswereds' (breaking 5-1 to the unfortunate Prodigals).  To be honest I was somewhat baffled as I have The Prods down as possible champions this season.  Maybe going first first put them at a disadvantage, or maybe the heavy emphasis on wordplay in the question formats suited the more crossword-minded Opsimaths.  Dave R adds his usual magnanimous verdict: "Beaten by far the better team on the night."

After the match we all raised a glass to the memory of Richard Seed and then ploughed into a wide-ranging conversation which ended up with a forensic examination of the national shame that is the full English Brexit being served up by the Tories.  A question for historians: Who gets the 2016 Golden Raspberry for Worst Team Manager?  David Cameron, Sam Allardyce, or is there still time for Theresa May to wrest the award from the hands of the others?

The Electric Pigs lost to Ethel Rodin at The Ladybarn Club leaving Ethel in third place in the table.

The Paper

This week's paper was set by Albert.

Pretty clear that the setters had aimed for a high-scoring romp and they succeeded royally with an average aggregate of 88.6 beating last year's record 87.6 on the first of the Opsimaths' paper.  The high-scoring does not tell the whole story however since this was predominantly a paper for those that like their answers to be hinted at cryptically via some sort of verbal trickery.  So two-word answers where the words differ from one another by a single letter, answers with the name of a capital city buried somewhere in the consecutive letters, hidden gods and answers where the two parts overlap by a common word (e.g. Liam Fox Talbot).  As someone who spends far too much of his waking hours buried in complicated crosswords (such as The Listener puzzle in the Saturday edition of The Times) I loved it.  Others who just like knowing stuff perhaps didn't find it so much fun.

Other views?

Barry from The Griffin....

"We thought the paper was full of interest.  There were points a-plenty (29 twos and only 2 'unanswereds' tells the story), but still lots of well-constructed and interesting questions which required a bit of thought.  We particularly liked the cryptic pairs round, and the 'run-together' type question has been a favourite of ours ever since Chow Mein Kampf got the idea off to a perfect start (and eventually inspired the name Dunkin' Dönitz).  So, thank you to the Albert for a thoroughly enjoyable paper."

Ivor from the Red Lion snug....

"We did enjoy tonight’s quiz.  The variety of formats and questions ensured there was something for everyone.  As usual the 'Pick Your Own' Bingo was a hostage to fortune.  When Mrs C in the QM seat said that my 'CCD' pick was about an infection I assumed there were 2 points in the bag only to be floored by a question about bee illness (luckily Tim’s Archer-listening came to the rescue).  No one remembered Nokia tunes (and only Chara John remembered much about Nokia).  Some good team working though for once (no blurts from either side).  Working out the cosmic science of areology was especially satisfying (Can these sciences really be that specialised?  Yes they can apparently!)."

Dave R from the Albert Club....

"Enjoyable quiz tonight.  Plenty of different themes to test everyone.  A good example of why each individual setter should be left to their own devices. The bingo round was especially ingenious."

Rachael from The Turnpike....

"The high scores were a testament to the diversity and general accessibility of this excellent paper.  There were some very entertaining and imaginative themed rounds and a wide range of topics were tackled."

and finally Damian....

"The common consensus was that tonight's paper from the Albert was one of the best they have ever produced.  Themes hidden, and not so hidden, and always reasonably accessible - with a bit of bingo thrown in for good measure!   Other than some initial confusion about whether there were enough bingo questions to fill 2 rounds (until we realised there were 2 questions per subject - not immediately apparent from the handout) what was not to like?  A bit of a quibble over the chemical elements questions as there seemed to be more than one potential answer but fortunately Yours Truly and his team managed to avoid those."

Question of the Week

This week Rachael and the Shrimps rather liked Round 6 Question 7 (where the second half of the answer to the first part of the question was the same as the first half of the answer to the second part of the question):

Nemesis feared by Dinsdale Pirhana; multiply married author of The Naked and the Dead?

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

Father Megson: Peaks and Troughs

Curiouser and curiouser.  It now seems that Fr Megson, the mercurial and quixotic manager of the Charabancs of Fire will stay on in his post.  This despite his announcement at a hastily convened press conference last May that he would be stepping down from the world of trivia management with immediate effect.  He was doing so...."in order to spend more time with Hangman Dave's family - too many fcekin' troughs in my life so far, time to hit the Peaks."

It seems now that neither Hangman Dave nor his family had been in complete agreement with these retirement plans.  "Fr Megson  is a man of God," Dave told an even more hastily convened press conference seven minutes later, "and as such he is a welcome visitor into our house.  We are, however, less tolerant of the idea of him sleeping in our kitchen on a permanent basis".  Dave's subsequent hiring of armed guards to patrol his garden on a 24/7 basis alongside the iron bars that appeared overnight on his cat flap seem to suggest that further negotiation in the matter is extremely unlikely.

And so, spurned alike by the Reeks and the Peaks, Fr Megson can be considered lucky to keep his job in charge of the Charabancs of Fire.  The net was spread far and wide to find a replacement and a shortlist was drawn up of men with nothing left to live for.  In the end they all said no, even men as diverse and desperate as Michael Gove and Big Sam.  Father Megson it is then - by default.

So how does Father Megson see the new season going?  Two defeats so far in their opening two games and still no injection of youthful talent.  Surely he must accept that there is no longer any point in trying to sharpen a pencil when its lead has already fallen out?

"I strongly resent your pessimism, young rapscallion of the gutter press," counters Fr Megson, chomping on an organically sourced donner kebab and abstemiously sipping from his pint of the house red, a cheeky little Transnistrian number from the sun-kissed environs of the Bender underpass,

"I would prefer to think that, like Antony and Cleopatra, our powers are crescent at the moment.  Even our harshest critics are saying that the Charabancs are playing very well this season (ED: What a strange and slightly disconcerting phrase).  True, the two defeats so far were unfortunate and have maybe turned our powers a bit gibbous - and if things continue in this vein there may well be nothing other than darkness visible by the end of the season.  Let's stay optimistic though.  After all, every team gets things wrong sometimes - it's just that we do so more consistently than most.  I feel confident that we can turn things round.  Finishing the season third from bottom is still an achievable goal.  The team may look plum-tuckered but they are still seasoned professionals and highly motivated..... well, ok then, maybe not professional or motivated - but they are still highly seasoned and they still play with a smile on their faces.  Big smiles, that's what I like to see.  This kebab is really rather excellent, even the ketchup tastes organically sourced".

But didn't you say the same thing last season, Father?  "Second from bottom, but still playing with big smiles on their faces........marvellous," you said.  Then they went to the Parrswood and QM Gilly insisted that you play with all hands above the table.  And then there were no more big smiles for the rest of the season.  Even the free pints you were getting after every game were quaffed as if you were sucking on a vinegary sponge.  Won't the same thing happen again this season, Father?

"Not if I can get my mitts around the throat of Hangman Dave's moll first, it won't.  That's the trouble with this quiz league, you know.  Far too many intellectually bankrupt degenerates allowed in from the Peak district.  Build a fcekin' wall, that's what any sensible person would do.  Care for a jalapeno?"

....and also

Only Connect has come calling again looking for trios of contestants for the next series which is being filmed early next year.  Here's the email I got with the flyer underneath....

"Good afternoon,
I am contacting you as you have been kind enough to assist us in previous years when we have launched our search for contestants for the popular BBC Two Quiz Show 'Only Connect' presented by Victoria Coren Mitchell.

We are excited to announce that we are now casting again for a new series of 'Only Connect' which will be filmed in March and April 2017.

We are looking for new contestants to make up teams of three players who share a common passion, ability or profession, to pool their combined wits and knowledge to tackle our fiendish conundrums and vexing puzzles.

We would be so grateful if you could distribute the attached flyer, for the attention of your quizzers and associates, or family and friends to spread the word about our casting call.

Please feel free to share our flyer through Facebook, Twitter etc. For further information about the quiz and to play our online game, please see our BBC website http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00lskhg.

Thanks in advance for your help in spreading the word! We very much appreciate it.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OnlyConnectQuiz  Twitter: @OnlyConnectQuiz

Hannah-Jane Davies | Assistant Producer | Parasol Media Ltd | 46 Cardiff Road, Llandaff, Cardiff CF5 2DT | +44 (0) 2920 575729 (office) | +44 (0) 7725 112025 (mobile)"