The Withington Pub Quiz League


30th November 2016


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The Dunkers win again in a very tight finish to keep their 100% record intact

The Results

Ethel Rodin beat The History Men down at the Ladybarn Club so keeping in touch with the leading pack.  Ivor sends this report from the depleted losers....

"We were three-handed tonight and our first target was not to lose by more than ten points; so we feel we had a successful match - just.  We certainly missed young David’s encyclopaedic knowledge of world capitals and county flags.  Astonishingly we were in the lead until the last question of the first half so we had the satisfaction of knowing that we might have given Ethel a scare.  Sadly natural order was restored in the second half as the usual phenomenon of 'the questions we knew going to the opposition, and those about which we hadn't an earthly coming to us' occurred yet again."


The Prodigals beat The Charabancs of Fire by a 9-point margin in the back lounge of the Albert Club.  Valiantly Damian reports from the losers' enclosure....

"With Jane on the team (substituting for the absent John who apparently prefers Cheltenham to Withington at this time of the year), the Charas attempted to take on the might of the Prodigals, replete with Egghead Dave.  Inevitably the Charas came up short and Yours Truly can't help but wonder if he made a mistake when he tapped Dave on the shoulder (while collecting the quiz questions in the Red Lion) to remind him that his team were quizzing tonight.  Maybe it would have boded better for our chances if I'd left him to watch his beloved Man U in peace.  It did seem ominous that, after being 1-0 up for 20 odd minutes, West Ham promptly equalised at the very same moment Dave arrived at the Club!  I wonder if I got his back up somehow?

This was a fairly close encounter for the most part - but yet again the Charas suffered from a chronic lack of twos which has blighted them over the past couple of seasons (they broke 10-5 in the Prods' favour) .  As seems to have been so often the case this season, a reasonably competitive first half soon morphed into a second half in which the gap between us and our opponents grew steadily.  With unerring regularity, the questions just never seem to play to our strengths towards the end of matches!  However, the sting of yet another defeat was mitigated by the enormous entertainment value of being in the company of Dave, Anne-Marie and co!"


Compulsory Mantis Shrimp lost for the second time in two weeks - this time to the Albert team at The Fletcher Moss.  Mike O'B sums up....

"Hah! their apple-cheeked youthful vigour was no match for our wizened, whining, cronery.  The delights of Wilfred PIckles in Have a Go - all that effort for six pounds, five and eight pence at the end of the evening.  Oh how it kept our spirits up in the age of austerity!  Who can forget We're a Couple of Diabetic-Footed Swells?  That'll teach them to be so young and intelligent.  This match was really decided in Round 3 when we scored 9 and Mantis failed to score.  They never recovered from that."


The Men They Couldn't Hang lost to The Bards of Didsbury at the Cricket Club.  At last the Bards seem to be recovering some of their form from last season.


Dunkin' Dönitz beat The Opsimaths in a tensely fought match at The Griffin.

Bob was, as ever, imperious yet unfailingly affable in the QM role and Andrew spectated as a quietly satisfied setter.  The rest of the room gradually emptied unable to take the tension ("....trying to get away from the bloody football on the telly in every other part of the pub for a quiet evening's chatter, only to run into a sodding quiz match!" was one comment overheard).

This was an epic encounter.  The first half saw the visitors surge into a comfortable lead (7 points at one stage) only for the home team to claw back onto level pegging by the start of Round 8.  By the final pair the Dunkers were 2 points ahead and they kept this margin with both teams getting conferred one point answers.  So the home team remain undefeated and, with the Shrimps losing against Albert, gain a four point advantage over their nearest challengers.

I've been quizzing in these parts for the over 30 years and have enjoyed dozens of thrilling matches against Kieran, Barry, Martin and David (and a few of their predecessors).  There's always a frisson of tension when you play the super-competitive Dunkers but never less than warm friendship once the final whistle is blown.  This year I sense an even greater keenness to wrest back the league crown having only won it once in the past six years after their 13 year dominance was brought to a juddering halt in 2011.  Well they're on track with 8 played and 8 won.  Look a bit more closely at the results and you'll see that 3 of those victories have been by margins of 2 points or less - so there's plenty of hope for the rest of us.  After the match Bob confided that from his QM vantage point he had noticed how steely and focussed the Dunkers are in the final stages of their matches, playing the tactics dead right when often their opposition relax and lose sight of the possibilities for victory.  I don't think this was true in this match but, nevertheless, a helpful observation for future would-be Dunker conquerors.

Well, of course, that's just my opinion.  What did the home captain have to say?  Over to you Kieran....

"For the second week running The Griffin was filled by football fans, a result of having a screen in four of the five rooms.  This week though we managed to find space in the middle room at the back, the only one without a TV and, somewhat squashed together on two small tables we prepared for battle.

And what a battle!  Your Johnny-come-lately PSGs and Monacos, Chelseas and RasenBallsport Leipzigs (check the Bundesliga table) are all very well but this, and it sticks in my craw to say it, was Liverpool v United - as it always is.  Two serial winning teams, going for every possible point and aware of the effect the result would have at the top of the table - but most of all just desperate to get the win in the first head-to-head of the season.

And reader we did!  I looked back at the results of our matches against the Opsis since their famed 'Tooting Bec one point' win in January 2011 and, before tonight, the record was 7-6 in their favour - many of those games decided by one or two points.  So we've evened it up, and again by just two points with the result still in doubt right up to the last pair.

My teasing of Mike by texting him the result (as I usually do on Wednesday evening), even though he was sat two foot away from me and had just played the game against us, went a bit awry however as I'd managed to send the message as 'Dunkin 45 - Opsimaths 431'.  If that is reflected in the league table I will be mildly miffed.  

So as Kate Bush demonstrates that one should never take one's idol's shoes off and throw them in the lake as you will discover that the object of your worship has feet of clay, we can console ourselves with the knowledge that we have made our best start to a season in seven years.  And Elton most definitely isn't playing the inauguration!  Could almost make one sanguine about the rest of the crap going on all around while we indulge ourselves with our Wednesday evening trivia.

Oh what a night (late November back in 2016)!"

The Paper

This week the paper was set by The Electric Pigs.

First the numbers.  An average aggregate of 73.4 - almost exactly the same as the season's overall average aggregate to-date (74.0).  So no grounds for complaint there.  In our match there was merely a single unanswered question and a massive 25 two-pointers.  Excellent!  The subjects covered, and the format of the rounds, were as diverse as could have been wished - so full marks on this count.  Away from The Griffin the Pigs' paper was also pretty popular - except for The Parrs Wood Hotel where Graham and co. were 'uninspired'.

At The Griffin the paper grew on us (as Kieran states below).  One or two questions led to a niggling sense of dissatisfaction such as the missing features of a motorway (Surely lack of central reservations and lack of crash barriers are two sides of the same coin?) and the most popular games console of all time (What should the QM do if one team answer "Playstation" rather than the correct "Playstation 2"?).  The fact that the questions were taxing yet there was only a single unanswered question all evening meant that there were bags of conferences.  This extended the timescale beyond 10.30pm - just.  It was a quiz for old duffers like me with elderly Wilfred Pickles and Have a Go! fans well satisfied - so hard cheese to anybody under 65 who'd never heard of Mabel and her legendary table.  I managed 4 twos, and could well have got 6 if I'd have taken more chances and had a bit of luck - so that's as good a return as I've had all season.  There's no doubt that getting a few twos is a key element of enjoying an evening's quizzing.  Oh, and just one obvious error to report....Round 8 Question 6 Hugh Bonneville starred between 2010 and 2015 in an ITV Sunday night drama (not BBC as stated in the question).  Of course it was Downton Abbey.

After the match Andrew told us that there had been the possibility of a whole round on motorways until the Pigs' editorial meeting had ruled it out.  Hooray to that was the consensus amongst the Opsis and the Dunkers.  A whole round on a single narrow subject is always a no-no.  But I must say having spent an average of 15 hours a week during a large portion of my working life on the UK road system I would welcome more road questions.  Why are trains and boats and planes sexy, whilst road transport a subject that always raises a groan?

In a season not yet half done yet packed with splendid papers what did the rest of you think about the Pigs' offering?


"Huge congratulations to the Pigs for setting a paper that we hated at first and then grew to love more and more as the subjects which played to our strengths came to the forefront in the second half.  Plaudits too for censoring the mad idea of an entire round on motorways and reducing it to a, still mostly indigestible, pair of questions.  Barry may have something to say about the surviving pair on the message board. 

Only one unanswered question, which fell to the Opsis.  In a match as close as this these things matter! But I don't think either side could complain with an aggregate score of 88 and 25 twos between us."

Mike O'B....

"The quiz was well-balanced with very few unanswerables.  The aggregate score suggests it was well up to the standard already set for this season."


"By and large, we enjoyed the fare served up by the Piggies tonight.  The themes were guessable and I counted only 7 unanswerables which fell more or less evenly between the 2 teams.  We liked the idea of the Manchester Grammar School old boys theme even if that didn't necessarily help us in guessing the answers.  Always nice to have a Manchester connection in a South Manchester-based quiz, I guess!"


"The unannounced connections of tennis players, cathedrals and named days proved fiendish at least until the last questions of the respective rounds (and sometimes not even then).  Had even tennis players been an announced theme I know I would have struggled.  Is it a sign of age that the top 10 from 1980 are more memorable than the present day millionaires?"


"It was a good quiz and the hidden themes were well hidden.  There was one question that didn't really stand up to scrutiny.  One wonders how drivers to Holyhead might feel when they take the motorway and find themselves in Exeter."

and Graham....

"De Doo Doo Dah is all I want to say to you.  The Pigs neverending quiz didn't inspire us.  Gilly did a fantastic job getting us all through the mire - but really?  Even Greg at the Albert wouldn't have given us the Violet Carson/Have A Go question (though Tony was in there following the failure of my ' 'Whistle Whilst You Work' answer..)."

Question of the Week

This week I'm choosing one of the questions that came my way (Round 3 Question 8).  Naturally as the question was read I wrote down the initial letters M-I-H-A-L-C-O-C.  Had I copied the full phrase I might have got it.  It crossed to the Dunkers and Maths teacher, Martin, slam-dunked for a bonus point.  Here it is:

'May I Have A Large Container Of Coffee?' is a mnemonic used in teaching Mathematics.  How does it help?

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