The Withington Pub Quiz League


8th March 2017


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Defeats for the Dunkers and the Shrimps leaving just a sliver of a chance for the Opsimaths

The Results

Down at The Turnpike The Charabancs of Fire just came off second best against the visiting Albert team.


The Opsimaths beat Dunkin' Dönitz in a thrilling encounter in the Albert Club back lounge.  From the end of Round 1 right up to Round 8 Question 7 the visitors enjoyed a lead, sometimes comfortable but tapering towards the end of the contest.  Howell had some recollection of hearing that Dent station was quite some way from the village of Dent so when the 'next stop after Ribblehead' came across he pegged back the Dunkers' lead to just one point.  Round 8 Question 8.  Oh shit!  Why me last?  I used to live in Nottingham back in the 1970s and travel regularly through Derbyshire to get to Manchester (where the in-laws lived).  I kind of remembered something about Ripley and police.  Nobody on my team indicated any sort of inkling so I went for it, leapt to my feet in unbounded delight and punched the adjacent wall with a blow that managed to cut my lip on the way through.  Barry sympathised - he claimed it was the first blood he'd seen spilt at a quiz match in his long and illustrious career.  The Opsimaths had just nicked it at the last.  As Howell put it afterwards: "All we needed was for a baby Alien to appear from Mike's stomach and he duly obliged."

Whatever else is going on there seems now to be a sort of microclimate around the matches between these two teams and tonight was no exception.  Keenly fought, always courteous and no whinges at the outcome (eat your heart out Wenger!).  I'm sure the Dunkers will be crowned deserved champions this year - maybe next week, maybe the week after - but this match will live for some time in my memory as a great example of why this pub quiz stuff is so enjoyable.  And while still on cloud nine let's make sure that our expert QM (Hilary) gets full praise.  She did an excellent job of delivering a lengthy and intricately constructed set of questions put together by the master setter from New Mills.  What Alfred Waterhouse was to architecture so Dave Barras is to quiz papers.


The Bards of Didsbury scored a comfortable victory over Compulsory Mantis Shrimp at the Cricket Club.  Bardic QM Mike H sends this....

"Bards came through  to gain a good victory, though it was a relatively low-scoring evening with many more ones (41) than twos (13)." 


This season the form of The History Men has been unpredictable, to say the least.  Having bombed throughout the first half they have been pretty much unstoppable since Christmas.  On this occasion they beat Ethel Rodin with some aplomb.  Ivor shares his thoughts....

"After our St Andrew’s Day massacre at the hands of Ethel Rodin in the corresponding fixture at the former White Swan it was very gratifying to extend our unbeaten run to six matches.  Will the Bards be somewhat nervous next week (I suspect not)?  The match was quite close in the end.  A turning point might have been Anne’s lucky guess of Middlesbrough as a possible David Pears club (for two points), with Ethel's Geoff sitting like a coiled spring waiting for the steal having retrieved the answer from his vast collection of obscure football facts some 5cm deep in his cerebral cortex."


And finally at The Fletcher Moss The Electric Pigs just got the better of The Prodigals.

The Paper

This week the paper was set by The Men They Couldn't Hang.

Well the average aggregate at 72.8 was almost bang on the season's overall average - and judging from the scores and the match reports it was pretty well-balanced with no great advantage to be had from choosing to go first or second.  On the down side it certainly took a while to get through with plenty of lengthy (fact-filled) questions and loads of temptations to engage in endless conferences.  At the Club we finished just on 11pm and I don't think many of the other matches finished much earlier.

For me though, the down side was totally outweighed by the up side.  A paper that was, in effect, a volume of 64 short and absorbing stories crafted to perfection by master builder, Dave Barras.  Complicated?  Yes - but only on two occasions did we throw our hands in the air and say 'How on earth could anyone have got that?'  These were (Round 1 Question 7) the one about the ancient kingdom stretching from Ibla to Bit Anaib (not read my Sargon of Akkad recently!) and (Round 2 Question 7) the one about the 17th century Armenian alchemist cymbal-maker.  Yes - both fell to me!  In contrast the questions seeking the flip side to Strawberry Fields and the pub named after the Lake District's own special breed of sheep were a bit on the easy side.  I did like the 'double bubble' effect in the Bingo Fruit Rounds when the 'Plum' question turned out to be about a character called Bingo Little.  I hope Tony appreciated that one.

Oh, and if you're looking for a dub poetry expert look no further than David Delahunty.  He spent a good deal of time trying to guess which was the linked fruit (the peach) only to miss out and have to wait until after the final whistle when the spares were dealt with.

Ivor's view from the Red?....

"A long quiz, as is often the case with TMTCH quizzes - even with Rupert in the QM chair, who takes no nonsense with slow play (he could have a second career as a PGA golf official).

TMTCH never produce a bad quiz and as is their hallmark many of the questions were wrapped in grace notes that could hint tantalisingly at an answer.  The themes and connections were intriguing - who could have thought there were so many possible '…cut' and '…saw' pairings?  The fruit rounds were most colourful and tantalising - but it was cruel of TMTCH (presumably Dave B) not to link the subjects explicitly to the fruits in the handouts leaving each of us to surmise which topic we were selecting.  As a result Anne and I spent two rounds fearful of copping the railway connections question!"

Mike H from the Cricket Club offers these thoughts....

"Rather a complicated quiz with so many long questions, needing more repeats than usual (I think only one question was one line in length)."

and Mike O'B from The Turnpike in his inimitable style....

"Another Barras-y quiz.  Clever, witty, facts we have managed to live without up to now, but very wordy (or worthy?).  My main complaint came in the fruit salad round.  Being first up and confident that I had probed the inner workings of the Barras mind I opted for melons on the basis this was bound to be about pneumatic British actresses.  I could already hear the applause of my awestruck team as I picked up a two for holding forth about Diana Dors' performance in Yield To The Night when, to my horror, I found myself being obliged to know about sperm whales.  Not my idea of fun I can tell you.  The aggregate score suggests that in between all the balderdash this was a well-balanced quiz."

Question of the Week

If ever there was a question that perfectly summed up the style of paper you were in for I thought it was delivered right at the start this week.  So my vote goes to Round 1 Question 1:

What warning, first delivered by sound engineer, Peter Lodge, in 1968, was seemingly disregarded on 307 occasions in 2015?  It is to be particularly welcomed at a location on Threadneedle Street where the danger reaches its zenith at 375 millimetres.

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