The Withington Pub Quiz League


13th December 2017


WQ Fixtures, Results & Table

WQ Teams

WQ Archive Comments Question papers

Andrew Simpson

Just after I heard of Gerry's death news reached me, via Brian, of the death of Andrew Simpson, a well-known local Didsbury character and erstwhile player in our league.

Brian writes of Andrew....

"There are probably not many current Withquizzers who remember Andrew Simpson.  He used to play for the Albert in the old days, by which I mean the really old days, before even Val Draper!  Unfortunately he died last week, on Tuesday.

He was a small quiet person, but with a very mellifluous voice.  He was a gentleman of the old school; the sort of person who would still stand up when a lady entered the room.  When he worked for the Examination Board at the University, he always wore a tie, but his casual attire favoured cravats.

His wife ‘Canadian’ Annie died a few years ago, and he never really got over that.  If you look on his stepson's Facebook page, (his name is Lawrence Monk and it is adorned with a Canadian flag), there are a couple of pictures of Andrew and the Albert quiz team, which might jog a few memories (ED: I have reproduced those pictures and shown them on the right and below).

He was still very much part of the Fletcher Moss scene, and will be fondly remembered there by former quizzers such as Pete Taylor and Rebekah Ottaway."


Below are a couple of pictures from the Facebook page Brian mentions above.  On the right is a picture of the early Albert quiz team from the late 1970s (including Andrew) and on the left a very grainy picture from John Turrell's 'Mild and Bitter' column in the Withington Reporter which refers to the victorious Albert team and moots the idea of forming a local Quiz League.

The caption below the Withington Reporter picture reads....

"Diane Condon presents the trophy to Gus Lyons, captain of the winning Albert team"

and the text of John Turrell's article reads....


The winners of the Withington Festival General Knowledge Quiz proved to be the team from the Albert Inn, Didsbury.  They were presented with the shield by Mrs Diane Condon, the quiz mistress.  The shield will be held by the Albert for one year, and then competed for again next year.

In an exciting final night at the Christie Staff Club on Rathen Road the Red Lion beat the Nelson and the Albert beat Christie's in the two semi-finals, the Red Lion match going to a tie-breaker.

Imagine the chagrin of the lady in the Nelson team who, asked as the winning question, what the chemical formula H2SO4 stood for, answered confidently 'Hydrochloric Acid'.  Her team-mates nearly lynched her as everyone in the room shouted - after the Red Lion team - 'Sulphuric Acid!'.

In the final the Red was beaten by a very strong Albert team.

The response to the competition and the enjoyment it gave, prompted some of those involved to consider forming a local league.  With this in view any group, club, pub or even individuals who would like to take part in regular quizzes should write to John Condon at 15 Cotton Hill Flats, Cotton Lane , Withington.  All those who are interested will be invited to a meeting.

Teams are made up of four people together with an official (to keep the score or time) and matches will probably be every fortnight.

Here are some examples of the type and standard of the questions:

  1. On what river does Venice stand?

  2. Who painted Flatford Mill?

  3. For which county did W G Grace play?

  4. Who wrote Tristram Shandy?

  5. What is the chemical symbol for salt?

  6. Who or what is a lepidopterist?

Get those brains working!  JOHN TURRELL"












Gerry Hennessy

Sadly we have just heard that our good friend Gerry Hennessy died earlier this week.

Gerry was one of the founders of this quiz league back in 1977 and was much loved and respected by all who knew him.  Latterly he became a stalwart of the Electric Pigs team.

Many of the longer-serving members of the league will remember him for his wonderful Red Lion quizzes which he set and QMed for many years.  The quality of these quizzes and the fun they generated cemented his reputation in South Manchester as the leading character in our quiz activities.  Setting quizzes was his forte and he set many great papers for WithQuiz matches over the years.  Knowing it was a 'Gerry paper' week always made Wednesdays come around that little bit quicker.

Back at the end of the 2007/08 season at the End of Season evening at the Albert Club we chose to thank Gerry for all his tireless service to our hobby by presenting him with a 'lifetime achievement' award.  Dave Rainford (who else) gave the speech and presented the trophy.  Here's a picture and an extract from that week's website report on the evening:

QuizBiz - 07/05/2008

End of Season evening

“Highlight of the presentations, however, was a heartfelt tribute to Gerry Hennessy from Dave Rainford.  Gerry, who was in at the start of the Withington Quiz League, has just had his 60th.  He received a fine glass trophy from Dave inscribed:

To Gerry Hennessy KWE (Knight Commander of the Withington Empire) commemorating his 60th birthday and acknowledging his immense contribution to quizzing in South Manchester and profits in the Red Lion – The Withington Quiz League May 2008

As you may know Gerry contracted throat cancer a few years back and had had great trouble speaking as a consequence.  In more recent times he had lost the faculty of speech altogether and used pencil and slips of paper to communicate - a heavy burden for one so adept at language.

Pigs team captain Gary Donely writes this tribute....

"RIP Gerry.  So sad what life threw at him over so many years - and dealt with at every turn with an attitude to it all that was an object lesson in fortitude and, yes, bravery."

and friend and Pigs colleague, Andrew adds this....

"On Thursday, 23rd June 2016 I had the good fortune to spend a few hours with Gerry.  First, taking him to vote in the EU Referendum and then on to Wythenshawe Hospital for yet another round of treatment.  He was a passionate Remainer and for much of the journey was furiously scribbling notes for me to read hoping the right result would come about."

Results & Match Reports

History Men beat Electric Pigs
Albert beat Prodigals
Ethel Rodin beat Bards
Opsimaths tied with Dunkin' Dönitz

The History Men beat The Electric Pigs at the Red.  Ivor dispatches this summary....

"A strangely empty Red Lion tonight despite football and seasonal festivities.  Perhaps incessant rain had put a damper on any kind of merriment except for the joy of quizzing.  It was not a game of two halves tonight; more a game of seven eighths.  We won the first round against a three handed Pigs team 8-0 (due to four steals) to take an early lead.  However the next seven rounds were won by the Pigs 28-27.  The Pigs included two Toms, helpfully designated Old Tom and Young Tom - reminiscent of the Open Golf champions except that Young Tom is Dave’s son.  The Pigs youth policy is rather more radical than our own youth policy which tonight featured the return of Anne’s niece Vanessa, who is in fact twice Young Tom’s age."

Albert beat The Prodigals by a comfortable margin and as Mike O'B reports....

"The result brought to an end a fairly poor sequence of results for the Albert."

....and after further ruminations overnight adds this....

"On further consideration of our result last night I see now that the real reason for our win was my decision to take a much harder line with the team in training.  I have threatened them with POO HEAD. For those of you not in the know Poo Head is a game aimed at small children, students and people like me.  One person, perhaps the poorest performer in the previous week, dons the brown knitted poo hat and sits on a chair while the rest of the team throw lumps of simulated, Velcro lined poo at the hat.  The winner is the one who gets the most lumps of poo to stick.  They soon fell into line and saw things my way I can tell you.  Top of the table for us now."

Ethel Rodin beat The Bards of Didsbury in a low-scoring match at the Cricket Club.  James sums up....

"The Bards are happy that their reputation as lowest scoring quiz setters has been firmly grasped by the claws of the Mantis Shrimp (ED: Though the 43 all result at the Albert Club - see below - tells a different story).  'Blurt of the Season' contender was Tony’s 'Tate, as in Tate and Lyle.'"

In a match of great tension The Opsimaths tied with Dunkin' Dönitz.  But for a run of 7 superb twos right at the end the Dunkers would have lost to the home team who were ahead throughout.  As it was, the final question came to me with the Opsimaths one point behind for almost the first time in the evening.  Being unable to remember the cricketer and having never watched The Simpsons I conferred and fortunately Nick remembered the cricketer and reasoned that 'Troy' rather than 'Rory' was a more likely name for a Simpsons character.  So a tie.  Great cheers from all sides and general agreement that quizzing like this is a wonderful way to pass the time while Waiting for Godot.

I must call out Kieran's two for (N)Ephron at the final hurdle - a moment of supreme brain-racking which came up trumps.  Working in the opposite direction the majority of the Opsimaths team opted for Green(s) when Nick was suggesting correctly G(l)ove a couple of questions earlier resulting in us losing a vital point.  C'est la vie!

All in all a great match between two teams that have been slugging it out toe to toe for the past 6 years or so.  In the event the carton of milk stored in the Albert Club kitchen was not called into play.  No Milkgate for us - just plenty of mutual respect for a fantastic evening of high class quizzing.

As you would expect my voice is not the only to recount the tale of this thrilling match as Kieran proves....

"A cold, wet December night and this season's first edition of the Classico.  From a distance, or indeed close up, the Albert Club doesn't look a lot like the Bernabeu or the Camp Nou, nor, for that matter, does it have any resemblance to the Etihad or Old Trafford. And despite what he tells himself when looking in the mirror every morning Martin doesn't look a thing like (Gabriel) Jesus. 

But this was the setting for the latest clash of the Opsis and the Donuts, a 'no quarter asked nor given' rivalry half as old as time that always, always delivers.  No pig's heads hurled from the stands (how the hell did they ever get that into the ground in the first place?), no flying pizza nor jettisoned bottles of milk but a huge amount of respect on both sides that would be completely lost on Portuguese eye gougers.  

Evenings like this are why I love playing in this league.  Eight of the finest competitors WithQuiz has to offer, all playing at the top of their game.  15 Donuts' twos v 13 for the Opsimaths; 4 bonuses each; and only 7 unanswereds (marginally against us 4-3).  At the end everyone could say 'If only I'd', or 'We'd written that down', or just feel very pleased with the two they'd gone for which swung the result in the end.  An aggregate score of 86 and a quiz so evenly balanced says a lot for the Shrimp's skill in setting a paper to bring out the best in both teams. 

The Opsimaths led from the start (we never got ahead until question five in the final round), but it was only 2 or 3 points all the way through the first five rounds.  Then we got hammered on the postcodes round, and I'm still miffed about 'baronet' being described as part of the honours system rather than the peerage.  Largely because I'd brilliantly, but wrongly, worked out that the location was Omagh and the answer was the Order of Merit.  Which IS part of the honours system - but about as wide of the mark as I could get, Omagh having a Belfast (BT) postcode. 

Seven points behind against the Opsis with two rounds to go, David said it would be a good one to win from here.  And boy was it, or at any rate a great one to draw.  I don't know if Debbie did Dallas after last week's quiz (ok her name is Deborah but for the sake of the joke, y'know come on!) but Barry was suddenly all over Michael Gove (sorry about that image) and philosophers with a 'Y' for the second letter of their name.  Six twos in seven questions in Rounds 7 and 8 - and the Opsis rocking with only a one point lead - and Mike and me left to bat. 

I knew the answer was Ephron, except I couldn't get away from it being Nephron (why did her first name have to be Nora?) and I couldn't see how I could add a letter to get a part of the kidney.  Barry was in every kind of agony seeing me cross through the 'N' on my scribble where I'd written what I thought the answer was, convinced that I was going to confer and thereby blow any chance we had of winning or even drawing, with the desperately needed two points written on the paper in front of both of us, and he couldn't say a word or even gesture.  But I play fourth for the reason that I couldn't ask any of Barry, Martin or David to take on that gut-churning responsibility of having to get a two to give us any chance of points.  So I screwed my courage to the sticking place and thank God I was right.  My fellow Dunkers exploded in a manner which would have given Marcus Rojo and Romelu Lukaku a fit of the vapours - and it was over to Mike, needing a one for the draw and a two for a sensational win.  And honestly I wouldn't have cared if he'd got Roy and Troy without conferring to win the game, though I'm pretty happy he didn't.  The Opsis duly got the one point to draw the match and it would have been a complete travesty if they hadn't. 

It's always like this when these two teams meet and long may it continue though frankly I (and I suspect the other seven) am far too old for this sort of stuff.

The Alabama senate seat, the Bot finally being defeated in her bid to end parliamentary democracy in Britain for good, City making it fifteen on the spin and at the end of the evening this.  Perth anyone?  Thought not. 

Oh what a night! (as I may have said around this time last year)." 

Quiz Paper Verdict

This week the paper was set by Compulsory Mantis Shrimp.

The average aggregate was 67.3.

Every round themed on a particular topic with only one of these themes hidden (in Round 7 - and that was fairly easy to rumble once the first two answers had been given).  Loads of invention (which I think is the glory of our laissez-faire format) with special praise from me for the Post Code lottery in Round 6.  A great round for noddling round the table using geographic hints along with general knowledge to arrive at an answer.  A classic case of shared knowledge intersecting to provide a plausible answer.

At the Albert Club the aggregate score was a mighty 86 points with 7 unanswered questions (breaking 4-3 against DD).  Elsewhere, however, the aggregates hovered around the 60 mark - so a wide divergence between the various aggregate scores this week.

From the Fletcher Moss Mike O'B sends this observation....

"It is fair to say that both teams found the first half of the quiz hard going but the second half seemed far more accessible.  The aggregate score of 62 reflects our mutual performances.  We did like the postcode round which was very imaginative."

....whilst James sends this feedback from the Rodin/Bards encounter....

"Quite painful at times.  Lots of good ideas in the themes - but perhaps it needed one or two slightly less arcane rounds."

....finally Ivor sends this reaction to the paper from the Red....

"The combined score suggests a hard quiz though one not without interest.  Thirteen questions went unanswered tonight.  Tim as QM announced 'I am glad I am asking the questions'.  As always some questions fell to the right seat - our Young David has only just returned from Iceland and was very familiar with the Yule Lads (now there is a question for the next double entendre round) though sadly his trip to Japan was at the wrong time to be of any help in conferral about where many millions of Japanese spend the big day eating.  Equally sad was David falling into the trap of 'Appalachian Way Out West' rather than 'Appalachian Trail of the Lonesome Pine'.  I remember this ditty from 1975 very well - only Bohemian Rhapsody stopped its ascent to No 1.  But, like many of my generation, Christmas Number Ones from 1995 onwards have passed me by without leaving the slightest impression on the cerebral cortex."

....and the Dave Barras Question of the Week award this week has been nominated by Dunkin' Dönitz, The Opsimaths and The History Men's 'Young David' (as Ivor keeps calling him)It goes to Round 4 Question 5:

‘Yule Lads’ or ‘Yulemen’ visit children on the thirteen nights before Christmas Eve in the folklore of which Nordic country?  Their names include 'Sausage Swiper', 'Sheep Harrasser' and 'Door Sniffer'.

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

'WithQuiz at 40' News

Make sure you've got Wednesday March 28th in your diaries as this is when we will be gathering to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the formation of our Quiz League.

Celebration Evening

A few of us got together just before this week's matches to discuss further the organisation of this special occasion.  Here's the gist of what we decided:

  • We'll limit each of the existing 10 teams to 7 invitations (to include any former players you wish to invite) - and ask team captains to inform me of who they've invited so that I can compile a master list and keep an eye on numbers.

  • The organising group will add in invitations to former players who fall outside the range of existing teams (e.g. TMTCH players) and special guests (e.g. a few of our friends from the Stockport League).

  • Each of the 10 existing teams will be asked to cough up something like £50 to cover the cost of the buffet and the hire of the Cricket Club function room - with specific guidance not to pass any charges on to former players and guests.

  • I'll email Team Captains early in January to get the invitation process rolling.

  • On the night we'll have:

    • a few words from our special guest Mark Bassett,

    • a short quiz prepared by Roddy which uses material from as many of our 40 years as he can recall,

    • a vote for the 'Question of All Seasons' (from a list of all the past End of Season 'Question of the Season' winners),

    • material to remind us of how the league was formed back in 1977,

    • other material to recall some of the more colourful WithQuiz folk legend - and folk heroes,

    • and a gallery of pictures (mostly from the End of Season evenings)

Please feel free to add any ideas you might have about how we organise this special evening.  Just let me know.

....and also



We now take our 3 week Christmas break.

When we return to the quizzing fray on Wednesday January 10th all 10 teams will be engaged in matches so we will be using a Guest setter to prepare the paper.  I'm pleased to tell you that John Tolan (formerly of the Ethel Rodin team) has agreed to set - and, with a bit of luck, we'll see John at the 40th Celebration evening in March so you can give him your feedback then.  Suffice it to say that when John set as a Guest for us in 2007 his 'Question of the Week' question won the subsequent 'Question of the Season' award - as this extract from the QuizBiz page for the End of Season 2006/7 get together shows:

Question of the Season was voted for during the evening and went by a large majority to John Tolan as Guest Setter on March 28th for his question:  "Sir Peter Teazle did it in 1757; Cardinal Beaufort did it in 1805; Captain Cuttle did it in 1922.  It usually takes about 2.5 minutes to accomplish it.  What is it?"

Former Rodinista, Roz, picked up the bottle of wine for him on that occasion so let's hope it got delivered!  Anyway many thanks from all of us, John.  We look forward to January 10th.

In the meantime a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all - and as last year - here's a jolly Irish tune to keep you going through to 2018.