gloriously retro affair perfectly in tune with our
celebration season when we are looking back over the
past 40 years quizzing that has got us to where we
are. It was like settling down in a
comfortable armchair to watch the telly and
accidentally switching to BBC4 where they're showing
one of those nostalgia-fest programmes dressed up as
serious history and you're watching the Ideal Homes
Exhibition of 1957. This was a paper redolent
of our wonderful past when facts were facts,
questions all fitted on a single line, answers were
no longer than two words, matches finished at 9.30
or earlier and Mike Heale huffed and puffed about
the waste of good drinking time answering daft
questions about poncey subjects.
couple of days ago when John sent me the paper I had
to get my wife to print it out and check that all
was OK so that I didn't compromise myself as a
player. When she said only two pages had
popped out of the printer I had to get her to check
that there were 8 rounds of 8 questions. "Yes"
she said, "Of course, isn't that what you always
have?". "But will it be legible to an an aging
QM with so-so eyesight in a gloomy pub backroom?" I
said. "Yes - shall I read some of the
questions out just to prove it?". "NO!!!!"
themes, no pairs, no run-ons, no bingo and no essays
attached to the answer to inform you of everything
the question-setter also knows about the subject in
question. Indeed the whole affair could have
been a Bingo paper where you just chose a number
between 1 and 64. The downside, of course, to
such potpourri-ity was some questionable balance.
My sense however was this evened itself out over the
what did others make of the paper?
quiz was a throwback; no themes, pairs, mash ups,
top to tails, crosswords or any fancy business at
all. There was even an appearance from 'which
British city is served by such and such airport',
the question format straw that finally broke Chara
Gerry and caused him to rage in print against the
dying of inventiveness when question-setting.
That said, from start to finish it took little more
than an hour including the half time beer break.
Somewhere Mike Heale is wearing a huge grin and
channelling Mr Punch, 'that's the way to do it'.
For all the merits of brevity and simplicity though
there was something dislocated about it. A
sense that this used to be great and it's nice to
experience it just once more but things have moved
on and now we're playing a different game entirely.
Like watching Yaya tread the Etihad turf on his
Shirley Bassey farewell tour. It was once
absolutely brilliant but now it's a bit.... meh."
expected from John Tolan, formerly of the Red Lion
team in its various incarnations, a good old
traditional quiz. 64 unsorted general knowledge
questions. No themes, a sprinkling of
gee-whizzes, some quiz classics and the occasional
chestnut - with a difficulty level to ensure
everyone went home with a couple of 2s and the
feeling one’s brains had been lightly exercised
rather than flogged to death.
what must be the shortest quiz paper of the season
tucked into an A5 envelope with barely a question
longer than a line and all compressed onto two
sheets of paper it ended well before 10.15,
resulting in some of us being two sheets to the wind
such was the available time for supping ale and
chat. There was even time for jokes during the
quiz with the pantry question reminding me of the
old classic riddle: 'What is the difference between
Fanny Craddock and a cross-country run'? (ED: No,
The quiz itself certainly tested areas last visited
at primary school: scalene triangles, the Fosse Way
and Richard I’s marriage en route to the Crusades
(surely a marriage as convincing as Elton John’s to
Renate in 1984). And a quiz mercifully free of
the distasteful modern world, by which I mean
Cabinet ministers, silver screen nonentities,
popular beat combos - indeed anything after about
1980, and this suited us very well. The only
curiosity was the greyhound racing colours question
as no one had ever seen a race with more than six
"The quiz was a throwback to the early years of the
League; no pairs, themes, run-ons, bingo etc. - just
straightforward general knowledge. This
allowed relatively little scope for using logic to
work out an answer and hence relatively
little scope for conferring. On the other hand
we rattled through the quiz in about an hour which
was pleasing. The score suggests that the
questions were reasonable and there were very few
unanswered. There was an occasional lack of
balance but this is bound to happen in a quiz of
Both teams liked the question
concerning urination even though both got it wrong."
From the QM point of
view, Mike H....
"One doubt - no-one of the 8 present, understood the
question about greyhound racing.
The questions contained as they were on just two
sheets were difficult for the QM to navigate.
It would not have been difficult to get into the
Two Ronnies situation where the answer to a
question was given to the preceding or following
question - but I survived with just one faux-pas,
asking Spares Question 1 rather than Round 8
....and finally Shrimp Tom (who knows a thing
or two about setting balanced and enjoyable
questions for general consumption) chips in these
comments as a counter-balance to some of the remarks
"Shrimps and Prodigals alike will remember this
paper for the unfortunate pairing of Dennis the
Menace and Vera Menchik, which gave plenty to talk
about at the half-time break. But to retain
only this memory would be unfair and unfortunate; it
was really quite a good paper, with short, pithy
questions, good balance of subject matter and plenty
of what I call 'inherent interest'.
Commentators above seem to think we failed to win
because of 'oldie' questions. This is not
true. The paper suited us. We failed to win
because the Prodigals knew a lot of stuff, conferred
well, overcame the Gnasher / chess-champion spike
and because we made a number of incorrect 50 / 50
calls - for instance....
Hebrew alphabet - Richard: ‘I think it’s
gimel’. Tom: ‘I think bet and vet
are separate letters. Can we go with vet?’
Holst’s Planets - Tom: ‘It's either
Neptune or Uranus but I remember my
brother’s LP… blah, blah….. shall we try Neptune?'
1908 Olympics - James, Rachel and Richard:
'Was it something to do with a volcano? Tom:
'Maybe, but there was a major earthquake in Messina
in 1908, isn’t that more likely…?'
Clothing labels: Rachel: 'Could it be Do
not bleach?' Tom and James: 'But how about
Do not dry clean?’
As far as we were concerned, the ‘oldie’ popular
culture questions were all perfectly gettable.
Desmond Llewelyn, Trevor Francis, Kind Hearts and
Coronets, Puppet on a String – these are
comfortably within the standard quiz canon, in the
‘old but enduring’ category. None was in our
condemned category: ‘nostalgic but dead and buried
as far we are concerned’.
I’m still surprised that WithQuizzers don’t seem to
see the distinction between these two categories.
Perhaps taphephobia plays a part?"