The Withington Pub Quiz League


17th January 2018


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Gerry Hennessy



Gerry's family and friends (amongst whom were many WithQuizzers past and present) gathered on Monday morning at Southern Cemetery to say their farewells to Gerry - and then afterwards to chat over their fond memories at the Red Lion.

Speakers at the service included Pigs skipper, Gary Donely, and quizzing pal of Gerry's, Robin Proctor, who was in with Gerry at the very start of our league 40 years ago.

Both spoke movingly, fittingly, warmly and humorously about a very good friend who will be sorely missed.

Along the way we learned of Gerry's wonderful work as a Primary School teacher in a deprived part of Salford, his prowess at cross-country running as a youth and his lifelong love of ornithology.

Since I was responsible for compiling this week's quiz on behalf of the Opsimaths I decided to dedicate the final round in his memory.  I hope you all enjoyed it!

Results & Match Reports

Bards beat Albert

Dunkin' Dönitz beat Ethel Rodin

Electric Pigs lost to History Men

Prodigals beat Mantis Shrimp

The Bards of Didsbury led from the start and gradually increased their advantage as the evening progressed running out victors by 5 points over The Albert.  Tony's grandson, Tom, played for the Bards as did student Joe Hanson reducing the average age of the Bards to something between 40 and 50.  Once we got past Round 4 both teams were convinced J B Priestley was the answer to any question that they weren't quite sure about.


Dunkin' Dönitz beat Ethel Rodin though it didn't seem that that would be the result at the halfway mark as Kieran reports....

"I'll get the stats out of the way quickly: 7 unanswereds (4-3 against Ethel); twos fell 16 -12 in Ethel's favour; bonuses fell 9-3 for us.  We won it on... copy and paste from pretty much any of my match reports this season. 

I still don't know how we ran out winners by such a comfortable margin.  Ethel led after rounds 1 and 4 and we were in front after 2 and 3, all by margins of three points or fewer.  Then our second half gegenpress turned up the heat (not a good idea in the nuclear core of the Griffin even on a night like this) and a one point half time deficit became a lead of 4, then 5, then 3 and finally a victory by 9.  Though, as always seems the case, nothing was certain until question 4 of the final round.  

Ethel were tough opponents as they have been for many seasons now and Greg was by some way MVP out of all eight of us.  But we've rediscovered our mojo in the last couple of seasons and we never accept defeat until the maths make it certain.  Witness our unlikely win over Ethel in the first half of the season from 3 points down at the start of the final round or indeed the seemingly impossible draw we managed against the Opsis a few weeks' back from seven down at the end of round 6.  And who do we have next week?  The second El Classico of course.  Really looking forward to it and we'll see if it follows the pattern of the last five or six years and ends up as a seat 4 shoot out between Mike and me.  Even if it doesn't it'll be a great game no doubt.  Now Gerry and the Charas, what sort of wicket are you going to prepare for us to play on?"    


The Electric Pigs lost to The History Men as Ivor reports....

"Relocated to the Red Lion from the closed (for refurbishing) Fletcher Moss, tonight’s game was rather like our previous meeting.  The Pigs won the second half but they had fallen irretrievably behind after the first three rounds.  Joining Dave, Young Tom and Old Tom tonight was another veteran from the league, Barry Whitehead.  Barry used to assist the QMing and marking at Gerry Hennessy’s famous Monday night quizzes at the Red Lion.  It was there (in April 1989) that the first incarnation of the Historymen saw the light of day.

As others have reported Gerry’s quizzes were a delight.  Every week he produced 60 questions that playfully probed all human knowledge, but were beautifully constructed so that there was always a chance of delving out an answer.  We must have been posed 30,000 questions in that time period - hardly a repeat and never a dull one.  Tonight’s last round was a fitting tribute to mark his passing."

Just to add a little to Ivor's match report....

In a week when we are mourning the passing of Gerry Hennessy it's really great to see Barry back with us quizzing in the same team that Gerry played for.  Barry was indeed Gerry's amanuensis in the famous Red Lion quizzes but even more significantly it was Barry who started our own league back in 1977 by trekking around local pubs and clubs recruiting teams to play in a quiz league.  Barry is going to join us on March 28th when we celebrate our 40th birthday and give us the chance to thank him in person for his contribution.


The Prodigals  beat Compulsory Mantis Shrimp in a tense finish at The Albert Club.  Anne-Marie reports....

"A very close game which came down to the last question - and it helped that the Prodigals had guessed the theme when it was announced and that we knew Gerry’s history.  As usual a fun evening with the lovely Shrimps and we even had a spectating crowd of two, Mike and Liz, who gave their support to both the teams in equal measure.

Quiz Paper Verdict

This week the paper was set by The Opsimaths

The average aggregate was 79.5.

Not very high-scoring at the Cricket Club where I was QM'ing the Bards/Albert encounter but better scores elsewhere.

This time the Opsimaths compiled a paper made up of at least one round from each player - as opposed to those of the recent past which have been Brian's creations.  Don't fret however if you're a Brian fan as he has agreed to set the WIST Semi Final paper for February 14th.

My own contribution was the final round themed on the quizzing life of Gerry Hennessy , which I added late in the day as a reaction to Monday's service.  I hope you all thought this was a fitting conclusion to a week in which we said goodbye to a close friend.

The 'never comment on your own paper' rule prevents me saying how much I enjoyed this incredible, great, fantastic, amazing, wonderful, super, titanic and majestic paper from such modest and humble question-setters (ref: Round 6) - so I'll say nothing more.

Elsewhere feedback on the paper was as follows....

From Anne-Marie....

"A very interesting and enjoyable quiz.  Some questions guessable and some impossible - but on the whole a balanced paper.  It does help that I sit next to J B Priestley’s great niece at work!!"

From Kieran....

"It was a very odd quiz in that it didn't feel at all easy and yet there were twos just lying in the street waiting to be picked off.  It ended up with 28 of them scored and an aggregate of 85, only exceeded six times this season - four of them coming in the first week on the Opsis' first 'points bonanza' paper.  In other words the senior quiz wranglers from Old Lansdowne Road snuck a belter of a paper past us and no one noticed until it was all over."

From Ivor....

"Both teams enjoyed the paper tonight - not too many Scottish rivers and mountains though just enough to mark it as an Opsimath Quiz!  Only 7 unanswereds all night.  These included the unfortunate plagiarist from 2011 that no one had heard of, and Johanna Goebbels.  Andrew S in the chair obeyed the rubric and disallowed the inspired answer Mrs Josef Goebbels (she probably had that on her Christmas card envelopes) which would also have fitted the theme.

Our QotW?  The unlikely cohabiting football clubs - with the Olympic 1924 artists worthy runners up (as they were in the Olympics)."

....and the Dave Barras Question of the Week award this week has been nominated by The History Men and goes to Round 4, the Hitchin question:

What ‘first’ do current football clubs Hitchin Town, Marlow FC, Maidenhead United, the Civil Service FC, and the Scottish team Queen’s Park, all have in common?

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

Early indications are that a few teams may want to invite more than the 7 places allocated.  If this is so we may have to look for a bigger venue (Didsbury Cricket Club Function Room can only manage a maximum of 80).

Do let me know as soon as possible how many places you need.