The Withington Pub Quiz League


28th March 2018


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'WithQuiz at 40' News


Have so many 'harmless obsessives' (as Mark so elegantly put it in his excellent speech) ever gathered together in one spot in South Manchester before?

Last night around 80 of us stopped tussling for our league title and just celebrated the fact that we've been at this pub quiz thing for 40 years.

We were joined by many friends from the past and the present who have shared our obsession....

.... Barry Whitehead who founded the league and through his tireless efforts kept us on track for most of the first 20 years - and who is very happily back with us playing for the Electric Pigs this very season (Barry was presented with a bottle of champers for his efforts on our behalf),

.... a posse of our mates from the Stockport League,

.... Gilly Barras and many members of The Men They Couldn't Hang team,

.... some quizzers who were involved in the early days in the late 1970s such as Bill Souster, Gerry Laversha, Robin Proctor and John Mellor

.... those good friends who have left our ranks more recently such as Colin MacKenzie, Antony Timmins, Roz and Tony Jones, Allan Stores, Clive Berry and Pete Conry

.... the husband of the late, lamented Val Draper, Rod Riesco and his son Chris,

.... and, to fanfares from all present, Dave Rainford was able to make it despite the ailments that have kept him away from quizzing for over 5 months - his entrance brought a smile to all our faces last night and I feel sure it will have done his recovery process a lot of good too,

The recipe for the evening was chiefly to eat, drink and be merry - but, of course there had to be a quiz in the middle of the evening and Roddy duly obliged with a nostalgia-fest of questions drawn from his recollections of question papers from the first 22 years of the league.

(to see Roddy's questions and answers click here).

Roddy's own team (perhaps because they included the heaviest concentration of 'early years WithQuizzers') came first with 20 points, followed by the Dunkin' Dönitz squad on 17 points.  There was a tie for third place on 16 points between the Stockport League team and the Prodigals.  Mugs from the collection shown below were awarded to each of those 4 teams.

Throughout the evening the walls of the two lounges of the Didsbury Sports Ground pavilion were decorated with posters telling the story of our league presented as a series of newspaper front pages (our grateful thanks to Clare Howarth who helped me prepare these).

(to view a pdf of the Front Page WithQuiz Story click here)

During the evening we voted for Question of the Quadricennium (i.e. by common consent the best question of the 15 years since we started voting for a Question of the Season back in 2002/03).

These were the results....






Votes cast


Ethel Rodin

What links the Sahara Desert, Lake Nyasa, the River Avon and Pendle Hill?

They are all tautologies

(i.e. ‘Sahara’ means desert, ‘Nyasa’ means lake, ‘Avon’ means river and ‘Pendle’ means hill)




Compulsory Mantis Shrimp

The title of which Beatles song, also covered by the Carpenters and released on the album Help! may have referred to cards indicating a clean bill of health carried by Hamburg prostitutes in the 1960s?

Ticket to Ride




Compulsory Meat Raffle

What country's most northerly point is the furthest south?





Snoopy’s Friends

Complete the following quotation from Brian Clough when talking about Trevor Brooking: "He floats like a butterfly and....."

"stings like one"





The British Dyslexia Research Centre is based in which town?





Dunkin’ Dönitz

Which band of the 1980s got its name (according to some) from a piece of graffiti referring to the twitching movements made by prisoners being hanged?

Spandau Ballet




Mad Dogs

Only two countries in the world can be described as ‘double landlocked’, that is, surrounded entirely by countries that are themselves landlocked.  Name either.

(One of) Liechtenstein (or) Uzbekistan





Who was responsible for the Gateshead Flasher's Erection?

Anthony Gormley

(it's an affectionate local nickname for the Angel of The North)




Ethel Rodin

(Second word of first answer is first word of second answer)

Which artist wrote “I inherited the seeds of madness. The angels of fear, sorrow, and death stood by my side since the day I was born"?  His Nazi-orchestrated funeral left the impression with his fellow countrymen that he was a Nazi sympathizer.


Which series of children's books is about a group of unwanted vegetables, fruits, legumes and nuts who were swept to the corner of a shop but ran away together and set up home in and around an old, forgotten garden shed?  They spawned a brand of yoghurts based on the names of the characters.

Edvard MUNCH Bunch




Brains of Oak

Musically speaking, where is a Volkswagen, registration number LMW281F, preserved for posterity?

On the sleeve of Abbey Road




Electric Pigs

Which child of 8 was horribly murdered in Hampshire in 1867 and has given her name to a well-known saying, ambiguous because of its initials?

Fanny Adams




John Tolan

(as Guest setter)

Sir Peter Teazle did it in 1757; Cardinal Beaufort did it in 1505; Captain Cuttle did it in 1922.  It usually takes about 2.5 minutes to accomplish it.  What is it?

Win the Derby





(Edgy Films theme)

The plot of which film follows a girl's effort to raise sufficient money to fund a trip to try out as a cheerleader for the fictional Texas Cowgirls?

Debbie Does Dallas





Name the 2 actors/sporting characters thrown together in this picture.

Pierluigi Collina & Gollum/Sméagol/Andy Serkis




Electric Pigs

Which sexual practice is referred to in the Liverpudlian expression “get off at Edge Hill” and why?

Coitus interruptus

(Edge Hill is the last station before the terminus Lime Street)



The top 3 teams were duly awarded the specific mug displaying the question with which they had won from the selection shown below....


I've received a number of emails this Thursday morning from those who came along and without exception they showed how much the evening was enjoyed.

Despite my blushes Kieran has insisted I include the text from his own feedback.  So here goes - over to Kieran...

"It was particularly fitting that Barry Whitehead was there.  He couldn't possibly have imagined what he and a few Revenue mates were starting (in the year that I left school for heaven's sakes!) which is why no records exist from the time before we say we started winning stuff.

It was also good that Gary's refusal to give in and his sterling efforts in keeping the whole thing going twenty or so years ago were recognised. Gary's got quite an impressive track record in battering away at a problem until he gets the answer he wants, we should all take note.  'Fail better' can sometimes turn to success.  We failed and failed and failed against St Cath's for years but we got a little closer each year and eventually came the time when we could beat them more often than they could best us.  Or so I claim at any rate and there aren't any records to prove otherwise.  Just hope you're not on top form in two week's time Gary; we're rubbing up against the sharp end of the season and we need the points.

Most of all I want to acknowledge the immense contribution that Mike Bath has made to the happiness and wellbeing of harmless obsessives everywhere (yes you can print this Mike, in fact I insist that you do).  Through stakhanovite devotion to all things WithQuiz Mike has turned what was once scribbled down in the back of someone's diary into the go-to website for pub quizzers not only in South Manchester but countrywide and, true to the open and generous spirits of anyone attracted to showing off their knowledge of trivia, there's a free-to-air archive of around 30,000 questions that we know has an audience far beyond the Red, the Griffin or the Fletcher Moss.  On top of that he provides a platform for Wednesday night drunks like me to sound off about anything and everything, sometimes even vaguely related to what went on in the quiz match and he only edits me for libel and profanity (more or less).  And he's even managed to assemble a pretty fearsome quiz team who give us, and I suspect all the other teams, the sternest examination of quiz competence season after season.

So thanks Mike, and I hope you continue to enjoy being all things WithQuiz - and that you carry on doing it for many seasons to come.

We may have been without Sean but former Donut (actually former Finger, Mad Dog and Napier Girl) Antony made the journey from Essex to celebrate with us and reconnect with old friends.   And that was what was so good about last evening; that so many people with a connection to the league wanted to do that.  Antony has a unique record in the league as a serial title winner.  For all the seasons he played with us he was champion every time and, pace Paddy Opsimath, I don't think there's anyone else who can claim a 100% record such as that.  Antony also returned the original Griffin mascot, imaginatively named Griff, to its rightful home and I fear it may become a permanent fixture on Wednesday evenings.  If memory serves me right, every team that has gone down the 'adopt a mascot' route has instantly plummeted from dizzying heights to the lower reaches of the league table, and ignominy, so you may all have cause to thank the Essex boy soon enough.   

And that's just about it.  Mark said I was famous for complaining.  Well.... lack of real beer, lack of customer service skills from the bar staff.... but nah.

Top night.  

Hope everyone enjoyed it and here's to the next... year or two .. with a bit of luck."

For those of you wondering about the cost of last night I am totting up what we've spent and will split it between the 10 teams that are currently playing in the league (as we agreed some time ago).  I will be in touch with team captains shortly to let them know how much they owe me - but I'm expecting it to be around £60 per team.

Finally a few photos of last night have trickled their way to me .....

Ethel & friends

(l to r) John Tolan, Lloyd Powell, Roz & Tony Jones, Roddy Toffler, Bill Souster and Gerry Laversha


The Men They Couldn't Hang

(l to r) Gilly Barras, Karen Sutcliffe,

Steve Holland, Anthony Stevenson

and Steve Hudson

The Electric Pigs

(l to r) Dave McColm, Guy Cresswell,

Gary Donely and Tom Grimshaw

The Charabancs of Fire

(l to r) Damian Land, Freda Dennison, John Dennison, Gerry Collins and Roisin Graven


Our Friends from the South

Some of our mates from the Stockport Quiz League including Mike Wagstaffe (2nd from right) and John Holden (far right)


Boz and his assistant serving the grub


University Challenge reunited

(foreground l to r) Clare Parody, Michael Taylor, Paddy Duffy and David Brice

The Upper Lounge


Prodigals past & present

(l to r) Clive Berry, Anne-Marie Glennon, Dave Rainford and Michael Taylor



Bar talk

(l to r) Kieran Dillon, David Bevan and Ann Webley


More bar chat

(l to r) Ivor Cartmill, Mike Bath, Colin MacKenzie and Bill Souster

.... and also



During the course of the evening Rachael, Kieran and myself put our heads together to agree what should happen in the unlikely event, in 3 weeks time, of the league season ending with the Dunkers and the Shrimps equal on league points AND on score difference.  We were clear that in such an event the league championship should be declared a tie and no further device should be used to distinguish between the top two teams.  Hope you're all happy with that.

So now we stop quizzing for an Easter break with 'hostilities' resuming on April 11th.