The Withington Pub Quiz League


20th March 2019


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Prodigals beat CMS to put the title race back in their control; the Cup ties are drawn - CMS will set for Round 1 (April 3rd)

Mantis Shrimp lost to Prodigals

Dunkin' Dönitz beat Electric Pigs

History Men beat Charabancs

Albert beat Ethel Rodin

Before the match reports this week some headline stuff....

With the Prodigals winning a tight encounter against the Shrimps at the Parrswood, the Prodigals have the challenge of beating the Pigs next Wednesday to capture the league crown for the first time in their illustrious history.  This has been the most exciting race for many years with 5 teams in the hunt right up to the last few weeks.  It is certain that a new name will go onto the trophy with the Shrimps breathing down the Prodigals' necks in second spot being the only side capable of overhauling them.

Secondly, whilst QMing at the Griffin this evening I enlisted the help of the Pigs and the Dunkers to make the draw for this season's cup competition.  The cup fixtures are shown on the Fixtures page but I can tell everybody that the 4 teams playing in the preliminary Round 1 on April 3rd will be The Prodigals v The Charabancs and Albert v The Opsimaths.  As fifth team out of the hat the Shrimps have the honour (?) of setting the paper for this first round.

Andrew was on hand at the Griffin and decided to film the draw on his phone.  Click the button below and you can see what went on.


1986’s top pushers


History Men beat Charabancs

Ivor's crew win (sounds better than 'Ivor's crew lose') to lift themselves above Ethel in the table

First a report from Ivor himself

A most convivial evening with one of our oldest and most favoured rivals.  We used to be contenders in the distant past but now here we are at the end of the season playing a match that is a 'meaningless rubber' (to use a tennis term) in determining who will lift the League Championship.  Not quite meaningless, however, for we denizens of the lower order.  Although The Charas are already likely to finish ninth (barring a last minute surge by the Electric Pigs), we have a glimmer of hope of moving out of eighth place depending on scores elsewhere tonight and next week. 

Tony seeks forgiveness


The Charas played three-handed tonight and they all did well in accruing twos.  The margin of our victory was due to them leaking 9 steals to our 2.  Our combined score of 72 with only 10 unanswered questions was rather better than we manage with usual Bards papers.  Indeed there was a comment after Round 1 that it had been the easiest Bards round ever.  The last three rounds, however, were a sterner test. 

Highlights of the evening included a 'considered blurt' from Anne on her very first question; having thought long and hard she came up with Joni Mitchell instead of Judy Collins.  A 'considered blurt' does differ from the common or garden blurt but is just as annoying to the blurter and evokes the same response from team mates.  Another highlight was Tim getting a pop question correct - albeit an old man’s question from twenty years before Prodigal Mike’s birth. 

No Coward he!


Anne’s blurt however was nothing compared with Graham’s blurt on the question “Which letter of the phonetic alphabet is the name of a fizzy drink?”  Was this an attempt by the Bards to leaven their harder questions with a gratuitously easy one to stop complaints?  If so, it failed, as Graham came up with “Tizer”.  This did cause some merriment.  There was speculation as to whether Marlon Brando would ever have appeared in a film called Last Tizer in Paris.  Poor Graham was not so much tangoed as tizered by his team - but at least in our league you don’t get tasered or even relegated.  We are civilised quizzers. 

We have now won two games on the trot.  Next week we shall see if we can rain on the Shrimps' parade! 

Just a little puppy dog really


and now Damian tells his tale

Reduced to a 3-man team for the penultimate match of the season we bravely went into battle against one of our all-time favourite opponents and, perhaps inevitably, finished second best once again. We strove mightily to keep things as close as possible but, at no stage of the proceedings, could we narrow the gap to less than 2 points and we finished up 10 points adrift.

On the plus side, the evening was one of the most enjoyable and entertaining we have experienced this season.  Ivor and co. are such amusing quiz opponents that we can almost forgive them for beating us as regularly as they have done in all our most recent encounters.  They remind us time and time again that our weekly Wednesday quiz outings are intended above all to be occasions of fun and last night proved to be no exception.

Sorting out the world – in an age when politicians were big people


Graham orders his



Dunkin' Dönitz beat Electric Pigs

A convincing victory for last year's champs

Kieran reports...

To The Griffin for (probably) the final time this season and a chance for revenge after the Pigs convincingly beat us at the end of October.

Mike Bath kindly stepped into the breach to QM (don't ask about Bob, we all need plausible deniability) despite still suffering from the tail-end of an obviously heavy cold.  He did a splendid job moving things along.  So much so that the quiz was wrapped up with plenty of time to spare for the cup draw and random musings on the incredibly competitive nature of the league this season and the gradual realisation among most of the teams that stuff didn't stop in 1989.  Questions can, and indeed should, be set on the films, music and history that happened in the lifetime of the Shrimps, a Prodigal and an  Opsimath or two and, as tonight, a press-ganged Pig fils.

As well (of course) the chat included despair and/or outrage at the Maybot's eighth or ninth (I lose count) assault on democracy this year backed up by tweets or rants or both from Ethel Rodin's very own quiz widow/enemy of the people - delete according to which you consider most important. 

With all that we once knew to be certain and valued going up in flames or sucked into the black hole of Downing Street, it was comforting to do what we've been quite good at for nearly thirty years and win a quiz game. The paper suited us perfectly and the Pigs just couldn't keep up. It's all in vain as far as the title goes but it's all we know how to do and we are condemned to carry on doing it season after season, failing better.  Well unlike some, we don't mean, and aren't doing, any harm by it.   

Mike 'Humph' Bath livened things up early on by asking for the name of the hip hop duo who had a hit with Push It In.  On his left hand Samantha giggled as he lost control of his diction and then went on to mangle the question as well.  Fnarrgh fnarrgh.    

Next week on to the Albert Club and the third Classico, now reduced to 'two bald men fighting over a comb' status, probably not even worth bringing a pig's head with us.  Good to see the casus belli and original Galactico, Luis Figo, make an appearance tonight - and he could play. Smoke-bombers reference; apologies to all right thinking football fans. 

El Primo Galactico


Albert beat Ethel Rodin

A goodly victory to keep Albert's top 4 ambitions intact

Mike O'B was there for us...

Apart from the opening pair of questions in the 'European Cities' round this was a good quiz with plenty of points on offer and good opportunities for conferring. Of course in the Albert team conferring usually means talking someone out of a perfectly sound answer and into some sort of rubbish.  We especially liked the 'Jim Morrison' question.  On balance it was probably an advantage to lose the toss and go second which was indeed what happened to us.

One question which gave us some thought was the one about 'Dickie'.  Our original notion was McArthur but we decided that the name was too jaunty for the stone-faced Imperial Caesar; Mountbatten was a much better fit.  Who can forget Noel Coward's dashing portrayal of Dickie in the film In Which We Serve, especially his farewell speech to the crew.  This was satirised very successfully by, I think, Peter Cook in Beyond The Fringe...

"Men, war isn't funny!  I can't help that - I didn't write the war".

More than 1,000 visitors a day for the Rock of Ages


Mantis Shrimp lost to Prodigals

A great win for the Albert Club contenders in the game of the season to-date

Dave Rainford sums up...

Quizzing doesn’t get much tougher than this.  Our wonderful hosts Compulsory Mantis Shrimp pushed us all the way in a lively contest, played in the very best of competitive spirits, despite the importance of the fixture in the WithQuiz title race.  A deathly quiet Parrswood provided a great backdrop to a tense struggle, which inevitably was still in the balance going into Round 8.

The breadth of the knowledge of the Shrimps is amazing, as you would probably expect from University Challenge alumni. From the music of the Shangri-Las to venues of World War II conferences, the Shrimps cover a huge area of general knowledge ground, no matter which four are playing. Maybe 1970s US sitcom characters aren’t quite their thing, but they still provide a huge test in this league for any opponent and we had to dig deep to overcome them in their first defeat since November.

Our team interplay was very good and allied to the individual brilliance of John, Jimmy and Michael, we eked out an early advantage which we managed to maintain until the end, despite consistent Shrimp pressure.

A shout-out to Clare Parody who was excellent in the QM’s chair.  Handling a last round answer query is never easy, but both teams compromised to void the question and get Clare’s Deal through unanimously. The quiet authority she added to the proceedings make her an ideal candidate for Speaker or PM, should either job become available.

The relatively early finish to the quiz meant we were able to debate Brexit, Partridge, 80s pop and just about anything else we fancied.  The Shrimps are always excellent company and last night didn’t disappoint.

Now on to next Wednesday against the Electric Pigs with the league on the line. The Pigs beat us last year, so we are guaranteed a proper squeaky bum ride.  A Sky quiz helicopter will be flying over Wilmslow Road between the Fletcher Moss and the Red Lion awaiting the results to see who will become champions.  As I said last week, whatever happens, what a season this has been!

Quiz paper set by...

The Bards

Average aggregate 75.3

...a tad below the overall average for the season with a variety of styles and content on offer.

Damian offers his thoughts...

"We found tonight's paper a generally enjoyable assortment of themes, pairs and various trivia.  Our only quibble was that Round 6, the music venues, would perhaps have been better dedicated to one city, either London or Manchester. Being dedicated to them both seemed to make the theme harder and more confusing to work out.

On a personal note, I would have appreciated it if Round 7 Question 1 had included maybe the name of the author as a helpful clue to answering which play won the 2000 Antoinette Perry award given that, until tonight, none of us present had ever heard of Ms Perry and her awards.

Nominated Candidate for Best Answer of the Night (and possibly the Season)?...: Chara Graham answering Round 8 Question 5 ("What is the only fizzy drink in the letters of the NATO International Phonetic Alphabet?").  As we all sat back confidently expecting an instant 'two',  with the Historymen having absolutely no hope for a steal, our Graham confidently leaned in to QM Mike and, with no hesitation whatsoever, shouted "TIZER"!

Nominated Best Response to Best Answer of the Night (and possibly the Season)?....  Chara John speculating as to whether the history of cinema would have turned out differently if Marlon Brando had ever starred in a film entitled, Last Tizer in Paris?

Maybe dancing  'The Tizer' could be added to the repertoire of such popular shows as Strictly Come Dancing and assorted ballroom fodder but Graham has yet to get back to us on this one! 

Turner’s Cistercian Abbey


...and here are Mike H's views...

"A very enjoyable contest on a paper possibly more accessible than the usual Bards' offerings.  I contributed quite a few questions to Tony myself, but very few were ultimately used (despite getting a whole round for my birth year).

One of the most amazing twos of the night was scored by Tim on a pop music question (Shangri-Las), silencing Ivor's usual 'wrong seat' comments.

The last question of the evening had the best possible answer but unfortunately it remained unanswered."

...and Kieran's....

"This lifelong Manchester City fan was a little miffed to be asked a question to which the answer was the one footballer from that era who never managed Manchester City.  Come on Bards, there are enough to choose from, surely you could have come up with nine correct answers!  Though maybe it was good to be reminded that even during City's very particular take on 'Manager of the Month' they never got desperate enough to give the job to Mick McCarthy.

And OK the EU capitals round featured the nine states who were members after the UK, Ireland and Denmark joined but even allowing that stretch, Berlin would not become the capital of Germany for another 17 years and The Hague has not been the capital of The Netherlands since at least 1814 and arguably never.  Still we won so they are minor quibbles."

...and Dave R's...

"Generally, a good quiz. It provided for a fair contest in the main, but there were very slight grumbles. Some of the questions could have done with a little more information - not least the biblical question in Round 8.  A perfectly good answer to the question that was asked was given, even though it was not the answer on the paper.  A spare was the only way to proceed and Clare's adjudication was satisfactory to both teams.

Having said all of that, there were lots of interesting questions and so it was an all round good effort from the Bards."

The box bites back


Question of the Week

This week, prompted by Mike H, I have chosen Round 8 Question 8, a question which at first glance seemed impossible unless you happened to know the fact, but which on reflection was reasonably guessable since consulates are mostly about trading relationships:

Where in 1790 did the fledgling USA open its first consulate?      

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

First US Consulate in Paradise Street


Glossary of Quizzing Terms

5. run-on /run on/

noun & adjective

A specially concocted quiz question of two parts in which the last part of the answer to the first part of the question is shared with the first part of the answer to the second part of the question.

So, for instance, a full answer to a run-on question might be 'And Quiet Flows the Don Revie' with 'And Quiet Flows the Don' answering the first part of the question and 'Don Revie' answering the second part.

The fun of these questions often lies in the inextricable juxtaposition of two wildly differing elements in the full answer.  It's also good quizzing fodder inasmuch as competitors who can only fathom the answer to one part might well be able to stumble upon the other part and get the two points.

Of late some have tut-tutted at the liberal approach adopted by setters.  Originally the overlapping element had to be a distinct word spelt and pronounced in the same way whilst fulfilling both of its duties.  Then sound-alike overlaps crept in - and then more recently overlapping syllables which sounded the same but were spelt differently ('All's Well That Ends Welwyn Garden City') have stretched the overlap rules to their limits.

In the current season run-ons seem to have been deployed less often.

Mons Calpe