The Withington Pub Quiz League


17th April 2019


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Pigs fly through to face the History Men in the Val Draper final;

Ethel and the Opsis go through to the Plate final;

Handicap system works a treat with 3 very close finishes;

Val Draper Cup

Electric Pigs beat Bards

Prodigals lost to History Men


Charabancs lost to Opsimaths

Albert lost to Ethel Rodin

Cup: Prodigals lost to History Men

Just a whisker but it means the History Men reach the Val Draper final

Victor Ivor reports

Another entertaining evening in the Albert Club back room.  The curtain could not keep out the excited cries of City fans nor the whoop of joy from the only Spurs supporter in the building (Ann) when City’s last gasp 'winner' was judged offside by VAR (by the width of a blade of grass according to Anne-Marie).

By this time in the evening we quizzers were getting a bit excited as well.  The handicap system had worked its magic to ensure a cliff-hanger finish on the last pair.  We had seemingly squandered our 3-point handicap lead to be 3 behind with two rounds to play but managed to catch up - and when Michael’s Cirencester 'two' was matched by my Tewksbury 'two' we snatched victory.  Of course the Prodigals had really won but it will be us in the Cup final for the first time in two years. Whether we can overcome the Pigs’ seven point advantage remains to be seen but considering they beat us by 10 points in our last league game it might be a big ask.

Prödigals! What Prödigals?


Mike H was QMing in this match and sends this...

A very exciting match on a pretty tough paper - especially in the first half where the total points scored was only 31 (16-15 to Prodigals).  The total by the end however was 73 which was much more like it. The handicap system worked very well, producing another very close contest.

As QM with a lot of football-related noise from the other room, it was not easy making myself heard and I had to repeat a lot (not to mention the fact that quite a few of the questions were rather lengthy).

The majority of the points came through conferring rather than individual twos (36 one point answers in fact).

As for the football Ann (long term Spurs supporter) was close to tears until VAR came to her rescue.

Finally many thanks to Prodigals for inviting me once more to be QM - most enjoyable.

and finally losing Prod Dave...


As viewers of Only Connect will be aware, you win some, you lose some.  Fair play to the History Men. They showed tenacity and a breadth of knowledge that was just too good for us last night.  Great team play, punctuated by strong individual performances made for a irresistible formula that booked the History Men a deserved place in the Val Draper Cup Final.

No excuses from us. The best team won. If we had made it to a VAR review via the tie-break, Ivor's metronomic knowledge of Elizabeth and Mary would have put us out anyway.

Despite a cacophony of noise (with which young QM Hansford coped ably during the contest), we still managed to mull over some diverse post-quizzing topics.  'Fancy Dan' Ann got down from the ceiling to regale us with some memories from the 'Glory Glory' days of Jim Bowen, which allowed me to indulge in the knowledge of the fact that he passed on on the same day as that other genius Stephen Hawking. They are probably sharing anecdotes about theoretical physics in the speedboat in the sky right now.

Now over to Stockport for the Lowly Grail. We are looking forward to our trip to the Armoury to see if we can bounce back.  Congratulations to the History Men again.  Very worthy finalists.

Plate: Charabancs lost to Opsimaths

Another 'by a whisker victory' puts the Opsimaths in the Plate final

Father Megson reports...

An evening of high scoring and fine margins.  Not just at the Etihad but in the front room of the Albert, Withington's rival and slightly more bijou venue.  The marginally better team won by a marginal point. 

After downing their, by now, de rigeur  free round the Charabancs were whisked off by the Opsimaths to a secret venue in Chorlton to be presented with the Pulitzer Prize - or at least that's what we thought Jitka said.  Turns out the venue was the rather humdrum Kansas Fried Chicken and the special award turned out to be a shared platter of pullet surprise.

Can't win 'em all, I suppose.  Or any, for that matter.  Good luck to all the finalists.

and victor Howell sums up for the visitors...

This was a gripping affair that went down to the wire!  Opsimaths started with a 6 point deficit which stretched to 7 by Round 2.  We were level after Round 5 only to slip behind again until the last round.  Damian had the final question with the opportunity to draw with a 2-pointer but just didn't know the answer so the Charas went down by a single point. 

For Damian, that last question must have felt like the moment towards the end of The Great Escape when Hilts gets stuck in the barbed wire ... and the original Steve McQueen ends the film in his familiar surroundings of solitary confinement. The fact that Damian had miscounted and thought the Charas needed one point to tie was, perhaps, unfortunate ... for the Charas anyway!  Especially as they were better at both of the tie-break questions (had they been needed) than us.

It feels like Withquiz has a swarm of Alberts but the Charas home venue is the one that reminds us most of what pubs used to be like before gentrification hit after the smoking ban was imposed.  The Albert has an odd charm about it and the slightly wild-eyed man coming in selling (presumably knock-off) packets of M&S Cheddar felt rather normal ... and an opportunity for Jitka who snapped up a bargain faster than Usain Bolt off the blocks.

Back to the quiz itself, I rather liked the round on oddball transport - difficult but interesting (we lost that round badly, though Chara Graham showed a shocking lack of knowledge of anything "sarf of the river" ... including the Croydon tram system).  Our musical Achilles heel flared up again but a 7-3 defeat in this round was a relatively good performance and things swung back in the subsequent round as we traipsed around the churches of middle England. The final round proved decisive with Hilary entertaining us with the tale of her adventures on a cross Channel ferry during the 1999 solar eclipse!   

Poly and her Spex


Plate: Albert lost to Ethel Rodin

Ethel get through to the Plate final

Mike O'B reports

What's all this about provincial trams and Parish Churches?  Its as if the spirit of Dave Barras had moved amongst us wielding a terrible swift sword.

We retreated to the Parrswood Hotel to avoid the scrum at the Fletcher Moss.  To those who say its like the Marie Celeste I'd say the Parrswood is more like the lower decks of the Titanic.  We had to compete with a loud and obscene group of, presumably, Reds fans, following the local version of the Notre Dame blaze at the Etihad as the horror unfolded.  You could tell they were Reds when they yelped with glee at the disallowed goal.

Didsbury Library - a Carnegie classic

(Round 4)

Cup: Electric Pigs beat Bards

Once again the Pigs show how much they love Cup competitions with a 2-point win which places them in the Val Draper final.

Quiz paper set by...

Mantis Shrimp

Average aggregate 80.5

A good aggregate a few points in front of the season's overall average.  Shrimps' papers are very distinctive these days and this was no exception.  I wasn't playing myself tonight but when Tom emailed the paper I enjoyed scanning it as I put it up on the site.  In particular the 'Prodigals' theme in Round One was a lovely touch.  I also enjoyed the references in the Simon Jenkins 'Five Star' Round and had a great time finding suitable pictures of these wonderful edifices for the montage at the foot of this page.  Many thanks Shrimps!

Mike O'Brien wasn't so keen on the trams and churches but offered this generous summary...

"The score suggests that there were plenty of points on offer and, in fairness most of the obscure questions came with clues to aid deliberation."

Jean with her ‘Crème de la crème’


Ivor's view from the Albert Club was pretty positive...

"Tom from the Shrimps was in attendance and although he did not confess to which questions he had set there were actually few we could find fault with.  Even the Metro or Tram stations and the eateries in Chorlton proved to be merely devices on which to hang usually gettable general knowledge questions.  Perhaps occasional unevenness in pairing and some confounders but everything balances in the longer run.  Tim went for the wrong plaque in Didsbury Library (which turned up in the spares); Ann plumped for the wrong Pretender (of two - now there was an easy steal); David went for the wrong Ice Hockey team.

Of course (according to Ann) I was in the lucky seat 4 and had it easy.  It certainly helped that we had discussed the Pi restaurant in advance and were reflecting on the late Poly Styrene after the X-Ray Spex question had come up earlier.  The pop round proved that Tim’s spectacular 'Shangri-Las' answer of a few weeks ago was a flash in the pan.  Luckily, however, Ann seems to have seen almost every band you can think of at some time in her Salford days.

The most intriguing rounds (though not the easiest) were the one where each question had a connection to the Book of Ecclesiastes (I doubt that has ever featured in any quiz league ever) and the Didsbury library round which was essentially a quiz setter’s daisy chain free thought association.  Strange, even Lord Strange, but so much better than the 'What is the capital of Outer Mongolia' type questions that other quizzes content themselves with.

The Nobel Galsworthy


..and from the same match as Ivor, Dave R adds this...

"The paper contained lots of interesting facts across a wide number of subjects. Both teams found it difficult to hear in the fevered atmosphere of the Albert Club, which made the more complex questions hard to comprehend.  However, the quiz provided a decent test, which resulted in a close contest which could have gone either way. A good effort from the Shrimps as usual, considering they had to set twice in a short period of time."

...and from a QM perspective Mike H offers this...

"Two more or less red herring rounds that were neither really about stations or Chorlton, the real question being the non-thematic element.

A few of the questions were rather abstruse and there was one error (1907) but overall it was an interesting quiz with a very exciting finish - and the Tiebreaker  questions were excellent!"

“Richly coloured, elongated portraits”


Question of the Week

This week my vote goes to Round 1 Question 7:

In 1914, Miss Fowler-Tutt, a Sussex headmistress, was prominent in objections to the public display of a version of which sculpture?  Commissioned in 1888, it represents adulterous lovers in Dante’s Inferno.    

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

“Kate Fowler-Tutt, was strongly opposed to the frankness of the statue, which, it was argued, would inflame the passions of the local soldiers.”


... and also

Next week

Please note that next week the WIST finals will BOTH be held on Thursday 25th April to avoid clashing with the Manchester derby at Old Trafford on Wednesday 24th.

Question papers for these two finals will be available as usual from the Red Lion on Thursday evening.  The Prodigals and The  Dunkers (as the away teams) will be expected to collect them.  The WIST Champions fin al will be at the Shrimps' home venue (The Parrswood) whilst The Prodigals will be travelling over to Shaw Heath to play The Wandering Star team at The Armoury.

I am told that Greg Spiller has set on behalf of the Stockport League, so expect a good 'un!

Lanky legends

(Tiebreakers 1 & 2)

End of Season evening

Good news!  Former Prodigals captain, Clive Berry, has agreed to return as our guest of honour and present the trophies.

Can those in possession of trophies from last season please ensure the engraving is up-to-date  as far as last season winners is concerned (Manchester Trophy Market, 287 Palatine Road Northenden, M22 4ET, are our usual engravers) and get the trophies back to me ready for the End of Season evening.  Best way to do this is leave them at the Albert Club and text me to tell me that you've left them there.  Many thanks.

'Knocked Out United'

As usual the 6 teams not competing in the Val Draper Cup and Plate finals in a fortnight's time are each asked to produce one round of questions and 2 sets of paired questions which will be used to make up the other 2 rounds required for the paper.

So that's...the Shrimps, the Charas, Albert, the Dunkers, the Prodigals and the Bards.

Barry from the Dunkers has kindly agreed to act as editor for this paper - so contributing teams please get your Round plus pairs to Barry by next Wednesday to give him time to get the paper into shape.  Barry's contact details are on the 'WQ Teams' page.

Also as usual the finalists will vote for which of the 6 rounds they like the best and the setters of that round will get a prize at the end of season evening.

Great food and bad taste side by side in Chorlton