The Withington Pub Quiz League


2nd October 2019


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League season starts with a resounding win for the Prodigal Champions

Dunkin' Dönitz lost to Opsimaths

Electric Pigs lost to Mantis Shrimp

Prodigals beat Albert

Charabancs beat History Men

Dunkin' Dönitz lost to Opsimaths

Last season's 4th just pip last season's 5th

Mike Bath was there...

A thoroughly enjoyable return to our perennial winter pastime.  All the usual accoutrements were there a-plenty: the sonorous voice of Bob the QM, the sight (but not the sound) of Liverpool  on the screen at the far end of the room and 8 old quizzing heads still in search of that missing comb.

This time the visitors from the Albert Club just nosed in front - though the lead changed hands in most rounds.  Stato Jitka tells me there were 27 twos scored (15-12 to the Opsimaths) and only 6 unanswered (breaking 3-3).  So a close, high-scoring match that was great fun and a credit to the setters.

...and so was Kieran...

When shall we eight (or nine) meet again?  189 days on from the last of an atypical trio of meetings in the 2018/19, hostilities were resumed upon the Heaton Mersey heath.  No sign of thunder, lightning nor rain, nor even fog and filthy air - not outside the Griffin at any rate.  Inside the front lounge DD were full of the fog of a Marcus Rashfordesque inability to put the damn thing in the net, conferring as two after two went begging and even turning down a point for the Roald Dahl book due to our understandable refusal to acknowledge Coldplay as having a drummer... or anything to do with music.  And if I read the Telegraph more often than  I do the Guardian a) my blood pressure would be a lot more stable since the Telegraph is easy to laugh at, and b) I would have known that it was Gandhi's 150th birthday.  Thanks a bunch to the liberal paper of record. 

Last season was atypical since all three editions of WithQuiz's own Classico were one-sided affairs, the closest being the Opsis 6-point victory in the two bald men / comb affair at the Club back in March.  Tonight was much more in the tradition that has been growing for ten or more seasons now and it was all the better for it.  And we were nine because of course President 'Bogota' Bob was in his rightful place and ready to put us in ours.  We love him because of that.  El Presidente returned from his summer of whatever wherever, sporting a statement cap but it bore homage to Peru not Colombia which has totally buggered up my alliterative moniker. Add to that the fact that he will be forced to relinquish his presidency in two weeks' time (local bookies have him as marginal favourite to be out of office before the orange spew of vomit across the pond) and I don't know where I'm going to find material for future match reports - should we ever win another contest. These ramblings of a vanquished loser are a one-off (I promised Mike I'd play and write nice).

‘Tooting Bec payback time'

All smiles as Kieran gets a Dad’s Army question right


When the hurly-burly was done and the battle lost and won, we were left with the feeling that it was a bad toss to lose. Too many pairs of successive questions seemed to be easier for the team going first first.  But I'm always prey to that kind of thinking when we have lost and the statistics don't support me.  Each team had 3 unanswerables  and four bonuses.  The Opsis scored three more twos than we did and we netted three more ones than them. So no criticism of the Bards paper.  The Opsis were more Agüero and we were more cow's arse / banjo (insert the useless striker of your choice - I've always favoured Gonzalo Higuain for that role). 

Two seasons ago we lost the first match of the season at home by three points and ended as champions so, going full Pep, nothing is decided and there are many, many points to play for. Actually that's not full Pep but I understood more than forty years ago that those Robertson's jam characters weren't very nice. I also kept well away from Lord Bath's technical area and I'd recommend any upcoming young quizzers to follow my example.

Fair is foul and foul is fair. In truth there wasn't much of that, just a terrific game between two heavyweights, each nowhere near ready to accept that the world has moved on.  We may no longer be "that strength which in old days moved earth and heaven"  but "that which we are, we are." And we'll keep on being and doing that for some time yet.

What bloody man is that? Mike. And Howell. And Brian. And Nick. Those bloody men.

Good to be back.

Electric Pigs lost to Mantis Shrimp

The Shrimps cruise to a convincing victory

Rachael tells the tale

We were all delighted to get back to the quiz league after the interminably long summer break! What better way to start the new season than with a high-scoring match against the always delightful Electric Pigs at the somewhat noisy, Fletcher Moss.

We finished the game 13 points in front - but the score-line belies how close most of the rounds were. In two rounds we considerably out-scored the Pigs but, apart from that, there was hardly a point or two separating us. 

Prodigals beat Albert

The defending champions are off to a flyer

Mike O'Brien tells it like it isn't

A new season has called for a new philosophy in order to make the Albert a power in this league. Consequently, I have decided that we shall borrow Don Quixote's declaration that "Facts are the enemy of truth".  Using this approach we will become the most truthful team in the league by awarding ourselves the points when we get a question wrong or fail to answer.  Please have all the trophies delivered to the Fletcher Moss.  And I don't want to see anyone turning up on the WithQuiz Board spouting about Plato and Wittgenstein and definitions of the truth. If Wittgenstein was so smart why didn't he wander round from his lodgings on Palatine Road to the Albert Bowls Club and turn out for the those brainboxes in the Opsimaths or the Prodigals.  Why, then we could even have called the League 'The Wittgenstein Pub Quiz League'.

An excellent start under our new approach. We have claimed the 2 points on the basis that our ignorance is superior to the Prodigals' Facts  The paper was no help being, on the whole, well-balanced and very accessible in terms of points scored - and there were relatively few unanswered questions. We can't wait for the next opportunity to display our ignorance in two weeks time.

‘When Labour were Kings’

A true Working Class hero


Charabancs beat History Men

Charas nick a nail-biter

Damian reports from the Albert...

What can I say? The Charas open their new season by scoring their first win against old adversaries, the Historymen, since Father Meggers was a snotty-nosed Irish kid busily running an illegal altar wine racket for his local bishop (at least it felt that way).  Said Reverend was actually  propping up a dingy bar in a rainswept downtown Wroclaw (pronounced Vrozvav according to a Polish acquaintance) busily transmitting positive vibes in our direction at the time his team scored their long overdue victory. What on earth would we ever do without those vibes of his?

Mind you it was as close as it could get against a 3-man Historymen team (Ann was away apparently busily clubbing someone in Ibiza) and it came right down to the wire. As I had predicted  the last question of the night fell to Chara Graham whose response would decide the fate of the quiz: a draw, or a long overdue victory. It seemed like an eternity as he hummed and ah-ed over the alternative identity of Jan Ludvig Hoch with the rest of us sitting on the edge of our seats almost mouthing the correct answer to him. Finally, he decided to put away his curious predilection for long forgotten fizzy drinks and came up with the answer we were all praying for. Move over Tizer Boy, and make way for Hoch Boy!

and from the loser's corner Ivor...

Summer but a distant memory as we hurtle towards winter with our 18th quiz season (and rather more for our Charabanc opponents).  Needless to say with the dearth of new blood into either of our teams the only change was that our average age has increased by one year and is now probably closer to the average age of the College of Cardinals than of King’s College London.

The Charabancs are one of our most friendly opponents and our games are always keenly contested whether in the early days when we were both contenders or in the present era when we are more likely to be wooden spoon winners than league shield winners.  And so it was tonight in the time capsule / time slip that is the Albert Pub where debit cards are unknown and 1968 pop music still constitutes the hit parade.

As the score suggests it was a close game the scores being tied with 2 questions to go.  I had to confer for Dr Dre and it fell to Graham to be the Charabanc hero or zero with 2 for a win, 1 for a draw or disaster for a blurt.  No problem with Jan Hoch MC, MP.  Graham’s Tizer/Tango blurt last season now well forgiven (if never forgotten).

A Venetian ‘cocktail of a picture



Quiz paper set by...

...The Bards of Didsbury

Aggregate score 81.0

This was an excellent paper with which to kick off the season.  Widely varying subjects, relatively high-scoring rounds and a  few fun questions thrown in for good measure.  If now and again the difficulty quotient seemed out of kilter (e.g. the Schubert quintet v the composer who dived at Dusseldorf) such infelicities evened up over the entirety of the evening.  Thanks, Bards.  The Opsis loved it - and DD had no serious complaints.

‘Nice to see you - to see you nice'


Rachael gives the Shrimps take...

"We all enjoyed the paper very much! A wide  range of subjects, very well-executed and very few questions going unanswered. The paper was well-balanced with plenty of nicely worded, interesting questions. We were lucky to have Adam on our team who, as a native Londoner, made short work of the London transport questions!"

and Damian, the Chara's point of view...

"Tonight's questions were a mishmash of the accessible and inaccessible. I counted 13 unanswerables which split fairly evenly 7-6 to us. Round 3 was by far the hardest with only 2 points scored in total (1 each per team). Favourite rounds were the bell- themed one and the one with 'also known as' questions. I have to personally thank our esteemed opponents for allowing us a point for my answer 'Tsar Kolokol' instead of 'Tsar Bell' for 'What is the name of the large bell situated in Moscow's Red Square in front of the Kremlin?'  'Kolokol' is the Russian word for bell.

Our QotW?  Personally I liked the question about the better known name for the War Song for the Rhine Army since the answer was counter-intuitive.  Others on both teams seemed more enamoured of the one about the various disguises adopted by Zeus to charm the ladies in his life (as a Greek Myths buff I thought that one was fairly accessible)."

and finally Ivor's favourable feedback...

"We found the quiz moderately hard (13 unanswered questions), however there was plenty of variety for everyone. Our favourite question was Zeus’s many ingenious transformations in order to get his wicked way with potential paramours. I'm not sure being a swan or a bull would impress many in this 'woke' era but I am informed a shower of gold (I assume this is money) still works well even for the most unpromising of the male species."

Question of the Week

Well, both at the Albert in deepest Withington and up the road in smarty-pants Heaton Mersey Round 6 Question 5 definitely provided that 'aaargh' moment:

What links the following: a swan, an eagle, a bull, a cloud and a shower of gold?

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

Greatest of all time?


...and also

Three cheers this week for Greg Spiller (of Ethel Rodin and Smart Alex fame).  He was one of the trio of contestants on this week's Radio 4 Music Quiz Counterpoint winning a decisive victory to earn a place in the next round.

Greg powered ahead in the first round establishing a 6-point lead.  In the second specialist subject round he chose 'Sailing' and consolidated his lead scoring 9 out of a possible 14 points.  His first question in this round was a shoo-in about Rod Stewart (surprise, surprise) but from there on 'Sailing' got harder.  He was unlucky to opt for Edinburgh rather than Glasgow as Deacon Blue's home city.

In the final quick-fire round he could afford to sit back and let the others struggle in vain to catch him.  However he did earn a point for 24 Hour Party People and another for knowing the Pink lyric "You'd better get this party started".  Obviously Greg's strong on parties.

Greg now joins James (of CMS and Countdown fame) in the Pantheon of WithQuizzers who've made it big this year in media quizzing circles.


Finally Mike Wagstaffe tells me that The Hatters Arms have resigned from the Stockport League so their place in the forthcoming Lowly Grail competition against Ethel Rodin on November 13th will be taken by another team.  I'll update you when I hear further from Mike.