The Withington Pub Quiz League


23rd October 2019


WQ Fixtures, Results & Table

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The Opsis consolidate at the top whilst there is no clear pattern  lower down the table with all five away teams winning

Ethel Rodin lost to Dunkin' Dönitz

Albert lost to Electric Pigs

Charabancs lost to Mantis Shrimp

Bards lost to History Men

Turing Testers lost to Opsimaths

Ashton’s hat-trick hero and his local statue


Not just Dave Rainford

I hope many of you have already managed to watch last Sunday's edition of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?  If not hurry to catch up.  Opsimath Howell Davies put up a wonderful show matching Jeremy Clarkson blow for blow as they bantered their way through the best part of half an hour's prime time TV.  Needless to say Howell came out on top - oh, and along the way won £250,000.  With Opsimath Nick as his 'Phone a Friend' friend he navigated past the troposphere, past Denise Lewis,  scoring against San Marino, and then deciding that with only a  90% certainty that Aristotle was Alexander the Great's tutor he would run for the hills with £0.25M rather than gamble for half a million.

Howell was as cool as a cucumber throughout and made all his 'confer/go for it' decisions as assuredly as any Dunker.

And so this evening it was down-to-earth for Howell as the Opsis scrapped against the Turing Testers at the Greenfinch and Jeremy Clarkson gave way to a slightly younger Joe Hanson in the QM's chair.

Ethel Rodin lost to Dunkin' Dönitz

The Dunkers just edge it

James texts in...

It was lost on DD’s last question where they conferred for a safe point - but it could be argued that it was actually lost on Ethel's 'first' question, where our QM inadvertently gave the answer with the question, denying Geoff a straightforward two for Vertigo in favour of a spare where we conferred incorrectly on a 50/50 movie title (that’s a bit harsh on John perhaps.

Neither side boiled their wee for long enough to eke out any phosphorus - and I’m not sure there was a straightforward way into that answer.  On the other hand it seemed that the seaweed/iodine connection had some logic to it.

The 'Travis' question was a bit of a killer as well. The verbs 'rain' and 'sing' were given as answers, both of which could reasonably have been viable. Nobody in the room remembered or remembers Turn.

However, an enjoyable evening overall - as quizzes between our two teams often are. And in fact very few unanswered questions, despite a higher than usual proportion of conferred answers.

Royal bacon


and Kieran has some news for you

"Come gather 'round people wherever you roam"

Let me tell you the story of the sometime* Donutz' third one-point-last-question win out of our last four visits to the venerable Stadium.  The basic facts? 11 twos to us versus 10 to Ethel; 2 bonuses each; 17 DD conferreds, and one more for Auguste's little known sister; only 3 unanswereds, 2 of our questions and one of our host's; never more than a 3 point lead at the end of any round; we led after Rounds 1 and 2 (and clearly at the end); scores level after Rounds 3 and 6 and the Rodinistas ahead at half time, and at the end of Rounds 5 and 7.

Who cares? That's not the story.

"He that gets hurt will be he who has stalled"

The business end of the evening, halfway through Round 8 and the battle (in)side it (was) ragin'.   Question 62 of 64 and the scores 38 all. The line it (was) drawn, the curse it (was) cast, the wheel still in spin but there was no doubt who it was namin'.  Enter young Liam®,  and thanks be to who or whatever his god is that he's an English graduate.  Three serial-winning quiz veterans with varying numbers of fingers extended, indicating varying confidence in what they thought was the right answer.  Young Liam® kept his eyes wide knowing the chance wouldn't come again.

"Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command"


Oh the impudence of youth (and a passable knowledge of zombie horror), oh the sweetest of twos. 40-38 to DD.  Talk about shaking the windows and rattling the walls.  Greg of course levelled things up on Ethel's last question but I had the luxury of conferring mad, mad, mad, mad for the win. 

"The first one now will later be last"

David was still on holiday this week hence young Liam's® second successive appearance.  David wouldn't have got that two...just saying.

'Jane Austen???????  F***me'.

"The present now will later be past"

*'Sometime' because this was the last ever game for Dunkin' Dönitz.  After five and a bit moderately successful seasons they are no more.  Retired to the twilight home that has so long been their obvious destiny.  With their old road rapidly agin' and unable any longer to lend a hand they've got out of the new one in favour of the team which will carry Heaton Mersey's colours into battle at the Parrs Wood against the Shrimp next Wednesday.


No synthesizers, no diacriticals.

"The times they are a-changin'"

Attila the Speaker


Charabancs lost to Mantis Shrimp

The Shrimps hit their stride

Rachael was on the spot

After an extremely enjoyable evening of quizzing against the always delightful Charabancs, we finished 15 points ahead. The scores were very close for the first couple of rounds, with the Charabancs actually in the lead after Round 2, but we gradually overtook them to enjoy a small lead at half-time. We extended this lead throughout the second half even though the Charas put up an excellent fight scoring several inspired two-pointers!

...and so was Damian

After a blistering start to the season which saw us briefly ascend the dizzying heights to the top of WithQuiz it feels like normal service has been resumed.  As Father M  sadly declared, "Où sont les neiges d'antan?" or would have done if he had ever studied François Villon or even bothered to learn French. 

Essentially this was a quiz of 2 halves for us.  In the first half we kept pace with our wonderful Shrimp opponents concluding it with a gap of just 4 points. The second half however was something of a disaster with us picking up only 14 points to the Shrimps' 26. Even the sight of a tanned Graham, freshly returned from an excursion to the Indian sub-continent, could not inspire us. We just fell foul of most of the pop music references which were promptly picked up by our music-savvy opponents. That said each of us scored at least one 'two' (with Gerry firmly establishing himself as our star player of the evening by notching up an impressive 6) - and so all of us qualify for a spot on the team next week. It feels like small consolation.

We could not really fault the questions which had lots of entertaining and varied ideas.  For some reason we just can't seem to choose wisely on the 'Pick Your Subject' rounds these days.  For instance I naturally, and eagerly, plumped for 'On The Throne' only to be landed with a feckin' Game of Thrones question (is it really only me who never studiously followed this much referenced TV series?). In any event I counted only 3 unanswered questions which, you've guessed it, all fell to us - not that it would have made much difference to the outcome anyway.  All we can do is congratulate the Shrimps and hope that they can continue in this vein and finally land the elusive Big One at season's end.

Bradford’s lost home of football and cricket


Bards lost to History Men

The History Men are up and running

Ivor has this to say...

Points on the board at last - and against the Bards with whom we have had some epic matches in the past. Not only had we lost the first three games of the season we had also been the team with the lowest score in the league on all three occasion which did not do our confidence much good.  However we went into a 5 point lead after Round 1 and had extended it to 12 points by the end of Round 6.   There was a bit of a wobble on Round 7 before we had secured victory  early in Round 8.  Bard Jim was the MVP tonight with 6 twos and Tony was the Jonah with two of the five unanswered/unanswerable questions. Mike H was in the QM seat and his friend John and his guide-dog Lucie acted as our audience.  John might be joining us for occasional games in the future as a player. So might Lucie who at least would not blurt out wrong answers (unlike some members of our current team).

Turing Testers lost to Opsimaths

Comfortable win for the table toppers

Mike B reports from the bench

The first ever (I think) WithQuiz match at the Greenfinch was an enjoyable affair.  The Turing Testers are a most affable addition to our league and I'm sure that over time they will tread the same path up the table that Rachael's team has trodden - but this week's paper was a bit of a trial for them.  A number of times they had the right answer in sight and then turned off the track - and on other occasions conferred when a solo answer would have been correct and doubled their take.

I think we forget how much of our competition is about developing and executing good tactics rather than just knowing stuff.  Alex, James, Owen and my grandson, Joe, will get their tactics sorted over the coming weeks and deliver a few shocks to established teams.

As for the venue we were confined to the kid's play area (in order to avoid disturbance from the 11 Scousers on the box elsewhere in the pub) but it worked fine.  The single kid in the room was as good as gold as her parents switched off entertaining her and got more and more interested in our questions.

As for the match there was never really any doubt as Nick, Brian, Hilary and Howell powered ahead on questions that seemed to favour those of a more senior age range.  There were 14 unanswered questions in total (falling 8 to the Opsis and 6 to the Testers) which is perhaps a little more than should be.

Albert lost to Electric Pigs

The Pigs continue their bright start

Mike O'B tells all...

A good quiz with very few unanswered questions.

A close encounter all the way through was decided by our very poor showing in Round 7 - although the hard left faction in the Albert team is attempting to portray this as another success in our 'truth-over-facts' policy.  Indeed the leadership of the Albert was forced to thwart a proposal to commiserate with the Pigs because of their fact-based victory.   Nevertherless we look forward to many more 'victories'.

On a sunnier note Eveline tells me that 'The Butt Lift' money is pouring in and is soon likely to surpass Howell's success.

'Three Studies for Figures at the base of a Crucifixion'


Quiz paper set by...

...The Prodigals

Aggregate score 80.4

This is turning into a bumper season for high scores.  Are the questions getting more accessible?  Are we collectively getting better at quizzing?  Is the competition that much keener so that we are more often on our mettle?  Only 5 or 6 years ago the season's average aggregate was in the mid to upper 60s.  Surely it's got to be a good thing to send more quizzers home happy at having scored a bundle of points.  And even now I can hear Kieran's voice in my ear: "It's not just about the points scored but about the quality of the questions and the way in which they're posed".  True.

So what's the 'but' on this week's paper?  Well after a pretty lengthy Round 1 on pop and film nominal coincidences the Turing Testers had a grand total of zero and the Opsis just 6.  It's fair to say that most of the pop and almost all the films predated the births of the home team members.  Whilst some of the titles nevertheless had claim to be significant cultural events in their genres, most didn't.  Things picked up a lot after that and we much enjoyed the inventive Run-ons in Rounds 4 and 5.  So I think on balance we all went home having enjoyed the efforts the Prodigals had made on our behalf.

…before being taken into custody by The Police


and these are Rachael's views...

We greatly enjoyed the fantastic Prodigals paper.  The 'Run-on' round was a favourite, as always, and I was personally very pleased to see so many pop music questions this week.  I particularly enjoyed the first 'shared  titles' round!  We did feel that we had a slight advantage in going second, but the whole paper was so good that this is a minor quibble.

and these Kieran's...

It was a brilliant Prodigals paper which produced yet another contest for the ages between two teams who've been going at it like this for more years than any of us can now remember.

and these Mike H's...

One can hardly call it a difficult paper when in our match at the Parrswood only four of the 64 questions were unanswered (one with two very close but wrong answers).  However 34 of these 64 questions were conferred, some at length. Having said that, some round formats and some questions were very clever.  If I'd been playing then the first two rounds would have particularly suited me.

Well before Constable


...finally Ivor's feedback for the setters...

The Prodigals' quiz moved along briskly for the first two rounds before intermittent 'constipators' started to slow the rapid progress so that we didn't finish until nearly 11.00.  However, as QM Mike H pointed out, sometimes the question is short, the answer even shorter but the thinking time in between the two leads to such slow play.  We did enjoy the challenge however.  The shared song/film titles round went down really well as did the two rounds of Run-through pairs.  What was there not to like?  Plenty of opportunities to extricate a correct answer especially during conferrals.

Favourite questions included yet another intriguing fact about Rod Hull’s shared interests with Emu (though Emu’s contribution to the single probably not dissimilar to John Cage’s to 4.33).  The inventiveness of some of the Run-throughs ('Brown Sugar Loaf Mountain', 'Downing Street Years and Years' and more) was most entertaining.

Question of the Week

This week the Greenfinch quizzers were unanimous in their verdict that Round 2 Question 8 was a corker.  It serves as a model of how to word a question so that, from initially thinking the whole thing was impenetrable, the 4 Testers eventually clawed their way into the box and then with a whoop of unrestrained joy slotted the ball home.

Which celebrity duo recorded a single with Bristol Rovers FC in 1974 to celebrate the Pirates’ promotion to the old Division Two? The more vocal of the duo perished in a tragic football-related accident in 1999.

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

Not even worth pirating

(click the picture to listen)