The Mystical Nativity
beat Electric Pigs
KFD move up to fifth after a low-scoring contest
wearing his 'X' on his sleeve, sends this...
those of you still angrily wondering where the hell
the generation that was going to save us went last
Thursday I have the answer. It rocked up in Heaton
Mersey (Stockport, Labour majority 10,039) and it
lives in East Didsbury (Manchester Withington,
Labour majority 27,905). Too late to save the
red wall, or decency, or truth, or anything
approaching values and responsibility. It was
enough (just) to secure a third win on the bounce
for KFD. Eat that Blairites!
The Census in Bethlehem
night of debuts, for the Testers as setters cheekily
opening up with a round on debuts good and bad - and
for the latest off the production line of the KFD
academy (or crèche). Barry McNorton, still
doing the family business no favours at all as his
anti-virus failed yet again to protect him from
whatever has been ailing him for several weeks now,
was joined by David, who has fallen victim to an
infection which has already ruled him out of City's
game against Leicester on Saturday and has thrown
the Christmas schedules into serious doubt. Young
Liam® had commitments elsewhere so what to do?
Going more Frank Lampard than Tinkerman the answer
was easy; send for even younger Thomas (21) and even
even younger Elizabeth (18). Yes they're my
children and, since Martin is the nearest thing
they've ever had to a godfather, KFD was essentially
a family affair tonight.
Thomas made a far more impressive impact than the
hapless Middlesbrough manager (20th in the
Championship) did in Madrid, swiftly putting away
the calamitous centre back for a two on his first
ever WithQuiz question, and following that up with
an assured grasp of online music magazines and
American Gothic art. He was also well across all
kinds of 'Stans' and bloody Tudors. The latter
was a collaboration with his sister who knew
everything there was to know about Henry VIII & Co.
six months ago when she took her 'A' level exam but
still managed to dredge up Robert Aske from wherever
she'd buried him the moment she'd walked out of the
examination hall. And The Killers too, and
Cardi B (who Martin thought had named herself after
an item of clothing), and pretty much every spare.
It was really unfortunate that she copped for 5 of
the 17 unanswereds (9-8 against us) on her own
questions. Ah, The Killers, "Is there room for one
more son?" Well probably but he lives in Hull
and isn't planning relocating back home anytime
soon. Young Liam® still has a chance of more game
time this season then.
Opting for the wrong Pliny in the 'Xmash' round
suddenly shrunk our lead to being uncomfortable but
then Gary 'Mr Coventry' Donely's failure to
spot his home town's carol swung things back our
way. We definitely had the right team members
for the non-standard nature of many of the questions
and, had either David or Barry been fit we may well
not have won.
Completely irrelevant to the quiz but my three
children and I voted in four different
constituencies last Thursday, in Stockport,
Manchester, Hull and Newcastle. All voted
Labour (if any of you didn't don't tell me!) and all
returned Labour MPs. Sometimes you have to
hold on to the small consolations.
the first half of the season done and a 5-5 record.
Not what we're used to but looking at the league
table the times they are a changin' as I may have
mentioned a few weeks back. My last match report of
2019. Is there room for one more son?
Maybe. Is there room for one more gag about
James Cleverly and the fallacy of nominative
determinism? Oh go on, I need to laugh every
week or so. And so this is Christmas and what
have we done? Bloody good question. We've been
bang average but we'll come back in the new year and
try to do better. There's probably a lesson in that
everyone's lost, the battle is won.
all these things that I have done.
you in the new year.
you can hold on.......
The ball-tamperer of
Prodigals lost to Ethel Rodin
Ethel knock the champions off top spot
brief thoughts from the Albert Club...
Tough quiz but tremendous effort from TT for their
first quiz. Best team won. We only had one
steal and that was in the last round. Ethel
are tough opponents.
A tightly fought match just goes to the home team
Winning skipper Mike O'B...
The quiz itself was a strange affair especially in
the first half as the scores swung wildly; at times
we were 8 ahead and then 9 behind. In fact for
most of the quiz I thought we were losing. However
the final aggregate of 70 shows that generally the
questions were fair. Never mind I'm sure there will
be plenty of opportunity to refresh our stock of
insults after Christmas.
Ukraine’s (Servant of the People)2
and losing skipper Mike B retorts...
Well, we started the evening by decamping from the
frenzied Fletcher Moss (City away at Oxford in the
EFL Cup, I ask you!) to the vast cavern that is the
Parrswood Hotel where we sat at the other end of the
drinking hall from the Shrimps and the History Men.
Mary QMed with aplomb and no little grace and 'The
Paddle of Rebuke' lurked ominously in Mike's plastic
bag. As the match unfolded Albert moved
effortlessly into a healthy lead....only to be
pegged back and overtaken in the final
straight....only to edge back into a 4-point lead on
the last few questions. So, a good competitive
match. It did take a long time (the last round
started as the bell for closing time was rung) but
that was partly due to our decamping delay at the
My precious moment of the evening came when Ashton
plumped for the 'Rockstars under the influence' pair
for his 'pick your own' question in Round 5 only to
be told by Mary that the influence concerned was
Russian literature. 'Crestfallen' doesn't
begin to do the look on his face justice.
However he did manage the answer of the evening on
the same pair when he wondered if the Russian novel
that inspired a 1968 pop song might have been
Anna Karenina inspiring Lily the Pink.
lost to Bards
The Bards join four teams on 10 points in
reports from deepest Withington...
We established a narrow lead after the first round
but, from then on, it was full steam ahead for the
Bards who steadily pulled away from us round after
round. Not scoring any points at all in Round
3 did not improve our chances but the Bards were, as
usual, just the better team. They scored more
twos than us (8-4) and stole more questions from us
(7-4). I counted 11 unanswereds which broke
fairly evenly (6-5 to the Bards).
Tonight's quiz began with a debut themed round which
was quite fitting as it was a debut at quiz-setting
for the newest team in the league, the Turing
Testers. Incidentally it was our home venue,
The Albert, that had been chosen by the Testers to
make their debut WithQuiz victory against lil' ol'
us earlier this year.
did tend to drag a bit in the second half so that it
was getting on for 11 o'clock by the time we
finished. To cap it all, our victorious
opponents didn't even have to reach into their
pockets and buy the traditional round for the losers
as our gracious landlord, full of seasonal cheer,
had already provided us with one (maybe he was under
the impression we had won) so we'll be taking a
rain-check on that one, Tony!
My chosen question of the week comes from the
cleverly themed and punned 'Partridge in a Pair
Tree' rounds (Rounds 4 and 5):
"When ordered to make a sign,
prisoner and master blacksmith Jan Liwacz made a
deliberate show of defiance, still visible today, by
turning the letter 'B' upside down. What words
appear on the sign?"
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.
Clues to D-Day
Shrimp beat History Men
A standout win pushes the Shrimps top for
Our usual pleasant evening in the company of the
second youngest team in the league (only an average
age difference of 35 years compared with the 40 of
last week). Rachael celebrated Christmas tonight
(she apparently has been Christmassy since October)
by donning what can only be described as a Mother
Christmas costume and hat.
Playing first we were briefly in the lead after the
first question but from then on we lost touch and
sank to a very impressive Mantis Shrimp
performance. They scored 16 twos to our 6. We
lost, not due to blurting or losing our nerve, or
even by getting too many unanswereds (only 4 all
night breaking 2-2), but by the unstoppable force of
the knowledge displayed by our opponents. Adam
and James both scored 5 twos.
A Merry Christmas to all our friends (that’s
everyone) and we're looking forward to the second
half of the season next year.
Count Buckethead at the 2017 Maidenhead count &
Count Binface at the 2019 Uxbridge count - no
doubt ashamed to show his face after penning those
intros and outros
from James '9-letter' Haughton...
We welcomed the History Men to the Parrswood Hotel
for our final quiz of 2019. Our opponents were
most convivial and made it a delightful evening's
quizzing. We took an early lead in Round 1 and
never relinquished it, steadily building the gap
throughout the rest of the match; 8 points ahead at
half time and then 16 at the end - so a sort of
symmetry. The quiz was of course secondary to
the real prize of the evening for us Shrimps - free
copies of the 2019 edition of A Very Cherry
...and absent last night but full of Christmas
tidings, History Man QM, Mike, sends his greetings
and best wishes to all his WithQuiz friends.
paper set by...
Aggregate score 68.2
little below the season's average score but a paper
crammed with inventiveness and knowledge.
Almost every WithQuiz style of round got an outing
and there were plenty of 'tip of the tongues' and
quite a few laughs. This was as good a debut
paper as we've had.
the Albert/Opsis match before we began I was
chatting to Mary and Jitka about who the oldest
WithQuizzers might be and Mike O'Brien and myself in
our early 70s tucked in neatly behind His Honour
from Bardland (an old fashioned sense of chivalry
prevents me revealing Mary and Jitka's ages).
And we old stagers were tackling a paper of
the utmost maturity from what I'm guessing were mid
were your views? Kieran's
found the paper stodgy with too many unanswereds and
Bob on his last appearance of the year had to hurry
us along, but clearly we're in a minority since the
aggregate scores from the other matches are
perfectly respectable. The only serious gripe would
be that you cannot ask the 'Charlie Chapliny the
Elder' question because if the first team plumps for
the wrong Pliny (we did) it's a tap in for the other
Czeching in as the debutante’s debutante
was the Testers' first effort at quiz setting for
our league and they produced a well-regarded test.
They have recognised how we like novelty and
quirkiness and there were really no dull questions
at all though a few of us oldies had not the
slightest idea about some of them. Tim and I could
only stare blankly at Joe the QM (and co-setter)
when quizzed on modern music (i.e. anything after
1975) or anything to do with Youtube celebs (who is
this Zoella?). We also had that not uncommon
phenomenon of questions for which we did know the
answer falling to fellow team members who did not,
or worse, to the opposition who knew the answer for
a two. Our league though is definitely in safe
hands as the new generation of setters and quizzers
are easily a match for us old codgers."
...and what did Mike O'B think?...
"Hmmm, new setters eh. I brought along our
well thumbed copy of A Thousand Insidious Insults
to Hurl At Setters (Albert Press: Manchester,
1901). But to the team's collective dismay it
remained unthumbed (although Eveline occasionally
chewed the binding - she has a weakness for old
glue). The themes were original. although we
were fortunate to have Ashton as our resident 'Stan'
even if the Russian literature pair did prove beyond
...his tongue still sore from an election licking,
James gives Ethel's verdict...
were impressed by the efforts of the Turing Testers.
If we hadn't known in advance I think it would have
been impossible to pick out that this was their
first go at setting. Some of the questions in
Rounds 4 and 5 were in the obscure category - but it
was generally balanced obscurity.
The 'Twelve Days of Christmas' theme has been done
before, of course, but these answers were suitably
obtuse and made for some good questions.
In the Run-on round we were trying to guess what
might have made a suitable pair to the Charlie
Chapliny the Elder one - and came up with the
following which you might enjoy:
'Politician born in Karachi on Xmas day 1876 &
Cocktail first introduced by the East India
The answer of course being Mohammed Ali Gin ‘n’
...and Damian adds this...
"We had to acknowledge that it was a fine, well
crafted effort for a debut quiz with plenty of
variety in topics and themes including the
traditional favourites of 'Pick Your Own Subject'
and the much loved Run-Ons. It provided a lot
of material for us to confer over."
...and finally James has these
observations from the Shrimps...
"We thought The Turing Testers produced a beauty of
a quiz - even more so considering this was their
first one. The variety of questions and time
periods was wonderfully done. The themes were
superbly handled too, complementing the questions
impeccably. I agree whole-heartedly with
Adam's suggestion for QotW, the best run on I can
remember. Great job, TT!"
Question of the Week
Shrimp Adam submits the winning nomination this week
(though I'm guessing quite a few of you would have
voted the same way). His choice was the
marvellously dysfunctional Round 6 (Run-ons or
'Answer Xmash' as the TT's called it) Question 3...
1950 fantasy novel in which Father Christmas gifts
three children lethal weapons;
euphemism coined by Justin Timberlake following an
incident during Superbowl XXXVIII.
For the answer to this and all the week's other
To bring you up-to-date on James' progress on
In his quarter-final Octochamp match last Thursday
he slaughtered the opposition notching up 9-letter
words with each of his first two 'letter' rounds.
Further 9-letter words plus a perfect set of
'number' games followed. If you want to see
Susie Dent drooling well watch it on catch-up.
...and in today's semi-final another crushing
victory for James which means he's playing in the
Grand Final on Friday at 2.10 on Channel4.
Stop Press (20/12/19):
In today's Countdown final James powered to
another glorious victory - this time 110-95.
He's a very worthy series winner after a string of
performances that must put him up there with the
all-time best of the show's 37 year history.
Congratulations from all your mates at WithQuiz!
‘The Man Who Saved the World’
There but for the grace of God and a Soviet Sub