The Withington Pub Quiz League


22nd January 2020


WQ Fixtures, Results & Table

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The Prods and The Shrimps stretch their legs at the top;

The Testers threaten to move off the foot of the table with a famous victory at the Club

Charabancs lost to Prodigals

KFD lost to Albert

Mantis Shrimp beat Bards

History Men tied with Ethel Rodin

Opsimaths lost to Turing Testers

Charabancs lost to Prodigals

A confident stroll for the table toppers

Jimmy reports...

The quality of the draught Guinness in the Albert means I always look forward to our away fixture with the Charas.  The home team were their usual friendly and fair-minded selves.  They held an early lead at the end of Round 1.  That was as good as it got for the Charas though, as Dave's decision to go first on winning the toss proved to be a providential one.

In Round 3 we grasped the hidden 'Manchester team switchers' theme early on and managed to put daylight between ourselves and our hosts.  I must admit I was expecting Emilio Estevez to make an appearance in that round, but the Barnestoneworth question was a nice unplanned tribute to Terry Jones on the day of his passing (he co-wrote the brilliant Ripping Yarns series with Michael Palin).

The Charas rallied in the second half but ultimately despite a very strong performance in Round 7 it proved too little, too late.

Deadliest snake in Africa


...and Damian sums up for the home team...

Oh dear, my reference last week to the film Cocoon really did come back to bite me in the you-know-where with an almost precise reversal of the previous week's scoreline.  We enjoyed our brief plunge into the Fountain of Youth but now senescence and amnesia reign supreme once more in Charabanc-Land. We can barely remember what happened last week let alone the names of an obscure character from a comedy series from almost 40 years ago!  Have mercy on us quiz setters!!

Predictably, we did not find this to be one of the Piggies' best offerings.  In fact it almost seemed like they had crafted the paper deliberately to get their revenge on us for last week.  If that was the case, it worked spectacularly well.  Although we started off reasonably confidently with a one point lead at the end of Round 1, losing the toss and going second ultimately proved our undoing as we fell steadily behind in every subsequent round with but one glorious exception in Round 7 where we scored a full set of twos and even grabbed a rare steal from our on-fire opponents.  Otherwise there were too many unbalanced pairs which often seemed to fall our way (surely asking one side for a single word answer and then requiring the other to provide three or even four is now a recognised big no-no for quiz setters?).  Too many football references and an over-reliance on some of the more obscure aspects of the Periodic Table seemed to mark this paper. Oh if only the whole quiz could have been like Round 7! 

That said, we thoroughly enjoyed the company of Dave and his fellow Prods. They proved once again why they won the league last year and are in pole position to defend their title this season. For us, it's a post Cocoon-like hangover and a resumption of our struggle to avoid being handed the dreaded wooden spoon by finishing bottom of the league for the first time in our chequered history. 

Just like Father Megson 'Golden Gordon' Ottershaw's son tastes another home defeat


KFD lost to Albert

Former champs slip up at home again

Kieran incandesces...

Where do I begin? No I've not morphed into Kierkegaard, just wondering what I can say about tonight. Actually nothing, or nothing that Mike will publish at any rate.  Probably wise, that.  I frequently curse Mike's virtual red pencil but there are times when a calm and rational editor is a correspondent's best friend; more often than not a pain in the arse though.  

Welcome to WithQuiz


The aggregate score of 74 was right where it should be.  There were only four unanswereds (all ours as it happens) and four is perfectly acceptable...but...


...it was the tedium of the whole thing, the boredom, the disengagement, the ennui (Kierkegaard is raising his hand again and Nietzsche and Heidegger are battering at the door, maybe it's because Terry Jones died), the sheer what the fu**ery of question after question.

Here's a suggestion. if you're going to ask one team to match three (three!) cotton industry devices to their inventors, think again and then again, then again and then don't do it.  We got that one right by the way so God knows what that says about us.  But remember this is supposed to be fun so don't then in the same round set a question on the 6 termini of Avanti.  But if you must, then at least give the bloody railway station question to the team who didn't have to wrestle with mules, frames and jennys.  Spread the misery around guys, we all deserve our share.  The six termini of Avanti sound like something out of Harry Potter or Lord Of The Rings and had they been I might have registered a flicker of interest.  As It was, and channelling the near mythical McPhee, I didn't confer and refused to give an answer.  The Albert missed the bonus by one.  God knows what that says about them.

What else?  There are four elements that begin with the letter 'I'.  Quite obviously neither iodine nor iron were the answers to that pair so, you know, why not ask who won the boat race and who were the runners up?

Over to The Prodigals.  Much like Burnley a few hours ago you have nothing to beat. 

Blind Beggar hit


History Men tied with Ethel Rodin

A long drawn out tie at the Red

First James with his early hours text...

Well that was a right old slog. It felt like Ethel answered 26 more questions than The Historymen yet still only grabbed a tie.

With the balance of questions seeming to favour the team going first first, and then asking the other team to name 3 inventors, 6 rail termini, several moons and give various other multipart answers, that was felt by both teams to be pushing the boundaries of fair questioning to the limits. To cap this unanswereds broke 5-2 to Ethel.

Given all this it was surprising that we stayed even close.

Thankfully we didn’t fall into what seemed the worst trap of the night, with Greg correctly picking 'indium' for a two.  Given that the answer to the subsequent paired question was the only other possible answer of 'iridium' (presuming most excluded the purple crystals halogen one as a non-metal), I can imagine some teams easily giving away 3 points on that one alone.  The scrabble pairing was arguably even worse - the two words were virtually anagrams of each other - making it just a tad easier for the second team.

Fortunately, we always have a good time with the Historymen - plenty of banter and good humoured piss-taking - so the often dodgy material didn’t spoil the fun.  The tied score was, in the end, an appropriate outcome for the evening’s entertainment.

In the post match drinks, Ivor was weighing up whether to use the phrase ‘sh*t sandwich’ in his match report, as R1 and R8 were decent rounds (and to be fair there were a few kernels of sweetcorn to be found here and there in the other rounds too). He may ultimately have avoided such profanity, but if he did use the phrase, I’ll testify that the bread was relatively thin.

Magdala perpetrator


...and then Ivor with his early hours email...

Yet another tied match for us. We do seem to do unexpectedly well against teams higher in the league than ourselves and I am sure if we had been offered the tie at the start of the game we would have accepted it.  The game went to the very last question and all three results were possible.

Ethel, going second, did seem to have the worse of it with unanswereds and somewhat unbalanced pairs.  For example: 'name two Galilean moons' compared to 'name two of the three next biggest moons AND their planets'; 'name the West Line franchise holder' versus 'name 6 of the franchise's 8 destinations'; 'two of three cloud allusions' versus 'three of four heaven allusions' in Joni Mitchell songs. And is fictional football-related forename knowledge of one-off comedy characters from yesteryear too niche to be general knowledge?

Round 1 and Round 8 however were very good, although we started badly.  Tim, now recovered from the revenge of the devoured oysters, assured us the Hallé could not possibly be the orchestra as Thomas Beecham did not conduct them, so that was an immediate Ethel steal.  Rounds 2 to 7 did not go down well at all with either side.  Very much a curate’s egg sandwich.

The 'not Goss' Bros


and finally QM Mike H's views...

Looking forward to reading comments from elsewhere, but really I feel the first half of tonight's quiz was the most unfair of the quizzes I have participated in as QM or quizzer; too many occasions where the questions were unbalanced.  The first half took almost as long as the full quiz last week; thank goodness the second half was more straightforward and eventually we managed to finish about 10.45.  A draw was probably the most suitable result in view of the imbalance of so many questions.  As QM I let Ethel get away with only 5 (only 5!) answers to one of the questions.

I do have several niggles to air about this week's paper...e.g. if one team is asked for two answers in a paired question, the other team should not be asked for more than two answers and they should have a similar level of accessibility to the first of the pair.  No questions should have 'either/or' answers else you make it too easy for the other team in a steal.   And to help the QM please avoid questions that are too long or complex.  For example tonight there was one spare of almost half a page in length.  Finally please space out the rounds and questions so that a whole round goes on a single page.

Llyn Tegid


Opsimaths lost to Turing Testers

A great first win at the Club for the Testers

Mike Bath reports...

Oh so slow!  What a long drawn out quiz.  Asking for 6 out of 8 West Coast Mainline termini; wanting all 3 mill equipment inventors; demanding murderers and their victims.  Inevitably there were very lengthy debates and they were not always fruitful.  Thankfully Howell QMed and managed us through the maze hurrying us along so that we did manage to finish just after 11pm when round about breakfast time seemed more likely at half time.

However don't let this frustration take anything away from the Testers.  They were worthy winners, trailing at half time but better organised than their opponents in the second half as the home team blurted when they should have conferred, and conferred when they should have gone for two.

In defence of the Opsis it did seem that the Testers winning the toss and going first loaded the dice in their favour (and I note other match reports reflect the same sentiment).

Oh well we've had some really good papers this season and we're still fourth in the table.  I'll be at the Etihad next Wednesday so our weakest link will be replaced by Howell when we tackle Mike 'the babe-magnet' O'Brien and his gang.

Nadia 'Baby of the House'


Compulsory Mantis Shrimp beat Bards

A win lifts the Shrimps back into second place

James gives us the lowdown...

The second Parrs Wood derby of the season was much like the first.  The Shrimps gained a 4-point lead after Round One. The Bards steadily chipped away at that lead as the rounds went by.  Then, for much of the second half of the match, the Bards were ahead.  However, an all important steal at the beginning of Round 7 allowed us to gain a small lead that we clung on to in the final round.

As ever with our matches against the Bards, our opponents were in brilliant and convivial form.  A big thank you should go to our wonderful QM, Adam, who kept the quiz going at a decent pace even during the slower rounds.  It meant we were able to finish by half ten, which was very welcome.

As for the paper, however, there's no getting around the fact that it was a tough quiz that, at times, involved a lot of conferring.  Rounds 3 and 4, in particular, included quite a lot of seemingly rather esoteric minutiae that made them feel like a right slog.  There were some bad pairings, but at least I felt they were evenly distributed between the teams.  And please let's never have a question where you are required to give 6 answers, and on such an esoteric subject as termini of trains from London run by a particular operator. That's especially so when the other question in the pair only asks for a single answer.

Now that the negatives are out of the way, there were definitely some positives to praise.  I thought there was some great ingenuity in some of the questions.  In particular I felt the first hidden theme, with the berries, was masterfully done - especially the first and last questions of that round.

The second half of the quiz was pitched at the right level, with the scoring and pace of play picking up significantly.  Finally, well done to the Pigs for putting a good selection of science questions in.  Sure, it was too Periodic Table-centric (although I thought those questions were nicely written), but I'm sure over the rest of the season, there will be some teams who just completely neglect such a pivotal field as science in their papers.

Nicola 'Almost Baby of the House'


Quiz paper set by...

...Electric Pigs

Average Aggregate score 74.6

This week's paper notched up a reasonable average aggregate - much in line with the season's overall average.  The number of unanswered questions was fairly low as was the number of answers scoring 2 points (most points seemed to have been earned via conference).  It covered a wide range of subjects and provided quite a few 'well I never' moments.   But....it broke a number of cardinal quiz-setting rules (as the match reports above demonstrate) and this detracted from the enjoyment of the evening for many quizzers.

Quite a few question pairings were unfair meaning that going first (as it happens) did give a noticeable advantage.  Most of all however they were too many questions which predictably invoked lengthy conferences so that by half time pressure to 'get things done by closing time' had spoiled the free flow of the competition.

Normally I would cut and paste the various comments on the paper from the match reports received and place them here but this week these comments were so integral to each report that I have left them in situ.

Question of the Week

This week Jimmy highlighted the coincidental tribute to Terry Jones to be found in Round 3 Question 4 so we'll make that our nomination for this week...

In a celebrated episode of Terry Jones and Michael Palin's Ripping Yarns comedy series what were the Christian names given to the son of 'Golden Gordon' Ottershaw in tribute to the latter's obsession with his local football team?

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

Just the one terminus

RIP Terry Jones and thanks