The Withington Pub Quiz League


19th February 2020


WQ Fixtures, Results & Table

WQ Teams

WQ Archive Comments Question papers

Ethel go top by 2 clear points as both the Shrimps and the Prods lose; Albert jump to fourth and KFD leapfrog to fifth as applecarts get upset all over South Manchester

History Men tied with Electric Pigs

Albert beat Mantis Shrimp

Opsimaths lost to KFD

Bards beat Prodigals

Turing Testers lost to Ethel Rodin

Opsimaths lost to KFD

KFD continue their rise up the charts

Kieran goes first...

Opsis' giant-killing run comes to an end!

Quizzing, bloody hell!  In the past five weeks the Opsimaths have beaten the three contenders for this year's league title while KFD have been as inconsistent as they have been all season.  But this was THE derby.  The Eternal Derby, The Derby of Southeast Manchester, The Old Farts Game, the toxic, bitter A5145 clash with the reasons for enmity no longer known to anyone, or perhaps never there in the first place, and strange things can happen in derbies.

But it was nothing like toxic.  Two WithQuiz sluggers who know that, for this season at least, they are no more than a sideshow, played something approaching a friendly with the result barely in doubt after KFD held a ten point lead at the end of Round 3.  I don't know who the Charas pop music aficionado is but God bless you, my anonymous friend.  The Opsimaths are a wonderful team and the fiercest of competitors and rivals but they do not have a Scooby about music after 1950 (or possibly 1750) and as 'name the band' followed 'identify the lyric' and preceded 'which singer guest starred on'... we knew it was going to be our night. 

"Below us only sea"


Of course there were moments when it got a bit fractious.  Mike questioned the true source and value of our Kentucky Fried Donutz sponsorship deal.  In return I mock sympathised when the Opsis picked the wrong guess in the New York Times / Washington Post lottery - the only poor question of the night.  But both teams' irrelevance to the business end of the league table made it the most enjoyable of our clashes in many years.  Nick, as per, performed heroically in a lost cause with six twos.  That seems to happen to him quite often when we meet.  There were two unanswereds each, which points to the Charas wanting to make everyone have a good evening and, from our point of view at least, they succeeded.  Mike may have a different take re 'crap culture' when he publishes his thoughts. 

We only gave away one pass-over all night and that because I committed the cardinal quiz sin of speaking out loud when discussing whether the American mountain range was the Catskills or the Alleghenies, with Mike about a foot behind my left shoulder.  He had the grace to admit that he'd never have got the bonus had he not heard me say it as we inevitably picked the range entirely contained within New York state.  Incidentally, Mike, there are 35 peaks in the Catskills over 3,500 feet and yes, there is a club for those who have conquered them all.  Just something to think about for retirement. 

I'd have loved to write this report as if the game had been Red Star v Partizan, River Plate v Boca or, most terrifying of all, Burnley v Blackburn - but no, nothing like that, just a lot of fun and, of course, a great deal of respect between rivals who, a bit like Fergie and Wenger, can finally admit to mutual respect now less is at stake.  And I'd have loved to do the whole thing as a pastiche of the egregious and bitter ravings of a son of Bury and one-time half decent journalist to whom The Guardian has given absurd column inches in recent days (which his delusions and spite do not merit).  But I think I'd only have been speaking to David and Lord Bath and the rest of you would wonder what on earth I was on about - as if you didn't do that every week anyway.  No matter, revenge.... dish.... cold etc. 

Dhani/Jadon (should I add Erling to the list?) had finally finished his chemistry homework and thus has now won on six of his eight appearances.  If Barry ever gets fit again I'm going to have some tricky selection problems.  Next week he may well be making his second foray of the season to the Stadium of Murk as we take on title contenders Ethel in what should always have been named the Chastity Shield, ©Fr Megson.  There's also a bit of a dust up going on at the Bernabéu that night; attention may wander.

Fifth!  We're fifth.  How?  I had hoped that by now the Dark Side from Stretford would be occupying a similar position so we could continue our unsettling mimicry of them.  But instead I find we are akin to RB Leipzig's bitches.  I've been Poch, I've been Bielsa, I've even flirted with being Super Frankie and Pep in my totally lost it moments, but I need to say this very clearly.  No way am I being José.  Not with that haircut.

Speaking truth to power


...and as befits losers, Mike goes second

Oh dear!  We woz walloped!  I might offer the excuse that crap culture (i.e. pop music and dinosaur poo) was over-represented - or even that going 'first first' (as KFD did) seemed to bestow a slight advantage, but in truth KFD were just a lot better on the night.  The Opsi's only area of superiority lay in the QM department where Brian was crystal clear and patient.

In recent years most of our teams have undergone some 'freshening' of their line-ups but none such changes have been as stark and sudden as KFD's.  Last night Liam, Ruth (David's daughter) and Elizabeth (Kieran's daughter) were in attendance alongside old hands Kieran, David and Martin.  Ruth and Elizabeth warmed the Club benches this time round as the other four galloped through their paces.  It is really, really good to see the league gradually passing into the hands of younger competitors but, oh, we did miss your calm authority, Barry.  I do hope things are better soon and you can reassert your peerless qualities on a Wednesday evening.

Once the walloping had ceased Kieran and I fell into a discussion about the Labour leadership contest.  It seems both of us strongly favour the lass from Wigan who seems to combine charm, steel and vision alongside plenty of detailed ideas.  That's not to say KS and RLB haven't had their moments in the round of media debates.  Oh, why do we have to wait until after the General Election to see such fine leadership qualities on display in the party many of us love?

The time has surely come for the Old Etonian ruling dynasty to be replaced by the Old Parrs Wood High School mob - Lisa then Lucy.

Bards beat Prodigals

The Champions perish at the Parrswood

Dave gives the loser perspective...

The Bards were magnificent last night.  They gave us very little and stretched their lead crucially by the end of Round 7 to take control of the match.  43 points is a good losing score which emphasises how well the Bards played.  A good match played in a convivial atmosphere with an excellent QM.

We are definitely up against it now.  Whatever happens we can be proud of an inaugural Prodigals title defence attempt irrespective of the outcome.

What if they disagree?  Who’s infallibly right?


The History Men confer


History Men tied with Electric Pigs

Yet another tie for the History Men!

Nerve-tingler Ivor reports...

Young David is missing for the next three games as he is on holiday in Thailand.  He might as well have stayed here because the History Men are already living in Tie-land.  This was our fifth match of the season where honours were even (and no one had to buy a consolation round of drinks).  Tonight was our first game in the Red Lion since it became a J W Lees, rather than a Marston's, pub.  Decor the same, the beers different.  We had our usual bad start on the very first question - some day we will remember the order of Beryllium and Boron in the periodic table.  The game had been fairly close throughout but we'd managed to edge into  a four-point lead going into the last round.  Our usual 'end of quiz' implosion, however, meant the lead was whittled away by the time we got to the last pair.  Fortunately both Dave and I held our nerve and we both scored twos.

Where would we be without the blurts?  Tonight Tim was asked the question about this year's Oscar-winning role portraying a star of yesteryear.  “You know this”, Anne said to Tim.  Tim thought and and looked at Anne and uttered the fateful words, “Shirley Temple”.  Anne was too incredulous even to say “Chough Me” or any of her other usual expressions of disdain.  This might be the first time anyone has even thought about Shirley Temple since c.1978.  I think that might outdo my Fu Manchu blurt of a few seasons back.

Shopping Art Nouveau


Mike H was QMing and adds this...

Very good quiz tonight, close most of the way and it finished with a draw (do History Men have the record for number of drawn matches in a season?).  Some very entertaining questions with not a little humour sprinkled around.  My 'Question of the Week' was the longest one of the night too; that is the one about the Bedfordshire stopover for the Jarrow marchers.

And as QM I must own up to a couple of faux pas...

First the cardinal QM sin of giving the answer before the second team had a chance to answer (we used a spare which was rather easier than the original question).

Secondly I got the last two questions in a round back to front (a worker should not blame his tools, but it would help if the spares were clearly separate from the other questions in the round and in a different typeface).  Overall, however, it probably didn't affect the final score.

Siège du Sénat


Albert beat Mantis Shrimp

A one-point thriller topples the league leaders

Il Duce, Mike O'Brien, reports ...

Ah, what a competitive match - never more than a couple of points all the way through and won when Eveline scored a two on the last question.

Despite Eveline and the rest of the team's efforts I feel obliged to award myself the Albert's star player award - and I worked jolly hard to earn it.  In the first half I blurted out one incorrect answer and didn't know the answer to any of my other questions. The others explained to me at half time that if the Albert had been playing three-handed without me we would have been one point better off.  I built on this encouraging start by asking if we were conferring when it was a Shrimp question.

Despite all this the final result shows what inspiring leadership can achieve and I'm sure the rest of the team will agree with me.

"Hail the Pentecostal morn"


Turing Testers lost to Ethel Rodin

Ethel power to the top as their rivals crash and burn

Tester James fills us in...

When the Turing Testers joined the league in mid-October, the first question we faced was which pub to choose as our home venue.  As a geographically disparate team with limited knowledge of south Manchester, we followed the maxim of location, location, location and plumped for the Greenfinch, due to its proximity to West Didsbury tram stop.  After our final home match of the season, however, we  believe this may have been a less than propitious choice.  We have now played nine and lost nine at home (not counting our walkover loss to Albert at the start of the season).  More often than not we have been confined to the 'kids' area' of the establishment, which this week proved somewhat challenging as boisterous young children and their well-lubricated parents (we suspected they were a funeral party) were in attendance well into the evening.  We are considering scoping out an alternative home venue for the future, and any recommendations would be most welcome.

(Ed: James, how about doubling up with The Charas at The Albert in Withington?)

This week we encountered Ethel Rodin for the first time (they gained a walkover victory over us earlier in the season).  Without our intrepid leader, Joe, we struggled mightily with the abundance of popular music-based questions in the Charabancs' paper, with Ethel poised to sweep up extra points for nearly all of our incorrectly answered questions.  Were it not for some more familiar fare in the form of film and TV, we may not have scraped to double digits by the halfway mark.  The second half treated us rather better.  We particularly enjoyed the 'US state abbreviations' round, though racing through Puccini operas beginning with state abbreviations: La Bohème, La Fanciulla del West, Madame Butterfly, I was a little perplexed to twig that Verdi's Rigoletto was the expected answer.  Mercifully our opponents interjected, agreeing that there was indeed a mistake in the question and so there was no harm done.  Ultimately though, the lead Ethel established early on was far too big for us to come close to surmounting; our clean sweep of home losses was confirmed and the Greenfinch's till was again filled with our opponents' pennies for the final round of drinks of the night.

Oh, and many thanks to Damian from the Charas for stepping in at late notice to act as QM.

Quiz paper set by...

...Charabancs of Fire

Average Aggregate score 83.4

A set of cracking scorelines and what appears to most of you to have been a well-balanced set of questions.

Furthermore there was an opportunity for me to warble a few notes from A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square, that ultra-cheesy 1940 song that helped lift the hearts of a nation from the horrors of war last time Europe was disunited.

Ivor's paper critique is pretty positive...

"Quiz was well received and certainly suited us old-timers.  As Anne says we always remember our blurts, or timidity, or other perceived injustices but the final statistics of 5 steals each, only 5 unanswereds (3 to us, 2 to the Pigs) and 23 twos (12 to us, 11 to the Pigs) confirms that this was a very well balanced paper, and more to the point, an enjoyable challenge."

Nancy pays tribute to the late Terry Jones and his Ripping Yarns


...whilst Mike H points out the paper's obvious boo-boo...

"Surely there was an error in Round 6 Question 7 where it was suggested that Puccini wrote the opera about the Duke of Mantua's court jester."

...and despite losing, Shrimp James H is a happy chappie...

"Absolutely fantastic!  There was something for everyone in this one.  There was a great variety of questions that made for a fun quiz which went along at a breezy pace, such that we finished around 22:10.  And of course, the paper was written with the Charas' trademark wit and panache.  Well done, Charas!"

...and high praise from Mike O'B...

"The quiz was well balanced.  There were very few unanswered questions and easy questions did seem to be paired.   The only issue arose when Puccini was confused with Verdi.  In many ways this was one of the best papers of the season."

...and from Prodigal Dave...

"90 points is a tremendous match aggregate.  Well done to the Charabancs.  The Puccini/Verdi confusion and a failure to accept that Adam can perform without his Ants can be forgiven.  Great paper."

...and finally Tester James gives it the thumbs up...

"Despite our woeful music knowledge we found this week's paper both accessible and enjoyable, with great variety, humour and very few 'never heard of him/her/it/them' answers."

Our candidate on the inside


Question of the Week

This week KFD opt for Round 7 Question 2 which provided a quirky bit of information that neither team managed to get...

Trade Unionist Eugene Debs campaigned on five occasions as a Socialist candidate for the presidency of the USA.  What was unique about his final campaign for the 1920 election?

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

New York's Fuller building


....and also

Next week its WIST time with me setting the paper on behalf of WithQuiz.

Please note that, in all cases, the papers should be collected from the Red Lion by the WithQuiz teams.  This means the Prodigals, the History Men and KFD (all of whom are playing away), but also Mantis Shrimp (who are entertaining Smart Alex at the Parrs Wood Hotel) will be picking up envelopes.

Good luck and I hope you enjoy the paper!

Mr Quark