The Withington Pub Quiz League


4th March 2020


WQ Fixtures, Results & Table

WQ Teams

WQ Archive Comments Question papers

Ethel power on at the top hotly pursued by the Prodigals;

but the Shrimps lose ground

Mantis Shrimp lost to Electric Pigs

Prodigals beat KFD

History Men beat Charabancs

Ethel Rodin beat Bards

Albert beat Turing Testers

Mantis Shrimp lost to Electric Pigs

The Shrimps' title hopes are fading after a home defeat at the hands of the Pigs

NZ's bird of leisure


Prodigals beat KFD

The Prods retain second position with a home win

Jimmy tells the story...

Four successive defeats was our worst run in many a long year and so we approached this match with a fair bit of trepidation.

KFD were a man down and the points that they automatically lost for that shortfall proved critical in a match that was far, far tighter than the five point winning margin would suggest.

It was the Prods who trailed by 5 points after the travel and tourism themed Round One - this despite my missus working in the travel trade for nigh on forty years.  Shows how much attention I pay to her...

By the end of Round 3 we had closed the gap to just two points but the visitors robustly maintained that margin up until Round 6.

When QM Ann-Marie announced a Science round and simultaneously predicted nowt for the Prods she was, as usual, spot on.  At the end of Round 6 we were six behind and contemplating hitting the Kool Aid with Jim Jones.

Nous avons adoré the foreign language run-ons however and it was Prodigal John (as it so often is) who secured the critical steal of the night with a totally inspired guess on the Plaid Cymru / Welsh guards mash-up.  A ten point total on the round saw us sneak a one-point lead into Round 8 where we managed to hold our nerve and wrap up a much-needed win.

A tip of the hat to KFD who deserved something out of this, but that's the way the mop flops sometimes.

Celebrity perverts of yesteryear, the gradual decline of the beautiful game, John Denver’s malevolent streak and Pritti Patel were the topics of a most convivial post-quiz conversation.  A nice end to an evening that reminded me of exactly why I buzz around the M60 every Wednesday.

David Mealey, Denton's log-ender


History Men beat Charabancs

A comfortable win for the home team

Ivor checks in...

A convivial evening once more with our old friends the Charas.  The Youth policy is now being employed by both our sides with John’s son Charles replacing Gerry, and Young David being replaced by even younger Vanessa.

A game of two halves tonight.  The first half was played under the dartboard (luckily not in use) until noise led to relocation to the now vacant snug.  The Charas had a terrible first half with only 9 points to our 20 but they were much improved after the break and outscored us 23-20.  The Charas had fewer unanswereds (3 to our 5) and more 2s (11 to our 6) so our victory was due to a superior 'steal' rate (their 2 to our 10).

Readers will recall we had some trouble driving to the Alexandra last week.  Tonight there was some trouble driving home as the child proof locks in my car are on the blink and Tim and Mike were both in the back seat via the only door I could open.  An example of conversation:

Tim: “This car is four years old!”

Me: “It is a Yaris, and OK most of the time.”

Tim: “I knew someone whose car caught fire in Greece and the doors didn’t open and he burned to death and that was a BMW.”

Mike: “My car caught fire once.”

Me: “Lucky it wasn’t a BMW.”

...despite which everyone was delivered home safely.

“Oh, and one last thing, leave the shower curtain on the inside of the tub”


to which QM Mike H adds...

Truly tonight was a 'quiz of two halves'.  The first half had a total score of 29 points (with only 9 of those going to the Charas), which was less than half of the points available.  Until Round 4 Question 4 there had only been one two and that was the first question of the night.

Quite possibly, the answer given to Round 1 Question 7 ('Association of Travel Operators Liability') was better than the real answer.  By the end of Round 3, there had been so much conferring I had written in my notes: "Have the teams given up on trying for twos?".  Not only that, but from the QM's point of view, there was so much noise at the Red, that most questions had to be repeated.  Added to which many of the questions were of the 'who cares, anyway?' type.

By the end of Round 3, we were able to return to our normal seats and the noise had abated - and, coincidentally, the standard of the questions improved.  However the first half didn't finish until 9.52!

The second half of the quiz was much better with 44 points scored and we were able to finish by 10.45.

The first PM


Perseus with the Head of Medusa


Ethel Rodin beat Bards

Ethel squeak home to stay top and keep their title hopes on the boil

James fills us in...

So yet another close match in which Ethel just managed to scrape over the line.  The 4 point margin flattered us as it was tied at the end of R7, and indeed after the first 5 questions of R8 the Bards were one point ahead.  However  our strong finish with 2 twos and a 'steal' swung the match decisively.

The Bards have been a tough side this season with our earlier match being yet another Rodinista one-point win.  Bard Jim, in particular, was on sparkling form this week and there were only 2 or 3 questions that came over to us as bonuses all night.

Many thanks to Mike Bath for taking on the role of QM at short notice.

David with the head of the artist


I was happy to see Aston Villa represented in the questions.  Reminding me that my team did once hold the European Cup was timely and would be my nomination for QotW.  Surely after the meagre years since then, Villa deserve to win at least something?  However the reminder of Villa’s capacity to lose things was perhaps less than kind after Sunday's defeat at Wembley.  As a cub scout I went to Villa Park and remember seeing the Trophy in all it’s glory.  It was massive - the size of a person - but then I was only 3 feet tall at the time.

Post-match the conversation inevitably turned to Coronavirus, something dominating my line of work at the moment. It’s here and it’s here now.  Depending on how things pan out, by this time next week we could all be on lockdown.  Do follow the advice of the government re personal hygiene and hand washing.  It’s not much - but it’s better than nothing.  To be fair, the government have been talking sense, and despite their previous cynicism for ‘so-called experts’ on other issues, they do seem determined to follow the advice of well-informed and knowledgeable professionals about this matter.

A few points of my own...

For older people, and especially anyone with risk factors for lung disease, or with impaired immunity, I would already seriously consider some degree of self isolation.  For those of us who are a bit younger, it might be no worse than a cold but I think it’s reasonable to suggest that if we’re not already confined to quarters by next Wednesday, then anyone with any cough  or cold, or even minor viral symptoms should make responsible choices re the risk of transmission.  Do take care everyone!

Symphony of the Seas – floating isolation ward?


to which QM Mike B adds...

This was a good close match that was fun to QM.  Both teams were in good spirit despite all the signs of impending doom.

When QMing I do try and inject a few laughs along the way if I can - and usually misjudge my humour as reactions of stony silence often demonstrate.  However I did get one hoho spot on last night as Bernard's chuckles showed... When the Bards pondered deeply and lengthily over the Dublin-born hotel magnate it was Tony who bellowed out "Jury".  "First time he's ever paid any attention to a Jury" was my verdict.

On a more serious note James' words on Coronavirus (see above), which we discussed at the end of the match, are well worth noting.  Also it's well worth remembering how much we owe him and his medical colleagues who are all on the front line at present taking risks on our behalf.  Thank you!

Bath time for the rebels


Albert beat Turing Testers

Albert are still just in the mix at the top after a sound victory

Ashton reports...

Fearing a rowdy football crowd at the Fletcher Moss, we had arranged to play this one away.  As it turned out, we'd have been better off with City's turgid stroll to victory to contend with than the caterwauling from one individual at a nearby table in the Greenfinch.  Eveline's usual detective fiction reading matter was of the paperback variety this week, so we couldn't be certain that one of her legendary whacks would have silenced the offending banshee effectively.  As a result we decamped to the children's area.

The game was won in the early rounds as we established a double figure lead.  The second half was much more even.  After the game, the Testers informed us that they couldn't be entirely certain of having sufficient players to continue next year.  Let us hope they can, as they have ruffled plenty of feathers this year and proved competitive enough tonight.  Dave R described their captain Joe (absent tonight) as a 'livewire' in his comments last week, and the league needs such people if it is to have a future.  The only livewire in the Albert's squad is the electric cattle prod we have to bring along to keep Mike awake after about Round 6.

...to which Mike O'B adds...

The team have been moaning (as usual) about why we don't congratulate each other on producing a good answer rather than offering each other the default of "That was an easy one" or "Anyone could answer that."  To address their concerns and prop up their fragile egos I have produced an approved list of congratulatory phrases. So look out for:

"Leaping lizards, Ashton, that was great"

or "Holy moly, Jeremy, that was brilliant"

or even "Jumping butterballs, Eveline, you're cleverer than a woman with three heads".

Quiz paper set by...

...The Opsimaths

Average Aggregate score 82.4

As most of you know an 'Opsimaths' paper means a 'Brian' paper these days.  The rest of the team aid by attending a rehearsal and commenting on balance, difficulty, wording, etc.  but it is very much a 'Brian production process'.  Brian's papers are very distinctive with more 'on the surface' themes than hidden themes; often with  something about Slough (where Brian was born and brought up); and/or about pubs he has visited in Manchester; and/or about exotic (and not so exotic) places he has visited on his hols.  By and large I think this range of subjects goes down well - and if not then there's always the prospect of plenty of points on offer.

Well so it was last night with a bumper average aggregate well above the season's norm.

Although I was party to the validation of last night's paper I also have the perspective given by being a QM and I did find a few of the questions pretty lengthy.  Extra info. in a question can make it more interesting and even easier for the quizzer in that it can provide a memorable 'hook' as the answer is pondered.  But too much irrelevant extraneous gen can also be tiresome.  For instance knowing that David Tennant's wife gave birth to a daughter doesn't really help to identify her Dad - and do we really need a full catalogue of George 'the Peg' Eyser's gymnastic gongs to work out that he was deficient to the figure of one in the leg department.

I quibble.  It was a good, well-balanced paper which gave for a fine evening's entertainment across South Manchester.

Just what the Doctor ordered


...to which Ivor adds...

"The first half of the quiz was rather a slog but things picked up later.  Round 1 was hard (4 unanswereds) and fell into that most condemned category of a round: 'Worthy but dull'.  Anne might have said 'Who gives a Stuart Hall International Travel about airlines and insurance' (I have bowdlerised here).  The sports round was strange in that 4 of our 5 points were steals from the Charas who finished pointless, and three of our own questions went unanswered.  There were grumbles about some 'differential difficulty' in question pairing in the second half with the Welsh language follow on being deemed beyond the ken of general knowledge or even Welsh generals.  No doubt the question setters will condemn us as moaning Minnies (or worse) but of course every week it is a delight to carp and complain against the perceived injustices of sitting in wrong seats, or what in reality is being rumbled, that is that our depth of knowledge is not quite as deep as we thought it was!

I was pleased to see Fu Manchu make an appearance as a valid answer to a question; it has been a long time coming following the airing it had when Emmeline Pankhurst was the correct answer."

Something shared...


...whilst Mike H has this verdict...

"It wasn't until the end of the spares in Round 7 that I found a question which might be nominated for question of the week.  Surely the second half of the quiz was not set by the same person who did the first half?"

Dmitri ‘You don’t know what you’re composing’ Shostakovich


...and Jimmy notes...

"Question of the night was probably the Aleister Crowley one.  We were all aware he had plumbed the depths of depravity but knew nothing of him hitting the heady heights.  Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law but take your crampons off!
Quibble of the night?  The year typo on the Waco/David Koresh one was unfortunate as it led to the name Jim Jones being bandied around and led to Mike picking up an easy two later in the round.  Like I said, Lady Luck was most definitely with us."

(Ed: Note I have corrected this typo in the copy of the paper on this site)

...and Mike O'B is prodded into life with this verdict...

"Good effort by the setter.  There were very few unanswered and  a fair number of questions which required conferring.  It was an interesting tweak to have the run on round answers in foreign languages. We are thinking of producing  a similar round using Sanskrit or Mandarin Chinese for next week - and just to make it more interesting the questions will be printed in whichever language we choose.

There was a good spread of subjects and in particular a round devoted to science and technology which was accessible to non-specialists."

The face that launched a thousand limos


Question of the Week

The Pigs choose this week and their vote goes to the foreign run-on question at Round 7 Question 2...

Which literary character is a poor woodcutter who discovers a secret thieves’ den, and opens it with a magic phrase?


Which Levantine appetizer consists of mashed aubergine mixed with tahini, olive oil, possibly lemon juice, and various seasonings?

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

...and also

If nothing else do please read the final two paragraphs of James' report above from the Ethel Rodin match concerning Coronavirus.  Should it become necessary to suspend our Wednesday evening activity I'll advise via the website and the message board.  Let's hope not - and as James says, do take care.

Ford's turkey