The Withington Pub Quiz League


3rd September 2021

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Update 03/09/2021:

I sent the following email to all WithQuiz team captains a few days ago...

"Thanks for those of you who replied to my questions about switching some or all matches to Thursdays to accommodate the Shrimps for the 2021/22 season.

Your replies indicated that there was no appetite to switch to Thursdays as a regular evening for all matches, and that a significant minority of teams had a strong desire not to play any matches on Thursdays (it would mean losing players who had work or other longstanding commitments on a Thursday).

I have now spoken to Rachael and we’ve agreed that, in these circumstances, we have to bid the Shrimps farewell for the upcoming 2021/22 season BUT that they will be able to complete their 2 remaining 2019/20 matches as their Wednesday Online Quiz League is not starting up again until the last Wednesday in September (29th).

So, the resulting arrangements are…



Albert, Bards, Charabancs, Electric Pigs, Ethel Rodin, History Men, KFD, Opsimaths, Prodigals with the Shrimps leaving after contesting their 2 remaining 2019/20 matches and the Turing Testers (whose members have scattered to the four winds during lockdown) leaving straightaway.

Do please advise me if there are any team name or captaincy changes that need reflecting on the website ‘Teams’ page.


The Charabancs are relocating to the Griffin permanently.

Teams may wish to relocate matches on an ‘as and when’ basis if the Team Captains agree that an alternative venue would be more ‘COVID-safe’.


Wed Sept 15th (Setters: KFD) Pigs v Opsimaths; History Men v Bards; Ethel Rodin v Albert; Shrimps v Charas; Prodigals walkover Turing Testers

Wed Sept 22nd (Setters: tba) Ethel Rodin v Pigs; Albert v Charas; KFD v Shrimps; Prodigals v History Men; Bards v Opsimaths


The Prodigals have no match on Sept 15th – they will be awarded a walkover victory.  KFD will set for our first match back on Sept 15th (hope that’s OK, Kieran) and I will arrange a setter for Sept 22nd.

The 2019/20 Val Draper Cup and Plate competitions have been cancelled.

The 2019/20 WIST and Lowly Grail Cup finals may be held at some later stage in the 2021/22 season by agreement between Mike Wagstaffe and myself but at present the Stockport Quiz League is some way off restarting.


Wed Oct 6th (NOTE not September 29th as previously suggested) is the date for the End of Season/Start of Season social quiz evening at the Albert Club.  All teams past and present are invited and as well as awarding the 2019/20 trophies we will spend some time celebrating the quiz friends we have lost since we last met up en masse.

2021/22 FIXTURES

Wed Oct 13th will be the date for the first set of league matches for the 9 WithQuiz teams (the website will give these fixtures in due course - and whilst the 2019/20 season is still being completed the 2021/22 fixtures can be found by clicking here...Fixtures 2021/22).

There will be no WIST Pre-season inter-league Friendly match nor any WIST/Lowly Grail matches in this coming season.

Think that covers everything. 

It’ll be great to see everyone once more FACE-TO-FACE – but so sad to lose the Shrimps."

Cheers, MIKE


Update 07/08/2021:

I sent the following note to all the WithQuiz team captains earlier today...

"Dave Rainford Memorial

There is a memorial event for Dave on 14th August plus a fund for a permanent memorial :-


…also a book of remembrance on FB:-


I think I’ll call in next Saturday to Burnage Community Centre.  It’d be good to see other WithQuizzers there too.  Could you please pass this information on to your team members?


Resumption of WithQuiz

I think the time is right to, at least, consider whether we should resume ‘face-to-face’ quizzing soon.

The easiest option from a fixtures point of view would be to play the outstanding 2 rounds of 2019/20 league matches on September 15th and 22nd. Then to have an ‘end of/start of season’ evening at the Albert Club on September 29th to award the trophies – but even more importantly to celebrate the lives of the friends we have lost since we last got together en masse (I’m talking about Dave Rainford, Jitka McClintock and Tim Dunningham specifically).  The fixtures for the 2021/22 season would then start on Wednesday October 6th.

However, I am well aware that there is still plenty of risk about and some of us will be justifiably reluctant to resume congregating at close quarters in local pubs.  We could mitigate the risk to some extent by using spaces in the larger and/or emptier local pubs rather than the smaller more crowded ones (such as the Fletcher Moss and the Red Lion).  The Parrswood is pretty large and, usually, pretty empty.  You might host 3 separate COVID-safe matches at the same time in its vast expanses based on past experience.  We might also encourage the use of face masks where sensible and practical.  Above all if we get going again everybody should be made to feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible.

I’m also aware that some teams may wish to treat this hiatus as a ‘full-stop’ rather than a ‘comma’ in their WithQuiz careers with people moving away from the area or preferring to quiz online as many of us have done over the past year or so – and leave the WithQuiz competition altogether.

The hiatus could equally be an opportunity to adjust our regular WithQuiz routine.  We might also be able to welcome into our group some new teams – or at least new faces (I know of at least one of the guys we’ve met in online quizzing who wants to join us when we resume face-to-face matches in South Manchester).

So, could each of you please consult with your regular team members and get back to me by Saturday August 14th on your team’s views – specifically if you wish to start face-to-face quizzing in September and, indeed, if you’re still up for the WithQuiz competition going forward.

Since there may well be a variety of views about the issues I have raised above, the wisest next step may be to meet (virtually or in person) and have a discussion amongst team captains later in August.  If this is the wish I’ll happily make the necessary arrangements.

Cheers, MIKE"


Update 16/06/2021:

More bad news I'm afraid - this time from Ivor...

"Hi Mike,

I have some sad news to relay.  Our Historyman colleague Tim Dunningham died last week at home having been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a few months before. He was 77 and is survived by Pat, four children and grandchildren. 

Tim had been a player since 2002 and greatly enjoyed his Wednesday evenings despite his forthright opinions on some of the questions! 

I am sure we will have more to say at a later time but Pat would like his quiz colleagues to know of his passing"


Update 06/01/2021:

I have a very sad piece of news to pass on from my Opsimath colleague, Brian...

"Hi Mike,

Unfortunately Jitka has passed away. She suffered a major stroke late Sunday night (3/1), which left her unconscious. She didn't recover consciousness, and died peacefully yesterday evening (5/1).

Before Covid even started, Jitka said that she didn't want a funeral, but would prefer a party a few months later. In line with her wishes, I will arrange something when Covid restrictions permit (probably next year at this rate!).


Jitka had been part of the Opsimaths team before ever I was recruited and, alongside Brian, has been integral to the team right from the start.  She played (occasionally), QMed (loads), and vociferously and ferociously supported us (always) as we went from the depths of the WithQuiz league table in the 2000s to ascend its heights in the 2010s.

We will all miss her.


Update 26/10/2020:

Locked down over the past few months Prodigal Michael Taylor has completed and is now about to publish a major contribution to the story of slavery and its abolition - and as you'd expect it's far from a confirmation of the traditional cosy view of the British establishment leading the way in the righteous fight against the evils of slavery.  Michael introduces the book thus...

Deprived of his weekly fix of trivia since the early spring, Prodigal Michael has been putting the finishing touches to his forthcoming book, which narrates the nineteenth-century fight between slaveholders and abolitionists over West Indian slavery...

The Interest: How the British Establishment Resisted the Abolition of Slavery (The Bodley Head)

It describes how, twenty years after the slave trade had been abolished by Wilberforce and his allies, a new generation of abolitionists took up the fight over slavery itself against the Tory government (Canning, Gladstone, Peel, Wellington, et al), the powerful West India Interest, and much of the national press - including The Times and the Spectator. It has been described as "a vital antidote to the Rees-Moggification of the national past" and it is released on 5 November.


P.S. The Prodigals now welcome any and all questions on colonial slavery for the coming season.

 I've just ordered a copy and am looking forward to its arrival from Mr Amazon.  Now you get ordering!

Cheers, MIKE 


Update 02/09/2020:

Prospects for resuming the WithQuiz competition in September/October (as anticipated in earlier posts to this page) appear to be all but gone with our usual quizzing venues either closed or unable to cater for the style of face-to-face quizzing that characterise our matches.  Unless circumstances change considerably I believe it best to postpone talk of a resumption until after Christmas.  Do let me know how you feel about this and I'd be very happy to organise a resumption as quickly as possible if circumstances change.

Cheers, MIKE 


Update 20/07/2020:

I have received an invitation from Dave Tilley (a friend who runs the Todmorden Quiz League in West Yorkshire) to enter teams for an online quiz league he is organizing to be played via Zoom.

Dave has already completed one online quiz league competition which he set up in March as soon as lockdown hit us.  Armed with that experience he is now organising a second competition and spreading the net wider.    He thinks (as do many) that getting back to quizzing in pubs and clubs may well be quite a few months away yet so he anticipates this new competition running for the rest of this year.

Knowing Dave the standard will be pretty high.  His note (below) mentions Chasers, Mastermind competitors, Eggheads, etc.

I’m thinking of entering a team of Opsimaths, so it would be great to come up against some of you online in the coming weeks.

You will note from Dave’s note that he needs to know who’s registering to play by this Thursday (July 23rd).

Here’s the relevant bit of Dave’s note….

“I organised and have been running a virtual quiz league using Zoom since March with 11 teams and it has run rather well on Tuesday evenings and we‘ve just finished our first season, with the next one starting on Tuesday 28th.

We start at nine and play a League match and a friendly.  There’s no charge to take part other than each team submits a set of questions for use by the other clubs on their week off.  We have a selection of Eggheads, Chasers, Mastermind and Counterpoint winners in the teams and competition is keen.  Home team should also provide a question master.  I have my own full Zoom room so there is no requirement for anyone to have their own access.

We also have a Wednesday evening individual quiz and again that has produced some extremely exciting finals each week. We are happy to welcome any players from the League as well.

I’d be happy to invite any teams from the League to take part.  Our aim is to play ‘Home and Away’ so it should take us to Christmas, when hopefully we should know when (or if) we can resume our normal quiz business.  I know from Merseyside QL, it is probably not resume in the short term.

Ideally I need to know before this coming Thursday and we are happy to welcome teams or individuals who want to be part of a team (we can do the matchmaking!).

Anyone interested can contact me via mail tilsit@btinternet.com.” 


Update 23/06/2020:

I do hope you are all safe and well and that we can get back to our weekly quizzing ways before too long (perhaps in August/September to complete the 2019/20 league competition).

During lockdown I've been involved in tackling a series of fiendishly difficult online picture quizzes.  You're given a page of 20 pictures to identify and then group into 5 sets, each of 4 pictures, where there is an undeniable rationale for each grouping.  There are often red herrings and blind alleys but only one satisfactory way of ending up with 5 groups of 4 with each link justified.  It's a bit like the Only Connect Wall - only more tortuous, and in pictures rather than words.  Usually there is an overarching link between the 5 groups which straps the linking rationales together.  Beware you will need to do a fair bit of Googling!

It's been my turn to set this week so I thought I'd share my efforts on the website.  Beware it can take quite a lot of puzzling - I often take the whole week - off and on - to get to a viable solution (that is if I don't give up totally stumped).  Here's the quiz I've devised - and there is indeed a very specific overarching link to the set of 5 connected groups on this occasion.

Answers on request.  Cheers, MIKE


Update 16/04/2020:

This morning The Times published an Obituary for Dave.  Click here to view.


Quizzing in Quarantine

During this period of enforced lay-off I am whiling away some of my spare hours adding a large number of quiz rounds from my archive of Albert Club quizzes to this website (go to 'Question Papers' and scroll down to the list of Albert Club rounds - organised by type of round).

These Club quizzes are significantly different from WithQuiz question papers relying more on cryptic connections and lateral thinking to achieve the answers.  They might not appeal to all but they can be great fun in a social quizzing context where much of the joy is got from 'conferring and deducing' rather than just 'knowing'.  Anyway do have a look and feedback  any reactions via the message-board.

A number of people have wondered if we can host some sort of online quiz competition during these days of social distancing.  I'm certainly willing to put the website at the service of any such endeavour - so if you want to organise something and use of the website would help just let me know.


WithQuiz programme of matches suspended

After consulting with team captains and a number of other WithQuizzers throughout today the decision has been taken to suspend the current season's programme WITH IMMEDIATE EFFECT.
We have taken into account advice from medical professionals who play in our league and also the views of some of you who would be unable to play on during this epidemic for very good personal reasons.
In detail the decisions are...

1. To suspend the WithQuiz programme of matches with immediate effect
2. To abandon this season’s Val Draper Cup and Plate competitions
3. Providing the situation is sufficiently improved, to reschedule the remaining 2 rounds of WithQuiz league matches for the second half of September – and if desired an end-of-season Presentation evening straight after these two matches.
4. Depending on what Mike Wagstaffe and the Stockport League say, to schedule the WIST and Lowly Grail finals for late September.

During the lay-off please keep an eye on the website and the message-board; I will keep things up-to-date if and when the situation changes and also post any information I have regarding Dave's funeral.
Keep safe, MIKE

P.S. Tina, Dave's wife, has asked that details of his funeral are not posted on social media - so when details are available they will be passed to team captains to cascade rather than posted on this site or the message-board.

P.P.S. As my own small 'condolences card' for Dave Rainford you will find my 'DR' picture quiz if you press here.

P.P.S. Greg has just forwarded me this photocopy of a page from then latest Radio Times with warm tributes to Dave from all his fellow Eggheads...