The Withington Pub Quiz League


13th October 2021


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High-scoring all round with Albert keeping their alphabetical pre-season top billing on 'goal difference'

Electric Pigs lost to Albert

KFD beat History Men

Bards beat Charabancs

Ethel Rodin beat Prodigals

KFD beat History Men

Comfortable first outing for KFD as they beat their 'Nemesis' team

Kieran's column returns...

What were you doing on March 20th 2019?  No idea?  Can't remember? Well here's some memory joggers: Theresa May was Prime Minister, Donald Trump was US President and leading Italian anti-vax politician Massimiliano Fedriga was hospitalized with Chicken Pox.  Still no bells ringing? Well unfortunately it seems they haven't been tolling for Massimiliano either since he seems to have come through the last 31 months, COVID and all, totally unscathed.  "O, death where is thy sting?" Seriously where? 

On March 20th 2019 Barry, Martin, David and I won a quiz league match against the Pigs.  And then that didn't happen again for 938 days.  Until tonight.  A Lowly Grail victory over the Railway Fliers the November before last was the sole triumph for the no longer awesome foursome in all that time.

...and hostilities just evaporated


Tonight that all changed.  As has the Griffin.  It now boasts a normally heated front room (for the moment at least), a knockout juke box which instantly filled the gap left by the cast-aside, blessed, Albert-ish and psychotically mismatched soft furnishings.  Tonight it also hosted Bogota Bob, sporting a demure, non-statement cap and recently returned from the Costa del Zero Tax.  Plus ça change baby, plus ça change.  It's so good to have him back in his rightful place as the doyen of south Manchester quizmasters. In all seriousness, to have Barry, David and Bob back, healthy and enjoying Wednesday evening quizzes again is fantastic.

And we had the History Men as our first opponents of the new season. Pied piper Ivor, Vanessa, David and Anne of the not quite thousand days.  Anne got her groove on early, barracking David for his timidity in not going for a two on the first question of the evening and later hitting Ivor with the punchy "listen to the f***ing question."  It's good to have her back too. Barry asked if anyone had an Anne bingo card and then constructed one during the remainder of the quiz.  He had a full house by the end. 

Winning the toss and going first first, the History Men got the rough end of the deal with 6 of the 7 unanswereds falling their way and that pretty much accounted for our victory margin.   

So we're up and running with the unaccustomed glow of a win and an unremarkable third in the table behind early pace-setters the Albert who are our guests for next week's game.  The classic four having been successfully reunited clearly this couldn't be allowed to continue and so David is disappearing to the Orkneys for the next couple of weeks. During the hiatus young Liam® has relocated to the west bank of the Irwell and he's now living in the Quays but we hope he's still going to play for us from time to time.   Next week David's place will hopefully be taken by my son and noted Frankie Boyle impersonator even younger Thomas.  Thomas played once in December 2019 in a close win over the Pigs in which he was instrumental so that's promising.  And the following week if all goes well we'll have a multi garlanded WithQuiz alumnus making his first appearance for more than a decade. We did things differently then and we've certainly done them differently in the intervening years but hopefully he'll sprinkle a little of the old stardust our way. 

Good to be back and it's fun being able to write this sort of nonsense again.

and Ivor's view?...

Things at last are back to normal: we play KFD, who had an unchanged team 18 months on, and we lose by a healthy margin.  There are some changes, however.  The Griffin appears to have been repainted and the ambient temperature reduced from tropical to subtropical.  There is still change out of £10 for three pints though Mike H found the bitter awful.

We won the toss and unfortunately ended up playing first.  Although we got 14 twos to KFD’s 12 we also had 6 of the 7 'unanswered' questions.  Does this mean we had easier questions or harder questions compared with KFD (at least for questions people knew the answer to)?  It would take a Stato of better prowess than me to reach an answer to that question.  However the bottom line is we lost and if we were better and knew the answers we would have won.

Our new strategy of being cautious and not blurting at least in the first half led to points leakage from the very first question. David decided to confer on whether Carnation was the common connection between a revolution and evaporated milk.  "It’s hardly going to be Co-op is it?" was Anne’s sympathetic rejoinder. David found rearranging intestinal organs in the right order difficult given that his own organs are probably arranged differently.  I had a brain freeze on the East India Company, Vanessa confused Ada Lovelace with Mary Shelley, and I overruled Vanessa’s Small Films for Smallwood Films.  The strategy of permitting blurts in desperate situations towards the end also yielded no lucky escapes. My 'Tarka the Otter' as the eponymous animal in the last question was somewhat wide of the correct answer 'Moby Dick'.  How sad Tim is no longer with us as there would certainly have been a few effs directed at his own team.

Dancing for Les


Bards beat Charabancs

The Bards just cling on for victory

Damian was there...

There is a famous quote from Samuel Beckett which some sportspersons have actually had tattooed on their bodies (e.g. tennis player, Stan Wawrinka) which goes: "Ever tried.  Ever failed.  No matter.  Try again.  Fail again. Fail better."

This kind of sums up our performance tonight with us failing by our closest margin since we resumed quizzing last month.  All the way through there was never more than 3 points between the two teams and we were actually level at half time and level up to the end of Round 5.  Then we got shellacked in Round 6 (the 'Size Matters' round) winning only one point to our opponents' 9 - and that did for us. Although we won the last two rounds we couldn't recover from Round 6.  Hey, ho, but who knows, maybe one day we will fail so well we will actually win! Thanks for those words of wisdom, Mr Beckett. 

"...very appealing"


Ethel Rodin beat Prodigals

2020 Champs beat 2020 Runners Up

James sends us his take...

We had an enjoyable evening with the Prodigals.

Ethel took an early lead which grew until Round 8 (which we lost by 6).

The ‘Rank the answers’ Round 4 was interesting, but quite hard work and led to long discussions, then put into even more focus by the fact that shortly after the answer was 'Wee Willie Winkie'. 

Neither Good nor Bad


Electric Pigs lost to Albert

Albert become our first table-toppers of the new season

Ashton reports from the winners' enclosure...

The first game of our new era felt strangely familiar as we returned to our former home to take on the Pigs.  We were without the laid-up Mike,  so new squad member Dave played his third game in a row.  In the first half he must have wondered why he'd bothered as we kept overruling his correct answers.

Raymond: National winning hairdresser


The Pigs were similarly hit by illness and could only play three-handed.  To their credit they chipped away at our early lead until they were just two points behind going into the 'Size Matters' Round 6. However, a 9-2 round in our favour pretty much ended the contest. 

'Bloody venison for dinner - AGAIN'


Quiz paper set by...

...The Opsimaths

Average Aggregate score 80.8

A friendly high-scoring paper to kick off the new season.  At the Parrswood (Bards v Charas) where I spectated, there were no complaints although eyebrows did lift a little at the mention of the F-W in the answer to Round 2 Question 1.  Whenever the BBC uses this sort of language (usually in a repeat of an old programme - or in an old news clip) they preface the programme with something like "Some viewers may be offended by the language used in the following programme".  Perhaps WithQuiz papers should adopt the same convention.

"I think I'll take the haircut"


so what did Damian think...

We all thoroughly enjoyed tonight's paper (set again by Opsimaths Brian) with many accessible questions that tickled the corners of our ageing brains and often opened them up quite nicely. It was a refreshing change for us that we actually felt truly competitive for the first time in such a long while. More of the same please!!!

and Ashton...

We enjoyed the quiz very much. The 'put these in order' round was an interesting innovation that worked very well.  I expect we'll see it adopted by other setters before the season is out.  However there were some grumbles about the balance in Round 6 from the other side of the table, and with my impartial hat on, I'd have to concede that they had some justification.

and Kieran...

We detected the pen of Opsi Brian in the quiz paper and an average aggregate of just under 81 points was a crowd-pleasing way to get the season started. Round 2 seemed to so invite cancellation that I'm amazed Mike has published it in full.  I was expecting the lyrics of Brown Sugar to make an appearance and J K Rowling to materialize to present the victors' laurels.

Scottish fast food


and Ivor...

We did enjoy the Opsimaths’s paper with many rounds that invited ways into the answer from more than one direction.  And such nostalgia for us oldies (that’s nearly all of us) with memories of Sunday Night at the London Palladium and children’s Stop-Start animations.  Even the Civil War/Protectorate round which in some quizzes would be regarded as too niche a subject would almost count as current affairs rather than history in our league.

So a high standard of setting already.

Also good that wokeness/PC is not threatening the pursuit of good questions.

and finally James...

The Prodigals youth team strategy of having Michael and Richard playing was perhaps not best served by this particular set of questions.  Michael jovially/not so jovially suggested that there should be a ‘Not Question of the Week’ to go alongside the 'QotW'.

I think I get where he’s coming from.  If we want this league to survive then we need younger players to be engaged.  If we continue to set questions about vaudeville and 1960s TV then it causes obvious frustration to those players.  The answer to this is not rounds on modern popular culture that disengage the rest of us, but something with multigenerational balance.

That said, there were a lot of good questions in the quiz.  A quiz where most players scored well.

Question of the Week

This week, in the absence of any votes from our correspondents, your editor has been pressed into service to choose the best of the paper and I'm going for Round 2 Question 2 ...

In 1793, a British envoy refused to do this and, it was said, failed to get trade concessions as a result.  In 1794 a Dutch ambassador did this multiple times, but still didn’t get any concessions. What was ‘this’?

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

Liz Truss gets another Trade Deal over the line