The Withington Pub Quiz League


15th November 2023


WQ Fixtures, Results & Table

WQ Teams

WQ Archive Comments Question papers

Ethel & The Opsis continue on their winning ways to go clear at the top

(Note:  All papers for next week's WIST matches are to be collected by the WithQuiz teams from the Fletcher Moss whether playing home or away)

KFD lost to Ethel Rodin

Bards tied with Charabancs

Albert beat History Men

Opsimaths beat Electric Pigs

KFD lost to Ethel Rodin

Ethel march on with a convincing away win against last season's champs

Kieran goes all Danny Dyer

In a stunning break with tradition the game which always ends in a one point victory ended in a (thoroughly deserved) four point victory.  An impressive aggregate score, rather a lot of very chewy conferring and some very long silences before, for example, Debbie McGee was plucked from the ether for an unlikely two.

Bob was hatless throughout, I think we'll have to insist he reverts to normal next week; it just didn't work for us as is plain from the score.  And we discovered that our usual room for quizzes is known to the Griffin staff as The Living Room.  We played rather more like the zombie undead at times. 

A young Piet plays with his Lego


Jaw-dropping moment of the evening was when one of our number described Lord Cameron of Pork Openings as a serious politician.  Three quotes which could have happily sat in the final round sprang to mind:

"What a lightweight" - Barack Obama on first meeting the pig botherer, possibly apocryphal.

Danny Dyer's magnificent 'Speak for England' rant in the presence of Piers Morgan, printed in full below because it's the best moment of the last thirteen godforsaken years:

“Who knows about Brexit?  No one has got an effing clue what Brexit is, yeah.  You watch Question Time, it’s comedy.  No one knows what it is – it’s like this mad riddle that no one knows what it is, right?  So what’s happened to that twat David Cameron who called it on.

"Let’s be fair ... How comes he can scuttle off?  He called all this on.  Yeah?  Called it on.

"Where is he?  He’s in Europe, in Nice, with his trotters up, yeah?  Where is the geezer?

"I think he should be held to account for it.  He should be held to account for it.


And Jeremy Vine's perfect tweet:

"The second TWAT from Danny Dyer is everything"  

Ain't that the truth.

James tells how Ethel just guessed better

Not quite a game of two halves, but definitely a game of a quarter and three quarters. KFD stormed to a 16-8 lead after two rounds.

The excellent Bob the Hat had opened the proceedings by welcoming our newest team member to ‘Fortress Griffin’ and by this point it was already looking like Ethel would spend a long evening firing blanks.

Celtic passion without a cue


But by the end of Round 4 Ethel had somehow turned things round to lead 23-20.  From that point on, we held on to the lead.  Whilst there have been some close games between our two teams in recent seasons (Grant Shapps springs reluctantly to mind) KFD had always seemed to scrape home by a point, so it was an overdue outcome.

My small countries question foxed me as, even though I knew Lucia di Lammermoor, I ended up conferring not realising that Lucia would be St Lucia.  Nobody in the two teams had heard of the band Monaco, but Michael’s excellent guess of The Solomon Grundies deserved better.  

We enjoyed the pictures and languages, and managed not to talk ourselves out of Korean and Icelandic.  Michael had learnt sign language as a kid (he absolutely assures us this is completely unrelated to his career as a professional Bridge player) and remembered enough to work out ‘General Knowledge’.  Roddy worked out the Morse code clue.

The second set of those questions both fell to us, and although ‘Happy Birthday’ could be worked out as a crossword clue without knowing any Morse, it was made more doable with the crib sheet of the previous Morse code question.  This advantage could have been evened out if the second sign language question had gone to KFD - but that had come to us too, which did help.  Next time, semaphore and Braille instead perhaps? 

We had a moment of apprehension going into the last round 2 points clear, as quotation rounds have undone us in the past.  However, we held our nerve.  There were at least four 50/50 guesses in that round, and, as in the quiz as a whole, Ethel managed to guess right 75% of the time.

Finally, noticing the results elsewhere, don’t feel too bad for Ivor and co, as on Tuesday night, in the Fletcher Moss quiz, The Historypeople once again walked away with the £40 beer vouchers.

The BBC's Covid hero


Bards tied with Charabancs

First tie of the season at the Parrswood

At last Beckett comes up trumps for Damian

Well, you couldn't make it up.  After making numerous references last season and this to a famous quote by Samuel Beckett ("Ever tried.  Ever failed.  No matter.  Try again.  Fail again.  Fail better") what should pop up as the last question of the evening, and to whom?  Yes, you've guessed right.  His spirit really must be watching over us and I must make good on my intention to make it our team motto.  It secured us a well-earned tie, our first of the season.  We had led in every round but two but the margins were always paper thin and we needed the 'Sam' answer to stave off a last minute race to the finish line by the Bards and earn a draw.  I think both teams would agree this was a justified outcome!

For 'Question of the Week' my obvious preference would be for the Beckett quotation but that may just be a personal one.  On reflection I think I would vote for the picture questions as my favourites simply for the sheer novelty of the idea even though we could only guess at the answers. 

... but she's getting around to bigger vehicles now!


Ciaran's supporting Belfast


Albert beat History Men

Albert keep up the chase in third place

Mike invokes memories of Dante

Statistically the league aggregate of around 75 suggests that this was a quiz of average difficulty.  However, it never felt like   that given the howls of rage that accompanied almost every round.  It resembled the scene in The Inferno where the souls of the damned are imprisoned inside twisted trees and spend all their time raging.  In part they do have a point; Round 3 was a disaster area in which only Debbie McGee prevented an almost complete wipe out.

Thirteen unanswered questions indicate the difficulty of some of the rounds.  The scoring was close and in fact there was a tie going into Round 8.  In the end The Albert owed much of their victory to the fact that Jullian and Stephen scored 10 twos between them.

Thomas' "web-footed cocklewomen"


Ivor zags when he should have zigged

Our first match at the Sun in September to play the Albert. We have not been there for many years since the X-Pats/Christie team (whose home venue it was) left the league.  It remains an oasis of calm in a Sam Smith-run Victorian villa with a real log fire and only a few aged bearded customers supping ale.  There are delightful retro attributes such as no music (modern or otherwise), no televised Association Football nonsense, and exhortations to forsake looking at smart phones and enjoy conversations (so long as there is no swearing).  As might be imagined 'calm' is not a word often associated with Historymen games - especially as we pursue our first league points.  Perhaps it was fortunate to have Mike O’B in the QM seat.  Mike had the Albert team so well behaved that the Paddle of Rebuke was not needed all evening. Of course keeping the Historymen in order is nigh on impossible. 

We lost again for the sixth time but we remain hopeful.  We managed to pull back a deficit of six points to start the last round 32-32 but a couple of zigs instead of zags tilted the game The Albert’s way.  It goes without saying, but I will say it anyway, there were a couple of crucial captain’s calls (me) earlier in the game that also zigged instead of zagged and which caused a modicum of ire from Anne.  In this week of celebration for the First Folio  the adage “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown” is particularly apt.  The advisory notice exhorting “no swearing” did not have long to wait before it was overridden. In addition Anne was wearing a 24-hour blood pressure monitor which seemed to do its 30 minute assessments exactly at the time robust discussions were underway - so good luck to the person interpreting that 24-hour tracing.

The Albert were good company as always.  Interesting facts learned tonight included the fact that Albert’s player Jullian (with a double 'l') is named after an Edwardian musician admired by his grandmother, and the fact that young David was once asked by a girl on a bus “Are you famous?” but it turned out she had actually half-remembered him from the time he had professionally examined her eyes.

Comedy gold - with erstwhile WithQuiz QM and regular Mrs Merton audience member, Bernard Brannan, behind Mrs Merton top right


Opsimaths beat Electric Pigs

The Opsis keep on going winning the close encounters

Mike's early mastery of sign language pays off at last

This was a match of wild swings.  Whether that was down to the relative competences of the two teams or the mood swings of the paper it's hard to decide.  However after Round 1 the Opsimaths were 10-1 ahead only to find Round 3 totally impenetrable and see us score a resounding zilch.  After a rotten start the Pigs gradually climbed back into the competition and could well have won in the end.  Ultimately the Opsis' count of 12 twos to the Pigs' 7 was probably the statistic that decided the match.

There was a key moment for the home team right at the end when my role as weekly editor of match reports gave me a crucial advantage on the 'Failing Better' question in the really hard Round 8 Quotations round.  I've been reading Damian's website submissions for more weeks than I care to mention and was immediately certain of the answer.  Thanks Damo!

A big shout-out to Guy who, over what seemed to be about 5 minutes, self-taught himself sign language and correctly worked out the message concerning the quiz team's question paper (Round 5 Question 1).  About 50 years ago, when my wife trained as a teacher of the deaf, I taught myself sign language so I had already got a two for the previous sign language question and was itching to earn the bonus.  Back in the 1970s sign language was disapproved of in educational circles though widely practised by the children; lip-reading was very much in vogue.  More recently I think that bias has shifted and signing is quite acceptable.

Upstairs at the Ladybarn Club proves a surprise source of inspiration for MMU author's work


As ever with the Pigs observance of quizzing etiquette was scrupulous with silence reigning supreme before any conferring took place.  I'm afraid the Opsis are not quite so disciplined and there were a few occasions during the evening when we had to admit we were in effect conferring even though the person to whom the question had been fired hadn't formally announced they were in conference.

All in all it was a most enjoyable evening overseen by Howell in the QM chair ably assisted by his very own Debby McGee, Emma.  And what's more there was a most agreeable outcome for the home team.  The Opsimaths have now won 5 of their 6 matches and sit at the top of the table just clinging on to Ethel's voluminous petticoat.  Next up at the Club (once the European encounters have been done with next Wednesday) is the good lady herself.  Win this showdown and we could well be top dogs going into the Christmas break - and it's a few years since that was last the case!

Quiz paper set by...

...The Prodigals

Average Aggregate score 75.3

In the end a very reasonable aggregate but (at least in the Opsis v Pigs match) there were some barren patches along the way and a final Quotations round that was really tough.  Could these quotations questions perhaps have had one or two more clues embedded in their text?  Also the balance seemed somewhat skewed; of the 14 unanswered questions at the Club 11 fell to the home team.

That's the slightly negative out of the way.  On the plus side I really loved the round (I suspect penned by Jimmy) where the answers were linked by footballing bastards from yesteryear (where was Vinnie 'Grab Your Balls' Jones, Jimmy?) - but I think the best round of all was the Announced theme Round 2 ('Stand Up and Fight!').  Just enough help from the theme without being too easy.  Very well crafted.

And another observation ... Over the years I've come to associate the Prods with a push to bring more up-to-date popular culture questions to our quizzing ... Gary 'US' Bonds!!!

Many thanks, Prods - and good luck to Danny and Maeve on your journey to that 'Station of the Stars 208' country that I will forever associate with teenage nights under the bedclothes - Luxembourg!  You'll be missed by us all  - both WithQuizzers and your regular monthly Albert Club quizzer mates.

... and this is what Kieran thought ...

A decent enough quiz but a couple of pretty basic errors from the setters that left us wondering "if only......".  We had four unanswereds to Ethel's one and in a close game that really does make a difference.  That was mild however compared to messing up the order of the sign language and Morse code questions so that Ethel, going second in the first half, could go to school on the first answers and gain a huge advantage. In order for those pairs to have worked satisfactorily, we should have had first go at either the sign language or Morse code question in Round 5.  Ho, hum.


Prunella Modularis


... and this was Damian's verdict ...

Tonight's paper was a curious mixture of  the gettable and the guessable.  The picture rounds provided the guessable (well, guessable to us) - we did surprisingly well coming up with some good punts.  The other rounds were an interesting assortment of the gettable which made it a really interesting paper which appealed to both teams as is shown by the relatively high-scoring.

One slight reservation to the generally favourable verdict came in the quotations round when Hobbes was described as a "US philosopher" which, given that he was born, raised and lived in England a full century before the US came into being would have been news to him and certainly was to us. 

... and James' summary ...

Another high scoring game, and another well-constructed quiz.  

... whilst Mike O'B sees it differently ...

In  the midst of the carnage there were some genuinely interesting questions. The picture questions provided an innovative twist and encouraged some stimulating conferring.  However, as QM, and having listened to them all night, I find it hard to describe myself as gruntled in any form.

... finally Ivor weighs in ...

We found this paper rather tricky.  There were 13 unanswereds and unusually the winners had nine of them to our four.  However the Albert also had more twos (13-8) and more steals (6-4) which saw them over the line.  We did not crack the hidden themes.  Even worse we started seeing non-existent themes and patterns (a bit like the conspiracy theorists in Foucault’s Pendulum) when Anne spotted a possible cervine link with with St Agnes (Stag) and Ciaran Hinds (Hind).

The coded picture questions were actually cracked, though it took some time.  Of course the second of each pair were somewhat easier since some symbols were known through knowing the first answer of the pair.

Mr & Mrs Woods


Question of the Week

This week a number of you mentioned the 'Mrs Merton' question at Round 3 Question 4.  This is particularly relevant for us as The Mrs Merton Show was recorded in Manchester and regular Fletcher Moss drinker and WithQuiz QM, Bernard Brannan, appeared in the audience most weeks.  It was all a set-up by the production team.  He was frequently goaded by Mrs Merton to ask her guests a somewhat cheeky question.  RIP Bernard your memory lives on ...

Name the former ballet dancer and prominent widow who was asked the famous 'what first attracted you...' question on Caroline Aherne's Mrs Merton Show.

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

...and also

I'm told by the powers-that-be in Stockport that, sadly, Fingerpost will be unable to fulfil next week's WIST Lowly Grail fixture against Albert.  HMRUFC have agreed to replace Fingerpost in this year's competition  and look forward to entertaining the Albert team next Wednesday at the Rugby Club in Heaton Moor.

... and talking of Stockport ...

Fans of Radio 4's Brain of Britain might have noticed that the pair of 'Listener's Questions' which pop up in the middle of the competition each week inviting all 4 contestants to work as a team, were set this  week by a certain Gerard Collins of Stockport.  Presumably Father Megson was in 'warm up' mode for his task next week setting the first WIST Cup paper of the season for us.

Anyway here are his pair of questions (introduced by the warning from Russell Davies, the Brain of Britain QM, "Sorry if you weren't expecting these!").

  1. The Spanish Inquisition was established in 1478 but in which year was it officially abolished?

  2. Which prop from a popular TV comedy series of the 1980s was sold for £15,000 at auction in Bristol in 2018?

The razor-sharp contestants got both right but the inimitable Father Megson question style (think 'Bristol') earned plenty of enjoyment and a fair bit of applause.  Answers in next week's edition of the WithQuiz site when a further 72 or so Megson questions will be up for grabs.

Van Klomp's Renaissance masterpiece