The Withington Pub Quiz League


29th November 2023


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Ethel open up a two-point gap at the top after thumping the Opsis - the Prods rise to second - the History Men open their account

(sorry, the website update is a bit late again - Thursday is becoming a difficult day!)

Opsimaths lost to Ethel Rodin
Charabancs beat Albert
Bards lost to Prodigals
Electric Pigs lost to History Men

Opsimaths lost to Ethel Rodin

A thorough tonking for the Opsis places Ethel clear at the top of the table

Mike tells what it's like to be hung, drawn and quartered

Oh dear, this was a blood-fest as Ethel ripped through the Opsimaths' feeble defences to notch up a memorable victory.  Brian QMed so could do nothing to stop the rout that Charlotte, Hilary, Nick and myself endured.  At the end of Round 1 the score was 9-0 to Ethel and there was only one round thereafter that the Opsis won.  Yes, the Opsis, going first, did have the rough end of the draw with by far the harder questions (even Roddy admitted that afterwards) but a margin of 25 points at the final whistle???

Lyanna Mormont in civvies


In truth Ethel (Roddy, James, John and Greg) were magnificent.  It would be hard to pick any one player out - they all contributed royally but I have to say that James plucking 'Ankara' out of mid-air and reverse-overhead slotting it into the top corner was for me the answer of the season - and we're not even halfway through!

And something else I've noticed with the current-day Ethel line up is that they have mastered the tactical art of when and how to manage the 'going for two or conferring dilemma'.  On the other side of the room the Opsis still need to get a lot more disciplined at this.

The Opsis had Hilary and Charlotte amongst their ranks and the many football questions fell on deaf ears as far as they were concerned.  So, all in all, not our finest hour but full marks to Ethel they look increasingly like league champions (again).

Promenade that just goes on and on and on


... on the other hand ...

It was just one of those quizzes which might have been written specifically for Ethel Rodin.  Lots of great teamwork again, as well as individual contributions.

Kennedy's final ride


At half time, with Ethel already 29-15 up, Mike optimistically said that there had been several occasions when teams had turned round such a deficit.  Anyway, Ethel ignored that, and won the second half 28-17 in the process of accumulating a somewhat unlikely (and for us at least, unprecedented) 57 points.  Opsimaths’ final score of 32 was perhaps a little below par, but it didn’t end up as a massive outlier when compared to everyone else’s scores.  It’s just that all the ducks lined up for Ethel tonight.

The 57 might have been 59 but for Roddy’s last round blurt of the wrong Cornish Du Maurier novel - which I think he realised was wrong as he spoke it.  That ended up as the Opsimaths’ only steal of the night, compared to Ethel hoovering up 12 or 13. 

Fruit and Lamb


Bards lost to Prodigals

The Prodigals squeak home by a single point

Jimmy reports on Danny's (possibly) last match before he goes to Luxembourg

A close tussle at the Parrswood where the result could have gone either way with no real complaints from the protagonists.  The quiz followed the pattern of a lot of our recent matches in that we establish a lead only to see it whittled away leading to a nail-biting finish.

Kate had to duck out so Danny made his traditional annual cameo, possibly his last for a while before he swans off to the delights of Luxembourg.  Like a certain veteran Czech midfielder he chipped in with a good few points in what was very much an all-round team effort.

Victory was clinched with a conferred on the last question of the night though the Bards will feel they could have snaffled the points with a different seating arrangement.

Conference show-stopper 1977


If you thought crossing the Alps was hard, then look what he's taken on now!


Electric Pigs lost to History Men

The History Men chalk up their first league victory of the season - at last

Anne tells Ivor "He's done very well"

A league win at last!  Whether we can now pick ourselves up (like Lasse Viren in the 1972 10,000m final) to charge to victory is somewhat unlikely.  However our league is so unpredictable these days that unexpected results are now to be expected.

Our match was most convivial with the warmth of the Fletcher Moss snug most welcome compared to the -3°C outside.  Andrew was QM and once again brought his councillor skills to ensure fairness and firmness, with a light touch - and an overall sense of decorum (decorum control is not always easy with the Historymen).  Our team does not need a 'Paddle of Rebuke', we've got Anne - but our performance tonight was such that even Anne morphed into Young Mr Grace: “You’ve all done very well”.

The game was closer than the final score might suggest (we were only one point ahead after five rounds).  The Pigs got more twos (10-7) with Guy getting four of them but we had a better steal rate (7-4).  Setters Kieran and Tom were present to see how their paper was received and the combined score suggests moderate difficulty but crucially it passed the balance test (seven unanswereds breaking 3-4).

The quiz was generally well received (even the 'General' round) and feedback was largely positive.  Some of the spares were thought by some (Anne) to “smack of late night desperation” though “with no offence, obviously”.  Of course we all like to grumble when we get a question that is not only hard but also totally outside one’s interests.  However as Young David notes, when he gets an opera or classical music question there is no chance of him blurting because he cannot even offer a stroke, unlike the cricket questions which he can usually hit for a six (or rather a two).

Happy families - New York style


Charabancs beat Albert

Another significant win for the Charas as they pull away from the foot of the table

Damo's happy

Good ol' Sam has been looking out for us since I officially adopted his "Ever failed, fail better etc." saying as our official team motto - thus enabling us to score our second victory of the season and we haven't even completed the first half yet!  We have now won as many quizzes as we won all last year so perhaps this will prove a good omen for us as the first half of the season enters its final straits and we start to prepare for the second.  Maybe we are starting to perform more efficiently and with more discipline than used to be the case and hopefully this will be a trend that will carry us further up the ladder of the league than we have managed for many a season recently! 

Early petrolhead


Tonight's paper from KFD was a generally accessible affair that seemed to play a bit more to our strengths than it did to the Albert's.  Goes without saying that we always love a paper that plays to our strengths as we led in every single round which must be a first for us since goodness knows when.  There were lots of paired rounds interspersed with a few themes that were mostly gettable and that helped towards getting the right answers - which is always the sign of a good theme.  The unanswered questions split almost evenly 6-5 to the Albert. That was the only thing they managed to win in the evening but I'm pretty sure they would have opted for winning a round or two instead. 

Julian & Sandy - bringing Polari to the masses


The Gary LIneker of the North West potato snack world reports

I spectated last night.  As I sat there overwhelmed by the deluge of unaswerables and pass-overs I was reminded of the possibly apocryphal dying words of the assassinated Pancho Villa "Don't let it end like this.  Tell them I said something important". 

The first half of this quiz was hard going as evidenced by a score of 14-9 to The Charas at the break.  The teams had more to say for themselves in the second half to produce a reasonable aggregate score.  The Charas did very well to know so much about vintage Czech footballers which baffled The Albert.  This did raise the issue of why there was only one football question in the opening paired round - and we did like the disguised Cathedral City in the phrase 'Lovely Jubbly'. 

The Griffin markets Walker's Crisps Grab Bags and eschews aristocratic and wokery approaches in favour of potatoes as some version of the America Dream.  Potatoes have potential; the future is potatoes.  It is reminiscent of P G Wodehouse's appalling Spode, the leader of the Fascist  Blackshorts, whose sole idea features potatoes as the future of England without any explanation.  

Quiz paper set by...

... KFD

Average Aggregate score 77.5

Another paper with an aggregate very close to the season's average with loads of variety in the subject matter.  In our match we had just two unanswered questions which is no mean achievement by the setters.  Perhaps there was a little too much football for the Opsimaths cadre of non-football friendly women - and Al Martino was a little antique for Charlotte who represents our youth policy but, hey, ho.

There was some genuine befuddlement at the positioning in each round of the paired questions, so we weren't altogether sure that the two halves of a pair didn't end up with the same team.  However that didn't detract from a fine evening (at least for the winners).

Top of the first Pops - 1952


... and this is what Jimmy thought ...

A decent quiz that had something in it for everyone and seemed to rattle along at a good pace.

The question about the Champions League's absentee major city found favour with both teams and a poser about 'a former Lamb's Navy Rum girl' is an established WithQuiz tradition now, long may it continue!

Arthur's butler


... and Ivor ...

A good set of questions tonight. It is notable over the years how our general knowledge probably has increased, so questions have become either harder or require deeper, or occasionally multiple, answers.  In the old days the question might have been “What did the Warren Commission investigate?” and then perhaps “Which future president sat on the Warren Commission?” and now we have to recall past CIA directors as well. In the old days late Viennese composers would be Gustav Mahler or Richard Strauss; now it is Alban Berg or Anton Bruckner.  Who knows what we will have to recall in ten year’s time?  Though by then we might be in nursing homes with young carers marvelling at our lack of knowledge of the Marvel universe, K-Pop, Grime and who is this week’s Prime Minister.

 QotW for us was the one about defining the acronyms 'NIMBY' and 'YIMBY'.  Andrew however told us that in 17 years as a councillor he had never ever had a complaint from a YIMBY to deal with.

Where standards have been raised


... and James sums up ...

I can only remember 2 unanswered questions all night.

One of these was "Guess a coastal town whose name begins and ends with the same letter", with the implication that it might at some point have been a holiday destination.  We went with Eastbourne, while the Opsis went for Skegness, both of which were marginally more appealing prospects than the answer, New Brighton.

Overall, obviously Ethel enthusiastically approved of this question paper.  When only 2 are unanswered in the whole set it is impossible to criticise the balance of the questions.  In the end the difference between the teams was the balance of the answers given by each team.

Question of the Week

This week Jimmy's nomination (Round 4 Question 6) wins the award ...

Which is the largest city in a UEFA member country never to have staged a Champions League match?

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

Cheeky Chipper


...and also

Chatting to Roddy yesterday evening about the WIST competition he echoed the thoughts I placed on the website last week.  Namely that having matches on a Wednesday rather than a Thursday does inconvenience the Stockport teams - and asking the Stockport teams to get used to the WithQuiz-style of paper (themes, run ons, decisions about whether to confer or not, etc.) is a much bigger ask than WithQuiz teams getting used to the more straightforward Stockport-style where everyone confers over every question.

Any other thoughts very welcome.

Eternity beckons