The Withington Pub Quiz League


10th January 2024


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Ethel cement their place at the top whilst the History Men score a notable victory over last season's champions

Electric Pigs lost to Ethel Rodin

History Men beat KFD

Prodigals beat Opsimaths

Charabancs lost to Bards

Electric Pigs lost to Ethel Rodin

Ethel keep on flying at the top

James looks over his shoulder at a quizzing rival near to home

An eleven point winning margin doesn’t give the right impression of tonight’s quiz.  Scores were level at the end of R6, and it had been nip and tuck up until then, with Guy, in particular, keeping the Pigs right in the game.

Ethel only opened up that margin with scores of 7-3 and 7-0 in the final two rounds when the questions did seem to become more straightforward - at least for us. We probably had the rub of the green with the questions in those two rounds, but did also pick up 5 bonuses.  It was slow progress though until then with what seemed like several rounds of ‘guess the poet’.

Brave to ask the 'France/Brazil border question' without any caveats.  It is a bit of a quizzer’s old chestnut, but a little harsh if you took the question literally.  I immediately wrote down 'Canada' for the Norway question, and we then talked ourselves out of it for 2 minutes before saying "Sweden".  If the answer to the 'France' question was 'Brazil' it was obviously going to be something unlikely.

Roddy was very disappointed in himself for accidentally combining two seminal Miles Davis albums as "Birth of the Blue".

... and away from this week's quiz fray you might all like to know about Ethel's Geoff Hammond ...

After his stroke last year, Geoff had another collapse over Christmas, and is currently still an in-patient in MRI.  Roddy assured us that Geoff has retained his mischievous sense of humour and could still answer any question about Notts County you might care to fire at him.  I’m sure all WithQuizzers would want to wish him the best for a speedy recovery.

... and finally in other quiz news ...

I suspect a few might have noticed Mrs W making the brave decision to appear on Alumni University Challenge over Christmas (for various reasons, I hesitate to describe it as Celebrity University Challenge).

On balance, it’s fair to say that she did very well, and her team from Kings College, London, won their match comfortably, albeit a few points short of the score needed to qualify for the next round.

If only she’d paid attention to my WithQuiz question on the birds and animals on the new coins a week earlier ...  That said, it was an entertaining show, and they retired unbeaten and so were able effectively to navigate the careful path between looking a bit stupid, and appearing cockily over-clever.  Happily, I don’t think there are plans for her to muscle into Ethel's WithQuiz team any time soon!

Hans off our island


History Men beat KFD

The History Men move into top gear with a famous victory over the champs

Ivor enjoys his moment in the sun

Our victory in the Lowly Grail quarter final in November (after six consecutive league losses) has proved to be the turning point in our fortunes.  Tonight was our third league victory in a row and against opposition that over the last two decades usually dispatches us with ease.  Our 11 point margin of victory was not quite as good as the 15 point margin some years ago (we still dine out on that story) but wins against KFD have been so uncommon that I hope readers will forgive us our 'celebration in the sun'.  It is possible victory was due to us getting into our lucky seats, or the right questions falling to the right quizzers, or (for once) zigging instead of zagging better than KFD (who plumped for the wrong answer of both the Marx/Engels and Macbeth/Lady Macbeth pairs).  It also helped that every Historyman (and woman) were on top form with 3 twos each, no blurts and great rescues for ones and steals (KFD conceded 9 steals to our 3).  Martin, of course, was the match MVP (some things NEVER change…).

We had Albert’s Jeremy in the QM seat and thus were able to indulge in the side quiz of 'Who set THAT round?'.  As mentioned before the Albert have a very democratic and enjoyable setting moderation lunch where each setter's work is marked and either accepted, or condemned to be a spare question, or not used at all.  Thus the expected round on proper music waits in the shadows but Jeremy thinks it will eventually see the light of day. How different from the Historymen setting routine where the only requirement is: “Is it a question with only one answer” and it falls to the editor to turn the motley collection of porcine sense organs into Chanel handbags. 

"Nobody expects The History Men"


Monday evening's headache cure


Prodigals beat Opsimaths

Prodigals stay clear of the pack in second place beating their Club rivals

Mike needs to find  A Place in the Sun to hide

Oh dear!  The Opsimaths seem to be the 'surge team' this season.  After surging to the top early doors we surged back down the table in the run up to Christmas.  We continued the trend this week as we kicked off the second part of the season against our colleagues from the Albert Club.  Up to the halfway point of the evening the two teams were close but then the Opsis had an atrocious Round 6 after which we couldn't recover.

For once I did have a half decent match getting 5 twos sitting in Seat Three.  It would have been 6 but I bottled out on Brazil in Round 1 playing it safe with a confer.  All of which was no excuse for answering A Place in the Sun instead of Death in the Afternoon in Round 4!!  Generally we had an evening where we just kept opting for the wrong answer from a pair where there were two strong candidates (e.g. Round 4 Question 7 - 'Speedway' rather than 'Greyhound Racing').

... ended up not taking the Rappe


Over on the Prodigal side of the room all was well despite the absence of Michael who has now moved to London and (for the while at least) is an ex-Prodigal (or perhaps a real prodigal!).  His place was ably filled by Danny whose 'My Way tour' prior to his exit to live in Luxembourg seems to have gone on for quite a while.  In fact he leaves in a fortnight.  He'll be greatly missed; a great quizzer and a special friend to Dave Rainford in his hour of need.

Finally a shout out for Anne-Marie who QMed with authority and wit.

Das Kapital: the prequel


Charabancs lost to Bards

The Bards continue to creep up the table

Damian quits Beckett in favour of cigar metaphors for 2024

The Charas opened up proceedings for 2024 with a narrow loss to the Bards.  We drew level for two rounds but could not quite finish with a draw as happened when we last met the Bards.  Despite the scores being consistently close we never established a lead in any of the rounds and finished accordingly two behind.  Yours truly could be said to be the Charas' top performer of the night with 5 twos but modesty forbids me from saying it (oops!). Nevertheless it was still not enough to edge us ahead of the Bards.  It was always close but, as is often the case with us, no cigar. 

Sweetheart and some Artists United


Quiz paper set by...

... Albert

Average Aggregate score 73.0

A goodly aggregate just a tad behind the season's average to date of 77.5.  Plenty of poetry and quotes and with not a lot of sport (greyhound racing - sport?).  Some fairly lurid memories in Round 2 with Hollywood scandals that we'd all rather forget.  And in Round 4 ('Chin-Chin') lots of detail about cocktails which, by and large, we didn't know (the Albert team members obviously lead a grander lifestyle than the rest of us) - although the second part of these questions were on the whole all we needed to get to the answer.

Having said this all in all, a good way to start the new year.  Thank you Albert.

Humour of the Scots


... and this is what Damian thought ...

A bit of a toughie.  Few points scored in Round 1 although the subsequent rounds were fair game.  We especially enjoyed the Hollywood scandals round and performed our best on this which may indicate the murky way our minds work.  We thought there might have been a bit more clarification in the question text on some of the geography questions indicating where exactly in the world we were talking about - but, overall, an enjoyable effort from the Albert

One quibble: I ignored 'paracetamol' as a possible answer in the first half of the drugs run-on question because I knew it was known as 'Tylenol' in the US, and didn't recognise the name of the drug given.  The Bards did grab it for a steal but I'm guessing they just guessed it correctly. Too much knowledge on my part?  Maybe, but I'm still sulking, so there (sour grapes me)! 

... and finally here's Ivor's feedback ...

With a combined score of 79 and only seven unanswereds the paper actually seemed harder than the score suggests.  Perhaps this was due to there being several questions where the answer was buried deep and needed a bit of time before it could be coaxed to the tip of the tongue - or perhaps because an 'educated guess' (that much maligned comment from dunderhead contestants on The Chase or Eggheads) is in fact a real phenomenon.

Of the various rounds, the Hollywood scandals went down well (like Hugh Grant and Divine Brown…) as did the Cocktail round (though some of those drinks might not have gone down so well…).  Both Young David and Barry were in their element with tropical island geography though Barry did have a sense of shame that the only two he got all night was a question involving Princess Margaret.  As for the literary quotes it is apparent that some of us have a long way to go in the 'Five Hundred Books to Read Before You Die' list before we actually die.



Question of the Week

This week I've chosen Round 1 Question 5...

With which country does France have its longest continuous border?

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

Twin Peaks in paradise