The Withington Pub Quiz League


7th February 2024


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KFD and the Prodigals win through to the Champions final;

Albert and the Opsimaths get to contest the Lowly Grail final

WIST Champions Cup

Bards lost to KFD

Ethel Rodin lost to Prodigals


WIST Lowly Grail

Albert beat Electric Pigs

Opsimaths beat History Men

WIST Champions Cup

Bards lost to KFD

KFD top score and cruise into May's WIST Champions' final

Kieran tells how the KFD conferences won the match

To the business anomaly that is The Parrswood Inn - and the Bards, the only team other than the fabled Chunky to have bested us more than once in WIST.  Over the years Tony's shock troops have made a habit of upsetting the odds and spiking the guns of teams seemingly armed with more firepower - His Honour cosplaying Diego Simeone.  Now there's an (unsettling) thought.   

A bird to kill for


No such outcome was ever on the cards last night as we built a healthy lead throughout the Stockport section of the quiz and then strode off into uncatchable territory on the WithQuiz questions.  Thomas was once again the Starboy © scoring three maximums from his four attempts but the overall story was the strength of the KFD conferring 'huddle' in the first half - the Stockport team questions really do suit us.   

Tony described the paper as "an exemplar of the question-setter's art" and he didn't mean that in a good way.   It will be interesting to see what Brian's fellow Opsis come up with next week without his setter's keen eye for a good question.  

The question that we felt needed more information was the one about the charlatan who blinded Handel and Bach amongst others.  Did this happen accidentally, through the administering of some noxious substance and how many victims were there before he was stopped?  We presumed it must have been sort of inadvertently, if it had been more in the manner of Alan Strang in Equus I think we may have heard about it before it turned up in a pub quiz.  

Rhyming triplets


So we've made it to the WIST final, our ninth, and our season stays alive until Mayday while Ethel stroll to their inevitable league title.  Surprisingly Ms. Rodin stumbled last night and we'll face a career grand slam chasing Prodigals (though they also need the question of the season prize for the full set). 

We have a curious record in WIST finals: four victories against Stockport teams (Chunky and The Alexandra twice each) and three defeats at the hands of WithQuiz opponents (two by The Bards and one in our last final five years ago against The Shrimp).  Our other loss was in the first WIST final when Chunky vanquished us all the way back in 2008.  Two weeks ago we claimed our first victory over The Prodigals in six years albeit they were lacking half of their all star team.  So we have some hope of silverware then and if University Challenge could schedule a spring roadshow to, say, the Highlands and Islands and if Michael would continue his sybaritic odyssey in London we may have half a chance.  

Back to the bread and butter of the league next week and what could become a real dogfight for the top four places.  Who's going to be Villa or Spurs (no one wants to be Spurs) and who Arsenal?  That mob at the wrong end of the East Lancs or God's own team?  All to play for. 

When Britain ruled the handlebars


Ethel Rodin lost to Prodigals

The Prodigals overcome the league leaders to earn a place in May's final

Jimmy welcomes Richard back after his Challenging roadshow

After successive league defeats this was a return to form for the Prods.  Richard arrived back fresh-faced from two weeks’ intensive quizzing on the University Challenge trials to provide us with a much-needed boost.  

We edged in front in the initial Stockport conferred rounds, and then managed to keep Ethel at a distance during the latter WithQuiz half of proceedings.     

Our second victory of the season in Ladybarn - and while the Prods’ title hopes are fading, we at least now have a cup final to look forward to in May.  As it was once again my turn to buy the oppos’ drinks, I remain the only person to buy Ethel a pint this season!  

"And now excuse me while I interrupt myself"


Birthday boy James misses Hattie Jacques

The Prodigals won without too much difficulty. Unfortunately Roddy was absent ill, but I doubt we would have performed differently if he had been match fit.

7th Feb is my own birthday.  However none of the people I knew who shared the same birthday came up: Eddie Izzard, Charles Dickens, Hattie Jacques, errm Mick McCarthy….

"Never mediocre"


Innocent inspiration for Bacon


WIST Lowly Grail

Albert beat Electric Pigs

Albert coast into the Lowly Grail final

... and what's more Mike chalks up a victory in the Crisp Wars

 Our two medics struggled with the medical questions.  This, of course, may merely prove that they are genuine doctors since a fake doctor would have learned enough to be convincing.  Bernard from the Charas kindly volunteered to QM but like the teams found that some of the questions contained too much information which was not relevant to the answer.

One thing I did notice is that my devastating critique of the potato crisps at The Sun has resulted in a change of supplier.  I will continue my work as the people's champion.

Just blow those verrucas away


Opsimaths beat History Men

A comfortable win puts the Opsimaths into the Lowly Grail final

Mike observes the proceedings from the QM chair

A goodly win for the flip-flopsimaths - up one week, down the next.

This time round it was Hilary, Charlotte, Nick and a much refreshed Howell, following his holiday in South America (Chile, Argentina and Uruguay to be precise) who flew the flag.  The 7-point victory puts the Opsimaths into the Lowly Grail final against Albert on May 1st.

It's fair to say the History Men (Anne, Vanessa, David and Ivor) had high hopes of a win given their stellar rise from the ashes of their early season slump - and indeed for much of the contest it was nip and tuck but the Opsis just eased ahead in the last few WithQuiz rounds.

I did the QM duties while Brian, the setter, watched on adding the occasional setting perspective.

During the evening I promised Ann I'd correct an impression that has been growing apace in regular reports on this website that she can be a little fierce.  So, I canvassed the History Men team to find their 'go to' adjective to describe their colleague: "humble", "unique", "convivial", "companionable", "adorable" and "non-violent" were just some.  So, there - I hope this does something to redress the balance.

The $12.4M fiddle


Ivor does some parsing

And so our lucky streak has come to an end at the hands of the Opsimaths who had a comfortable seven point margin of victory.  However we were not disgraced with our score of 46 being the best of the defeated teams tonight.  It was only after the game started that I remembered the Historymen are the defending Lowly Grail champions having defeated the Opsimaths in last year’s final.  The trophy is still safely on my mantelpiece and will be polished in time for the new champions, who really will be new as neither the Opsimaths nor Albert have won this shiny trinket before (I am not sure if it is 'silverware' or not). 

The game as ever was most convivial. Could it be otherwise considering how often the same agile (though ageing) players have pitted their failing wits against each other? Only Opsimath Charlotte is relatively new but even she passed the 'Ann' test and they were soon best of mates discussing their mining heritage and which Derbyshire or Nottinghamshire folk might have been scabs in disputes from 1926 onwards.  

Afterwards we did reflect on whether 'convivial' is the right word for all matches. Perhaps it is one of those conjugated words:

'I am companionable'

Doesn’t blurt, quietly contemplative and buys their round.

'You are convivial'

'Feisty' if female, 'loudly opinionated' if male, drinking before the game.

'They are competitive'

I wonder who that could be?  Perhaps it is all of us when our sheep’s clothing is shed. 

Musical Pole


Quiz paper set by...

... Brian McClintock

Average Aggregate score 93.5

Quite a tough quiz judging by the scores but a quiz absolutely packed full of information, both quirky and insightful.  As QM I watched as the Opsis and the History gang devoted their evening to plentiful conferring - not always ending up with the right answer.  There was a lot of dark stuff too, from Hitler's bath to the Electric Chair.  My own favourite question came early in Round 1 with the 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 question.  Neither team got it but there was a big "oh yes - of course" when the answer was revealed.  Interesting that at the start the try was merely the step required to earn the right to kick for the points and didn't gain any points in its own right.

Another fine evening's entertainment.  Many thanks, Brian.

Worth a whole Round

(Round 3)

... and this is what Ivor thought ...

Excellent quiz entirely set by Brian - and he has not failed to entertain.  Compiling and balancing the 15 pairs in Round 1 is challenging but in our match the unanswereds broke 3-4 and none of the second pair could be predicted before the question.

We also liked the extra info given with the answers. We failed with the rugby try scores in Round 1 (I investigate how you could score 0 for the first 14 years) and also failed with the thermometer inventor.  QM Mike B did suggest that perhaps the Historymen should have a doctor on the team - which, of course, like Proust’s Madeleine, evoked memories of the late Tim D who once got a question on the number of bones in the human body wrong even though he was an orthopaedic surgeon.

The WithQuiz format had all our old favorites but with plenty of traps to catch us out (it was not Graham Norton, not Johnny Weissmuller and not Pearl Buck).  Apparently Brian (who was in attendance) found the round on births and deaths on February 7th the trickiest to compile as there seems to be a dearth of famous folk who chose that date as their sunrise or sunset.  Sadly for us the "possibly greatest Polish composer since Chopin" had not left an indelible mark in our collective knowledge.

Key maker par excellence


... and Kieran reflects on the paper ...

We felt it was a bit chewy and maybe there was a bit too much obiter dicta going on in some questions (that's a legal term Your Honour for when a judge goes off at a tangent not central to the judgement but purely to show off extraneous knowledge) but Brian did a pretty good job of producing a serviceable paper entirely by himself. 

... and James adds this thought ...

It was a generally tough quiz - Brian’s contributions are usually a lot more accessible.

... to which Mike O'B adds ...

This was a strange quiz where the questions ranged from the incredibly easy to the almost impossibly difficult.  The majority of the points were gained through conferring.

... finally Jimmy chips in ...

The quiz itself was well balanced and covered a wide range of subjects, some of the questions were a little on the lengthy side for a timed quiz but the excellent QM was patience personified when she needed to be.

My only gripe was the Ramones question, it was at best badly worded, and factually inaccurate. As a big fan of 'Da Brudders' I knew that no drummer had been in the seat for that length of time. Luckily, it didn't prove critical in the end. A minor quibble though.

QotW? Richard was much taken with, and ultimately frustrated by, the occupant of Hitler’s bath.

Bathing with Hitler


Question of the Week

Richard was both frustrated and intrigued by  Round 1 Question 17 ...

In Munich on April 30th 1945, the day of Hitler’s suicide, which war photojournalist and former student of Man-Ray, was photographed in Hitler’s bath?

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

...and also

For those interested in competing in Mastermind (and I know a few of you have had a pop at this challenge in the past) I've received my annual invitation from the Mastermind production team to ask if you want to have a go (as Wilfred Pickles would have said).

Here's the invitation ...

"Hi there!  BBC2’s Mastermind is currently scouring the UK to find contenders for the next series which will be filmed in Belfast!Although applications close on Friday 10th May at midnight, we would encourage you to apply as soon as possible as casting is currently underway. To apply, please click:



or email:


(the application takes just 10 minutes to complete).

Entry is open to UK residents (including Channel Islands & the Isle of Man) who are aged 18 or over."