The Withington Pub Quiz League


27th March 2024


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(sorry it's a little late this week - life got in the way!)

Both the Champions and the Runners up lose;

Albert slip down to 6th losing to KFD;

The Charas get a winning boost but not sufficient to escape the wooden spoon

Albert lost to KFD

Prodigals beat Ethel Rodin

Bards lost to History Men

Charabancs beat Opsimaths

Albert lost to KFD

A confident victory moves KFD up to 4th and pushes Albert down to 6th

Kieran would rather be Wolves

I have been here before.

I had been there before; more than twenty years ago on a cloudy day in November when the air was heavy with Pomfret rancour.  Enough of pretending to be well read.  We ended the season with a winning record (a former KFD now in exile recently compared us to Wolves which was wounding but on the money).   

It was all a bit too little, too late, as far as league points go but it does give us some confidence going into the cups.  Thomas was in the ever-revolving seat three this week and he acquitted himself reasonably well so, in a Southgatesque move, he'll be benched in two weeks and David will take on the reinvigorated Prodigals in the cup.  

No wonder he went to Bayern!


Nothing was more predictable than that this Pigs quiz would have a whole round on Coventry City.  We scored pretty well on that largely because we didn't have to know anything about the fake sky blues to be able to garner points.  Gary's (I presume it was him) swipe at David Seaman was cruel but sadly true in respect of his waning ability; I blame Ronaldinho.

When you're eleven points up with only two rounds to go it's very handy to have eight questions on obscure local transport minutiae on which it's all but impossible to score points - so thank you Councillor Simcock (that must have been his contribution to the paper).  

The Albert have had a similar 'up and down' season to ours and the number of sport questions last night did them no favours.  I'm expecting at least one reference to the Paddle of Rebuke when our excellent QM reports on the mangling of the name of a famous racehorse in the 'Military Ranks' round.  I'm not naming names but she knows who she is. 

Olly's folly


Humphrey Smith didn't put in an appearance but the Historymen were a safe distance away in the Parrswood in any case - and even Anne's voice can't carry that far.  There was a tense moment right at the start of the evening when none of us had any coins for the toss so I had to use the app on my phone, but I got away with it.  Strangely enough the barman had no problem engaging with the digital world when it came to paying for the round; you have to admire a bullying, despotic owner with very flexible principles.  

We end the season as the second highest points scorers but also with the second worst points against record.  All very odd and I'm not sure we could have done much about the latter.  It's left us marooned in all but mid-table but just clinging on to the last place for next season's WIST should it take place.  I think that probably makes us Villa or Spurs (Christ no, not them) and all in all I'd rather be Wolves. 

Classic Cliff


Mike O'B opens his Von Trapp

Another fixture another defeat. We appear to have fallen into a pattern of 3 good rounds, 3 adequate rounds and 2 rounds so disastrous that we never catch up.  The quiz was perfectly reasonable except that as QM I  found myself losing the thread as I drowned in information - but at least I know now all about Barry Scott. 

My attention was caught by a question about Whitehead because I give talks about the naval career of Captain Von Trapp, and Whitehead was the Grandfather of Von Trapp's first wife, the mother of most of the little Trapps.  This was to lead to a somewhat scandalous incident during a talk to the Women's Institute.  I am going to relate the incident in the Comments section of the WithQuiz site because I know that many of the readers of this match reports page are serious quizzers who would be outraged at any details concerning salacious trivia.  I intend to post later today when I have come to terms with the trauma of the incident, but please do not look at this section if you have any regard for the integrity of the quiz League.

"Come up and see me ..."


Prodigals beat Ethel Rodin

No sooner Champions-elect than a humbling defeat for Ethel

Anne-Marie tells how a Prodigal tiro makes a notable debut

A huge thanks to Ethel for supplying us with a QM.  We were down to our bare bones teamwise, with Jimmy away, Kate on sister duty and our usual QM Stella at the book group.  Liz stepped in and did a very able job.

We blooded a new player, my friend Claire, who had a great game.  Little does she know she is now a  confirmed member of the Prodigal squad - it's never a one off with WithQuiz. 

A lovely evening had by all as the result didn't really matter, our visitors having already won the league.  It was a quiz which really suited us and for once we happened to be in the right seats.  John's incredible knowledge of Coventry City players old and new was a great help, as well as his Shakespeare which got us over the line.

I guess we have a small bragging right in that we have done the double on Ethel this season - and beaten them in the cup.  Having said this they are a great team, play really well together and are deserved winners of the League.  Roll on next season....

An old Wolf who was first to 100


Looks like Princess Nut Nuts has got 'em


Bards lost to History Men

The History Men hoist themselves up to 5th place at the Bards' expense

Ivor reports on a family affair

A very satisfying victory sees us rise to a final fifth place in the league.  If only we had not started our season with six consecutive losses!  Of course little has changed; we are mostly the same players in mostly the same seats playing mostly the same opposition.  Which means that the randomness of Lady Luck might make us equally likely to finish next season, either near the top, or near the bottom.

Still we enjoy what little pleasures we can achieve and, being the best of the lower ranking teams, is reward enough.  Not that tonightís game was easy with the lead swinging back and forth, especially in the first half.

It was very much a family game as the Bards had Tony and his grandson Tom, and Robin with his father Mike as a guest player; and the Historymen had Anne and her niece Vanessa.  Only Young David and I are unrelated (I can confirm I was never in Zambia when I was 13). 

Carrying on the longest


Andrew from the Pigs was in the QM chair (we do get a good service from our local councillor) and was left with the crucial tasks of keeping the exuberance of certain players in check, as well as defending the paper. Success in both of these can often be measured with the Historymenís 'Expletiveís Index' and in the modern day world of text acronymsÖ well letís just say Andrew did his best.

The GM travel round was rather difficult (5 unanswereds), and Andrewís defence that it highlights our dependence on cars rather than public transport was delivered with the earnestness but ultimate futility of a Cabinet minister defending the Rwanda policy, or pension inequality.  However it is nice to know that the 42C goes to Handforth Dean.  I have never been on the 42C, but the 42 is iconic and there can be few Manchester residents or students who have not been on it.  Indeed it is so iconic that there is a painting of the 42 in a night street scene with all the passengers and bystanders as cats.  It's in one of the art galleries (I think it's the Manchester Art Gallery rather than the Whitworth) .  

Jilted John prepares to blurt


Charabancs beat Opsimaths

Victory for the table-footers against the league runners up

Damian is jubilant anticipating riches next season

What better way to finish the season proper than with a handsome win over the league runners-up following a narrow loss to the league champions the week before?  The margin of victory was the biggest of any of our 4 victories this season and continues to give us hope that, if we can only apply ourselves with the same amount of discipline we managed to show tonight, we can one day lift ourselves off the bottom of the league table and become contenders once more.  Of course it means actually knowing more answers to the questions as well, a small detail that we will also have to work on with the same due diligence.  But we trust in Sam and tonight we did him proud by failing so well we actually managed to win! 

We led in every single round and, although each team scored 7 twos, our greater number of steals (6 to the Opsis' 2) is what helped us over the line.  Chara Graham was the star of the show for us with many successful contributions to the conferred questions.  We also had the benefit of a welcome appearance from our former captain Gerry and that raised morale sufficiently to seal the deal!   

"Crash the economy? What a laugh!"


Mike compares WithQuiz to local government

No two ways about it this week, the Charas were simply the better team on the night.  Damian, John, Gerry (great to see him back) and Graham just knew more than us.  Apart from the first two rounds when the Charas engineered a 6-point lead pretty well every other round was drawn.  Our line up (Nick, Hilary, Brian and myself) got a fair number of twos and quite a few steals but the Charas just stole more!

The paper was OK-ish, although Nick wasn't a great fan.  Not surprisingly the Charas liked it more than we did.  There was a groan from us when the inevitable Gary Donely 'Coventry City themed' round came up - but actually this was one of the better rounds with each answer quite gettable without any intimate knowledge of City's cup runs; the 'John Sillett/Cillit Bang' question particularly tickled our fancy.

The question with the BRITS/BAFTA mistake (R5/Q4) came our way and we pondered for a while knowing that Raye had won 6 BRITS recently but ended up saying "Billie Eilish" who won a BAFTA for her song in the film Barbie.  When it went across to the Charas, John gave the correct answer though admitted straightaway that it was the BRITS Raye had won.  After some debate we all agreed on this question being nullified and a spare being offered to the Opsis.

Football firsts


As for laughs of the evening there were a quite a number, but best for me was Damian surmising after the John Singer Sargent answer: "Wasn't he the one that did Whistler's mother?".  Eat your heart out Oscar Wilde!

Finally a happy reflection that this season - more than in any recent seasons I can recall - it seems that any WithQuiz team can be expected to beat any other WithQuiz team on the night.  The Charas proved that tonight.  Unlike Manchester City Council WithQuiz is NOT a one-party state.

Madame X


Quiz paper set by...

... The Electric Pigs

Average Aggregate score 80.5

Excellent average aggregate so no complaints there with plenty of opportunities for twos.  Hidden themes too which were very gettable and helped the teams along the way as those rounds progressed.  Perhaps a little too much current affairs that might have been culled from the newspapers of the past few weeks which not all of us had read (Nick has been out in Egypt poking around the pyramids for instance).  But - all in all - a pretty good way to end the league season.  Many thanks, Pigs.

"Look what it's done to me"

An acting Casualty


.. and this is how Damian saw the  paper ...

Tonight's paper from the Electric Pigs covered a wide range of subjects with something for everybody.  It was easy to suss the hidden themes - although, in my case, there was another example of a theme hindering me from scoring a two -  which I would have done if there hadn't been a theme and I hadn't had to bother that the answer in mind didn't seem to fit the theme. Maybe it's just me but I often find a theme to be a two-edged sword.

There was controversy over the question of the singer who had apparently won six BAFTAs when it should have been six BRIT awards.  We all agreed to offer a spare to the Opsimaths to compensate for the misleading nature of that question.

Some raucous amusement was caused when the subject of John Singer Sargent came up in the 'Military Titles' round and I innocently commented that he was the guy who did Whistler's mother.  I can't imagine what could have caused this response but I feel sure that Mrs Whistler found the whole thing a very satisfying experience! 

For Round of the Week we voted for the final round on the Shakespeare characters.  I was pleased to see that my A-Level English course on Measure for Measure finally came to my aid in helping me come up with the name of the comic sergeant who appeared in that play.  Shame my knowledge of Gilbert and Sullivan characters didn't come up to scratch in quite the same way!

Acting in tandem


.. and this was Ivor's view ...

The quiz paper was, despite grumblings, a good test both of old and new knowledge.  Quizzers are not usually caught out by Eurovision but Olly Alexanderís current hit did just that and was one of only two unanswereds (not counting the Transport round). Perhaps we will remember it next year when it either joins the ranks of the wooden-spoonists or the 'nul pointes' brigade (or both).  The other unanswered was the first '100 international game' footballer; we are embarrassed to admit that had the question been ďwho was married to Joy Beverley?Ē it would have been a two pointer.  The Shakespeare round worked very well with the second part of the question giving the opportunity to spot the answer.  There are so many characters to choose from that this is a theme which could provide many  rounds.  It might even work for Charles Dickens characters (but please donít). 

QotW was the long conversation between subject and songwriter (R6/Q4).  Joe DiMaggio (like most US sportís stars) is less iconic in the UK and not to be confused with Jack de Manio (when young I did wonder why Marilyn Monroe was married to a radio presenter and then a playwright).  I also recall there was an urban legend that when DiMaggio married Marilyn the then Pope (the Venerable Pius XII) excommunicated Joe as a wedding present (because Joe had divorced his first wife) -  but perhaps this is just an early example of Ulster Protestant fake news.



Question of the Week

This week Ivor and the History Men vote for  Round 6 Question 4 ...

A real conversation between an American national icon and a songwriter who had referenced him in his hit 1960ís song a few years before went like this ...

NATIONAL ICON: "What I donít understand is why you ask where Iíve gone.  I just did a Mister Coffee commercial.  Iím a spokesman for the Bowery Savings Bank & I havenít gone anywhere!"

SONGWRITER: "I didnít mean the lines literally.  I thought of you as an American hero and that genuine heroes are in short supply."

To which 1960ís hit song does this conversation refer?

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

... and also

As in the WithQuiz league, Easter is the time of year when traditionally the broadcast quiz shows are moving towards their conclusions.  University Challenge has two matches to go.  Only Connect has completed this season's matches and is replaying its greatest hits.  Mastermind has a final next week and over on Radio 4 the best (and longest-lasting) of the lot, Round Britain Quiz, is well underway with Northern Ireland and Paddy Duffy (ex-Opsimath) in fine form reigning supreme.

So, why mention all this?

Well, wherever you look on these shows there are echoes of WithQuiz.  The ever excellent University Challenge is produced by (ex-Opsimath) Clare Parody, ably assisted by (Prodigal and past UC winner) Richard Gilbert.  On the same UC show Tom Benson (former Shrimp, and the most accomplished question editor in the business) is ensuring that not a syllable is wrongly-placed in the text placed before Amol Rajan.  And of course, as mentioned above, Paddy Duffy is easily the most entertaining and sure-footed contestant on RBQ.  This list would not be complete without a mention for (ex-Prodigal) the late, great Egghead Dave Rainford.

Meanwhile away from quizzing I keep coming across learned references to (ex-Prodigal and past UC winner) Michael Taylor's book The Interest which provides the authoritative version of the slave trade and Britain's role in exploiting it and then ending it.  If you haven't read it yet then I urge you to do so.

All of the characters referenced above have enjoyed their time as WithQuiz competitors over the past decade or so and just as they've enhanced our competition so - I like to think - they've learned a thing or two as well.

As we come to the end of the 45th WithQuiz season it's good to know that all the work that goes into organising the competition, setting the papers, and documenting the results and the matches, has been well worthwhile and maybe a tad influential elsewhere.

WithQuiz on air:

Paddy, Michael, Richard, Dave, Tom and Clare