The Withington Pub Quiz League


24th April 2024


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A thriller in Ladybarn resulted in Ethel getting the better of KFD on the tiebreak to earn a Val Draper final place against the Pigs who beat the Charas;

meanwhile the Plate final will be between the Prods who edged it against Albert and the History Men who knocked the Opsis for six all over the Parrswood winning by 34 points


(For the WIST finals next week Greg will be delivering the papers directly to the Sun in September and the Griffin rather than leaving them at the Fletcher Moss)

Val Draper Cup (Semi Finals)

Electric Pigs beat Charabancs

Ethel Rodin beat KFD


WithQuiz Plate (Semi Finals)

Albert lost to Prodigals

History Men beat Opsimaths

Val Draper Cup (Semi Finals)

Electric Pigs beat Charabancs

Dead close but the Pigs' customary springtime nose for a Cup final wins out

A pun-heavy match report from Tom

The end of this match was sow pleasing and far from boaring.  There was a pungent  smell of crackling  as the Charas racked up a very creditable 7 twos in Rounds 3 and 4.  Later it seemed they had laid the cochon with a 6-point lead by the end of the penultimate  round.

The final bout turned out to be electric for some and a beast for others.  We have all been there.  This was a very rare episode of pigs flying to general stupefaction and disbelief.  Percy Pig’s tails  swill grow in the telling.  Thanks are due to the Charas for their grace and good humour.

For all those WithQuiz Swifties


Ethel Rodin beat KFD

Thanks to the tiebreak Ethel just survived to fight the Val Draper final

James puts out a plea for more young quizzers

Tonight was a classic KFD/Ethel game.  I think I'm right in saying we have done the triple on them this season.  Hopefully, there's no hubris saying that; in my previous 15 years of doing this quiz thing, I don’t think we've managed to scrape together more than 3 wins against KFD.  More recently all our games have been within a point either way, so it was no great surprise that tonight’s quiz ended up as a tie.  It’s a shame we only get to meet teams 2 or 3 times a season - I particularly enjoy the post-match chats we have with KFD - especially about politics.  

My brain struggled to remember the name of Austin Mitchell - and then I was convinced that Ted Heath was MP for Bexhill rather than Bexley so that led to another unnecessary confer.  In fact I don’t think I got a two all night. 

The two teams were neck and neck throughout - very few unanswereds - very few handovers - and only one blurt I can remember.  This came at a crucial time, four questions from the end when Michael went for the wrong 19th century elemental discoverer.  To be fair we had very much encouraged him to ‘go for it’ so this was a shared team failure.  Fortunately we got the handover for the paired question so ultimately it didn’t matter.  Michael had more than earned his place by picking out Mambo No.5 after a couple of questions, such that Rita Heyworth moved from an educated guess to an obvious steal.

The tiebreak led to us giving a number that was ridiculously close - only about 45,000 from the answer.  This was partly luck rather than judgement; both Roddy and I had said “just under 68 million” and so we just went for a random answer and ended up being spookily close to the right answer.  I can’t remember what that was but will ask my 10 year old tomorrow.  Actually he probably doesn’t know it, but will find out (he's being groomed as a next generation WithQuizzer).  On this point, a shout out for Kieran’s son, Thomas, who at 25 dredged up several great answers this week.  Indeed one of the reasons for Ethel’s success this year has been the injection of young blood into our line-up.  All teams should be actively seeking to recruit younger team members as we move forward to our 50th WithQuiz season in a few year's time.

First Red for a dirty Red


Kieran reports on a clash of the Titans

That felt familiar.  After a season in which the game that is always decided by one point had been won by the huge margins of four and then five, we were back to the slimmest difference between the teams - or no difference at all - or back to just the one point without the handicap.  

The record books state that Madrid didn't beat City, United didn't beat Coventry and for that matter we didn't beat the Prodigals two weeks ago, but cup competitions have to have a team progress to the next round and tonight that was Ethel, deservedly so.  

This time I couldn't pull out the two on the last question which would have snatched victory away from Ethel at the last.  The only thing I know about Khachaturian is the Sabre Dance which introduced the nine-year old me to Dave Edmunds and made me fall in love with guitar gods.  I'd have nailed Stravinsky though; small margins.  

Greg was MVP with 6 twos (plus ça change), and the whole contest was decided by Ethel netting four steals to our three (as well as by the handicap of course).  It was a superb evening, enhanced by the news from the wrong end of the East Lancs which found favour with pretty much all the assembled company.  



I doubt that the Bards were aware that a couple of years back in the Stadium of Murk, I took an agonisingly long time to hit on Michael Green in a Cumbria-themed round to win with a two on the last question.  But some strange influence had them include Corinne Stockheath again tonight and, though this time it was a trademark KFD confer, the spectre of Sebastian Fox eventually emerged from the huddle.  It's always fun to replay a greatest hit or, as James put it: "This time you didn't take quite as long to squeeze out the turd."  For those of you who have given up keeping track of the shortest serving Home Secretary's multiple personality disorders, or those who couldn't give a toss in the first place, all of the above are online aliases used by that 'here today, gone tomorrow' politician Grant Shapps.    

Congratulations to Ethel and the Bards both.  We still have a final to play and the chance of silverware which is one up on the toothy bad loser.  Bring it on!



Specially for Anne: TMBAOM


WithQuiz Plate (Semi Finals)

Albert lost to Prodigals

Close but Albert's 5-match losing run continues

Mike launches the 'Find an Albert nickname' competition

Never mind; each defeat brings our next triumph closer although in our case that may be several  thousand years away by which time only Eveline is likely to be around and Jeremy will be a brain bobbing about in a jar.  The match was close although we never really got going after a poor start.  I am going to start a competition to find a suitable nickname for the Albert.

AABTLLMT: Pre-Deliveroo


History Men beat Opsimaths

'Beat' doesn't tell the half of it - the History Men annihilated the Opsis

Mike was involved in the carnage - and not in a nice way

This was as complete a defeat as I can remember in my 40 odd years of quizzing.  Everything went wrong for us: Emma was ill and so we were down to 3 (until Charlotte nobly gave up her evening and joined us); we lost the toss and went second (which was definitely a disadvantage); Nick was on holiday and Howell was at Goodison; time and again every Opsimath other than the one with the question knew the answer; we kept giving the wrong answer to questions where the answer we gave turned out to be the right answer for the next question in the round which fell to our opponents; but most of all the History Men were on fire and we were useless.

At the end of Round 1 we were 8-0 down.  By the close of Round 2 we had slumped to 16-1 down and then Round 3's close saw us 24-4 adrift.  From there on it was damage limitation time - but we failed on that score too.  My brightest moment of the evening happened after the final question when I heard that the Toffees had beaten the Klippety-Klopps.  I'm so happy for you, Howell!

And an extra word on Charlotte without whom the result would have been even more catastrophic - she latched on to both the Mambo No. Five and the Blue Peter themes early on listing all possible contenders for the rest of us.

Over on the other benches Anne was brilliant (how many twos did she get?) with Ivor, Vanessa and David not far behind.  In total the History mob scored 16 twos to our 3 with more steals than a Brink's Mat.  Finally a shout out for Guy who QMed with clarity and courtesy, earning  praise all round.

O woe is me!  Our Grail couldn't be more Lowly - which nicely brings me to next Wednesday.  Beware Albert never will be a bounce-back have been bouncier!

Topping up the fragrance


Ivor prepares to swot up on the Archaeology of Wiltshire

Oh, the total unpredictability of quizzing! The Opsimaths have beaten us three times already this season and our reward was to have a paltry one point start in the handicap!  However we raced into an early lead and were ahead by 20 points after three rounds (24-4).  We have blown large leads in many previous matches and were as surprised as anyone to find ourselves 35 points ahead by the end of Round 7 (50-15).  It was only then we had our usual last round wobble (5-6).  I think this is our highest ever total and largest margin of victory ever.  Indeed half way through Round 6 we were so far ahead that not even a scandal like Indian cricket spot-betting would have been enough to reverse the result (though perhaps a scandal like the Premiership’s deduction of Everton’s points might have been).  But we must not gloat (though we do sometimes if it is Kieran, James or Tony) - and we face the Prodigals in the Plate final.  What the quizzing gods give, the quizzing gods can take away.

The answer to the Italian newspaper siblings mystery


It was an exciting game tonight, and the Opsimaths took their loss in good spirit.  But what accounts for our victory?  We won the toss and elected to go first.  The unanswereds favoured us (2-4) but we had 16 twos to the Opsimaths three - and 11 steals to their two.  Anne often claims that “I have run out of knowledge” but tonight her brain was sufficiently oiled to produce 7 twos.  We were mostly in the lucky chairs for our questions; the first National Park went to the Derbyshire-born Anne; the Earthsea author was Vanessa’s university thesis; transuranic elements fell to me; films for David.  The Opsimaths were unlucky, as in the Two Ronnies sketch, in 'answering before  the question that came after' (e.g. Robert Peary, and Francis Bacon). 

There was plenty of time for chat afterwards.  Hilary reminisced on her Mastermind outings back in the day when there were proper specialist subjects (Hilary’s was 'The Archeology of Wiltshire 2500 BC to 47 AD').  Nowadays it is more likely to be 'Friends: Series 2'.  I do hope we have not given Hilary an idea for a 'proper' quiz round in the final!

So for once, It Happened One Night; a great quiz; a great victory; enjoyable banter with old friends; Guy (Mr Anne) in the QM seat keeping exuberance in order; and an unexpected Everton victory to boot.  Sorry Young David, your perfect evening must await.

Henry Addington & Grant Shapps

Home Secretaries: the long and short versions


Quiz paper set by...

... The Bards

Average Aggregate score 79.8

Before making any comments on the paper we should collectively say thank you to the Bards for setting again this week after shouldering the task just two weeks back.  I've decided to exempt them from setting duties when it comes to the 'Knocked Out United' paper in a fortnight's time.

JMWT's first watercolour


... and despite the short notice they produced a peach of a paper (as Greg echoes below).  Great themes and plenty of points to be garnered.  How thoughtful of Lou Bega to have made it with at least 8 young women (whose names he could remember)!  The Choccy tag lines were just the right level of 'tip-of-the-tonguery' to keep both teams at the Parrswood happily occupied in the middle of the evening - and the Blue Peter presenters brought back happy memories of days when the word 'channel' could only mean BBC.

... so what did Greg make of it ...

Hats off to the Bards for producing a cracker of a paper at a week's notice.  The paper was full of variety and was very accessible.  Our game against KFD went down to the wire (it always seems to be that way).  Ethel came from a point behind on the last round to secure a draw and won on the tie breaker.

The ten-element man


... and James ...

We were well-impressed with the questions.  Given that the Bards had to set at such short notice, there was a risk that there might be a series of rounds of rejected questions from the past two years.  In fact they delivered an excellent paper. 

... and Mike O'B ...

Misprints aside the questions in general were fair enough given the short time allowed to put it together.  The general feeling was that it was better to go second.  One thing that did puzzle us in the sibling round is where the Italian newspaper title fitted the theme.

But which one married Billy Wright?


... and Ivor ...

The Bards produced an excellent paper at short notice full of delights (and certainly better than we could have done).  None of the Historymen is likely to forget the confectionary of our youth (nor are our dentists), and the Blue Peter presenters were also well within our memory span (or were dead, which is increasingly the people we quizzers do recall).  Having pairs with an underlying theme adds to the setter’s difficulty but does enhance the enjoyment.  The 'siblings' round and the 'Mambo No. 5' round were great ideas extremely well executed - so congratulations to all concerned. 

... and finally Kieran's views ...

Many congratulations to the Bards for producing a superb paper at such short notice and when the well of their inspiration might have quite reasonably run very dry.  You have to admire their setting the Trump / Carter dilemma in the presidents round, which I duly fell for.

Manchester's very own mattress-maker


Question of the Week

This week I've plumped for Round 6 Question 7 and the associated picture above which brings back many happy memories ...

Los Colchoneros is the nickname of which Spanish football club?

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

The Williams Brothers


... and also

Next week just 4 of our teams are involved in the WIST Champions Cup Final (KFD v Prodigals) and the Lowly Grail Final (Albert v Opsimaths).  Greg Spiller has kindly offered to set this paper and will take the papers direct to the Sun in September and the Griffin ...

... then in a fortnight's time we'll play the Val Draper and Plate finals on a paper set by 'Knocked Out United' - i.e. the 4 teams not involved in these matches (The Bards are exempt from setting duties for this paper).

Brian McClintock has kindly offered to act as editor for this paper, so would each of:

Charabancs, KFD, and Albert

email Brian (brian16740@gmail.com)        2 Rounds in a format of their choice by next Wednesday May 1st.

I'll leave the 4 finalist teams to choose their match venues but the Albert Club is available if they wish.

... and finally time to dig out those trophies and get them engraved (if you haven't already done this).  They'll be needed on May 22nd at the End of Season evening at the Albert Club (N.B. there is a two week gap between the Cup finals evening and the EOS Evening).  The place I always use for trophy engraving is: Manchester Trophy Market, 287 Palatine Road, Northenden; telephone 0161-884-3359.  Best to phone ahead as their opening hours tend to be a little unpredictable.

Looking for a career in MI5?