The Withington Pub Quiz League


8th May 2024


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Ethel do the double, lifting the Val Draper trophy after a close match at the Parrs Wood;

at the Club the History Men beat the Prods to take the Plate;

the Opsimaths win the 'Best Round' award with their 'Crash, Bang, Wallop' Round 8

Val Draper Cup (Final)

Electric Pigs lost to Ethel Rodin

WithQuiz Plate Cup (Final)

History Men beat Prodigals

Val Draper Cup (Final)

Electric Pigs lost to Ethel Rodin

A close contest in which Ethel finally overcame their handicap disadvantage

Just as Ethel finish on a high James hints at change

A match played in good spirits throughout.

Having beaten the Pigs by 10 points and 4 points in the league, Ethelís handicap of 7 always looked as if it would be right on the nose.  And so it proved, with Ethel one point behind going into the final round.  Half the rounds were tied; Pigs won the literature one; Ethel won three including doing onomatopoeically well in that final round, albeit after some long individual deliberations as to whether to discuss or attempt the slam dunk.   

Munro Runner up


Michael said "Squires" instead of Squeers and was perhaps harshly punished.  Maybe a prompt would have been the better initial response, but, to be fair, the Pigs gave the proper name in full.  Itís difficult when the answerer clearly knows the correct answer - and obviously hasnít randomly guessed.  Still, weíve benefited from a few similar misspeaks this year, as Ivor will no doubt agree.  

So, Ethel do the double (and Greg has done a quintuple this season as his teams also won two cups in Stockport and one in Macclesfield).  I donít think many of us do this just to win, and it is definitely the participation that has the greatest appeal.  But success has allowed some validation to friends and family who scratch their heads at my long term choice of Wednesday night activity. 

Despite this being Ethelís most successful season ever, after more than 30 years at it, Roddy dropped the bombshell a few weeks ago that he is thinking about gradually retiring from the quiz.  He is worried about the questions starting to be too young for him.  Conversely I think younger questions are important for the future of the league, but I do understand what he means.  Heís not ever going to watch Disney+, Netflix or Gogglebox, nor will the dial on his MW radio ever move far from where it is now.  But breadth of knowledge is what other team members are for, and personally I think Roddy still has a huge amount to contribute.  He holds a fountain of ridiculous knowledge drawn from springs that nobody else has ever found.

Somehow I donít think heíll be off any time soon.  But as Iíve said previously, long term succession planning is important for all of our teams.  There are no transfer fees, but if anyone not currently involved is reading this and feels that they have something to offer, and want to give up their Wednesday evenings for 9 months of the year, then please reach out!

Farewell Blighty!


Mike was at the Parrs Wood on QMing duties

An enjoyable match with the result in doubt right up to the last few questions of the evening.

The Pig line-up was Guy, Peter, Tom and Andrew - with Dave who had been delayed on a flight back from Belfast subbing for Andrew near the end.  For most of the match their 7-point handicap advantage looked like seeing them home.  But a laser-like focus kept Ms Rodin (Roddy, Greg, James and Michael) in hot pursuit and - sure enough - they just pulled ahead in Round 8.  Both teams performed well and pulled unexpected rabbits out of the hat (the AC Cobra genius comes to mind).  They were also hot on the themes with quite a few otherwise insoluble questions falling to the hint that the theme gave.

The Ballad of John and May


Well, Ethel have now won the Stockport League (under the guise of Smart Alex), the WithQuiz league and the Val Draper Cup (and Greg also let on that he'd been in the Macclesfield league's winning team).  It's clearly been their season so congratulations all round.  However as WithQuiz has proved over the past few seasons nothing is guaranteed and there'll be 8 other teams snapping at their heels come October.  Well done them - and especially well done to their veteran skipper, Roddy!

Barry's little girl says G'Day

(R4/Q10 - JG)

WithQuiz Plate (Final)

History Men beat Prodigals

The History Men's season which limp-started, finishes at 100mph

Ivor basks in the glory

Our season (which started with six consecutive defeats) has ended in triumph.  The Plate is the most modest of all the silverware available in our league and perhaps analogous to the prizes that used to be awarded in primary schools to children who were destined never to claw their way to the top of any greasy pole; Diana, Princess of Walesís award for the best kept hamster cage always springs to mind.  However a prize is a prize and we were very pleased to defeat the WIST Championís Cup victors in our match tonight.

Late Oscar


The Prodigals had a -2 handicap and the game was very close (we were ahead 30 to 28 after Round 6) but in the end we managed to win even without the handicap advantage.  Both teams were on excellent form and as is usual for our clashes there was no clashing at all.  The tale of the tape is also a measure of how well the setters, and the compiler, Brian, had done.  In our match each side scored 12 twos, there were only three unanswered questions and it was only the slightly better steal rate for us (4-6) that cemented the win. 

Swiss heart attack recipe


Quiz paper set by...

... 'Knocked Out United'

(edited by Brian McClintock)

Average Aggregate score 82.5

Another excellent paper from the combined efforts of Albert, the Charabancs, KFD and the Opsimaths - all shaken and stirred by Brian.  A better than average aggregate and themes galore without the usual theme-laden quiz's penalty of imbalance.

Based on finalist feedback the best round was Round 8 ('Crash, Bang, Wallop') from the Opsimaths, closely followed by KFD's Round 6 (the Val Draper anagram) and the Charas' Blockbuster Bingo Round 4.

Finally if you want to follow up on the Charas' R3/Sp2 Tango question follow this link: https://youtu.be/tAOlukpXQzQ

Grant and Saint hanging on to Washington's eyeball


... so what did Ivor make of it ...

We enjoyed the quiz.  The variety of questions was a big part of this and I continue to be amazed at how, no matter how obscure the subject, someone seems to know the answer.  Young David had steals with the AC Cobra and the early denizen of his Welsh home town; Vanessa was never going to be caught out by childrenís illustration awards; and Anne had Return of the Native as an 'A' level text (the opening chapter describes EH and must be the dullest chapter in Hardyís output).  Sadly not all of our side was on top form - my blurt of "Venusian ManĒ on the World In Action logo is up there with Fu Man Chu as a famous Mancunian. 

All the rounds were contenders for the 'Round of the Game' with the onomatopoeic (now there is a word for a spell-checker) Round 8 winning, if only because finding ten questions to fit the theme represents a Herculean effort by the setter (Ed: Brian, of course).  Honourable mentions to both the Anagram round and the Phonetic Alphabet round.  QotW though was the impressive unimpressive literary character.

... and James' verdict ...

Overall a good set of questions which was evenly balanced.  

We sussed the Simpsons theme after 2 questions.  It included good use of some of the less obvious characters, but we thought the 'BART' answer  was far too easy in comparison with the others - and could also be guessed, especially as Lisa had already been dispensed with. 

The 2019 film Ford vs Ferrari (a.k.a. Le Mans Ď66) is mainly focused on Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and Ken Miles (Christian Bale).  His AC is featured prominently.  Highly recommended!  

The literature round was considered challenging.  I wonder if, in the land of Obscuria, Jess the oddjobsman is a secret friend of the Red Lady of P?

The PMs round we thought was decent.  Egdon Heath landed well with Roddy, and Michael avoided saying "Kentucky Derby" fortunately conferring to identify the different PM involved.  I spent 20 seconds trying to work out which PM was Pickett and whether there was a run through of a Pitt or something.  Greg conferred for Major Major, but did know it - he just wasnít sure.  

The phonetic alphabet round had mainly reasonable questions - but we felt it was too easy a theme to pick up, making the rest of the round a doddle once you'd got the theme.  In particular, Quebec was a simple guess, made even easier as the only other Americas candidate, Lima, had been geographically excluded in the question. 


Bravo McCarthy!


The Blockbuster round was a good set.  Although a Brummie native, I have never ventured into rural Worcestershire, at least not east of the M5, but knew that the Pershore Road goes south from Birmingham, parallel with the A38 Bristol road, and very close to Edgbaston cricket ground.  Iíve already alluded to the Red Lady having been somewhat obscure.  Is there a point to Blockbuster rounds?  It removes the issue of question balance but replaces it with bad luck opportunities.  Only twice in 15 years have we worked out a correct answer in advance just from the letters.  Instinctively teams go for long sets of initials as this seems easier, but long term experience suggests it probably isnít.  

I canít say that I personally contributed much to knowledge of Hogwart's teachers but the round was appreciated by others in both the teams.  

The 'Crash, Bang, Wallop' round was a good mishmash of random things - all relatively accessible. I suspect there was a factual date error in the 'Kerrang!' question but I managed to dredge it up nevertheless (Ed: I've corrected it on the website copy).  To back up his unlikely Simpsons knowledge, Roddy also remembered the mashed potato product.  And it is always good to be reminded of 'Allo, 'Allo, which has stood the test of time better than many 70s and 80s shows.

I might have missed a round or two in this critique but would reinforce the overall view that the set was balanced and made for a competitive match.  

Question of the Week

This week the History Men really liked Round 5 Question 8 ...

Which literary character is described thus:

"Even among men lacking all distinction he inevitably stood out as a man lacking more distinction than all the rest, and people who met him were always impressed by how unimpressive he was"?

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

... and also

We now wait 2 weeks for our traditional End of Season evening which will be on May 22nd at the Albert Club starting at 8.30pm.

As usual a special guest has been invited to dole out all the gongs so if you have a trophy from last season - then make sure the engravings are up-to-date (I usually use Manchester Trophy Market, 287 Palatine Road, Northenden; telephone 0161-884-3359) and do remember to bring the trophies along on the 22nd.

Following my website appeal a few weeks ago you'll be glad to know I  have received some contributions from former WithQuizzers (John Tolan, Paddy Duffy and Fr Megson) towards this year's End of Season quiz paper.

I've also received this charming note:

"I write a fortnightly quiz in Highgate in London, and your quiz has supplied me with many great ideas for rounds over the last few years, so as a token of thanks, please find this selection of themed rounds to use at any time if you wish.  All the best, David Burnage, Regular quiz setter, Famous Royal Oak pub, Muswell Hill.

Thanks, David. 

I will edit all these contributions into the quiz paper I'm preparing for the End of Season evening.

Syrian stronghold