Wednesday, 7 December 2016

North East Quiz Nights - The Plough, Cramlington

Image result for the plough cramlington

Venue: The Plough, Cramlington
Time/Date: Wednesdays from 8.30pm

I am going to kick off this review of the pub quiz that takes place at The Plough in Cramlington each Wednesday by saying one is going to take some beating. This is by far and away my favourite quiz I attend at present, and the only shame is that it falls on a Wednesday night, the same night as the Sunderland echo quiz league so I don't get to play in it anywhere near as much as I like.

The Plough is located in the "village" part of Cramlington and is a Sir John Fitzgeralds pub with a fine selection of ales. The quiz takes place each Wednesday from 8.30pm and is very well attended with at least 10 teams there every week.

There are six rounds to the quiz with a picture round included. This kicks off the night with 20 pictures to identify worth half a point each. This works for me way better than similar rounds which offer a point each as it means even a disastrous picture round doesn't set you back too much.

The remaining 5 rounds are different every week, something I appreciate as you never quite know what you are getting. In recent weeks we have had the usual TV, Geography, Answer begins with "S", name it, its been in there. Ten questions each round with a perfect mix of easy, medium and hard.

There is also a joker to use which you have to play in advance, adding an extra challenge to the night. I am currently on a 5 week streak of playing my joker on my lowest scoring round, which I don't think I could do again if I of these times I will get it right!

My favourite round recently has been the handout round and this could be anything from album covers and song titles to lists of famous ships and you having to put the captains in. The quizmaster makes a real effort to make this fun and it shows.

Add to the mix the chance to win drinks in two "nearest-the-pin" rounds and an ongoing, but guessable, jackpot and you have a great quiz. There is no evident cheating and its a well paced, fun enjoyable night.

Competition is good and the scores are always close and above all else the questions are well pitched. I will continue doing my North East Quiz Nights series for some time yet, but it may be hard to find a quiz night that betters this!

N.B. The Plough also run a Music Quiz on Sundays so stay tuned for my review of that!

North East Quiz Nights rankings -
1. The Plough, Cramlington - Wednesdays
2. Fitzgeralds, Sunderland - Thursdays
3. The Willow Farm, Cramlington - Tuesdays

Thursday, 1 December 2016

BBC 4 Quizzing Documentary

The BBC showed a superb documentary last night "How Quizzing Got Cool" which was a lot better than I was expecting. Covering everything for TV Quizzing, the professionals, Quiz leagues etc it is certainly well worth watching if you are interested in Quizzing (which I assume by reading this you are!). And around 45 minutes in a little screen shot pops up of a certain blog...

Here is the link to the show on the iplayer -  Click Here

Monday, 28 November 2016


10 questions to test yourself with this morning...

1.       The TV Series  “Call The Midwife” is based on the books of which British nurse and musician?


2.       The ‘Pharmaceutical Paintings’ are the first in the series of “Spot” paintings by which famous artist?


3.       Which Italian novelist is best known for his work “The Tartar Steppe”, the story of Giovanni Drogo and his life spent guarding the Bastiani Forest?


4.       Known as the sea swallow due to its slender shape as they swoop over water, which bird has the longest migration pattern known in the animal kingdom?


5.       Which Hindu Goddess is often portrayed standing or dancing on her consort, Shiva, who lies clam and prostate beneath her?


6.       Which Battle of 1859 was fought 12 miles outside of Milan between France and Austria, occurring during the second Italian War of Independence, in which the French under Napoleon III scored a decisive victory?


7.       The island of Cred and Krk and the largest in which sea?


8.       Also known as the “Goat-Antelope”, what is the national animal of Bhutan?



9.       Which British motor racing driver is the only man to have won World Championships on both two and four wheels?


10.   Who wrote the novel  “Gentleman Prefer Blondes”. Published in 1925 which Edith Wharton called it the “Great American Novel”?




1.       Jennifer Worth

2.       Damien Hirst

3.       Dino Buzzati

4.       Artic Tern (Sterna Paradisaea)

5.       Kali

6.       Magenta

7.       Adriatic Sea

8.       Takin

9.       John Surtees

10.   Anita Loos

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Book Suggestion

My final book suggestion for the month. Another quiz title which I have been working on over the past few weeks. This time its the Telegraph Quiz Book written by Mastermind Champion (and still the youngest ever champion I believe) Gavin Fuller.

Again, around 4000 questions are included, with each set finely balanced to include some easy ones to get you going, going all the way up to questions that will test even the most seasoned players.

Friday, 18 November 2016

RedFest 2016



Last weekend at Bramall Lane, Sheffield RedTooth launched what I hope will be an annual event to combine all their major avenues....Poker, Darts and of course Quizzing! Before I go into detail, I would just like to start off by saying the event was easily the most fun I have quizzing and a credit to all involved!

I arrived late on the Friday Night so only caught the end of The Chasers vs Eggheads special contest (Jenny Ryan, Paul Sinha and Shaun Wallace vs Kevin Ashman, Barry Simmons and Dave Rainford) in a buzzer quiz. I think, in terms of the quizzing events, this was the most popular event of the weekend and seemed to go down a treat. The Chaser's won and then it was into the bar for a Late Night Show involving Paul Sinha's superb stand up and Jenny Ryan on the Ukelele. A fun fact too fun as I found myself rolling into bed at 3am with a quiz the next morning.

When you get up for breakfast as see the British Quizzing Champion tucking into a Full English, then you know it could be a tough day and the room was filled with around 20 teams for the team quiz with £2600 worth of prizes up for grabs. Firstly, I must say a huge thanks to Tom Mead, Sam Roberts and Colin Daffern for allowing me to make up the numbers in their team otherwise I wouldn't have had chance to take part!

The morning element of the team quiz involved 3 rounds of General Knowledge, a music round, a picture round and a theme round (questions related to blue) and provided a stern tests. The idea being that the top half of the teams would compete for the big money and first prize, and the second half would play for lesser money in the plate. A good way to work thing in my opinion and indeed it did work very well. We qualified in third and headed into the afternoon session....

The format in the afternoon mimicked the morning, and we got off to a good start being in a three way tie for second at half time. Dropping only two points in the second half of the quiz (failing to identify a Hot Chip song) we knew we must have had a chance of second. Indeed, a team containing Paul Sinha took victory (by what in the end was 3 points) and we were left in a 2-eay tie for second with a very strong team containing British Quiz Champion Nic Paul and a wave of top quizzers. We decided to negate the Tiebreak and split the £1000 prize money.

A really enjoyable day, good company and a good selection of questions, with a result that we can be very proud of considering some of the teams in the room. The night was capped off with a more informal buzzer quiz, followed by another late night in the bar.

The Sunday was the individual quiz, which was 10 rounds of 30 questions over the course of two sessions. The questions were presented in a Pub Quiz style and were more Pub Quiz style than other organised events which was a refreshing change. In fact, even though my result was awful (which was what I expected given the calibre of players in the room) I enjoyed this individual quiz more than many individual quizzes I have done over the years. At least, with the questions I got wrong I had at least heard of the answers!! Fun questions, a great format, good company and again a great end to the day! I sneaked a second place in the Picture Round to add a little more winnings to the pot too!


Congratulations go to Nic Paul on a superb win and credit to all involved at RedTooth for a fantastic weekend!

I cannot speak highly enough of the event and, after an announcement made towards the end of the weekend, roll on Redfest 2017!

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Book Suggestion

Another book I have been working my way through lately has been "The Joy of Quiz" by Alan Connor. Alan works on Only Connect and you may have heard him on radio, or read in various newspapers, his promotion of this title. After reading the book over the last week, I would highly recommend it no matter how serious you take your quizzing. From the story of Trivial Pursuit to a look at the modern quizzing scene it covers everything. (See link below)

In addition, if you like the above title, then one book definetly worth reading (and available for pennies from Amazon) is the "Brain Men" book from Marcus Berkmann.  Another great look into the "serious" side of quizzing written in a very entertaining manner..

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Round Britian Quiz

Just a brief mention if you haven't had chance to look at the listings, but one of my favourite quizzes returned to the air recently. Round Britain Quiz! A unique format, almost always brutally challenging and this year containing Paul Sinha from the Chase.

You can download the questions and play along too, which is always a nifty feature.

Broadcast Mondays on Radio 4 and obviously available on Iplayer thereafter. (HERE)