Thursday, 31 July 2014

CIU Quiz Regional Heat

This year marks only the second time I have entered the National CIU Quiz but already it has became one of the quizzing highlights of the year. It was off to the Lemmington Social Club in Newcastle again for this years Regional Heat. The Sunderland Echo Quiz League often organises a few teams to compete in the event and due to the fact that we came third last year, it was decided that the team would remain in tact.

The quiz itself is great fun with a nice range of questions, pitched well and enjoyable. Sport and Tv/Film play a big part but there are also rounds on Connections, a List Round (this time it was listing the 10 players with over 500 Premier League Appearances) and a picture round that is more than just "Name this Celebrity". A written round of 10 questions comes towards the end just before a Who Am I? round in which a number of clues are read about a particular person...the sooner you answer the more points on offer. Ongoing scores are given so you know exactly how you are faring and there are plenty of prizes to be won not just for the winners, but "nearest the pin" bonus roads, booby prizes for the team who are second last and prizes for TV/Film and Sport rounds.

This year was always going to be tough. Gosforth Empire have won the national final in previous years, and although we beat them at last years final, they hammered us in the heat and did so again this year.

In fact from early on the quiz was between 4 teams with only 3 places up for grabs in the final. At the half way stage it became apparent that we were in a scrap for third. A team involving Mastermind finalist Michael McPartland and  players from the Sunderland League were scrapping it out at the top with Gosforth Empire whilst ourselves, and a Middlesbrough based team headed by Mastermind Champion Clive Dunning were neck and neck with a team including myself, Brain of Britain Semi Finalist 2014 Dave Taylor and local quiz league players.

Going into the written round there was half a point in it. We felt we maybe had 9 or 10 on the written round which would have given us a shout going into the final round. Within seconds of the first clue starting in the final round Dave went in for 5 points recognising it was Sandi Toksvig from some obscure clue. I think in fact Dave was the only person in the room to get it from the first clue so we could only watch and wait. The team from Middlesborough seemed to submit there answer for 3 points which meant it was going to be tight.

In the end it was the written round that cost us with neither of the team knowing the country in which John Peel died (I had a hunch for Greece...Dave did say South America and it turned out to be Peru) and also not recognising the postcode for Buckingham Palace. With the Middlesbrough team scoring a full house it meant even with the success in the last round we missed out by a mere point. Winning the Sport Round (£40 prize) was a mere consolation.

It will be a shame not to compete in this years CIU Final as it is indeed one of the quizzing highlights of the year for me, but congratulations to the three teams who made it and I hope one of you takes the title in Septembers Final.

Roll on next year

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Mastermind - New Series

Quick update to mention that Mastermind returns on Friday 8th August BBC 2at 8pm!

The Mastermind Challenge will be taking place again this year so keep an eye out!

Pub Quizzing: The Isis, Sunderland

The Isis, Sunderland

I may have mentioned previously that one of my favourite local quizzes is Monday Night Quiz at the Isis in Sunderland. Recently they have decided to drop Red Tooth, for reasons unknown as the quiz was very popular every single week, and bring in a local quizmaster. I was pleasantly surprised to realise, upon attending this week’s quiz, that the quizmaster was a fellow Sunderland Echo Quiz League player….already my expectations were high.

The quiz now starts out with a very reasonable round of 10 pictures which you have all night to work out. The quiz is geared, in my view, towards the 45+ age range as most of the punters tend to be around that age and hence the picture round reflects this. ….as does the second round which is music. Failed to recognise Tommy Steele amongst others and thus at the end of the first two rounds we were rather far behind (or at least I assumed so).

The questions follow with a mix of themed rounds (Sport, TV/Film etc) with a connections round thrown in for good measure. All quite a nice mix of questions on this occasion. The only round I did not take a liking to was the multiple choice round which were questions based mainly on guesswork. This was followed by one of my favourite rounds….Guess the Year? This round involves being told 5 years (1991,1993,1995,1997,1999) for instance. You are then given a list of events and have to decided which year they happened in. Each year can only be used once and it makes for cracking fun when the clues are as well pitched as this!

The quiz ends with a Wipeout Round. This is followed by a “raffle ticket” jackpot question in front of the pub with 2 rounds of Card bingo thrown in. Quite a packed night!

In all The Isis change has been for the better in terms of questions….it is now hand written rather than bought in. (I do enjoy Red Tooth though). The attendance was low compared to when I last went, with about 25 people in 5 teams but some annoying factors have been cut out (such as the over generous help from the quizmaster!!).

All in all The Isis remains a fantastic pub quiz night in Sunderland and well worth a visit.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Week in Quizzing

Although most the week has been spent unpacking (mainly books) there has been plenty of time for other bits and bobs. The CIU Quiz North East Heat took place on Wednesday and I headed through to Lemmington in Newcastle, with the same team who had placed 3rd at the national finals last year, so hopes were high. I will be doing a separate post about the event later but suffice to say for now things did not work out as planned.


The World Cup and Commonwealth Games have been merely a distraction as I await the return of the Sunderland Echo Quiz League :). The presentation night, with the annual pairs competition takes place this week. I very much enjoyed the pairs last year, the first time indeed I had quizzed in such a competition. Of course, often I quiz in a twosome but I very much enjoyed the pairs contest and hope to do a tad better this year!

Ashbrooke will also receive their winners trophy after winning the league last year. In two season I have played the league I think a different team has won all of the 4 competitions I have taken part in which bodes well for the diversity of the league I guess!


I have spent a lot of the week setting for the upcoming knockout contest that precedes the Sunderland Echo Quiz League actually. Over the summer I have been cobbling together odd pairs of questions here and there only to find when I drew up my list, I had over 160 questions (only 48 needed) so the weekend was spent narrowing it down for the set to be used on 6th August. I will of course post up the set once the games have been played.

I find setting to be a very enjoyable part of being in a Quiz League. I never thought prior to joining the League I would say that, but I would love to set League questions on a more permanent and regular basis.

One of my favourite quizzing memories of last year was setting, and presenting, a full set of questions to the League which produced 3 close games. Fingers crossed for this set.


I am still on the lookout for quizzes in South Shields to attend. I have not quite had time to hunt around the pubs as of yet but a friend who works at Red Tooth has given me some ideas of local pubs hosting quiz nights. If anyone local knows any good quiz nights within South Shields...please let me know.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Around the World in Quiz Shows #3 - The Chase USA

The Chase USA

Currently in its third season on the Game Show Network in the USA, The Chase has been a big hit since it crossed the pond. Above is the first episode of the second season (not a great deal of choice on Youtube).

I don't need to explain to you the rules of The Chase. The USA version remains the same as the original UK version with a number of minor exceptions.

1) There are only 3 players. The episodes are not shorter but there is much more chit chat and the pace of the whole show seems a tad slower. They have dropped a lot of the dramatic music, the "alarm" that rings when the player or chaser has given an answer is gone and the whole thing feels a lot less intense than the UK version.

2) Presence of the Chaser. Mark is there from the off and stays there throughout. No coming and going. I like this idea. Coupled with the visible audience and the whole "in the pit" feel of the show it gives a different feel and increases the whole "duel" element, which is of course central to the show. Mark is much more animated and more of a "deal" is made about him, if you get my drift. 

3) Cash Builder. Each question is worth $5,000 meaning there is more money at stake in this version (even taking into account conversion rates). The questions are well pitched throughout.

4) The show has a different feel to it, as mentioned above and GSN have thrown in the usual "hyping up" and "coming up trailers" which often, in the episodes I have seen, gives spoilers away. 

5) Final Chase. Time isn't wasted by saying the names of the contestants who have buzzed in. I suppose that gives the contestants a little more time in the full scale of things than in the UK version.

Overall, despite the slower pace and loss of the intensity of the UK version this is, at the core, the same Chase we know and love. 

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Around the World in Quiz Shows #2 - Millionaire Hot Seat (Australia)

Millionaire Hot Seat (Australia)

Millionaire Hot Seat is the second show in the series I am currently putting together for the Blog looking at various quiz shows around the world. Currently on air Down Under is Millionaire Hot Seat, a variation on the obvious....

The game involves a circle of players with one in the Hot Seat. They are not working together and instead are playing for a solo win. The first player sits in the seat and the game beings with the usual range of "gimmie" questions for easy money.

When the first player hits a question they don't know on Millionaire Hot Seat they can pass and in comes the next player in the circle. They cannot pass on the question the previous player passed on and thus must have a guess. Any incorrect answer and that player is eliminated! As the correct answers keep coming the money keeps building. Traditional WWTBAM money scoring starting out at £100 and ending up 15 questions later with $250,000.

The pace is fast and the questions are against a timer so there is little time to breath after the initial chats when the new contestants emerge. One thing I am learning though is that Australian TV is insane in terms of advert breaks so if you are following these series on You Tube be prepared for Aussie ads! I did try and find edited versions for the links but gave up!

So who wins this came of Millionaire musical chairs? Whoever is in the hotseat and gives the final correct answer of the show. 

My general opinion is that Millionaire Hot Seat is a fun show putting a new twist on an tried and tested theme. In the episodes I have seen there is a tactical element as people pass in the hope of coming back in the seat later when the money is bigger. It gives every episode a different feel and every game a different path. The questions soon get harder as the big money comes so there is plenty to get stuck in and I must admit to enjoying Millionaire Hot Seat very much indeed!

Another big money game show in Australian. With Million Dollar Minute reviewed last week and Millionaire Hot Seat this week, it seems Australian quizzers have plenty of big money shows to aim for!

Any thoughts on Millionaire Hot Seat?

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Ten For Tuesday

Ten Pub Quiz Questions to keep you going for Tuesday...

1. Xena Hughes, daughter of former Manchester United striker Mark Hughes, is due to represent Wales in which sport at the upcoming Commonwealth Games?

2. Under what name has Natasha Khan released her latest album "The Haunted Man"?

3. Melanza is the Italian name for what food?

4. The name of which type of pasta translates from Italian as "Big Tubes" or "Pipes"?

5. Zalando, the largest European online specialist fashion company, is based in which country?

6. Who wrote the bestseller "Chocolat", later adapted into a famous movie? Her latest title is "The Gospel of Loki"

7.Name the photographer who has been dubbed "Mary Poppins with a Camera" after a large collection of her works were discovered this week turning her into something of a posthumous icon?

8. Sally Pearson won a Gold Medal for Australia in the 2012 Olympics in what Athletics Event?

9. "The Fault in Our Stars" has been a major success at UK Box Offices recently....but can you name the author of book on which the film is based?

10. Who quit International football after captaining Germany to victory in the 2014 Fifa World Cup?


1. Hockey
2. Bat For Lashes
3. Aubergine
4. Cannelloni
5. Germany
6. Joanne Harris
7.Vivian Maier
8. 110m Hurdles
9. John Green
10. Phillip Lahm