Sunday, 29 April 2012

Ramblings on Pub Quizzes

I have no better title to this post, as its merely a ramble about recent events in a quiz that happened to me and generally the way Pub Quizzes in the UK are.

Quizzing is a funny old thing here in good old Blighty. It is perhaps the only form of ‘competitive’ activity where being good is frowned upon! I have heard this analogy before but cannot remember where (so cannot give credit to whoever posted it)…but if you had say a local golfer who spent hours every day for years practicing to try and drive down his handicap, he would be applauded. However, if someone took the same time to revise and practice for quizzes and began winning regularly in the same location, it would be frowned upon. Why is this the case?

Of course I am referring to local pub quiz scenes here. The mutual respect at the highest level of quizzing in the UK is akin to any other activity, but at a general local level below this there is definitely an issue.

Take for instance a local quiz I attend. The scores are read out at the end…..Team A have 47, Team B have 48 but the winners with 67 are Team C……cue a groan and a moan. Accusations of cheating are muttered between other teams, its always the same. In fact in most pub quizzes I go to if a similar thing happens you get the same pattern. If a local golfer wins the annual tournament by 7 shots, the rest of the players are not going to turn round and point an accusatory finger. So why does it happen in quizzes? What is it in the UK that makes being good at pub quizzes so bad and frowned upon?

One opinion I have heard mentioned before is that people go to quizzes to be entertained and would rather have some chance of a small prize than having “professionals” take the victory every week. Mastermind Champion David Clark posted on his far superior blog that a quiz he used to enter and win was changed to make it a more random affair with some style of Bingo quizzing to stop his team winning as the landlord feared other punters were being driven away. I also know people who have left certain quizzes in my old hometown and here because of the same winners every week and the gap between 1st and everyone else. One person even stated to my quizmaster friend they wouldn’t be coming back as they “wanted a fun night but the professionals spoil it”.

But surely if people going to the quiz are only there for the entertainment, as they suggest, then why does it matter to them who wins? Obviously they care about winning if they are leaving the pub quiz because they cannot win? It just does not add up!

The Eggheads and The Chase has done a lot to celebrate good quizzers of course, Clever Dicks also went out of its way to recruit the finest quiz players in the country and the likes of Mastermind and Brain of Britain still hold prestige (I suppose University Challenge and Only Connect could be thrown in their too) but generally these are seen as a world apart from the normal quizzes taking place every night around the country.

I am not in the position yet where I can regularly win a pub quiz alone or just with my other half. Being 26 a lot of older pictures and 70’s-80’s questions catch me out which is the areas I am working on. But there has been a few occasions where I have done well. Being a dedicated quizzer I always have a good chance of a placing if questions suit. But what I have found is because maybe I am 26 and quiz in a team of usually just me and my other half, everytime I do well the inevitable happens…mutterings of “cheat”!

Here is a good example for you. 15 minutes before a recent quiz I called a friend on my iphone to see if he was coming (I am not bragging about having an iphone there by the way it is important for the story later on). As always I switched my phone off before the quiz and left it in my pocket. It was one of those nights where it was “the night”. Every quizzer has these where the questions suit, the current affairs are all stories you know, the wipeout plays into your hands….its bound to happen.

I gathered earlier in the night that the team next to us were the regular winners. He gave the sheet out to them and said “I hope its challenging enough for you” and they had that air about them, regular winners do. I think the problem was here as well we were at this quiz for the first time. As I said the quiz went well. The regular winners handed their sheet in. We had a nice friendly chat to them, talked about a few questions etc.

The scores were read out….Second place was…Regular Winners (I won’t mention names) 42 points, Me and my other half 44 points. We had won, the regular winners looked around the room for who was going to collect the prize, not even considering it could be us. I got up and as I was walking back to the seat the quizmaster said “Well done to the Scrambled Eggheads” to which one of the regular winners shouted out “and their iphone!”. Totally uncalled for. For the next 20 minutes the two elderly gentlemen who had been talking to us very friendly all night simply shunned us, he sat shaking his head. Examining the answer sheets and basically or want of a better word in the huff.

I did not want to leave straight away even though I was ready to, that would add to suspicion and even though I had of course not moved throughout the night and kept my phone well away I was made to feel as if by winning I had done something wrong.

Annoying to say the least! I had done very well to beat teams of larger, older and probably more experienced players and I was made to feel unwelcome and totally out of place. Another example of good quizzing performances getting bad reactions.Being called a cheat doesn’t bother me in the sense that I know I did not cheat and won fair and square but the way in which the treatment afterwards comes its really baffling to me. It has happened on similar occasions before but not to this extremity.

Sunday Quiz

Afternoon folks! The British weather is treating us to a lovely weekend of rain so managed to get the Sunday evening quiz done a little earlier today. Answers in the comment box!

Current Affairs
1. Which former England One-Day Cricket Captain made his professional boxing debut this week?

2. Which famous tea-clipper was reopened by the Queen this week, 5 years after being destroyed by fire

3. Who resigned as Prime Minister of Holland this week?

4. Who was top of the Times Rich List which was released this week, holding onto the position since 2005?

5. The manager of Barcelona announced his intention to leave his post with the club this week. Name him?

General Knowledge

6. Guy Garvey is the lead singer with which band?

7. Jupiter is composed primarily of what element?

8. Name the British submarine which sank the Argentinian cruiser General Belgrano.

9. 1 AU is the mean distance from the earth to where?

10. The Romans called it Dubris. What do well call this English town or city today?

11. Matilda of Boulogne was the wife of which King?

12. The “Famous Players Film Company” established in 1912, was the original name for which film distribution company which is still going strong today?

13. In which annual Rugby fixture, played since 1878, do teams compete for the Babcock Trophy?

14. Who was the first Midfielder to score 100 goals in the Premier League?

15. Who wrote the lyrics and music to “Top Hat”?

16. Scarlett Johansson appears as the Black Widow in which superhero movie currently showing at UK cinemas?

17. R Kelly has been at number 1 in the UK singles charts twice. “I Believe I Can Fly” was the first. But what was his second and last UK number 1?

18. In 1944 he was played by Dick Purcell and in 1957 he was portrayed by Matt Salinger. Name the fictional character?

19. Robert Mitchum and Gregory Peck appeared in the original movie before making cameo roles in the 1991 Martin Scorsese remake. Name the film.

20. James Brunot is credited with inventing what popular board game?

Friday, 27 April 2012


Just a quick update today. It somehow passed me by but the new series of the music quiz Counterpoint has started on Radio 4. Well worth catching up on the iplayer with cracking questions as always!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Peoples Quiz

Do you remember the Peoples Quiz?

It was aired back in 2007 and featured a whole raft of the giants from the quizzing world. Have a quick check on Youtube and around Wikipedia if you need more information but the reason Im mentioning it today is that I have discovered that the BBC website for the show is still active.

The site contains actual questions used in the show and a decent little quiz game. HERE

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Getting a new quiz off the ground...

I suppose this is a question I intend for any experienced quiz masters but any suggestions at all would be useful.

Basically, a friend of mine who is a quizmaster in a few pubs in the region, decided to take on a new quiz. Despite good advertising in a popular local paper and posters in the window only one team showed up, mine! The pub made the decision to cut the quiz back a few weeks, get some interest and try again. My friend has decided he no longer wants to do this quiz on a Monday Night so I may have the option of stepping in.

However, how can I avoid the situation of what happened the first time? The pub has a reputation of being a “dead pub” somewhat but is picking up massively. It has a sports theme and offers etc on matchdays so the trade is there. However, the Monday Night Quiz has attracted little interest so far. How can I change this? What is the best ways? Any tips from people who have taken a new quiz from the ground up to be a success would be much appreciated.

I have a few ideas such as advertising it as a one off quiz at first with a decent prize or even a charity event, get a date about 3 weeks in advance, at the start of a month when people have been paid and get a poster up in the bar to catch the regulars attention.

Any suggestions would be great? Obviously making the quiz fun to help with word of mouth is a given but its initially getting those first people through the door I need advice.

I suppose this is a question I intend for any experienced quiz masters but any suggestions at all would be useful.
Basically, a friend of mine who is a quizmaster in a few pubs in the region, decided to take on a new quiz. Despite good advertising in a popualr local paper and posters in the window only one team showed up, mine! The pub made the decision to cut the quiz back a few weeks, get some interest and try again. My friend has decided he no longer wants to do this quiz on na Monday Night

Mastermind Final

For anyone who may be interested the BBC have moved this years Mastermind Final from the 4th May to the 11th May to make way for coverage of the Snooker final.

Be a Quiz Winner

I think I may have mentioned this before, but this is in reply to a few emails I have had in the last few days asking me if I know of any guide books on how to be a better quizzer. I am in no position to give the advice needed but this book by Mastermind Champion David Clark is a great place to start...

Here is a link to buy the book on Amazon (ebook but you do not need a reader, just download the free software to use on a phone or laptop)

Monday, 23 April 2012

Pub Quiz #4 Answers

1.       Butterfly
2.       Billy Wyman
3.       Matthew Webb
4.       Lynn
5.       George Gershwin
6.       St Moritz, Switzerland
7.       1988 Calgary
8.       Andrew Lloyd Webber
9.       Synchronised
10.   Geordie Shore
11.   Golf
12.   Cricket
13.   Seaplane racing
14.   Squash
15.   Gaelic Football
16.   Tony
17.   Paul
18.   Alan
19.   Tommy
20.   Duncan
21.   The connection is they are all the first names of Steven Coogan characters (Paul Calf, Alan Partridge, Tommy Saxondale, Duncan Thickett)

Sunday, 22 April 2012

“I once read a synopsis….”

I was watching an old edition of Eggheads recently and a question on literature came up which drew an interesting comment from Barry Simmons. Now, Barry Simmons is an experienced quizzer, by all accounts a nice bloke and someone who I have the utmost respect for so this is not a dig at anyway in him, just a comment he made interested me.

Barry made it clear he had never read the book in questions, but "once read a synopsis" and got the answer. He got the answer correct, won the round and of course as long as you know the answer it doesn't matter where it came from. But I am using this comment to ask other quizzers if that’s a common approach and how they find it as an effective way to learn?

Of course what we are talking about here is literature, a very broad subject and once which takes time to learn. I have always been the sort of quizzer to actually take the time to read the works, read the novels and plays etc. Of course I use reference books but mainly as a back up for knowledge and a refresher but my initial knowledge of literature comes usually from having read the book. Indeed, I use TV adaptations and films too usually after reading the book. I find this is an enjoyable way of learning and it appease the other half who at least gets to see me when I’m watching the TV versions as opposed to locking myself in the spare room.

I am going slightly of tangent and I realise reading it back this post is a little messy, but basically what I am wondering is how other quizzers go about learning the vast amounts of knowledge needed to be successful in Literature categories? Obviously full knowledge of Shakespeare, Dickens etc is a must but what about the subject in general? Are synopsis the best, time-saving way, considering reading book after book of fiction would cut into other learning time?

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Pub Quiz #4

Well folks here is another round of questions for you. Answers as usual in a few days time.

1.       A Red Admiral, a Viceroy and a Painted Lady are all types of what creature?
2.       Who was the bass player for the Rolling stones between 1962-1992?
3.       Who was the first recorded person to swim the English Channel without any aids?
4.       What is the name of Alan Partridge’s long suffering PA in “I’m Alan Partirdge”?
5.       Robert Alda played which famous composer in the 1945 film “Rhapsody in Blue”?
6.       Which was the first location to host the Winter Olympic games twice?
7.       And at which Olympic games did the famous Eddie the Eagle represent the UK?
8.       Who appeared on stage with UK entrant Jade Ewan at the 2009 Eurovision song contest?
9.       Which Gold Cup winner had to be put down after this year’s Grand National?
10.   Shown on MTV which “reality show” set in Newcastle Upon Tyne  stars Jay, Charlotte, Gary and James amongst others?

Sporting Trophies
In which sports would you compete for the following trophies –
11.   The Eisenhower Trophy
12.   Sheffield Shield
13.   Schnieder Trophy
14.   Drsyadale Cup
15.   Sam Mcguire Trophy


16.   Name the film starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, released in 2011 in which the pair encounter an alien?
17.   The first name of the astronaut who became the first American in space?
18.   Name The Who’s famous Rock Opera movie  directed by Ken Russell that was made in 1975?
19.   In Macbeth, name the father of Malcolm and Donalbin ?
20.    Whats the connection between the above answers?

Friday, 20 April 2012

Who Wants to Be a Millionaire is back....applications open!

I meant to mentioned this last week but it slipped my mind. It appears as if Who Wants to Be a Millionaire is returning in July for some Live shows in which members of the general public are getting the chance to compete for the big prize once again. After so many dull celebrity shows it is nice to see the show returning to it's routes.

Even better, no need for costly phone calls this time, applications are being taken online at

Good luck, my application is of course already in!

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Answers to Pub Quiz #3

 Hope you enjoyed the quiz! Here are the answers to the quiz I set a couple of days ago
1.       St Alban
2.       Belgian
3.       Wilfrid Brambell
4.       Christina Ricci
5.       True
6.       Murmation
7.       Colchester
8.       Edict of Milan
9.       Skiing
10.   Gemini
11.   Everything but the Girl
12.   1997
13.   Sunderland
14.   Herring
15.   Robert W. Wilson
16.   Big Brother
17.   Christmas Crackers
18.   Ashes to Ashes
19.   Mother Natures Son
20.   Famous episodes of Only Fools and Horses

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Family Fortunes Quizzes/ Rounds.....

Now, having attended a great deal of quizzes over the past few years it may be surprising that this Monday night was the first time I had actually taken part in a Family Fortunes style quiz. I know from other quizzers that this style of quizzing and using these style of rounds is very common but for some reason this week was the first time I have played in one, and to be fair I enjoyed it.

However, the important thing here is that the Family Fortunes quiz was separate from the normal quiz. I can understand the annoyance if this was included in the normal quiz as one of the rounds. Indeed, it really tests a different sort of skill in my opinion and brings more luck into proceedings. Certainly, it is easier to guess at this sort of round and pick up points.

But this Fortunes quiz came at the end of the night, after the quiz had finished and offered Beer Tokens for winners. Everybody took part and looked very keen to do so. The format was the Red tooth style, 10 questions with a double point bonus if you get the top answer in the right box. 60 points on offer and our score of 41 (same as we got in the actual quiz) was enough to take a share of the win and beer tokens.

I think this was a really well put together set from Red Tooth. There were questions I could use my quizzing knowledge to gather, a few silly ones that produced laughs and plenty of variety so everybody in the team could have a go (although only two of us on this occasion). It was a good way to end the night and especially a Monday!

I suppose two questions come from this...

Would I attend "just" a family fortunes quiz? To be honest I do not think I would go out of my way to go to a quiz that was purely based on this. Yes I enjoyed it as part of a wider nights quizzing, but unless I was already in the bar for other reasons and was offered the chance, I would not make a night of just the fortunes quiz.

Do I think Family Fortunes rounds should be included in quizzes? Again I would say no as even though they are fun they work best in a separate game as I mentioned above. I imagine say a 10 point round on family fortunes could really effect the result of a quiz and seeing how its testing a different skills and relies a lot on luck it probably serves best on its own.

Either way, I enjoyed my first family fortunes style quiz at the end of the proceedings in The Isis on Monday! What are your thoughts on these kind of rounds?

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Pub Quiz #3

Trying to keep these coming at a nice rate now, had some good responses. Tough connection this week but Im sure some people will get it.

1.       In 2006, a group of COE Clergy campaigned for which saint to replace St. George as the patron Saint of England?

2.       What nationality was the astronomer and Scientist Georges Le Matire who in the 1920’s was one of the early proponents of the Big Bang Theory?

3.       Who played Paul McCartney’s ‘grandfather’ in the Beatles film A Hard Days Night?

4.       Which actress appears in the black and white dancing scenes in Chers video for “The Shoop Shoop Song”?

5.       True or False…..alongside the Hat Tax and Window Tax, there was a Wallpaper Tax in 18th Century England?

6.       What is the collective term for a gathering of Starlings?

7.       Camulodonum was the first capital of Roman Britain. By what modern name is this city known?

8.       Name the act, issued by Constantine 1, which gave greater protection to Christians across the Roman Empire?

9.       A “Christie” is a manoeuvre is which Sport?

10.   If you were born on the day of the Battle of Waterloo, what star sign would you be?

11.   Which act had hits with “Missing” “Rollercoaster” and “Driving”?

12.   In what year was telephone voting introduced into the Eurovision Song Contest?

13.   In which city could you use the Park Lane Transport Interchange, visit the National Glass Centre and take a walk in Mowbray Park?

14.    From which fish are kippers made?

15.   Arno Penzias, along with who, devised proof of the big bang theory based on detection of cosmic background radiation?


16.   Name the TV series, the winners of which include, Brian Dowling and Craig Phillips?

17.   On the 25th December you may find jokes, hats and novelty toys in these?

18.   Name the TV series, a follow up to Life on Mars, with the lead character being played by Phillip Glienster?

   Which Beatles song contains the lyrics “All day long I’m sitting singing songs for everyone, sit beside a mountain stream, she her waters rise, listen  to the pretty sound of music as she flies”?

20.   What connects the above 4 answers?

The Quiz Addict Quiz Trek 2012 #9

The Isis, Sunderland

Since my move to Sunderland I have discovered a number of pubs I simply did not where there. From the outside it is hard to tell where The Isis is, but after one visit I certainly won't forget. I have always struggled to find a decent Monday night quiz wherever I am quizzing so its nice to find somewhere with a good crowd, good quiz and plenty going on.

The Isis has recently been reformed I am told and it shows, its a very traditional, cosy real ale pub in the city centre just enough out of the way to be outside of the bustle and bustle. They call Monday night "The Big Quiz" night as it involves so much more than just the quiz.

I must admit, when I first walked in and saw the barman setting up Red Tooth sheets I was a bit disappointed. You may have heard me mention Red Tooth before and to be honest I quite like the quizzes they produce, which I know isn't a popular opinion amongst quizzers. I was hoping for a original quiz produced by a dedicated quizmaster but nevertheless Red Tooth it was, and just like every other Red Tooth quiz I have done, I enjoyed it!

The quiz seems to be quite popular as they pack a diverse night into the proceedings. The Quiz is the Red Tooth usual with current affairs, pictures, connections, trivia trial, top 5 and wipeout rounds. Apart from some obscure current affairs questions I thought the level was quite good this week. I am always too cautious on the wipeout round though. I managed to name all 5 clubs which Teddy Sheringham had played for, managed to ace the trivia trail round and put a connection together despite failing on one answer. Did struggle on the uk "Top 3 single" with "Sun" in the title though and as I said a few current affairs round. However, considering there were only two people in the team 41/60 was a pleasing score and one we have won a Red Tooth quiz with before. Guess what won it? 42......two teams landed 42 which was a shame but we enjoyed it anyway.

On yet more positive notes about the quiz there was no cheating, no one sneaking to the loo with the mobiles etc......probably because the quizmaster said "Anyone googling will get a good beating". The tone of the whole night is light hearted and fun, ideal for a Monday! The quiz is delivered at a good pace too!

Other events to make the night fun 13-card bingo (you have 13 playing cards per team, the quizmaster goes through his deck and shouts out cards, first team to get rid of 13 win) and a Deal or No Deal game. This is a raffle and if your number comes up you have a go at a version of the game with real boxes and money. 1p to £250 being the range. An offer of £45 was made last night, but greed kicked in and 50p was won!

And the whole night ends with Fun Fortunes from Red Tooth. A family fortuned style game with prizes of beer tokens. I am going to go more into this in another post but suffice to say I did enjoy it, glad it wasn't part of the quiz normal and ended up winning and landing beer tokens for next week! 

All in all then The Isis is a great way to spend a Monday evening and is a warm welcoming, friendly and relaxed pub!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Answers to Pub Quiz #2

Hope you enjoyed it! Here are the answers

  1. Rosemary Clooney
  2. Constantine
  3. Prasutagus
  4. Sea of Azov
  5. William Herschel
  6. Table Tennis
  7. St. Alban
  8. Jedward
  9. Naypyidaw
  10. Antonine Wall

  1. 100/30
  2. 6/1
  3. 9/1
  4. 5/1
  5. 33/1

16. Bernard Cribbins
17. Polly
18. Torquay
19. Geoffrey Palmer
20. Fawlty Towers

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Quizzing Circuit GP's

A small debate arose last week on facebook between some top uk quizzers. I was very interested to read it and want to ask TQA readers their take on the issue.

Basically, the issue was about the fairest way to contest major quizzing events and what is the truer test of knowledge. For anyone who is not aware the UK has a quizzing circuit which meets once a month and contests Grand Prix events. The format of the event is paper based questions. I have not yet attended an event but have purchased question sets so roughly know what I am talking about. 240 questions I believe are to be answered on paper.

The majority in the debate felt this was a fair way to test, stating it was a true test of knowledge as there was no pressure of say a mastermind style GK round or the frustration of being beat to the buzzer.

The subject was raised whether or not some sort of buzzer round should be added to the quiz GP’s. With nearly a hundred people attending these events this would be a logistical nightmare but I’m sure the folks who organise it could manage it. Would this add anything to the quiz? As much as I enjoy buzzer quizzers it is clear that they favour the people with the best recall and speed. You could play say a 50 question buzzer quiz and know the answer to every questions but be outbuzzed by others. Is this a fair test of knowledge? I would agree with those who say not. Of course to be a top class quizzer and compete in the main broadcast quiz shows you need good speed and recall but I do not see a place for it at GP’s. I think writing down the answers on a paper based “exam”, for want of a better word, is the true test of knowledge these GP’s are supposed to represent and also fairer in terms of the rankings etc.

Those arguing the other side of the case make a good point. First off I am denying the fast paced quizzing ability needed to compete on Mastermind is a superb test of knowledge. Of course it is! But the point raised by other people was that being in a situation such as a buzzer quiz demands more attention and concentration thus produces better results. I can certainly see where this point of view comes from and to add to that a few quizzers mentioned that if they were doing bad on one set of questions they were more likely to just “give up” than if in a buzzer quiz.

A combination of the above is obviously needed to be a top quizzer but in terms of the Quizzing Circuit GP’s I would agree with the argument that paper tests serve better. Any views?

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Pub Quiz #2

Morning all! As promised Im trying to put together a few more quizzes for the blog and here is the latest one. I particualry like the connection round Ive put together here! Enjoy. Answers to be posted Monday, feel free to mention in the comments any answers or indeed if you get the connection.

  1. Name the singer and actress, auntie to a current famous Hollywood actor, who had hits with “Mambo Italiano” and  “This Ole House” as well as appearing in the movie ‘White Christmas’?

  1. Which Roman Emperor is known as ‘The First Christian Emperor’?

  1. Who was the King to Queen Boudicca’s Iceni tribe whose death prompted the rebellion?

  1. Known in Classical Antiquity as Lake Maeotis, which “sea” is bordered in the north by Ukraine and to the east by Russia?

  1. Which composer discovered Uranus?

  1. In which sport do teams compete for the Corbillon Cup?

  1. Who is the patron saint of refugees and converts?

  1. Which act will return for Ireland at this years Eurovision Song Contest hoping that their “Waterline” will better their “lipstick”?

  1. What is the capital city of Burma?

  1.  What was the name of the wall constructed approximately 100 metres north of Hadrian’s Wall in the AD140’s?

Betting Odds Slang

I am going to give you the slang terms for a series of betting odds. All I want to know is what odds those terms mean i.e. If I said Level, you would say Evens

  1. Burlington Bertie
  2. X’s
  3. Enin
  4. Hand
  5. Double Carpet


The final set of answers all link together in some way. Find the connection!

  1. Which actor, born in 1928 and an OBE,  played Wilfred Mott in Doctor Who alongside David Tennant and also appeared as Wally Bannister in
    Coronation Street
    in 2003?

  1. What does the ‘P’ stand for in the name of the musician PJ Harvey?

  1.  Where were the water sports events in the 1948 Olympic games held?

  1.  Who starred alongside Judi Dench as Lionel Hardcastle in the sitcom ‘As Time Goes By’?

  1.  What is the connection between the above four answers?

Thursday, 12 April 2012

How do you know that?!?

“How did you know that?”

“Why would you know that?”

“Where on earth did you learn that?”

I am sure that if like me, you quiz often with people not as devoted to quizzing as yourself, the above phrases have often come up. Sometimes, like me, you may even wonder to yourself where the answer to a particular question came from but usually it tends to be comments of others.

Indeed, even at times I have spoke to people who have wanted to become better quizzers. Now as a 26 year old with limited quiz experience and knowledge compared to some other quizzers I am in no position whatsoever to give advice to anyone but the odd times people have asked how I go about boosting my knowledge one tip I always give people is to never be fooled twice.

I would assume a lot of quizzers have the same approach as myself. Anytime I get a question wrong, or more importantly cannot even hazard a logical guess, that means its research time. Whether it be a question on a TV show such as The Chase or  sitting working through a quiz book I have a “little black book” (no not that) where I jot down notes on things I learn that I do not know. This black book is rather huge at present but it gives me something to work with.

Sometimes the note will be researching a small topic, sometimes it will be huge, sometimes it will be a note to watch a film or a few episodes of a TV series but either way that’s an effective way of learning for me.

Of course I do the “lists” and such like but its important to enjoy learning and this is the way I find to be most enjoyable hence why I give it as a tip to others. Hunting down one interesting fact will always lead to another.

I would love to know other quizzers tactics when they are stumped by a question and want to research further?

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Charity Shopping for Reference

It may have been obvious from previous posts, but I am a huge fan of collecting reference books. Even in this day and age when the Internet is seen to be the be all and end all of gathering and finding information, in my view, you still cannot beat researching a fact within a good reference book. How many times does looking for one fact in a book lead to the discovery of so many more? I tend not to get that with the internet where it tends to be a more simple find the fact and move on Getting lost in a good reference book is all too common for quizzers!

I have mentioned on a few occasions some of the most useful and enjoyable reference books I have come across and intend on putting something like a top 10 together in the future. But one issue people have raised with me, especially when they see my book shelf, is the cost of acquiring so many. Even though bargains can be found online, buying books new can be a costly purchase. Even second hand retailers online and places like ebay and the amazon marketplace can charge high prices for big tomes of information.

A few months back I decided to try charity shops, mainly hunting for quiz books but discovered many of the high street brands stock good quality reference books. Books that are long out of print, hard to get hold of and usually they have been well looked after and are in mint condition. As someone who never really went into charity shops previously, I was somewhat surprised. I found myself picking up great quality reference books, books I did not know existed too, for next to nothing. You can literally enter a charity shop with a tenner and get together more reference books than you can carry!

I have got the latest Hutchinsons Encylopedia just this morning for £1, mint condition. Other recent finds include Guinness Book of Knowledge for £1, a fantastic AA illustrated guide to Britain for 50p, Trevor Montagues A-Z of Sport for 50p, various quiz books for pennies and other such gems.

This may be old news to a lot of people, but for anyone with a high expenditure on books such as I have, it is well worth hunting down the book sections in your local charity shop to see whats on offer.

First time on radio....

Every Bank Holiday Monday, Alan Robson hosts a bumper quiz on his radio show up here in the north east. Alan makes constant claims about how it’s the most listened to local radio show in England etc etc, whether that’s true or not I severely doubt, but nevertheless it is very popular.

I have tried twice before to get on the show with no luck. It is as simple as phoning up and getting through but with what seems like a tiny switchboard this is harder than it sounds. So last night I tried from the start time at 10pm and was expecting a night stuck on hold but after about 20 minutes I managed to get on. There was a short wait whilst the other contestants had their turns. Surprisingly I was a little nervous!

The quiz works in a very simple way. You answer questions, get one wrong and you are out. There are spot prizes and a prize for the overall winner. It’s a 4 hour marathon with hardly any gaps so I would not like to guess how many people take part. It contains gimmicks suck as theme tunes (which I will come back to) and “sing the next line” type questions to keep people interested.

I had been doing well prior to my turn and racked up a few 8-9 questions runs but there was always the odd once to catch me out. Anyway, my turn came soon enough. I had a horrible feeling I was going to get a theme tune which so far had been obscure.

First question was an easy gimmie to settle me in. As soon as he uttered the next words “Here’s a tv theme” I was worried and sure enough I could not even hazard a guess at it. It turned out to be the theme tune to thirtysomething, a show which I know nothing about and have only ever seen listed in the tv guides. Shame. I was a bit disappointed as the next few questions would have seen me rattle up many more points but I was beaten by a tv theme. I wasn’t too disappointed at this in hindsight, rather be beat on a tv theme than a question but would still have like to rack up more points.

I did not make it until 2am to find the winning score, sleep after a bank holiday weekend was much more important.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Mastermind - Bits and Bobs

Any longer term readers may have noticed the Mastermind "reviews" after each episode have disappeared. I am still glued to the show as usual but the reason behind the reports vanishing is the fact that since moving I do not have the Internet at home yet and thus it isn’t until Monday I would get chance to do the report at the library or before work. By that time it is old news so I have dropped the feature from the site. (Shame, as it did attract a lot of traffic with people seemingly self-googling).

Anyway just a few issues that have arisen in recent weeks. First off, the show now in the semi-final stage is back to having 5 people instead of the four in the previous round. Is it just me or does the 5-person to a show seem a bit too many? I love the competitive element of the semi’s don’t get me wrong but I think having 5 people takes something away.

What tends to happen is that the scores get very close, there is little room for error and dare I say it, luck comes into it much more prominently. Gareth Kingston appeared on the show a few weeks back, a known figure on the UK quizzing circuit and a favourite to take the crown this year. Gareth ended up loosing on a tiebreak to Nick Reed. Nick has shown some excellent quizzing in previous rounds so this is by no means any disrespect to him. I am sure he will be a force to be reckoned with in the final. But Gareth seemed to be dealt a bad hand in the way he was given “long” questions and despite answering with perhaps the fastest recall of the 5 quizzers he was defeated in a tiebreak. Gareth was asked 3 less questions than Nick in the entire show, meaning if Gareth got only one of those he would have won and made it to the final. 3 questions may not seem like a lot but we are talking about fine margins here in Mastermind and it counted against Gareth.

I am using this example to question whether or not the show should go to 4 person semi finals? I do not think there is much chance of the BBC extending a 5 person semi final to 40-45 minutes so the only option to make the Semi Finals fairer in my eyes is to go to 4 person Semi Finals. This would give a more balanced playing field and help spread the scores more and give contestants more chance overall of showing what they are really made of. I have Gareth on facebook and I know this issue has caused a lot of discussion on there about his fate on the show.

Either way best of luck to Nick Reed in the Mastermind final. I know he has read the blog before and of course I mean no insult by my comments just a casual observance.

Another of my quizzing facebook friends, Gary Grant, also made the Semi Finals this year. He stormed to an impressive victory on this weeks episode and is a front runner to take the crown. But despite the victory he himself raised the issue that the last question was asked after the buzzer. We all know that “I’ve started so I’ll finish” is the famous rule from the show but Humprheys clearly had not started. The question in the end did not matter as Gary had won with an impressive total but this was the second time John Humprheys has done this this series. It could turn out to matter a lot especially in the close semi finals we have seen. I have also noticed huge differences in the speed he reads questions, going so fast sometimes he is hard to understand which cuts down recall speed as you would have to decipher what he said. Also one other point I am noticing is when he gives an answer after an incorrect one he sometimes wastes valuable seconds giving it instead of speedy responses. Obviously this is a very very trivial issue for viewers and unimportant for most, but for those in the black chair I imagine it gets annoying.

Anyway, the final is to be aired on 4th May. Nick Reed, Gary Grant and David Love have made it so far and with those three alone its going to be tough to call.

Incidentally, I have applied for the next series and was wondering if anyone had heard anything back?

Pub Quiz #1

Now everything is settled I can get back into adding some of the features to the blog I have intended to do in recent months the first being a regualr set of pub quiz questions. Just a plain set of 15 general knowledge questions for now. Answers in the comment box....

1. Who is the author of the Clifton Chronicles Saga, the second novel of which is currently in the hardback fiction top 10?

2. "Derek" which premiers on Channel 4 this Thursday is the latest sitcom wrote by and starring which controversial comedian?

3. Who is the oldest ever winner of the US Masters?

4. In 1968, which actor was elected mayor of the Californian town of Carmel?

5. In sport, if Surrey is one starting station, what is the other?

6. In 1913 Emily Davison was killed when she threw herself in front of one of the Kings Horses. What was the name of the horse?

7. "Mirror Mirror" currently showing in UK cinemas is a 'revamp' of which fairytale?

8. The "Lumia" series of mobile phones is made by which company?

9. "I Dreamed a Dream" opened at the Newcastle Theatre Royal this week ahead of a nationwide tour. With whose life is the musical concerned?

10. Which singer did Elizabeth Taylor leave to marry Richard Burton?

11. In terms of worldwide sales, what is the best selling Greatest Hits album (although it does not appear in the top 10 greatest hits albums in the uk)?

12. Who resigned as chairman of BSkyB this week?

13. The "Father of Sound", a pioneer in guitar amplification died this week. What was his name?

14. Fashion designer Gok Wan has teamed up with which high street chain to produce a series of designer glasses?

15. Which popstar stars in a movie, about to open at UK cinemas, that is based loosely on a classic board game?

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Sky Arts Contestant Call

Sky Arts, one of my favourite channels I must add, is currently looking for contestant on a new antiques show on  tv. I have seen a few things about this and it seems to be that this will be some sort of "Bargain Hunt" style show with quizzing elements.

Anyway if you are vaguely interested you can apply for the new show HERE.

Friday, 6 April 2012

One for The Chase fans....

Just a little update for any fans of The Chase. Not that it was ever in question but it seems the show has been commissioned for at least another 120 episodes. A local in the quiz I had attend has made it to the final stages of the process and filming is taking place very soon indeed.

I for one am glad to see the show going from strength to strength. Before I moved to the city centre I never had chance to watch it properly as travel made the days long but now it has become very much part of my routine and is one of the most enjoyable quiz shows on TV at present. The question setters deserve high praise for the eclectic mix of subjects and difficulties they continue to come up with!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

TV Theme Quiz

I am not sure if I have mentioned before, but I work as a tutor/teacher sort of thing and when needing some team building to get the group awake I revert to things like this TV Theme Quiz which always tend to go down well. There are stacks on Youtube. This is one I use a lot and that always goes down well so have a try and see how you do...........

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Connection Quiz Answers

Here is the answers for the most recent connection quiz.....

1 Kansas
2 Emerald
3 Dorothy Squires
4 Tin
5 The Scarecrow and Mrs King
6 Witches of Eastwick
7 Captain Henry Morgan
8 The Lion King
9 Goodbye Yellow Brick Road

10 Connection is the film The Wizard of Oz
Kansas the home state of Dorothy, Emerald City, Dorothy, Tin Man, Scarecrow, Witches, Morgan (Frank Morgan played the Wizard of Oz), Cowardly Lion, Yellow Brick Road

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The Weakest Link.....Goodbye

You may or may not have noticed that on Saturday the final ever episode of The Weakest Link was aired. I certainly did not know until I noticed a programme entitled "You Are The Weakest Link ...Goodbye" tucked away at 3.45pm on Saturday afternoon. Indeed, the show was the final ever episode with an invited set of contestants back to see the quiz show into retirement.

The show started way back on BBC 2 in 2000, then taking Neighbours spot on BBC One before gaining primetime slots around the schedules. To have a show, albeit a quiz based show, run for 12 years in this day and age is a fantastic achievement and despite being tucked away on early afternoon slots for its last run, lets not let that downplay how successful this show was.

After all, The Weakest Link coined a catchphrase, made an even bigger star of Anne Robinson and was sold all over the world. Celebrities flocked to appear on the show and there can be few TV viewers who have never seen an episode of the show.

However, the show simply had run its course. Lets face it, for many the attraction with the Weakest Link was not so much the questions and answers but the banter between Anne and the contestants. Seeing what insults the "The Queen of Mean" could throw at the contestants, who were picking for their whackiness and originality above anything else, was often the main draw. She made them sing, dance, tell jokes and tried to humiliate and belittle them on every occasion.

The Weakest Link was never about being a big money gameshow and was never something I imagine serious quizzers had in mind to tackle. In fact the most money ever won was £7,750 but the average will have been much lower. Serious quizzers would have been a little put off by the open voting in which being a good quizzer could count against you.

One annoyance and perhaps one reason the show started to dwindle was the first rounds of questions were pathetically easy and annoyingly so. It always took a few rounds to get going and even by the final the questions were not overly testing. Once and a while a good set would come out but on the whole it was on of the "easiest" shows on tv. More to the point, the main reason the show faded out was the insults and banter eventually became boring.

Either way The Weakest Link has to be considered a superb success from the BBC but like everything else this dog has had its day!