Friday, 31 August 2012

Mastermind Challenge Week 4

Doesn't seem long since I was doing this but here is the fourth set of subjects for tonight's Mastermind. Try spending 10 minutes reading the Wikipedia on each and see how well you do on the subjects....always get interesting result.

Duran Duran
Shakespeares Comedies
The Shipping Forecast
History of the Alpine Club

University Challenge Game

Has anyone bought this yet?

I noticed it by accident on Amazon today and it looks right up my street although I am hesitant to buy it without knowing if it is any good. There are a few good reviews on Amazon but would be interested to know in any TQA readers have played it?

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Book Suggestions

A few books I want to mention this week in terms of reference books to expand on quizzing knowledge and revise it. I will also include a few favourites at the bottom for new readers.

One book I have been spending time with lately since picking it up on Amazon Marketplace for pennies, is the Hardback Penguin Encyclopaedia. This is a treasure trove of goodies with good detailed entries, plenty of illustrations and factoids and generally a great book for any quizzers shelve. On Amazon I got a mint condition hardback book for around £1.75 include postage but it looks like it is going even cheaper!

And one quiz book I may have mentioned before but that is well worth looking at is the Wordsworth quiz book. Good all round questions in a wide range of formats.

Of course the quizzers bible for many and one of the most well rounded reference books on the market is the one I would urge above all others (in response to a few emails I have had this week) -

And a book I have had more use out of and that has come in more handy than most is the Pears Quiz Companion

Monday, 27 August 2012

Only Connect - Series 6 - Match 1

Only Connect - Series 6 
Round 1 Match 1

Joinees vs Draughtsmen

Well finally Only Connect is back! Perhaps the finest show on TV and with Victoria Coren back in the hot seat it was time to settle down for the first episode in what I am sure is going to be another great series. We kicked off with Joinees vs Draughtsmen

The line up's - 

Sean Gleeson
Dave James
Rachel Burns

Stephen Dodding
Andy Tucker
Iwan Thomas

Some of the names in the Draughtsmen will probably seem familiar as all have been involved in major broadcast quizzes over the past few years. Iwan Thomas is a recent Brain of Britain winner and Mastermind contestant, Andy Tucker made this years Mastermind final and Stephen Dodding was victorious on a number of episodes of Cleverdicks. All are familiar names on the UK scene and make a formidable team indeed as we saw tonight!

Draughtsmen took the first two rounds showing great knowledge and even the questions that were answered wrongly, they were along the right lines if that makes sense. 10-8 was the lead as the Joinees themselves had gave some impressive answers. Maybe the odd balancing issue here as the Windows question was far easier than anything else asked in these two rounds but that not to discredit the effort the Joinees made. What is always good about Only Connect is the eagerness of the contestants to raise ideas for answers, something you don't often see on other team based quizzes. All 6 players were giving input and it was clear this was going to be a tough battle! Its great having Only Connect back!

Onto one of the most famous parts of the show the Connecting Wall (by the way if you have got an iphone try the app!). Joinees got a full house without any real problems as did the Draughtsmen. Can anybody who has been on the show fill me in on a little the second team to take the wall know how the first team did at this point? I was going to use the phrase "put the pressure on" but that would not apply if the Draughtsmen did not know the Joinees result. Anyway I'm rambling. The Draughstmen pilloried through the wall, saw through the red herrings and landed maximum points to lead 20-18 going into the final round. Even if talk of Andy Tucker's Cherry was more than we needed :)

Cue one of the best endings to Only Connect I recall....

A quick wrong answer, coupled with the giveaway of the correct answer made the scores level immediately and the round went to and fro throughout. Both teams put together runs, the Draughtsmen had lost themselves 3 points and the most significant run went to the Joinees as they were, at point I think, 4 ahead. Sean Gleeson particularly was on fire in what looked like a rampage to victory. But good quizzers are never beaten until the bell goes and Draughtsmen stormed back to leave it 26-26 and a tie break.

Iwan Thomas, former Brain of Britain, got in ahead of rival captain Dave James to take the Draughtsmen into the quarter final! The final round is hard enough with out all that pressure and I don't envy either player. I certainly had no idea and it all seemed a sudden end to a captivating episode!

What an episode to kick off the series of Only Connect. The Draughtsmen only really got into trouble in the final buzzer round but looked very solid throughout the opening 3 rounds and will take some beating. Over eager buzzing cost both teams in the end but overall this was a high level of quizzing, congratulations to all involved and I look forward to seeing the Draughtsmen in the next round!

Welcome back Only have been missed!

University Challenge - 2012/2013 - Match 5

University Challenge - 2012/2013 - Match 5
Queen Mary, London vs Jesus College, Oxford

Queen Mary
Patrick Woodburn
Alistair Haigh
Luca Cavalli
Michale Hammond

Jesus College
Matt Hitchings
Frankie Goodway
Guy Brindley
Jonny Woodward

Another Monday night and with the return of Only Connect later in the evening this is now the first part of a cracking double header on a Monday night for us quizzing fans!

This weeks episode started with a close run contest and a controversial opening answer although a fair one with "Sherlock" marked as wrong. Also in this strange opening few moments the tiny town that I am from, Peterlee, got the second mention on University Challenge in two one of the writers from my neck of the woods?

Anyway onto proceedings and the star of the early part of the episode was certainly Matt Hitchings who was the first University Challenge player this series to really tackle the buzzer. His play early on started a lead for Jesus which built throughout the episode slowly. Queen Mary were by no means quiet though and thanks to a key buzz by Hammond and some strong team play fought back to level at 70-70 and claw their way back into the tie. There was a spare of wrong answers and deductions that cropped up here but eventually Jonny Woodward buzzed, followed by Frankie Goodway buzzing to take Jesus past the 100 mark.

Indeed Jonny Woodward seemed to dominate the latter half of the round and if you consider Hitchings had did the same early one, here are a duo who could really push Jesus forward. 135-70 before Queen Mary could blink and with 4 minutes to go it looked as good as over.Cavalli was not going to let that happen though and launched a roaring comeback and despite being well in control when the gong went a 150-120 win for Jesus sends them through.

Both teams seemed to show good all-round knowledge but failed in key areas which may prevent Jesus from being a serious threat. However with Hitchings and Woodward so strong on the buzzer (even though they will need to cut down on point cost errors) they could have more to show.

Quizzing Ambitions

Well it appears as if my round of applications to appear on TV for this year has been and gone. With only the odd long standing application in the pipeline it looks like I will have to wait. The one disappointing rejection was Mastermind as I felt the audition had went well. This has got me thinking about my Quizzing ambitions for the coming few months.

My main ambition as I have said was to appear on a TV quiz in 2012 but that does not look like happening now. Mastermind was my main hope, Brain of Britain did not bet back in touch and I assume they have already began recording, nothing came from a wave of BBC shows and I could not get a team interested in Only Connect. Mastermind, Only Connect and Brain of Britain remain the big three goals for me in terms of TV but a new contender has arrived...

Cleverdicks is a show I have been enjoying and found myself doing well on. On the whole it tests a slightly different kind of knowledge than other shows and I think it suits me more. I have often found myself outscoring winners and contestants on the show, obviously the pressure of being in the studio would make a difference, but I feel its a show I would enjoy to be part of and have a good chance at doing well on! So that is now added to the list...The Chase would also be nice. I just hope they do a new series of Cleverdicks!

Also out of nowhere I have an application form ready for Eggheads after getting a team together so that has sprang up to be a possibility.

On the plus side, the rejections and lack of response has given me more motivation to succeed next year and also it means next year I will be better prepared. This years ambition for Mastermind for instance would have been to not embarras myself, whereas when I finally get on I might be in a position to contend for a first round win!

On a side note, I quite fancy applying for Don't Blow The Inheritance show with a parent of mine. Not for the quizzing aspect or challenge but because I think it would be a really fun show to do as would Pointless.

Quiz Questions

I hope everyone is having a nice bank holiday, here are some questions to get stuck into .....(Not quite sure what has happened to numbering and format here by the way)

Which actor, who played Superman on TV and also starred in Gone With the Wind, committed suicide due to a feeling he was not progressing in his career due to being typecast as the superhero?

2.       Paul Scholes became the third most yellow carded player in Premier League History at the start of this season in the match against Everton. Who are the two players who have been shown the yellow card more times than he has?

3.       Which famous artists gained the nickname “Little Dyer” due to his father’s occupation?

4.       Christopher Sly appears in which Shakespeare play?

5.       In terms of Gold, the Assay Office Mark for Edinburgh is a castle but for which city is the Assay Mark an Anchor?

6.       Anna Travis the lead character and the series is based on novels by Lynda La Plante. What is the name of this popular ITV show?

7.       What is the nationality of the 2004 Women’s Olympic Gold Medallist for the 100m, Yuliana Nesterenko?

8.       What was the only number 1 for the Bee Gee’s, sung by themselves, in the 1980’s?

9.       Dick James had a hit single in 1956 with the theme tune to which show?

10.   Who was the famous Woodcarver who worked on Hampton Court and Windsor Palace?

11.   What was the popular nickname of the Jazz Saxophonist Edwin Adderly who died in 1970?

12.   Brunel’s Saltash Bridge runs over which river?

1.       George Reeves
2.       Kevin Davies and Lee Bowyer
3.       Tintoretto
4.       The Taming of the Shrew
5.       Birmingham
6.       Above Suspicion
7.       Belarussian
8.       You Win Again
9.       Robin Hood
10.   Grindling Gibbons
11.   Cannonball
12.   Tamar

Mastermind Challenge - Week 4

Its getting closer to Friday and that means its closer to the next episode of Mastermind. As per the challenge I did not get chance to do it myself last week but certainly will be this week.

Subjects will be -

Duran Duran
Shakespeare's Comedies
The Shipping Forecast
History of the Alpine Club

Apart from Shakespeare I will need to read up on the others to get any points at all I think so should be an interesting one this week!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Quiz Questions

Its been a while since I posted up any questions but I do have a stack waiting to go on the blog. Hope you enjoy these ones and over the next few weeks expect some regular question sets over the next few weeks. Answers in the comment box as usual!

 1.  Let Us Know Praise Famous Men, for which James Agge wrote the text, was a collection of     pictures of sharecroppers by which famous Photographer?

2.       The Adironack Mountains lie mainly within which US State?

3.       Which famous artist entered a sculpture of a urinal, known as Fountain into an exhibition?

4.       What was the name of the breakthrough steam-powered, bat-wing aeroplane which made the first powered take off in history but could not be steered and flew only around 50m?

5.       What is the second largest river in Italy, after the Po?

6.       Lorengau is the chief town on which island?

7.       What role links Richard E Grant, Marius Goring and Anton Rogers?

8.       The Strait of Otranto separates the Adriatic Sea from which other sea?

9.       Torquay United, Rotherham United and which other English Football league team are the only three in the league to have all five vowels in their name?

10.   Which Roman Emperor was killed at the Battle of Adrianpole by the Visigoths under Fritigern in 378AD?

11.   Who was the first actor to play Superman on Television?

12.   And also who is the only person to play both Lois Lane and Superman’s mother?

13.   Who was the creator of Captain Pugwash?

14.   Who was married to Lady Hysteria, fleed his debt ridden Crumblecreek Castle and had children called Sue and Sim?

Mastermind 2012/2013 - Episode 3

A few days late this week due to a combination of a leaving do and an afternoon spend in the pub whilst yesterdays Sunderland game was called off...But anyway Mastermind continued with heat 3 of the first round on Friday

Mastermind 2012/2013 Heat 3

This weeks contestants.....

Roland Mcfall
Graeme Marley
Sarah Le Fevre
Aidan Mccquade

And we got underway with a subject about the band, one of my favourites actually, Radiohead. Roland Mcfall started well and made it clear he was not going to guess and was passing anything he did not now very quickly. A tactic that has both its upsides and downsides. Throwing a few wrong answers in there cost a few points which Roland looked disappointed to get wrong and his score of 10 set him up for a chance of progression.

Graeme Marley next on Sherlock Holmes and he made a solid start too but fell into a pass cycle on three very long questions, taking a heck of a lot of time from the round. The questions here were very long and if anyone has the stats about amount of questions face I would love to know. A mixture of long questions and a handful of passes though did not stop Graeme taking a score of 10 into the GK round. A tough round I felt but then again I am by no means a Holmes expert.

With two contestants on 10 there was a chance for Sarah Le Fevre to gain a lead with her subject of The Goodies. Despite a nervy start Sarah settled into well, got a good pace of answering going and managed to give herself a good score of 13 moving into a lead.

Aidan Mccquade on Michael Collins rounded off the Mastermind SS round for this week and it didnt take him long to get going. I always think going last would be more nerve racking but I suppose at least there was a target to aim for. Indeed it did not seem like Aidan would take long to get there as he raced to double figures. Very calm and confident and my pick for the win after the first round, helped of course by the score of 15. This know seemed to make it a two way battle between himself and Sarah Le Fevre but you never know. Roland and Graeme would need something special in GK to get the win!

So, the standings after the Mastermind Specialist Subject round...

Aidan Mccquade - 15
Sarah Le Fevre - 13
Graeme Marley - 10
Roland Mcfall - 10

First out then was Roland Mcfall, the youngest of the contestants I would have thought, to tackle GK and scored 13 on what I thought was the easiest set of the night. This is by now means to be disrespectful to Roland as a score of 23 is always good, but I just thought there were a lot of "gimmies" in here. Still you can only answer what you are given and Roland coped well and set the bar for the others.

Graeme Marley next knowing at least 13 was needed but he had a rough start. Definitely a tougher set here for Graeme but towards the end a rush of correct answers managed to take him over the 20-point mark and ending with a score of 22 meant Roland still had the lead.

Sarah Le Fevre next and a bad start for her answering only 1 of the first 9-10 questions. This combined with the taking of time answering some questions but her out of contention by the time the half way point of the round was reached. In a normal quiz Sarah may well have done better with this set but perhaps it was the pressure of the chair. She clearly knew some of the answers she did not get right and I suppose once the confidence goes it is tough to recover. She finished with 19 points gaining  6 in her GK round.

So Aidan needed at least at 8 to have a chance of winning. A couple of passes early on could not distract from the path to the next round just pipping out Roland by the looks of things but a late round struggle. Have to feel a bit sorry for Roland as loosing by only a point is a shame and 23 is unlikely to be enough to progress. 24-23-22 as the top three scores makes it one of the closest episodes of the series but the lowest scoring one so far with the winners score being (I think also based on passes) only the 7th highest of the series (I may be wrong). But then again the object is the win the heat and that is what Aidan Mcquade did.  Of course I mean no offence here in case anyone of the contestants is reading this.

The finals standings of this weeks Mastermind as follows...

Aidan Mccquade - 24
Roland Mcfall - 23
Graeme Marley -22
Sarah Le Fevre - 19

Congratulations to Aidan Mcquade and the best of luck for the next round! So after that episode we have the table so far looking like this...

Gregory Spiller - 32
Sian West - 26
Aidan Mccquade - 24

Runners up
Chris Cann - 29
Nathan Joss - 26
Rosalind Winter - 24
Andrew Granath - 24
Roland Mcfall - 23
Graeme Marley -22
Sarah Le Fevre - 19
Matthew Clarke - 18
Nathan Scott - 18

Only Connect returns tomorrow!

Eventually the new series of Only Connect starts on BBC 4 Tomorrow Night at 8.30pm (right after University Challenge)......Its been too long! If you have never seen this show then it certainly is worth tuning in for. Top class quizzing at its finest! 8.30pm BBC Four!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

What is acceptable as a "Sport" in a quiz?

This debate first came up on facebook regarding the inclusion of questions about WWE/UFC in the Sports and Leisure round of the latest Grand Prix event. In case you are unfamiliar with the GP circuit, then suffice to say it involves top UK quizzers meeting every month for a 240 question quiz (of which 40 of the questions are on Sport). It started a whole debate about whether it was right to include what some people called a "minor" sport or what some people called "entertainment not sport". Either way it has got me thinking....What is acceptable in a Sports Round in a quiz?

Lets start with the standard Pub Quiz. Chances are every quiz you go to will include sports questions, its part of general knowledge and has a right to be so. Many of the quizzes which have themed rounds will often contain one on Sport. But where do you draw the line over what is acceptable? Football and Recent Events take precedents over anything else it seems but what other sports are "fair" to include? 

Many players who struggle in other rounds of the quiz may be a genius on sports. Indeed, the depth of sporting knowledge out there is vast without people even knowing the level they possess. I have seen people with poor general knowledge whiz tough sports round, even people who are bad general knowledge players have appeared on and got to latter stages of Sports Mastermind. It is one of the few, if perhaps the only, major quiz category that this could apply to.

I guess the first thing to do is cater for you audience. If you get a crowd of mainly young players then questions on 1970's Grand National winners will never be popular but that sort of question may be loved by others who were alive and interested in racing in that era. Knowing your audience applies to any round for any quizmaster anywhere..

But what about the more common mixed audience? What sports are best and worst to include? And indeed what is a sport and what is not a sport?

My view on the whole WWE/UFC issue is simple. They are far far popular than most of the sports asked about on GP papers. Indeed on the vast majority of serious quizzes the vast majority of sports questions tend to be from less popular sports than these two. UFC is Mixed Martial Arts in case you were not aware and that industry is close to drawing larger weekly crowds than every sport apart from Football and possibly Rugby. Last year viewing figures were only topped on ESPN UFC's coverage by Premier League football. Despite it not being "respectable" or "admirable" in some people's eyes, that should not exclude it from quizzing as it is a legitimate sport. Again it does depend on audience but a UFC question in any serious quiz should not have people turning their noses up at it in my view and I am not only saying that due to being a fan, because I am not, its just the case of modern day sports not being represented in quizzing generally.

WWE is a different kettle of fish and this is something I am a fan off. Say what you will about Professional wrestling but it has stuck with me as a child. Then it was all about heroes and idols, now as an adult its a good form of escapism and something I am interested in on more than one level.  Of course "WWE" is Sports entertainment, scripted and more akin to a weekly soap which raises the issue of whether it should be in Sports and Leisure or TV?

To deny WWE a place in a serious quiz based on snobbery is wrong. I am not saying it should be in every single quiz on every single show, but it should be considered. Saying that a recent GP question I found on WWE to be way too niche to be fair....

We are talking about one of the biggest entertainment companies in America and Worldwide, viewing figures in the UK that regularly beat all other sports but football, PPV's that outsell any other Pay-Per-View sporting events, a TV show that holds all kind of records. Regardless of whether you are a fan or not, I have yet to hear a reasonable argument to why this should not be considered usable for any sort of quiz on a serioius level.

A pub quiz is quite different though, as the reaction to asking a question on "wrestling" may not be too great....

I ended up on a rant there about WWE/UFC which I did not intend to but nevertheless it raises some interesting points about sports rounds in quizzes. I would be intrigued to read any thoughts on the issue?

Friday, 24 August 2012

Book of the Week: DK World Philosophy

I have recently spent a lot of time with the  DK World Philosophy reference work and after enjoying it very much felt the urge to give it a mention this week. The DK series, particularly the Eyewitness companion series, has often been a favourite of mine and my bookshelf is littered with copies of the various titles.

The books are always colourful, accurate, easy to suggest and marvellously laid out and really any quizzer would benefit from having any of the titles on their shelf. I have certainly learnt and revised a lot from them.

Philosophy is a tough area but one which a serious quizzer must get to grips with and this book serves not only as a great primer but also as a great in depth research tool. Its the best of hate bunch in terms of titles on the subject I have seen and is a joy to read!

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Mastermind Challenge - Episode 3

Just a quick post to mention the specialist subjects on Mastermind tonight for anyone wishing to take part in the Mastermind Challenge.

Sherlock Holmes Stories of Doyle
The Goodies
Michael Collins

I am a Radiohead fan so will look forward to that set and known a bit about Holmes but Ill certainly benefit from some work on the other subjects.


Every quizzer at some point will suffer from what I have termed (although I am sure I have heard it before) "Quiz-stipation". Where that answer that is oh so obvious gets stuck somewhere in the realms of the mind and just will not come out! How do you approach this when it happens?

Usually it never happens, for me anyway, on tough questions. Its always the ones I have known for years and sometimes even the chestnuts where an answer just won't come to mind. In  quiz there is nothing more frustrating than when the answers are being read out and you know you have had a bout of Quiz-stipation.

It has happened to me a few times recently. It happened on the second question of a quiz and I spent an hour trying hard to remember it, almost ignoring the other questions in the process. It still did not come! However, when it happened early on next time I left it to stew a little and the answer popped up to the front of my mind.

In honesty, my one big fear about my first Tv appearance, whenever that will be, is getting a bout of Quiz-stipation!

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Bubble Tree Quizzes - Interview

You may have noticed last week's site of the week was Bubble Tree Quizzes, a fantastic resource for finding and buying pub quiz questions whatever your needs. The site can be found HERE and Gary, the  owner of the firm, has taken some time to answer a few questions about the company and quizzing in general.

What was the idea behind setting up Bubble Tree Quizzes?

Rather appropriately, the idea for Bubble Tree Quizzes came about when I was taking part in a pub quiz!

It was a Sunday night back in 2005 at our local pub. Martin, one of my teammates, had been involved for many years in compiling and running monthly quizzes for another local pub, while another, Alex, had just been put in charge with running a one-off quiz for his golf club. So the pre-quiz conversation was centred around what makes a good pub quiz. Martin was confident that the quizzes he compiled were better than the quiz we were about to take part in (which the pub bought in rather than compiled themselves). However, he did say that his quizzes took a look of time and effort and sometimes when he was running out of time, but still had one or two rounds to do, he would use some questions from his stash of quiz books or even buy a quiz from the web just to use a few rounds . After the quiz we also had a chat with Paul, the landlord of the pub we were in, and he explained how he had tried compiling his own quizzes using free quiz sites on the web, but that it too long as they would often contain errors and he would have to spend a lot of time checking them.

My day job was in IT and in my spare time I had recently set up an e-commerce site for another friend to sell baby clothes, so we talked about the possibility of setting up a similar site. Rather than sell physical goods, this would sell quiz material that customers could download, print and use in their pub quizzes.

I spent the next few weeks getting advice from a variety of experts and once I was confident that it would be possible to turn our basic idea into a reality, we spent a few months working out our business model. Having a colleague who already ran a pub quiz was ideal to try out various ideas, and we soon came up with a basic format for our weekly quiz that proved very popular. We also came up with the idea of grouping a number of quiz rounds of the same type together and selling these as quiz packs, which we thought would be useful for customers like Martin who like to compile quizzes to their own format, but often need a few extra rounds when they were running out of time. Finally, we knew that we would also be able to provide custom quizzes to order, so a customer with a requirement like Alex's quiz for his golf club would be able to contact us to tell us what they want and we could quote them a price.

It took a lot of time and hard work and there were a few false starts, but we were always confident enough in our quiz material to be able to see things through. After going part-time with my other job, our website went live in the summer of 2006 and we haven't looked back since.

When did quizzing first appeal to you?

From a young age, I was always a fan of solving puzzles, right back to watching TV shows such as The Adventure Game. I enjoyed watching TV quiz shows through my teenage years, and as soon as I was of legal age (!) I was taking part in pub quizzes at least once every week.

Do you prefer setting or answering?

It's difficult to say as I really do enjoy both and the satisfaction of setting a good question is actually very similar to the satisfaction of answering one.

Setting a good quiz question involves spending time researching a subject and then working out how to turn an interesting fact into a question. Just like answering a good question, it involves the same "Eureka" moment, and if pushed, I'd have to say I prefer setting questions. It really is very satisfying when you come up with an interesting and challenging question that you know pub quiz goers will be spreading around the office the next day.

Earliest quiz memory?

Thinking back to my early days of taking part in pub quizzes, there weren't many victories to mention, but there is one that stands out.

Every Tuesday night we would turn up to the same pub quiz and on the few rare occasions we finished as high as mid-table, we'd be congratulating ourselves for days to come! However, one night we got off to a great start, confidently coming up with answers to the first few questions without any hesitation. It didn't take us much longer to realise that the quiz was exactly the same as a quiz we had taken part the previous week in another pub in a neighbouring town! Did we do the honest thing, own up to this and withdraw our team from the quiz? Unfortunately not! As pub quiz novices who had never even come close to winning, we seized our opportunity with both hands and won by a landslide! Smart phones hadn't been invented yet, so the puzzled looks on the locals faces were something to behold, though we did feel a bit guilty when walking up to collect the beer tokens that were awarded for first prize.

Another early pub quiz memory is being asked "What is camponology the study of?". I knew the answer, but a teammate, who I knew did this when she was younger didn't. I told her that she should know this as she used to do it and without any hint of irony, she replied "It rings a bell, but I really don't know"!

Any TV quizzing experiences to share?

Not for me personally, but one of my colleagues, Duncan, has appeared on Fifteen-to-One twice. He puts his early exit on his first appearance down to being "nominated to death", but on his second appearance a few years later, he made it to the final three. Unfortunately, he only came third, though he's still very proud of his photo with William G. Stewart and his fellow finalists!

Why should customers choose Bubble Tree?

I could bore you by going into detail on things like our customer service, our low prices and our huge variety of material available. However, I think the main reason that customers keep coming back to Bubble Tree Quizzes is simply the quality of our product.

All of our quiz material is produced by genuine quiz enthusiasts who know exactly what it takes to compile a good quiz. From small details such as obtaining a suitable graphic to illustrate a handout round to large scale decisions such as deciding on the format of our weekly quiz, we always spend time and effort to make sure our quiz material is to the highest possible standard both in terms of content and presentation. 
If you were on Mastermind what would your subject be?

An embarrassing answer to finish with, but I'd have to say the Eurovision Song Contest! I only had a passing interest in it when I was younger, so I'm sure the time spent researching it and setting questions on it has built up my fascination towards it and even though this a bit tongue-in-cheek, it's still my number one guilty pleasure!

Book Suggestion: The Importance of Being Trivial

I may have mentioned this book on here before but it has came up in discussion again this week so thought I would mention it one more time. After all, its a nifty little title. Most of the books I suggest are reference or quiz question based books but this is something different. Mark Mason takes on the world of trivia, although strangely no mention of the quizzing circuit, looking for the best facts, the most interesting titbits and trying to find the "Perfect Fact". Its a fun, easy read with plenty to keep you turning pages and makes you think about the nature and extent of Trivia.

Also fun to see if you know "The Perfect Fact" and how much of the Trivia that he mentions you already know.

Definitely worth a read and ideal as a gift for that quiz lover in your life too..Link to buy below

Quiz Questions

Here are another batch to test your...answers below.

1. Which US President officially abolished slavery with the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863?

2. What do the initials BWA stand for in the name of this airline?

3. Who was the author of Uncle Tom's cabin?

4. Who sand the theme tune to the 1960's TV show "Adam Adamant"?

5. What format of music album first outsold Vinyl in 1999?

6. Reading lies in what English county?

7. Ugarit was an ancient port city in which nation?

8. Who are the only two players to have accumulated more yellow cards in Premier League History than Paul Scholes?

9. What is the capital of the Abkhazian republic?

10. A Victory at which battle in 338bc saw Phillip II of Macedon because supreme in Greece?

1. Lincoln
2. British West Indian Airways
3. Harriet Beecher Stowe
4. Kathy Kirby
5. Minidisc
6. Berkshire
7. Syria
8. Lee Bowyer and Kevin Davies
9. Sukhumi
10. Chaerona

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Don’t Blow The Inheritance

Don’t Blow The Inheritance - Episode 1

Don’t Blow The Inheritance began its run in the 5pm ITV slot last night. It does not seem long since this game show was calling for contestants so I was surprised to see it on this soon, but nevertheless anything is better than Tipping Point.

The show is fronted by Tim Vine who is a bit hit and miss as a comedian, and now as a presenter, for me but he is fine is this role. The basic concept is that offspring enter the contest with one of their parents. The parents rack up cash and the final round is all dependant on the offspring. It’s a good idea and in terms of format it works!

The first round is a very simple cash builder. Questions are asked and the offspring buzz in if they think their parent knows it. The parents are sitting behind to avoid cheating. To be honest, I think this makes Don’t Blow The Inheritance a unique game show in some ways. Notice how I am not calling it a quiz show. I certainly enjoyed it and even though they play a lot on the facial expressions of parents and there is far too much idle banter in the first 20 minutes, Don’t Blow The Inheritance did not get off to a bad start in my view.

After one pair are eliminated in round one Don’t Blow The Inheritance moves onto to a second round…a list round! Huzzah! I love a good list round and this was by far my favourite part of Don’t Blow The Inheritance. The offspring chooses the category from a list, the parent guesses as many of the ten as they can (Top ten ITV shows etc) with £1,000 for each.

Again one pair is eliminated and the following round involves 3 clues to an answer….the offspring can buzz in any time. The questions on this part of Don’t Blow The Inheritance were a bit hit and miss. Some were really good that had me thinking, others were much easier. But again, this round was not so bad.

The final round to Don’t Blow The Inheritance adds a unique twist. The team this week had amassed £16,000. All the offspring has to do is answer 5 questions….if they answer 5 in a row, they win all the money they have gained. As soon as they get one wrong the countdown starts and the money ticks away until 5 are answered right. I think around £4,000 was won last night after a spat of wrong answers. The questions in the final round were pretty straight forward but they did throw in a few curve balls to ensure the first show saw the dramatic ticking down.

First off, as I always say about these kind of shows, Don’t Blow The Inheritance is not aimed at me. As you know I much prefer the more serious quizzes but that is not to say I don’t have time for this. Give me a good tea time gameshow and I’ll watch it day after day. Will I stick with Don’t Blow The Inheritance? Well there was nothing in it to put me off. Although the questions were at times on the easy side, the format was good and the only really downside is all the idle banter throughout the show.

I think Don’t Blow The Inheritance will get a place on my daily Sky Plus Records so I can skip through the chit chat and watch the question rounds. I love list rounds so Ill be keeping an eye on that.
Don’t Blow The Inheritance then has not made a bad start at all, certainly leagues ahead of Tipping Point and I will certainly give it another chance!

University Challenge 2012/2012 - Match 4

Durham vs Strathclyde 

Bit of a biased review today as a History graduate from Durham I always like to see them do well. 

Line ups - 

Phillip Ferry
Katie Vokes
Richard Thomas
Dominic Everett Riley

Michael Dorozenko
Juliette Hyslop
Mark Nealon
Bruce Wareham 

Like most fans of University Challenge, I prefer episodes which are closely fought contestants. It became clear after around 7 minutes of this weeks show that this was not going to be the case. Durham carried out a whitewash to move into the second round! I am pleased for Durham of course but would have much  preferred a closer battle. 

Everett Riley started the ball rolling with various buzzes and before long the lead was 80 to minus 5. This continued to grow as Vokes started to come into the game and Richard Thomas lead the team well. Sadly, Strathclyde were mere observers and for most of this show their only contribution was a wrong buzz. 

The lead grew and grew and it was getting to be a hard watch as I felt sorry for Strathclyde. They never got a real chance to prove their knowledge so it was hard to say whether this was the fact that Durham were too good, or Strathclyde were poor. Either way Durham were bagging pretty much every buzz!

As it got to 155-10 Wareham finally buzzed for Strathclyde and they got a score. It started a mini landslide of points as Doroszenko managed his own hat trick of buzzes to take the score to a final 245-70!

Durham therefore move into the next round. It will be interesting to see how they perform under pressure as for much of this match they were at ease answering the questions.  

Site of the Week - Bubble Tree Quizzes

Bubble Tree are one of many companies out there competing for business in a market full of quiz writing firms but I thought they would feature as this weeks Site of the Week!

I came across Bubble Tree through an online advert and after having a look round the well designed, and user friendly site I decided to try some of their quizzes. I certainly did not regret it! Not only are the prices at Bubble tree amongst the cheapest on the market but they also provide some of the freshest, most original content. Every question had my full attention, old chestnuts were avoided and in essence I felt I had great value for money!

As I often get asked for sites to use for the best quiz questions, Bubble Tree certainly comes into mind and it caters for special occasions too with your needs first.

There is a great diversity in the styles, themes and rounds with all the basic formats (connections etc) covered as well as new and fresh ideas. If you are a quizmaster looking for a way to freshen up your quiz and try something new, Bubble Tree have it sorted!

The contact with the team has also been superb with questions answered straight away and with the site constantly being added to everything is up to date and fresh.

You can find the site at HERE and we will have more from Bubble Tree in the coming weeks!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Rob Hannahs Quiz Site

Rob Hannah is one of the top players on the quiz scene in the UK and has been for many years and chances are you have seen him on one of the many TV shows on which he has appeared. Most recently a run of wins in the first episodes of Cleverdicks.

Anyway Rob, an experienced and fantastic setter, has started a new site where he will be placing fortnightly questions for you to test yourself and (if you are going) prepare for the EQC.

The Link is HERE

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Book Recomendation: Breverton's Encyclopedia of Inventions

I picked up Breverton's Encyclopedia of Inventions not having heard of it before and am using it as this weeks suggestion for essential reference titles as I have found it to be a treasure Trove of information for quizzers of all abilities. Its a quirky yet solid piece of work that comes in Hardback, available for a good price at the link on Amazon below, and will make a good addition to any quizzers bookshelf.

It not only gives information about all the inventions you need to know as a quizzer but adds stories, arguments and raises fresh ideas and claims about said inventions. It certainly both had me hooked and expanded my knowledge and is well worth of its place in this series of book suggestions!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Mastermind 2012/2013 - Heat 2

This week has flown by and already it was time for the new series of Mastermind to continue. With some interesting special subjects tonight, I was very much looking forward to the episode as usual.

The contenders on tonight's Mastermind were...

Sian West
Mathhew Clarke
Nathan Scott
Andrew Granath

Sian was first in the chair with Billie Holiday as her specialist subject. I already knew a little about her but doing some reading this afternoon I was intrigued at the sort of life Holiday had! Sian sat with a smile on her face throughout the round, clearly happy to be in the Mastermind chair, and she gave a string of confident answers to set the bar at 12.

Matthew Clarke had one of the oddest rounds I have seen in a while. He managed 9 points on the subject of Eddie Mercx but could and should have had more. He failed on the "gimmie" questions they always throw into the round but managed the tough ones that are intended to separate the contestants. Matthew did well though to post a score that kept him in contention but those missed gimmies were always going to prove costly.

Next up, Nathan Scott on Wittingenstien and a tough sounding set here with Nathan managing 7 points. It is always going to be hard to win a heat with a score in this region and to be fair Nathan certainly had "longer questions" than the others meaning he had less chance to score.

Andrew Granath was last and took the subject of Gladstone well scoring 13 to give him the lead after round 1. A good set of questions here too and with Gladstone being a strong are of my own I felt Andrew did well with a set that did not include many "easy" points!

So after round one of Mastermind Heat 2 -

Andrew Granath - 13
Sian West - 12
Mathhew Clarke - 9
Nathan Scott - 7

Into the heart of the show, General Knowledge. Nathan kicked us off with an uphill struggle to make it into the next round. Throughout the round I had the feeling that Nathan knew the answers but just could not bring them to the fore of his mind. Recall is often hampered by pressure and Mastermind is a lot of pressure and Nathan seemed at a loss. There were no wild guesses which backs up the fact that with a pen and paper in a relaxed room he would have probably done far better. Scoring 11 and bringing his total to 18 was surely not enough. This was actually the second best GK round of the night only bettered by the winner.

And indeed 18 was the same score achieved by Matthew Clarke who matched his 9 from the first round. A tougher set here I thought and again he followed the same pattern as the first round, missing some gimmies and getting tougher questions. Maybe it was the pressure of the Mastermind chair but a score of 18 is something to be proud of on Mastermind.

It was now down to a two way battle and Sian West was up again. A smile on her face throughout which you rarely see on Mastermind and a storming 14 got her total to 26. This would be tough to match! Sian was one or two letters off getting other answers as well so she really could go much further now she has the experience of the chair. A fantastic spurt of answers towards the end could prove.

Andrew needed 14 to in and made a good start but again, as so many Mastermind contestants do, he fell into a pass cycle and ended up leaving himself with a tough last minute. Showing impressive knowledge throughout but scoring 11 on the round was not enough as his total of 24 meant Sian had won it

Mastermind Heat 2 Final Standings

Sian West - 26
Andrew Granath - 24
Mathhew Clarke - 18
Nathan Scott - 18

So congratulations to Sian who will provide anyone with a stiff test in the next round and as for runner up Andrew, without meaning any disrespect this was a rather low scoring game so getting into the next round with 24 looks like a tall order.

Another enjoyable week on the road to finding the next Mastermind!

Rankings for the series based on the two episodes

Gregory Spiller - 32
Sian West - 26

Runners up
Chris Cann - 29
Nathan Joss - 26
Rosalind Winter - 24
Andrew Granath - 24
Mathhew Clarke - 18
Nathan Scott - 18

The table already shows signs of the the importance of being in the right heat. Both Chris Cann and Nathan Joss would have made the next round had they been on display tonight!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Mastermind Challenge Week 2

Did anyone take part in the Mastermind challenge last week? I did on a few of the subjects and found the results again to be surprising with me gaining much more points based on just 10 minutes reading the Wikipedia page for each entry than usual than I would have done. I did not research all 4 subjects last week due to the fact that I already knew a lot about two of them but this week is different....

This weeks subjects for the episode on Friday will be....

Billie Holiday
Eddie Mercx
Ludwig Wittenstien

I know the basics but this will be a very interesting week for the challenge. If you are unsure what I am banging on about then seek out last weeks post entitled Mastermind Challenge for the jist.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Book Recommendation: Oxford Concise Encyclopaedia

Every quizzer is going to have a different approach to learning and reading. I like to keep mine varied and enjoy having a stash of encyclopaedia's on my book shelf to dip into now and then.

I recently have been using "The Oxford Concise Encyclopaedia" which I picked up in good condition from the Amazon Website.  This is a paperback based, "standard size", Encylopaedia which I have found contains great levels of detail, interesting facts and a whole range of useful information. I often find that some Encyclopaedias go way overboard and some "Concise" ones seem to miss out too much.

This book seems to have struck the perfect balance and as a result it makes it perfect both for spurts of Quiz revision and also for learning new facts. For that reason I would recommend it for any quizzer as a useful and enjoyable addition to your bookshelf....

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Quiz Questions

A Few teasers for you this afternoon. Some old chestnuts, some that hopefully will get you thinking....Answers as usual in the comment box

1. Launched by the Chinese in 2012, Kuafa is the first space mission dedicated to the study of what?

2. Which planet has the greatest “escape velocity” (force needed to break through gravitational pull)?

3. What element on the surface of Mars gives it the red appearance?

4. The Olduvai Gorge, site of the first stone tools to be used by humans as discovered by Louis Leaky in the 1930’s, lies in which Country?

5. Which club drew 2-2 with Rangers Newco in their first game since demotion to the Scottish Third Division?

6. The Vridi Canal links the former capital of what country to the sea?

7. What is the second largest city in Denmark?

8. If the Russians call it a “Schoty” and the Japanese call it a “Sorobon”, what do the British call it?

9. What was the real first names of Abbott and Costello?

10. In what year was the Matrimonial Clauses Act passed in Britian which transferred the rights for dissolution of marriage from the church to the Kings Courts? Was it 1557, 1657, 1757 or 1857?

11. Who were the second league club in English football to lay artificial turf?

12. Who wrote the poem “St. Simeon Stylites”?

13. Which Danish Novelist wrote titles which in English are “Sons of the Rye” and “Children of Wrath”?

14. In which English County would you find Longholme Island?

15. What was the name of the BBC’s follow up series to A for Andromeda?

16. In what year was the Aberfan mining disaster?

17. Who won the 2012 Eurovision song contest with the song “Eurphoria” by Loreen?

18. What was the northern most stadium in England to host Olympic football at the 2012 games?

19. “Mid Morning Matters”, a comedy show set entirely with a Radio station at North Norfolk Digital Radio station, is the latest series to star which comic creation?

20. At the 2012 Olympic Games Close Ceremony, which female singer performed a duet with Queen?

Guest Quiz: Wrexham Quiz League

I am very happy this week to have a guest quiz to give my readers challenge! It comes from The Wrexham Quiz League's own Dave Jones who has put together a fifteen question quiz on Wales. I enjoyed having a go at these questions myself so here they are with answers in the comment box.

The site with various other question papers can be found HERE

My thanks to Dave!

1.  Which Welsh town hosts the International Eisteddfod every year?
2.  Name all three National Parks found in Wales
3.  Which Welshman, in April 1926, broke the world landspeed record in his car "Babs"?
4.  Which river runs through the centre of Cardiff?
5.  Who is the Welsh comedian/singer who had albums in the 1970's such as "Live at Treorchy" and "We all had Doctor's Papers"?
6.  The A5 road built by Thomas Telford runs between London and which Welsh town?
7.  On which date does Wales celebrate St David's Day?
8.  The first English Prince to be invested with the title "Prince of Wales" grew up to become which King of England?
9.  If you were enjoying a "Welsh Rarebit" basically what would you be eating?
10. How many times this century have Wales won Rugby Union's "Triple Crown"?
11. In which Welsh town is the National Library of Wales situated?
12. The population of Wales is approximately how many millions?
13. At which Welsh golf course was the 2010 Ryder Cup held?
14. "The Prisoner", a cult TV drama from the 1960's was filmed in which unique Welsh village which still attracts fans of the programme?
15. The National Assembly for Wales comprises how many members - 40, 60, 80 or 100 ?

University Challenge 2012/2013 - Match 3

University Challenge - 2012/2013 - Round 1 - Match 3

Wadham Oxford vs Bristol

As sad as I am to see the Olympics end, one minor consolation is the return of University Challenge which is still in the early stages of its run. 

Wadham Oxford
Alistair Smount
Jonathan Hall
Jonathan Stanhope
Oliver Forrest



James Xiao
Andy Suttie
Will Brady
Madeline Fforde

Wadham were introduced as the youngest team of the series at an average age of 19, compared to their opponents 26, and I had a horrible feeling that may count against them!

The contest between these two universities got into its stride early and the pattern remained. By the time Bristol had a 35-10 lead, powered by Will Brady who used the thinking time to get a good answer early on rather than buzz in with a guess, the pattern was set. Bristol kept this lead and never looked back. The gap remained the same throughout much of the first half of the show with both teams really failing to make full use of bonuses.

The last episode had particularly tough questions and without meaning any disrespect to the players tonight, this weeks was much easier but the teams struggled to cope. A lot of failures to get the initial questions kept the show going at a very slow pace.

Wadham were picking up points put not enough to pressure Bristol and the only real sign of a comeback came late on when Brady buzzed early to loose 5 and Wadham took control of the questions but again a failure to answer the bonuses resulted in a lead that was still 110. By the time Andy Suttie  buzzed in on the last question it was all over with the final score being 120-105.

Wadham had a decent run and credit to the team for putting out a side of "normal" university age. Bristol won but with a rather low score so it will be interesting to see how they come up against better opposition in the next round.

As usual though some great question setting and an entertaining episode!

Book Recommendation - Visual History of the World

I mentioned last week that I had went on something of a splurge on the Amazon Marketplace using a voucher I had earned. My package of books arrived earlier in the week and I have been working on a few of them, too early to review or mention most, but one I am very impressed with is the National Geographic Visual History of the World.

I picked it up for just under a fiver on the Marketplace and I notice the cheapest one now available (from the same seller I used) is £5.49 which is a bargain. This is a treasure trove of information and is a book I know I am going to enjoy and learn from.

The National Geographic Visual History of the World does what it says on the tin, providing a colourful, rich and deep history of the world. It is well presented with great images etc to accompany the information being given and it makes for a much more enjoyable learning experience.

Many "History of the Worlds" are dry and uninspiring but this is the opposite and I could not recommend it more!

Monday, 13 August 2012

Site of the Week: Pub Quiz Trivia

Due to the fact that I get various emails asking about reliable sites for buying pub quiz questions etc, I have restored the site of the week feature for the time being to suggest sources where those looking to buy quiz questions can have their needs catered for. The latest site that has impressed me is Pub Trivia Quiz which is a company that issues quizzes worldwide!

Pub Trivia Quiz has been running for over 10 years which is credit to the quality of the product on offer. Its a hard market out there and it takes a lot to stand out!

The whole online system at Pub Trivia Quiz is easy to use, simple and quick. Everything can be paid for, downloaded and printed with ease. Pub Trivia Quiz provide everything you need to keep . The costs are low and you get value for money.

The key point for all these sites for me is the questions and Pub Trivia Quiz does not let you down. The questions are fresh, original and challenge every level of quizzer. Whatever kind of quiz you are setting this will match what you need!

One of the big selling points of Pub Trivia Quiz is the avoidance of repetition. They recognise that on average a quiz master will use 3,500 questions per year and hence not only is that a lot of work for quizmasters who perhaps also work full time, it is also hard to avoid repetition. However, Pub Quiz Trivia use a novel system of online tracking so it automatically tells you what you have used before!

Overall the whole experience with Pub Trivia Quiz has been positive and I would recommend them to anyone looking to buy a quiz!

You can find the site HERE