Saturday, 29 September 2012

Site of the Week: Pub Quiz Trivia

I featured this site as my site of the week a few months ago, and having used it ever since, I thought it is well worth mentioning again. Whether you are a pub landlord looking to buy questions for a weekly quiz, on the look out for a set for a one off event or like me, an avid quizzer looking for quality questions to test your knowledge then Pub Trivia Quiz certainly ticks all those boxes.

In actual fact the questions have become more unique and better quality in the past few months. Considering they were of a high standard in the first place that takes some doing!

The sample on the website is there for all to use and with strong customer service, friendly staff and a customisable quiz package to suit all (as well as a very easy to use site) this is one of the best sources to buy questions on the net1

Click HERE to check out Pub Trivia Quiz!

Book Suggestion: Chambers Factfinder

I have mentioned before that I often have a brief look in local Charity Shops to check out for bargains on reference and quiz related works. Combined with Amazon Marketplace I have saved myself a small fortune and amassed a sturdy collection along the way.

Last week I picked up Chambers Factfinder which is a book fellow quizzers may be familiar with. (A "as-new" copy for the giveaway price of £1.50). I have spent time on it this week and thought it was worth a mentioned to those who have never used it. It is very similar to Chambers "Facts Facts Facts" but this is a shortened version that contains different information on top of the sections that are similar. Its a nifty little size, ideal for taking on trains etc and contains endless bits of useful info. Well worth a space on your book shelf

You can get it for next to nothing on Amazon....

Mastermind 2012/2013 - Heat 7

Mastermind 2012/2013 - Heat 7

Well, I was slightly disappointed there had been a change to this weeks episode but either way the 7th heat of the first round of this years Mastermind involved - 

Kevin Baker
Andrew Hunt
Nina Fetherston
Michael Wright

Kevin Baker was first in the chair. Out of pure coincidence I am currently reading an Ian Botham Biography. That is why I was hoping this episode had shown next week when I had finished the book. Either way this was one of the best totals I had got in any SS round this series....oddly after only reading a third of a book (all answers gained from this bar the Question of Sport Questions). It was fair set seemingly and Kevin Baker stormed to 14 points. Always a total likely to leave the contender in with a shout.

Andrew Hunt was up next and his choice,  Caspar David Friedrich was the complete opposite for me and I knew virtually nothing about him. I can't judge how hard it was but Andrew Hunt faced slightly less questions than Kevin but still managed a solid 13.

Nina Fetherston came up next and a quick trawl through the TQA archives shows she appeared on University Challenge a few weeks ago. Her subject of Guns and Roses was interesting as I have a few of their albums but never taken much interest in them other than on record so I got far less than I expected here. Nina, a student, looked confident and bar the odd slip up managed 11 to give her every chance of progression.

Finally, Michael Wright took to the chair to take on the Hornblower novels. I had actually started reading one a few weeks back but this was off very little help. Michael Wright look relaxed, confident and gave speedy answers to land 14 points and I fancied him to take the win at this stage.

So the standings after the first round were - 

Kevin Baker - 14
Michael Wright - 14
Andrew Hunt - 13
Nina Fetherston - 11

So, Nina Fetherston was back in the chair for her GK round. Last week I said I felt the contestant trailing got an easier opening 5-6 questions but tonight proved me wrong as I found Nina's the hardest of all. Of course this is all subjective but she showed strong, wide ranging knowledge giving fast answers, being unfazed by the chair and managing a solid total 14 points on here round taking her to 25. A very good target for the opener to set but unless this is a winning score, it maybe won't be enough as one of the six.

Andrew Hunt was up next needing at least 12 to take the lead. Again he was answering quickly and showed a good range of knowledge. The few he seemed to guess at fell right and he moved into the 20's without trouble and was soon at the 25 mark which he ended up finishing with thus tying with Nina. 12 is still a solid GK score and 25 would indeed have been good enough to win an earlier heat but tonight I had a feeling more would be needed.

Kevin Baker got off to a solid start with fast, precise answers. He missed a few popular culture based questions (Pulp Fiction and Stevie Nicks) which slowed the scoring a little but he reached 20 early in the round. A few spats of wrong answers made it touch and go as to whether he would take the lead and unfortunately Kevin could only reach 24 signalling the end of his time in Mastermind this year.  

So Michael Wright needed 12 to ensure progress into the next round and to be fair he was gifted a dozen of points early on with some old chestnuts but later in the round was required to dig out some deep and impressive knowledge in what turned into a great GK round with a score of 15 taking him onto 29 and a comfortable win in the end. The joint third highest score of the series so far and Michael may well be one to watch in the coming rounds.

The way it has worked means Michael goes into the final as the third highest scorer and both Nina and Andrew are currently one of the top 6 runners-up but it will be tough to make it through with so many heats to go. Overall though a much higher standard tonight!

Hence the overall Mastermind standings tonight - 

Michael Wright - 29
Andrew Hunt - 25
Nina Fetherston - 25
Kevin Baker - 24

Overall standings for the Mastermind Series so far - 

Gregory Spiller - 32
Kathryn Palmer - 31
Michael Wright - 29
Sian West - 26
Shahab Mossavat - 26
Matthew Bradshaw -26
Aidan Mccquade - 24

Runners up
Chris Cann - 29
John Wheeler - 29
Nathan Joss - 26
Philip Walters - 25
Nina Fetherston - 25
Andrew Hunt - 25
Rosalind Winter - 24
Andrew Granath - 24
Laurie Handcock - 24
Kevin Baker - 24
Roland Mcfall - 23
Graeme Marley - 22
Hazel Humprheys - 22
Chris Kirk - 22
Les Wallace - 22
Ian Copping - 22
Alan Haddick - 21
Sarah Le Fevre - 19
Jackie Phillips - 19
Matthew Clarke - 18
Nathan Scott - 18

Friday, 28 September 2012

David Rainford makes his Eggheads debut

I have a stack of Eggheads episodes to watch on my Sky plus but made sure to tune in last night as David Rainford made his debut. CJ left the show a few months back and his final episodes have just been screened. I am sure David will do a great job but its such a shame there was not a new new series of Are You and Egghead?.

Thursday Quizzing - Being a Team Player

I was joined by my parents for a quiz last night. This week has been my Mams (for those of you not in the north-east that means my mother :)) 50th Birthday and she and my Dad joined us making it the first time in quite a while I had a larger team that just me and my other half. 

I have mentioned this before but when me and my other half are quizzing I am a completely different player than when in a larger team. As my other half is not that keen on quizzing I am very much in "control of the pen" when it is just us. I always go with my gut, rarely chance an answer and am quite decisive. 

Put me in a team though and I am a completely different player....

I found myself last night changing answers (which of course involved changing the right answer to a wrong one), doubting my knowledge, hesitant to put things down and allowing myself to be talked out of right answers. In some ways I prefer having a team as I enjoy discussing the answers and questions (and can also show off!!!) but it makes me a far worse player having a team around me! That is not meant in any disrespect to my team mates as everyone of them gave great answers and got points I wouldn't have been able to!

Either way it is also good to see The Fitzgerald's quiz is back to its best with good teams, close scores and a good atmosphere!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Mastermind Challenge - Week 7

If you are planning on having a "wiki-challenge" for this weeks Mastermind then here are the specialist subjects for this weeks episode.

Life and Career of George Harrison
History of Rome until 1944
Everest Mountaineering
Anthony Powell's A Dance to The Music of Time

I certainly fancy having a go at George Harrison without any reading but I will give that a bash. The History of Rome is a much greater subject as is Everest Mountaineering. I may have a stab at the latter but I certainly won't be looking into Anthony Powell's A Dance to The Music of Time which is the longest ever work of fiction (enough to warrant an Subject on Mastermind?)

Anyway if you try the challenge let me know how you get on!

Monday, 24 September 2012

Only Connect 2012/2013 - Round 1 - Heat 5

Only Connect 2012/2013 - Round 1 - Heat 5

I must have been a bit carried away last week as I seem to have listed the wrong episode number. Anyway, tonights Only Connect was heat 5 of the first round and saw the Trenchermen take on the Numerists.

Steve Donnelly
Bob Hughes
Gareth Williams


Hannah Twitchell
James Wilson
Dorian Lidell

The Trenchermen got Only Connect on the road tonight landing what everyone seems to fear, the music question. And based on this I could see why! I could have listened to these pieces in full all day and would still not have known the Solider connection but a good spot got the team the point. Hannah Twitchell, who was the teams popular culture expert, got a great spot with connections based on the use of certain sounds by effects teams. Again another one I was completely baffled by! I think this was perhaps my favourite questions of the night.

Not to be outdone though Bob Hughes got the first 5-pointer I have seen in a long time when the clue Miss World-1973 came up and he immediately identified this as being people/teams stripped off titles. The Trenchermen clearly meant business! The Numerists landed the pictures and were a tad unlucky in   saying double "j" for the starting letters of each picture when all that was required was "double letters". i.e. Llama, Aardwolf but they got the point back when they identified the clues to things divided into 4 parts.

By the end of the first round it was 7-4 to the Trenchermen who were impressive and looking very strong indeed.

Round 2 started off with a good football question on the path to the league of AFC Wimbeldon, no trouble for James Wilson here and indeed the Bob Hughes was straight in with a question on Tarot Cards, they spent time discussing this one which most teams fail to do being too quick to pass! James Wilson spotted the Bennett Sisters, the Trenchemen got the pictures and this was shaping up to be a close game indeed. 11-10 the Numerists trail heading into the wall.

An almost perfect round kicked things off for the Numerists. This is definitely the way to succeed! James Wilson had barely finished pressing the answers for the Winter Olympic hosts when Hannah Twitchell spotted the Theatres (great spot as possibly the hardest of the connections to match). That gave them time to work out the next answers and they eased the pressure of this last section by thinking long and hard before going for the answer they knew all along. 4 links, 3 on!

The Trenchermen to be fair got a harder wall. My other half who is rarely interested in quizzes of this nature spotted The Only Way is Essex clues straight away, which I would never have got to be fair, and one a very tough wall the team managed just the one link. They were unlucky in the sense that they knew fairground rides were there but never linked the four together!

17-15 the Numerists lead going into the final round and they were simply awesome in this round. James Wilson was dominant on the buzzer racking up points early that gave the Trenchermen an uphill task. Hannah Twitchell chipped in with a buzz and by that point it was all over. 26-18 was the final score.

Congratulations to the Numerists and you have to think that if they are that strong in the final round every episode they will take some beating if they can stay within touching distance. By far the strongest team on the buzzer in the series so far but whether or not this will take them into the Semi Finals I have no idea but it will be interesting to see.

In saying that the Numerists also only lost one round so it was not just the buzzer domination that won it for them.

Roll on next week!

University Challenge 2012/2013 - Match 9

University Challenge 2012/2013 - Match 9

As the year continues to fly be, so does the latest series of University Challenge and tonight saw an Scottish-Welsh affair as the University of St Andrews took on Bangor.

St Andrews
Ben Adams
Jim Parsons
James Gray
Andrew Newton

Adam Pearce
Mark Stevens
Nina Grant
Simon Tomlinson

I think there must have been something in the water here as this was an odd sort of show!

Everything started fine as Simon Tomlinson got two early buzzes to give Bangor the lead but there then started a wave of wrong buzzes, guesses where you have to assume questions were misheard and it all culminated in a very sharp "What?" from Paxman which seemed to settle things down. James Gray, who captained very well tonight managed to get St Andrews going and the game remained tight throughout.

As usual the high quality picture rounds in this series of University Challenge continued with a tougher-than-I-expected sports pitches round and a round on Pop music, which I am usually strong at, that I found very hard indeed. The teams must have shared my view as few points were scored from either as the game remained tight with a 5 point lead to Bangor.

The Art round was as well very hard this week and the run of tough questions kept the scores very low indeed which was a little harsh on the two teams involved. A misheard answer from a team mate by Nina Grant, even though Paxman somehow heard it was just one of the odd things that started to happen after this. Mark Stevens, who showed great knowledge in the night, looked increasingly nervous as the match went on and he, and the whole team, mounted pressure on Adam Pearce in a round on Classical Music by doing an almost synchronised stare at him as soon as they heard the subject for the round. Talk about pressure!

A lot of points were lost on early buzzes tonight, a rather bizarre one when Tomlinson guessed at a question that was not even half completed when he could have listened to it all (Paxman did not miss out on the chance to mention this either!) but Tomlinson made up for it with two crucial late buzzes to take the team to a 125-105 win.

It is hard to say how far Bangor can go as the questions tonight were tough, reflected in the score but they have a mix of age, a seeming mix of expertise and this could see them pose a threat to anyone!


Well, this is more of a gift idea rather than anything else. If you are looking for a quiz related idea for someone, or are wanting a calendar for your desk top try this. I am sure you have heard of Jeopardy before and this nifty little box calendar gives daily questions and makes a weekly game out of things. Very good and the only downside is having to wait until January to start it!

Friday, 21 September 2012

Mastermind 2012/2012 - Round 1 - Heat 6

Mastermind 2012/2012 - Round 1 - Heat 6

I have a few issues to discuss after tonight's show but before I do that the line up for the sixth heat of this years Mastermind was.......

Matthew Bradshaw
Les Wallace
Hazel Humprheys
Chris Kirk

The show started with Matthew Bradshaw giving a very impressive, almost perfect round, on Epsom winners since the 1980's. Only one question, requiring the age of Lester Piggot, stopped him from getting a perfect score but with fast, confident answers he scored a very good 16. The set had some tricky ones in (but did contain some quiz chestnuts) however Matthew knew his Derbies and set himself up nicely for the next round.

Les Wallace faced a round on Extinct Fauna of the Ice Age. I cannot judge how hard this round was as I have no deep knowledge of this area so suffice to say Les coped well with the set given scoring 12 and only failing on two questions. However, and my first issue with tonight's show, he was asked 3 questions less than Matthew despite answering at pretty much the same speed. He may have been a tad slower in one or two responses but not enough to warrant a 3 question gap.

Hazel Humprheys looked a little nervous but she managed to rattle off a solid 15 to put her right in contention on the subject of Dave Allan. I did some reading on him before tonights show and it seemed a fair set. Indeed she only dropped one point.

Chris Kirk finished off with his knowledge on General Custer. I managed a few without any research but a string of wrong answers towards the end left Chris with a still impressive 13.

After the SS round on tonights Mastermind I thought it was looking like we could see some big scores. Everyone had left themselves in with a chance and I did hope that Les Wallace, getting asked less questions than any other contestant, would not suffer because of that.

Standings after SS - 

Matthew Bradshaw -16
Hazel Humprheys - 15
Chris Kirk - 13
Les Wallace - 12

So, Les Wallaceneeded to set a high GK score and here in lies another one of my issues with tonight. Before I mention it I must say this is nothing to do with Les himself. In actual fact Les scored 10 in the GK round making it the joint highest of the night with the eventual winner and with an extra three points from the SS round (if he had the same number of questions asked) then you never know....

But the issue for me is that if there is a contender who is trailing the lead by anything over 3 they seem to be "handed" half a dozen gimmies to get them back into it. In a normal quiz I wouldn't mind, to keep everyone involved and happy but this is Mastermind and this is the third or fourth time it has happened this series. As I said this is nothing against Les Wallace as he showed great knowledge later on in the round to bring his score to 22. Probably not quite enough to win which was his only hope of progression now.

Chris Kirk too needed something special to apply pressure to the two above him but sadly it just wasn't his day. A much harder set here and whether it was the pressure or the nerves, Chris did not really get going until it was too late. Still, towards the end a strong run of answers brought his score also to 22 and just like Les it was probably not going to be enough.

Hazel thus had a great chance to make her mark on the round. She looked a bit more nervous here and sadly managed 7 in the GK round. 22 is a very respectable score overall but it now all looked like it had played into the hands of Matthew Bradshaw.

Needing only 7 to win Matthew made a strong start again with confident and quick answers. He faded out mid-round and for a brief moment it looked as if a four way tie on 22 was possible but he pulled himself together well, got some of the tougher questions and ended up scoring 10 for the round and 26 overall to move into the Semi-Finals.

So the final scores on Mastermind tonight -

Matthew Bradshaw -26
Hazel Humprheys - 22
Chris Kirk - 22
Les Wallace - 22

Matthew moves into the Mastermind Semi Final then but as you will see below Hazel, Chris and Les did not do enough to be one of the six highest scoring runners-up as you can see below.

I will probably make another post later in the week regarding a few issues and I am really hesitant to say anything about the standard this year as I am in no position to judge but I don't think, as somebody commented on here last week, that we have seen any serious contenders for the Mastermind crown yet. I know a good few talented quizzers who have filmed episodes recently so expect the below to chance a lot in upcoming weeks!

Overall Mastermind 2012/2013 standings -

Gregory Spiller - 32
Kathryn Palmer - 31
Sian West - 26
Shahab Mossavat - 26
Matthew Bradshaw -26
Aidan Mccquade - 24

Runners up
Chris Cann - 29
John Wheeler - 29
Nathan Joss - 26
Philip Walters - 25
Rosalind Winter - 24
Andrew Granath - 24
Laurie Handcock - 24
Roland Mcfall - 23
Graeme Marley - 22
Hazel Humprheys - 22
Chris Kirk - 22
Les Wallace - 22
Ian Copping - 22
Alan Haddick - 21
Sarah Le Fevre - 19
Jackie Phillips - 19
Matthew Clarke - 18
Nathan Scott - 18


The Soctsman have this article (Click HERE) on their site at present with some interesting titbits and views on pub quizzing etc.

Worth a read!

Thursday Night Quizzing

If you have been reading my blog for the last few weeks you would have probably picked up on my disappointment that a local quiz I go to on a Thursday night had seemingly died a death with low attendances, cheating and a change of quizmaster.

However, the quiz, which runs at Fitzgeralds in Sunderland starting at 9pm, seems to have now picked up and is back to being one of the best in area. The format still includes the change of the first round being written questions rather than delivered on the microphone. I actually now find this one of the most enjoyable rounds in the quiz as its purely 20 GK questions and you have time to think them through. Last night saw quite a big attendance which reduced the cheating massively and although one drunken team were making no bones about there cheating achievements in the past, they played little role in the actual quiz.

As mentioned a picture round follows, followed by two rounds on a theme which differs every week. This week being People and Place and the 1990's. We always fall at the same Its due to a mixture of things, other teams are much bigger, the pictures are at times obscure and the plain fact that this is my weakest area by far. Add to the fact this round is worth 20 points (in a quiz out of 64) and it always sets us back. We had a strong GK last night followed by a strong People's and Places but we struggled on a few questions in the 90's round, which I really shouldn't have done, and ended up 3rd. Again the pictures cost us though!

But the main thing is the quiz is back to its best, well attended and now that the new quizmaster has settled all is well. I hope it continues this way and if anyone is down at Fitzgeralds on Thursday there is always space in our team!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Podcast Suggestion

I am a big fan of the podcast format, in terms of both entertainment and learning, and I have just finished listening to this...

It is a ten part BBC documentary that does exactly what it says on the tin. 15 minutes per episode breaks this down into manageable chunks and as well as being useful for quizzing, it also is a very entertaining series!

HERE is a link to download the series or you can get it from itunes for Free of course!

Contestant Call

And I quote...............

"BBC ONE is searching for Briatin's brightest! 

It's not about your IQ
It's not about your GK

Do you know all friends' phone numbers?
Finish any puzzle in 10 seconds flat?
Know someone is telling the truth?

We are scouring the nation for the Smartest and Brightest in Britain. 

Outsmart the whole country and you could win thousands.


All Applicants must be over 18

CLOSING DATE: 17th November 2012."

Not sure if this will appeal to any TQA readers but if you fancy it head over to HERE

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Site of the Week: Fun Pub Quiz

I have spent quite a lot of time in the last few days on which I stumbled on hidden away on google. It has turned out to be a very very useful site indeed with some great resources and a provider of high quality quiz questions.

Some companies out there do make money from selling re-hashed questions but what offers is a fresh take on this with dedication to question writing meaning they can come up with questions you have not seen before , that will test every aspect of your knowledge and be fun for quiz enthusiasts and novices alike.....that is a hard skill to achieve! Each quiz also contains a wide variety of subjects so in a team situation everyone will be able to add something and feel worthy, another hard skill to achieve in writing questions!

The site offers very good rates if your are a quizmaster looking to buy pub quiz questions and also has samples on the site to use. The site owner is quick to respond to emails, everything is run easily on paypal and it is a hassle free experience.

Above all though, the quality of the question makes Fun Pub Quiz stand out above all else!

I found the above on the Funpubquiz site and just had to steal it but it really sums up what this site is all about, creating yourself a fun quiz to entertain regulars and get them coming back time and time again! Its a formula that works well for the site and it leads to a very entertaining quiz with fun, fresh questions.

Also on the site you can get free tips on quiz nights and presentation, ideas on formats etc as well as take a free trial of the questions!

Well worth a look and certainly a great site and great addition to the pub quiz community!

Click on the opposite link to view Fun Pub Quiz

Mastermind Challenge - Week 6

Last week the Challenge paid off as I managed to score well in the Terry Venables round but this weeks subjects look much tougher...

The Epsom Derby Since 1980
Extinct Fauna of the Ice Age
The Life and Work of Dave Allen
General Custer and the Battle of the Little Big Horn

Horse Racing is a huge gap in my sporting knowledge so I might spend some time looking at the Derby however I am baffled as to how they allowed the subject if only from 1980. I wanted to to Eurovision at mine, a guilty pressure, since 1975 but they wouldn't allow it. Bizarre! I will definitely have a look into this for the Challenge though.

The Ice age Fauna is something I know very little, if anything about so I might avoid that and General Custer I think I'll have a go at. Dave Allen too might be interesting to try!

Good Luck!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Only Connect 2012/2013 - Round 1 Heat 5

Only Connect 2012/2013 - Round 1 Heat 5

Brian Pendreigh 
Dave Taylor
Chris Brewis


Jay La Roche
Michelle La Roche
Matt Finch

Well, with no disrespect intended to the opposing team, I had to be biased tonight. Dave Taylor and Chris Brewis were my victorious team mates at the recent Brunton Shield (see photo on relevant post), and event organised by Brian Pendreigh. Despite enjoying a swift few pints with them on Wednesday I managed  to avoid finding out the result. I met Brian also back at the World Quiz Championships back in June which he helped bring to Edinburgh so I was certainly rooting the Wordsmiths on tonight. 

Indeed Wordsmiths got off to a good start with the 'ova' connection and Brian getting a very tough connection on characters in the title of plays who don't actually appear. I think sometimes on this show when they give clues you have heard of it is much harder than obscure ones as so much rushes into the mind, a feeling that I can imagine is intensified by the pressures of actually being on the show. The Van Gogh question was a toughie and I am surprised it was not given in the second case as I have seen similar answers accepted for similar questions before but nevertheless a 5-3 lead was held by the end of the first round.

The second round, always the toughest started with a tough number questions and the sort of question you will only get on Only Connect. This was the first and only time in the show the Educators led. To be fair they were slightly unlucky in the next round as they knew the beer connection but could not work out the answer and like myself, partly due to my partner mentioning it, thought the men in space question was actually CSI related! I particularly  liked the question on wedding vows here.  Wordsmiths picked up on that one and added extra points to lead by 11-6 going into the wall.

I actually think there have been a few episodes this series where one wall has been harder than another. I guess it all depends on knowledge but I thought the Wordsmiths had the harder wall tonight but made it look very easy indeed. The Educators had a slightly few more obvious connections and may have gained a few more points but kept missing Red out of the squares connection. At 18-9 down after the wall it was going to take a mighty effort to come back.

I still haven't decided if I like this final "missing vowels" round yet in the sense that it seems at odds with other parts of the quiz but it does make for some very good viewing. Jay La Roche was on fire early on and brought it back to 17-14 due to Wordsmiths dropping a few. The tide turned when it came to Architecture, a quizzing staple, and the Wordsmiths clawed it back to cement the win. Funnily enough my Mastermind-Specialist-subject-to-be, Eurovision, popped up right at the end and Educators were just running out of time and lost out 19-16.

Another cracking episode and well done to Brian, Dave and Chris who won well. Obviously I am over the moon they took the victory and look forward to seeing them in the quarter finals. The Educators played a good game but were up against an experienced team who as I have found have first hand are superb quiz players!

Roll on next week....

University Challenge 2012/2013 - Match 8

University Challenge 2012/2013 - Match 8

This series really is flying over as we head into the eighth first round match already. After last weeks last second win tonight would find it hard to compete but it was still a cracking show...Anyway, tonight's line up was

Imperial College, London
Pedro Aronica
Dominic Cottrell
Martin Evans
Henry Guille

Jesus College, Cambridge 
Alistair Bolger
Thomas Wood
Alex Kite
Nina Fatherston

A bit of a one way battle tonight I am afraid with Imperial College setting themselves up as potential winners of this series with a commanding 225-80 win.

Again, just like last week, we saw a flying start, with Dominic Cottrell, who proved to be a threat all contest, getting the team off the mark and before long an 80 point lead had opened before Bolger, who scored the majority of Jesus' buzzes launched in to get them off the mark. An excellent picture round on the outlines of rivers I thought....these picture rounds vast becoming a very enjoyable part of this series.

Jesus were stopped in their comeback by Pedro Aronica who had a storming night and was masterful on the buzzer. With him and Cottrell playing this well they will be hard for anyone to beat. By the time Nina Fetherston recognised Bo Burnham it was already looking too little too late as the closest Jesus got was 50 points down.

A cracking opera overture round, right up my street, saw an overeager Kite hand yet more points to Imperial College and Aronica made sure there was no let up. Another good picture round with Olympic Stadiums and the rest of the game went to plan for Imperial taking it 225-80.

One minor point from tonight, not that it mattered to the score but Imperial College were given a heck of a lot of time to answer some questions. Paxman is usually spot on in rushing contestants but Imperial College seemed to avoid that!

Either way that is not to take away from their superb performance tonight and definite place as a front runner for this years title.

Book Suggestions: Pears Cyclopaedia

I may have mentioned to excellent series of Pears Cyclopaedia's published every year on a previous occasion on here but with the new one just out its worth mentioning it again. Since about 2007 I have made this one of the books I always make sure that I buy as, unlike some other annual updates, they always include new and fresh material to justify the price every year.

All the information you would expect is included here from history to science to entertainment and all presented in a readable and easy to access format.

Well worth a look at the book that calls itself "quizzers bible" and "swiss army knife of reference book".

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Mastermind Interview....

David Edwards, 1990 Champion, gave a quick interview to a radio show this week to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Mastermind.

If you go to the link HERE and got to about 1 hour 42 you will hear it.

Guessy Guessy

I mentioned last week that my one time favourite local pub quiz had taken something of a dip due to the quizmaster leaving and bad attendance. I feel a tad sorry for the pub as the barman/manager who runs it does his best to keep things going and they give out so many prizes I don't see how they are making money. The one worrying sign is the pub is busy in the other end so probably doesn't need the quiz to get people in!

This week though, the manager tried a new round to the quiz which sent it further into decline, this being a round based on guesses. A pet hate of mine! I don't mind them as added rounds that aren't part of the quiz or as a mid-round chance to win beer tokens but in a 60 point quiz this round consumed 20 of them!

Basically what he did was provide four answers to each question and you had to guess which was the earliest and which was the latest, which was top which was bottom. So for instance....Who has the most twitter followers? Fry, Gaga, Mcartney or got one point if you correctly said the top answer and one if you got the lowest. The questions were all on the same theme and concluded with a stinker...who finished highest/lowest in the 1997-1998 Premier League Season....Liverpool, Derby, Wimbledon, Bolton. Safe to say it did not go down well.

As it happened we won the round easily but I felt very little satisfaction due to the fact it was guesswork and barely any educated guessed in many questions as it did not allow it. Simply guessing was all you could do!

It is such a shame to see a good quiz dying out this way.

Site of the Week: Quiz-Game

A site I have spent some time on this week, and one which I found almost by accident, is After doing a little research I found that this is a site ran by InstantQuizzes which are a company which have been providing questions to pubs, tv shows and quiz machines for a long time.

The site asks you to sign up but it is entirely free to use. The only reason for signing up is so you can get posted to the on running leaderboards and as a quizzer, this can get quite addictive! When you first log in you are presented with a range of games to play in the style of a typical pub quiz machine. You can play GK rounds or any of the themed rounds. The game basically goes until you loose your lives so calling them "rounds" really isn't fair but you get my drift.

The games all run smoothly, work well and as I have said have leaderboards but the best thing I find about them is the questions. There are no overly simple ones to ease you in and what you are faced with straight away is high level questions, well written and from which you will learn and test your knowledge. Works a treat!

I will be featuring a lot more on this site in the coming week but for now check it out yourself HERE

Friday, 14 September 2012

Mastermind 2012/2013 - Heat 5

Mastermind 2012/2013 - Heat 5

After a week off Mastermind returned tonight. I was quite interested to learn this week by one of this years contenders that they have not yet finished filming the heats for this years show (there was filming taking place Wednesday and today). Anyway, one with tonight's show....

Contestants this week - 

Philip Walters
Jackie Phillips
Ian Copping
Shahab Mossavat

Philip Walters kicked things off tonight with a subject I was very keen to have a go at. Being something of a Doctor Who fan, more so in the past than I am at present, I considered using this as one of my subjects in my application this year. I am glad I didn't! This was a very tough opening round and I managed barely half a dozen here but Philip was much stronger getting a solid 13 and that would give him a lead after the SS round.

Jackie Phillips took on Moses in the King James Bible, which when thinking about it is a very narrow subject. That is not meaning any disrespect to Jackie as she scored a very respectable 10 with some good answering, but I was rejected subjects for being "too narrow" that where much wider than this. Jackie did look nervous though but her 10 have her every chance!

Ian Copping took on the Geography and History of Arkansas which again I thought was a tough set. One he settled in though he gave himself as good a chance as any with a score of 10 but a little run of wrong answers stopped it being an even better round!

Finally, Shahab Mossavat came to the chair with Terry Venables......not literally. I had done some reading before hand to test out the "challenge" which I set every week and I did quite well based on facts I had spent 10 minutes reading earlier. I did not do as well as Shahab though who got 12 points. Again this subject is not as a wide as some and narrow sports subjects have proved to work wonders for people in the past!

So that meant after the Mastermind Specialist Round we had - 

Philip Walters - 13
Shahab Mossavat - 12
Jackie Phillips - 10
Ian Copping - 10

All was to play for and it was Jackie first in the chair and the nerves seemed to get the better of her as she missed a few gimmies and other titbits I am sure she would rattle off under normal circumstances. She pulled it together towards the end scoring 9 to take her to 19. She needed much more and the 19 meant she was out of the contest overall.

Ian Copping next and he had the chance to set a target for the others to match and he got off to a strong start with some speedy answers. I thought initially he may be in with a shout but a pass/wrong answer combination slowed down his scoring and he managed 12 to take his total to 22. Again not quite what was needed and barring a meltdown from the others that was Ian's run over. Nerves played a part here I think.

Shahab Mossavat had been calm the whole night and remained so in his Gk questions and he seemed to get a fair set and showed a wide range of knowledge on all subjects. He missed one or two gimmies which may come back to haunt him but the points kept on coming and his confidence and relaxed approach paid off as he scored 14 to take his total to 26. A solid target to set in this heat.

Philip Walters knew what he needed to to and was very unlucky in his chase. If not for a bad run of answers towards the end of the first minute he would have made it through as he came storming back towards the end. Missing a question at a crucial point also cost him but a score of 25 gives him an outside chance of the final. Looking at the scores so far he is 4th so chances are two runners up will break the 25 mark but you never know!

So congratulations to Shahab Mossavat  who becomes the fifth person to qualify for the Semi Finals of Mastermind.

And that brought the final scores as follows -

Shahab Mossavat - 26
Philip Walters - 25
Ian Copping - 22
Jackie Phillips - 19

Overall Mastermind 2012/2013 standings -

Gregory Spiller - 32
Kathryn Palmer - 31
Sian West - 26
Shahab Mossavat - 26
Aidan Mccquade - 24

Runners up
Chris Cann - 29
John Wheeler - 29
Nathan Joss - 26
Philip Walters - 25
Rosalind Winter - 24
Andrew Granath - 24
Laurie Handcock - 24
Roland Mcfall - 23
Graeme Marley - 22
Ian Copping - 22
Alan Haddick - 21
Sarah Le Fevre - 19
Jackie Phillips - 19
Matthew Clarke - 18
Nathan Scott - 18

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Brunton Shield - Victory!

Yes that's me the on the right!

Well, I mentioned a couple of days ago that I was taking part in the Brunton Shield Quiz Event held up in Edinburgh last night and as you can probably gather from the photo it was well worth the trip! I had been up to Edinburgh in June for the World Quiz Championships and just by luck really this week I happened to have some time off and was invited up to play as part of the tournament which is in its second year. It basically involves as many teams as possible from the North-East playing against teams from Scotland and at the end of the night the top team from each region compete for the shield.

The North-East, mainly all players from the Sunderland Quiz League, took 8 players who I met  up with beforehand. Rather than any sort of ranking system Chris (Picture Left above) decided to randomise the teams by 'drawing names out of a hat'. I was placed in a team with Chris Brewis himself and Dave Taylor, both very experienced quizzers and by coincidence both will be appearing on Only Connect on Monday Night! We were joined at the venue by another player so we had 3 teams of three to take on about 5-6 Scottish teams most of whom had 4 players.

The Venue was The Grange, which is home to Scotland's Cricket team,  and is a nice little place and it was good to see a healthy crowd on hand. Credit must go to Brian Pendreigh for organising the event, setting the questions and running the night. A lot of hard work and time I imagine went into producing such a diverse set of questions!

The first part of the quiz consisted of 100 General Knowledge Questions for every team. The questions were certainly original and certainly very tough. Indeed I found it really tough going early on but managed to contribute a few answers the team did not know (mainly popular culture). Brian gave us a lot of questions to think through and work out which is always the sign of a good quiz! After the first 50 questions were were trailing one of the other Sunderland teams by a couple of marks so knew we needed a strong second half.

The second half was indeed much tougher than the first with questions on a few subjects I haven't even heard of. I was probably the youngest quizzer at the venue so what is rooted into other players minds I am still learning and in all fairness I could not contribute much in the second half. I knew the "easier" ones if that is the right word to use but in terms of adding points to the total I am not sure I did in the second half. We scored 31 which was a good score on a tough set and tied us with 65-65 with another Sunderland team. We were offered a tiebreak but our team mates did not fancy going into the final so it was myself, Chris and Dave that went forward.

The team we were playing consisted of 4 quizzers I recognised from the WQC in June and also having the extra man advantage I thought we would be up against it. The format had changed now and each team was given a different questions and required to shout out the answer. An incorrect answer would give the other team a chance for the bonus. I thought the format idea from Brian was spot on and a great way to end the event!

The opening rounds were team questions and it was tight all the way through. It headed into individual questions for two rounds in which every member of our team had to take one individual question and could either answer it for 2 or confer for 1. Again, a wrong answer and the other team could steal so it was important to stay safe. Given the form I was on I certainly was not going to risk silly answers so conferred my first questions, which the team knew. I had not known any of the first set of questions and would have been guessing, so I was beginning to feel like something of a burden on the team as Dave and Chris managed to score some great points.

And then came the classic case of right questions for the right person and lady luck was on my side............

It was quite tight and could have went either way but a round on video games changed the tide in our favour. All those years playing on Playstations etc up until a few months ago finally paid off and questions on Call of Duty allowed us to steal a point and then when a team mate conferred,  Assassins Creed score us another point. Finally, I felt of some use to the team and thought that would be my contribution for the night but there was more to come.

 I don't recall what order the next two questions came in but I managed to score another three points. To be honest given that I was a little out of my depth with some questions my plan was always going to be to confer but again, the right questions for the right person. My individual questions concerned naming the school in he Inbetweeners. Probably the only questions on recent television all night and it fell to someone with the whole box set! I knew it straight away and gave us two points. Dave and Chris added more to our total and again a stroke of luck allowed me in.

Every week a local quizmaster asks questions about the chart so I make sure every Monday I look at the top 10 singles and top 10 albums to be ready for that week. As a stroke of luck the next question was about the latest UK Number 1, a name (Ne-yo) came to mind and we went with it. Another point and that was that. I don't recall the final score but I think we won by about 3-4 points!

This was only my second or third "proper quiz event" i.e. not a pub quiz and I have to admit I was really happy to win. That is not to say I would have been disappointed if we did not win but it was good to not only win, but to play a part in the winning. Without the last few questions which I was able to answer and contribute, the win may have seemed as bit more shallow to me as to be fair, Dave and Chris did the majority of work to get us to the final but at least I got some points on the board at a crucial time in the final! As most people commented afterwards, a mixture of my age (being the youngest quizzer in the final and possibly the whole quiz) as well as a stroke of getting the right questions played its part in this!

A little ironic to say this after such a long post, but I hope I don't come across as taking this too seriously. The main and best aspect was the social side of things and being my week off it was a great break away from work! I met some interesting and very friendly people, put some faces to names and had a great night all round. Well worth the trip in all aspects and yet again serves to encourage me more to take part in as many events as I can.

Again, big thanks to Brian Pendreigh for the night and it was nice to see some familiar faces from the WQC event in June. The Brunton Shield will continue next year maybe in Sunderland this time, but wherever it is held I will do my best to make it as it was a very enjoyable occasion!

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Tuesday Quiz

To keep with my weekly theme this week here are a few quiz questions. I probably won't be doing any until Friday as I am away in Edinburgh for a quiz event Ill be mentioning once I get back so due to missing two days Ill do a bumper set on Friday! Answers in comment box as usual!

1. Which actress played Wednesday in the 1991 film version of the 'Addams Family'?

2. What is the official name for the '&' symbol? 

3. In the March 1973 s Pele played a friendly for Santos in England against which football league club, an occasion which is still talked about in the area to this day?

4. He has an assistant called Lynn, a Geordie Petrol-Attendant friend called Michael and, has hosted a TV Chat show and is not well liked by the controller of the BBC Tony Hayers. Who is he?

5. Who is the only member of both the Magnificent Seven and the Dirty Dozen?

6. What is the name of the shield carried by Jupiter made primarily from goat skin?

7. Who wrote "The Selfish Gene" giving his views of a gene centred view of the earth?

8. What element is the main component of the Sun?

9. To the nearest Trillon, how many miles is One Light Year?

10. Who was the manager of Sunderland AFC when they caused a shock by beating Leeds in the 1973 FA Cup Final?

11. Which Artist constructed the etching "The Sleep of Reasoning Brings Forth Monsters" which was said the capture the spirit of the enlightenment? 

12. Steven Spielberg's 'The Colour Purple' is based on a novel by which author?

13. Which British Monacrh was responsible for moving the Indian Capital from Calcutta to Delhi?

14. Who played British Sprinter Harold Abrahams in the Oscar winning film 'Chariots of Fire'?

15. What was the name  given to the TV Show (in essence part of a wider afternoon of entertainment) that featured such pub sports as cheese skittles, darts and arm wrestling?

1. Christina Ricci
2. Ampersand 
3. Plymouth Argyle 
4. Alan Partirdige
5. Charles Bronson 
6. Aegis
7. Richard Dawkins
8. Hydrogen 
9. 6 Trillion
10. Bob Stokoe 
11. Goya
12. Alice Walker
13. Geroge V
14. Ian Charleston 
15. Indoor League

Monday, 10 September 2012

Book Suggestions: On the Tip of My Tongue

I have had a couple of messages this week asking about an Only Connect quiz book. Sadly there is not one out yet, and to be fair it would be very tricky to do but my book of the week this week, which I have linked to before, should tick a lot of boxes for fans of Only Connect.

On The Tip of My Tounge is not a normal quiz book and rather than be simply questions and answers this tests depth of knowledge too by asking for lists, sequences and all kinds of great tests if your knowledge. Well worth a look! One of the best quiz books in my collection!

Only Connect 2012/2013 - Round 1 - Heat 3

Only Connect 2012/2013 - Round 1 - Heat 3

After a great opening to show with two tight episodes it was onto the next heat of Only Connect tonight..

Barry Humphrey
Michael Mcpartland
Jamie Turner

Second Violinists 
Agnes Henson
Rosie Howarth
Sophie Howarth

A very tough episode tonight I thought with some really bruising questions!

The footballers had a few familiar names from the quizzing world which is a common occurrence on Only Connect. Michael Mcpartland has been on various quiz shows, including Eggheads, and has beaten the top UK quizzers in a Last Man standing event at last years World Quiz Championships. Barry Humphrey recently triumphed on Cleverdicks too so I imagined this was going to a hard team to beat.

And that proved to be the case. Taking the lead early on the Footballers never let it slide. I learned plenty tonight as well including the lovely fact that Three Men and a Baby is a remake of a French film and that Mondegreens is the term used for Misheard lyrics. Either way the latter was lapped up by the Footballers who took an 8-7 lead after the first two rounds.

The wall round defeated the Second Violinists who had a very tough wall scoring no points on the matches and only 2 on the connections. The only one I spotted was the Mel Gibson movies! The Footballers on the other hand had an equally tough wall but managed to score 2 connections and 2 matches to take them into a 12-8 lead.

We have seen the games totally turn on the missing vowels round in recent weeks and anything could happen. Indeed the Second Violinists pulled it back a little but once the Racecourse round hit the Footballers build up a solid lead, Barry Humphrey firing in answers on both this and famous feminists.

It ended up 18-11 and a good win for the Footballers who will take some beating indeed!

Another entertaining show!

University Challenge 2012/2012 - Match 7

University Challenge 2012/2012 - Match 7

Monday is turning into a good night for pigging out in fronmt of the TV with quiz shows and as usual this week started off again with the latest heat in this years University Challenge....

Lincoln College, Oxford
Victor Jones
Michael Hopkins
Jackie Thompson
Hugh Reid

University of Manchester
David Brice
Adam Barr
Richard Gilbert
Debbie Brown

Well, what a contest we had tonight. It was pitched right from the start as the battle between the small Lincoln College and an institution 60 times larger, the University larger. And lets not forget the latter are the current reigning University Challenge champions...

It was Lincoln that stormed into a hefty lead early on though and for some reason I found myself rooting for them. in the opening 15 minutes they showed great all round knowledge, everyone was contributing and they looked to be steam rolling over the champions. Michael Hopkins in particular was racking up buzzes and combined with efforts from Victor Jones, as well as Manchester's overeagerness, and there was a huge gap of 90 - minus 10 opened. 100 point lead? Surely it was plain sailing.

But University Challenge is all about momentum at times. Adam Barr finally got Manchester going but every time they seemed to get a foot in the game Lincoln got control. There was a fantastic music round on classical music sampled in Dance tracks  and even at thus point it seemed as it Lincoln were winners in waiting.

Manchester kicked in though and soon the gap dropped and dropped....125-55, 135-80....Gilbert was leading Manchester to strong conversions. Hopkins actually gifted two answers to UCM with his slightly wrong answers and the tide was turning. 155-100 with 5 minutes to go...surely Manchester did not have this in them?

But they did this produced a frantic finish....Lincoln went to 175, surely enough, but it wasn't to be. Manchester pulled it back 175-175 with seconds left, failed on the first bonus and just a milli second before the gong they picked up the score and won 180-175.

Well done to Manchester who scraped through by the skin of their teeth, however I expect due to what seems like a better all round knowledge Lincoln may just end up going further.

Either way one of my favourite UC episodes in recent memory!

Monday Quiz

I have  some free time this week so am taking the chance to write a few more questions for the blog.....Here are today's with answers in the comment box as usual

1. What does the letter C stand for in the name of the famous Oscar-Refusing Actor, George C. Scott?

2. Which famous school has a tuck shop called Rowlands, is known for a Wall Game and a dish consisting off Strawberries, merengues and cream?

3. At which RAF Base did Dwight Eisenhower make his famous "eyes of the world" speech?

4. Which was the first Olympic Games that involved competitors from all 5 continents?

5. And sticking with sport, what links Cathy Freeman, Muhammed Ali and Michael Platini?

6. Which Apollo Mission spent the longest time on the surface of the moon?

7. The Watermans Arms was the local pub in which short lived ITV soap?

8. The ever popular movie 'Bridge on the River Kwai' is based on a novel by which author?

9. Name the 1980's sitcom, shown by ITV, in which an Alien from the planet Melmac crash lands on the home of the Tanner family?

10. Where is the highest known mountain in the solar system located?

11. A central feature in Ancient Greek town planning, what was the primary function of the Agora?

12. In 'Rising Damp' what was the first of Rigsby?

13. Bertie Ahern was the leader of which Political Party?

14. The first powered flight by the Wright Brothers took place at Kitty Hawk in which Us State?

15. What was unique about SpaceShipOne?

16. Cobi the dog was the mascot at which Olympic Games?

Mastermind Challenge - Week 5

Mastermind returns this Friday after a week off with some very interesting subjects -

Doctor Who 1963-1989
Terry Venables
The History and Geography of Arkansas
The Story of Moses in Kings James Bible

A very mixed set. I am a massive Doctor Who fan and could probably do that as a SS myself, particularly the 70's and 80's so I will be interested in that. Similarly, I fancy testing my usually solid football knowledge on the Terry Venables round although I might spend five minutes or so refreshing myself on that.

Arkansas is one I am going to spend time on for sure and I am not sure about the Moses story so Ill see how my week goes.

Either way, looking forward to Friday as usual!

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Sunday Afternoon Quiz

A couple of questions to help you pass the time.....answers as usual in the comment box.

1. Which Indian City, lying on the River Jumma, was the capital of the Mogul Empire on two occasions, between 1566-1569 and for the period 1601-1658?

2. Starring John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd, what are the first names, of the Blues Brothers in the 1980's movie?

3. Which of these African Nations is most Western - Chad, Ghana, Libya or Cameroon?

4. Name the ship sent by Kaiser Wilhelm II that provoked the Second Moroccan Crisis (otherwise known as the Agadir Incident)?

5. Which male Tennis Player, won an Olympic Gold Medal, 3 US Opens and 3 Davis Cup Titles in the 1990's?

6. In what series of films does Eddie Murphy play a character called Axel Foley?

7. Maarti Ahtisaari was President of which Country from 1994 following a period of service as the undersecretary general of the UN?

8. The film version of Arsenic and Old Lace is based on a play by which playwright?

9. Which newsreader became the first male BBC presenter to read the news without wearing a tie?

10. He married Jezebel, Princess of Sidom and introduced Israel to the Worship of Baal, causing much controversy. Who is he?

11. Who or what are granulocytes?

12. According to a traditional Celtic Rhyme, "Thrice the age of a man is that of a ....."?

13. In the popular Opera by Verdi, Aida is the Princess of which African nation?

14. Which musician founded the band Taste in 1966 in Cork, Ireland, playing lead guitar and vocals before moving into a successful solo career?

15. Filmed just weeks before his death, in what TV show did Arthur Lowe play a strict schoolteacher in the 1940's?

16. Gary Lightbody is the lead singer with which band?

17. What vegetable is the main ingredient of Rosti?

18. Which Elton John song opens with the lyrics "She packed my bags last night pre-flight"?

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Mastermind Quiz Book

I mentioned last week a new Mastermind Quiz Book was out and I managed to get mine today and have spent the morning going through it. I intended doing only a couple of pages but ended up working my through around 400 questions!

Prior to its release I was wondering about the format of the book. It starts off with a decent foreward by John Humphreys and then gets straight into the question. Each chapter is divided up into a "show" with a Specialist Round followed by a General Knowledge round, 30 questions each. That gives you plenty to play with.

The Specialist round themes are quite wide and varied and there is nothing "too" narrow where you will be tempted to skip it. I think the most narrow it gets is either "Star Wars movies" or "Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy". the first few I tried were the Summer Olympics, Academy Awards and French Revolution and they were all enjoyable.

I am also pleased to see in the GK sets that they don't seem to have too many "gimmies" in there that you see on the show so the book is not filled with simple chestnuts but instead the more advanced questions from the GK rounds on the series over the years!

Factor in at the end of every couple of "shows" you get interviews, titbits and features on all things Mastermind, you have a very top quality quiz book here and one I would strongly recommend.

Here is a link to buy on Amazon which is the cheapest around....

Friday, 7 September 2012

Re-Visit: Fitzgeralds Pub Quiz - When a good quiz goes bad

In my Quiz Trek earlier in the year I gave a glowing review of the Fitzgeralds Pub Quiz which is run in Sunderland City Centre every Thursday Night. Last time I was there it was full with upwards of ten teams, a great question master and definitely the best range of questions in the area.....However, for anyone interested, after attending the quiz for the first time in at least 8 weeks last night all has changed and not for the better.

Seemingly in our absence we have missed the fact that the local quizmaster has left the scene after gaining a job as a local reporter. Being a jolly good bloke I am obviously pleased for him as it sounds like a cracking job but it has left the Fitzgeralds quiz in a bit of a state and I fear for the future of the Thursday quiz night.

I had a feeling something was up as we entered the usually packed room, albeit a little early, to find just 2 tables of players. It did not pick up towards the start of the quiz and we ended up with 4 teams and overall 11 players in the venue. Not ideal!

With all due credit the quizmaster, who I think is the manager of the pub, tried his best joking about hosting "Sunderland Quietest Pub Quiz" and the quiz was not bad at all. The slight changes being the first round was no loner on the microphone meaning it was a sheet of 20 questions to answer followed by 20 pictures.

The huge downside here was simple, the quizmaster gave out the cheats and due to probably having barman duties at the other room left the area.......hence google came out. The team next to us were rampant in using their phones, something that you simply couldn't do in the old quiz which is one of the reasons this quiz used to be so great.

The last two rounds and Jackpot were done on the microphone. Good questions although the Geography round was a little tedious due to the repetitive nature of the questions.

It was a fun night in essence but the cheating ruined it. The amount of prizes they give away as well.....£40 in cash, around 16 pint cheques over the night must have meant it was a tough night for the pub in terms of making money.

Now, I feel including "bad" in the title of this post is a little harsh as, as I have said, we had a good night, the staff did their best to make sure everyone enjoyed it and due to the vast amounts of prizes we won basically every drink of the night but.....

I cannot see this quiz surviving much longer and I guess it shows the effect of a good quizmaster!!!

This is one quiz which had total control over phone cheating, a regular crowd and beat off competition from quizzes on the same night through this! Now though who knows what will happen!

If you are in Sunderland on a Thursday Night head down to Fitzgeralds! If they get the customers back maybe the quiz can return to what it was!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

The Quiz Addict Quiz Trek #12

Hastings Hill, Sunderland

After the Quiz League last night the usual pub quiz was running in the Hastings Hill pub which is just outside Sunderland city centre. It has been a long time since I attended a quiz I have never been to before and so long in fact I did not even remember the number for this part of the Trek. Due to finding a number of regular quizzes I don't want to miss, attending new quizzes has taken a back seat,

Anyway, the Hastings Hill quiz was well attended last night with 8 teams I think and its a nice little pub. I have heard the food is good too but have not had chance to sample it myself. They run a quiz on a Wednesday and Sunday so this is a review of the Wednesday quiz.

The first round was a picture round, 20 points on offer with some different pictures thrown in to add some variety...i.e. movie stills for naming a movie and an album cover to  identify. A great picture round to start proceedings!

Following that there are 4 rounds and last night there was a theme to each round. Round 1 was a set of  General Knowledge questions to ease players in, round 2 was 10 pieces of music with quizzers required to identify the artist (a very good range of music!), round 3 was questions based on "words" and round 4 was a series of GK questions where the first letter of each answer provided an anagram (this week a "historical female figure"). Plenty of variety, plenty of good questions and a quiz that was all round very well put together. Throw in a doubler round, which you are not told about before hand, and a quick game of 13 card bingo and its a fun night! The quiz was actually ran by a member of the Hastings Hill quiz league team so I expected it to be good!

If this was not out of way (as I dont drive) I would certainly attend on a regular basis and would recommend both the pub and especially the quiz to anyone in the area! Another fine quiz in Sunderland!

Quiz League....

I have mentioned the Sunderland Echo Quiz League, which I intended to join as soon as I moved to Sunderland, previously. Eventually last night I ended up playing what was my first league match for the Colonel Prior team away at Hastings Hill and have a very enjoyable evening.

I was initially worried that the question level would be too high for me at present, but the night went well and even though I could not even hazard a guess at some questions I managed much more than I thought I would. There were some great questions and it certainly worked my brain harder than the standard pub quiz!

The whole evening was very enjoyable and everyone made us feel very welcome indeed. I am looking forward to getting more involved in the quiz league and the next step is heading up to Edinburgh next week for the Brunton Shield event involving quizzers from the local area against quizzers from Scotland!

Should be fun and an ideal way to spend a week off!

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

To Screen or not to Screen...

Interesting debate been happening on the Quizmasters group page on Facebook (a very good page if you want to hunt it down). Basically the issue was raised, as usual, about cheating and how to conquer this new app/phone tool that allows user to scan the picture to identify who the person is....thus making picture rounds a doddle for anyone with the app. I have tried it myself and it is very powerful indeed and it shocked me how good it was. I tried all kinds of pictures big and small, black and white and colour, crumpled and straight...even cropped pictures it managed.

The quizmasters on the page were thinking of ideas to combat this and the discussion was entered into about the possibility of using screens. What do other readers think of this and have you seen it work?

The only time I have ever seen it was at the World Quiz Championships where they put pictures on a large screen, mainly for people who struggle to see the ones on paper and/or want a colour image.

However in a normal pub quiz there are tons of problems here. Most pubs are not designed in a way where everybody could get a good luck at the screens. A few pubs I go to would get this done superbly on the various TV's but then again you don't want to upset those in there watching sport. One big screen raises the problem of getting the best seats, some people won't be keen on getting up and down and it still may not not stop cheating as this powerful app could probably read the screen from a decent distance away.

How else could you stop picture round cheating? Any ideas would be appreciated!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Book Suggestion: Bumper Pub League Quiz Book

Not sure if I have suggested this book before but the Quiz book I am recommending this week is the Bumper Pub League Quiz Book which is definitely one of my most used titles in terms of answering questions. this book is written in the style of a Pub Quiz League set with sets for each team, individual sets and tiebreakers etc so it really is going to expand your knowledge. Its aim at all types of quizzer but for the majority is pitched above the normal pub quiz league.....Well worth a shout with thousands of questions and plenty to learn.

Actually just noticed its around £1 on the above link...bargain!

Monday, 3 September 2012

Only Connect 2012/2013 - Heat 2

Only Connect 2012/2013 - Heat 2

TEFL Teachers vs IT Specialists 

After last weeks fantastic opening to the show it was straight into heat 2 of Only Connect with a match between TEFL Teachers and IT Specialists.

Line up - 

TEFL Teachers
Saul Jones
Chris Sowton
Emma-Louisa Mutter


IT Specialists
James Kemp
Lynne Ashcroft
Sally Wilson

Surely it couldn't be as last week? Oh yes it could!

There was a tight opening first round here with both teams showing great knowledge and everyone joining in. A few very tough questions as usual in here but Sally Wilson particularly seemed to make the brighter start as the IT Specialists took a 6-2 lead in the first.

As round 2 started Chris Sowton began to get into his stride picking up a key steal and a cracking 3 pointer to tie the scores. Bonuses and failed answers were exchanged and Sally Wilson had to put her foot down during this round to stop the team captain throwing away vital points, and without disrespect to anyone but James Kemp didnt seem to be able to get a word it! Maybe this lack of unity would cost them? Anyway the IT Specialists still lead by 8 points to 7 after this round. They spoke very excitedly before the contest about how much they had wanted to appear on Only Connect and it seemed to me there was some overeagerness here.

The Wall proved little problem for the TEFL teachers who managed to crack the wall, only failing on one connection to give them 7. I think the It Specialists had a much harder wall and made it harder for themselves by some frantic pressing and discussion. The wall almost seemed to conquer them but they nipped in in the last few moments to pick up extra points and earn 2 rows and superbly managed all 4 connections.

14-14....Here we go again!

Just like last week this round went back and forward with some terribly hard questions. One minute James Kemp was sending IT Specialists into a 2 point lead, the next Chris Sowton was on a run for the TEFL Teachers. In the end it was indeed a 3-burst from Sowton and co. that ended IT Specialists hopes and earned a 22-19 win. Congratulations on a well earned victory and hard luck to the IT Specialists who maybe on another day would have advanced.

Another cracking episode and I look forward to next week's showdown! I only wish this show had 15-30 minutes more each week!