Thursday, 28 March 2013

Quiz Book Suggestion

I may have mentioned this before but one of my favourite Quiz books on the market at present is 'Bamber Gascoignes Challenging Quiz Book'. There is no filler, every question is worth its while and the whole book is well researched and well presented. Well worth adding to any collection.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Beat The Pack

I have been recording the BBC's latest day time quiz show Beat the Pack. As the series nears its end, I was wondering what other readers though of this show?

First things first, if you put into the factor that this 45 minute show now takes me around 10 minutes, if that, to watch on "speed-viewing" on Sky Plus it says a lot about how I see it. The show is presented by Jake Humprheys with a format I am not even going to try and explain.

As with all these shows the quality of the questions is what matters. Each round starts off with a £2000 questions, intended to be hard, and as the players pass it moves down so the questions get easier. There have been some cracking questions so far this series and most of the £2000 ones are reasonably decent but the multiple choice element takes some of the fun away. As the questions reduce in value the fun starts to decline.

There is way too much talking, waiting and deliberating in this section so in all not many questions get asked at all and you are left with only a handful per show.

The end reverts to a strange 1 vs 1 situation where the "winner" must answer 75 seconds worth of question  every time they get one wrong, the opponent gets a chance to steal. If they get it right, and do this three times, they win the prize. The whole show basically ends on a whimper of easy questions. and even though I am far from being a decent quizzer, the fact that I have never got a question wrong in those final rounds shows the standard.

I will continue to watch this one speed-viewing on Sky Plus but could not stomach a full 45 minute episode.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Snakes and Ladders Red Tooth

A local quiz I go to runs a fairly enjoyable evening on a Monday night with various quizzes and other such like to keep the punters entertained. Last night they trailed a new quiz from Red Tooth which is called Snakes and Ladders. They did not replace the main quiz however, thankfully, and ran this as a separate quiz.

The basic premise of the quiz is simple. You get 25 questions, you need to answer straight away as the sheets are gathered in at the end of the 25th. Most of the questions are the fairly straight forward Red Tooth range with a few teasers thrown in.

On the sheet you have a snakes and ladders board. As the quizmaster tells you the answers he also tells you how many spaces to move if you got it correct, whilst obeying the rules of snakes and ladders of course. Hence you could get all 25 correct and still not win as the winner is either a) the first person to the final square or b) the highest team after 25 questions.

The idea as he explained it sounded horrible but I did enjoy some of the questions and my non-quizzing friends enjoyed it very much.I would hate this to replace the normal quiz but the pub like to add on extras to keep punters in and this is slightly better than the Fun Fortunes they do. I had my fun in it answering the questions and let the others play the "game" part of it.

Has anyone else tried this game?

Monday, 25 March 2013

Quiz Addict E-Book

The E-book is going well, some nice positive feedback received and above all else I enjoyed putting it together. I am in the middle of putting together a much more comprehensive one with many more questions but for anyone interested the current Book is still priced at 77p on the Kindle Store (you don't need a Kindle to read it) and any further feedback would be great.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Celtic Nations Quizzing Weekend

The following is on behalf of Brian Pendreigh. He is organising what looks like a superb event next month up in Edinburgh for Celtic quizzers. If you want any further information pop me an email to and Ill forward your details onto Brian. 

Celtic Nations Quizzing weekend 

Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh, April 27-28

Everyone resident in Scotland (or anyone who is Scottish, Irish or Welsh) will be made very welcome and can take part in the solo quiz and social team quiz (with the chance for to play alongside familiar faces from TV), and can also see some of the world's top quizzers in international action.

There are now about 40 quizzers registered, with a large contingent from Ireland, two Welsh teams and Scots from as far afield as Torquay and Elgin, Winchester and Kirkcaldy... pretty much everywhere except Glasgow. The standard ranges from casual pub quizzer to familiar tv faces. 

We have the use of three rooms during the day on the Saturday and are some way off from being full up, but please do keep registrations and confirmations coming in. 

Charge for local quizzers (those from Central Scotland) is £8. Cheques to Brian Pendreigh, Agra Lodge, 223 Ferry Rd, Edinburgh EH6 4SP. No charge for those coming from farther afield. This is a non-profit-making event. 

Our thanks to sponsors the Voodoo Rooms and Matthew Clark wine merchants. 



9.45 Opening, registration

10.00 International team event Round 1 Match 1 Scotland v Ireland (Ballroom) + Scotland B v Ireland B (Speakeasy) + Scotland C v Ireland C (French Quarter)
11.30 International team event Round 1 Match 2 Wales v Ireland (French Quarter) + Wales B v Ireland B (Speakeasy). 

12.00 Matthew Clark Celebrity Quiz Challenge – Celebrity quiz team (including Barry Simmons from Eggheads and Anne Hegerty and guest star, quizzer and stand-up comedian Paul Sinha from The Chase v Local quiz contest winners 

Lunch/spectating for most people. The Voodoo Rooms does food (and drink) and there are carry-out places very close.

1.00 International solo event + marking This is a written quiz and is open to everyone. Top scores will count towards the overall international results. 

3.00 Short break

3.15-5.00 Social team quiz, open to everyone, with teams chosen as a mix of strong and not so strong. This is one of those rare occasions where I will be on the other side of the table, setting and posing the questions. The Brunton Shield event seemed to prove pretty popular and this will be a similar style of quick-fire questions across the full spectrum of subjects, high and low-brow, from Homer to Assassin's Creed.

5.00 Quizzing continues in the Speakeasy (capacity 40)... International team event Round 1, Match 3 Wales v Scotland

VITAL: The same questions will probably be used for the Wales B v Scotland B match at 8.30, so obviously those who will be in the B teams CANNOT WATCH THIS MATCH. It is also important that quizzers and spectators do not discuss the questions afterwards, except in private.

6.30 Kirkcaldy Quiz League Select v Ireland C 
Or curry at Khushis or free time for most people. 
(Those involved in the Kirkcaldy challenge match will need to make their own arrangements for eating. They could make a later booking for Khushis if they want. An initial reservation for 30 at Khushis is now fully subscribed, though it should be possible to make a further booking.)

8.30 Quizzing continues in the Speakeasy... International team event Round 1, Match 3 Wales B v Scotland B.

10.30 Socialising, including social quizzing. Buzzer? 

10.00 Second series of international team matches
11.30 Second series of international team matches 
1.00 Second series of international team matches 
3.00 Finish

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Sunderland Echo Quiz League

As I have mentioned a few times on this site, for the past few months I have been playing in the Sunderland Echo Quiz League. It has been a very enjoyable experience so far and I have met some great people and played in some good quizzes!

The league is always on the lookout for new teams and players. Based on my stats I know I get a fair few North-East readers so thought I would put a general message out for anyone who may be interested in joining the league. When I joined the league, I joined without really knowing anybody. I was sorted out a team and before long I was playing! I am really glad I started playing for various reasons and would encourage anyone else with an interest in quizzing, and a free Wednesday Night, to think about getting involved.

There are currently 7 teams in the league, and although I play no part in organising anything (I just turn up and play) if you are interested pop me an email to and I will forward it on to the relevant people. Whether it be just yourself, you and a friend or indeed a pub interested in joining Chris, who runs the league, will get things sorted for you.

One of my main concerns before joining was a) that there would be individual questions and b) that I would not be able to contribute. Happily there are not any individual questions and I have been able to add points to the team, but like all quizzes the social element is equally as important and everyone gets on really well.

It may be the case that a new team I have put together will be playing in the league next season and I would be more than happy to have anybody as part of a team that may be based in a city centre pub. We are all friendly and would be more than happy to have anybody on board who fancies playing.

Either way, if you have any interest at all I would suggest giving the league a try. Email me at and your details will be passed on.

Hope to see you in the league soon!

Monday, 11 March 2013

Book Suggestion: An Encyclopaedia of North-East England

My local history, and for a matter of fact, local knowledge altogether is very limited  Despite living in the North East all my life I usually struggle with questions about the area and since I have started playing in the Sunderland Echo Quiz League this has become even more evident.

 I was shopping around and came across Richard Lomas An Encyclopaedia of North-East England which I have been enjoying very much. It certainly has raised my knowledge and presents facts in a useful way. Although it is an Encyclopaedia time is spent explaining the people, places and events so you get a good understanding.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

TQA Quiz Trek 2013 - #5

Fitzgeralds, Sunderland
Thursday Nights

When I first moved to Sunderland last year, the quiz on a Thursday Night in Fitzgeralds was my favourite quiz in the city. There was a change of quizmaster and after attending a few quizzes here late last year where attendances were not great, I stopped going. This week I decided to head back to the quiz for the first time this year.

The first thing to mention is that Fitzgeralds is an excellent pub. In the heart of the city centre it is friendly, welcoming and serves a great range of real ale. The quiz starts at 9pm on a Thursday Night and this week there around 9-10 teams taking part each, apart from mine, with about 4-5 players in. It takes place in its own room and the area is quite small.

The quiz format is very simple. 20 written questions on General Knowledge, 20 pictures followed by two 10 question rounds on a different theme each week. There are tiebreak questions at the end of every round and these are usually ones based on numbers to guess at (populations, years, dates etc) to give everyone a chance. Beer tokens are on offer for the tiebreak and cash for the quiz, as well as a rolling jackpot.

The first round has a good mix of questions, and even though I prefer a pub quiz to be delivered by the quiz master throughout, the written round at least allows more time to think and talk about the questions. I don't think much cheating goes on in the quiz so extra time does not result in extra cheating which is one great thing about this quiz in Fitzgeralds.

My only real issue with the quiz is the picture round. 20 points on offer here with only 40 on offer elsewhere in the quiz. That means a third of the quiz is pictures. I enjoy some picture rounds and indeed enjoy the one here, but with a small team there is always the chance of falling way behind on pictures as a big team always gives you better hopes in a picture round.

The last two rounds this week were 80's music followed by 80's films, the films were fairly straight forward but I struggled with the music round. Splitting it up would have been better as there were teams even younger than me who had blank looks on the last round. It was all very close until then! I like themed rounds but two 80's based rounds was a bit of a let down.

Overall though the quiz is well run, friendly, plenty of prizes to winner and one the better pub quiz nights in Sunderland. Worth a look.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013


Yesterday we headed up to BBC Scotland, Glasgow to film our episode of Eggheads. The whole process from audition to being in the studio yesterday was quite quick, well handled by the BBC and superbly organised. I cannot say anything at this stage regarding the result so I will wait until transmission date (which we were told is "end of the year").

Overall though the BBC were very good, the producers and staff all treated us really well, Jeremy Vine was friendly and chatty and of course the Eggheads were very friendly too.

A great day, my first TV show recorded and the whole team enjoyed the day. I would recommend trying out for the show to anybody!

Northampton GP

This weekend saw the latest (British Quiz Association) event in Duston, Northants. Being a longer trip than usual I stayed overnight prior to the quiz taking place and had a great weekend!

The Venue, St Crispins Social Club, was perfect for the event which had a huge turnout. Bordering on 100 I believe and certainly the busiest event I have been too. Nic Paul set a great set of questions for the main quiz which went down well and I can see why this event has become so popular. Again, because you can buy the questions from the Quizzing website, I tend not to mention specific questions on here but I spent an age thinking of a certain dog, from a certain viral viral video in a certain park but still could not get there. My score was higher than my first two efforts and after crossing out three correct answers and missing a few easy points I did not quite get the 70 score I was aiming for. Nevertheless great questions and plenty in there to spent time working out!

The afternoon involved a team quiz and for the first time I was on the winning team! Again the questions were great and 23 music tracks played helped us a lot as we had a diverse team. 

Another fantastic weekend. Roll on Rainhill!