Saturday, 31 August 2013

New BBC Show - Pressure Pads

BBC have the following on their "Be On A Show" Website. Closing soon. A few people I know have auditions and sounds like a version of Eggheads with two normal teams competing and the obvious gimmick mentioned in the title involving, as far as I know, stepping on the correct answers.

Pressure Pad

| BBC One
John Barrowman
Hosted by John Barrowman, Pressure Pad will see two teams compete across a series of general knowledge games, with the aim of getting as many of their teammates into the final as possible. Win a head-to-head against their opponent and their place is guaranteed. Lose and they are eliminated. The more players you have in the final the better your chances of winning the cash prize.

We are on the look out for lively, intelligent and competitive personalities who would like to take part in the programme. We'll be holding nationwide auditions over the next few weeks.
Pressure Pad is produced for the BBC by 12 Yard Productions.

Quiz Trek - The Barony, Edinburgh

The Barony, Edinburgh 
Monday Nights

On my trip to Edinburgh last week, I was keen to try out a local pub quiz and after asking a few local quizzes the Monday Night Quiz in the Barony got the thumbs up. This is small but charming little pub in Edinburgh City Centre and the place was packed for what turned out to be on of the most enjoyable pub quizzes I have been too. Myself and my other half had arranged to team up with some local quizzers (and very good ones at that) so we had a team of 6. That for one is unusual for me, and probably made it more enjoyable, as I am more used to playing as a twosome.

The quiz begins with a general knowledge round. Fairly accessible and a nice range of questions. I particularly enjoy "list" type questions such as "name the top three..." or "name the countries bordering" and there were a few of those mixed in. Dave, the quiz master, is a very good quizzer himself (making the final of Brunton Shield this year as well as being, I think, one of Ireland's highest ranking players and an international!). 

It does make a huge difference when you have a quizmaster who is a) a good player himself and b) cares about quizzing and this quiz in The Barony is a perfect example of that!

We took the lead after the first round and extended it a little after round 2. We had been pre-warned that there was a valuable music round (12 points up for grabs) that could determine the outcome. Again, there was a great range of music played. Too many music rounds in quizzes reflect the quizmasters taste a little too much, but there was a nice mix, each team member managed to chip in with a few (in my view the sign of a good round).

Another General Knowledge round follows this and the game ended with a question worth 12 points. This time around it was name the actors who played the lead roles in "Reservoir Dogs" and the names of the characters. Your didn't have to link them together thankfully and we managed 11. I like the idea of having a question like this at the end of the quiz as it gives teams a chance to make up points and keeps the leading teams on their toes.

The final round too aims to keep everyone involved and also involves strategy. Each week, I am assuming, the quizmaster drip feeds information in the hunt for one answer. The sooner you submit the sheet the more points you get. This year he gave us a list of 10 items and we had to decide which year they were invented in. He began with obscure items and moved on through to more known ones. We knew the team next to us were our closest rivals and therefore didn't need to put in an answer until a little after they did. It ended up with both teams going for the wrong decade and we won a crate of bottled beer for our efforts!

A jackpot round comes at the end with 5 questions asked and the teams needing to answer all 5 to win the money. As you can imagine this is very tough indeed but makes a good end to the night.

In terms of pub quizzes I would have to say that this ranks up there with the best I have been too. Certainly a lot better than many of the Sunderland Pub Quizzes and certainly would be hard to beat anywhere. This is backed up by the fact that the pub was crammed, the teams were very competitive and there was a great atmosphere. Funnily enough this is actually the first quiz I have ever been to where the other players applaud the winning team as the scores are read out at the end of each round!

If you are in Edinburgh then I would very much suggest trying this quiz out. A great little pub, great questions, a great format and combined with the great company we had this was a superb night!

Friday, 30 August 2013

Mastermind Wiki Challenge

Should have a spare few hours this afternoon to try the Wiki Challenge on a couple of these subjects. This week the subjects on Mastermind will be - 

Six Feet Under
Life and Times of James Ramsay MacDonald
City of London Parish Churches of Wren
Life and Work of Alun Lewis

Certainly MacDonald and Lewis I will give a go to this week. Have never seen Six Feet Under so will probably give that a miss for now (other than looking for an episode on Netflix to watch) and will probably give Wren a miss.

Let me know how you get on if you try it!

Brunton Shield

Every year several players from the Sunderland Quiz League and quizzers from across Scotland gather to contest the Brunton Shield. You may remember last year I was a small part of the winning team at this event and enjoyed it so much that there was no question about returning this year. I made something of a short-break of the trip to Edinburgh (more of which later) and the event was again held at The Grange Cricket Venue.

There were around 12 teams competing I believe with 9 from Scotland and 3 from the North East. We drew ourselves into random teams and kicked off the quiz. The first part of the quiz is a set of a 100 questions which the team work on together. This year the questions were very tough indeed but as always, very enjoyable. They were set by Dave Taylor who you may have seen on last years Only Connect. Covering a broad range of subjects we managed to turn a poor start round and after storming through the second half ended up with a score we were happy with. It was not quite enough to make the final this year however.

The final teams are decided by the highest scoring Sunderland Team against the highest Scottish team. 12 questions are asked to each side with a mixture of individual and team questions. It was a tough set and produced a very close final game but the Sunderland side managed to retain the trophy for the north east.

Perhaps more importantly the barman informed us he would keep the bar open until 1am and we spent the rest of the night in a great venue with very good company.

Again the Brunton Shield has proven to be one of the highlights of the year so far quizzing wise. I may be able to get a copy of the questions, and I will okay it with Dave but may post a few up as there some absolute corkers.

Eggheads News - CJ Returning

Browsing through Twitter last night I came across a post from the producer of Eggheads promising some "Big News" after last nights episode that he was going to announce on Twitter. This year of course marks the tenth anniversary of the show so I was thinking along those lines, or rather more optimistically hoping for a new series of "Are You an Egghead?"

Neither was true and the announcement was that CJ is rejoining the Eggheads. The episodes will be filmed in October and screened at some point next year.

Week Away

Its been a rather busy week this week despite me having a week off work. I have been on something of a quizzing spree too and have a load of posts to catch up. I have been up in Edinburgh for much of the week (mainly for the Brunton Shield quiz) so whilst I get caught up on posts here are some of the pictures I took from what was a wonderful day out at the Zoo!

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Mastermind Standings

Mastermind Standings 2013/2014

Three episodes in and its time to start the standings thread for this years series of Mastermind. As far as I am aware the same process is being used as last year so its the highest scoring runners-up rather than 2nd place only that are being given chance to progress. Unless anyone knows otherwise?

Winners - 

Cliff Challenger - 32
Colin Foster - 26
Chris Kilbride - 26

Runners Up - 

Beth Webster - 28
Barry Nolan - 26
Ricki Kendall - 25
John Berridge - 24
Lauren White - 23
Darren Martin - 21
Pat Ready - 19
Brain Daugherty - 18
Alan Forsyth - 15

Friday, 23 August 2013

Sunderland Echo Quiz League

The league this week threw up some interesting results. We (Museum Vaults) got a much needed win against Ashbrooke to take us to 6 points. Dragged out Ali and Lewis's last opponents (Berbick and Vitaly Klitschko) and some cracking answers all round saw us take a 33-29 at Ashbrooke win on what was an interesting set of questions.

That leaves the league table for the Knockout Round very close. The Top 4 qualify into the Semi finals and with everyone having played 4 and 3 games each left it could go either way. 6 points may not be enough

I will check with the setter before posting a few questions up from the set later in the week!

Thursday, 22 August 2013

Mastermind - Wiki Challenge

The subjects for this weeks Mastermind are - 

Feature films of Peter Sellers
The Life and Music of Paul Robeson
The Open Golf Championship 1960-2012

Not many I fancy on the challenge to be honest, but I will have a go at the Paul Robeson subject and perhaps refresh on the golf although I do fancy that one without any research.

Lightspeed Quiz - Round 6 - Durham - This Sunday!

You may have seen in previous few postings over the months the Videos of me competing (and reading) in Lightspeed Quiz Events. The next of which is in the good old North East this Sunday. I will be there and looking forward to some buzzer quizzing.

Details copied from the site below -

Light Speed Individual Open Buzzer Quiz 2013

Round Six

Sunday August 25th The Salutation, Durham

Dryburn View
Telephone 01913 749 185 (Ask for Karen or Peter)
My telephone is 07859 403 790
The Salutation is about a kilometre NW of the railway station overlooking the city of Durham. It came recommended and Peter was kind enough to let us have one of his rooms at really short notice. We are upstairs in our own room, and they do food as well as great beer.
Usual start time of 1 PM and unusual end time of sometime late Sunday afternoon (Say 5 or 6 o'clock).

Brain of Britain - Phone Audition

I almost forget that I had applied for the next series of Brain of Britain until I received a phone call last night. A number, that for some reason was showing up as "Blocked", has been ringing me for weeks and last night I finally gave in, expecting to be on the end of a sales pitch of some description, but instead faced the 20 question phone audition for Brain of Britain!

As the phone auditions are still ongoing I cannot really talk about the questions, suffice to say I think I have scored around 16-17 out of 20 and I am hopeful of being allowed on so I can embarrass myself on national radio!

Anyone else applied this year?

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

The Chase USA

The US version of The Chase started this month and I have finally found a Youtube version of a full episode.


Mastermind Standings

Mastermind Standings 2013/2014

Two episodes in and its time to start the standings thread for this years series of Mastermind. As far as I am aware the same process is being used as last year so its the highest scoring runners-up rather than 2nd place only that are being given chance to progress. Unless anyone knows otherwise?

Winners - 

Cliff Challenger - 32
Colin Foster - 26

Runners Up - 

Beth Webster - 28
Ricki Kendall - 25
John Berridge - 24
Lauren White - 23
Brain Daugherty - 18
Alan Forsyth - 15

Monday, 19 August 2013

When is a specialist subject not a specialist subject!

This weeks Mastermind has drew one major talking point, that being the Olympics based specialist subject that was chosen. Now, before I start the fault here does not lie with the contestant but with the setters. Basically, and I am sure if you saw the show you agree, the set was more like an "Olympic Themed" round of a pub quiz than what you would expect for a specialist round on Mastermind.

Reading on various quizzing forums and facebook pages the reaction seems to have been the same. The common score seems to be, like me, every question right apart from the Pip Funnell one! Considering how low I usually score in Mastermind rounds I think I have an idea on is testament to how accessible this set was. I am sure the contestant was pleased with the set but in a way all those months of preparation I imagine learning obscure facts and runners-up etc and he got presented with a set he could have probably score the same on without research!

What also made the set more comfortable, was that with it being a popular subject shorter questions could be asked. Humprheys did not have to spend time reading long questions which give background information (for the viewer at home of course and could cut straight to the point.

Congratulations go to the wining contestant but do others agree that was as far from a specialist round as you can get? There was a round on Football Grounds last year which I criticised but in my years of watching the show The Olympic round has lowered the bar considerably.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Sunderland Echo Quiz League

The opening Knockout Contest of the Sunderland Echo Quiz League (Gowan Scott Memorial Trophy) is well under way and its shaping up to be a very close contest. Each team plays each other once with the top four going into Knock-out Semi Finals and as you can see from the table below its going to very tight.

I play for Museum Vaults and we had a solid start to the season but slipped up in our last game. Next weeks game at Ashbrooke could be a vital one as by my calculations it is going to be 6-8 points needed to qualify. With games against Penshaw, The Isis (Last Years champions), Ashbrooke and Newbottle to come 3 points should be enough although it may come down to Average score (a 52 last week giving us a good standing in that respect so far).

Again I have a few sets of questions used in the past few weeks so if anyone is wanting to see them who hasn't already pop me an email at

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Book Suggestion

I mentioned another book by Dominic Sandbrook some time ago and I have just recently finished this one. As with all his works "State of Emergency" is a treasure trove of information covering the period 1970-1974. Due to my age 70's and 80's history is something I have been doing a lot to improve my knowledge for quizzing purposes, and this is certainly one of the best books covering that era.

The previous book I mentioned covers the period following this and is equally as good if not better.

Mastermind Challenge

Mastermind is back and for those of you reading last year, who will remember I used to run a Mastermind Challenge which involved spending time using the Wikipedia pages of each specialist subject to see how many points could be gained from it.

It worked well last year and certainly some of the bits and bobs I learned have come in majorly useful in all types of quizzes.

So the subjects coming up on Friday are -

Catherine Howard
The Green Lantern Comics
Robert Hooke
British Summer Olympic Medallists 1960 - 2012

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Buzzer Questions #5

Another range from the set of the buzzer questions used in the aforementioned Lightspeed Event

The earliest record of this sport dates back to 23BC and until 1919 female spectators were banned. As a youngster to enter this sport you need to weigh at least 165 pounds and be 173cm tall. This is the national sport of Japan and the Grand Champion is known as a Yokozuna

Sumo Wrestling

Which game was named by its inventor, Peter Adolph, after a bird of prey commonly known as the Eurasian Hobby? It was first released in 1946 although initially only available through the magazine called “The Boys Own Paper”.  The game was referenced by the Undertones in their hit song “My Perfect Cousin” and cardigan buttons were used as bases for the first set of players. Since then Hasbro have purchased the company who produce the game although the basic set up of a cloth pitch, a goalkeeper on a stick and 10 plastic figurines per side remains.


Before his career as a politician this man worked as a trainee chef whilst also training as an amateur boxer. Between 1970 and 2010 he was the labour MP for Hull East. Who was the deputy Prime Minister between 1997-2007?

John Prescott

This country is divided into 23 provinces and has a population of around 35 million. A Golden Sun is depicted at the centre of its flag and until the 19th century this country was ruled by Spain. Its national anthem is “Hear Oh Mortals” and in 1982 this country went to war with Great Britain. Name the country that has Buenos Aires as its capital.


In which year did the following all occur – Prince Charles attended the funeral of King Olaf of Norway, his son William had to undergo emergency surgery after being hit with a golf ball, John Mccarthy was released by Lebanese terrorists, major supermarkets were given Permission to open on Sundays in the UK and Brian Adams topped the UK Charts with the theme song from Robin Hood Prince of Thieves.


This billionaire’s real first name is Keith although you rarely hear it being used. The Private Eye often refer to him as “The Dirty Digger” and in order to enhance his US business prospects he became an American citizen in 1985 where he began to take over mainstream media companies including 20th Century Fox and Harpercollins. What is the name of the media mogul who made the News Corporation one of the most influential companies in the World?

Rupert Murdoch

The cornerstone of this famous building was laid 3 weeks before the economic crisis known as “Black Friday”. It was designed by the architects Shreve, Lamb and Harmon and was built on the former site of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Standing at over 1,400 feet tall from the ground to the tip of the roof flagpole, name this building which was the tallest building in the world when it was opened in 1931?

Empire State Building

This novel  is set in a village called Tevershall and centres around the events in a mansion called Wragby Hall. Which novel was written in 1928 but did not become available to the general public in 1960 following a landmark court case which resulted in Penguin Books being prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act? It was also the last novel by DH Lawrence.

Lady Chatterlys Lover

Born in Scotland in 1723, which moral philosopher and economist is best known for his works entitled The Theory of Moral Sentiments and Wealth of Nations?

Adam Smith

In Computing what does the B stand for the in term USB?


English Rugby Players Simon Shaw,  Nick Kennedy, Delon Armitage and Jonny Wilkinson all played club rugby last season for which Heineken Cup Winning side?


Lightspeed Quiz Bury

I wasn't able to make the Lightspeed Quiz Event this month in Bury. Here are the videos of the event which took place. The Next Event is in Durham I believe and I will post some links nearer the time. This time the format was changed to a head to head contest which I think may have worked a little better! 

Sunday, 4 August 2013


The Sunderland Echo Quiz league involves each time having to set the questions a couple of times a season. The first phase of the season has just begun (kicking off with a Knockout Event) and it was our turn to set this past week. Over the summer I have been collating questions in anticipation of our turn and send a full set off to the Captain, who decided to use them, hence for the first time, and only a year after joining, all games in the league would be using my questions. I was rather nervous over a) an imbalance and b) the overall scores.

I actually went down to one of the venues to read them out which may have proven to be an unwise move. But after a little but of worrying, the set went down well. Each match had only a two point difference and the different teams won matches on different sets which shows there was some balance. Very relieved indeed and I actually enjoyed the whole process so hopefully I will be setting some more in the future.

Anyway, the reason I mentioned this is I have the sets saved so if any readers want a set emailed please drop me an email to Feel free to use any you like!

The reason I am not posting them up is that I am planning on using some in my next e-book, and posting the questions online will trigger off the Amazon plagiarism detector thingy and slow the whole process down.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Buzzer Questions #4

Continuing in this series of posts containing the questions I set for a recent buzzer quiz....

This American TV Comedy first appeared on British screens in 1979. The star of the show went on to become one of Hollywood’s biggest box office stars. It was set in the American Town of Boulder and characters included Mr Bickley and a prophet named Exidor. Pam Dawber played the female lead and Robin Williams played the male lead, an alien who landed on earth in a giant egg.

This English city was the original Burial Place of Saint Swithun and stands on the River Itchen.  It is the location of a 13th Century building known as The Great Hall which was built during the reign of Henry III and houses the Arthurian Round Table. The worlds largest gothic cathedral can be found in this city. It was once the capital of England and shares its name with a type of rifle.

Name this footballer. He was born in 1973 and he has earned 8 caps for England, his first being under Kevin Keegan.  He remains the only Englishman to win the European Golden Boot for his 30-goal tally within one Premier League season.  His first league club was Watford before spending 6 years with the same club netting 113 times. He also scored the winning penalty in this years championship playoff final.

What is the name of the “intelligent personal assistant” which appears on Apple phones and tablets which requires the user to simply speak into the device in order to carry out tasks?

This city will be one of the 2014 European Capitals of Culture and is served by the largest airport in the Baltic States. It hosted a NATO Summit in 2006 as well as the 2003 Eurovision Song contest.  With a population of around 800,000 it is also the largest city in any Baltic state and is home to such famous buildings as the Doms Cathedral.  What is the capital city of Latvia?

You may have seen this man at the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony in the section entitled Dawn of the Digital Age where a model of a house rose to reveal him sitting at a computer desk. He was knighted in 2004 and labelled by Time Magazine as one of the 100 greatest minds of the 20th Century.  Work on his most famous invention began at CERN in the 1980’s where he aimed to develop a means by which researchers could share their computer documents more easily. Name this British computer scientists who is most famous for inventing the Internet?

Which music festival was first held in 1968 when it was headlined by Jefferson Airplane. It currently takes place at Seaclose Park and was this year headlined by Bon Jovi and The Killers. The festival was most famously held in 1970 when 600,000 people attended to see legendary sets by acts including The Who and Jimi Hendrix?

Which comic book character was originally born as James Howlett but is more commonly known as Logan. He is a mutant who possess animal like sense and a healing power that allows him to recover from almost any injury. He is often depicted as a member of the X-Men and was played in the X-Men movies by Hugh Jackman?

It is estimated that this creature has lived on our planet for around 140 million years. It is indigenous in Asia, Australia, Africa and North and South America. Some species have up to 110 teeth and can grow up to 20 feet in length. Species of this animal include the Orinoco, African Dwarf and mugger. In a famous childrens book this creature swallows an Alarm Clock. Name this creature.

Mork and Mindy
Kevin Phillips
Tim Berners-Lee
Isle of Wight Festival