Monday, 30 September 2013

New Quiz in Sunderland

The Borough in the heart of Sunderland City Centre are now running a new quiz on a Monday night. A few friends attended the venue and spoke very highly of the quiz night. Its a fine pub with a selection of real ales, friendly punters and a good crowd. I am keen to attend the quiz myself so should be there in the next few weeks! I believe it starts at 9pm for anyone interested.

Sunderland League - Gown Scott Trophy Final Standings

The "knockout" stage of the Sunderland Echo Quiz League ended this week. We were defeated by Penshaw, who have topped the group stage of the Trophy by 2 points and with a much healthier Average score.

It means now that the semi finals will see Penshaw vs Isis and Hastings Hill vs Museum Vaults. Should be a good set of games!


The knockout stage will be ending within the next 3-4 weeks so if anyone reading fancies joining the season proper when it begins, or putting in a new team!, then now is the time to get in touch. If you email me at I will pass on any details to the League Chairman.

I know from some emails/stats/comments I have a few local readers so if you were wanting to simply watch a game to get a taster for the league, and have a few pints with some great people along the way, then get in touch and again I will pass details on.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Lightspeed Quiz - Durham - Game 5 - Videos

The final game from the recent Lightspeed Quiz Event in Durham and another which I very much enjoyed. The same problem for me though of just not being quick enough. As soon as you allow yourself a second to think the inevitable happens....

Friday, 20 September 2013

Lightspeed Quiz - Durham - Game 4- Videos

Game 4 from the recent Lightspeed Buzzer Quiz with Questions by Mike Foden. Another good game!

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Lightspeed Quiz - Durham - Game 3 - Videos

You may recognise these questions...and the person asking them (which is me!). I wrote them especially for this event and in the past week or so I have been posting them on the site. Didn't really cause the players much trouble but produced a good contest all round.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Lightspeed Quiz - Durham - Game 2 - Videos

The Second Game for the recent Lightspeed Quiz Event at Durham. Enjoyed this round but a few hesitations on the buzzer cost me doing as well as I maybe should.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Book Suggestion

I have been carrying out a fair bit of Literature Revision at present and "The A to Z of English Literature" has helped me quite a lot. It is not a massive tome or huge hardbacked Reference work, but a simple 400-page paperback written in a humorous and entertaining way and jam packed with useful quiz material!

Well worth a look and for £4 it is certainly worth a look!

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Lightspeed Quiz - Durham - Game 1 - Videos

At the end of last month I attended the Lightspeed Event in Durham. This is still only my third go at Buzzer Quizzing and I am starting to get the hang of it a little more.

Here is the videos for Game 1

Brain of Britain - Success!

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I had a very positive phone interview audition for Brain of Britain and received an email this week inviting me to appear in the upcoming series. As you can well imagine I am over the moon to take part in the show. Alongside Mastermind may main ambitions in quiz are to appear on these two shows and to have the chance to appear on Brain of Britain this year is fantastic.

It may be a case, in fact it IS a case that I am trying to run before I can walk but I see no harm in giving it a try. If I embarrass myself then at least I can say I tried! There is currently a five year rule on the show meaning it will be 2018 before I can appear again. I feel the best idea is to treat this year round as something of a stepping stone, get some experience of a top level broadcast quiz and then focus on coming back when I have more quiz experience to make a real go of it.

My main aim is to enjoy the experience and try and get 3rd place in the heat. I know that doesn't sound ambitious but given the quality of this show and the quality of some of the potential opposition, aiming for anything above that is a little unrealistic at the minute.

I cant wait!

Any tips from past contestants would be much appreciated!

Friday, 13 September 2013

Buzzer Questions #5

More in the same vein! All used and set my me at a recent buzzer quiz event. Rather than some of the questions where I drip fed information some of this tested speed on the buzzer....

He fought for Pompey, but was pardoned by Julius Caesar in 48 B.C. He joined the conspiracy against Caesar in a vain hope to save the Republican form of government for Rome.  Name this man whom Shakespeare called "the noblest Roman of them all."


What month links the following – The start of the Arab Israeli War in 1973, the annual hosting of the Aldeburgh Benjamin Britten Music Festival, an album by U2 and the star signs Libra and Scorpio.


St George's Park, the new National Football Centre, is located in which Midlands town?


Which area of England was called Vectis by the Romans?

Isle of Wight 

This landlocked state in South Asia was the first to introduce a total ban on tobacco. It has borders with both China and India and held its first general election in 2008 when it became a constitutional monarchy. Is capital city is Thimpu


Which Scottish Athlete, Rugby International and Missionary won the Mens 400m Gold Medal at the 1924 Olympics in Paris and is featured in the 1981 film Chariots of Fire?

Eric Lidell

Described by the American Institute as “The Greatest American Architect of All Time” who designed over 1,000 projects in his career including Falling Water in Bear Run Pennsylvania?

Frank Lloyd Wright

Which British comedian had a top 40 novelty hit in 1961 with 'Don't Jump off the Roof Dad'?

Tommy Cooper

The song "Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah" won the 1948 Best Original Song Oscar for which film?

Song of the South

Which number would you cross off your bingo card if the caller calls "All The Steps"?


Thursday, 12 September 2013

CIU National Final 2013

It was back down to Derby on Sunday for the National Final of the CIU Quiz. After qualifying some months back I had been very much looking forward to this event. With teams travelling from around the country to compete and some top class quizzers on hand there was always going to be little room for error. Indeed with the winning score turning out to be 66/69 that gives you an idea of the standard. I am over the moon to say we managed 3rd Place with a really strong team effort winning ourselves a bit of cash and some beer!

The format didn't differ from the heats which I was glad to see, as in terms of team quizzing, it is pretty much perfect! It kicks off with a GK round coupled in with connections. We actually managed to make a strong start and some last minute inspirations took our score to 9/10. The dropped point actually put us in about 8th place as a good few teams opened with full houses.

I am a huge fan of list style questions and Round 2 involved having to list the 8 states through which Route 66 passed. Luckily, one member of our team had actually trailed most of the route so using his memory and the teams American Geography knowledge  we managed a full house keeping us in contention.

The Tv and Film round caused us most problems. Again, a few last minute ideas managed to save us but missing questions about Fireman Sam (J999 was a the big clue in the question), Fawlty Towers (given the address we couldn't fathom out the most obvious answer) and the film in which Dustin Hoffman played an old etonian (Hook) set us back a little bit.

Picture round followed and went well. I particularly enjoyed the pictures of Board Games to identify but had never heard of Buccaneer which is one we missed.

A GK round followed in which we managed to bring some points back and a full house on Sport pushed us into contention for a placing. The last round was a set of 12 written questions and a Who Am I? round in which the earlier you handed an answer in the more points were awarded. We played both well with full marks on the written set and other than one team we were on par with the others in the Who Am I?.

Some great team work had given us a chance and we managed 3rd place. Kevin Ashman lead a team into second place and the winners with the outstanding score of 66 were a team from Newport (I will find the name out). Congratulations to all involved. A great day all round.

It was nice to see some familiar faces and finally meet David Clark (Mastermind winner and author of the far superior Life After Mastermind blog). A great day all round and from the heats to the finals the CIU quiz has been one of the most enjoyable quizzing events of the year in my book! Roll on next years!

Monday, 9 September 2013

British Quizzing Championships 2013

I had a busy weekend in terms of quizzing but a very productive one! 28th Place in the British Quizzing Championships is beyond what I ever would have imagined and I am so pleased with the result especially considering some of the top quality quizzers I managed to outscore. It may be a while before I score so highly again so I might as well enjoy it whilst it lasts.

I headed down to Derby on Saturday to take part in the British Quizzing Championships. Although I have been attending GP's for over a year now this was my first British Quizzing Championship. The venue was the lovely Hilton House Hotel in Derby which is one of the best venues I have played in. Spacious, great food and nice facilities.

The event differs from the usual GP's in a few ways. Namely more time is given and the quiz is conducted in two halves as there are more questions to consider. Actually that is not quite right, there are still 240 questions but the usual 10 tiebreakers (toughest questions worth .1 intended to separate the big guns!) are gone and replaced by 10 tough questions which are worth a full mark. Thinking about it, with 50 minutes given per half there is only an additional 10 minutes added onto the quizzing but the half-time break for marking works well as it gives players, I think, a chance to relax a little. There are many a times in normal GP's when I have produced nothing in the past 20 minutes as my concentration starts to dip but this structure worked for me!

I somehow managed to score 114 points in total with 102 counting (lowest score is dropped - Lifestyle). The general consensus, and certainly what I found, was that the second half was much more brutal. I did manage to score my highest genre total, 26 (with 7th place being my highest ever genre finish)  in Sport which I was happy with but struggled big time on Lifestyle which I usually use as one of my top scores. Physical World (Sciences and Geography etc) is usually dropped every time and I rarely spend too much time on it. That is one strategy to use and I considered doing it again this time but given Lifestyle's difficulty I managed to spend some more time with Physical World and indeed it reaped rewards.

My aim before the end was 82 points or above as in recent GP's I had been raising my score steadily and perhaps a finish in the Top 60. I outdid myself completely with the 102 and 28th place. I thought the score might scrape me into the Top 40 but was over the moon yesterday when the results came out.

Full Results can be found HERE

Congratulations to Kevin Ashman on a superb win!


After lunch the pairs competition began and via the wonders of the world wide web I had managed to find a partner to pair with prior to the event. Thanks to Paul Hillman for putting up with for the afternoon. We paired quite well actually and scored highly in the opening round. The competition then progressed to knockouts. 15 questions per team and the highest scoring pair advance. We made it through the first round beating some very strong opposition but our one bad round came next and we were out. We played along anyway and managed some great answers. Pat Gibson and Kevin Ashamn took the title so congratulations to them on winning what was a difficult contest.

The pairs format was very interesting indeed and it was unique compared to anything I have previously played in. The time restrictions meant there were different ways to play it and it made for a good experience. I certainly will be keen to take part next year!

All in all the British Quizzing Championships were a fantastic experience and with venues in Derby, Edinburgh and Dublin over 120 people took part eclipsing the record I believe. Onwards and upwards.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Buzzer Questions #4

A further selection of some of the Buzzer Questions set by me for the recent Lightspeed Event. You may have by now seen this in some of the videos I have been posting up.

The Broadway version came out in 1957, while the movie version was released in 1961. Two cast members won Oscars for their performances, and it retells the tale of a pair of star-crossed lovers. Which musical is set in New York City and features songs such as Tonight, and Maria.?

West Side Story

Which FTSE 250 company began life in 1979 with a single outlet in North London.? It is named after a New Zealand school teacher who told the founder that he would never make it as a businessman.  It is famous for low prices, long opening hours, championing of cask ale and supporting the smoking ban in pubs. It was founded by Tim Martin and currently has 880 outlets across Britain.

JD Wetherspoons

What name links the following….a lover of Catherin the Great who was part of the conspiracy to murder her husband Peter III, a ship anchored off Odessa on which soldiers rebelled in 1905 and the subject of a 1925 film by Sergei Eisenstein?


In 1983 Ronald Regan launched the “Strategic Defence Initiative” which proposed missiles in outer space. What name was the popular nickname given to this plan?

Star Wars

First broadcast in January 1988 and running for over 2,500 episodes, which tv show is to make a return to Channel 4 next month, hosted by Australian Comedian Adam Hills? The original host of the show was William G Stewart.

Fifteen to One

Brooke Bond launched which Product on the British Market in the 1930’s? It was original called Pre-
Gest Tee as its was intended to be drunk before meals to aid with digestion.  Advertised using the slogan “The Tea You Can Really Taste” name the brand which has been advertised by both Chimpanzees and the T Birds?

PG Tips

One of the most popular bands of the 1960’s. their music was featured prominently in the film “Easy Rider”. Album releases include “Slow Flux”, “At Your Birthday Party” and “Paradox”. Name this band, Fronted by German born singer John Kay and named after a novel by Hermann Hesse?


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


Which singer, born in 1942, recorded the 1969 hit album “Hot Buttered Soul”. He won the Academy Award in 1972 for Best Original Song for the theme song o “Shaft and provided the voice of Chef in the animated TV series South Park?

Issac Hayes

Friday, 6 September 2013

Buzzer Questions #3

Another batch of the buzzer questions I set for the recent Lightspeed Quiz event in Durham.

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.


Who entered the record books in August 2013 by achieving his ninth top ten single from the same album? The album is entitled 18 months and features the tracks “Sweet Nothing” and “We Found Love”.

Calvin Harris

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 News Corporation one of the most influential companies in the World?

Rupert Murdoch

Published in 1722 this novel centres around a character born in Newgate Prison and who later goes on to marry her brother. Kim Novak stars in a 1965 film version of the novel.  What two words follow the following phrase to give the more common title for a work  by Daniel Defoe “The Fortunes and Misfortunes of the famous…”

Moll Flanders

TWO ANSWERS. With 4 letters in their names, which African country and South American Capital City are anagrams of each other. One is a country lying in North West Africa with the capital Bamako, the other is the largest city and capital city of Peru?

Mali and Lima

The jukebox musical Movin Out which opened on Broadway in 2002 and came to the West End in 2006 featured the music of which American singer-songwriter? Songs include “Its still Rock and Roll to Me”, “We Didn’t Start The Fire” and “Paino Man?

Billy Joel

The fifth largest country in the world, only Russia, Canada, China and the U.S. are larger. It is the world’s largest producer of coffee and declared its independence from Portugal in 1822.  Name this South American country.


The architect’s experience in greenhouses greatly influenced his design of this structure. Noted for its innovative use of glass and wrought iron, it was destroyed by fire in 1936. Identify this hall built for the Great Exhibition of 1851 in London.

Crystal Palace

Thursday, 5 September 2013

News Story

I have seen many things happen in a pub quiz.....but thankfully never this.....Click Here

(The Click will take you to a local news story from Northampton)

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Buzzer Questions #2

Here are some further questions I used in the Lightspeed Quiz Event in Durham (All Videos should be posted shortly). Remember its a buzzer quiz so the idea on some of the questions was to start them hard to encourage a buzz and end them so that they should be answered...

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 composer described his most famous work as “17 minutes of orchestra without any music”. He was born in 1875 and often accused of copying the work of fellow French composer Debussy. Major works include the ballet “Mother Goose”, “Rapsodie Espangnole” and the ballet “Daphne and Chloe”. Name this composer who is perhaps better known for  his orchestral work “Bolero”?

Maurice Ravel

Originating in Austria and first sold in Thailand, this drink is the most popular of its kind and sold 4.6 billion cans worldwide in 2012 despite concerns about the health risks of the product. The company sponsors football clubs, a Formula 1 team and a famous Air Race and advertises the drink as “giving you wings”?

Red Bull

The first episode of which classic sitcom involves the main character breaking an elevator several times, failing a job interview with a sales company and having a bit of trouble with a missing coal shed door?

Some Mothers Do Ave Em

This TV Comedy programme first appeared on British TV in 1990 and both Ken Livingstone and Neil Kinnock have made guest appearances on it. Characters include Gus Hedges, George Dent and Damien Day who all worked for Sir Royston Merchant. Name the TV comedy that focussed on the daily workings at the Globe Link TV news office?

Drop The Dead Donkey

Name the year in which the following occurred. Samuel Beckett was awarded the Nobel prize for Literature, Margaret Thatcher was appointed Shadow Spokesman for Education, Rocky Marciano was killed in a plane crash, John Lennon and Yoko Ono had their infamous “Bed in Peace” demonstration and Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon.


This song was a hit on four separate occasions in the 20th century. The title of the song contains the name of a country and it has a been a hit for The Shadows in 1978, Sinead O Connor in 1992 and in 1996 for both Mike Flowers Pop and Madonna. It was written by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber for the musical Evita. Name this song?

Dont Cry For Me Argentina

This city first appeared on European maps over 1,000 years ago and was chosen as its nations capital in 1443 by Christopher III. Between 1940 and 1945 it was occupied by German troops and it was the site of a famous naval battle in 1801. It shares its name with the Duke of Wellington’s horse and can be found on an island called Zealand. Name the capital city of Denmark?


This film was based on a true story and was adapted from a book by Robin Moore. The 1971 original was set in New York and it won the Academy Award for Best Picture. For which film did Gene Hackman receive critical acclaim for his role as hard-bitten cop Popeye Doyle?

The French Connection

Which sport made its debut at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and includes events for solo competitors, duets and larger teams. Terms used in the event include Lobster sculls, the egg-beater kick and the Effiel Tower. Included in the coaching staff are a musical director and make-up artist. Which sport is often considered a mixture between gymnastics, swimming and dance?

Synchronised Swimming

Monday, 2 September 2013

Quiz Trek - The Black Cat Bar, Edinburgh

The Black Cat Bar, Edinburgh
Tuesday Nights

My trip to Edinburgh last week was made all the more enjoyable by the fact that my extremely tolerant other half agreed to attend a couple of pub quizzes with me. There were a couple of options for the Tuesday Night but given my football team of choice, The Black Cat Bar, sounded like a good one. This is a very small bar on Rose Street. It serves a great selection of Ale, has a nice friendly atmosphere and was packed for the quiz which started at 7pm. (An ideal start time for a quiz if you ask me....a large amount of friends won't play local quizzes with me as they start at 9pm).

This was a very short quiz and clearly a popular one. 8 teams of 5-6 players, and then us two sitting sheepishly in the corner, meant this small bar was packed to capacity. It begins with a picture round for 10 points which involved this week celebrities when they were younger. I don't like picture rounds at the best of times and especially not one's such as this. Not really a test of knowledge of all put pleased with 9 we managed between us.

The second round was 5 simple general questions (although the old "Chestnuts I don't know" caught me out again...What was the first man made object to break the sound barrier?"). An 8 question connection round follows which was quite straight forward followed by an odd music round. From what I gather the quizmaster does "mash-ups" every week so this week we had small clips of several songs playing in a random order, some repeating and re-occurring and to make it harder they were B-Sides to the biggest selling singles of certain years. Confused? I was....So getting 5/8 was not half bad!

The quiz ends with the top scoring team getting a one question chance to win the money. One member goes up to the Microphone to try out what this week was a tough question! Fail and there is no prize. Win and I think £30 was up for grabs.

Either way, despite this not being a quiz I would usually enjoy we did have a good time in the Black Cat Bar. 18 points being available for pictures and music in a quiz out of 32 is very off putting though as these are the two rounds were bigger teams benefit more. Also the fact both rounds were very gimmicky made them rather dull. The connection round was very straight forward and I was caught out only by the Chestnut above and a question on Scottish Football. 

Certainly this is a popular quiz night, so it must be doing something right!, although I probably would not return given the option. Very much a "social" quiz where everyone seemed to know everyone and not much real use in having good quizzing knowledge heading into it. As I said though, the quiz is making money for the bar and getting people out quizzing so all credit to the quizmaster.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Buzzer Questions #1

Again I set a range of questions for the Lightspeed Event in Durham, videos of which should be appearing shortly, so I will post up a selection of what I used. Bare in mind the intention here is to encourage a buzz so they start off with obscure facts in some cases and end up being very easy. If you are reading through them it is best to think about when you may have buzzed in each question. I will post some more up during the week.

Which English Costal Town, lying the 209 miles away from London, has the Motto “It’s So Bracing” and was the site of Billy Butlins first Holiday Camp?


Which service, provided by the BBC, ceased to exist from the 24th October 2012 after 38 years of broadcast? It was launched in 1974 as the world’s first teletext information service.


Formed as “Atomic Mass”, which band from Sheffield achieved fame with their second album “High N Dry”, a single from which entitled “Bringing on the Heartbreak” was one of the first metal videos played on MTV.  In 1983 their single “photograph” from the album “Pyromania” turned them into a household name and they scored their first and only US No.1 with “Love Bites” in 1989. Name the band that features Joe Eliot on lead vocals and Rick Allen as a now one armed drummer?

Def Leppard

This British City lost its city status in 1888 but was re-granted it by Queen Elizabeth in 1994. Based in Pembrokeshire and lying on the River Alun, what is the smallest city in Britain in terms of both size and population?


“I have always depended on the kindness of strangers” is the famous last line of which literary character?

Blanche Dubois

His victory at the Battle of Lewes was a complete reversal of affairs in England and saw the capture of Henry III. However, in the following year he was defeated at Evesham by the future Edward I. Name this baron leader?

Simon De Monfort

Which boxer of the 1930’s was at the time the heaviest man ever to have held the World Heavywight Championship. A record he held until Nikolai Valuev won the world title in 2005. He was the first ever Italian World Heavyweight Champion and nicknamed “The Ambling Alp”?

Primo Carnera

Which French President uttered the famous quote “politics is too important to be left to the politicians”. He served as a general in World War 2 before become the 1st President of the Fifth Republic in 1959, a post which he held until his resignation in 1969?

Charles De Gaulle

A statue of this person appears in St. Martins Place in London and at the outbreak of World War 1 is quoted as saying “at a time like this I am needed more than ever”.  A state funeral was held in their remembrance at Westminster Abbey in 1919, 4 years after execution by the Germans. The quotation “patriotism is not enough – I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone” is most associated with which British nurse?

Edith Cavell

Originally coined by British art critic Laurence Alloway, this art movement celebrated the post-war consumer boom and the materialism of Americans.  Identify, this school of art whose most notable proponent was Andy Warhol?

Pop Art